Cats Don’t Have Wings

I got lost in a Walmart and ended up in a UPS store.

At least I think it was UPS.

All around was the smell of unopened packages

and undelivered mail.

An abandoned UPS, then. Isn’t it funny how unsent mail

can have a smell.

It smells like disappointment which smells like spoiling

food which smells

like something I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed

to send through UPS.

Abandoned UPS stores sound like meowing boxes,

but when I opened

the one meowing the loudest, I didn’t find the little

calico I expected, but one

of those little toys shaped just like an egg with cat

ears and painted eyes

and whiskers, the kind that meows if you nudge

them enough

to make them rock on their little round egg-cat butts.

I took the little plastic

cat with me during my expedition for the door leading back

to Walmart, stepping over

and weaving between other boxes, meowing, the cat

cradled in my palms

like it was a real bird, indifferent. I found only a cap

with “MAIL ME” emblazoned

across the top. I’ll settle for this, I told the cat.

One hand held the cat

in the bowl of my fingers while the other began

sorting boxes.

I watched the tiny wings flap as the cat rocked

and meowed. It said to me,

“this is where you belong,” unhappy by my movement

as I bent, and lifted.

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I don’t really have a title for this…

Does “sunflower tunnel” count? Because that’s what I have this saved as on my computer.

He walks through life
in a tunnel of sunflowers.
Twenty-million golden razors
glitter their eyes from the depths
of that long hall. Fear
of them, their high cheekbones
sloping toward a wicked mouth —
the unseen end —
is a self-contained twister,
the winds of which dizzy the throat,
seeping like tea leaves in hot water
to chill a bulbous spine.
The tempestuous breeze
startles the never-opened books housed
in the body’s library. Their backs
never forget the sensation,
anticipate it everywhere.
Down those long empty corridors,
the air is thick as blood,
hot like a small fire gnawing at the ankles
of the tallest shelves.
Yellow forsythia dangle
from the follicles of his wild hair,
tangle and shear against
the blades of eyes set in arduous
lines, heavy with curiosity.

I haven’t posted in a while, and I felt like putting something up, so if this kinda sucks … sorry?

People are Funny Like That

This is probably a little crude… but I wrote it anyway. It’s meant to be lighthearted (more so than anything else I’ve written or posted so far.)

He’s been dancing between
The same five stools at the bar
For the last three hours.
Calling to a waitress for beer,
increasingly ridiculous
nicknames, swaying
like he’s riding a buoy
in the middle of the ocean.

His car has long since been towed;
Lucky for him, the dumb shit,
Probably would have tried to drive anyway.
On his way to the bathroom he takes a wrong turn,
His eyesight too blurry to think the skirt
On the little stick figure is anything
Other than an apron — the stick figure
is obviously working the grill. A slurred
“Kissss, kihssss, kisshth th’ cookh,”
And drunken giggles as he stumbles over
To the bathroom sink, that funny-
Looking urinal that’s been laid flat
When it should be low against the wall,
Hung like a framed picture of… a urinal.
He climbs up on the counter anyway,
Muttering something about poor design planning, and does his business.

Frightened Gods

The god of fear is a coward.
Eyes closed, he sees nothing.
Trembling against the headboard,
my eyes dart to the corners of the room,
to the ceiling, in search of shadows,
minute twitches in the air that must be imagined
but I still twist to follow them, staring at the spot
where they vanished to see if they come back, a horrific
thought that slides across the back of my head and down
my neck like a rotten tongue — what if this time it’s real. I curl
into the shyest of gods as he huddles beside me. Wrapped in a cloak
of the star-dotted sky that pools out from his drawn legs
to brush against mine, its touch like the errant brush
of wind against a bare shoulder in the sun, a satin
curtain, he slowly vanishes, keeping me company
for only as long as he can stand it, drawn
and repelled as he is by fear.

(This is meant to be in the same universe as “Hellis’ Eye;” still feel like it needs some work, so I’ll probably come back and revise it, but for now I’m not sure what it needs.)

Leaves (an attempt at word play)

I.
Leaves, flakes of stone stand alone,
Fluid air flowing through bone.
Alone in sunshine, hiding
Fluid whispers, sublime for some time.
Stone-still broken drones fall to flakes,
flakes of leaves of stone, still and alone.
Flow still, oh drone, fluid gears of bone,
Rusted, scattered, in tatters, stoned.

