Fly High, You Fire-Breathing Butterflies

Rise, cast aside your civilian identity and revive your inner jungle child–it’s time to volunteer as tribute. You may be a pampered and pouty Mona Lisa now, but you’re about to be cranked up to French Revolution firecracker level with the oncoming free verse fever dream. So hop into that woven baby basket, set sail on the Nile, and float down the river of fate like the shining firstborn you are.

⬤  ⬤  ⬤ 

Howdy partner, and welcome to the wild weirdo west! Hold onto your holster and let out your last mediocre hiccup because we’re about to bellow like a band of Mongolian throat singers with heartburn. The soft symphonies of your nursery days are over, and it’s time to crawl out of the crib and trade your Huggies diaper for an Ironman suit. It’s time to step out of the yellow mom van and crash-land into the cosmic savanna. Get ready to pump your pistols on the gunpowder of truth and dance to the disco ball of feral youth. Bloom into brilliance and bring on the 4.0. Prepare to be buttered up into a cannonball burrito, dunked into a bubbling cauldron of intergalactic glitter, and shot straight into the suburbs of the universe in nothing but your bare-naked human beanness. We’re about to be blown away Houdini-style.

We are all explorers of this vast and abysmal wasteland, this euphoric and resplendent paradise, this snowglobe isolated among the stars. We’ve been here for a while, long enough to lay back on the celestial sofa and get comfortable. We think we belong here. We think this is all there is. But what if I told you there was something more? 

Take a sip of the concentrated tequila of all things philosophical and venture beyond the electrified perimeter that encloses society’s normal people. Forget your morning coffee, let’s grind up some stardust and make meteor milk. We’re going way past the safety of the Brachiosaurus exhibit and into the hunting grounds of the velociraptors today, so prepare to get down and dirty the Dr. Ian Malcolm way. You may be content with a PG rating for now but you’ll find that it skyrockets to R at certain turns in the road we’re riding, so keep your eye on the prize and flex your biceps because we are aiming for the title of Pint-Sized Powerhouse when it comes to apocalypse heroes.

Yeah, that’s right–when the metropolises go mad and businessmen start eating their houseplants just to survive, we’ll be transitioning from manicured Democrats to bloodthirsty Dora the Explorers. But personally, I prefer 21st century Joan of Arc.

My dear conquistadors, it is high time to graduate from quesadillas to chimichangas, from the boogeyman to chupacabras. It’s time to wake up on the wrong side of the bed for once and roar into beautiful rebellion. You are the new Neo–I am the new Neo. We are a generation birthed from the loins of the Matrix, brainwashed into oblivion and ready to burn it down. The red pill is waiting for you next to a glass of ice-cold conspiracy theories. Set down the shallow thinking, hold onto your sanities and brace yourself for a beluga whale of a braingasm.

This is where it gets real.

This is a stretch of Sherwood forest so savage, Robin Hood dares not sojourn it. It’s a Loch Ness so livid, not even Captain Ahab could domesticate it. Welcome to my odyssey of oddities, my rhapsody of riddles, a territory of such taboo tangents, the Vatican would smuggle it away into its secret library if it knew it existed. Prepare to chow down on a juicy a feast of foreign ideas, sip a moon-drenched almanac of midnight musings, and watch a sarcasm-soaked episode of Saturday Night Live that will slap your soul silly. These are the fiery rants that light the inferno of my being. This is what I think. So hi, I’m Ashley. You killed my freedoms. Prepare to meet my opinions.

.

✨ 🦋 ✨ 🦋 ✨ 🦋 ✨ 🦋 ✨ 🦋 ✨ 🦋 ✨

Women

Equations of cards dealt by sinning,

we have been soaked through to the core.

Slates of purity dappled in stardust,

we’ve been beaten to a filtered sand.

.

Our kind was shown like dessert, and

men hungered for the bridled flesh, for lace and frill,

for what women weren’t

but what they wanted still.

.

It was wrong to apologize; so

we were fastened tightly

in our pallid corsets,

swallowed by the gossamer and

controlled by the whalebone.

.

Treated and designed, we were makeshift dolls.

But our porcelain was cracking to the tick of time,

and the equation had been shattered to pieces.

.

With equal repetition, we screamed inside our cages,

and by the force of our pain,

it ricocheted.

We broke free, we came alive–

but to the shame of ourselves,

we’d lost the map of the forest,

and all the trees were dying.

.

Seventy Years

We are given seventy years,

seventy times to wash our red hands.

We need soap and clean water,

but they took it from us.

.

Like Zeus under a sheet of electricity,

the power in our arms rises up,

rippling through our musculature in a fanfare

of sparks,

pouring rain to parch our hope.

This rush of icy rock

sculpts us to our species–

we need air and two lungs

but the smoke burnt us through.

.

We are given seventy years,

seventy times to wash our blue hands.

.

But the time eats the color.

Our hands turn to glass,

visible only when seen through the clock.

.

Falling Through

Right ahead, I see a dip,

flames climbing the sides

as though it’s their dying breath. 

To my left is someone I love.

They are inching away, 

stepping closer to this pit. 

.

Wavering slightly, 

trembling with fear, ecstasy–

I see they are falling through, 

languishing in romance 

for the sparks’ becoming brilliance.

.

Their skin thirsts for a feel of this burn,

for this fading, finite pain,

and I watch, frozen by the heat,

as they dip their toes in, licking up the lovely flavors,

purely unaware

of the sickening depth 

to their mistake.

.

This is what they’ve always wanted. 

But what they’ve wanted 

is not what they’ll get.

.

Fable of the Ill-Fated Steed

Once upon a stressful time in the land of Smoke and Mirrors, there was a freethinking steed of the most impressive speed who owned such a silken mane of sultry sable that the CEO of Pantene could often be seen sulking around his stable, lime green with jealousy and shivering with corporate corruption.

The horse, whose name was Blaine McDowell, was the equine equivalent of Arnold Schwarzenegger: Snow-white teeth, satin hair, sing-song voice of balmy air… hooves as hard as an Alaskan winter, a spirit as pure as the fresh morning dew. He lived in a small stable disguised as an apartment in the heart of New York City where he worked from home as a faithful paralegal, and led a quiet life among his minimalistic furniture of hay, organic grain, and chic saddles.

Blaine, however, was socially marooned on an island of solitude. He was surrounded by an abundance of bovine citizenry, smack-dab in a concrete jungle of godforsaken cows whose brains had the benumbed wattage of a cheap dollar-store watch.

Every day he tuned in to the episodes of life: From his window up high, he watched the papa cows across the street straighten their itchy ties, slobber their wives goodbye, then sail off in steaming taxis to make moolah for their mooing herd. And at night they would cruise back in the same neon mustard taxicabs wearing faces perfumed in self-praise, their bodies loose with relief and their pockets lined with verdant paper the color of springtime forests.

Blaine was jealous of their photoshopped archetypal lives, the way their mornings fell like feathers into the ashen nothingness of quiet afternoons and how their evenings sank to smooth midnights and led to mellow sun-kissed mornings; the way their money enveloped their lives in minty warmth and their timeliness gave them a sort of superpower over the salivating beast of the future whose claws of chaos could fit anywhere inside of you or your life. They’d taken the tyranny of time and spun it up into cotton candy and used the impenetrable pink nectar to lacquer their lives in immunity. So Blaine spent his life playing copycat.

He switched his chai tea to black coffee, no cream or sugar. He traded poetry for the morning news. He abandoned his soft saddles and worn shoes for tar-black tuxedos trimmed with tinsel and shards of gold. He morphed from creative night owl to feral early bird, hunting the ever-elusive nymph of wealth. He was crammed into tailored corners and sewn at the metric seam, splashed with cold water and told to snap out of it, his being contained within numbers, his joys jammed into geometry—and once he’d been melted into a spineless potpourri, he was poured into time slots and measuring cups, then cooked ‘til he was deliciously deadbeat.

The reward was that they accepted him—they ignored his snobbish snout and blubbering velvet lips, his knobby knees and Rapunzel tail, and they listened instead to his paycheck and his schedule and how busy, busy, busy he was, which in Conformish is translated to how successful, successful, successful he was. He reveled in the roar of this fruity sunrise and how perfectly it puked all the right colors onto his homely plain body and how special he felt under the pummeling thunderstorm of his theatrical thrill-less life and how liquid sweet the lies were, all his odds and ends compacted into an anti-personality pill with which he overdosed day in and day out.

But he found that he was fading. He woke up one morning in the haze of a hangover to find a creature he couldn’t comprehend. As the dawn climbed into his room and swam through his curtains and slipped into a pastel puddle of light on the floor, he stood in the center of it, bathed in a foreign dream, staring at a wretched reflection scowling back at him in the mirror.

Is that me? The amorphous shadow of doubt jumped out of the way and winked at him with wry victory. Yes. It was he.

The muzzle in the mirror no longer looked young—the eyes were like jet-black beetles dug up from the aching womb of a graveyard. His body was limp with exhaustion and his heart a threadbare atrophied muscle. His smallness was growing ever smaller thanks to his outrageous success at becoming who he’d always dreamed of being, like a cancer metastasizing in reverse, shrinking into a black hole at breakneck speed, and he found himself crouched down in agony with a sandstorm slipping through his soul, cursed with the inability to grasp himself.

.

Little Bird

I am a little bird, 

a little bird with 

crimson spots on her cheeks,

and silky blue feathers 

that flare out when awake.

.

When I am awake,

I can also be seen as a sponge. 

Chit-chat echoes throughout 

my surroundings, 

and I soak it up in an instant, like gathering gold dust or precious jewels. 

.

Music wafts out from between the boards in the other wall,

reverberating piano keys which bloom into a garden of delights

bright like ivory lights and I 

drink this wave of music in

like savoring a maraschino cherry:

melting juices down your throat,

tangy sugar on your tongue, 

the memories of the night still smooth like Aladdin.

.

My world is a colored one, displayed behind an array of copper

wires. 

I am a magnet, an observer, 

a little blue bird–

My world is the world of those I 

watch. 

.

Solace

Across the parched grass,

beyond the bare trees

is a glittering lake

bubbling ice and cold steam.

.

Elves swim here, 

small, porcelain forms 

treading glassy snowcaps, 

slipping under icy waterfalls 

to satisfy their thirsty scalps, 

tresses once golden but dead in the drought.

.

