There’s a camera in my soul,
you told me over Chinese and
too many bottles of wine.
It records the bad things I do,
and God will watch the film when I die.
What about the good things?
I asked, more concerned about
the leftovers than your immortal soul.
You smiled and touched my cheek.
Sweet boy, you said softly.
Later, we stumbled into bed
and told jokes in the dark until
you fell asleep, breathing deep
and slow, like the rhythm of a dark
ocean I knew one day would drown me.
I bloom darkly at your words.
Such nice things you have
on your tongue, silver and
gold that sink like liquid into the
mouths of my hungry children–
these thoughts are my children,
you see, the flesh has all but
abandoned me for better coasts
and cleaner air and heavier gravity–
but in this holy space of darkness,
petals like forgiveness float in the
breezes of memory where we walked
slowly together after a sad day
and searched all night for your fear.
Still on a writing break (for the most part) but the opening lines to this short poem kept running through my mind, so I sat down for a moment to see what would come of it.
You want to breathe new
life into your past, rewrite
the flash fiction of your youth
into something longer and deeper.
It doesn’t work that way, I tell you
and you smile like Cleopatra
before Marc Antony, before
she thought the only way out
was to hold an asp to her breast.
I’ve been looking through old journals lately and found the first draft of the poem below. I thought I’d posted it before, but it seems I didn’t.
I lie to my atoms,
telling every electron
that you’re still close,
not a million stars away.
Fooling my system is easy,
but I’m still hungry for your pain,
the sky of confusion in your eyes,
the quiet hurt on your tongue.
If you slept with me again,
you’d find my angles and lines
are knives ready for cutting,
my first blood ballet.
But you’re kind: you’d never
sell me to the Traveling People
who would replace my fluids
with bitter paste so I would never
understand water again.
Come back to me,
my mysterious cloud.
Let us eat blackness together.
I don’t suppose I’ll ever be done with this subject….
My Father Confuses Murder with Worship
Do what you hate, and you’ll
never lose a wink of sleep, my father,
ensconced in red leather and fog,
says and tips me a sagacious wink.
Are you sure that’s the saying?
I ask from a distance of 1,567 kilometers,
the exact length of his heart from mine.
My father borrows someone’s cranky
boss and offers him as a burnt offering,
and the smell reminds me of childhood,
which says nothing good about my home.
As sure as I am about anything, he says
and wipes blood on his checkered apron
while I carve off a piece of charred flesh.
Quite often, I write things of this nature in my journal. They make me happy.
A cement pond, minus the water,
saw the expiration of a fragile moment.
The distant moon troubled a tooth,
which wiggled and desired freedom.
My phone rang out a rebellion,
but the timestamp was inaccurate.
A bird had a dream that it died en route
to a warmer clime and woke mute.
The circle asked the teacher “Why?”
and the teacher grew a dirty mouth.
Dust conspired with wisdom to figure
out socks but they wasted their time.
The cat edged up to a dying star
and offered a whispered prayer.
The name Lulu Buttonhead has been floating around my head for a few days, and the first line of this poem came to me as I was drifting off to sleep. It made me laugh, so I married the line with Lulu Buttonhead and came up the following strange poem.
Lulu Buttonhead Tries to Flirt
“Tectonic plate action turns me on,”
said Lulu Buttonhead, thus named
because of her flat, circular cranium
and gaping eye holes connected by
a strand of moist and fleshy thread.
“Too bad I’m not a geologist,” I said.
Lulu grinned (a disturbing sight)
and replied, “Seismologist, hot stuff,”
as she hopped, skipped, and jumped
back to her dark, sideways home.