Throw down a little Salt

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I cannot imagine new tenants walking backwards up the stairs,
Throwing down a little salt because they read it in a book.
They must not check over their shoulders,
Nor hunch their shoulders up around their necks for protection.
Poor dark things, menacing an empty room,
I worry for you.
Who feeds you now?
Do you skitter amid the boxes, looking for me and my vivid imagination?
Do you still dance as I imagined?
Not that I could bear to witness.
I could not stand the darkness.
Perhaps now…but would you want me now, full of worldly fears?
Or would I taste too leathery, to tough even for your needle teeth?
Check on them, if you would.
Under the stairs, behind the boxes of forgotten books, or in shadows of the old art projects.
Throw down a little salt.
For my lonely living shadows.

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Doki Doki

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Doki Doki

Mock poetry at you own risk.
Poetry proves that in words
We see the souls of others
Ripped free of constraint.
This may lead to violence, broken bones,
And out of focus eyes that shine a bit too brightly
In sunlit classrooms.

Poetry, oft-maligned, self-aware poetry
Is emotion deflected with cute words that wrap around and protect us
In soft, soft, crushingly soft language, muffling our voices till they are only unintelligible sounds and gasps for air.

We cannot look at poetry breaking down
Without seeing the person breaking down in tandem
This is horrifying.
Self-reflexive preservation pushes us back
From meters that make no sense, sentence fragments, bits of math tumbling from a demented mouth.

And all those short skirts, bright hair, scripted sighs
Won’t save you from the poetry.
Beautiful, broken poetry that daintily reels you in and snaps your neck
With the efficiency of a full stop.

Mock poetry at your own risk.
Learn the lessons of language young.
Save yourself.

***

I did not play through “Doki Doki Literature Club.” I watched a GameGrumps let’s play, so I got to watch this unnerving game from a distance. Even that was not enough to save me from being affected. So, if you like games that will make you uncomfortable, go check it out. I guess, for the rest of us, there is poetry to save us.

Creeping Fear

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“Creeping Fear”

Women sit in the padded beige chairs, glued to phones.
There is no eye contact.
There is no fear to match possibility.
Nurses in pale pink uniforms sing out surnames
And whisper “this way” in the necessary languages
To assuage the tightness in our shoulders.
Fear makes my answers sound hopelessly dumb
I am suddenly ignorant, thick-tongued, and demure.
I settle in and strap down into fear.
Let it stretch my stomach lining,
Poke my kidneys,
Cramp my guts,
Tingle the part of my spine in my neck,
Until I cannot see anything except possibilities,
Looming, turning into solid, horrible, truths.

4.7, 4.8, and 4.9 for Good Measure

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The past few days, I’ve been toying with free-form verses that have a vaguely hip-hop aesthetic. I’m usually terrible at this, but then that’s the point of practicing, right? And that would be the point of this monthlong endeavor – to practice stretching out muscles and learning some new tricks!

Enjoy!

Post-Booze Brainstorm (4.7)

Buzzed with booze, a brain
Firing neurons terrified to lose
The wisdom of cups and relaxed blood flow
Is not done thinking
Chasing the siren song to dawn
Tied to the mast of exhaustion
Sinking in the unknown

Falling in Rain (4.8)

In Japan, it rains so heavily,
umbrellas are barely a remedy,
Rainfall patters out a melody where
I fall like a drop into reverie
Mess with the rhyme scheme
and pay a heavy penalty.
Soon words wild in anarchy
Make forms flown to thunderstorm cacophony
Little April showers ripped of all their piety
Best use that umbrella to fend off your anxiety
Lest you run down gullies of depravity
And settle into puddles of stagnant mediocrity.

Grey day Walking (4.9)

My mind is a Jane Eyre grey
Pinched in, cinched in every way
Until my voice goes quiet
And I lose the need to speak
People become my visual cues
Not to cross the streets
Muted eyes rest on blind sights
Unable to recognize my own fights
With attic-dwelling feelings
And a hollowed chest sounds a lone note
Suggesting fiery heights
Of deeper meaning
Lost in the repetition of day-to-day pattern
I do not wonder or wander, yet I do yearn
And hear the premonition
That the destruction of my worldly goods
Signal a break from Jane Eyre grey
And the woulds, coulds, and shoulds
Give way to brighter days.

Compassion

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We make the correct decision.
Our hearts are not in it.
To show mercy, compassion, and faith
Seems to yield little but bleeding.
We sense that rage and retribution
Are attractive alternatives.
That grinding a heel would feel
So. goddamn. satisfying.
But we open our arms all the same,
Sensing relief,
Anticipating pain.
We know the correct decision
Will always be tarnished by a second-tier truth:
That cruelty exists in us all.
Still we open our arms
In the faint and persistent hope of being better
than our baser selves.
Of achieving enlightenment from charity.
Our hearts are not in it.
Slapped a time too many to truly shine anymore,
All we can do is stretch out our arms
And try, once more, to heal.

Riding a Mariner’s Storm

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Riding a Mariner’s Storm

I found myself caught in wrath.
It began in soundless fury.
Distant lights and internal flashes.
No rain. No wind.
Just light, ambient and threatening,
Illustrating the fullness of what was to come.
Patter.
Spatters.
Steadier and heavier and then there are sheets of water cascading up my wheels and down my hood, overwhelming my trembling wiper blades.
Trees, houses, a chicken farm,
Each are lanced with white hot lances
Without the mercy of rolling thunder
Just a strict crack and a blinding light.
I cannot look up anymore.
My eyes are too full of lightning after-burn.
I lose the road in the water and wind.
I slow but cannot stop, unwilling to concede defeat in the maw.
I do turn on my blinkers, though I am the lonely car in the night.
The wind shifts, the wavelengths of water in front of me shift forward, driving headlong into my windshield.
I strike through newly minted puddles,
Adding a personal touch to the cacophony.
Whip cracks and rail yards, but I can see the edges of the anger in all the light.
No ultimate destruction, no funnels, no heaving earth and bowing trees.
Not yet.
I am a sailor on the back roads.
A rural Odysseus.
I will sail the wrath home, like the mariner, and gladly give up my sea legs for a safe bed.
And a stiff drink.

Day 1.2

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Rules of the Game

The exercise was simple:
Walk around the room.
I take direction well.
I needed direction today.
Walk, walk, walk.
I’m amazing at this game.
“Switch direction!” calls Dave.
“Be spontaneous!”
Thank God listlessness looks like spontaneity.
I can make aimless look daring.
I walk in rhombus.
I walk in parallelogram.
I walk in crescents.
“Now do something else!
Be free! Explore the space!
Crawl! Skip! Jump!”
My mind is a blank slate.
Walk, walk, walk.
Around in trapezoids I move
Trying to think of something to do,
Something that isn’t walking.
But my sense of play is gone.
I have no desire to do anything.
I’m barely doing the basic rule.
I’m barely walking.
Inside I’m huddled in the corner
Under the dance bar, next to the mirror,
Angrily staring at the other movers
Who merrily prance or roll or twirl,
Who have thought of things to do
Other than walk, walk, walk.
So, full of obedience and fear,
I do the only thing an actress
In crisis can do –
I walk, walk, with purpose and gusto
with charisma and direction,
Right out the door,
For a breather.