Monday, January 31, 2011

the stories we tell

pillow to the head
tucked in bed, mama read
stories...

mother goose, brothers grimm
swim, spin, then dance around
my head, fade to black, dreams
attack, impact, entertain my
brain, games those words play,
once eyes shut and the
lights go out----creating
brightest day, darkest night
nehemiah said don't be afraid
remember Who is and fight...

...but who am i spitting platitudes
abound inside with attitudes derived
from these stories i tell, sell my self
to myself & dictate my life,
harmony or strife, cut like a knife,
hack, saw me down to size or enlarge
the truth residing inside...

i am special, i am some body
i have an identity beyond the
serial number they gave me or
these word balloon hand grenades
raining pain heavy serenades
i repeat to myself when i say
what i say when i talk to myself...

we are the sum of the stories
spooling between our ears
leaking down drain pipes into
the gutters of our hearts---
so rewrite, right now don't
wait for tonight the stories you
rewind & replay in your mind
cause mama ain't the one reading
pillow to head, as you tuck into bed

Sunday, January 30, 2011

160/1SS - oh how sHe loves me


my girl Grace
cavorts with whores
(and molesters)

her lips a shared kiss
w/ preachers on sunday

n'er asks where i (sin) been
just awaits my repentance

my sentence
sHe loves me
anyway

What can you say in 160 characters? Go tell Monkey Man.

Also accepting the photo prompt challenge of One Shoot Sunday over at One Stop Poetry. The 'Footprints' photo by Iquanyin Moon reminded me of another rather famous Footprints.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

over easy, we

we the people
gather on stools & at tables,
in corners, in order
to create a more perfect union,
potatoes, regular, sweet, &
carmelized onion, over easy and runny,
thickening between
carved fruit, raw & juiced
bacon, fried, we the people
are all colors, flavors, lapped
up with toast & smiling with
crumbs on our lips, where java sips
wake us to the dream of
if only we could order take out &
carryout these brief moments
beyond the jangling doors of this
breakfast nook, coffee shop

Thursday, January 27, 2011

55 - Love Force # 5


horizon, her rising, her eyes on
meeting me halfway between
heaven and earth, where breath
comes in gasps, color on canvas
we paint with our fingers, linger
not too long or too little, just
enough to hear the music, two
hearts make, sync-o-pate-ing rhythm
wind blows, windows, inside sighs
smooth, textured, love is...art.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

The painting  above (Love Force #5) was created by an incredible artist I met on a recent trip to Asheville, NC. His name is Jonas Gerard. Among other things he does performance painting, which is a feast for the senses. Tomorrow at One Stop Poetry, you can see more of his works and maybe even write your own poetic interpretation.

You can find Jonas Gerard at www.jonasgerard.com.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

there yet?

long neck slate back
dinosaurs roam foam high
over roadside rhinos &
old men hustling kids for
quarters to see boxed
baby rattlers in gas
station parking lots

life looks different viewed
through rear seat windows
back when we were kids &
the world was a circus we
were driven to ring by
ring, mostly entertained
always hurrying to get there

daddy, are we...there yet?
are we there yet?
are we?


look i told you
if you ask one more time...


ooookkkkk...

but not much has changed,
our face in the rear view
mirror, slightly older, still
chasing the next big thing
only now we sit behind the
wheel, white knuckled schizo-
frantic, can't stop changing
direction, wondering when
we ever gonna get there, with
no one to ask but ourselves

too afraid to jump the arm
rest, give in and trust,
curl up in the backseat
dreaming dinosaurs roaming
high over roadside rhinos &
maybe occasionally still
asking, daddy are we...

imperfect prose

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One Shot: pride, in the men's room

a man stands at the urinal staring
even though a copy paper
sign taped across its mouth reads

OUT OF ORDER

as if his last hope is a flush
that just got rolled by four deuces
& even though it goes
against guy bathroom protocol
eyes level i ask:

hey buddy, you ok?

