I told her she doesn’t recite poetry, she IS Poetry.
She smiled so I could see all of her teeth –
Held out her hand and I traced the wrinkles
until I hit a timeline I could relate to.
Poets, more than regular folks, share a
common history. We walk through our blood lines
just like anybody else, but we have these highs
and lows that you can trace on our hands and on
our faces. I know she got called “nigger girl” on the
bus. I know she had to force a man off her young body.
I know she wishes that one, particular pain would end,
but she doesn’t know where she’d be without it. I talked
smooth like sandpapered wood and acted like I could ease all of her pains
but once she got wise to what I was doing she
said, “Fuck off” – almost like she blew a cigarette in my face: her eyes
said I don’t care how many people are at this bar, I’ll stab you in public.
IS Poetry can remove her look quick, like mascara on a cocktail napkin.
Her smile is a front and her patients, thin. She is militant and radical.
She doesn’t belong to country clubs or frequent gala affairs.
She’s my winnowing heroine.
As she left, she kissed me on the cheek and whispered,
“Try and tame me again, and I kill you.”
The trail, brown and worn, is thick with roots – it slips and churns through rock caves, sand and dirt. I find myself forgetting to look up, focusing instead on keeping my footing. I remember the river next to me, and all of a sudden, I pick my head up and I see a new translation of beauty. Caleb stops to take the scene in. Rhododendron leaves line the trail – they brush against my face and it feels as though we’ve walked through several (back) countries in the past mile. “I’m almost expecting to see snow up ahead,” Bevan calls back laughing. We nod in agreement, smile at the plausibility, with sweat dripping down our faces.
I haven’t carried a pack this size before. I almost tip over with each defined step and bob from right to left and back to right. Jacob slides under fallen trees, grabbing at the bark to keep his balance. The upslopes are definitely harder, though the downs burn our knees. It’s not much farther, which is good for me because now I’m really breathing heavy.
We climb that last upslope to the site, which sits next to a boulder, and tear the buckles off our packs. It feels like we earned our dinner and our sleep. We laugh with mouths full of potatoes and drink expensive bourbon first to toast and diluted bourbon later. It is almost like you are sleeping in the hammock behind us, with a big grin on your face – hands laced, resting on your stomach. Maybe you are, in some way, but if you aren’t then we hope the toasts reach up to the place you are now. Maybe “up” is the wrong word. Maybe it’s more like “out.”
The-last-great-goodbye came without so much of a wave.
There was no yelling like one might expect.
There was no final stand.
There was no reaching out and calling you back, dripping in sweat and tears.
I memorized your dark gray silhouette; watched it leave.
Watched it never come back.
I miss you.
That’s all I really wanted to say.
In fact, everything I say these days is just code for,
I miss you.
Right in the middle of the story.
Followed by moving and touching.
Metaphors that are unclear but will soon be deciphered.
Personal story from before the great war.
Pull quote from General about power hunger.
Explaining the quote with more personal story, but this time, during the war.
Those sneaky metaphors are beginning to take shape…
A map showing the impacted region.
A scale to compare to your thumb nail.
(Inside your head there are violins playing)
THE NARRATOR IS ACTUALLY THE YOUNG BOY!
Pan all the way out.
“We are all tiny specks falling like snow over Chernobyl.”
I am a flat, graphite sketch
on a interdimensional being’s
I look to my right and left
and the being is shouting
at me about depth.
Depth? I ask. Like, what
in the hell is that? Then I
skip away feeling heavy.
I know the being is there,
but I can’t see it/him/her.
The being is blue-silver.
I pray to the being every
night, even though it/him/her
recently erased some of my friends.
I’m not super scared of getting
erased – mostly because, what
does that feel like, ya know?
My world is screens and planes.
The being’s world is cubes and shadows.
Maybe I wanna see stuff like that.
“Everyone gets erased at some point,”
the other 2Ds tell me. I wonder sometimes
about the thickness of this page.
If I am a drawing, is there a drawer?
Woah! Creation ideas abound in two
I am a bunch of curvy
and straight lines. The being is
Maybe I will never understand
the ways of the being. Maybe
I’m too thin to take all that in.
It’s so American it hurts your teeth
So laid back but without the beach
So 1950s that Elvis ain’t dead
So Midwest see the back your head
The blues are not my own
I borrowed them
Ok, I stole
That’s what music is,
Cover up the parts
that everyone knows
and make them
When a new music is born
So savage and violent
like guerilla warfare –
I love it
Slow it way down
until you can’t recognize
anything from the original
No music is inherently anyone’s –
It belongs to whoever conquered it
And left their flag on top
(Bitterly) I’m only halfway up
the insufferable mountain
I dropped my sword an hour ago
Hand to hand
Fist to fist
Till I’m dead
Till we’re all dead
Conflict is as human
as the blues
That’s why I love it
That’s why I stole it
When I sing, you can’t even tell