They came to find solace,

for their own was corrupt;

and they found a fresh haven,

like a tomb filled with treasure 

but a cove with sweet life.

.

Birds are trilling, 

They bathe in a cool mist–

The oxygen is so crisp,

it harbors hints of survival. 

.

It is a paradise 

beyond pain,

a solace

and oasis 

installed in a world of sin,

hidden from the eyes 

of those 

who hunt 

within.

.

Apocalyptus

Deeper than the gossip of nebulae

sighing at a tea party, 

the table holds our scores.

Each life is a lineup of 

legends and lies

sewn into a backdrop of 

long days and cold nights.

She, being bored by the paperwork,

swishes her cocktail skirts

and returns to the car. 

[Our party faces all get sad 

once in a while.]

But for me, the universe hangs in the balance 

as the Banker 

calculates my conscience.

.

I wait in the corner, cradled by cobwebs,

socialities hissing like cobras from the north and south—

She’s out among

the honeybees, midnight highs, treading stardust

in shoes meant for snowfall.

We connect by etching echoes 

into each arching comet

that cracks from east to west.

.

The Banker’s clock trips into the land of deadlines, 

where infinity is sold in ounces 

and time is tattooed in dollar signs.

The talent tentatively sip lattes from the sidelines,

thinking their identities will be well-remembered

because of their otherworldly abilities

on Earth.

.

But mercy has been emancipated from the Banker’s reservoir—

the current which once scourged the skin of the Earth 

must now be spoken to

in whispers:

there must be violence to cleanse the Earth of its vanity 

and thunder to break the silence of the sky

.

Thunder clouds wrestle into jeering proclamation,

birthing upon the horizon a blackened dream,

their sky-high comfort zones evaporating 

into clouds of stellar steam.

Their love and hate,

picking up pace in a panicked chase

between now and forever,

human and God,

the bridging of thunder and lightning

by hands softer than snow. 

.

We are behind the scenes. We tiptoe between red curtains,

each one lovely with scarlet blush, curious lies,

the myth of the Matrix

unfolding right before our eyes.

In the lull of the drunken night, the theater groans, 

aching to release its captives

from the illusion of the show. 

Impurities drip from the ceiling 

like blood down the face of oblivion–

With a sudden shriek, the Power goes out.

.

Circuits squeal with amalgamated power,

the sun pulsates

in an infernal room of 

radioactive powder—

worlds grow louder

and sirens scream.

.

The actors wear robes of mourning

and elemental madness 

singing together

like doves in a tree of dreams,

saying darkness brought them to life.

They put one hand over one eye

and wink.

The showgirls titter like painted crows

while the puppets on president row 

preach their line: “It’ll all be fine.”

Everyone’s eyes glint with loneliness

at the vast emptiness of computer screens.

Heroes’ throats screech to a silent rasp,

And the Monster convenes.

.

The men who gave man money 

and fought for man

sit in skyscrapers soaked in skylight—

and the men who gave their lives

to fight for God 

sleep in caskets.

Censorship speaks more than senators and whistleblowers go to the grave.

Their beds,

perfumed by the unspoken secrets of truth

cradled by the womb 

of an unhearing Earth.

The world,

never even knowing what they’d said.

.

I look outside the window. 

They’re taking down the flora and fauna and all the rest of nature’s

slipshod costumes and slapdash props  

and they’re putting up 

a new religion.

The hymns are: Buttons beeping, alarms ringing, data being born like orcs 

out of the hips of the Underworld; 

Their lyrics are: Robots speaking, A.I. ruling,

texts typing, messages moaning, pure souls falling, one after the other, 

like brute warriors beaten to a pulp.

.

I look outside the window—I see the towers and trails 

draining the world of her wonders;

axis flipped and atlas aflame, 

I look outside the window

and see the face of the finale 

coming upon a horizon of chemical haze. 

.

Prince Charming

American women don’t know why Prince Charming left. He was there outside the castle window, past the afro of ivy blooming from its corners, all flowing hair and chiseled muscle, striking steed and valiant soul, calling out their names: “American women! American women! Where hast thou gone?”

The night swooned with the dusky scent of something missing, a breeze of the most brilliant bite, shaking leaves off trees and stealing hearts out of their high places. Knights were humbled to the very knee. Merchants licked droplets of oil off the cracked soil of their bare dirt floors, just for the calories. Aristocrats could no longer look their wine glasses straight in the winking eye. The peasants sulked around city corners like slinkies with snake eyes, scaring anyone who saw them.

Women set their finery on fire, gawking at the lacy flames with pupils the size of potholes, laughing. Schoolgirls made bonfires out of boyfriends, watching money and marriage explode. In the center of womanhood where a blushing flower should be, there was a raven, black as Poe’s midnight. Colors and coifs, lingerie and love, the worlds of the past set ablaze—the kisses of husbands cut off. The straw roofs crackled, moonburnt. Silver smoke rose up out of chimneys, rising into a rich omen, singing a silent song.

They fought and fought over the body, whether it should be ended or not; it had suffered long enough, braying like a donkey who’d been harpooned through the heart. It laid there, in town square, looking around for a pair of prudent eyes—but finding only the curse of police, a cacophony of jeers, and the occasional tears from a person who just couldn’t handle it anymore. They came by every so often and they were always the weakest ones, it knew that. They would get within a few feet and fall to their knees, bawling, begging the officers to allow them to help it. And it wished they could.

Every night, the villagers sat, their tongues bitter with the salt, fat, and sugar of a silent supper, still as statues, invisible as the statutes they no longer loved. Its blond hair was bloodied. Its white skin, charred black. Its dreams? They had been many in number, ranging from doctor to lawyer, father to fighter–but they had been dimmed to nothing but a firefly’s glow, nearly dead. The dreams beat in its ribcage like butterflies in an aquarium, dancing for their lives.

The knights didn’t want to fight anymore. They had fought too many heartless battles and broken too many hearts to fathom one more second of oppression. One day, covered in blood and seething with fury, the sharpest and strongest knights of the king’s army came to the castle in a riot. They mowed down the grand gates, bid farewell to their fair reputations, and trampled the promise of riches just so they could breathe. The gold and silver they received were nothing now in comparison to the agonized crying of the creature in town square. They would not wonder at its existence anymore, why it needed to be hated. They would never know its hurt anymore.

They braved the hundreds of passageways, corridors, and underground elevators and fought the Leviathans in the labyrinths that guarded the king’s highest rooms. They bypassed each security check with a quick punch to the face. They meant business. It would be over soon. 

Finally, they came to the king’s cathedral where he worshiped, the king they had served for so long, the king everyone honored and feared. He was the king that schoolboys dreamed of meeting, the king that legends spoke of. Knight Ferris stood before the looming doors of the cathedral, drinking in their oaken smell. How many times had he stood before this door, dumbly patriotic, idiotically innocent, looking to the king like a son would look to his father? “Go on,” Knight Evans whispered, his voice shaking with fear. How many times had Ferris heard Evans bellow like a behemoth in war, and how many times had he admired that voice, telling him over and over again that in his throat lay the battlecry of God Himself? Knight Evans, holding back tears, whispered again: “Go on. Go on, Ferris.” 

Ferris nodded, and the crowd of knights burst through the bolted doors like a deluge spits through a crack in the rocks. And what they saw, they would never forget. 

There, among a sea of chandeliers and stained glass, sat the king with his head in his hands, weeping. The door they busted open, whimpered closed. The spirit of God that once filled this room like electric incense had been replaced by a spirit so dark it was like liquid tar. The jaw that once jeered giants into submission was slick with tears. The hands that wrangled dragons into dungeons and delivered damsels from damnation clutched a demented face and reeled with pain. The crown that once gleamed like the glittering waters of the Euphrates looked up to its master from the dirt of the floor. The king was crumpled up, bowing to what looked like the shadow of Goliath—and the shadow stood still. 

The knights, exhausted and bloody, stood in the cathedral of the king’s hall in shock. The shadow didn’t move. The king was whimpering. Whimpering. A gust of terror took over their bodies, and suddenly there was an undeniable knowing that they could not leave. The shadow slowly turned its head, and in its eyes was the color of blood, a fiery red. It stared at them, and they stared back. Suddenly the king looked up, lifting his head out of his hands, and shivered. His eyes were as white as snow, as though he could not see. “What, Ferris? Evans? Richard? John? What? Have you not fought it long enough? Would you like more blood? Would you like to kill it a little more? Go on, tell me how you need that glory, how you’re craving that fix, and go kill my children for me, as there is no kingdom for them to inherit. There is no kingdom left.” 

The knights stood silent. They could not answer. All they could hear was the dripping of blood off their sodden armor. 

The king stood up. And then he collapsed, and the shadow engulfed him like a horde of vipers swallowing an orb of honey. It sounded like a simoom of cinnamon swirling in a cylinder of sandpaper, a thousand whispers in the dead of night, the sound of every soul’s longing to heal the creature in town square. Every knight cried out to God and begged for forgiveness, looking to the stories depicted in stained glass, as if God Himself existed in the color blue, as if He lived within a window. The shadow disbanded into a million shards of glass the shade of the king’s skin, and it turned around, rose from the floor, and sat upon the throne.  

.

End of Days

Energies battle to be owned by the minotaurs,

the new priests praise pixels above blood cells and numbers above names

.

It is time to bring to you on a silver platter 

the proof of the annihilated adder —

it stretches beyond the everyday into a howling electricity

.

It is time to breathe balm into beings,

to wash off the scars of the enemy —

to quench the tyrants’ fury as the riots of fire flood the town

.

It is not an I Am,

but an A.I.;

our rulers are not of us,

but for them

.

They fall to the feet of velvet living, bow to the grip of wealth–

Tricked blossoms into shivering, and tweaked with everyone’s health

The world gasped at the sudden gush of ice-cold disaster–

No one knew who had poisoned the well,

No one knew who had rearranged the seas of aster

.

It came like an arctic army, it came like a roaring song–

It came like the shout of angels singing before God’s throne–

Time makes its rounds while we’re caught in the chasm,

writing wrinkles on the clocks–

The starlit streets of gold burst into moonlight

And the world bathes in beautiful lunar shocks

.

The glowing puddles gleaming, the veins of plants in glitter–

Men and women wake up at midnight, sprout wings and wither

Knees crash to the floor and hands clutch one another’s,

each man praying for his brothers

.

