Saturday, April 30, 2016

Shatter


Glass eggs shiver in a glass nest
Glass larva wriggle in a glass hive
The desert air was so dry it gave us nosebleeds
The sand had turned to glass all around the blast site
We skidded across it like we were skating on ice
There were floaters in my eyes,
transparent water striders on the surface of a crystal pond
The sunlight glinted off every desiccated weed,
every shriveled glass leaf
Glass scorpions scuttled beneath glass rocks
Coiled snakes shook their glass rattles
Glass owls made burrows in glass cactus
I took your hand like cracked leather
Your tongue was still soft though, even if
our mouths were dry
Glass jackrabbits crouched in clumps of glass sagebrush
to hide from glass coyotes, even though their teeth
would merely crack against their hides
Glass toads, glass tarantulas
I could go on but you get the idea
We could see through everything
but each other
And that is what kept us together
as the rest of the world became
completely invisible

Friday, April 29, 2016

Roses

A man lies on a red leather sectional
in the lobby of the museum.
A curvaceous woman with a ponytail
stands beside him, not touching him, waiting
for an ambulance to arrive. He had staggered in
through the front doors after apparently
toppling into the rose bushes across the street
in the park. The EMTs fiddle with their
various devices. They revive him
and wheel him out strapped to a stretcher
with an oxygen mask on his face.
A half dozen cops show up just as everything
is ending, apparently the man had ODd
and was given a shot of Narcon and had somehow
gotten away before he could be taken
to the hospital. 
I thank the woman for her help. She says
the artery in the man's neck was throbbing wildly
even though he was barely breathing.
All day I think about that pulsing vein,
think about my own blood circulating
around around, think about that woman
and her hard, beautiful face, wonder who
will stand beside me when I am lying
perfectly still, my face and hands
lacerated by thorns 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sleep Fierce

I find myself constantly longing for more
than pleasant distraction. Sometimes
it's what we settle for but it always seems 
to turn sour sooner or later.
I want the deep dive
I want the blooming flare
I don't want to feel merely okay,
though in the wake of trauma
that in itself can be enough
for a while.
Right now for instance I'd be happy
to be able to walk without this pain
every time I take a step.
But after a while I'd once again start 
to want more, would yearn again 
for passion, for depth, for flight

Because if none of it feels urgent, 
if none of it feels necessary,
then what's the point?
I'm not saying it has to be consant.
Rest is important. In between bursts of fire
it's good to cool down and breathe but
where is that fire

We are stiff, we are flat, we are blank
Notice the hollow look in our eyes,
notice the slouch, the gaping mouth
We are proving that the dead can in fact dance
a lackluster shuffle ending in a pirouette
that suspiciously resembles a slump
to the comfortable carpet, with a battle cry
that sounds a lot like a snore. 
I'm tired of dreaming. I want to awake
with a roar. I want us to scream
into each others' mouths, 
to laugh and kiss and cry
and never stop feeling ever again  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

In the Dark Night in the Lonesome Woods the Wind

A little chimney made of sand and pebbles
squats on the bank of the creek, built 
by a crayfish, though she’s never seen him, 
only his mound as it slowly grows 
and gets beaten down by the rain 
and grows again.

She crouches by the carcass of a fox,
its cold pelt covered in ticks.
Peepers chirp so loudly I can’t hear her voice
on the other end of the line
when she passes the bog.

A fat raccoon waddles along the trail,
and when she returns to the creek she’s greeted by
a black bear lumbering through the brush, its coat
blacker than the sky. It ignores her
and disappears into the trees and she makes
a dash for the house, carefully stepping over
the nightcrawlers in the onion patch
stretched out across the furrows to silently mate
before they, like her, slip back into their holes.

