“Oh, I’ll just call a taxi; I gotta get up early tomorrow again.”
-Dodie Clark, “6/10”
To think that the ocean came all this way
for a chance to lap at your toes
is foolish, but you can’t help remembering
the puppy from your childhood home––
his drooping brown belly, his tail wagging
along the carpet, never happier
than when you came back from school
and he could ride the surf of your arrival.
Although it shot aches through his aging frame,
your tiny grandpa never failed
to greet you. These days,
the people you love are more apt
to push you away from their warmer pillow,
sending you a little closer to the carpet
than the ever-thinning blanket.
You wish nothing more than to feel
the sweet sea wind of your love’s breathing,
soft as the eyes of a puppy grown old,
and to know that the tide rises for you,
that at least the water is happy you’re home.
A strand of hornets has formed a nest
around my aorta. I am contorted
as they wriggle and writhe,
a malicious mimicry
of the honeybee’s synchrony.
They must perceive me
as an acceptable host;
the most I can do is hope, mouth
agape, that they will vacate
my cardiovascular space,
granting me privacy,
allowing me to move
by willpower alone, on my own
without feeling their medical-needle abdomens
so tediously close to my blood flow.
I used to think of myself
as quite the little fashion designer.
I spent hours poring over sketches:
young women with block-color hair
wearing dresses full of angles,
collars chopped crisp and low
to emulate the girls I’d seen,
the youthful actresses, the older cousins
who I someday hoped to become.
Every face shone bright
unless it was mine, when I drew myself
in baby blue and titled it “Shy Sky”––
that one features a reserved smirk,
and even the exaggerated emerald
I chose for my eyes falls flat,
impassable. It’s hard to imagine
I once thought of myself this way,
misunderstood and tightly self-reined
when really I have always possessed
the multitudinous vibrancy
of a fully-stocked box of pencils.
I have always sashayed and wept,
rainbows, ostentatious and unafraid
to illustrate myself brightly––
and although nervous to document
my full-blast vulnerability,
I’ve remained courageous in the flesh.
Author’s Note: Okay, so maybe I’m misleading you with the title of this post. The entirety of this poem was created on July 8, 2017, because I was a busy bee on July 7. But don’t worry––yours truly will still be providing a full 31 poems this month for you to enjoy.
If you stand in the middle of a remote interstate,
your nose in line the with the dashed yellow,
and extend your arms outwards
to indicate towards both sides of yourself,
you are likely to insist that to your right
is one field, and to your left,
another. Despite the fact
that the allegedly separate pieces of land
are impeccably identical (you are in an ocean
of cornstalks, beige and bent
like the reeds of countless discarded
clarinets) you don’t recognize them
as a barely interrupted, vast continuum
with a pre-human history wild and unpaved.
The skinny strip of gray
stretching like an arm languid on a table
from here to the hazy blue mountains,
is, to you, a border between two distinct spaces.
Summer leaves me too sleepy
to complete a poem.
The oxygen is unenriched,
swirling without syllables.
All I want is to feel the sweep
of the fan as I nap.
It dawns on me that bedsheets
will offer little consolation.
The A/C’s gentle electric rattle
sings a lullaby via the vents.
In the afternoon,
inertia quietly maintains
the wordlessness on my page.
My mechanical pencil,
below the mattress, rolling,
is surely dreaming, too.
The curtains cave and expand,
as if they were blowing
on a dandelion.
The man at the front
of the restaurant
thinks he knows
Like a general,
he places his order,
hands on his hips,
spine curved backwards
so his chin rests
on his chin.
His thick brown Army
for all their sooty and
trail mud across the
To a skeletal little table
at the margins
of the diners, the man
takes his tray,
turning then to face
his subordinates at mess.
He funnels food
down his gullet
from the comfort of this
throne. He does not hate
to be alone.
As he leaves,
there is no shame among
only breaded bulk
and smeared potato,
and scattered salty
bullets sitting lustless
beside the ketchup drippings
in the indirect sun.
towards the door,
elbows in the air
as he smudges mustard
left on his lip.
No one minds
She compressed you
into the second dimension,
leaving the prodding curiosity
of your little green neck
subdued and sunken
at the base of the mug.
Your once-round shell, now
flat, hugged ceramic;
withered, crinkled pride,
green grown dark with heat.
She squeezed life from you
as if you were a toothpaste tube.
The contents of which she emptied you
were strewn across the cup.
It must have hurt
It must have burned
You can click here to access photos of the aforementioned turtle. However, I would seriously advise discretion in viewing this content. The images are highly disturbing.