in the early evening

steady, I wait underneath
the frightened pecan tree
known to surrender its
grooved secrets as our
sky recalls the clamor
of blind emergencies.

wake me up, slices of
an afternoon snack
are dripping, filling
this vacancy and never
once parting to fall
onto shaken ground.

small town lake laughs
between walls of red cups
splintered, on the edge
of antique tabletops,
without a throbbing leg
to tempt bitter flies.

cooler, almost so still
like ears nearly fried
by the dawn’s alarm,
rogue, set, and ready
to accentuate longing
for minimized calm.

what shook their way
down tangled branches
floats along rivers
white and drained
in time for dinner,
modest and shared.

Cat No. 120 of the 500 Cats Project

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typical attempts at rhyming

flowers do kneel, apt to reveal.

we love how the whites of
a suddenly swollen moon
crack beneath our shoes
as our laces become untied
with each shriveled conclusion
of another faulty argument.

what good does speaking
provide when raindrops
hit the old front porch
and flattened leaves bleed
to tell you as much?

the clouds are stubborn
like most bad memories
that won’t dissolve into
cups of lukewarm water.

break the bread, make our bed.

let’s repeat everything we
never learned to say
because homework wasn’t
cool to us in 2006.

I am the fuzz peeled away
when it’s time to eat at
the sour misconceptions known
to tie us down and placate
those who were never happy.

teach me to sit and weave
baskets while the line outside
spirals and cuts across curbs
that broke the skin left
behind by thrashing defiance
abandoned in a local flood.

all has been said, some misled.

Cat No. 119 of the 500 Cats Project

conventional nothings

told to pack your bags, I guess.

whatever they contained, no one
remembers. perhaps they’re
lost in a dandelion thicket, paper
airplanes’ missing wings stuck
on the roof, or further broken on
sidewalks leading to a gas station
that grows in its barren longevity.

I feel that everyone already knows
that some books sell without the
last page. coffee stains reveal
more than we’d hope to awaken to
while the rain misses its quivering
targets. we’ll see there’s another
flash flood warning, and agree that
a lot of people shouldn’t be talking
on roads, or water that’s not wet.

doublespeak and jewelry hang from
wrists as you point at the breathing
sky, its grayness so dark. maybe “you” means “we” in proper sense, etiquette taught some time ago with too many steps to follow before ten o’ clock p.m. only the unseen speaks the nicest word, but letters never leave closed mouths.

we all need an umbrella.

Cat No. 118 of the 500 Cats Project

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

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