American

A middle-aged black man
standing beside 
the highway on-ramp
holding a cardboard sign 
that reads

HI I’M
TOM 
CRUISE

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lemonade

     The more they dance, the worse I feel. All that black flesh jiggling and shimmying and flopping and flapping, this line of dancers on the edge of the desert lip-synching to BeyoncĂ©, and my face is lobster red, I’ve been buried up to my chin in the sand for hours, every once in a while one of the dancers will break from her routine to come over and give me a squirt and splash of chartreuse citrus Gatorade and I find myself praying for an earthquake to free me before the worms start mistaking my flesh for just more dirt, and thank Jesus the sun is starting to sink, the sky is turning fluorescent orange the shadows are fresh shiner purple I watch as the tallest of the dancers squats and pisses into the sand just a few feet from my face, snarling at me as she does so and a thousand paper parachutes fall right on cue at the stroke of dusk and the wind machine scatters them across the barren landscape and a flatbed truck pulls up and the girls stop dancing and load up all the gear the cameras the speakers the wind machine the wardrobe cases and then they jump in themselves and speed off in a cloud of dust leaving me buried there, making sure to keep my mouth shut so as not to present a warm place to hide for any chilly tarantulas or scorpions

Monday, April 25, 2016

Eastlack

           His skeleton kept growing, knitting together, turning his tendons and musles into bone. He became a knotted mass of spurs nd knobs and jagged, irregular shapes mocking symmetry, going against all of the hard work that went into evolving the humn form in the first place, forcing it to go to wild, painful extremes. What is it like to know you are freezing in place, that you are slowly turning to stone? To know you are doomed to become  a statue, feeling yourself stiffen little by little, less and less able to make the smallest gesture?

          My foot hurts, every step sending pain shooting through my body. I was on crutches for months, and then they made me new orthotics, and after all this time the pain is worse than ever. I fear I will need surgery and eventually lose the entire foot. I’m paralyzed with fear and resentment. And then I think of Harry, who could not even move his jaw to speak, who could not even hold a pencil in his fused-together fingers by the end. He could not articulate his horror, though I wonder, would it have done any good if he had been able to? What would it have helped?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mosaic

Crumbs of glass from a smashed car window
mint green, ice green
scattered across the sidewalk, glittering in the sunlight
pretty beads freed from a necklace
to mix with the sepia shards of a smashed Rainier bottle.
Praise the man whose inspired act of vandalism
gave us this spectacle! Was it performed
in the spirit of burglary, or aggression,
or was it purely an act of artistic expression?
I know, the impulse was most likely destructive
rather than creative. Nevertheless,
there it is, one violent action resulting
in accidental beauty. Of course, it’s easy
for me to appreciate without much anxiety.
I don’t even own a car.

Yuba City

It’s nearly midnight and I’m
sitting in the booth by the window of the bar
in the very seat she sat in during our second and final date
She told me she used to own a witchcraft shop
in San Francisco’s Mission District.
She also told me about a house she owned
in Yuba City. The husky of one of her tenants
had dug up a number of objects in the backyard,
including a doll head and some coyote bones
and a ceramic pot containing a human skull. 
She explained that the things had been buried 
by a former roommate of hers, a shaman
of some sort, as part of some ritual.
She had a lot of interesting stories.
I enjoyed her company.
She dropped me off at home afterwards.
I gave her a goodbye hug. She seemed
taken aback, offended even.
I imagined her jet black hair streaming from her head
her eyes wild as she wrapped her claws
around her phone and deleted my number.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tremble Dance

A row of fire extinguishers sits on the edge of the loading dock

I open my hand and something falls to the concrete floor

A single orange traffic cone lies on the sidewalk

On the phone I know when you're nearing the pond
Your voice gets lost among the peepers

I dreamed of a sea of burning nectar






Her dress is covered with both stripes and polka dots
I feel like it's going to give me a seizure

I was very, very careful
And then I wasn't

I take a photograph of you in the arms of a statue

The children stand in a line, as still as fire extinguishers

The egg cracks and there is another egg inside.

