I swallow him: his eyes and song and voice,
and hypnotize myself into a state
of listening, absorbing every choice
he’s made, the prayers he’s uttered, wipe the slate
of self away, his bones become my own
the scoliosis and the heart attack;
no easy transformation, bend and groan,
consider the minutiae, every slack
of muscle, every word to him prescribed.
Now weight it all and shape the living clay —
but carefully! A writer once contrived
the shape of him, so wander not away
but step beneath the light and speak as him,
leave not a single flourish to mere whim.
This story is a response to Prism & Pen’s writing prompt Little Pleasures Lost and Found.
I wonder why you love: it’s not enough
to ride the rush of chemicals it brings,
these human hearts collapse when things are tough
and love is yet a doozy. It will wring
good sense from all your body, light a flame
that seems eternal, but it flickers fast
and when it dims you panic and you blame
the nearest body. You are left aghast
in retrospect — the words rang cruel and true
enough to kill a little light for good;
you only have yourself to blame, you knew
their every flaw and swore you understood —
and yes, you do! True love requires grace,
a fragile creature you cannot replace.
The memory of music hits the page
so glorious in grief, unbitter now
while phantoms have the power to assuage
the songs we lost — and, then, you wonder how
a clock might tick in retrograde, repair
the wounds we rent, unswallow poison pills
before the damage settles — only fair!
Who guesses that a heated moment kills
affection so? A love song boils off
and empty winter settles in its place.
Now I regret. The universe, though, scoffs
at any notion of redeeming grace.
And so we live: with scars and cobbled songs,
flesh testaments to all our grievous wrongs.
It’s not enough to own the sun or stars,
a shard of heaven in your grasping hand,
or even shatter through the jailer’s bars
to find a way into a distant land,
abandoning the memories that cut
with all the cruelty of slipping sand,
the morning haze that leaves you wondering what
becomes of earth when heaven walks away
and masquerading devils dare to strut
like heartbreakers — they leech the lovely day
corrupting every leaf. So cut and run
and find a land where memory has no sway.
Your story does not end. You are not done,
but healing, love, is brutal once begun.
So whisper monochrome, it’s like a prayer
you couldn’t bear to raise lest God insist
on stripping even more, your breath laid bare
without the heart or muscle to resist
the days still destined: manic moments pass,
a zoetrope of chemicals that burn
your neurons into ash and bones to glass,
a fate from which no spirit could return —
if spirit still you have. It dies away,
even a perfect light will atrophy
where darkness doubles down, the dimming day
will crack at last — and even Heaven flees,
the color bleeding out — and eyes go blind;
you stumble for a miracle to find.
There’s a lot about poetry that’s confusing, especially once you pop the hood open and start digging around in the engine of what makes poetry — and language — actually work.
One distinction that’s been really difficult, I’ve noticed, for people to verbalize is the difference between poetry and prose.
Most people have a general idea of what the two mean. Like, you can recognize when something is prose, and when it is poetry. …
after Jennifer Niven
Inhale. A primal gasp. It comes to us
so simply — else, it should, but breathing is
a Herculean task — but breathe we must
to keep our blood electric with the fizz
of possibility. Flutter your eyes,
pull all of Heaven in a perfect line
and let it rescue you from sure demise,
a moment or an hour. It is fine
outside. Bundle yourself against the cold
that presses in, the heartlessness of words
thrown carelessly. …
after Richelle Mead
Tender the monster, light on jagged glass.
You grin at him, the bastard beats your ass
tomorrow. Rip the blankets from your bones
and cower there. The monster knows he owns
the hollow of your ribs, he snaps away
at fingerbones. You lose another day
or ten ’til Spirit fills your rag-doll heart
with blood and magic. Now you have to start
broadcasting charisma. Wink, smile, and grin;
drop dead and do it all over again.
Eventually you’ll fall and never rise,
you figure it’s a pre-ordained demise.
She doesn’t, though. She silences the stink. …
after Rick Riordan
Love is no jubilee, no comfort, warm
enough to stave off winter, fill a heart
left wanting, nor a shelter from the storms
that breath their thunder, crackle to a start
and settle in. Love is no meat nor mead
to satisfy a stomach turned by grief
nor will it sate the monsters left to feed
upon her prayers, upon steadfast belief
unquestioned all these years. Love is no shield,
no gladius to keep her death at bay.
Love is what, then? A warrior so skilled,
a girl, a lord, a leader doesn’t play
at politics unarmored. …
after Richelle Mead
Love is arithmetic, the precepts say,
a simple function, one and one is two;
elide the messiness, the magic sway
and you will know the righteous way, and true —
the precepts say, old men with gilded words
that echo clear through centuries of thought
who foster unity within their herds
with simple thoughts. And everything love’s not —
love is irrational, in complex planes
with chemicals. Your laboratory heart
can play at mathematics, blunting pain
with fuzzy logic. Elsewise, you can start:
abandon textbooks, peel the rubber gloves
away and lose yourself to honest love.