[eudaimonia]we are kingsof empty castles.our transparent veins are bruisedfrom the lingering storm andsomebody has hidden the skeletonkeys.
[dear old soul]this year,i. learn to be bravebcos it's about time.defend yourself, speak up. heaven knows you keep too much buried.be honest with yourself and with others.love again.ii. watch the starsso that you never forget how small you are or how fleeting your existence is.iii. go somewhere far from hereso that you will be reminded of the beauty in life.the world is waiting for you. explore.iv. learn to forgivelife is far too short to hold grudges.michael was a lesson in moving on.what happened with priscilla brought you closer to the people who matter most.don't let the heartache stop you.v. visit the ocean more oftenit's where you feel most at home.vi. writeoften. it puts you at ease.even if you feel that you can't gather a decent sentence, write.work on your novel.vii. express yourselfthrough drawings or writings or the spoken word.even if your hands tremble."even if your voice shakes."viii. do what you lovewhen
[victus]delilah tied her husband to a fencejust before the light brokebecause the trumpet plays at dawn and shecan't stand the sound.and samson scares the crows awayalthough he desperately wants themto stay.
Liquor is one way out an'death's the other The art of growing up,is to pour shots of whiskey into your coffee in the morningto make it throughthe day.when all you want to dois lie in bedinstead,but there’s nothingbeautifulabout thateither.
Spectraphotons like phantoms cross our pathsunseen except for their effects every poem begins with sometimesevery dream begins with maybe
five.Five is the number of times you worry he’s stopped breathing, as the surgeons carve around his heart, twisting away the plaque ridden arteries, and pulling a vein out of his leg. Five is the number of heart wrenching hours you and your family were waiting in the hospital room, worried that your lives would crumble, that there would be five members of the family instead of six, that five days out of the week he would not come home for dinner, that five kisses from him would no longer be given to his wife and four children. Five was the amount of fingernails you bit off while watching people enter and exit the waiting room, and the amount of minutes your mother spent on the phone, explaining that something was wrong. Five is the critical difference between holding a father’s hand as your mother cries into his heart shaped pillow. The difference between rejoicing and smiling weakly because he’s okay or carrying your father’s American-flag-covered-casket and watchin
FloodgatesWe’re lined up as we enter Year Seven.Rulers are pulled out, skirts inspected. Three inches above the knee, no more.Our skirts are millimeters too short. We hope to pass. If we pass, we’re allowed into the house. Those who don’t are sent home so their mothers can mend what’s broken.They scour for torn hems, loose stitches, and find none. But Marissa filled out over the summer, and the back of her skirt rises up her thigh nearly an inch above an appropriate level. We share a knowing glance as she flows out of our line, thrust back into the office where someone will call her mother to gather her. Our mothers taught us to lean back when the ruler passed, to let the hem dip down to the creases of our knees. No one would know. When we pass, we share a silent victory.When they can’t hear us, we whisper about Marissa’s chest, how red splotches cover her nose and cheekbones. We think she won’t come back, girls like her never do, and seventh years a
Short PoemHer eyes return my gaze,A gentle “Hello” at first glance.Those chocolate brown coloured eyes,So full of love and compassion. Without a sound from my lips, A solitary cry escapes. Her serene marble-like stare,
i hear knives in the windsomething in the timbre, tall heat,sugar licking palm fronds fat catssweltering sundays.wash the salt; wash the afterburn itisn't like we planned you neversay the words plain, only mm mm if we ever could we maybe staywe always tried but couldn't shakethe open space we make the world a-nother shape as we stand among thetimbertall sugar licking palm frondsfall. til heat escapes.
dead dog julyI.the summer heat lays limp in the city’s lap,breathing long oppressive breaths.it does not even lift its lolling headto bark out hoarse indignancywhen a strange man brings the mail.II.there might be heavy rain today,they say,brought by some swollen, murmuring cloud.so what?the world will whirl and howl,then settle down,to die a little more.III.o, quickly, love,press your back against the wall in fearas the universe spreads her arms andshuts her eyesand starts to summon the end of all things.o, quickly,come with meto the place of windows full of speechless afternoonhot windy whispers of half-formed solutions and resolutions,sweltering sunlit meadows we’ll wander and then forget.o quickly, love,let’s to the season of forgettingand unwind all of our harshest memoriesand fill the universe’s mouthwith mute cotton.IV.i’ll whisper these words to you some eveningwith all my exigency in the hand i rest on your arm—and you
love people"We call everything a river here." --Richard Brautiganthere's a love paradethis sundaybeautiful blue and white housesspill children into the streetlike beads of happy colored glass--music all over.the trees are spring,fall, and summer,apricot angelsgreen yellow maplesall love peopletwo moons to a faceI think of a quietpebbled stream in this moonlightand a younger woman,like a single brush of ink,dipping softly,as the pebbled stream dips,into winter, or untimed wild.