A glass centipede skitters across the windshield
followed by a glass caterpillar
slowly inching in its wake

Something crunches underfoot


A butterfly lands on the bridge of her nose
and covers her eyes with its bright blue wings

Our hivemates shiver
We join the hunt

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Proletariat Mourns the Death of Prince

Valet flashes a silver grin as the pair of sunglasses behind the wheel of the BMW hands him a buck. Caterers dash in and out of the service entrance wheeling plastic-wrapped carts of precooked meals for the Cancer benefit luncheon. A national sandwich chain is selling dollar sandwiches all afternoon, the line goes out the door and around the block, twisting all over the city. Off duty security guards, bus drivers, baristas, janitors, exterminators, customer service representatives all wait for their cheap subs, limit two per customer. The sky above is breathless blue and Prince died today, leaving the internet in a state of howling lament, it's all anyone is talking about, the smokers in the alleys behind the restaurants, the candy stripers and concierges, the window washers. The glittery husk drops away and an enormous purple butterfly emerges, its wings already tattered, its body gripped by some sort of gooey rot, it flaps heavily from its cocoon then collapses as we all keep saying the same thing over and over, how could this happen, how could he leave us so soon, how can we go on... the bike messenger flips over the handlebars, the meter maid puts tickets behind the windshield wipers on every car on the block, someone spills coffee all over the box of leftover crullers in the break room...a million eggs, shiny and violet, squirt from the underside of the dying butterfly but not one of them will hatch.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Compact Fluorescent

Ron the light bulb salesman stops by nearly every day. This is a big place and we do go through a lot of bulbs but it seems like weekly visits should suffice. He's a nice guy but overly friendly. "Thank you my friend, thank you. You're a good man. Thank you. Thank you," he'll say, gripping your hand like it was a rope thrown to him from the deck of a ship. "It's like selling hamburgers," he says every time I see him, "You have to sell a million of 'em to make ends meet." From what I hear Ron does just fine for himself. Sends his kids to good schools,  owns a nice big home in the suburbs and another at the beach. The switch over from incandecsents to the new energy-saving models was a particularly profitable for him. For a while there he was swinging by twice a day instead of just once. One time I remember we had a shortage of a certain hard-to-find bulb and we had to put a rush order through a competing supplier. When Ron came in and saw the boxes sitting there he suddenly stopped talking and thanking me and walked over to them. He bent down and examined the boxes, reading the shipping labels carefully. I made a joke and he just nodded and looked distracted and left without saying another word. I didn't see him for a couple of days after that. When he returned he seemed his old, manically effusive self. "Thank you so much my friend. Thank you." Then he paused. "I may be getting too old for this," he said, then squeezed and pumped my hand and thanked me seven or eight more times and got into his gigantic pick up truck and sped away.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Chrysalis

What was the precise moment you stopped listening?
Ask the bluebottle. Ask the mosquito. Ask the cicada.
They all tried to get your attention, all attempted
to deliver the message. The moths cast
giant shadows across your face,
the centipedes did an interpretive dance
across your chest, but you noticed nothing.
The grasshoppers chewed leaves into letters
to spell out words of warning, but you did
not read them. The fire ants stung
and the chiggers bit and you felt nothing.
The spiders made a silvery wig of your hair,
the stink bug spritzed perfume on your wrists,
the termites strung a pearly necklace
of eggs around your throat to no avail.
You had fixed your gaze on some better world
and nothing would bring you back
to waste more time in this one.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Waggle Dance


Your voice is not just the wide-open blossom
it's the buzzing, dancing bumblebee that collects
the bright spray' of pollen,
it's the delicate geometry of the comb,
it's the drop of honey that lands on my tongue
to...I'm sorry, I can't keep this up,
this kind of shit always seems so corny but
these sensations, these feelings are real and maybe it's best
to try not to talk about them but you know how it is when you're
stung, you want to scream from the rooftops,
you want the whole world to share in your
obnoxious fucking blissful insufferable madness,
you feel like if you try to contain it your entire being
will pop like a swollen balloon, it's so
goddamn disgusting but there it is your voice
your smile your hands I fucking love you god damn it, it's
probably going to kill me with a million tiny barbs
and the sad thing is I don't even care, I can't even be bothered
to try to cloak this feeling in poetry, anyways I have a feeling
it wouldn't let itself be bound by such
flimsy constraints, you swat one and
a thousand others swarm to take its
place I love you little bee let's drown
in this nectar together god damn it I can't
believe I just said that

