In India they have incinerators
Right there in the graveyard.
It’s not your first drink, eh?
You have watermelon fingernails
I love watermelon.
You should smell like watermelon.
Spread that shit around like joy itself.
I went to my first funeral today
The wake and the funeral were together.
The world is fighting too much.
That’s going to create fear in your heart.
I trust in
Fear in your heart
They create it to control people.
But you’re great just the way you are.
I’m so mad, yah.
So wait, you do autopsies?
Oh no, embalming
The make up, drain the blood
Break the bones back into place
Bsh, Bsh, cheekbones.
Can you use your feet?
The feet are not as agile and accurate
Depends – you can practice.
This ain’t martial arts.
So, you need beautician skills
Science and strength
I been strong.
Can you cut hair?
I cut this bang
Yeah, it’s really straight.
Practice on your fiancé?
He don’t have no hair.
Whats a Caesar? Like that guy over there?
You mean like Will Smith?
Fresh Prince had a high top.
This is called a wig.
My hair is underneath!
I’m so serious…
You cut it?
It’s not gunna come back.
You can’t change it now.
The bruise he left on the back of my arm
looks like the combustion of a star.
The purple spreads into blue
and green – creeping under
I am the universe and a nebula
has been left by the hand of a lover.
I never tell him to stop
when he buries his thumb into the softer parts
of my thigh; when he drives
his teeth into my shoulder.
He explodes all my stars
into colors my girlfriends glance at – looking
sideways from beneath furrowed brows.
When he tries to push us both into that place
where neither of us exist
yet both of us become that one point of light
the rest revolves around,
I never tell him to stop.
The ceramic plate feels
Like the garden section of Home Depot.
The only place good wives feel safe:
Meekly picking plastic pots of petunias
Their husbands won’t notice right away.
On the plate, etched and glazed:
Jesus Loves you,
But I’m His Favorite.
Placed above the bed they defile
On the wall her moans seep through.
Sometimes, she hopes her moans will knock
The pushpin out;
Shatter how much more Jesus will still love him.
How because of Him, she will never pick petunias,
Never bring them home.
How in spite of Jesus
She can lie and stare at that woman’s ceramic plate
While his toes curl
And the flowers on the windowsill
As the drum beat out the rhythm of my own heart,
I understood the universe;
Felt it tapping its foot with me.
The violin cried out all the untimely deaths
The eight funerals I had gone to
In the same black skirt.
Eight before I was even sixteen.
As the cello wept,
I understood the tears
That had been pent up
Blocked by shock like each individual stick
That builds a beaver dam.
As the pick drew out a melancholy chord,
I saw all of the broken hearts and broken toys
When my first boy broke my dolly
Shoved sand in my face
When my last boy simply
Shut the door.
I felt it all as he sang the lyrics he had written
Alone in his room at 3 am
The only sound was the pen scratches
But his head was full of noise, of music.
In a moment my life contained my entire life.
Christmas came early yesterday.
You looked at me,
Told me things I knew you thought
But never knew you’d say.
Compliments like church bells chiming midnight mass.
You kept me in your atmosphere
Like a sheepdog keeps his flock – neat, ordered and intimate.
Now all I can do is think of the way it will feel for you to wrap me up
In those arms
Like a present children can’t wait to open under the tree.
You speak to me, you look at me, and I am a roaring fire.
I am the peppermint stick melting into hot chocolate and the sigh of relief
At the first sip.
I am the warmest hat and the snuggliest scarf when you walk next to me so our arms
I am illuminated by candles held by carolers.
I float like each individual snowflake that catches on your eyelashes.
I dance through snowdrifts,
Fall back into that blank whiteness like pillows.
I am an entire season when you are near me.
I am the mystery and magic
Sitting comfortably as the bells chime.
There was a night when the road disappeared.
I drove on instinct, with the highway
Falling behind me.
I came around a corner I had taken
Every single evening for four years
To be faced with a van on the side of the road,
Engulfed in flame.
It’s carcass –
Not a single component left untouched by the tender
Kiss of flame.
The light, blinding only by its contrast to the darkness
Burned into my eyes
I saw the van inside them long after
I took the exit and came home.
I had seen no occupants.
I hadn’t seen that there were none.
I imagined the screaming sirens of fire trucks
I imagined calling 911
To have more people come stare at the empty van.
I did not call. No one screamed. I hadn’t even made a sound.
I saw the quick and easy
Destruction of man
By a nature that does not care either way.
By passers by who do not call
But turn up the radio.
So it will be with me.
I drive home at night,
Feel the car churn beneath me,
Beating away the miles.
Her look told me how she knew it was bad.
Calloused bare feet on the dusty floor
Shuffling as she wiped up the tables the regulars had just left.
The polish on the wood had gone before Daddy bought the place.
The faded green silk bandana holding back her mane had
Lost its polish too.
One of her hands cradled the sphere of her belly.
Outside, beyond the neon signs, the light turned green and you could hear
Her lavish blue eyes saw beyond the chatter marks on the asphalt
To the babies lolling in the riverbed,
Dried since last June
When she hadn’t said no under the spot on the roof
Where rotting and fresh shingles met.
The setting sun through one dirty window was three strokes of white
Oil on the dark floor.
