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SmokeYou smoked, and everyone hated that. The cigarette would hang loose between your knuckles, tendrils of smoke mimicking the tracery of veins and tendons that stood out along the back of your hand. You could do the most graceful French inhales, and sometimes you'd lean in close and grab me and kiss me, blowing warm smoke into my mouth. The scent would always cling to meI'd drag it back home with me and there would always be a fight over it.
You were sparrowlike, all taut pale skin and prominent bones. Your hipbones jutted slightlysharp elbows, sharp knees, a sharp jaw softened by cornsilk hair. When I ran my fingers down your back I could always feel every vertebra in your spine, a steel column anchoring you down. More smoke. More fights at home. You never belonged here and never would.
Lay back. Relax. Anythinganything you want. I'd close my eyes and forget to breathe because I knew you weren't mine. If anything, I was yours, a toy that trembled and kissed back.
MelismaOh chant your high descant and call
The thund'rous roll of heaven down--
The windows round and gasping light
Will tremble in their mortar holds--
Embolden all their quaking panes;
Fix fast to bricks their concrete frames;
The dome above support with prayers--
Each fresco and each stone enscrolled
Your harmonies should wend about:
Organ, your pipes piping must be
The bellows wailing breath in them;
Your iron soul half-stopped, release!
The world's song play for me.
And stones hewn free from sandstone cliffs
Must echo with their grainy voice,
Their red must bleed the blood they shed
As rosy dust upon the pews
Into the strain roving around--
Their sound is fair and should augment
The strident and the stately hymn--
Become the air! Your dust will clear
But still immortal you shall be
Within the song I hear.
But you, dear voices of the woods
Are lost with every tree new-felled
And quiet as the music stops.
Old flutes can play your tunes for you
They do so when the choir leaves
Winnie in the FallIt was cold. The wind bit Winnie’s lips and pecked at her cheeks—but she didn’t want September’s kisses, tonight. She ducked her head, but the wind ran its fingers through her hair and through the branches of the golden trees. She swayed with them.
When was the last time she had eaten? The leaves looked like hardened honey in the dwindling sunlight. She wondered what they tasted like.
Reaching for one of the branches, she gazed furtively around the empty park—empty but for the man sitting on the wooden bench. Her heartbeat quickened. She hadn’t had to beg since—well, since her parents had kicked her out, a few months ago. She had managed to get by shifting from one couch to the next, until she had been eventually abandoned by her so-called friends.
But here she was, the skin on her hands beginning to crack from the cold. Taking a deep breath, she approached the silhouette.
“Excuse me, sir. Do you have any change?” At second glance,
This had never happened before. And tonight, of all nights! He glanced at the clock, grimaced, and paced some more. Where was he?
Behind the curtain, he heard the chatter of the crowd, the beat of the music.
Marv the Magnificent, the "compere extraordinaire", strode up to Sammy and gave him a questioning look. Sammy answered with a shrug. Marv looked at his watch, wiped his brow, sipped from a tin hip-flask.
"It's now or never, Sam. Do or die. I believe you can do this on your own - but he'll be here yet."
Seeing the fear in his star attraction's eyes, Marv put a hand on Sammy's shoulder. "He'll be here yet", he repeated.
Marv swept out onto the stage. The lights - those oh-so-important lights - flared and blazed. The audience roared. Marv did his thing. Sammy listened nervously, jealously. Marv could perform alone; but he couldn't.
Sammy glanced around once more. He walked in front of a spotlight. Nothing. He swept his majestic cape. Nothing. M
with thanks to salingerAudio version.
it's on those cold mornings
when you are nothing but indrawn breath
swirling and knitted up inside too-big
skin and weightless bones--
when the horizon arches up against
the half-thawed tendrils of sunrise
with golden teeth,
and smiling, begs--
it's on those cold mornings
when leaving is easiest.
the car will be cold, and you will
shiver, and the engine,
much too loud,
will smack of blasphemy
but you will find peace in the steady roll
of tarmac and the yellowing light
spilling across it,
with dust motes kicked up and carried
like fish in the undertow.
when you come to that first
crossroads, it will shock you:
the way the decision hangs there
trembling and desperate--
but there are no right answers and you will not
hesitate. and each successive choice
will be made of its own accord,
and you will roll the windows down,
and draw down the scent of ear
Who gives this woman?No one can,
for she was free and wild
before she left my womb,
Said her mama.
No one can,
for she was free and wild
before she let go my hand,
Said her daddy.
No one can
bind the wind that is her breath
trap the water that is her blood
cage the earth that is her bones
capture the fire that is her heart
Said her granny.
No one may give what is not owned.
AppassionataPlay me a waltz, loud, and let it rumble across the miles. Breathe life back into corpses and let their spirits do the talking. Chopin can sweettalk me easy, we both know that, and Beethoven is that brooding whisper in my ear. Play me a waltz because sound travels through oceans of smog and human souls and arid sky. Make me dream of concert halls and the vineyard on the coast, and paperbacks lying amid scraps of masterpieces yet to be put together. Remind me how the sea tastes. Remind me of the thunderstorms we haven't seen, and pens we haven't drained. Tell my fortune in C sharp minor and let the low notes resonate inside my chest and set my ribs humming like steel strings. Play me a waltzand let it thunder.
strangeryou came clinging to the grace of a summer storm's
underbreath, came cold hands and tired eyes
and a bruised lip i'd longed to kiss
when you stumbled on night listing
too far to the left
cross my thistledown garden by old dusks
that wilt between, i'll keep my door open:
your lady in sepia doesn't live here, only
the ghosts and i -- and Grandmother,
in the far-between wanders when she can
but i've a place where you can
lay your wayworn bones to dry, and
if morning should come calling, i'll not
tell her where you sleep. and stayed awhile.
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