chronic lyric ii
chronic lyric ii
you strand me on a private island
where i stare into a private pool
its topsoil horizon filled with ground-
up bones, waxes, lichens, my reflection
until i drown / you creep beyond
the borders of your season / you
snake to stake new places where
you can hatch / a single raindrop
on my wrist = a storm in my
metatarsals / invisible gnats bite
my forearms / tornado in the collateral
ligament / i can’t name all the places
you try to conquer / dots on a nerve map /
neuronal hamlets uprising / this debacle
in my brain / your great big boot
chronic lyric iii
we meet again at the intersection
where my seams itch and burn
the floor’s tilt nauseates
you make sure i’m too tired
to put on my five-minute face
so i call off work and bind you in a sack
i beat the sack against the wall of my anger
until the movement within it ceases
i bury you in the scrawny woods behind my apt
is it funny is it a sad wreck?
viewed from where you perch above me
chronic lyric iv
i have a head full of hot toxins
a fist full of jute rope
i am trying not to embrace
the ground that hates me
ground you have seeded with layers of capitalism
the dream of free-enterprise for girls like me: we lose
ourselves in a red room, ceiling tile
stippled with razor blades
your hidden camera waits for one to fall
for a red red snowflake to seize the day
chronic lyric v
do you wanna hear a story?
you’re being very cross tonight
i think it will pass the time //
my cousin texts me a picture
of a horse running on the beach
and in a font suggesting papyrus
it reads good vibes only
to my naked eyes the keyboard is blurry
i type a row of random emojis
the last time she texted me
was you should call to check on your mother more often
and then my mother starved on the couch until she was dead
good vibes only huh
i type emoji with sunglasses big enough to hide half my face
i lean against the bedroom wall
abnormal levels of tryptophan
slide me into gravity’s slick captivity
legs shake uncontrollably
i slide forward on to the bed
i can tell you’re sick of stories where you’re the antagonist //
you send me off to sleep to dream your dreams
chronic lyric vi
i can’t quit your trauma drip
something about the endocrine system
enhanced response to painful stimuli
like circling crows like autumn cloud scudding
i am the kitten you thought you drowned
Tree of the Year
These maples are everywhere around here.
Our solid citizen, Rotary’s tree of the year,
town councilor, justice of the peace.
That placid green saves the ass of real estate agents,
smoothing out the cragged, scarred hills
hiding the boulders, the jutting knives of rocks,
and don’t forget the collapsed trailers,
the rusting trucks on crumbling cinder blocks
waiting repairs the last 20 years,
strewn car parts, defunct washing machines,
the illegal dump with rotting carcasses
of jacked deer and discarded dead pets.
They hide everything ugly, everything rotting,
everything the drive-by tourist doesn’t want to see.
They put up with seven months cold, summer heat,
tent caterpillars, gypsy moths, aphids, fungi, bark disease,
beavers, wood peckers, sugar maplers, the panoply
of annoyance, risk, hardship, destruction.
They weep, and we savor the sweetness.
They age into equipoise,
embody calmness behind deep furrows.
Stick your hand in that gnarly, rugged bark,
sense that core-deep, silent strength,
but fuck fine feelings, don’t be duped.
When fall comes there’s blood in the hills,
a torrent of red from an ancient sacrifice
of the young, the innocent, the sacred--
a pillar of rocks, a place to die.
This beauty’s not bashful, drives deep,
pleasure’s knife-edge edging pain.
We know we could not endure its enduring.
We sigh. The leaves will brown, wilt, and fall.
Those leaves swirl down within us, steady as breath.
We bow, shed a part of ourselves, hoping,
hoping these bare branches endure year’s dying.
rain comes down oblique
like questions hiding in words.
the old walls
cerebral aneurysms bleach-white.
live bodies that seek
the comfort of flesh:
and circle each other
death is not even a thing.
flickering tongues like pine needles burning:
in denial to exist.
bleach-white sky and
water sits silent, still,
like death-bed things
what will never be again.
the hisses differentiated
blunders of black root
the white is nothing but hiss
and the rain falls oblique
likes screams hiding in words
and storm falls on forest.
through the uproot, in procession,
you see them approach
in town the drunks play dice.
eat snakes in the streets
naked in the rain
is not even a thing.
in the mood for Old Par on the rocks
in bitch expectation.
with the usual suicide nocturnes.
you know me better
than God would if he existed.
i watch you enter the room
in your nonchalance.
i can't tell
if you grimace or smile
or maybe are
just getting ready to laugh.
death won't come:
don't take it as a sign to live on
or anything else.
you write this poem
like a leper looking at
what's left of his hands.
you know me better
than the walls of my mother's womb.
give me something in, say
something somber, something odd...
lying on my back
mouth open to the sky
like a writhing
thing out of Dante
trying to get a little
of whatever there is
while there's any left
with your left
easy melody with the right
you can smoke
cigarettes while you do it
while you play
let me lie here
mouth open to the sky
watching you enter the room
about to burst
into drowned horses dreaming beer.
He willed the ocean to approach and willed it back.
The water sighed like a gull’s cry.
The sky darkened into slate.
The water lifted and separated into the air.
When the boy’s parents had suggested
he should learn self-control,
this was not what they had in mind.
~Martin Willitts Jr.~
yr lifetime spent denying the
god of thieves, the god of drunks, and
all those houses we built just to
have them collapse beneath
the weight of despair
all the basements filled with
water or with bones
the men who leave
the ones who disappear
and i make my lists and i lock the doors and
all we do on these rainsoaked
sunday afternoons is laugh and bleed
all i am once i’ve factored in the truth
is less than i want to be
let’s not fuck these next few
moments up too badly
all afternoon the dying
sun seen through falling snow
the river turning slowly to ice
do you remember why
you never escaped from here?
can you take each day back to
the one before it, each wrong
decision, each unspoken objection?
why is it you’ve kept nothing
for the last twenty years but
the same phone number?
why does every poem need to
be written with dull blades
on bare flesh?
can’t you just accept the
total failure of who you are
once and for all?
GAME OVER GO TO HELL
and then remind yourself that there is
no good day to die and then
walk slowly from room to room in the
last house your father knew
remind yourself that
all maps are lies
that every god you choose to
deny is the one true god
let yourself see the humor in stepping
out of the forest and into the
let your thirst be what guides you
from one failed
relationship to the next
walk blindly past hunger out into the
vast open fields of starvation
hour of the ascension
They said it was a joke, having
nailed his naked body to the fence,
having chained him to the back of
the truck. Drove through town on
Easter Sunday in their finest clothes.
Shot the soldier while he slept, cut
off his feet with an axe, burned his
body in the village square. Said the
war had to end, and then the
firebombing began. The face of
God was everywhere. Fucker just
laughed and laughed.