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Characterization

Baggage

I carry your name yet

In a bottle hung around my neck

Whispering it at night,

When I can almost conjure you up

Exhausted,

Yawning in the dusk

Losing track of sleep and waking

The Clockwork Emperor

_translated from the Chinese by Jack Rose, 1910_

dawn breaks, sets the key to turning

the dance begins, every movement flawless

a precious stone, fine and flawless jade

emerald eyes, shining silver skin

gears turn smoothly as cold streams

springs coil tightly as human frailty

gold or brass, clockwork spins in place

king or peasant, moving in the patterns of heaven

Scene

she knew them all

their hearts, their eyeliner

which of them snuck in

and which paid too much for tickets

they opened up

like pool gates for five year olds,

solid walls that gave

much too easily

they sang

without knowing the words

they loved

without knowing each other

when the lights came up

they didn’t understand

just why they felt so needful,

walked away wary and sore

Lost the Sky

the feathered serpent

waits patiently, not coiled

in submission. poised.

Permanent Record

the world shaded in grey, black, white,

my own memories washed clean of the blood,

puddles of turpentine drawing blanks in my head.

what's left plays like a slide show

single frames without context, blurring

together and hard to determine. is that me

throwing the boy down on the pavement?

am I the one being thrown?

the ravenous packs of pre-teens roaming

through small town wilds, pecking their order

out on the keyboards of the administration

I'm trying to put together the descriptions

of acts forgotten, misremembered, mistaken

but still permanently recorded.

Fine Sharp Edge

The sweetest things in life are bitter toys

that break and bleed and die and stay as ghosts.

No fucking word of regret from the boys;

empty smiles on girls who play as hosts.

I never knew, did you want anything

or just take what they said you couldn't keep?

Could someone give you a damn wedding ring

or should he just fuck you cuz you're dirt cheap?

Somehow you're the best of us regardless,

a real girl underneath the vinyl skin.

Now all my toys are broken, I obsess

over scars that hide a heart wearing thin.

I'm bored of sour tastes and fucking meat.

Peel back my skin and give me something sweet.

If You Give a Photon a Cookie

you are one self

you stand between two doors

wondering how to choose

between them, with no

suggestion what lays on either side

can you flip the coin

with no indication what lies

on either side

spread yourself wide

walk away from yourself

go through both doors, go through

all doors, accept no boundaries

called time or space

or self

Parent-Teacher Night

"What concerns do you have

about your child returning to school?"

I stare at the teacher

none of my questions are appropriate

for a parent night meeting

am I doing the right thing?

what if she gets sick?

what if she's miserable?

what if we have to move?

I don't know how to reconcile

my own self-sabotage

with the need to give her the best

I expect, I want to shoot myself down

I want to hold her up

and I've realized I can't do that

from the ground

what are my concerns?

that I'll stand in her way

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