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a string drawn tautthere are so many
blue stars in your skin
but i can't believe
each neuron is a universe
alight with planets,
gaunt aliens signing god
in the absence of your name,
dim cars on the street,
beneath an awning
like a glowing orange womb
you shudder saying,
i just had a chill,
is this room cold
or are we in the gut
of a giant
who's strung out
seven days lifeless,
biting the apple,
wishing for his mother,
the earth is spinning
in the eyes
of a turtle
with a red shell
who swims in the flowers
who swallows supernovas
and they pass through his kidneys,
we could burst any minute,
a fly's nerves twitch,
a city laid,
between microscope lenses,
clutching wife to child,
do you know my name?
do you know you're shivering?
do you know i'm the son
of your nucleus?
i live in your cheek
and die at your
To His Coy Mistress[es]i. earl and lady grey
you have often graced me with your soft-spoken company, bergamot blossoms adorning your dark hair, fragrant as your steamy exhalations. you remind me of simple home and something untouchably elegant, pale and supple when i dress your skin with pallid cream and soften your thin, graceful hands. on a bleak winter evening, snow glittering by lamplight, you are a royal pleasure: a warm complement.
i will lay you on the finest saris, those embroidered with gold threads and flawless diamonds that shimmer like your black eyes. you are the champagne of my harem, floral yet astringent, fine-boned cheeks seeking nothing less than perfection. your tiger soul knows your worth, seductive and mysterious; in the autumn, you remind me of leaves ripe with color, falling from my desperate touch: a distant lover.
you are the sun's daughter birthed by soil, a celestial soothing who blooms
a streetcar to nowherei.
he must crack
when his hands are tulle:
rough and tearing,
bought by the yard
or cent-marked minute,
spin a skirt
that won't last a winter,
and snort ballerinas,
hope he's flexible
thin and shimmering,
don't stay another minute,
clear the aisles to say
so he must crack
when his hands are tulle:
by a craving spark
crisp and burning,
thin black ash
like your real name or
just something i can call you,
something that won't make me
feel like i'm talking down
to you. not because
i respect you, i never—
no i don't think i
respect you, but
something soft like i can
pretend i'm decent,
or normal maybe, don't
look at me, i didn't pay to—
where are you going after this?
and maybe i won't laugh."
we landed in oklahoma
and drank cheap martinis in the terminal;
you carried my guitar and fell in love
with my voice but not my tongue,
not my hands.
there's a man with a garage
that looks like a plane because nothing
meant more to him. will you make a model
of that bar? will you make a model
of my red cheeks? or will you live in a townhome
with her and three children?
the problem was you're not gay.
the problem was there was feeling
but it wasn't for us. i had you but
it wasn't for us.
i'm not sure if i resent you,
but i remember that bar and every pockmark
on the stool you sat on while i played
the song that parted your lips;
you remember every pockmark in oklahoma
like they were ours.
her depressions used to wrinkle the bedsheets.she lay around for hours, then called out,
"i don't know whether i'm too old or young for this,
but i'm just too tired to face today and tomorrow
might be the same. will you get your brother for me?
i left him at school this morning, and i'm not sure what time
he needs to be picked up. i've been forgetting so much lately,
so maybe i should work less, take a vacation somewhere warm,
or sleep until the year settles its dust. but we can't do that now,
can we? responsibility's a bitch, jorge. don't get married,
at least not to someone you'll divorce."
like a good son, i collected adrian from the pavement
where he'd been waiting too long,
and his teacher asked me whether or not that would become
an everyday thing. i said, "it's not my business,
just my blood," before we walked to the running car waiting,
the fumes growing impatient and curling above
the cold that made my brother shiver. he wore a coat
traci bought him, one from a store i didn't know the name of,
and it was strange to think
Misconceptionsthe extrovert isn't—
sun in the sky of a million
blue silks sewn together:
that summer to come,
a laundered morning strewn
with white yearning—
and the introvert isn't—
scraping coins in an alley,
smoggy eyes above a mouth like
lines: red-cracked but parting
when stars break gray clouds,
calling on their mica beds
to reflect off his face—
the extrovert is—
the man sweet-talking the first ideas
of his tongue,
waiting for reception—
while the introvert
IntimacyI asked to be slapped—
and your palm met my cheek
with constraint, cupped to lessen
the ensuing redness, the responsive tears
that welled but only in my left eye.
There are things like tealights
and dinners after midnight that we agree
to be romantic: that we consume
through antique filters, lace
between our fingers, but your palms
sweat when we hold hands
and I've never liked skin webbing,
nor the catch of calluses—
So, I propose to rewrite
a definition: mostly for my sake,
but also for the sakes of others
who have found themselves wondering
if they might be a-something
because they don't like to be touched
softly on the skin
or loathe surprises of any sort,
who would like to make love
then smoke a cigarette,
go for a jog without meaning insult
to the man in their bed—
Because when I asked you to slap me—
I meant to say I trust you,
novemberthe sun is a dim pearl
beneath a blanket of gray
hung low from the heavens;
i'm your yellow tremor
paled by the cold, aching
for a proper sunrise.
On Wanting Everything to Be RightYou got too comfortable,
forgot he could make mistakes,
and set your consciousness aside
so he could mend the thoughts
which have remained disordered
in your fumbling sobriety,
despite the years of learning to cope
with the pace of regularity:
scraping the mailbox with his key,
dining out every Sunday,
setting the thermostat to sixty degrees,
and changing despite every effort
to remain apathetic about his plans,
how your name became a constant
in his living equations,
the variable which defined the function.
