I wanted to dance to mainstream hip-hop for New Year’s Eve. I wanted to kick up overgrown memories of the last year I spent in the town I grew up in. Pinch the most nostalgic places until the pus of old delusion emptied from my own skin. There, I went blonder. Smoked harder. Ate my laugh from a plastic container. While I looked into your eyes, my friends, my hands were busy stitching. I wove your depressions, darker, heavier now, into my own clothes, braided your oiliest illusions into my hair and then slept. One of you gave. It is you I love like a sister, a mother, a light.
Another one of you gave while your heart orbited your body. Not like a satellite, but like a stray. Your smile split your face when I looked at it, cooed, reached to pet. I left your home with a guilt-led narrative; I’m sorry my own heart blew smoke in your eyes. We’ve only ever been soft enough to listen to each other speak. I never meant to thicken our skin with my company. I would scream into the wind until it carried you safely home.
I gave too. Even though my memory swells with feedback on the streets and in the homes and anti-homes where you present yourselves. Virginia Woolf, you said it right. It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality. Harder still, in a place in time where that is all you ever were.
I would like to defy her heavenly order
said the godless molecules
saran-wrapped to my eye
They would like to cauterize my ancestry
They would like me to do it for them.
Finally, The Big Blue Carnival is coming to town. Who is to say I do not deserve a bite? My teeth bare just as bright as the rest and I swallow the ones who were beautifully named, name is what matters most in these places, right? The name, the au jus? Pavo Cristatus was teasing through grasses along the riverbank, coming to me across the water waving all the right feathers. So I lifted his food from the ground. I told him I would have the forest jump out of its skin before we mystify a live audience. I wanted silence and moonlight to savor the blood sweetly offered to my hands; there is no glory to be savored in the dead giveaway of human faces under stage light. My beloved big top is just a mile away. First breathe it in, boiling batter and drugged livestock. Then come. I’ll be in my new position on stage with Pavo, his shoulders strung into the long, smooth strips of my whip and his princely spine sleeping in the curve of my hoop. I will say his name when the applause turns delicious and I will tell them I do it all, why, I do all of it for him.
Because I won’t tell you about lovely Christine from work who is afraid she looks 35 at 26’s melon-colored denim or how we met at a coffee shop that becomes a church on days you bike in the rain to it or on days everyone else did but you. Because I sent this bad haiku
won’t chit chat thinks i’m crazy
it is all your fault
I am anywhere and I am smoking a cigarette. People are inevitable in my scenario. I look at a young woman. She is wearing a dress of popular vintage. She isn’t atypical, but she is aware that she is strung up. How do I know she’s strung up. This conversation is happening out loud with another human. Because the human is a young man I say I have no fucking idea. I know she is strung up in the way you avoid imagining someone you love dying. Because it’s more than a chance now. You haven’t heard. You spit in the thought and make it holy. It will travel. Somewhere it gets warm and thrives. I promise. I know she is strung up like a hornet in a web. I and the girl beside me are hornets. Her mother is a hornet. No one is actually the web. The web is this coffee shop and the earth beneath it down to the blank space. Some young men pretend they are the web until the spider eats her way out. She brings them a message. It states you have failed to be a man. And so have I. My dress is still a victory suit. Even though the fabric is short. Even though the war is long.
Pick 3 stories from Google News. Using only words that occur in the first 3 paragraphs of each story, create a poem with 3 stanzas, 3 lines each, no more than 60 characters per line. The 3-word title should use a word from each story.
After The New
All extinct atoms of mountains are the pending physics
of the catastrophic quantum beast listening
for a new blue D-note held after technology is handcuffed.
So scientists study the Latin of her throat, the infant
for example they’ve named ‘Ikrandraco Fly’ they’ve flown it out
of brief wedlock and into long captured reptile
and into her district as woman alongside aerial banshees
and into her house ancient and rodent-infested as Friday
and into her backbones sprawling like new-found wingspans