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mousetrap

They laid out the corpses of the giant rats side by side,
saying they thought they got so big by eating other rats.
He turned from the screen and looked out at the nearly
finished high rise, home of his future fan base.
And he understood all the bite the hand that feeds you shit,
but Jesus these kids who filled the stadiums
where he played these days –no shoebox clubs
for this mouse- were the kinds of rich jocks
who shoved him around in highs school. How had they
become his audience: the tech bros, the trust fund douchebags,
 did they really relate to his songs, with their lyrics about death,
about peeling back the hide from the skeleton of the universe?
And yet they kept swarming in droves, pumping their fists
and bobbing their baseball caps. Their credit cards paid
for the narcotics, the tacky art, the taxidermy…
he stroked the faded tail of the fox that snarled on his desk.
Funny how no amount of money could get you one of those
huge rats. He’d certainly tried. Someday he would wear a robe
of their pelts, don a crown of their incisors, and he’d hold court
in the penthouse of one of those glass palaces,  unable to see
the filthy streets below for the clouds.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Shard

We went to a performance at the Armory,
a woman telling the story of her mother,
who had been a young pianist in Vienna
during the Second World War.
After the horrors of Kristalnacht,
her family sent her via the Kindertransport
to live in a foster home in England.
She never saw her parents again,
but aside from that her life was a series
of lucky breaks which didn’t make
for the most compelling story.
The daughter broke up the narrative
with classical pieces she played
competently, though without passion
on a grand piano while historical footage
was projected inside picture frames
on the wall behind her. It was pretty schmaltzy
and oddly devoid of tension despite its setting.
I kept sneaking glances at you.
I’d never seen you in that dress before
splashed like ink across your body.
You placed your hand on my knee, fingers dancing
along with the music up and down my leg,
I couldn’t wait to walk you home –it was
a beautiful night, and your apartment
was around the corner- I couldn’t wait to hear
you shatter the windows with your cries
and tear the sheets
Though when the final note of Grieg’s Symphony faded away
I remembered that I was sitting there alone
and I closed my eyes
and squeezed your hand
in that single silent moment
before the applause came crashing down

Friday, April 15, 2016

Drilling Into Dollskull

Four masks facing each other start to whirl around
then drop down, their sharp edges cutting into
the porcelain scalp. Soon there is a hole
and we all step down into it, descending
the spiral staircase, ducking beneath
the granite chandeliers, making sure not to grip
the sticky banister. On the first landing
we pass the secretary’s desk. She presses the button
-her only allowable action- and all around us
drop thousands of spiders on their glistening lines.
They land on our arms and our hair and we
try to brush them away but soon see that
it’s futile. On the second landing
we step over the arms and legs
of the executives, lying motionless
on the thin carpet. A pair of spectacles
crunches underfoot. Still we spiral down,
the stairs becoming slick beneath our shoes,
the air so cold we can see our breath
in the dim light. At the bottom
was thin sea of sludge, separated into sewers
that stretched out in all directions.
We wandered them for hours,
trying to trace our own wet echoes
to some ladder up to street level.
No luck. Dollskull spiderwebbed
with cracks, our throats parched,
we were there forever.

