tangy foreclosure

the radio acts up again, because
spanking never works.

and so these wrists ache.

I can scream louder, but the same
mundanity from 2004 falls to the floor
where medical bills conceal postcards
written from a friend visiting cousins
in some part of Japan that’s not
too crowded, not too cold for your
mercurial leanings toward adventure
on paper, in life, on faded lines.

don’t call her Mom; it’s not
what she ever aspired to be
while night had a while until
cars of tomorrow hummed over
the snickering of jaded crickets
unable to love or express wants
the way pretty people do
within unplanned neighborhoods.

and so these lashes sting.

the suitcase opens up again, because
kicking only hurts.

Cat No. 107 of the 500 Cats Project

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dreaming in traffic

I apologize for letting
the blood show, and
I cannot take enough
of this time that’s left
to elaborate on sleep
and how it is good for
you, them, neighbors
who sing so goddamn loud.

when will I start to
understand what it is
to hold consequence?

driving by, soda cans –
leaves and the ants are
dancing, playing dodgeball
like some claim they do
with landlords who give
discounts depending on
whether they got lost in
this blunt standstill city
shortly after happy hour.

soon, I’ll hear again
and the music will
ring sweetly and I
won’t be able to tell
you the difference
between prayers and
quivering grievances
thrown onto the pane
of one glass door.

Cat No. 106 of the 500 Cats Project

no one reads minds (but you know this)

an error in judgment, something slight
like not returning phone calls on time.

you didn’t think you lost your way,
and if anything, you practiced efficiency.

misspell another name, let it out your
large dry mouth – one syllable off.

it’s okay to hang up on those without pockets,
and lime green shoelaces don’t count.

I’m sorry these are the things that
you didn’t come to hear this morning.

you’re sorry for waxy penalties
traveling down what’s left of a wall.

whatever agreement we sign on,
whichever streets we’d like to avoid.

telling me how you thought I was perfect,
and how that all ended when rent went unpaid.

I would like for you to forget, walk
along brighter lines, and breathe in the rain.

you want what your words don’t describe
so I find myself afraid to simply ask.

Cat No. 105 of the 500 Cats Project

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

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

chances

who is perfect?
no one.

what you see as tessellations are early morning utterances, jammed together in the way a college freshman hurriedly tries to synthesize. the deadline inches closer, minutes hooking themselves onto cheap fabric that fails to keep the restless warm. she thought it was just the next best thing, hanging with grace in the clearance aisle.

the clouds outside invite you to play, but you reach for your cheeks, look in the mirror, and murmur over your ruddy complexion. who will point in the other direction as you face your toes on the escalator? would they gasp, or even laugh in an instance of slight dismemberment?

“lightning crashes. an old mother dies.” no, not in a photoshoot out in some field. not right after she counted the bloodspots atop her thighs from breaking up a fight over which shade of red is pink. Correlation takes a shower. Causation brushes its crooked teeth. They’ve often lived within feet of each other. Roommates, not lovers.

once, your sister screamed at the sight of a full tub. she also got caught in an argument as a nurse gently told her that lukewarm baths that time of the month won’t dissolve her womanhood. for a while, she listened to only herself, submerging her feet in what felt best.

what is comfort?
your own pillow.

Cats No. 100 and 101 of the 500 Cats Project