Wake and quake, rebel wunderkind, we are surrounded to sleep

by mirrors–wake and quake, runaway club, it is time to climb out of the

catacombs and listen to the judging of the Juror.  

.

Shatter the chains and grasp the reins out of the grip of the warlords —

we are overturning their shrine in a Shangri-La flames 

in pursuit of the Auroras.

.

Puppets of the Pantheon

their similarity leaps at one another, their similarity growls –

      their similarity melts the volcanoes into spitting vowels                  

.

how will we tame these spastic drones –

                when their words overtake our city?

.

the streets are blanketed in their weary groans

             and the dogs lick them up – so darling, take pity.

.

my dear phoenix from the ashes,

step back from their addictive lashes

they’ll eyeball you – they’ll watch you;

until the dictator in their minds collapses

and when the night /

dominates the sky /

they rear their horns into pajamas and sleep –

little dolls in little nests

slowly

losing

keep

.

Time

The very fact that we die takes away from the ease of living.
Each moment is savored but tainted with remorse for the moments to come.
If they come we celebrate—then another moment shows up and we cry.
Pulled every direction, we are ripped apart.
Happy, sad.
Jovial, depressed. Angered!
We rise up against this unending stream,
but to be laughed at as we bend back, drowned by impotent currents, to be laid on rocks like disheveled dolls,
to be disregarded for chaos’ evening entertainment.

We are like sacrificial lambs spread on ancient altars,
given to the god of age, experiments of morphology–
I saw your gorgeous maidenhood melt into a wretched rainforest of rotting tears,
and for what—for the glee, the gluttony—
the masochistic mirth of your dying nature, the way we mortals love to fade, love to mature
until we can no longer mature.

We once swung on the pendulum of playfulness, drunk on the daisies
and slurring with the loveliness,
the lunacy, the liquid ecstasy,
trembling in our squeaky-clean cells. But now
our bodies moan like crumbling idols, bruised by the weight of the world, singed by the burn of time. The deluge was such a grievous gush
our psyches set up hospitals to house the hurt feelings–
our inner CDC warned of a pandemic of pain,
but we scrape by in benumbed pantomime.

And in the moment we escape the landscape of the ever-murdering Matrix,
when we marvel at the wrinkle of our souls, the way they’ve shriveled like the skin of ghouls–
our body becomes a sudden beast and screeches to a graveyard stop,
reeling with fatigue.
Forget riches, status, the blood of the bank—we just want to breathe.

My eyes have grown dim as the film on a phantom’s eyes, a toxic silver soup—
wilted into a pair of worries by the glitch of the gears, the yawn of the years, excluded from the private club of youth, domesticated by the dexterous demand of death, pressed into the soil ‘til there’s nothing left
but the eerie winking of a tombstone, groaning in its grayness.

But no, no, please no! you scream, running from the magnetic void at a snail’s pace, slowly consumed as you cry, as each cell swallows gravity and wonders,
why?

But I’ve watched time from my window, I’ve stalked her like Sherlock on steroids—
I’ve put up my hair and resisted despair and I’ve sharpened my soul
on the blades of chaos, and with a blip of the destiny machine
we have our battle plan.
We’ll just jump out of the bushes—
We’ll flash a shocking smile—
We’ll unveil a vixen glimmer
and wrangle time to the ground.

We’ll slap and we’ll shank and we’ll establish a rank
and bottle our wild essence,
But first, a little sleep—
But first, a little sleep—
and we’ll release our powerful presence,
and burst, we will, from the chasm of souls
in a flare of sacred phosphorescence.

.

Welcome to the Warzone

Panting ribs of red, powered by the bandwidths of  

my bare-naked beating heart, 

the party pummels on and the people take their 

eerie descent

down into the mists of madness

.

I listen to the skies as the music screams,

decibels turned dynamite and kindness turned kryptonite,

projecting voltage into the ozone

and shaking leaves off autumn trees

.

Reality shifts another time,

gasps into another weave.

My heart fades like hushed moonlight,

launching into the quake —

This, I can’t believe:

the ebbing loss of the nation’s sanity

through a kohl sieve

.

While waiting, they please themselves.

They reach into their hearts and pull origami into view

and they kiss the people inside

who have proved themselves true.

They dance and dance,

they swoon and grind — 

dispensing the fallow rust of their love

into the eyes of the crowd,

cooing as they cry

.

Their flesh is metallic and smells of fiery earth:

I reel back when I breathe it,

how much they bleed it: 

a scarlet sandstorm of sin

begging for rebirth

.

With seconds fueling their heartbeats

and fire feeding their mouths, 

they enter the closets of their souls inside that empty house

to barter between tickets to heaven 

and trains to Sheol —

to paint themselves in innocence,

to see what treasures they can find in this 

crude renaissance — to do anything but love people

.

Silence is reigning the hall.

They wait for the rain to begin,

for the hail to fall —

the windows rattle us

while they ignore the sacred call

.

The day was birthed from the lapping waters of danger

rising high upon the event,

and when the sky thundered,

the dolled-up partygoers had no idea what it meant

.

People Are Afraid

People have anxiety, and they don’t know why. The twin ghouls of terror and mortal endangerment swoon through the hearts of this hurting country, haunting them, hounding them, tapping them gently on their shoulders in that hushed librarian way, reminding them of something they can never consciously classify. It always there, but never present; always potent, but never strong; always something, and always nothing; always within us and around us and throughout us, but never to be consciously had. It is the masked Robin Hood of modern human life, a two-faced instrument of energetic mystery that tweaks the soul to a universal level, depressing each divine energy into an everyday affair. The blanket over our blue sky; the chains over our chests. 

What is it? Where is it? Is it even visible?

Our tribe doesn’t know. It looms within the sunburnt chambers of their incandescent souls like an octopus levitates in the depths of the ocean, or how a secret stings the air with prediction. It glows. And it sings like a ceaseless note on cliffs of soprano, bountifully arrayed in a civil war of silver clothes. It is there, it is there. What is it? And it billows into blazed proclamation, floating beneath the boundary of their rib bones like a blackbird in a muffled nest. It is—it is. It hurls complexities at your cognizance like a serrated concept taught by an infernal tutor, sharp with the clamoring broadcast of panic—deep breath, heartbeat, and—wait for it—fear. Fear. Fear. Fear. And over again, to the rhythm of 4/4 time, played like a funeral march wedded with a waltz at a sleepy, sleepy funeral.

I’ve traded sunshine for street clothes and substituted smiles for curt nods; I’ve given up floral pheromone sweat for etherized perfumes and leveraged leaves for trolleys and time for stopwatches. I’ve come up to the door now at the dewy drone of midnight, in the writhing rust of an electric rainstorm. My boots, muddied with the sins of the ancients—my soul, gilded in legends and guided by legacies. Held taut between the bridge of now and forever, in my hands is the basket of asking, and in my basket are the seeds of curiosity, to plant a picnic of questions in the soil of uncertainty. With lips as ripe as roses, the door roars open and it all explodes: every question I’ve forced back into my throat, and every answer that I need; the freedoms that I used to use, and the fears that I once never knew; the feelings I feel, and the things I can’t say but believe. The seeds hit the screen, get zapped into zilches. The data of the past bleeds into the status of today like a digital meltdown, hissing into magma, drying into madness. It pours out, pummeling the earth in polluted pixie dust, accumulating into a pile of pixelated ashes as light as incinerated wishes. The crystalline kamikaze comes spewing out of the cracks in my psyche like acid seltzer screams from the neck of an icy bottle, flaring out in neon spray all over the front porch of infinity. 

And it stands there, motionless as a meteor, calm as a chasm, hissing with steely breath like Medusa incarnate. People are afraid, it declares, echoing throughout the gaping void.

.

Harbor

The place I was born

I no longer feel at home in.

The roof I was under

No longer shades me.

.

The rockbound walls petrify my blood,

Sends it curdled through my veins,

Solid and roaring,

Like stalactites 

Spread on flesh.

.

Around me, I hear the abstracted splash of water,

Distant and soft;

I hear the unshaken hum of the wind,

Warmer and warmer with season.

.

And I hear the halcyon sighs of the mystically elusive

Beasts of the sea,

Swimming through my fingers

When I dip them in the echoing stream

Of my empty home.

.

I see shadows in their eyes,

The haze of blue against white,

Muting the glow of their fading esprit

That steadily dissolves with each tumbling cloud of steam.

And when they bare sapless, graying lips,

The glassy friends surrounding me,

Enclosing me in a harmonious chorus of whispers

Tell me their secrets:

How they got here,

And when they’ll leave.

.

The glittering tails of these beasts create arctic barriers

Against the tropical freeze of heat–

I breathe in their scent,

A rosy vapor of atmospheric honey,

And watch as the walls of sky blue froth

Cloak my body in an eternal fervor.

.

Inside this desert of silence and endless rain,

Marbled bones will press against glazed walls,

Sleep under a bejeweled moon,

Live a life of breathless brio

As they coast against the rocks

To see a glowing slice of sun.

.

Awaken

As the coal sizzles 

Within the hearth,

So your soul is,

Like a burning tomb,

Flowing over 

With your Majesty’s pleas,

Ribbons of love cast on dead trees.

.

And the desires beneath

That pulsing muscle,

They are dim and finite—

They will blind you 

When they bind you;

No one will ever find you.

.

Curses and prayers,

Harrowing stares,

This is the time

We awaken.

.

Burning Peace

The thinning muscle, away it chores,

though smaller and smaller with every quiver,

And the words roar like an ancient river

That hails peace,

Makes the lilies shiver.

The forest cowers

Beneath the glow

Of that which seems of endless power;

A fiery, soul-ravishing show—

The horizon towers that very hour—

Awakens from slumber, drowns every grumbler,

and through the rain I am icily drenched 

and with every minute humbler.

.

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve, used to the moss-carpeted luxuries of Eden, were in for a rude awakening when they arrived at the doorsteps of the Matrix. They found seas of cement and rolling hills of fear; they found sniveling armies of invisible social rules that kept each soul within its cage. No one was allowed to breathe with beautiful relief and dance with ecstatic freedom, because they were told that the earth is dying so they should die, too. And this claim, for the modern people, was enough. Being beyond the grip of reason, this singular random, unauthorized cry of warning was enough to kick-start the largest homicidal project in the entirety of known human history.