Jim Harrison

In front of the soccer stadium stands a sculpture of a mask-like face made of strips of bronze woven together like wicker. Kids and lovers like to peer out the empty eyes and smile and get their picture taken. I look down at a McDonald’s cup that has been spilled on the sidewalk right next to a garbage can. No one has bothered to throw it out, including me. Jim Harrison’s dead and along the side of the stadium, people are camped out for the game tomorrow. I can’t imagine wanting to see a soccer game badly enough to spend the night in a tent on the street and besides, it’s a big stadium, there are plenty of seats, I don’t understand what they’re hoping for. It’s getting cold out and I can’t breathe through my nostrils everything’s clogged and there’s only one light on in the seventeen story high rise across the street. I try to think about the last purely unselfish act I’ve committed and I’m having trouble remembering what it could have been.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Buster & Beckett Hit Yosemite

It’s a hundred degree day in Brooklyn
and Samuel Beckett and Buster Keaton are sweating their
respective balls off on the weed-choked lot
where they’re filming Sam’s one and only excursion
into film; titled, naturally, “Film”
Buster’s the star, even if he doesn’t exactly understand
this artsy-fartsy crap, but he’s a pro, he’s a trouper,
he needs the fucking money
And Allen Ginsberg shows up and writes a poem
about the whole thing then disappears
They’re taking a break, sitting back drinking
Cokes and fanning themselves with pages
from the script in the shadow of those chewed-up
red brick buildings, Buster’s face is dripping
over his collar like a candle, this is also
Beckett’s one and only excursion to America,
and as far as I can tell he never leaves
the state of New York, leaving the city only
to engage in long talks with the director
in a Quonset hut designed for Robert Motherwell,
yes, there are big names scattered everywhere
like the seeds of the various dry stalks that cover
the vacant lot, the cinematographer’s brothers
filmed the masterpiece “Man with a Movie Camera”
which we watched in film class, along with
The Blue Angel and Videodrome
Later on, both Beckett and Keaton will claim
that the other was stoic, hardly said a word the
entire time. I wish they would have taken
a road trip together, gotten the hell away
from all those weeds and crumbling bricks
to visit the expansive vistas of the West,
to fill their pupils with waterfalls and mountains
with hills covered with wildflowers
to tear themselves away for just a little while
from that little room with its single window
covered by a single tattered curtain.
Maybe they would have agreed to make
another movie together, one in which Sam
incorporated some of Buster's inspired pratfalls, 
one in which Buster dared to take that cloth away 
from that mirror. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tamaha

The bulb popped and I went momentarily blind
as the Native American photographer
 snapped a tintype portrait of me
sitting outside on a stool in the shade of the building.
He let me watch it develop inside
an ice fishing tent set up nearby.
In the tray of developing liquid,
my ghostly image appeared, floating
on the metal plate. Then he slid it into
a tray of fixer and I watched my face turn
from negative to positive, dark skin
becoming pale, silvery gray.
The flash had caught the right lens of my glasses
so it looked like I wore a glowing eyepatch
as I squinted up at myself with one good eye
from that muddy puddle of history

Monday, April 11, 2016

Insect Traps & Foot Powder

On top of the break room fridge sits a can
of Gold Bond foot powder
and three white plastic insect traps.

It’s noon and the room is crowded.
Mitch has just nuked some fish and between bites
he takes gulps from  half gallon carton of 2% milk.
Amanda is blasting dance music on her phone and
eating Safeway sushi.
Derek takes nine Tupperware containers out of his Iglo
arranges them on the table before him, eats the dessert first
and then the meatloaf and puts the rest back untouched.
Dominga and Tomasa share soggy tamales.
Gene has forgotten his lunch and has bought
a Milky Way and a small bag of Doritos from the snack machine.
Ted picks at the salad that no doubt exists somewhere
beneath the sea of Thousand Island he’s drowned it in.
Dave warms up a burger from the convenience store.
Paul eats the same thing he does every day, a single avocado.
The new girl comes in, takes one look at the crowded table,
then turns around and heads right back out.
And on top of the break room fridge sits a can
of Gold Bond foot powder
and three white plastic
insect traps.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Corkscrew

