Just Surrender

In the meadow where frisbees snipped dandelions in two, I rested my palm on my forehead. Underweight and sickly, but this wasn’t anything new. However, the fever and sweat behind my ears suggested that on Monday, I would be sleeping in. Since New Year’s, I vowed to be healthy, exchanging cookie dough for vegetable soup, reaching into bowls hugging cherry tomatoes. Red skin dry against walls of black lacquer, the contrast akin to frightened spies beheaded on the ground.

The adults would sit on the patio every other weekend, eating Jim Beam chicken and singing Tom Jones amidst news of Y2K. “The hills,” they’d say, nodding ahead. “All the people, dying.”

A hillside and modest cave. These were things in my backyard that didn’t make the news. They were everywhere, for miles. Pollen ruining my elastic pants as I rolled to the bottom, bowing to my teddybears arranged row by row. We couldn’t reenact the Bible though, setting up camp inside a whale. Too many snakes between the rocks, some dead but a certain few were ready to snatch us by our paper ankles. The hospital was somewhat far, and children were killed before.

The people in the city didn’t care for us. Or maybe it was our parents. It wasn’t too long ago when one of their own elementary school students didn’t make it home, through no fault of her own.

I didn’t eat all my tomatoes that day and put them in a baggie. I was set on eating a dozen, every morning for eternal life. Flower petals stained the bathroom sink, coated lightly with hand soap. I had my own superstitions and was afraid to go to sleep. Especially when I was told that sleep was how relatives went away.

It was cold in the thicket, the moss and lemongrass obscuring the backside of a cave once filled with those who hugged their knees. Those who breathed raggedly, uninvolved. They had heard the worst of us, feared our gregarious animality. No, not us. I wasn’t born yet. Possibly our grandfathers.

Dampened pants and a tattered shirt, torn at the neck, where his Adam’s apple must have swelled. But the apple was sliced in half, its core birthing any future thought raised in morning’s mist. I wondered what I had done, if saying my classmate’s sketches were ugly upset my guardian angel. I watched him walk across the field, clovers beneath him tearing. He approached the charcoal igloo, kneeling to disappear.

Nothing dripped. I just saw the dye I knew I’d hate to scrub away with my hands. Cotton all over, hardened in spots that reminded me of science books about the sun. For days, he was still in the cave. Eyelids heavy, thin lips chapped, skin clean of shrapnel, ears intact.

But depending on whom I asked, he was a handful of things. Second-class traitor, accent odd, urging locals to turn themselves in. Stood in the light, spoke too loud, hitting the soil like roses at recital.

Observatory

your fifties’ plumageIMG_4828
outstanding like Sputnik’s dive
into pulsing sleep
awakened by the warning
cast by pastel complacence.

planning excellence
and taking daily lessons
from compact sedans
that break as you quiver close
to the scarlet of hands, blithe.

I am an import
born by the planters and door
which opens to find
bags in the wind that once held
ripe oranges, spilled amok.

IMG_4831

reflection on glass
concealed in plotting and fears
locked in a nightstand
set on the edge of envy
and equations of promise.

IMG_4833

 

awaiting the strike
and a gathering seeking
maps wrapped tight ’round bulbs
preceding tangled tactics
awed by humility’s leave.

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Construction in Expression – Holding Pattern/Joyride

“… it’s easier to get ahead over the corpses of those who disrespect you than it is to ride their coattails.”

I’ve recently found myself interested in compiling quotes. Oftentimes, they are silly, nonsensical, and essentially, fodder to save whatever tiny notebook I have on my nightstand that’s about to hit the trashcan. Lately, I’ve been scribbling down words of an angry Mel Gibson. As some of you know, I have what the socially prudent would call a fiery temperament. Aside from verbal assaults and racial slurs dismissed in a discussion on alcohol, Mel has some pretty interesting things to say. In an interview with Diane Sawyer, he professes to “murder inanimate objects.” The ability is so impressive that we should watch him “choke a toaster in the morning.”

It’s all quite amusing, but are the rants constructive? If I were to compile a book titled Quotes of Mel Gibson, would it be anything more than a list you find in your supermarket’s Cosmopolitan that details sixty-nine ways to please your man with a chocolate eclair? I highly doubt it.

Recently, I was privileged with reading and assembling over sixty poems from J. Walter Falconer’s blog, Holding Pattern/Joyride. Some pieces are worthy of an aching chest, others read like battle scenes from fantasy novels I’m too intimidated to open, but all the poems saturate, ideal for any weather and worthy of multiple re-reads. I’ve found myself doing this quite a bit, visiting the blog, admiring the precision in Falconer’s stanzas, and more so, reminding myself that my issues, both internal and interpersonal, aren’t unsolvable and can certainly be articulated in less than abstract ways.

I’ll reiterate that Holding Pattern/Joyride is more than a poetry blog. It’s a collection of writing that likely appeals to an ample span of readers. Students, nature lovers, hunters, enthusiasts of health, medicine, and psychological complexities. And let’s not forget those angsty people like myself who need a bit of a grounding. My obstacles aren’t necessarily insurmountable, and the grievances and ambivalences I clumsily attempt to juggle aren’t exactly sixteen-pound bowling balls.

If time allows, I highly recommend you read the blog from first entry to the most recent. Holding Pattern/Joyride is more than a glimpse into the happenings of a poet. Here, we have a cancer survivor embarking on patient advocacy, a friend with advice regarding relationships gone sour, the cool guy at the coffee shop who gives me the gritty details of what it’s like to be in grad school, and how working in a lab isn’t to be glamorized. There’s a poignant bit about the kind impartiality of animals we hold dear. As someone who frequently finds solace in the company of other friend’s cats as I save for my own, I can only smile at the declaration of “No prejudice here, no sir,” followed by an entry on therapy animals.

Indeed, not everything’s permanent, and the idea of the world constantly fleeting makes me pretty anxious. Self-identity is often muddled, and still, at twenty-five, my coping skills need work. Falconer’s blog reminds me of this, but not so patronizingly. It’s kind of like a self-help book, but better. A compilation of tips, poetic, detailed, and structured with a purpose that directs me away from the sinkhole angst can sometimes lead us to, including recorded arguments we’ll likely soon regret.

Dead-ended Noodling (and other adventures)

chagrin in my cheeks,
skin scraped and wet
with a trace of deceit
washed off your hands.

seemed nice enough,
with these stories
of how you’d never,
in a decade’s song,
slam the xylophone
when it’s freshwater’s
clarity that reminds us
that no one is to play.

but that gaping mouth,
and lips that shimmer
on a teflon pan in age
lies open to my appeal.

Just one hotel room.

binocular streetlights
watch after you
with ultraviolet rays
I’ve denied while my skin
shimmers and peels
onto the concrete, moreover
so yellowed like the crescents
that fall from aching fingers.

what happens at the curbside stays.

the city

loitering by, cameras and straws.

never have I seen
a roll of film
so shiny
as caps
on coffee bottles
that would be fought over
if only we shared
a better map.

you shake your umbrella
while I nap wet
and tired
from hearing
their lives disappearing
at the bottom
of wish-lists
this muggy eve.

staring ahead, stoplights gone.

Cat No. 42 of the 500 Cats Project

Making Sense

cloudiness begs sight
to seek olfactory prime
when light strikes daily

I invite you all to read my recent article featured in Thought CatalogNot only does it touch on past relationships, but it also offers a glimpse into the themes discussed in my project in progress. Again, I want to thank all who offered to be beta readers for your time and feedback provided. You have been more than helpful!