& he grunts and goes on staring
the stare that guys get when
they think they can handle all the
junk they been carrying as if
it were some ritual to prove you
could wrestle a grizzly, if called upon
or that manhood were me-
assured by the amount of shit
you can take and still keep your
mouth shut, until the paint peels
in long strips from your sanity
as it claws its way out, i been there,
but i know, so i say:

alright then, have a good day

& as i head out the door
the air freshener hisses its con-
demnation in a spray of antiseptic
floral scent, which is super manly,
but even that won't cover up the
fact that he is dying under the weight
of two ply lies he tries to hide inside

Welcome to One Shot Wednesday - where all the best poets jump in the mosh pit...hey we are all legends in our own mind right? smiles. write soomething poetic, come join us. It all gets rolling at 5 PM EST.


A special request of all my friends that tweet...we are in the running for a Shorty Award over at One Stop Poetry...currently in second place with one week to go. So if you tweet, please tweet a vote for us in the #art category...matter of fact, go HERE and vote for...

@OneStopPoetry in #art because...(you must give a reason) we create community in art, we promote youth poetry or whatever...

Monday, January 24, 2011

beauty, revisited (wHoly yours)

unclean, unclean
i scream
giving fair warning
when i come across beauty
so my eyes may not
defile it in the looking
though i find myself
peeking between fingers
just to catch a glimpse

strike me blind if you must
i can not resist

Sunday, January 23, 2011

160 - finding rhythm with the street

accordion, violin
street band

down the window
let their song
climb in

tease our ears
& give it
a ride, from

corner of our
mouths til
sunsets tide

What can you say in 160 characters? go tell monkey man.

just a little joyful moment today. have been traveling this weekend and yesterday saw a couple street bands...love music on the street...still have their song in my head this morning...driving back today so see you soon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

55 - significance


& all
that creeps
& crawls
& all
that fly
or swim
these city streets
i walk
i give names

to let you
know that
you've been
seen behind
those drawn shades
& even when
the lights
dim, your name
they can't
take away

no one can
take away

no one can
take away

significance

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

exorcising demons

a thousand hands clapping at once, rain provides the back drop beat to the morning on the roof as we wait in huddled masses. no one really talking so much as just existing in the moment, not wanting to break the morning zen between the last sip of coffee and settling into a seat on the bus. even the sun stays silent, muted rays filter through grey blanket clouds, leaving the world black & white.

those hands
cupped chin
whose thumb
found tear &
wiped away
their stain
the same ones
that beat the
shit out of me
just hours before.

thanks dad
for giving me
a hand.

his poem sits fat in my memory, all other thoughts pinned beneath its scabrous legs so i just watch as breath billows in clouds from my lips. sixteen, he is sixteen, and pissed off as a hurricane, looking for someones town to run through to make himself feel. his pain is real, his questions unanswerable, but he is talking now, not letting the dragon sup on his entails.

glasses and hat man wrestles his arm to check his watch and our clutch shifts in unison beneath the awning. the bus is late, i already know and wish i could think happier thoughts, but the storm has me stuck in a moment.

seriously, what do you say, when he wants to know why and i tell him it was not fair, that he did not deserve it but years of conditioning beg me to prove it. hands twitch open, closed, open as he shakes in exertion to hold back the tears that brand him weak, until i give him permission & he buries his head in my chest.

i step to the side to allow another person to squeeze inside, and let the rain mingle with the wet lines on my face.

his dad steps out of the bathroom, eyes meet as he smirks, disgust at our embrace, then turns away.

the bus drags to halt and the line begins moving, hiding under newspaper or briefcase.

it's going to be okay, i repeat.

it's going to be okay.

and i am not sure who i am trying to convince,

him or

myself, as i find a seat and watch the raindrops converge, then race down the window, the world black & white, but only on the outside.

thanks father
for giving me
a hand.

