The Evening it All Came to a Head with the Ape (poem)

I’m not sure what’s going on here (which I know I say often).  But I like it, and I thought I’d share it.

The Evening it All Came to a Head with the Ape

“If the ape figures out the truth, we’re all fucked,”
said Nancy, and we shivered our timbers and drank
up as quickly as we could because that ape meant
business and had a list of those recently deceased
by his hairy fists to prove it (as if we really needed
convincing! Honestly, some apes take the cake!
).

For his part, the ape grunted, ate a bamboo shoot,
and eyed us with his cold, grey eyes that pinned Nancy
to the wall and made the rest of us squirm like toads
about to by trampled by an angry giant…and so it went
that troublesome night we gathered together one last
time to muster our courage and instead found the ape
waiting with our fates beating in his large, animal heart.

Disgraceful (poem)

Here’s a fun one (if you have a dark sense of humor, which I suspect some of you do).

Disgraceful

Just so you know, the book read, you’re a disgrace
to men and all those who draw air on the planet,
including animals and plants and various insects.
To make amends, you must quickly end your life
.

“Indeed,” I muttered, marking my place with
a dagger and setting book down near a severed
head that rather clashed with the paint scheme,
but I’d grown fond of it and its gaping mouth.

My mother would have a fit and tell me to move
the thing into the bedroom where, granted, it
would go slightly better, but I kept it in the parlor.
If you come to visit me, you’re welcome to see it.

Ignoring the Summons (poem)

Poems often drift into my head as I drive to work, and I suspect they’re colored by the music I listen to on my short drive. Today was a mix of Fleet Foxes, Radiohead, and Iron and Wine. Here’s the result:

Ignoring the Summons

The demented dwarf of your anger
runs down the hill to ring the bell
wildly, and I stop chopping wood
a moment to listen. True love waits,
the crow, that dark-suited comedian,
laughs above me, perched in the tree,
surveying all. The peals of the bell
roil on, filling the valley and alerting
all that you summon me, but I learned
last time, so I plug my ears like Odysseus.
I pick up my ax as the crow flies away,
done with the valley, judging me as always.

Cold, Dark, and Handsome (poem)

Cold, Dark, and Handsome

I like my men cold, dark, and handsome, you say,
and I tell you I have the cold and dark parts
down pat, but I struggle with the handsome bit.
You shrug and let me in anyway, most likely
figuring I’ll get better-looking the more you
drink, but that isn’t going to happen, my dear.
You’ll have to settle, I’m afraid, which I know
makes you cringe, but there’s nothing to be done.
So your core temperature plummets as I wrap
my arms around you, and the light bleeds away.
Before your eyes close, you whisper, You’re not so bad.

Swimming Away (poem)

Swimming Away

It would help if I could actually swim
and not just flail, half-drowned, gasping
snatches of air before tumbling under
the blue-green waves that promised escape
but the wrong kind—death was not what
I had in mind—and so I struggle on until
a vexed mermaid appears, rolls her pearl eyes,
grabs me and forces her lips upon mine.
Gills ripple painfully along my neck
and I finally am at peace with the water
but unsure as I follow my savior deeper
into the dark, cold deep, keeping up as best
I can, wondering if the current will take
me to paradise or the exact opposite.

Leaves for a Pillow (a brief story)

After the first line, this quite short story wrote itself. It’s not perfect, but it sent a chill up my spine, so maybe it’s on the right track.

Leaves for a Pillow

“You’re very kind,” the girl said, kneeling on the ground and gathering leaves.

The boy just watched. He wasn’t kind, but the girl didn’t need to know that yet.

When she had enough leaves, the girl walked back toward the farmhouse. Not enough for a pillow, but a girl start. The boy followed but stopped on the porch while the girl opened the door and went in.

“Do you want to visit for a while?” the girl asked. “Mama may not mind. She’ll be in the kitchen, fixing supper. Daddy’s gone to town for the day.”

The boy studied the girl. He liked her bone structure, her fine ankles, the tilt of her head and the slow blink of her eyes. She dazzled in a bar of sunlight. He nodded.

“You don’t say much,” the girl remarked, turning and facing the boy. “Or anything, really. Can you talk?”

The boy nodded.

“But you don’t have anything to say right now?”

The boy nodded again.

“Well, then,” the girl said, “I need to get these leaves in a pillow case and gather more. I’ll introduce you to Mama first. Come on.”

The boy followed the girl into the kitchen, where a tall woman stood over a sink snapping beans. She turned and regarded the girl and boy with narrowed eyes. “And who’s this?” she said coldly.

“I don’t know his name,” the girl said. “I found him in the woods. He’s very kind.”

The boy studied the girl’s mother. He didn’t like her bone structure at all. The girl didn’t favor her at all, lacked the woman’s long face and protruding brow.

“We don’t take in strays,” the woman said. “Get gone, boy. We don’t have an extra plate, if its food you’re after, and we don’t need help on the farm.”

The boy didn’t move. The girl said, “He doesn’t talk.”
“I can see that,” the woman snapped. “Is he deaf?”

“No,” the girl answered.

“This is my house, you understand?” the woman said, tossing the beans into the metal colander and closing in on the boy. “You’re not welcome here, no matter what my daughter says. Go back to where you came from.”

The boy still didn’t move. The girl said, “Can he help me put leaves in my pillow.”

“No, he can get his ass out of here,” the woman said.

The boy flicked his right hand, and the woman disappeared. The girl gasped. “Where’d she go?” she demanded.

The boy shrugged.

The girl thought for a while. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad with her mother gone. She could be quite cruel, and the boy was very kind. Her father might be a bit put out. Maybe the boy could make him disappear, too.

“Would you like to help me now?” the girl asked.

The boy nodded and followed the girl upstairs to her room.