Creative Writing

Flight

Leaping, the little ghetto ones try and touch rim.
The air between their weather-beaten sneakers
and the concrete is suspended hope.
They take deep breaths before each jump like
the sudden influx will lift them higher.
Higher is all they ever hope to be.
To them the sun never sets and each moment is
forever. One day, their feet will leave the
earth and they’ll never come back down.
I hope I’m there when it happens.
I want to see it.
When the little ghetto ones take flight,
realizing the rim was simply
motivation.

Siren Symphony 

Siren sounds and rainfall.
Me, some third floor balcony, listening.
“Requiem for dying mothers” playing
over desktop speakers.
12:14 am.
The branches by my window want to
separate themselves from their tree.
I don’t want to separate myself from
you.
Me the leaf and you the vine.
Headlights shine over cracked,
glistening asphalt.
Streetlamps glowing yellow.
You are the midnight thunderstorm’s
siren symphony.
Collecting into pools of reflective light
that I jump over while crossing the street.
I am the rusted brake drum skidding to
a stop, feet from my neighbor’s porch,
rich in anxiety.

Hold me until morning in your covers.
I’ll keep the window down to listen to
your complexities.

I am the single droplet born in the river
basin. You are the rolling storm yet to
come.


For You 

Almost weightless. Almost nothing.
But significant too. From on top some
mountain perch, you came raining down.
The earth wants you back in her bosom.
She pulls you from on high. The light passes
through, effortless. Sharply, the wind rips;
plummeting. A great gust pushes, thrusting up.

The forces fight for you.

Bristling through branches of tall trees,
you come down with the sound of a thumb-
pressed comb. The light, now low and star
shaped, gleams and your plumage, ruffled
and threadbare seems, to be wanting wings
again to dance and fly through pail sunset,
to freedom’s alibi.

The forces fight for you.

I stand on grassy hill. Weight shifted back,
knees bent and back bowed, ready and waiting.
The sun burnt and searing red, bends the light and
calls my bed, yet I push through the wear.
I see you first as soft, gold light and pray to coming,
starry night, I can keep you; a feather come to call.

The forces fight for you.

Yellow, gold and brownish white, so small in my hand.
Always I’ll remember this, on grassy knoll I stand.
What a bird this must have been, what a thoughtful plan.
You fell first and I did catch, how perfect did you land.

I will fight for you.


Junkyard King 

Slip through hubcaps, rotting newspapers
and week-old, putrid milk cartons. Hand to
withered hand, grasping and climbing atop
rust mountains; spilling and quaking. A bag
of bolts for trade to the hook-nosed, stealy
son of a bitch that calls this place castle.
Worth their weight in iron, the frames of dusty
Buicks sit stacked like sandwich bread.
Breaking Old # 7 bottles through windshields
just because we can. A crown made of spoked
cadillac rims slides past our eyes and burnt
rubber tire smell thick through our nose. I am
the junkyard king. You wanna test the title? Then
meet me by the mound of washing machine
engines that my grandfather would have made
into depression-era lawnmowers. Sifting and slicing
through broken glass menageries, bottle cap
daydreams bursting at the seams. Our hands get
thick with oil and we wonder what a single match
would do to a place like this. Burn it to the ground.
Then dance through the ashes. This is our
chapel. Our temple of reconciliation. God can be talked
into anything if you’ve got the goods to barter with him.
And it just so happens, that we do.


For You, We all Dressed Up Nice – Pantoum   

Sealed in the ground, wrapped in a lilac dress
Some people came, no one you remember though
The preacher sang loud hoping you’d hear
A few of us cried thinking of empty houses.

Some people came, no one you remember though
The pews were missing some cotton padding
A few of us cried thinking of empty houses
In the air was shoe polish and perfume.

The pews were missing some cotton padding
I spoke but left my child voice at home
In the air was shoe polish and perfume
Winter got us back for all the warm days.

I spoke but left my child voice at home
A blue casket just like your husband
Winter got us back for all the warm days
Two handsome men with open arms.

A blue casket just like your husband
I guess Someone grew tired of waiting
Two handsome men with open arms
Your body got worn out anyway.

I guess Someone grew tired of waiting
Sealed in the ground, covered in lilac dress
Your body got worn out anyway
Some people came, no need to remember who.


Fine China 

Hurry, tesselate the broken pieces!
Coffee cups, your mother’s collection.
She left them to you before she died.
“Some fine China,” you say.

Your feet shift atop the painted plate massacre.
You are worried that you will slip
on you backside
and fall into a memory of her.

She was painstakingly tidy.
You, of course, are not.
But you regret what you did now that you stare
down at it.

What would she have said?
You wished a thousand times as a child.
Now in all its glory, still withholding,
the feeling of victory.

Perhaps this is her crowning achievement.
To stare down from on high, whilst you
feel her cold glare;
disappointed.

