Death of a Supernova
The eyes are the window into hell.
Fire licks at the iris’ edge, all consuming.
Burning, they are comets against starry black
that set fire to those who dare look.
They leave behind trails of smoke
and ash, streaks of glass shards.
Soon, all signs of the spark disappear, only
empty promises and broken dreams remain.
In a blink of blindness
emptiness takes over,
and the strange calm consumes
where once was glory.
I hear the gasping breath of a new born babe,
the keening of a child to its mother—
the warmth of the milk of life.
I see the blossoms on the tress struggle open,
the unfurling of wispy petals
reaching to the burning sun
that heats the sand in the desert that I walk on—
burning, sifting on an ocean of dust
in a sea of beautiful desperation—serenity.
I see the grass poke its blades through
the ground, the vines slowly taking back
what has been built around them.
I hear the rushing of cars through wet streets—
the splashing against the pavement,
flashing green and red lights
that transform into a stage before my eyes—
blinding, burning, an inferno of staring
eyes in an arena of blissful diversion.
I walk the bottom sands of the salt sea—
sun beams raining down on me,
fish encircling my feet in whispers.
I disguise myself in all I see—
a chameleon in a world of butterflies
that flash a rainbow façade.
Do you see me?
Transaction (performance poem)
You treat me as if I am a bank
as if I am a checking account full of memories
that you can waltz up to
with a bank slip
and ease some of my substance out
with an easy smile
Today you came twice
and each time you smiled
and held my hand
You have the account number
and I am not some rich person’s bank account
with studded vaults
My walls are made of paper
and you are the scissors cutting the
ribbon at my opening and exclaiming to the world
Ready for the public
It hurts a little,
each time you take
my mind disappears the way only
the way only booze can
the way only I can
when you give me those
eyes of yours and a slip that says
And I give them
of course I give them
You have the code
the secret word
that makes my walls crumble down
I try to build them up with spit and tears
but they never last
If an account is only as good
as the sum of its contents
then how am I still breathing
when you have bled me dry
There is no green to be found here
only empty shelves
Am I meant to be put on display
like trophies in a museum
Here is a memory from her childhood
notice how she looks on
as her mother dances
beneath a broken
Are we meant to walk past them
as if they are nothing more than
a discarded pay stub
You treat me like a checking account
but what if you cannot get to me
what if I am behind locked doors
that not even you can penetrate
What if extracting my funds
What if there is no secret word
What if I cannot be taken
without a sacrifice from you?
The world ended when the faucet leaked,
drip dropped in the aluminum sink—
my world all lit up bright orange and red.
The heat licked up the walls instead
of the floor—the drip drop sting
of the dirty plates, spaghetti being
washed away, red and orange—a swirl
down the sink. I lift a fork, whirl
it in the air, place it in my mouth—
metal burns. Humidity tickles around
my feet. The lights go dim
and burst into a hundred million
fragments. All I see is light—
yet no light at all—I fight
the darkness, yet feel only numb
nothings, my mind goes dumb—
I hear only the drip drop
of the sink—drip drop drip drop.
I sit under trees of scarlet oak
next to rocks ten times my size
behind bushes of rosettes
with every soul
heads in their fingertips
loneliness is a burden
best bared by the trees
of my elders
connected by rusty hinges
and chewed gum paste
oaks attempt at play
while I hunger
my legs tremble
under fall leaves
soon there will be snow
had I a voice
I would beckon in
desperation to the passersby
but they hear only creaks
gadgets their only eyes.
Worn blankets scratch at our soles,
bleeding us dry and leaving trails
rusty red as thunder rolls,
and rocks jump up to bruise our pale
legs. Cold burns our bare feet black,
our lungs shrivel in protest to air gone stale.
Blankets do nothing for frozen hearts
and spirits that trail behind, still sewing
the seeds of yesterday’s start.
Fingernails tear into palms, shoulders tow
stories of hope that sink heavy into earth,
dragging us down. We take more blankets, slowing
with gratitude, a nod of our heads at the birth
of kindness and humanity short lived. Cloth is thin,
but when fire ignites, licks our skin, kills all mirth
and leaves scarlet marks trailing our skin,
we cry in burgundy shades of rebellion,
but frayed blankets show only silence within
our shattered eyes and stomachs full of oppression.
Our babies cry in their mothers’ shaking arms;
they wail for broken dreams and aggression
that will never cease. We wrap them in blankets charmed
to take away their breath and our voice of the future.
Their spirits float away and lie in a dormant storm.
Shotgun, No Rosa Parks
The bell rings and we run,
paper trailing behind us in waves
as we break from prison,
the hot summer air paying
us back for passionless days spent.
“Shotgun, no Rosa Parks,”
she yells, jumping into a dented
car, burning her fingers on metal parts.
Windows roll down, air tickles
our heavy legs—finally released
from seated confinement—sticking
to furnace leather seats
as we squirm in the heat
of rebellion. We drive through muddy
forest brambles, no speaking,
just freedom boiling in our blood.
We played hide and seek
behind broken tombstones,
unafraid of caressing our
imaginations with wispy fingertips.
We stared straight
into blinding suns
until the blindness made us see,
and dipped our toes
into open air of the unknown.
We whispered our secrets
to glimmering ghosts and shushed
them when they moaned too loud.
Unchanging and eternal,
we ran through grass fields
of memories engraved
in tree bark with rusty knives
and tombstones filled with sand.
Immortality coursed through our blood
as we licked the tip of the scythe,
for a moment, isolated from life.