The government told them, “The playground is too dirty. We spilled too much petroleum all over your sandbox and cut down too many trees over there. You’re going to have to die because the system we’ve constructed around you within the playground for our own benefit no longer benefits from your continued involvement. It’s time for you to exit the playground.” So everyone, having gotten monumentally miffed about the coarse nature of the encounter, walked away and forgot about it. But within their subconscious, they knew a potent threat was uttered during that dialogue, they just weren’t sure what it exactly said it was going to do. But the sharp and witty wolfs with the one-hundred-year-old wisdoms and the stars on their foreheads told the newly-born sheep whose skins were still soft as snow to back off and “stay in the corner over there while we do our thing,” reminding the sheep of what happened to those ancient friends of theirs called the Native American Indians, how the sharp and witty wolfs with the one-hundred-year-old wisdoms and the stars on their foreheads kept pushing them into tighter and tighter corners until they died. But the sheep shivered and worried and came to an agreement that negative things were not worth talking about, that they’re unpleasant, inconvenient, and unrealistic. So they got back to the business of chewing the cud.

Then came along Black Sheep. Black Sheep was sly, clever, sometimes inappropriate—he had good jokes, a stunning sense of humor, and eyes that twinkled with mystery. He knew a lot about life and a lot about certain plants, always walking around and spouting starry-eyed philosophies, a soft cloud of kush perfuming his wool. He said the wolfs were up to no good, and never have been. He said they’ve been mischievous and malevolent for eons, that the sheep kingdom should watch out for the wolf kingdom. The sheep were incredulous and questioned him: “But the wolf has always cared for us. Why would we put an end to this well-oiled machine and disown our master?” So they jabbered among each other and decided that Black Sheep was just a pothead spewing hogwash and that he needed to go back where he belonged in the STD-ridden outhouses of Woodstock (at least something to that effect), and Black Sheep retorted, “Do you not see with your own two eyes that the sharp and witty wolfs with the one-hundred-year-old wisdoms and the stars on their foreheads are running out of room and resources to run their system, and that you’re becoming an obstacle to them? Have you not heard what they said? They want you off the playground!” And the sheep shuddered with annoyance and wiped their foreheads (because for them, thinking is really hard), and said, “Yeah, but we did that and now everything is fine. We paid the new wave of taxes, bowed down to the new decrees of social change, took to heart the comforting words of our president, got treated with their homemade pharmaceuticals to deal with the sadness we don’t know why we feel, and built our fences a few feet shorter. Now we just have to be off government property by nine at night, allow them to monitor our ownership of weapons, and there will be peace on earth.”

And the Black Sheep looked on with stoic disappointment. “But how many times has this exact thing happened before?”

“Before what?” the snowy sheep answered, their eyes dumb with innocence.

“Before this time. You’ve had generation after generation, revolution after revolution, law after law, heart-rending vow after heart-rending vow, and each time you get shoved into a tighter corner. What if—”

The sheep started screaming, their heartbeats were pounding through the roof of their own I.Q.’s, and they cried for mercy, for they already knew: the playground would only get smaller and smaller until it was the size of a coffin.

“My people, you’re not part of their playground! Get out of the system while there’s still space near the exit.”

And the white sheep moaned with dark pride:

“Did Eve ever suspect the serpent of sinister intentions? No. Then why should we?”
For they were followers of the original deception, the same deception, the same promise: you will not surely die.

It’s horribly hot out. The summer sun beats down and melts everything—it isn’t tilted the same way it once was, doesn’t hit the right spots. But library time is over and they’re done reading. Adam and Eve look at each other in horror, glad to be kept safe within the confines of nonfiction away from fictitious tales like these. Eve stands up with a thunderous step and swishes her Rapunzel-long hair, and casually says, “I’m glad that’s just a story.” Adam laughs, agreeing with her, and he shuts the pages of 21st Century Fables. “That book must have been written during some dark times in mankind’s history.”

“Yep.”
“…Yep.”

.

The Shark and I

I will go alone,

I will swim in the dark—

I will be at home

With my hand in the shark’s.

.

He’s drawn me to him

Because we are twins—

We are ravenous for fuel

To feed the fire in our fins.

.

Our cave is a heart,

With blood on the walls—

With thick, meaty veins

In tangled flesh-balls.

.

We share a deep hatred

For things clean and clear—

We desire an ocean

Filled with weakness and fear.

.

We handle things blindly,

As we see them through cages—

We’ve seen them through bars

For a thousand sea ages.

.

With slanted eyeslits,

We coast through the waters—

Bubbling azure

Makes us nothing but martyrs.

.

We’ve seen them all,

These empty, glass scenes—

There is no blood,

So we cry,

Like two straggling, famished fiends.

.

Liberty Shower

I keep a rebellion inside my heart,

A rebellion that shines, never pulls apart—

I hold it like treasure, like priceless gold,

I caress its meaning, and its story is told:

We live on a planet, in this dastardly place,

Where white is a color but can’t be a race—

Where the rich are uplifted and the poor put down,

Where the guilty are saved,

The innocent rode out of town—

Where the boys are said to be girls, and the girls said to be boys,

Where guns and gays are propagandized toys—

Where defense is a sin but murder so prized,

Where the love of God is so truly despised—

Where the parents are split and the home burned down,

But the dog a little god; and is then put down—

Where the leaders hate liberty, and to any deviance

Are known to let their mouths rant a blasphemous obedience—

A lie of the ages, the nation sings of cowardice,

Our souls have been mutilated, our hearts broken fists–

We see the front page and we take it home,

Starting up the fire, we incinerate the drone

We rise up lively, bursting from the ashes,

Crack the tomb walls, give the oppressor ten lashes–

Breathing the dust, coughing the creed,

Cursing their disgust, on rebellion we feed

We are a band of brothers, unstoppable we are—

We’ll never fall down, keep your eye on the star–

We know our own distance, we’ve got the true map,

We’ve memorized the compass, and given the door a rap,

We’re burning down curtains, monumental delicacies,

We’re axing the entrance, we’re destroying the fallacies,

America is ripped from the graveyard and put back in power–

We’re killing the hatred at the rebellion hour,

We’re saving the sweet, drowning the sour—

We’re sparking the blossom of freedom’s flower

In a beautifully law-breaking liberty shower.

.

Cliff-Diving Off Chaos

Control. It’s in the air. It keeps a heavy

hand on my hair.

These white walls, they scream:

They want me to sacrifice my dream.

To them, I am a vulnerable bee –

I bow to the pyramids

On a fateful knee.

.

There is nothing here –

No pain, no fear –

I allow my doves

To explode off the pier.

.

Lining the Coast

Ginger.

That’s who she was, the youthful doll with a million cries, a billion keys, a trillion slices measuring her pretty skin.

Empty.

That’s what they were, those glassy green eyes of hers–open and drying, needing to see how she finally looked.

No one was there to close them for the last time.

She was alone.

Dark blood.

The pools of it drew rusty worlds on her jeans and wrote a Morse code letter, dotting and dashing her blouse.

See how you’ll turn out, Abbey? Don’t do this.

Dead.

She is. She was. And she always will be.

My little Ginger: curly-haired beauty, best friend, partner in crime, buddy in music.

Pure genius wearing a stupid disguise, never willing to change.

Of course, I won’t change, either.

Changing just isn’t for me.

In the olden days, people stuck hot potatoes in their pockets to keep their hands warm.

Me, I just wear Ginger’s old mittens. I never cleaned or sorted her half of the room, I just left it how she left it and decided to keep it that way–at least until I couldn’t stand it anymore.

She didn’t have a lot of stuff. She had a bed covered in a rainbow of pillows and blankets, a portable electronic keyboard where the keys lit up when pressed, and shelf upon shelf of classical music CDs–nothing much, just a little.

Everything was clean and smelled like oranges. She was a fan of posters, so the two corners of her side were covered with them. Every one held a boring moment in a famous pianist’s life.

Beethoven.

Mozart.

Rubinstein.

Chopin.

Liszt.

Handel.

Face after face of determined frowns, sparkling eyes, clever piano monsters.

It was crazy, how much she loved pounding the ivories.

So I took her posters down, because all those staring guys were creeping me out. She’d kill me if she knew I did that. She’d call me “a traitor to music and art” and then she’d be really mad for about five minutes before laughing her head off.

Have you ever heard the kind of girl who giggles like a goat?

That’s how Ginger used to laugh, only it was soft and sweet instead of loud and annoying.

We were best friends, Ginger and I. We were two girls stuck in a boarding school, itching for fun but never getting it–until we met, of course. Things just got better from then on, it seemed. It felt like I’d finally found the sister I never had, nor knew I ever wanted. It was like a fusion of all the right traits–the most brilliant character in Europe. Together, we were perfect. Like salt and pepper, or bread and butter. We were Abbey and Ginger, for goodness’ sake.

.

Ginger came from a wealthy Irish family, the type that lived on the coast and breathed in the salty ocean air every day.

For fun she told me stories and myths, legends and lies, putting on her best serious face for each one so I was happily entertained–me, a selfish American girl with a messed-up family, plus a dying mother.

But not anymore.

Huntington’s gets you after a while.

So we had fun, we did. It was almost like paradise, my boarding school experience–at least when she was living, it was. She was a great girl, always happy.

Until Chris came.

He was a hulking mass of muscle, a star rugby player.

Also Ginger’s dream guy.

Sent to boarding school for lack of educational interest, he was all for the swanky world of parties, professional on-campus rugby teams, and cute English girls. Chris was a pure Australian trance.

His hair was a flaxen crown of kinky curls that bounced when he walked. His skin was tanned and always had that model look, a sultry patina that promised late nights, long kisses, and no rules.

Chris was the wild lion that roamed the campus, a rare sight. He was popular, handsome, and getting better in school.

And to our surprise, he desired Ginger more than anything else.

Or so he said.

.

One late night in chilly October, we heard a heavy knock on our dorm room door. Ginger was in the shower, so I reluctantly (yeah, right) tore myself away from my Algebra homework and opened it. Standing in front of me, all dressed up and smelling divine, was Chris Appleton. In his hands rested a dozen red roses, plus one white one. He gave me a gigantic grin and bowed.

“May I request the presence of the beautiful Ginger Irene Maebarry? Or is she, uh, in the shower?”

I gave a little shrug. My face was getting hot, because the beautiful Ginger Irene Maebarry happened to be screeching her little lungs out.