I twist the blankets tight around my legs
I don't blame you for any of it,
your frown spitting cake crumbs
Chopsticks in your curly willow hair
(Salix matsudana). Fingers reaching up
to throttle, then caress, then you spread
your ass cheeks wide with your hands and
the floor tilted, the plug pulled by its chain
from the drain in the claw foot tub,
the room started to slurp and suck and spin
There was the coil of rope, diving through its own loops
to form a knot, your tongue and a cherry stem
Later you murmured sleepy in my rubbery arms
something about a finch with a corkscrew beak
perched on a spiral staircase
laying a single egg, which cracked open to reveal
another egg inside. Then your mind curled up
inside the snail shell of your skull to sleep
and the next morning you uncoiled and sped away
in a line as straight as a rope
with a jug of wine tied to the end of it

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Onion Snow

It's April and the woman you were taking care of
died this morning. Mary, 89 and slowly diminishing,
had fallen last week when she’d snuck out of bed
to brush her teeth. Now, a week later,
she’s gone. You watched her leave.
Her eyes opened wide and her cataracts cleared
and her eyes shone radiant hazel
for ten full minutes before once again clouding over
and then she died. It snowed
as you drove home, tiny flakes gently frosting
the branches, muffling the noise of the world.
It was in the sixties here, cherry blossoms
in full bloom, and I went out and had
a delicious sandwich, dripping vinegar,
and when I left the deli a car sped past,
followed by two police cruisers.
At first I thought the driver was just looking for a place
to pull over, but then he accelerated
to try to outrun the cops. They stopped him
two blocks later. I didn’t see what happened
after that. I wonder what was thinking
as he chose to hit the gas instead of the brakes
on this gorgeous sunny day, in this place 
where it rarely snows, especially not in April.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Glue

          A pigeon shat on my head as we sat in the park you pulled a tissue from your purse and I dabbed at my hair and we laughed we laughed as you pulled you pulled a tissue from your purse your purse to dab at my hair the goo in my hair the slimy glob the translucent slimy glob of goo in my hair my hair the slimy glob of goo the slimy goo when a pigeon shat on my head the sun was so hot it baked it baked the goo in my hair it baked us as we sat stuck together in the park when we sat a pigeon shat it shat the sun you pulled I dabbed I dabbed we laughed we laughed I loved you

Thursday, April 7, 2016

When We Were Tadpoles

I miss the clouds of minnows
that would swarm about your form that shone
in the murky depths in the marsh that we were born in

I miss my gills, I’ve never gotten used
to the heaving bellows of these lungs,
to the taste of air, to these endless heavy gulps

I miss the streamlined body of my youth,
I miss my smooth and glassy skin,
I miss how fast I darted through the muck
I miss my tail

I don’t know why we ever let ourselves
be forced from our womb, never understood
why we didn’t fight harder to stay under
We used to soar beneath the surface,
now all we can do is awkwardly hop across
this strange, dry world we don’t belong in.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fluorescent Troglodytes

A gorgeous teenage girl is flicking her slender wrist
again and again, trying to catch a ball tied with a string
to a cup. Bleach-blonde, skin bronzed by the sun
she sits on a bench outside the museum
as the men load the piles of detritus
from the disassembled funhouse display
of Kenny Scharf's "Cosmic Cavern," his cave
of forgotten acid dreams, out of the gallery
and into the back of the rental truck to lug back
to Culver City. They haul out the plywood walls
of the installation, then boxes of toys, princess castles,
riding cars and motorcycles, old store display racks,
and various bits of trash, all of it festooned with jewels
and glitter and foil streamers, everything painted
fluorescent colors and looking cheap and garish
out here in the sun, without the black light
to give it all that otherworldly glow.
Dolls and action figures and most of all dinosaurs,
hundreds of little plastic dinosaurs glued
to every surface. There's a big plastic Frankenstein
with huge green hands held menacingly above
his head. The artist finds most of this stuff
washed up on the beach outside his house
in Brazil, one of the workers tells me,
before yelling at his companion,
"Hey, watch it with that big Fred Flintstone
head! That's one of the few things Kenny
actually cares about!"
They take a break to smoke some weed
and we all stand around and watch the girl
try to get the ball to land in the cup,
watching her miss over and over and over,
as we neanderthals try and fail to look away.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

And This is the Thanks I Get

I was a hornet living in your mouth
until that awful day you spit me out,
even though I’d never stung you, even though
the worst I’d ever done
was tickle your tongue

I was a spider squatting in your ear
until you dug me out of that warm cavern
with your fat finger
even though my web had trapped
countless buzzing gnats who’d tried to enter

I was a worm that twisted in your guts
preventing you from ever being alone
but you let the surgeon cut you open
and evict me, even though you ingested
more than enough for both of us.