Imperfect Prose

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One Shot: I AM, not stupid or blind

i have an eye for beauty
just one, the other sees the ugly
barely maintaining balance
two kids on a seesaw

when one jumps off
sending tail bone into throat
careful or you'll choke
it's just that i look in

unusual places, hoping not
to have my one good eye poked out
by prying fingers trying to keep
us ignorant under smog colored rainbows,

perfection isnt pretty, chiseled
out on the edge of the mad doctor's
blade, nip, tuck, snip, suck
thin enough to pick my teeth

after sunday dinner, chicken,
mashed potatoes n' peas, round in
all the right places, over
rib bone xylaphones plink, plink,

plink, childrens songs woven in
the message we sell them, they
are not good enough, smart enough
to do much beyond whats already been

done by our generation, nothing new
under the sun, beating down on our
backs, dying lonely among crowds
of people all walking the same direction

but then again thats just visual
on pages glossy til sticky
in mens facilities, i like to find
mine in the scents of those tender

places i nuzzle and salt of your neck,
lick like they lure deer in for the kill,
you slay me, but thats just sexual,
nothing inside, blood pump-pump-pumping

me round back to the heart of the matter,
scarred but still thumping, yet willing
to whistle a tune for the deaf ones
that can not afford much more than

a free meal at the shelter, helter
skelter flowers growing in cracks
on the sidewalk, or pots broken
glued back together and painted

by children in big blotch blossoms,
roots deep in earth's busom, suckling
sweet nectar, living water, not
stagnant pretending jesus loving only

so far as it threatens your life,
creating stife in your comfort,
what is it that scares you when
you look in the mirror, unable to

write beauty in big bold letters with
black permanent marker beneath your
smile and believe it, more than vultures
picking your carcass, how does this

skirt make my ass look, beautiful baby
just beautiful & i'd be stupid to say
or think otherwise & we both know
i am not stupid, just blessed with

an eye that sees beauty, another that
sees ugly, that together see reality,
or maybe just a bit beyond it.

One Shot Wednesday - Poetry in Motion, write one, come join us. I am hosting tonight and will open the flood gates open at 5 pm EST.

Monday, January 17, 2011

the trashman cometh

empty cardboard container, whey protein
banana/orange peels
paper towels (12) one with automotive oil
carry out boxes, chinese
milk carton
condoms (6)
envelope, Bank of America
subscription card, pornography
beer bottles, imported (12)
drip coffee filters (8)

coffee grounds cover everything spilling from the gaping wound in the side of the generic trash bag slouching in the center of my living room. these are just a few of the things that litter the spaces between odd colored puddles in the creases of a plastic sheet i drape over the carpet to keep it from staining. menthol lip balm dabbed under our noses does little to cut the acidic scents that invade our noses with long putrid fingers.

his name is joe, he likes to look nice, cares for his appearance but is cheap behind the scenes. his girlfriend is the blond, i have pictures, from the balcony of the two story apartment across the way but she doesn't know anything about friday night visitors. his roommate thought this was funny to share with a nice complete stranger he met, me, in the coffee shop. "oh you live there, i am just down the way, maybe i will stop by sometime."

joe goes to school two days a week, after work, learning to get ahead, pursuing the next big raise, so he isn't passed up or over in the office. a couple quick phone calls, flavored with information i garner from the garbage entrail covered mail and i begin to paint a picture of what joe likes, who joe is, beyond the front page of his facebook. he doesn't make his bed, i see this through the open door when i stop by to borrow something from the roommate who thought little of it. he even has a teddy bear, white with red accents.

you would be surprised what you can learn about people by what (or who) they are willing to discard. we rarely think about where our trash goes, who looks at it, or why. it just sits in heaps, waiting to be buried, so they can build monuments, tall towers of our plastic wrapped waste, if it even gets there. joe's didn't, and all that i learn fits nicely on a disc, secured in an plain mustard envelope, and he has no control over the image i project.