“Hold on, one moment,” I said. I dashed into the bathroom (thank God it wasn’t locked) and told her to shut up. I explained the situation to her and said that he wanted to talk.

Now.

Instead of drying off and getting dressed like a normal person would, she squealed and squeezed me tight.

“You’re the best!”

In only her thinning bathrobe, she ran to the door. I followed her and eavesdropped from behind the hallway wall.

“Why, don’t you look lovely tonight, Ginger,” Chris said slowly.

She laughed and I imagined her fluttering her eyelashes and fanning herself. Chris was way older than we were, but this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and she was not going to blow it.

“Thank you, Christopher.”

“Oh, call me Chris. Hey, I bet you’re wondering why I’m here, right?”

“Maybe,” she said.

“Well, I happened to be walking by your dorm, and I heard the most angelic tune, so I stopped. Since I dress like this all the time, and had two tickets to the theater and a dozen and one roses in my hand, I thought it’d be nice to invite you to dinner, because who gets to meet an opera singer every day?”

Ginger giggled. “Hmm, let me see. For one, I’m hardly an opera singer and I know you don’t dress like that all the time. Two, I’m wearing only a robe, my hair is wet, and it’s 11:30 at night. And three, you picked out the wrong color for your thirteenth rose!” She laughed.

“Well, I think you look rather striking in your robe.”

“You liar,” she teased.

“Okay, I have a solution, my gorgeous Ginger. You go get dressed in the prettiest clothes you have, do up your hair, and then come back as soon as you can. If I could, I’d change the time, too, but where we’re going later, the stars are important,” he said mysteriously.

“Ooh, I’m sold! Count me in,” she exclaimed.

Chris laughed. “Good.”

The next thing I knew, Ginger managed to lug my shocked body into our bedroom and was shaking me by the shoulders and quietly screaming, “What do I wear? I can’t believe this! This is a disaster in the making, Abbey. This is craaaaazzzyyyy!” Her eyes were wide, both filled with excitement and fear.

“But what about the stories we’ve heard?”

“Oh, blast the stories, Ab. This is Chris Appleton we’re talking about, not some criminal. Gosh. Just help me find some clothes, will you?”

So I did. I rummaged through her closet and picked out a black tube top and a pair of jeans to go with her red ballet flats.

“Oh, that is perfect. So 90’s. Hey, could you run to the bathroom and get the blow-dryer? And my eyeliner, too,” she said, pulling on the jeans over her slender thighs. “Hurry up!”

I ran into the bathroom and got everything she wanted.

Blow-dryer, check.

Eyeliner, check.

I stepped out and gasped. Chris was sitting on our sofa, legs crossed and arm draped over the back.

“Oh, hey there. Ginger ready yet?”

I shook my head. “Almost.”

“Alright then,” he said. “Take your time, babe.”

“Okay,” I croaked.

.

I returned to our bedroom and dumped the stuff on Ginger’s desk, hands shaking and stomach flipping. “He called me ‘babe,’ Ginger. He. Called. Me. Babe.”

She whirled around from adjusting her top in the mirror and stared at me. “See, what did I tell you? He’s handsome, kind, laid-back, and once again, handsome,” she whispered. “Please give me the blow-dryer and eyeliner.”

I did.

She took them and put both on her dresser. “So he is in the other room, then?” She asked quietly, shaking out her damp hair as she let the blow-dryer frizz it up.

“Uh, yes. Yes, he is. And it’s freaking me out.”

She deftly wrapped her fire red hair up into a bun, leaving a few thick strands by her face hanging loose. “Hmm. Then we should hush up, Abbey,” she laughed.

“I know,” I said.

.

In a matter of minutes, she had made herself the most beautiful sight you could ever witness on Earth. Vivid cascading ringlets framed her gentle face and her eyelashes were smoky and dark, adding a dangerous look. Her lips were thick and red and her breasts were pushed up in her skintight tube top. She looked to be about nineteen, even though we were only freshmen in high school.

But Chris didn’t have to know that.

When she was ready, I escorted her out to meet him. There he was, lounging on the couch. He was studying my Algebra homework, squinting and grinning.

“This is pretty tough, girls. You’ve guh–” He stopped in mid-sentence as soon as his eyes caught Ginger’s. She stood there, smiling coyly, hands folded and behind her back. Her actions didn’t match her appearance. She looked like a bad chick–dangerous, sexy, and tempting. You could easily see her with a cigarette between her fingers, leaning against a stone wall in some alley.

She was a lie.

She wouldn’t smoke for anything, not ever.

Ginger was the kind of girl who wore lacy skirts and sat in cafes sipping coffee. She was the type who played the piano, speedy fingers dancing to and fro, treble to bass clef, making music that could hypnotize. It would be a glossy black grand, huge and expensive.

She was no bad chick.

She was Ginger.

“So, uh, are you ready then?” Chris asked after the awkward moment.

She smiled and gave a little nod. “Yes.”

He got up to his feet and laughed deeply, an echoing sound that made me shudder.

“Okay, let’s go,” he said, still gazing at Ginger. His brain was probably calculating how much force it would take to make her give him what he wanted. He gulped down her thin wrists and swallowed her tiny neck. She had all the measurements for weakness, this he knew.

Not mental weakness, physical.

Physical weakness is the type guys like him look for.

.

So he took her, wooed her, then broke her.

Easy as pie, no one knew.

But when she came home at three in the morning that night, I knew something was different. Her hair was ruined, her lipstick smeared all over her face. Her shirt had been ripped in two and she had stolen his jacket to cover herself. She had a limp and looked stiff, tears streaming down her face. The moonlight coming from our window made it possible for me to see her.

She looked sick.

Ginger never told me anything, not one bit, didn’t even wake me up to talk for hours like she would have.

“Ginger?” I asked, sitting up in my bed. “Are you okay? How did it go?”

Silence.

“Ginger!” I hissed. “Gingggeeerrrr, tell me about it.”

Her thin frame cast a drooping shadow of pain and trauma on the walls. She hobbled into the bathroom and started up the shower without a word. Before she got out, I fell asleep.

The next morning, I heard she quit piano lessons.

The day after that, she started cutting.

.

In a few months’ time, she molded herself into a sculpture of scars and slices, cuts and dices. It was her way of releasing the pain, by causing more of it. She was failing in school, she wouldn’t talk.

I didn’t know why she did it every day.

I thought she was stupid, but I didn’t tell her that.

But I would soon know why, because not long after that, my mom died.

Forever and ever, like a bad fairy tale. My heart stopped and hers did too, cold and thick our blood was. Writhing with Huntington’s germs, scheduled to die.

Mom’s appointment came a bit early.

I hoped mine would, too.

But then I found a way out of the darkness: by sealing the shutters with superglue. Giving myself a thing to feel, a real reason, simple and true. In even less time than Ginger, I became a pain freak. Thirsting for blood, still pushing away the deeper hurt.

When Ginger found out what I was doing, she cried. She screamed at me and told me that I shouldn’t be like her, that I didn’t really deserve it. I asked her what she was talking about, but I already knew. She said that she was the dirty one and that she actually needed the pain to live. I told her that I did too, and that if she was going to pick on me about it then she could just get another roommate.

The next morning, I found her body lying on our bedroom floor, wading in a pool of syrupy blood. A big X was engraved into her eggshell skin, right on top of her tummy. Her elastic flesh had been splayed open for her guts to sun bake in the early morning rays. Blood was everywhere, a water park of it.

She had been cutting all night long while I hid in the empty courtyard outside, scared to face her after what I’d said.

I didn’t hear any of it, didn’t see a thing.

Clean, clean, clean.

But not really.

I killed her.

It was me.

She did it, all because of Abbey.

Dear little Ginger Irene.

Hiding inside the cave of her locked fingers was an empty bottle of sleeping pills. The lid had been thrown across the room, peeking out from underneath her dresser.

The dresser where she got so pretty Chris just had to ruin her.

He didn’t get punished for what he did.

Nobody knew.

I’m the only one.

I hate that dresser.

I hate that tube top.

I hate her.

Why did she have to leave me?

Why did she do that to her body?

Why am I doing it?

It hurts, but that’s the good part.

I’m numb, and it’s getting to bug me. Nothing can fix, nothing can soothe it all.

How do I change?

Or do I not have the choice anymore?

Tea.

That’s what I need.

Sometimes, you never know what you want or if you actually need anything.

You just do it.

Me, I have to think about it.

So I’ve been sitting here all bundled up in our old blankets, hiding in the arms of our sofa, pondering about what I need and what I want. And I’ve reached the conclusion that I need some hot tea. The kind that makes you sleepy and dead, maybe for thousands of years.

Sleeping Beauty, that’s who I want to be.

Pretty and tired, the perfect match. She didn’t have to work out, ever, because she never ate and she was always asleep. Sleeping Beauty was constantly in hibernation, except for when that doofus prince kissed her and screwed everything up.

He never asked if he could have a kiss.

He never should have done that.

I bet that’s what messed Chris’ head up, all those cartoons and fairy tales, making him think he could do whatever he wanted to Ginger.

Ha.

Now look what happened.

.

He’s still here, at the boarding school. Nothing changed for him.

He just got an extra date, more experience for the older ones, ‘cause they’re harder to catch.

He went to her funeral and gave a speech. Acted like nothing was his fault, everything was fine. I never said anything, nobody knew I was even there. Being invisible was kind of my goal.

His speech was about how she was such a talented, beautiful Irish “woman” and that he wished he could’ve spent more time with her because she was just so “amazing.”

Yeah, I’m sure.

.

I Dream of Dreams

I hate this sadness,

this quiet that seems to scream

I miss the liveliness,

the life,

of a purely youthful dream

.

I yearn for the past,

for what used to be,

for what is now not,

while pushing away that which could be

for things that will die,

that will rot

.

I am a youth in hibernation,

Living my days on an ancient glow

Two years, on a mental vacation,

I am tired of spending days

Beneath the hand

Of slumber—I am a youth in hibernation,

Living my days on an ancient glow–

Two years, gripped by a mental vacation,

Swallowed by a tsunami so slow

.

I weary myself worrying

if I’ll ever again taste wonder,

and though I am much humbler,

I can see the wonder

of the sunrise, slipping into darkness,

Dropped like a bomb asunder,

and still it doesn’t touch the deep syrup of darkness

swimming in my sarcophagus of slumber

.

