some dehydrated thought

there was once a time when I thought hazelnut
truffles fell from the sky, and I asked in the
middle of downtown morning traffic.

who am I to even mention traffic? I haven’t
had a car in years.

it’s an ethics thing for me, like not wearing
wooden square-bead bracelets showcasing
saints striking ten different poses.           don’t
press the gas if you can’t turn the wheel.

and don’t start conversations about certain
people who’ve received the same amount of
confidence you’ve placed in your sad self.

I watched a documentary on husbands who
can’t feel.           They mumbled their vows as
their mothers cried, like the brides would in
several months. occasionally, I stare at the
ceiling, crumpling napkins in colorless fists.

I wonder if I’m anything like these men, if
I’ve ever really wanted anyone.

undoubtedly, I’ve always envied the act of
being, but I’ve never met someone who
taught this.           pedagogy is a loaded word
long hallowed by some who can’t order fries
without leaving behind some slap-worthy smirk.

the hazelnut truffles rest on my countertop
that begs for Clorox, just as my eyelids
calmly give up their strained resolve.

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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

the swan forgot the lyrics

tie my hair back
feeling strands
defy the resolve
of the unwound.

too many tasks
written on walls
pressed upon by
frazzled fingers.

the more I want,
the less I retain.

explanations dry
themselves so
no one else runs
their bills amok.

plan the purge
while tucking in
sheets of paper
stamped in blue.

fewer places left,
petals out to melt.

straps will fall
and the mouth
withdraws every
second guess.

dip my two feet
into stilled ponds
waiting for years
within hot lobbies.

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

Dangling Mobile of Ordinary

Mercy of a lazy afternoon.

Babies asleep, sign on door says
it’s just not smart to ask for
conversation.

Or start it.

The car battery’s given up for this
particular meantime. You can hold
your breath, but the bluebonnets
won’t. They did their time, daring
not to quiver as the babies smiled
on command.

Most people still have their senior
yearbook.

Nowadays, it’s a breakfast tray,
hosting more napkins than cups of
black coffee since the city declared
it wants to cut down. How many
cups could fit on the glossy block,
flat the way some people like their
leisurely soda?

I couldn’t tell you,
so I guess we’ll never know
while most of the questions
I’ve left by your door
run back to me, wet streets
stained, smelling of Big Red
that only I can taste.

You will discover more things that
always spun over your bed.

when we were somewhat young

aliens come to teach us tricks
less silly than simply playing fetch,
watching the sun hide into wordlessness
like young sangria tossed onto worn carpets.

you and your pencil, glue stick
trying its best to hold together the steps
one follows, solving the most tiresome
riddles, equations, whiteboard confetti.

fly through tonight, keep your head down
and don’t vomit yet because there’s much more
that we haven’t seen and the people around the corner
have an entire book filled, oddities and monsters smirking.

we once wrote stories and scared off those
who timed themselves in the late afternoon
and made sure to climb the stairs at five
while we knew we’d be searched for, astray.

ants form a line, encircling the smoothest rocks
we walked right over, arched nonchalance glowing
in the heat, the unknown and feared biting our ankles
that worked, pushed, and fought against suburban rest.

Cat No. 92 of the 500 Cats Project

remembering irrelevancies

“no anonymity for trial, error, and…”

Diane Sawyer, there was never anonymity. There isn’t any, even in the subtle tolerance high school and college provide. Leave Britney alone! Here’s the part where she cries…

I currently write on the kitchen counter, headphones overbearing like the glare of everyday drosophila. The bullet planner’s now a host for lists, phrases overheard, and brands with new commercials playing songs I don’t want to lose track of. I listen to interviews from 2003, late into the night, well after reading what’s conventionally relevant sometime around noon. I eat my cereal with bits of banana, and soon, I’ll walk out for more sweet fruit that cues the flies’ song before I open the window that invites the least light.

The hallway’s angrier than usual, someone’s girlfriend arguing about how she should’ve been the green Power Ranger, ignoring suggestions to order pizza and sit back calmly with a cold Mike’s Hard Lemonade. I pour myself more cereal, sing David Bowie’s “Five Years” three times in a row because I’m sickly fond of the thought of a beautiful person unaware he’s in a song. Like a girl with her headphones behind a brick wall as I’m sitting in a car of a friend driving by, a friend who knowingly misses my apartment complex because wasting gas surpasses several hours alone in its vocalized comforts.

The afternoon brought the best nap in perhaps the last three weeks. No headache, bruised thighs, or wrists not wanting to work. Of course, I ate cereal before falling asleep, three bananas spread like a fan across the counter. No sunlight found. I only smelled rain and reminded myself that the library still charges thirty-five cents per item, per day that it lingers on the table. I wrote a list of every book I probably took home since I was twelve years old. An Egg on Three Sticks remains a novel I want to reread.

I opened that book a long time ago. Fourteen years. 2003. Yeah, that sounds about right.