lucky for him it is a school project on surveillance and not something to slip under his door to remind him that someone is watching and waiting, not believing who he says he is and just maybe willing to prove him otherwise, the next time he opens his mouth, to share truth or otherwise.

the trashman cometh.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

One Shoot Sunday: Sun Stand Still


toe to toe
we throw
shadows
gang signs
bloods / crips
your lips
tag mine
street sign
to all that
come near
he's mine

low rider
droppin base
hearts race
your love
this drug
in my vein
goin insane
resistance futile
sun stand still
stop your movement
hold the moment
take a picture
of me with her
so i can remember
shadows
we throw
toe to toe

One Shoot Sunday ~ Picture Prompt Poem

Saturday, January 15, 2011

naked man waiting on the light to change

when you see a naked man standing on the street corner, waiting on the walk/don't walk sign to change, allowing him to cross the street, what do you think? are you scared? aghast? do you ignore him? yell your opinion, why don't you put some clothes on? do you point and laugh? does it make you uncomfortable? maybe there is a story, maybe he is just trying to get home, maybe....we will never know unless we know his story.

today i invite you into the journey i have been on the last couple years, the one you don't see in my writing. but maybe explains how i can write pain. its not pretty, but its real...and one day at a time i am finding my way. if you want to read more, go here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

55 - premeditated

all together now...

we push buttons
sliding plungers
down needled hallways
who knows who
placebo or killer
leaking into veins
paralyzing then killing

wind whistles through
the room in
unanimous exhalation
streets safer
for the moment, justice
slowly cooling, still
strapped to the table

deathrow, so slow
but how we roll
justifying...

murder.

Tell a story in 55 words. Give it a try or just read more, go see g-man.

I am also hosting a music prompt over at One Stop,  I wrote another 55, with a bit more love, to go with the song.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

early morning percolating

i love the taste of
cinnamon dolce latte
on your lips

&

when they ask,
whipped cream?

i say,
yes, please.

&

when you ask,
when?

i respond,
anytime.

because coffee is not
what keeps me
up @ night.

i wake before everyone else & sit in the blue black before dawn. the only things that spill out of these cracked hands are love poems. sometimes i feel that is all i have left, pick pocketed of the rest, but poor has nothing to do with a bank balance.

it is silent enough to hear the house stretch when the first rays of sun strike it in the face & i take another sip across the chipped lip of my mug, pretending it is Starbucks, as i wait for you.

Imperfect Prose

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One Shot: 365 and today (oh haiti)

John's head, Herod's plate
for saying what needed said
and i can think of a few poets
that need beheaded, for
heaven's sake---here's my
neck, take me away...

One million people, displaced,
still live under tarpaulin &
tent, One year since the quake

(sing) Haiti...Oh Haiti...

Rose raped, then discarded
among the ruins, ran when
they came for her again

(sing) Haiti...Oh Haiti...

Reconstruction, where are you
lip service on commitee floor
won't unbury anything, anyone

(sing) Haiti...Oh Haiti...

Daphne, with her new leg,
will learn to dance again
for those that haven't
forgotten, nor given in
& hope will come to those
that wait, a cup for alms
at heaven's gate, 365 and
today is not just another day

(sing) Haiti...Oh Haiti...
whatever shall tomorrow bring...
Oh Haiti...

One Shot Wednesday ~ a movement in poetry, where 100s gather each week to celebrate verse...write one, come join us.

Note: Rose & Daphne are both real people, and the estimate on those still living without a home were taken from news articles over the previous week. Wednesday will be a year.