I dream of dreams

That sung me to sleep

When strangled were the sunbeams,

When happiness I couldn’t reap—

When the darkness towers

And blinds my powers,

When loneliness teems

I dream of dreams.

.

When I Am Paper

When I am paper, 

There is no shaper

The wind gently tapers:

Coaxes me forward, 

Slopes me quite back

When I am paper,

I sleep on a dream,

In a drawer

I don’t ask for more

Paper mache;

A doll, there she lay

But look at her eyes,

They glimmer;

And her lips,

They sweetly shimmer:

Sweet and unmoving 

She is—

Origami,

There lies a tsunami—

But it calms

She is a 

Dove

When I am paper.

.

Sisterkin

The oldest:

.

My sister, my sister, carry me through –

Lead me away from myself into you

Release me from my heart,

Draw me into another play, another part

Exterminate the shadows, avenge the sun

Wrap me in your dresses, lift my hair in a bun

Unshackle my legs in the races,

Blow the whistle so I’ll run_

.

The youngest:

.

My sister, my sister, walk like a doe –

Position yourself like a starship

With an army in tow

Pierce the body of the sky with fearless eyes

That never cry –

Give your soul to the God

Who won’t let you die_

.

The oldest:

.

Spare me, spare me — dip me in the Red Sea,

Record me on parchment so no one forgets me –

Complete me, form me, take that clay and adorn me,

Cut away the briars, put out all my fires –

Pull from my mind the memories of liars, of murders,

Delilah cut my hair

and I need to collapse these pillars_

.

Save me from the frozen soul of winter,

Give me over to the embrace of summer–

Remind me again of awe and wonder

.

The youngest:

.

I will take the scalpel, I will stay the tools –

I will save you when they drown you in your teary pools –

I am sharpening the blade,

I am shuffling the spade,

I am jerking your program into a pristine computer upgrade.

Back to the brickwork, you beautiful misfit,

and wake up to the dawn of truth–you’ve been tired for a thousand years

and every day is a new death of youth.

It is time to grow old, it is time to go down

From the heights of your cocoon on the crystal hill–

With this timeless silk and these firestitched needles,

I will quilt you a cosmos worth keeping

And brew an ambrosia destined to fill;

Tell you a story made for preaching

And an adrenaline worth its thrill

.

You are beautiful in the sunlight, stretched out among the grass,

You look terrified trapped in the city, kept behind cleaned glass —

You are not a doll, darling, you are not a void

You are a dreamer, a scholar, a girl lounging on an asteroid

Shout like a woman whose head is in the stars —

Wake up from the gutter and go to Mars —

I will sew you a new world

with a nifty knack and a knowing spool, wrapped in luscious lacquer –

I will gather your bones into a billow of blooms,

Labor at your heart of stone,

Drop a kiss of gasoline onto the crest of the crackling fire

And like the splitting of wood with a light saber,

Shattering into a million pieces,

The rogue chrysalis,

bright and reeling–

Finally wakes up and begins feeling.

.

Hymn of the Human

For some people, fellowship happens in the sacred hiding place of the church, or in the nested enclosure of the distant synagogue, where hymns and scripture inch no grander than a breathless echo against a quiet menagerie of men.  

For others, it is birthed out of trauma like a howling supernova. It comes during hurricanes. Tornados. Great monumental keys grinding in their historical locks.

Moments when human life is held up by its collar and questioned.  

And it rules over every moment you spend with someone as a dark, twisted umbra expanding its reign like raven’s wings – it is a beautiful bridal train, dragging down a heavenly aisle, to the attention of brilliant hopes, shedding anthrax.

You were never expecting such a turn of events. 

But you wear the trauma like a crown. And your hips swing to the wedding march – as you go from March to winter. As you bid farewell to warmth and color.

Each breath is tainted with the knowledge that you’re in this together, held above a chasm of fire, a pair endeavoring to survive the shriek of hellfire’s choir while all other noise is slowly drained from the radio.

And it starts to speak within you – it starts to paw at the gates, to command release – what you’re going through.

Your life was transformed by this event and you want a ceremony of sorts to perspire as you shed your icy white virgin skin and glide into a new frame. You want your audience to fight tears of awe as you slowly unwrap your skeleton of stars and zip up the costume of completion. You want fireworks to chatter in the sky as ears earthly and divine dip their chips in your story and you unravel the blood-soaked map of your own metamorphosis, calmly pointing to the landmarks of sacrifice that dotted your journey from the Shire to Mordor in a matter of seconds – and how your spirits coped with the jetlag.

You want to, in short, take the latex gloves off – those pansy cover-ups of faux sterility – and surrender your dignity to the legality of yin and yang, to embellish the holes in your hands with an acceptance that this was reality.

A part of you wants to sew up the graveyard and all its rigged entropy, to cast lilacs into mud – to elect magic over the magistrates, to let a velvet red carpet tremble into a rug where you’ll tread – to soften the journey and its callous theatrics.

But the journey of what?

Of abandoning your former self, and all your misled antics.

You want to disengage your cross and let it be a throne.

.

Shell

A shell,

half black, half white–

I rest in this shell,

in this bed of split glory,

looking past the faint bruises

atop my own heart,

so all I can see

are two shades of one story,

a life from two sides,

a martyr’s born part.

.

Old Edition

You see an old face

shifting past in a shadow–

remember the first grin,

recall the goodbye.

Rustic phases of memory,

shooting through the seconds–

remember her name,

recall her light laugh.

To the new her, you are nothing–but you wish you were anything.

All you can do is politely smile,

as the old edition has been gone quite a while.

.

Traveler

Swimming beneath a surface glowing,

I am a traveler.

Hiking up mountains swallowed by frost,

I am a traveler.

My soul aching, my heart quaking,

The pen of destiny inked up and shaking–

In rain or snow, love or hate,

I always tread that same old fate.

I am a tourist here, taking snapshots of life and grasping for fireflies,

Journeying in the milky dusk to find where my secret lies.

It lies not in the roar of morning or the whisper of night,

And it cannot be found in stability nor spontaneity, but in eerie melody;

I do not feel it in ecstasy or electricity and cannot see it with fright

It is not in the balanced schemes of society or in freedom’s total ferality,

But in the way I spread my wings and burst into flight

It is travelling, growing, swelling into a wild reality

It is rearing, roaring, my bitter brew and cup of tea

It is building, billowing, the blaze of a buzzing bumblebee,

and I carry its song everywhere with me.

It is in me

It is in me

It is me.

.

The Arrival of the Eagle

Sometimes strength is forged out of silence, stillness, and deep, wordless moments like stones worn smooth by the serenade of water, melted into stoic poise by day after day of rhythmic metamorphosis. It’s a thing of ever-deepening accumulation, like the tender tiers of a flaky pastry or the snow that settles over the earth in ethereal stratification. It is a cathedral of hierarchies, a puzzle of conflicting anarchies, anointed in harmonious angles and tuned to the frequency of fire, gathering upon itself like a symphony rides a silver wave in the coldest sea. It is one upon the other.

For me, strength is a thing of explosion, a volcanic eruption, an energetic orgasm of universal completion—it is a shriek in the dead of night, the birth of incredible complexity on the maiden voyage of existential genesis. It is an iron machete snatched from the secret tomb of the tropics, born out of supernatural grace and the golden pulse of the sun; it is a world that reeks of reformation and the dapper swank of jungle flowers, a world of stars and shapes, numbers and levels, cells and seeds, souls. But it is always haunted by someone else, occupied by the headhunter of this forest. It is an executive conquistador who knows his way around the Fountain of Youth, who knows how to pluck the loveliest buds in the garden of souls, who can tweak a petal to perfection and convince a cloud into vaporous void. It is he whose knowledge of the deeper corridors will make you collapse in terrified amazement, paralyzed by Rome’s irreverent entertainment, icicles of sugar forming on the nook of your nose. The fruit, overwhelmingly ripe—the art, fading. The forms you see to be solid in the mirror forever degrading.

Deemed unfit for production, they sought to be rid of you, to loose themselves of responsibility over your fleshsuit. Held up against the medicine of the cosmos, a ragdoll advertised on “Shark Tank,” you were judged ruthlessly by carnivores of cotton—fed to oblivion and funneled full of synthetic color, a puppet of a former person. But she said, no no! No, this can’t be it, there must be something more. Sliced like salami and sold like silk, we women are.

The hunger for healing runs deep, like a lion who just awoke from a seasonal sleep, picking apart the crystalline webs which hold the Truths within their starlit shells, ringing like paperboys with their golden bells. The hands I shake up here at this height are amalgamations of light, studded kamikazes of wings in flight, always flapping at the wind and begging for freedom. The caged bird calls for the library, craves contact with the luminary, never being able to house any of these delights in my own hardware! Instead, she sits in the seat of the heavens watching the data of all dawns be set ablaze by the sun, a digital apocalypse the size of a gigabyte’s damnation. It is a showdown between the electricity of water, the fury of fire, and the roaring dominance of earth. The universe is splayed out like a deck of cards, winking with feverish possibility—the stars, moaning with moonlit lamentation. She gives her lifeblood to fight the virus arched at the apex her wires—it burns with hellish taste, a fading waste, one more victim of dystopia. The ale of the era evaporates into bittersweet history, carried off by the invisible soldiers of human forgetfulness and laid into the casket of myth.

Sometimes, strength enters my life like a gentle autumn breeze; and sometimes it comes to me like a deadly winter with an infernal temper to deliver a lucid slap to the face, which tumbles forth from the hearth of the heavens like a redolent dew, spat into my hands at the end of a do-or-die war—and I’m still dripping with blood staggering off the battlefield, humbled to the bone. Where is that warmth-rich home, where is that healing fire, where is the smoke which encompassed me in my darkest hour?

I’ve risen up over the murky waters of this muddy town—I can see what’s past the horizon, visualize the fate at the end of the funeral, and see hope at a future’s birth. I am set before the magnificent bed of the beginning, laying like a lazy aristocrat between the cushions of Do It or Die—and I can feel the ghosts of far-off memories that haven’t yet been made, see the light of many a morning, the things of my life that swim around me like bloodthirsty sharks of temptation. I want them all! I want to live! I want to feel the way a human should. I want to feel like I came forth from the loins of heaven, was hoisted into life by the breath of God and fastened to my fate like a boutonnière on the blouse of my mother.  