Still, you muse, despite all the mess,
it is rather nice to have brewed a pot
and not have a single, ornate fussing
to put it in.


the pen and its ink 

Just see what happens.
Press the pen to the page.
Press.
Bleed ink.
Bleed.

A pool of black ink swirling.
Dive in.
Hold your breath.
Or don’t.

Swallow the ink.
Choke.
Sputter and spit ink onto the page.
Breathe.

Inhale the thick smell.
Your eyes will roll back into your head.
Your eyes.
Ask them what they see.

My arm is an extension of me.
My hand is an extension of my arm.
My pen is an extension of my hand.
Understand?

Start something
that you’ll never finish.
Finish something you
never meant to start.

Begin.


Funeral

Two men died that day. One was a follower of Christ and the other waited patiently for the coming of the messiah. Both these men had twin brothers who bore similar features. The morning of the funeral, both brothers got up and looked in their bathroom mirror. Their wives put on their wigs and woke the children.

The brothers turned the faucet of their showers and steam billowed into the tiny white washed room. As the mirror fogged, the two men rested their hands on the counter with their elbows locked. They gazed with narrow eyes into their hazy images. They each waited until their semblance could no longer be determined and they sighed.

They showered slowly, feeling each organ with patient anxiety. They dried themselves and put on dark boxers, dark knit socks, dark dress pants, a white shirt. One wore a tie and the other did not. They slipped their arms into their coat sleeves and sighed again, this time more deeply as they looked with worried faces at the mist on the mirror now dripping down onto the counter top.

Nothing was said between their families and them during the car ride to the funeral. The only sound was the rain splashing on the windshield and the gravel beneath the tires.

They helped their young ones out of the car and then their wives. The met old friends who wore somber faces. They shook hands with strangers. They nervously laughed at uncle’s best attempt at jokes.

During the service, they were the first to speak. They said little but it contained much. At the end they carried their brother’s coffin with the help of their fathers and uncles.

Rain exploded onto the hearse and slid down the automobile’s speckled black body.

While their brother’s bodies were being lowered into the ground at the burial site, each brother noticed another funeral taking place.

The brothers noticed the other for the first time. One was a Christ follower with a clean shaven face. The other patiently waited for the coming of the messiah with a long beard and no tie. They both exchanged sympathetic glances to the other.

When their brother’s coffin hit the reddish dirt it made a soft sound, like a watch ticking while wrapped in cotton.

They both wondered if it was their God who commanded the heavens. They cried and then they left.


Trust – Poem 

Trust smells funny but you eat it anyway.
It chokes your lungs but requires no mask.
It ran up a bar tab but you lose no sleep.
Trust sits neatly in a row of opaque desks.
It idols while you run inside.
It weighs 8lbs 6oz in a stranger’s arms.
Trust may not be on time but it is never too late.
It might be surprised but it will rise to the occasion.
It can make mistakes but won’t let you down.
Trust’s hands are calloused and leathery.
Its’ eyes are narrowed yet sharp.
Its’ mouth never utters a useless word.
Trust is getting up. It’s throwing it in drive.
It’s opening the door.
Trust is old enough to forget names.
It’s young enough not to know words.
It’s brave enough not to care for odds.
Trust allowed you to live today.
It makes it easier to remember yesterday
And will start and finish your tomorrow.

Trust simply is every moment yet we doubt good with such fervor,
that we forget all the forms it takes.


A Letter 

Willis Earl Beal

P.O. Box 471881

Chicago, Illinois

60647

This is me writing to you. A poet and a friend you’ve never met who knows the straining of a voice like yours. It sounds like pain and so much more, your voice that is and perhaps mine as well, but my words are made more of ink. I have been waiting for something simple that reeks of the blues and sorrow and you have delivered. Please never let words like that grow your head to an unimaginable size so that blocks out the sun from which you draw inspiration. Never fear anything, not one thing. Write songs with rage and sing so the neighbors can hear. That way people like me will hear your music and know it for its honesty, better yet its truth.

Sincerely,

Tyler Strittmatter


My Future Muse 

Celestial shores
Smoke rising and falling
Drink dripping from the bottom of the glass

And you.

You perfect something.
You wonderful lonesome.
Slightly brackish slightly sweet.
If only to taste you.

Ethereal  spiraling and looping
Back around to the flame
Calling my name.

Preeminence abounding
Your voice echoing, resounding
Speaking from the abandoned house
Across the street.

Then our eyes meet.

And I am ashamed.
Somehow I missed your beauty.
It won’t happen again.

I promise

How could I be so careless?
How could I run so far from you?

You did not take my breath away
You took my mind away
And spread my thoughts out on the table before me.
My eyes amazed at what they saw

They directed my hands to fit
The thought fragments together.
Forming a puzzle of you
You see,

That’s when I knew.

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