enabling the quake

we’ve grown so fat on vitriol, become reluctant on pointing fingers at those

not from our city, one we claim as ours as we look out windows of late-day buses.

pretty parts of town deny cries that echo within our dusty, unchanging hallways.

I’ve wondered what’s to come back for, just how far Scotch tape goes in fixing

cribs with splintered bars, too brittle to hold our discontent that no one could

ever empathize with, although they’re sweating too, palms slightly chapped.

dizzy trips home drop me off fifteen minutes early, spent off the last dime.

someone tells a stranger it can’t feel right to be this angry all the time, to wash your

hair with the same hand soap used to soothe fingers gone cold when it’s over

one hundred degrees outside, bad timing as your fever lives to rise like rude yeast.

protests on sticky notes flutter with pollen
across everyone’s front yard, creased.

Cat No. 117 of the 500 Cats Project

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our cool Saturday nights

when we set out to
ask gray mornings
questions I wouldn’t
like, even after a sip
of my third Colorado
Mudslide, bitter but
frothy as milkshakes
I pined for at 3 A.M.

these are moments
we’ll sometimes share.

little rewards and
follies in shades of
blue, pink, yellow
happy birthdays I
love and dread to
admit I’ll hold onto
like a pint of cake
batter(y) ice cream.

take my sticky spoon
and hide it for yourself.

Cat No. 116 of the 500 Cats Project

listeria

he crossed a boundary, sturdy chest pressed
by a thin, pale finger (slightly bent).

plastic ring, the sparkling pink
invites a smirk to dance:
trivial moments shall upset
this one dry face.

composing some song, uneven tempo
that awkwardly mocks mixed signals
perceived weeks before autumn.

she lost her page, calendar torn
and no one provides the correct date.

three weeks late and stalled
at another rusted bus stop.

deadline on the yellow slip,
facetious detention with which
he threatens her between four
brittle walls, barely there.

honest warnings, clipped
and tucked for years, into
striped inner pockets of
a favorite purse with color
at its fullest, unchanged.

this new emptiness grabs her
by the chin, shaking her head
as boys of the past grab busted
pens, scrawling their numbers.

to discount and disconnect
all over again.

Cats No. 112, 113, 114, and 115 of the 500 Cats Project

oh, my Friday

she got out her graham crackers,
only to throw them in Greek yogurt.

marshmallows and Hershey chips sat in a blue bowl.

really, it was kind of sad.

she got out a spoon that we knew
would break just as she got to the bottom
of all the lines yet to be entered so anyone
who needed to know got word just like that.

she learned what was taught.

down, like pat.

she got out some broken ice cubes,
awful aim tipping over a plastic pink cup.

Cat No. 111 of the 500 Cats Project

not at all rushed

I’ve got a feeling
you’ve been told
the same things.

fawned over, so
incomparable.

how many dimes
add up to fill our
modest fridges?

it’s fine to ask
in hunger.

but waiting on
your answer has
quieted the rain.

your truth could
sting the eyes.

all I have that
no one’s seen
in spry delight.

I stand along fine
old curbsides.

ignoring petals
grazing my face
as I fail to resign.

my tongue feels
sore with time.

cars in a hurry
to take a dream
a street too far.

Cat No. 110 of the 500 Cats Project

clumsily, in taste

she ate crème brûlée with the bluntest fork.
this afternoon, her first time.

she wanted to tell the world and its
mother that she finally knew what
she had missed, what she had feared,
and all she could only read about
between walls so thin like the red worn
by crisp, dainty apples washed with joy.

morning is rarely missed, returning too soon
with birds in the middle of gossip’s fifth round
piercing the lightest blue, and she’ll learn to
make some for herself, plastic spoons aplenty
as the clock does stand oh so wonderfully still.

it was never too late for the girl
who shook and cried after an unbroken fall.

Cat No. 109 of the 500 Cats Project

a lost love

I wonder and worry
about things done on Friday
that I’m pretty sure someone
else has addressed.

So kind and brave.

A walk from the bakery to
another closing sandwich shop
and a protest line of stop signs
twisted at the root, six sides
falling into your yard, and only
your yard, which is great because
no one likes spending his first
late night raising a strained voice
over uneven blades of grass that
resemble, more or less, the zipper
of a lost love’s overused skirt, one
that looked good with flats only
after she realized that she was better
off without you and could say this
somewhat loudly in front of mirrors
smeared by toothpaste packaged
by liars, the jaded, and those too
familiar with late winter laziness
and joy afforded to snapped legs.

I’m pretty sure there’s something
she wants to address
but her Friday is a wordy one
eight months away, lost and found.

Cat No. 108 of the 500 Cats Project