I was a thought residing in your brain
and though you tried to weaken me
with drugs and drink, I would just laugh
and leap between your synapses
and tug at all your strings and watch you dance.
And after all this time
here I still am.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Honey Locust

My bare feet sink into
the thick plush of the carpet
It is made of tens of thousands
of fuzzy caterpillars
I carefully step across the room
to examine the butterfly wallpaper
A single moth batters its soft body
against the single bulb
Through the window I can see
the honey locust
its limbs crowded with birds
waiting patiently

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Lay Your Eggs on Me

A tiny female beetle clambers over the bristles of my arm.
I split her in two with my thumbnail and spread the halves wide
and dive right in. All six of her creamy thighs twitch
and she opens her beak to reveal a thousand tiny parts
whirring inside. Her eyes are hard black mirrors
reflecting nothing but themselves. I suck on her antennae
to calm her down and soon her cracked shell is oozing honey
and I sit in it and splash in the sticky puddles, then crane
my segmented neck backwards to lick the prize
dangling deep within her: a twinkly crystal teardrop
that causes the tip of my tongue to tingle. I carefully unfold
her stained glass wings then one by one shatter the panes,
pressing the shards into my face where they stick out like rays,
every facet catching the light when I twist my head.
Soon we are both laughing as only insects can,
slipping on royal jelly and larval afterbirth,
rolling around on the crushed bodies of our adversaries.
We hurl clumps of gooey egg sacs at one another,
before drifting off to sleep with our thoraxes pressed together,
protected from the sun beneath a single hungry leaf.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Magnifying Glass


The sun is blinding, light glints off all the little bits of metal
embedded in the world, all the staring lenses
A helicopter circles low overhead. Is it watching us? Is it
taking pictures of us? Is it loving us?
The air is swarming with gnats and no-see-ums,
crazing midges. One plunges into my eye.
Do they want to talk to us? Do they want to touch us?
Children are running around the table laughing
and screaming. A heavy wasp lands on my plate,
abdomen bobbing, antennae twitching.
What will we eat when we get hungry? Do they want
to eat us? Do they want us to eat each other?
The roar of traffic,  thunder of leaf blower, cell towers
and flickering screens, empty shells and wrappers and pizza boxes,
so many insects and not enough birds to feed on them all
How do we sort them? Where will we put them? Where will we
store ourselves?
The sludge, the slurry, teats dripping salt and sugar,
magnifying burning ants, ants milking aphids, aphids eating leaves,
leaves eating sunlight, vine heavy with glowing tomatoes,
priests emptying trays of ice cubes into the glaciers,
will our hair catch fire? Will our skin start to smolder?
Is our only choice to burn?
Helicopter zooms away, its belly full, and I cry after it,
where are you going without me?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Breaking Glass

          He stood in the middle of the dark parking lot, his coat fluttering faintly in the breeze. The clouds were pulling away from the moon and the uneven asphalt was dotted with puddles. He wore circular shades and as I approached he nodded with a tight, cold smile. The wind picked up and the hem of his coat started to disintegrate into the air before reforming. I could see that it was made of thousands of moths clinging together, their wings shuddering and flipping open and shut. He held out his fists and uncurled them one at a time. In the first was the stub of a candle, and in the other was a single match. His coat grew restless, moths flying off and returning with greater frequency. I went to strike the match but he held up his hand. "Not yet," he said. "You want me to freeze to death?" He turned and walked off, splashing through the reflections of the moon which one by one shattered then reformed behind him.