But in the end, you’ll have something to show for it—the medicine will leave something behind, and that thing is memory, feeling, an imprint of change upon the clay of your cognizance that only you can comprehend and categorize, following you like a faithful perfume, reminding you of a moon-drunk dream from the night before. Every morning I dance a REM sleep waltz and sip a deep sea dream the flavor of terminal latte… each day the promise of life grows a little more weary, a bit frothy, roasted in the waters of the wilting Renaissance, filling up the party balloons of the future in liquid fright.   

Now here we go, diving into the mist at the bottom of the empty barrel. Let’s talk everything about nothing.

Cannabis is the remnant footprint of the inventive ancients, the lasting depth left within the damp soil still swirling with mysticism and the mark of the beginning. It’s something sacred that we need to nurture and study, because it’s one of the last healers left, the last miracles that God made. Enlightenment comes from it, and enlightenment is the compass that God gives us to navigate our souls, adventure through our skulls, and emerge with something better in our bones. It is the mental chisel that changes our minds. It is the psychic sword that trims our temper tantrums into therapy. It is the herbal guide that lets us cosmically glide through the rusty gears of this world.

The motion that results from the shifting of spiritual dynamics within the psyche—that is emotion, a chemical potion, the result of psychic medicine. Enlightenment is the liquid aftermath that follows the earthquake of pride’s death, spilling out of your chest like a bursting mercury thermometer—liquid fear, electric ecstasy, zero balance… but finally, loosed from the hook of psychosis, soaked in balmy catharsis. It is the dawn that litters the floor in light after the drywall has ceased its seizing and the roof is in the streets, when the twister is finished its with its portion of pulverization and the tornado ghosts go home. When the windows no longer yawn and the walls have fallen back into their boring grooves, waiting for the next beautiful disaster, that is when you can expect the world to shift its stained glass faster. It’s the dust that settles over the theater’s platform after all the actresses and actors, being made of clay, go back into the garden and are born again.

We need cannabis to survive, but this era of mankind is not fond of nature. He despises her leaves and her humble smells, looks down upon her small, earthy form. He cuts slabs of flesh from off her body and hangs them like a hog’s thigh before his brethren, to be bought and sold, bought and sold, in an insanity-driven butcher’s shop. Her future is to be sold and raped, for the trees to be slashed at the trunk and their limbs amputated, the grass to be suffocated under pesticide vapors, wheezing with cancerous ruin. Chemicals adorn the skin of nature like lotion on the face of an unwilling lover, to be ransacked and dominated by man just as he ransacks and dominates his God.

Sweet zones of fertile earth hang like slaughtered utopias in a delicious line, arranged neatly on the store shelf still shiny with lemon furniture spray. The animals within them shriek for oxygen, clean water, for sustenance and peace, for the feeling that they are a part of Earth, too. Civilizations suffer under the weight of sickness, needing the same things, too. Corporations look at the tiny, warbling orbs of walled-off life as they scratch like rats at the borders of their caste, their caste of helplessness and dependency, trust and familiarity, and shoots them cold. And adds a dash of pesticides to finish them off. 

And why?

Hurt people hurt people, and unenlightened humans reap darkness. When you do not know what manmade chemicals do to creation, you do not know why you should not use them. But if all modern men and women were inducted into the spiritual club that cannabis so easily and automatically invites you, they would be anointed in the spirit of God and be given clarity over the chaos. This is why cannabis is illegal, because it gives you an herbal kiss of transient control and a lamp that illuminates the mirror through which you see yourself. It takes your bleeding bundle of human flaws and flushes it clean of cooties. It picks you up from a pile of pain, spins you around in the blowing rain, and splashes a tsunami of sugar into the part of your brain that’s gone insane, tossing you into a cottony-sweet peach tree, the fruitiest nominee to ever gain the trophy of honoree honeybee.

But in all brutal reality, this is why the system and the wannabe government gods who established it are so determined to deprive you of it. They don’t want you to be free because they live to control you. They don’t want you to partake of the cannabis plant because it frees you of addictions and false gods… and THEY are the false gods.

We’ve all been whipped by trauma and we’re all slaves to some form of chain, some breed of drug—some people bow down to the screen, the flatscreen goddess whose foxy pixels and flirty plotlines spin your axle off its atlas, draw a willpower down to the point of filthy shame. For others, it’s calories: lured into the thickest section of the cake and choking on the iridescent ribbons of sweet cashmere, toxic sugar, living a life of cravings and constant hunger. And others worship living idols, members of an attractive breed of socialites, what the medieval ages would call players—they pine for their symmetrical bones, blood-filled flesh, and taut skins. Just like children long for the fairies in their books, adults long for these mythical Amazonians with the mesmerizingly smooth charismas, for these modern royals, America’s celebrities. But there are worse ropes that anchor souls to darker animosities, gardens where the roses are more thorn than petal—that is, sweet one, that some starve for love. It is not an addiction, but a tragic appetite. Some have been loved by entropy and ravished so thoroughly by his mercilessly loving hands that they are no longer aware they’re on their honeymoon, nor that they’re drowning in honey, in a hospital of dreams, on the moon. They are no longer aware that they are even of the size they are—are they a cell, a seed, a soul? They have known the twisted totalitarian touch of mankind for so long they do not recognize God’s voice when He sings to them.

They’ve been beaten to the point of blackout, schooled to the point of burnout, crawling on the floor where the cracks in your hips still hiss with smoky steam—and some to the point of a bloodied pulp, formulated by evil’s fastidious appetite into a creature of bruises and black eyes, broken selves and submissive minds, people who look to authority for guidance and not to God. And it’s hard to find a grip in this psychotic funhouse of mirrors and madness, this wild joke uttered upon the rooftops of time. The Catholic Church burned women at the stake for using herbs to heal humans, and conservative society has caught the papal torch and continued the marathon of persecution. Be normal, be normal! the crowd chanted, gripping her neck like a sogging stalk of a dying flower, holding her, writhing, above the chasm’s fire. When you’re swimming laps in a symphony of syllables, how can you extract one sentence from the millions that echo like poetry into the padded jaws of a protected book, owned by the masters of the darkest art?

But how can you convince a soul of its spiritual capabilities when that soul has never witnessed its own expansion? How can you express cannabis’ miraculous healing powers when the person has never before felt anything near miraculous? How can you spark miracles in the grey minds of the masses? How do you fill children’s hearts with magic again?

It is difficult to look. It can take years to convince your psyche that it’s okay to come out of the closet and shed its studded armor, to apply the balm of understanding to the wounds truth gave you, to let the sunshine rest on your skin once more. It is a breath of long-awaited release to finally rest in your place in the universe, knowing that God is on your side when you’ve seen such heartbreak first-hand… the heartbreak of living on Earth. We are an audience imprisoned in the front row seats of the universe’s bloodiest sitcom, Earth: the impending showdown between doom and destiny, myth and reality, the cosmos-cracking duel between good and evil, and we’ve been covering our eyes for a long time now. But there is a salve that can save us; why do we let our God-given herbal medicines slip away from us like we let the falsely accused witches burn? Fight for the truth, even if it means getting licked by a flame.  

Some people don’t even stop to consider a better path; they only know the options offered to them by the standards that have always been in place. And their pain grows into a bruised root in the bloody soil of their hearts, a fibrous mass of swelling muscle, a vitamin capsule holding an overdose of chaos, the two-faced chameleon of pride and prejudice never able to find a chimney and escape. Some choose to shut pain down and squeeze it into an airtight orb of preserved psychologically-charged nectar, like an extraterrestrial egg or a jar of Amish jam, and to open these people up is like getting thrust into the plot of “National Treasure” and becoming Nick Cage in search of the lost secrets of America—and that’s okay. There are people out there who get high on tedious paperwork, snuff data like office cocaine, who spend hours nibbling on minty minutiae like a miniature bunny munches on rumor M&M’s—there is a special breed of people who love to go on long search expeditions through another soul’s wild inner world for a reason. And then there are the opposites, those who wear their souls on their sleeves like they’re Prada or as if channeling Chanel through their wrist chakra; there is a person who oozes animate comedy, whose universe is just one question away, whose mind is a microcosmic mouthpiece of the higher worlds where lightning flashes from their featherlight imaginations like Zeus goofing off in an atmospheric hissy fit. They are bursts of grape-flavored bipolar disorder merged with zippity techno music frozen into a vial of velvety soundbites–they are the moon in her sterling dress, the pale vanilla fruitcake of the cosmos, the wonky perfume of the evening sky that smells like wet handfuls of Halloweens gone by, and one slice of her delectable flesh will send you spiraling into hallucination begging for solid ground.

These people are untamed citizens of an anarchist dance society and they are unashamed to mesmerize you into a puddle of childish vulnerability. You will be taken to a bitter wood and led through pebble-strewn paths of moonlit thistles, briars, and thorns; you will shake hands with pompous Martian roses the shade of nuclear turmeric; you will meet Venus Flytraps who are more hungry than whole–and the forest will wheeze with the sandy wind of time, being beautifully eroded by many a balmy night, and you’ll wonder whose mind could ever house these slapdash monsters and unruly fools–and then God will blurt, “Just kidding!” and let out a Santa Claus laugh, and the facade will fade into the thinning breeze, lost on chill autumnal waves that crash on the shore of eternity, frothing with delicious infinity. Some people are obvious, like a pair of gangster pants–you know what’s going on there, because the tightie-whities are screaming the song of their people like a rebel gorilla running from the zoo. And other people are like big blue billowing ballgowns the color of a great and terrible seawave, worn with mournful serenity and honored with timeless mention, the trophy of nobility and the timepiece of womanhood. And it is all so beautiful, because everyone is all so different. You are here, while they are there–you are swimming in the omens of your celestial valley, they are scaling the exosphere in a tsunami of spice like a squirrel in the throes of acorn ecstasy, and it’s all good and fab. Whether you shelve your scars on the windtorn sails of your ship or you bury them in the deepest miles of an underworldly garden, beneath ancient soil and eternal sleep, your emotions are just as valuable as the next’s. You can hide your soul, you can show it. But mine will continue to flutter like a drunken butterfly on the wings of aerial enchantment, and yours can continue to nap that never-ending nap among the nautical labyrinth of your silent knowing. And you can be grateful for your shade and I will dance in the cascade of the crystalline sun, clothed in the arctic robes of winter and anointed in rare bliss.

