opening act

I walk a tightrope that rivals a spider web.
breathe me in, see me out.
the raindrops sting when they want to,
needles into fleshy thumbs.

love these hands which visit peace,
for they are dry and chapped
as my unquiet lips
that relay secrets, better left
unspun and elongated.

judge me harshly,
if you have the time.

take me through the scarlet
and all the confetti, pink and flat
across dappled paths
downtrodden with whispers
and flooded with sighs of white.

I yell the lyrics authored by youth.
see me past all you’ve known.
the water rushes as the sky defies,
orchids filling modest homes.

Cat No. 127 of the 500 Cats Project

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ball games

lavender under the pillow
informs me that I’ve learned
a more efficient method
for sound reflection.

puddles at the end
ripple, while nimble
ants peer over the edge
of frayed leaves, dry
and bloodless, like
shells and hollow time.

I am the guest.
you are my keeper.

shadows grow thin
as clocks strike six.

Cats No. 123 and 124 of the 500 Cats Project

eyeing the caffeine

delays in good old customer
service, the batching of
work, duplication of minutes
across a pastel wall shielded
by obituaries for spiteful
clouds, rounded in their
tired introspection and moot
rebuttals, hissingly solemn.

first day back, eight tall
canisters of coffee burn
while the power goes out
and we look around, see
how many slips need a
home, a pinch, cardstock
in the brightest blue, my
coveted stamps finding
refuge in the bag of our
most reliable deliveries.

first-time consultations are
really just several prolonged
rounds of peekaboo, but we
often write up stories as to
why no one saw us, and why
no one sees us pouring life’s
catalysts the way pretty folks
do, poised and undistracted.

Cat No. 122 of the 500 Cats Project

milk for the cereal, and vice versa

say hello to the girl at the
grocery store.

she grabs the brand of milk
you use :: all-time favorite
frosted wheaties soaking in
a chilled bowl of soy.

you are the boy, avoided.

the aisle persists in its
wide declaration – your
footprints following sighs
and the ragged breathing
one only hears when
the other has stumbled.

she never truly forgot
and regulars could attest
to loud discontent
locked in bent cans
rolling down, down –
further down.

metal rods clanging
against vineyards
on new glass.

the lids disappeared.

regardless, you both
spend every Friday
racing to the corner, a
lopsided box with
creased flaps, eyelids
reproached for looking
ahead and away.

shopping carts collide
and curse in light rainfall.

Cat No. 121 of the 500 Cats Project

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

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