Glass MemoriesDearly Beloved,Hey, love, it’s me again. It’s winter now – the icy wind throws itself at these stained cinderblock walls but to no avail; a wall works both ways.A year has passed since I last spoke with you – a year already! No, I’m sure it was yesterday – a Monday.I never did like Mondays.I remember where we met. In the subway. You were the last to board a crowded train, I stood up as the wheels began to creak, glancing at you as I did so and nodding ever so slightly towards the empty seat. You laughed and called me a gentlemen, tucking those few strands of honey-colored hair behind your ear. Your nails were painted blue. Light blue. Like the sky.The mass of people gradually thinned out as we neared the end of the route, until you and I were the only ones left in that car. We sat awkwardly next to each other – you twirling your hair and I fiddling with the buttons on my shirt cuff. I don’t know why I didn’t get up and move.I
They say the one who praysThey say the one who prays receives much morethan whom we pray for, shaping what we wantto what we get. We find a way to pourthe outcomes into candle molds we can'thave fashioned for ourselves. But then we lightthe wax and sniff the scent and call us blessedby blessings in disguise. For what is rightin contexts so complex we cannot test?For those who say that praying contradictsfree will or undercuts the will to changeinjustice, fine. You have no wax, no wicks,no blessing and no curse, you are the sage.I pray to sculpt the candle and the moldand scent with pity earth and heaven's hold.
may as well buy another packcollapse, and breathe into the carpet:sunday mornings are notfor falling apart, but damnthe amphorics, thisis not an atmosphere.you fell in love like you alwayswish you didn't, made all theirsmiles replaceable, interchangeable,fell asleep with shadows and keptdrinking, just letting yourself sleepwith blue pillsand tried not to scream.(keep this image in your head:fire and nectarines, a sudden jerkof realization, inspirationbreaking your neck and leaving you foreverfloating.)breaking bones is not so differentfrom breaking hearts - it's all aboutthe leverage, the angle, the modeof attack(and at least it wasn't personal; it can color in your own guiltfor starting lines and never endingright.)
a timeless ringshe wears me uponher withered hand:an angel's halowith no beginning orend infinite.she didn't likemetaphorsor goodbyesbut he brushed away thedrops of jupitertwinkling on herface,promising toreturn but it wasjust a fool'serrandand now i ama memoir ofreminiscence;because he isdead but he isnot, he isgone but he ishere, he isa ghostalive withremembrance,a memory preserved;she wears me uponher withered hand:the crown of aking lost in battleand shegrazes me with herlips andtremblesbecause soon iwill be ametaphor andshe will be thegoodbye.
consensus + AUDIOconsensus Ii told you that night i would forget, but youwere too busy thinkingof when to see methenIIoverdosing on bedsheets and sunshine we were salty and guttural tides -i had all but forgotten the smell behind your ear, the softnessof your throat when it growls in hungerthe comforting shape of your head under my clumsy hands, thatfamiliar taste on the tip of you, pulling usapart and together againIIIbut we overlooked the bitternessof candy-coated chimeras(ignoredthe call of their acidic tongues)IVnext year’s crop should be better, the almanac said;we chose to believe itVgo east; the trees whisperedthe snow took away their breath leaving me herewith onions to peel and tears to wipenoticing them you mentioned winterwould last longerVIi agreed-Sophie, january-february 2014Originally published in issue #25 of "Up the Staircase Quaterly"http://www.upthestaircase.org/chouinard-consensus.html
Last WordsIn the beginning you never want to let her go,and so you don't for a long, long time.You commit to bobby pins underfoot, mismatchedplates stacked like landmines,long hairs that circle and clog the drain, filling the tubwith stagnant water.You tell her something that you love about hereach night before you fall asleep,until one day you look at her and realize that youdon't know what to say anymore.-“I am not happy.”You whisper this to yourself once and then try to say it louder,but the words won't cooperate.Maybe a whisper is as loud as this thought can exist,or maybe some words weren't meant to be spoken aloud,but you still think them, and yes,you whisper them to yourselfwhen she isn't listening.Perhaps this is what you should have been telling hereach night as her hands searched for you in the darkness.-This isn't happening, you think,unless it is.You wonder if you owe her something,like your heart, maybe, your red hooded sweatshirt,
SolaceShe never slept well in the dark,not without the children of the sun and moonto guide her weary lids home.Guided by the aftermath, she was always two steps behind.What did the world look like to the girl who had been through it all?Braved the heaviest of storms,yet skipping over cracks in the pavement.They said her eyes were the wisps of clouds before the storm.To him they were reflections of pages overlooked.She said it was like she lived the life of someone she had never met.Laid out to dry, yesterdays news.He knew her as the girl who was built to never collapse.He wished he was too.He loved her more than words could say, and yet her pain was such,that at times, he feared she wouldn’t make it.But on nights like these, even when it threatened to consume her,he became convinced that somehow she would.
[songs of rain]forgiveness in the third chord,like silence or the momentartemis pulls the arrow free,thanks the buck for his sacrifice.lightning in my lungs.saltwater in my lungs.i, storm,will rage & pass on.