Long days, back when the sun was beneficial,
my sister and I lay on our stomachs
reading Agatha Christie mysteries.
We couldn’t imagine being anything but
seventeen and slender, but just in case,
as a hedge against age and thickening,
we drank Tab, ate salads, smoked Marlboro Lights,
smeared Bain de Soleil on each other's backs.
The days were endless.
The days were exactly the same.
We lay in our fenced back yard,
desperate for something violent, interesting.
Neither of us knew how sunlight
can disappear, that we might spend years,
decades, trying to find another place
that would hold us, would say, now, you can turn your backs, safely.
first in Blast Furnace Press.
Presenter's greasy chin shines
like a full English breakfast.
Muted, I guess his words
from accented eyebrows.
Blow on a hot espresso and
soundlessly watch a feature
on a baby sloth,
headlines spool underneath-
'Terror threat raised to critical'.
Make-up touch-up in ad break;
everything is matte again.
Text loops beneath weather map-
'22 confirmed dead'.
Being elderly is a pre-existing condition.
Yes, being middle-aged and young
were pre-existing even earlier.
Thus, sorry: youth is part
of this whole aging illness,
so it’s time to start to pay the piper now.
We’re sorry, sir, but if you buy a policy
that doesn’t cover pregnancy,
the discount doesn’t count.
If you were female, of a fertile age,
there’d be a discount then,
when it might be a claim we could deny.
You’re poor? You work a full-time job—two—
but you’re struggling?
I don’t think we can help your girl at all.
A broken leg, okay. Or mumps.
But poverty’s a state of mind,
a moral failure, as Ben Carson says.
full series so far @ https://docs.google.com/document/d/1U5t4KTFyZtpYsyJNgwg3UMeRUkbsVbQ4LNNhqODP-k4/edit#
poised with a few friends at a table
across the bar it seems casual
glance but then a few
it happens again
her lapis blues lock
with mine as a rifle shot shatters
the panes of time I stumble across
eternity 9 steps arrive
in the afterlife haunted
by the everlasting con
sequences of rising
to the occasion
Hand me that, will you? she asks
without turning around. My silence
A word is missing, the noun
on a fence post at the end
of the path, legs dangling,
trying to think what it had
for breakfast last Tuesday.
I’m trying to make a fire here
without any kindling, reach
charade-like, hither and fro:
Scissors? Remote? Newspaper?
She shakes her head,
she is the mime now,
and I try to follow her eyes.
I must have the will to do
what must be done—
imagine instead kissing her
neck, cupping her breast
in my hand, the hell
with the noun, the hell
with the fence post—
No… she smiles, finally nods
her pretty head. …the spoon,
I pass it to her, feel the warmth
of her hand from her fingers.
By a valley going south on 83,
I and everyone else tumbled down the cliffside, our
semis, vans, and all grinding on the remnants of
the railing and highway, flaring and sparking like shards of the sun,
the sun that
too—unhinged and unbound—put on its high heels and
hightailed itself from the face of this Earth,
no gods or gravitational bonds
to keep it and its hot secrets from other worlds.
And so, in those brief moments,
and in my final thoughts, I knew—somehow—that somewhere,
a squirrel was surprised to be
Caught in the beak of a squid--a squid
whose every organ had failed, whose
every other muscle was functionless, who had never
seen a squirrel. . . or air. . . or land,
yet felt the urge to eat the furry bastard:
to suction-cup the uncanny in its maw.
And as a fragment of glass reflected my mangled body,
I looked at myself and wondered: where was my squid?
You should have known, she said.
When you told me you didn’t not want me,
I should have known about the inevitable driftlessness,
the heat elsewhere, the weight lost—that when I came on
you, the Earth never shifted for a moment.
But where are you now? I swear, nothing could
raise the fur on my back, make my eyes
widen at the sight—I couldn’t not know your
lips now, couldn’t mistake your alien gaze
For haphazard hunger.
For sure, life lost would have been
better beside you
or between your lips and inside.
I have always walked away:
from the centre,
from the edge;
from vengeance, hatred, love;
“any club that would have me as a member.”
I’m limping now
my shoes have holes
my faithful dogs long gone.
Recently I thought I heard footsteps,
lighter than mine, close by.
Last night I dreamt of a wider path
and the hint of a goal that isn’t at my back.