Monday, January 10, 2011

peanut butter pie

mama usta make
peanut butter pie
on sundays fo' da
preacher man, come
visit to watch basket-
ball and wrap his
lips roun'at creamy
goodness

later in the pulpit
he be teachin on'a
sweet lure o' sin but
i, all distracted, watchin'
see when he's gonna
lick his lips n' git that
last little bit stuck n'a
corner o' his mouth.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

160/SS - in living colour



where i sit
ocean licks sky

tongue rough
with waves

it blushes
orange & pink

giggles on the
salty breeze

&

i want to
kiss you
places that
make your
soul quiver

What can you say in 160 characters? Go tell Monkey Man. And a simple water color for my friends at Sunday Sketches.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

in broad daylight, fragile life

at a stoplight in Miami, we watch a woman, wrapped in one of those dresses that look more like a circus tent, but small, covering little of her thick legs, rise from a striped stained mattress, laid cock-eyed beneath a palm tree, leaving her lover lounging at the ready. squatting by the wall, hand pressed to its mudded contours, fingers splayed for support, she relieves herself in a puddle, consumed thirstily by the hard baked ground. done, she stands, stretches, then ambles back across the sand & scrub grass & settles once more atop her man.

the light turns green, horns behind us let us know its time to go & we look at each other, uncomfortable, blaming the sunlight for blink back tears. she, someone's daughter. he, someone's son.

hot sun cold on my skin as it filters through the window.

true story. about 8 years ago, it was mid-day and we were on our way to sales call. its one of those disturbing images that sticks with you.

imperfect prose

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

one shot: reading your mail

i am the unsent letter
tucked somewhere between
Lamentations and Job
in the family Bible
browning at the edges
handwriting fading, erasing
still looking for a stamp

cut me and you will see
all the things you wanted
to say but were too afraid
(to hurt, to risk, to break
the silence. because it's
so damn comfortable just
to go with the flow---
comfort is king, bowed to
in the land of Settlefore)

but one day, when that last
breath wheezes across your
stiff lips, maybe they will
find me, set me free & know
the real you, the one you
never let anyone see...behind
dripping paint smiles & tears
kept in cups, in coat closets
to keep the floor from
getting wet & someone slip

until then i wait...
until then i wait...
until then...unsent

One Shot Wednesday - Yes it is that time again, write a poem and come join the excitement of this crazy poetic flash mob...it starts at 5 PM EST

Monday, January 3, 2011

magpie tales: her gloves, his hands


She enters the room like a cat, nudging the door open, her legs scissoring, heels clicking on the stone tile. He watches her from the couch, already playing out the evening in his head, ending in the bedroom. His eyes rise along her until he meets her face. Peeling the gloves from her hands, letting them fall on the kitchen counter, with a loud smack.

"I am pregnant."

The visions of a romantic evening crumple like paper in the fist of her statement. They had been going out for a year, enjoying a non-committal/committal relationship. Seeing each other nearly every day, but comfortable with going a day or two without. They were good friends, they were more. Hard as he tries to think of something encouraging to say, his thundering heart clogs his throat.

"Well," her tone pleads for a response, cuts him.

He turns his gaze to the television, studying the game he had been watching. He can remember nothing about it up to this point. Everything is a jumble as his mind turns over the ramifications. He was not looking to get married, that was a life killer. He watched friends slowly fade after being married, until no one saw them any more. throw in having a kid and he might as well...

"Aren't you going to say anything?"

He forces his gaze back in her general direction, but looking at her eyes is painful. He knows she can read his thoughts by the blank stare on his face. He tries to smile, tries to act happy, tries to think of anything he can say.

"Okay. What do you want to do about it?" the words explode from his mouth.

"What do I want to do about? You make it sound like I have the flu, Rick."

I am screwed, is all he can think. There is nothing he can say. Red klaxons flash in his mind, beckoning him to find a life raft. The ship is going down. He sits up, putting his face in his hands. Fire courses through his veins under the heat of her gaze, beads of sweat form at his hair line. He wants to leave, to get out of the room. Go to the store. Walk the streets aimlessly. Get hit by a car. Anything but be here, now.

"I knew it. I knew you were going to be just like this. We can't ignore this rick. We are having a baby. I know this was not in the plan, like there ever was a plan. We need to talk about this," she is moving around the counter, coming toward him.