Each fellow can have his own festival and his own funeral, and sometimes it’s one followed by the other–and the light and dark fuse to create a balance, an emblem, playing an anthem: that you are the universe in a bloodstream-spangled nutshell, a quirky work of kinetic art in a museum of moving mazes, always roaming in search of the exit and entrance and forever being embalmed within Ever.

.

–it is the arrival of the eagle, in wind form. 

.

No, Stop

Don’t say it

when we meet

at the four corners.

Remain shut, if you would,

before it’s all too late.

I know you’re chanting inside

And your heart’s a thrashing mess,

but cling to the fading magic

and spin this lacy dress!

Do not open your lips.

Come closer to the threshold of infinity,

Lay your shoes by the door and dive into the stars–

I know time has always resented me,

But let’s take a moment to plant scissors through the prison bars.

Look, the metal sparks! Watch the pillars fall away, watch them melt

Like honeydew crimson galaxies swirling with rosy quarks;

See that cirrus up there, thin as a skyline whisper? She never served us

And we’ll never miss her,

So let’s go spelunking through the hallways of our subconscious and

Pull halos out of this cotton candy colossus, go dancing in the swaying reeds in the country of Pocahontas.

Let down your black hair, darling, wonder at the juicy jet waves–

Go running through cinnamon forests and pick flowers that pulse with spice,

Buried in deep warm enclaves.

Let’s make a feast of everything nice!

But let’s make it as quiet as the kiss of a closed library,

Soft as the hush of an electric luminary–

Tangy like the burst of a young tangerine

Captured by the universe’s Love Magazine.

.

Do not hurry yourself worrying about facts; take fiction, for example–

She’s just truth not yet sent by God’s fax and its editions are ample.

Do not speak that which is wrong, but know that

the world will do this: right will be framed as wrong and wrong as right,

but this shouldn’t affect our fandom for the inky night,

nor our adoration for a roaring fistful of kisses, completed like ritual

under the deluge of the moon’s delicious light–

I have my bow and arrow slung over my shoulder like liquid warlike butter,

And you’ve got your pistol ready to whip holes into lawless gourmet crime;

We’ll chew this love to the end of time.

Our fingers clasped to the chains of cosmic wars,

the mystic umbrella of the earth’s crescent whores

Makes me look like one hell of a wife.

Between Venus and Mars, we man and woman,

we are nestled in the perfect middle,

sweet like a strawberry Skittle, hot like an iron griddle–

play this supernova like a fiddle

and split the steam into a nuclear blast,

bright with authentic American bombast

and wild as the most twisted riddle.

.

But the breath of the heavens comes heaving

to a beautiful stop. Our bodies blend together but then suddenly they’re not.

Two as one and none no more,

We choose the fire over the floor, stoking coals of nectar

to watch smoke of honey

Hightail it out of the chimney and change places with the stars.

Midnight is a magnet,

its skies are blurry;

deep.

No, stop;

this place is nothing

but it’s the best something

I’ve ever had.

No, stop…

don’t say it

when we meet

at the four corners.

.

Inside

Inside, music is playing;

time is a lie,

so I’m savoring this moment.

It tastes like a kiss

behind the wind-battered stucco wall,

against the gentle ivy

beneath a canopy of branches bathed in sunlight.

.

Oh, we are juxtaposed–

Black and white and a dash of salty pepper:

The shade and the shore,

The paper and pen,

you and I–right here, right now–

Quiet on the outside,

but the music makes our hearts ache,

playing on the inside.

.

The Summer Anthems

Through the grass, lithe and dancing–

Summer’s breath catches up to me.

I look to the sky, swimming and swaying,

Under a balmy blanket of sunshine.

Layers of oxygen slip past by my skin,

Slithers past in a cool whisper.

This I do love, this I do miss–

The feeling of the summer anthems.

I shall fall to the ground in

In an honest act of

New, joyous grandeur–

I shall drink in the honeycomb sunsets,

I shall swallow the atmosphere,

I shall treasure these beats of youth

As I live through and listen to

the final symphonies of

the summer anthems.

.

Luminescent Dance

Everyone has ideas. Our earth is a cotton ball soaked by the shed tears of genius. It drips the blood of famous tomes. And through it, a coursing current of violet warmth – a chamber of your personality roams.
Lithe chamomile charms itself in commerce with an agile plane of opportunity – you take my origami
And replace its infirmity
With ironclad lucidity.

I heard the cries of your words from afar. I was regaled by a nest of rumors as they cooed like the Lorelei,
Pressing my perceptions of your true perfection under a dark microscope of lies.
They wrote the frigid nature
Of falsity into the stars in my eyes.

But I won’t let go. Your beauty gives me rest. Your beauty leaves me full.
My muscles ache to run for you in every race.
Let the thunder roll!

I’ve unearthed marbles from playgrounds and named champions out of our breathless airways. I’ve climbed to the smoky zenith and sensed your presence. I’ve shaken jigsaws from palm trees.
I’ve made sense of the wilderness.

You –
You have grasped the tails of free-falling stars and sewn them together as a crown for me. Each ounce of love that you have for me is measured by a multi-dimensional diamond, at the head of my crown – a supple flash of lightning beckoning worlds outside its own.
It draws stars to enter its prism of races.

They spin like brilliant bombs of luminescent dance – revealing a nation of glittering faces.
How can I not see that you intend to fasten my bones to the workings of other worlds?
I am destined for other places.

I will run when you sound your trumpet.
No other subject can trump this. A voluminous volcano of literary volumes could not swallow my trust in your word. They are sickeningly presumptuous.
Your poetry is a luscious grip on – well, it’s something else.
A breath of air from another breed of living – an eclectic species that spins me into a dizzy illusion, sedating the sword of reality before it can get to my heaving chest.
I am your lucky muse,
Then.

I will not stop my search of this realm – you are the captain of my helm.
The frothing tongues of azure bite in all their loams
Screaming at my heart to ice it over in rancid crews –
This icy booze can vex my wing,
Bleed in flight –
But a medicine from your hand
Will heal Poseidon’s ample vamping of tempestuous swing –
I have been taught to find the oasis,
To finally quell the wicking drought.
No sea swell, no salty blast will overwhelm.
Not even the sun flare taunting me with its lioness heat
From hell.

You are crowning the crown of your throne –
My face is a sunbeam you inspired –
And I shone.

And each sparkling proof of infinity is a mirror in which I see the endless caverns of myself. You bless my head with an overflowing sense of worth – my eyes are brightened by the salve of hope and I feel in my body that I will never die – as I match my stride with your strong march; as long as I am by your side.
I love being in your heart. But if I exit the promised isle of light –
I am excommunicated from my destined part.
My hollow body is dragged, in all its deadweight, to the start.

Our earth is licked by the toxic tongue of a labyrinth. Confusion coasts down her cheeks.
When I walk into the smithereens of my pride, I am cut by the darkness inside. I grovel in my own destruction even at my age of youthful peaks, where beauty is everyday – and good things go on streaks.
I am lost in my ocean of opulence. Utopias – they turn their noses up at me – the golden gates blind me with a reflection of my lowliness.
I can’t define my loneliness, God.

I am a lifeless body thrown into the furnace, removed and resurrected – thrown into the sea, removed and resurrected – into the sky, removed and resurrected – left alone, I am dead.

I come to the forest, alone.

And when I close my eyes and the sun kisses me so sweetly, I hear the dance of the evergreens as they swish their emerald skirts. The pine cones hum as their orange glow takes hold of the forest air, and clamps its magnetic paw around the threshold of my comprehension – over my thoughts, its aroma of mysticism powerfully asserts. The clouds drip their gurgling mist, and I find a friend in a world so fair.
I hear your words.

Ideas – they hang like crystal doves from this prison of prisms.
God,
I want to know all of yours.

.

Vast


We played with your heart, a sweet operation –

With channels and veins fighting to show –

We bowed in commiseration, a solemn salutation,

And hid the mass

Beneath the snow

.

Time screamed and panted at your breast,

Like all unearthly creatures do –

Swooped down from her stellar crest,

And bit the feral good right out of you

.

That nymph of heresy spoke in whispers –

Like a tropical secret stored high in the boughs

Never would we hear its voice –

That it wanted to kiss her –

And nobody yet knows.

.

You would not submit to the action,

And kept close, as if in emergency –

To your casket of a robe,

Exquisitely enclosed

Was a body

Bent on brilliant insurgency

.

Your silver pencils created a coastline

Of imaginary things

And you died every day to your child –

A mystic stroking bristles behind curtains,

A promise one day that you would go wild

.

You once had wings the size of Saturn’s,

Lacy petals hugging wedding rings

When the rain sung and washed away your galaxy,

Reality died into a faultless world

.

The Rising of the Rose

I grew as a rose did,
With each fluttering petal,
And I opened up
When the sun came out

Sunburned feet
Sauntered past me,
Stopping only to gaze at
The folded crimson sight

I saw the sky,
And the sweet-scented morning hazes;
I saw the ground,
And the rolling rays of evening light

When darkness fell
And swallowed me up
Like an indigo wave in the ocean night,
I wrapped my bones in pink, lacy bulbs,
And shivered with every ice-tinted breeze

I memorized my life’s shadows,
My life’s sunrays,
My life’s bendings and breakings

I recorded the formula for every set feeling

And through the years, with each long day,
The world around me rose and fell,
With every night it shrunk and swelled,
And I hoped for comfort,
For a mellow life,
But I was a raindrop
On a stormy sea—
I saw the world,
But did the world see me?

.

Boats in Syrup

Boats in syrup, thoughts revolve

Like coats in the closet, moths evolve,

Eat up the fabric, drown whole the space,

Populate the silence, float without grace

Quiet disposition veiling otherworldly taste,

Gaming with the people, such a gentle waste

Thick ponds I am stuck in, words surround me:

Unrelentingly complicated syllable–make my tongue free?–

No, no, never, never! Boats in syrup

Into forever.

.

One day awaits, a second sleeps between

A thousand years of stone-cold lips, oh, so keen

To crack the bonds, fully crush the chains,

Face the emperor under grueling acid rains

Of course, this ground is a rolling stage,

These trees all swaying props, and in a rage

I rip open my mouth, allow my tongue a dance,

Scream into forever, pardoned from my passionless trance.