fish bones

a man with a little boy inside pulling all the strings
tells his date over dinner that he wants the love-making
to feel like eating a stick of cold butter.
he wants to kiss her like blueberries rupturing.

his date keeps an aquarium inside her,
koi tracing circles in her stomach, sometimes
trying to wiggle their way upstream.

the boy pulls the mouth-string and the man orders
a sprite and a bowl of ice cream. The date orders quinoa,
roasted autumn vegetables,  minnow soup. she is disappointed
when the minnows are boiling, dead. the evening
is over early. still the woman feels ghosts
of rubber-bones in her throat.



I am trying to write poems that are different – that are not in the same style that most of my work is in. I’m trying to write new. It’s hard. One of the ways that I’ve been trying to do this is by revisiting old poems that were either too short to be a real poem, or only had one or two good parts in them, and re-imagining them. here’s one such poem.

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the razor package promised it could not snag skin
but somehow your leg is bleeding.
drops tumble like pomegranate seeds – try to gather them
in your cupped hands, raise them to your mouth.
discover it does not taste like ruby-fruit.

instead your mouth is pennies
and you read once that the body tastes
copper briefly before death.
maybe the shin’s razor nick is the end of you.
maybe your shower head has been trying
to drown you all along.

the violence is there, in how you can’t look away,
how you keep telling your hands to apply pressure
to the cut, but instead fingers pull the wound open:
the gasping of little crimson lips. you live in the swirls
of red curling clockwise down the drain.
your blood resists the clotting.

reorganization poem

I went through a bunch of old poems and picked out some lines/images that I like and reorganized them into a new poem. Ta-da.

it is too hot to sleep or fuck.
we have run out of wine-words.
flip our bodies and toss ourselves
across the futon, a fever fit –
our brains and ankles swell
and soften like rice.

i tell him to pull my hair:
want a fist full of me yanked
down my back like a zipper.
want mandolin strings wound
around my arms, termite lines
in the skin of my wrists.
want my ears covered
with his open mouth.

he is like this sometimes:
a fruit fly drowning in peach juice,
a bread-stuffed sparrow too fat to fly.

he rolls each nipple
between his fingers like
corn kernels. luckily
they do not stick in his teeth
the same way.

death in the family

he calls at seven pm to tell me.
when i see “dad” on the screen i get nervous –
he calls when someone dies, the only
thing he thinks isn’t proper to say in an email.

it is a process of elimination: not mom, she just
texted me an hour ago. not brother, mom would
call first. answer.

grandpa hank finally died. died in his sleep.
heart had been beating only 35 times a minute
for weeks. a medical mystery how he lasted this long.

tongue feels like a trowel in my mouth.
ah. bummer. 
he says, we both know it isn’t.
tongue starts to dig its way down my throat.

panic attack in the theater

all at once my stomach starts trying to crawl out my mouth.
little hands pulling itself up my esophagus, one length
at a time. it burns like acid reflux but I can feel the fingers.

when it cannot get out, it acts like a child – a tantrum against my ribs.
I don’t know how to understand this, the organs revolting
while my body tries to tell me it is dying.

vision like an eclipse through a keyhole, there is no winning here.
when my stomach finally crests the hill of my throat,
I feel tiny fists beating the backs of my teeth.