His skin crawls. Honey barbecue corn chips scratch at the back of Rick's throat, attempting to make their own escape. He tries to breath, wheezing. His lips move, but nothing intelligible emerges, only a guttural moan, drawing her up short a few feet in front of him.

"Fine. I am going back to my place. When you decide to grow up, give me a call," peeking between his fingers he watches her heels retreat across the floor, shuddering at the force with which she slams the door.

'Get up go after her', his conscience screams, refrained by 'Are you crazy.'

He runs to the bathroom, vomiting profusely, then stumbles back into his bedroom, collapsing onto his bed, burying his face in the pillows. How did this happen? She was supposed to be on birth control. This was all her fault. She was trying to trap him. How did I even know it is mine?

His apartment is being dismantled, to make it safe for the kid, the entertainment center, with long glass shelves is replaced by a press board piece of junk from one of those big box retailers, his movies are replaced by sing-a-longs with big colorful animals. His leather couch sags where children have jumped on it, even though they have been told not to. Instead of his stylish button up shirt, he is wearing a spit stained sweatshirt to hide the extra twenty pounds he gained.

The trill of his cell phone ringing shatters the flow of images. Raising his head, Rick realises he must have fallen asleep. The clock says it is mid evening. He looks around looking for the phone, anxious that it may be her. Remembering it is in the kitchen, he leaps off the bed, dashing to catch it before it stops ringing.

Grabbing the phone from the counter, he answers, "Hello?"

"Mr. Calloway, I hope you are having a good evening. My name is..."

Thumbing the button to disconnect the call, he places it back on the counter, "Stupid telemarketers."

Before he knows what he is doing, Rick scrolls to her name in his contacts list, Marissa. He catches his finger as it is lowering on the SEND button. What am I doing? What would I even say? He pushes the phone away from him, sliding it across the counter until it stops against her gloves.

Her gloves, she must have left them. He moves around the counter, taking them in his hands. He is surprised at how warm they are. Soft, empty fingers drape around his hand. Salty air. Boards creak beneath their feet. The first time they ever held hands, after their first date, walking along the pier.

Now a little boy, his small hands engulfed in their own, swings between them. His sandy brown hair dances atop his head. The boy has Rick's eyes, but mostly he is Marissa. Beautiful like Marissa. Rick drops the gloves back to the counter, scrolling once again to find her name, when the phone rings.

"Hello," his voice cracks.

"Hi," her voice takes his breath, "Look, I was upset earlier. I know this is hard for you."

"Yes. I..."

"Please, don't interrupt. This is hard enough for me too. I am not really pregnant. I just wanted to see, if you really loved me. I think I got my answer. Don't ever call me again Rick," the click of her disconnect roars in his ears.

He lowers the phone, staring at it. The little boy waves as he continues down the pier. The gloves stare at Rick, like a wild animal. Their crumpled skin seems to smile, mocking him. The phone clatters to the floor, as he snatches the gloves, squeezing, spinning around the apartment as if he is wrestling with them, until he falls onto the couch. . He howls violently, shuddering. They cling to his hands.

Even though they are far too small, he forces his hands into the mouths of her gloves. Seams stretch, then pop as he pushes harder and harder until they are around his hand. They are mere rags compared to what they once were, but they are there. He laughs the laugh of a man that has lost everything, including his mind.

A strange contentment settles on him as he runs a gloved finger along his cheek, tracing trails of tears. Using the remote, he turns off the television and goes to his room. Curling up on the bed he stares at his gloved hands until drifting off to sleep, where he dreams he is a boxer, in the late rounds of a match. He is beat up pretty bad, can barely see out of one eye. He is losing. He knows he can not win.

This is a Magpie Tale.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Writing Break

Just a note to say I will be taking a writing break for a few days this week. I will be around here and there, but if you don't see me, I will be returning later in the week. Hope you are having a great first couple days of the new year. See you soon.

~Brian