flowers to encourage
flowers to encourage
Will I lose it all
These moments of clarity
When my demons come?
in the wake of our discussion,
we hurl insults like grenades,
like bomb vessels bursting, a
face-off at opposite corners
of the room, and rage rends
the air, lends the atmosphere
a note of storms clawing at
our beached bodies, a volley
of venomous spray, when you
tell me that everything i do is
mediocre and i retaliate with
the observation that nobody
likes you, you are friendless
and alone, always, then you
scream, you stupid cunt! and
the windows shudder with the
volume of our passing—please,
love, don’t remember this, i
towards you now,
closer and closer
with my mouth hanging open,
my mouth is a black hole
a maelstrom that
shatters my face apart,
a hole from
coming up to
grind you, it rises
from the crouched ladder of
a furious noise
it swallows up
Most beautiful of things I leave—
flowers fall to whispered husks
in barren fields, cold, gray,
the spiral of dead leaves
as smoke rises
from dirt mounds.
of an empty playground
groaning in the wind.
The echo of the last cry,
swallowed in the earth.
If you say “good morning,” he will look up
from his weeding, or whatever he is doing in
the fenced area of his front yard, look at you
as if he just caught you mid-squat in the dirt,
and turn his wrinkled nose away. If you knock
on his door to talk about his rusted Accord
blocking your driveway, you see his scowling
face in the window—his greeting, a middle finger.
He’s been known to throw things. The family next
door know not to say anything as they pass by
on the sidewalk; he will snarl at them, and nod
to Mr. Torkington, their pet Doberman.
His house smells like musty papers and
dog food. Scout troops are warned from
approaching his door, a girl fractured her
leg when he had chased her away from
his stoop with a rolled up newspaper.
Animal control makes annual inspections
of his house. One time a concerned neighbor,
startled by all the rabbits, called for a wellness
check. They came and took hundreds of
floppy-eared, snuffling rabbits away in crates,
while he hovered by the front door and sobbed.
Spring finds him kneeling in the fresh dirt of his yard
tilling the soil with a trowel, he spies a baby robin
gray and ugly, crying in loud braying cheeps
—sounds too loud for such a tiny body—he
uses the trowel to expose pink fleshy worms
in the muck and the baby bird hops closer,
dodging nimbly between each shower of dirt.
“You deserve better,” he says, clucking his tongue,
and scans the sky for more friends.
It’s warm here, with my brother and sisters.
We writhe inside the small enclosures of our eggs.
We are the half-formed: brown translucent pods jammed
side by side in the dark hollows of our host.
Soon, our brood mother says. Long, serpentine, beautiful. Soon.
And then—the drop.
We are the fallen, flung from the sky, clustered
in brown globules on the shadow of a leaf.
Come closer, slow-moving snail!
We entice you with our shiny ovals.
You are a languid giant sailing across the leaves.
And you take the bait.
You swallow us down your gaping slime maw, and we
travel down the dark length of you.
There we grow.
We grow in this new dark, forming long tubes, interconnected.
We dig our tendrils into your neural circuits and drive you.
We allow you to travel
To where you want to go—for now—
places cool and moist and dark
Running your creeping circuits around
dark undersides of mushrooms and rotten logs.
We are the broodsacs.
As we grow, we spread out into your eyestalks
preferring the left tentacle over the right,
As we grow, we grow fonder of you, our lumbering ride
and life source
As we bloom, we dance and pulsate in bright green and yellow spirals
You cling to the darkness, giant snail, always
but we draw you to the light and
the warmth of the sun, which catch our colors,
(we pulse in light only)
We draw the energy for our dance
The dance of death
Drawing the eye of a new feathered host
Down, sharp beak, spearing into the soft flesh of you
And we are drawn into a familiar darkness, down, down—
The cycle begins again.
the currents breaking in
that can’t be washed
the pain, though tossed
in still waters, is not lost: it
spreads in the black
absence of you
with the obstinacy
of rock-clinging things
how do I grasp these words
to cut through the gray matter
suspended into the silence
the mass of it rises
up slowly, blearily
if i surface,
i’ll lose my hold
and all these words
will be forced
I feel a shudder
As of spring buds
And think: soul?
We meant to prune the roses someday,
but didn’t. Now a single monstrous branch
bursts out of the jasmine, weighted down
by long-necked heads
untamed by shears.
Where one is severed, another sprouts
into a frenzy of shattered spirals
(It is a pleasure to behead)
Red-clenched buds burst open and fall,
and leaves behind on each lonely stem,
a naked face
a green-petalled star.
We hear the first lonely calls in the dark,
although the sea that tramples
the shell-and-seaweed littered shore
seems as distant as a dream
Lying in bed with you, drifting,
I see the wave-tossed buoy and clanging bell
See a fat scarred bull, neck twisted back
barking at the iridescent spatter of stars,
before diving into the black waves
His mate nuzzles a velvet-sheened pup
and waits out the cold hours,
the slow creeping hand that fades
angry indigo to indifferent blue
Outside the window, the sky lightens
shade by shade, the silhouette of
pine branches barely visible
Morning taps the window blinds,
creeps into the room and over us,
like a sheet pulled over our heads