On the morning you leave,
only your luggage and body will move
through the summer shadows
of oak leaves shaking in a breeze,
and only your barest senses
will know the satisfaction of hearing
his footsteps behind yours,
cicadas composing another song,
a car door slamming shut,
the engine firing up,
though your muscle memory isn't enough
to bring you peace or independence,
money or place or dignity.
When you turn onto Justamere Road,
you'll picture the nightstand
on your side of the
confessionalthey say sad girls change their hair color
and forgive their monsters.
i change my morals
and become one.
sexual politicsmet a girl in an airport
once. she had
ice eyes and tawny skin and
I never asked whether she was coming or
whether she was going but I do know that on a whim I said
do you want to get a drink sometime.'
she said 'no
my body is made of booze, and I
feel enough already.
it all goes straight to my head'
and I knew she wasn't talking about liquor anymore.
her eyes were empty but filled
with the bubbles of the thought before.
she said 'wait. do you have a smoke?' I said 'no
but you can't
She tells him the child is not his.
The old women mutter and cluck
as they slap wet cloth against river stones.
He wraps his arms around his chest as though he fears
he will also sprout with child. "A dove,"
he quietly asks? She points to a blood spot
on her cheek. "He pecked me here." It still hurts
when she touches it. It always hurts.
He loves the child, the cuckold's hatchling. He loves his lying wife.
But he knows she lies. When the old men stumble
into the stable, beards matted, coarse as grain,
he simply mutters, "Drunks," bad wine, betrayal.
One afternoon as he saws cedar planks, sawdust thick as pollen,
an angel catches his hatchling as he falls from a branch.
"I shaped the angel out of air," he thinks, so desperate
to believe that a dove pecked his wife, and she swelled with child.
scraps and sacramentsyou,
beautiful siren girl with melodies
entangled in her hair: you are
shell-shocked and sea-struck
even though you cannot stand
the sensation of sand beneath
you have fingers for prying, picking,
pulling at your skin and nesting
in that hollow space between
your bones. and if anyone asks,
you will swear there are monsters
sleeping in the concaves of your ribs;
there are ghosts beneath your tongue,
embittered, and you are not the words
they say there is an answer, little girl
(sometimes you begin to believe you are
a scarecrow on the border of reality
begging people to turn the other way;
and the mirror will agree)
how far have you gone? a feather in
the breeze who won’t promise to return
again; there is a wandering warmth in
the hesitation of your harbored fear.
where will you be in six months when
the future has become itself and you
are still astray? little one, no one is like you
in the way you sway to the cadence of a
dissonant night. no one knows your
ZemiThings having to be returned to their transparency:
/ green mist-earth / knit
atmosphere / fathomless
blue-lavender / lights
spun out from light
are recalcitrance / and you
& - a fingernail of summer
- a melting of rain
- a crown of flowers
- a priest of sunsets
(beautiful? I love you, because. Zemi.
Zemi. are you beautiful because I love
you? Zemi? )
I imagine this is what it's like to breathe sea foam
over the Cliffs of Moher: hydration. absolution.
To Rilke, it's a melody that floods over us
when we have forgotten how to listen for it.
I never could forget this: for how could I know
my hand as both well and chasm? and how could I know
time, a windstruck dimension, standing in her white street?
We go on morning walks and Zemi
laughs at everything I say.
the truth is you’re
going to wake up empty
and people will ask,
(People always ask like it’s their goddamn business,
and you’re going to try
to pretend that nothing has changed,
you’re the same girl you were
yesterday, you promise,
and you’re trying
to smile, and they’re
trying to smile too,
but you’re not convincing
anyone of anything.
SurrogateI stopped using his full title
because it started sounding too formal,
and it’s hard to be standoffish with someone
who swaps albums and memories so generously,
who loves German chocolate but hates the smell of oranges,
who knows me by my boneless,
drowsy form on the couch and by my words.
And maybe one day he’ll ask
me to drop the title altogether and call him Brad,
but I won’t.
Because it sounds too much like dad,
and I’m afraid of slipping up.
virginity is like an envelopemy mother said her mother knew.
i wonder if she stumbled home like i did,
fifteen and beer-loose
tied to the door like a thunderstorm with black lips
and i wrote a story about disaster,
a quiet two sleds long.
a box full of beads, i swallowed
fifteen needles, mommy. don’t
tell me i’m not sorry.
don’t call me a whore you bag of bones
you lock-loose suitcase do you even
recognize me look at my face my toothache skin
i am not the one with the knife.
my mother never slept with a boy
who didn’t love her never let a boy
sleep on her while she lay awake beneath
the shroud of his skin breathing only
when her voice-box gathered too much dust.
you have to know i didn’t do
it on purpose. he slid beers down my throat
till i felt like a landfill.
i was not yet a crescendo. maybe i was a polka-
you couldn’t tell. i got home
with my legs full of nightmare.
the doctor said xanax.
i said i am a ruin like the ones
we saw in peru.
a balloon in a funeral poem.
HomesickI am the river's son,
my arteries flowing turquoise
and turning to rapids
rushing around my frame,
filling me with this sense
of buoyancy, minnows
tickling my sternum.
I am the river's son.
My palms caress each
silty shoreline, every
battered bank and bend,
and these places I know
so well become me
as my fingerprint,
even the bridge above me
inflamed by the afternoon
sun-glow, burning rusty and
the steel blue sky.
I am the river's son;
I bring my home along
like hermit crab,
where I step
I pull water from the earth.
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Lilyas has dedicated herself to making our community a brighter place with her vibrant artwork and infectious enthusiasm for interacting with others in our community. It has certainly paid off, as many deviants flock to her page on a daily basis to let her know how much of an inspiration she is. We absolutely agree, and couldn't let all that hard work go without recognition, so it's with great pride that we bestow the Deviousness Award for March 2014, to ... Read More