She watched the dust play in it while she washed dirty glasses
With a dirtier rag.
A door slamming broke the reverie.
Somehow you knew she had wanted to say never.
I watch her hands, we both unmoving
Wondering if the rain will come wash
Oh no. Oh no. This is the best worst thing to ever happen.
I’m sick. I’m infected. I’ve caught the virus. I’m a walking cliché. You name it, I got it, it wont go away.
I’ve sequestered myself to a tower and grown out my hair, been dropping glass slippers everywhere. I’m the bell of the ball, the princess and all - I’ve been shot by Cupid then stole his bow to seek out that boy I’d like to know.
I’m dying, I’m dying, I just started to live. I’m Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday and all their voices can give to those sultry love songs that remind you of your first time.
I’m hiding with my face in my locker when he passes by, damning myself for being that shy.
I’m the dog eating spaghetti all alone, hoping he’ll show up and throw me a bone and I’m all of the geese from “Fly Away Home”.
I am every girl who ever cried, who ever lied and said he was icky but all I wanna do is sticky me right up next to you, boy.
You’ve snuck into my mind and given me sickness - every kind. I have a fever and my stomach churns and turns me around and around like the disco ball sending specks of light onto your newly painted nails that rest lightly on his shoulders as you sway back and forth to a Backstreet Boys ballad and wonder if he can tell your butt is sweating because isn’t that the easiest way to tell you’re in love?
Oh boy, oh no, oh go and ride into that sunset but don’t you dare forget me, I’m in a tree begging to be saved. You don’t even have to be brave! I already killed the dragon and the ogre too; it wasn’t that hard and it was all for you.
I ate the poison apple then spit it out because who’s good at french kissing with food in their mouth? And I made sure when I fainted I fell the right way so my hair would look best when you saved the day.
You’ll be my superman and I’m Lois Lane, boy you best believe I’m singing in the rain and dancing through the night with hopes for a kiss at the door and the sound of you saying you like being around.
Oh, I’ve fallen like Eve fell for Adam but trust me when I say the Devil can have all them apples on that damn tree ‘cause Adam is staying naked in Eden with me and all the love in all the world rings true to my clichéd little girl bopping around inside my chest but even if its old, it’s still the best and darling if you haven’t guessed - I’m loving your style and that extra mile you go to let me know I’m on your radar like Goose and Maverick and full disclosure I’d like to kiss those adorable ears of yours.
So let’s make some Disney magic kid and ride off into the sunset to all of the world neither of us have seen yet.
When children write stories, the dying man always gets to finish the song he sings. As we get older, we realize that he doesn’t have the breath - the last stanza must always be left unsung and that is why we cry.
"Once, an old man lay in the grass, dying."
I’m not a political person. I don’t wax critical of the biblical spouting from podiums because I don’t know ‘em. I don’t know them and they don’t know me and see, why try? Why pretend to be so important when there’s no point in it. I’m not an activist but I’m active in this and I think all I’ll ever be able to do is smile at strangers and take a while to read the pages of the hearts of the lonely and if only we paid a little more God damn attention to the individual souls filled with gaping holes, we wouldn’t have kids jumping off bridges or hanging from ceilings or blowing their brains out like birthday confetti.
Maybe I’m ready not to watch the news because if I can shout cues from world leaders my gain will be meager at best. Just because I know who is republican or democrat doesn’t mean I give a damn about being a patriot so let’s start a riot and not the newsworthy kind but a quiet one knows about but everyone feels. Let’s make our lives real and not some damn news scroll at the bottom of the screen, let’s say what we mean and hug each other, love each other with sincerity, not hide behind a deity or piety or “on a diet? me?”. No, let’s cut the shit ‘cause this is it: the air in your lungs, the blood in your veins, the drops of water when it rains. No one ever said their lives were better because of the news and here’s some news: unless you love not for this only or that you’ll end up only as a stat in passing before the 5 o’clock update and isn’t it great that we can reach out and touch each other? Love each other? Ask real questions and just sit with each other?
So no, I’m not political or biblical I’m not liberal or conservative I’ve got me to give I’ve got time to live and all I ask, all I want is a riot of human connection to burst like flame across the world and burn up all the titles that don’t matter, scatter all the styles out hundreds of miles and leave souls, bare and true like a stretch of connected telephone poles through Iowa, the only thing you can see.
You be you and hell, I’m me so stop pretending like we’re going to live forever because I can promise you that will never happen so hey, you’re dying, what would you like to talk about? What do you want to hear about when your precious ears will melt away 6 feet under the rain and thunder that falls on the living, the only ones left who are giving. So give a little more to the hungry and poor but please, I beg you, be alive for humanity or a man you see or a garden, a tree, but not to parade around on a gilded float that lists of countless affiliations this is a nation but we are not one under God, we are many and if maybe we put names to faces, memories to places and no hate to races we can begin to live because hey,
You’re dying, what would you like to talk about?
What do you want to hear when your death is near? Another ass hole call a stranger a queer? Another kid get a hold of a gun? Another beaten wife refusing to run? No. Because you’re dying you just want it to stop. Well, start making eye contact, start smiling back, start listening to how someone really is, start kissing the ones who deserve it because baby, this is it.