II.
Said drone wandered, wondering its wisdom wise,
Else worried in slumber, stilling slowly
‘Till movement stopped. Sour pores on drones
Breathing, leaving letters in air, hanging
Crystals silent with noise. Not for fear
Of falling they search for still sands
And winds without leaves and stony silence.

III.
Echo on, giants of sand, before all flakes
Are fallen, floored with grief of eyeing
Stretching plains, rune-smothered scepters
Full of regale. Baleful woes, those haunted
Living poles stalked by man, their arrows swift-
Witted, poised for throats, knives swoop,
Divide metal arms from torso, old blood
Pooled in lakes, then hardened to snow.

IV.
Bones in snow set to thunder
In rolling droves, one hundred
Doves hindered in kind by heavy
Shades of stone. Shadows sheathed
To hip inside minds molded over
Green with sleep, grown through feathers
In patches, Earthen-colored, blown. Wide,
Those once narrowed eyes,
Still focused below, on logs spinning
In waters roiling blue. Layers
Under rising up, bold enough,
Cold enough to rove, reaching
Water’s edge kissed with grass, last
To taste land’s bones. Dry bones,
          Those roots alone, grasping, gasping
                    Rasping tomes of days past, years flown.

V.
Flying above, fluid lands stoned
To standing on islands of ocean below,
Doves drone in swarms of beaks, silver-
Tipped with no teeth to speak of, calling
Open prairies home.

It’s Madness

Originally an imitation of Geoffrey Brock’s “Abstraction” but after several revisions it’s now less an imitation and more an inspiration.

It’s like the sensation of falling,

like slinking down the stairs while

moving too fast, both palms gripping the walls

of a mug brimming with tea, the liquid a sloshing,

stormy ocean scenting its coasts with Earl Grey

instead of salt, disgruntled fish firing foamy bubbles

that froth on the surface as the strange warmth

of their waters spill over and waste into the carpeted steps. Eventually

you catch yourself at the base of the stairs where a couch

lies in repose; she asks to be painted

like one of your French girls, but you’ve forgotten your brushes

in another time. Out of breath, a small dose

of adrenaline still hissing in your knees, urging

you forward, faster like the shadow of your inevitable

death is at the top of the stairs, like the fish in the ocean

in you hands will jump up and bite you if you take a sip

without first sitting down, you start walking

again, your pace calmer yet no less urgent. You lay on the couch

not intending to sleep but knowing you will anyway.

            The mug you’ve placed on the coffee table will cool, the fish

                        will die, the ocean will settle and become tea again, and the table

                                    will be faintly puzzled as to the sudden weight placed on its face

                                                before curling into itself and disanimating.

Broken Backs and Wicker Baskets

One day soon you’re going to break my back.

My ribs will open like an egret’s wings,

my flesh a tangle of ruffled feathers in the breeze

festered by their beating. My heart

a gentle beak sifting through dust

to find the last seeds of grass on a dying world;

like an old woman turning her head round

and round as she circles a tub in the center of the room,

held in orbit by its gravitational

pull, searching for a bar of soap

that whittled to nothing against the knife

of her flesh several-odd billion years ago.

I, having consumed all the trees with a wink

and drank all the waters with a straw

made of your tallest buildings, breathe

in clouds heaving against the bottom

of the stratosphere and smoke them out

again to burn donut-shaped holes

into the ozone. A fever leans

against my neck, framed as it is in a robe

made of your blue sky. My children buried

 in the Earth wait for the burnt caramel

of their backs to be exposed

so they can inhale the heated air

through their pores and pour

it out their fingertips, burrowed deep.

Pumped full of air, the mantle

will expand and balloon out, the remnants

of humanity clinging to the bottom of the wicker basket

as we float through the galaxy on a wind

the gods have birthed as my sister and given no name.

On your last day

I watched you hold her hand,

walk down empty streets torn asunder

like shallow cuts made gaping by a stranger’s

careless fingers. You both tiptoed along those open

fault lines like they were the grooves in God’s fingerprint,

you pretended that the fire lighting the sky

with orange and red was the sun coming closer, in awe

of the simple way you walked in tandem. You imagined

that the press of your hands,

the joining of your invisible souls,

wasn’t the easiest thing in the universe to separate–

memory in this new world more fragile than human skin.

I lifted it from your minds and watched you release

each other of your own volition, and wonder why

you had been touching in the first place.