self-preservation

all these spots
inflate, spill over.

like the time I followed
city signs, hung from
tree stumps that Mel
gave a good talking to
not caring if she made
someone happier than
they ever were, as this
is what the secretive
say to anyone listening.

anyone out in the cold.

duck soup stains the
bottoms of frantic feet
and keeps them planted
into the ground, rocks
losing resolve etched
onto the surface, and
only the flat, gray face
that leaves me as I go
back to some dim room
where I can’t walk at all
thanks to books and a
letter dragged out for
pages better spent on
shielding the tops of
still heads, never turned
and without reflection
that windshields offer
on days when you’d like
the simplest affirmation.

no one ever tells you
about all their mistakes.

Cat No. 104 of the 500 Cats Project

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tired conversation

rewriting my “away” message
so someone laughs.

even if silence
stands perforated
like recycled paper
used to host petals
ready to quiver
beyond waking walls.

no one responds
or reaches out,
wondering where I go
and contemplate when
phones keep ringing
and brakes curse colds.

edges of cacti
somehow fail to
scare me motionless
as I have wandered far
while everyone asks
about the last word said.

the fullness of time
falls into patient courts.

Cat No. 103 of the 500 Cats Project

just shut your eyes

fig newtons
don’t quite look
appetizing, like
red snapper sleeping
on singed paper towels.

I’m just giving you
my two cents.

tell me how your
day went, and
let me know
that once and for
all, you’ll sleep.

fallen on the sofa
and sprawled on grass.

Cat No. 102 of the 500 Cats Project

the stroll

keep me hidden.

coffee shop napkin in
an ordinary backpack
with an overburdened
zipper line gone so
curved; do examine
hopefulness the way
Miss Long Time Ago
taught us to separate
points from softness,
petals from blades of
grass leaving their
mark on white pockets
not too far from hearts
unprepared for cold.

fatigue is a lightbulb
dying each time we
stretch the wet towel
only to sigh as it laughs
somewhat weakly, for
it won’t be long before
we stand before mirrors
or some semblance of
a frozen lake, crevices
blooming sarcastically
as we turn a dozen pages
filled with recluses we
only think resemble us
if we erased every smile.

so we’ll walk.