a hot winged weekend comes to take me away
and like any sensible person on her front porch,
I sit awhile, nod my head, listen to the word
of the plastic pelicans, pinwheels shimmering
behind them – the finest background dancers.
my brother rests on an elevated plane, and I
dart my head towards the direction you’d like
to take, as if I know where you’re headed, as
if I’ve been there and could tell you how many
threads have contracted their lives to a doormat.
I keep my word, but as for my brother, his
memory is one built on convenience, tufts of
gray cotton bordering his neck like Elizabethan
collars, regal and intimidating like the elders
who scare you from asking necessary questions.
you’ve come to me with questions, and I’ve got
nothing but scarcity on this one plot of land, the
smoothness in froth-less coffee waking us up
as the heat of an unforgiving summer awakens
each wrist to rotate, clockwise and cautious.
the cars line up, the ants line up, and the weeds
grow unevenly, like brittle eyelashes rooted in
place for as long as you’d like to stay, for as long
as you’d like to tell me that nothing is wrong, and
water from floppy hoses tastes like guava nectar.
Cat No. 136 of the 500 Cats Project
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coming from ambivalence,
looking right to left, and then
left to right as if reading some
language I’ve become too
the day becomes gray
and the ground feels
sharp, harsh enough
to awaken several snails,
tenacious in their nap time
and steady in solemn thought.
the stop signs blend into
some tangerine sunset, six
sides fallen onto the hot surface
as I look over my shoulder
to contest your fear.
Cat No. 126 of the 500 Cats Project
nothing short of questionable.
wrapped in the glee felt in snowflakes’
kisses, I slowly blink and breathe
in time with a bicycle’s push through
summer unbound, summer that has thrusted
its demands onto hope that rings
against clear, but speckled glass.
the thinnest twigs are broken.
tennis balls roll into candied curbs
bright as the brick of a first home,
and tulips sit in aquamarine cups once
used to serve spry ice cream and appease
grand expectations of the younger crowd,
hurrying into endeavors sharp and unplanned.
hearing the static, pining to dream.
Cat No. 125 of the 500 Cats Project
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
I’ve got a feeling
you’ve been told
the same things.
fawned over, so
how many dimes
add up to fill our
it’s fine to ask
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
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
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
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
Plastic, glass, transparency.
You who have given your best so freely while the vanilla
inside the busted freezer solidifies so stubbornly
and stabs all youth’s sides.
Run in this finicky heat and tell me if you’ve won
today’s crackling debate.
Apply all you could know into the pores, some large
and some like the point on a pencil sharper than
your thesis statement born on foggy mornings when cars
kiss backsides with force and unfulfilled hunger.
Streets keep winding regardless of the time
your eyes spent lost in smeared fine print that
never seems to make up its damn mind the longer
you take to wrap a bow around runaway reasons.
Even in houses with manicured lawns, Swarovski
figurines convulse on clean tile floors.
you leave me exhausted,
and my eyes should’ve closed
but I run to both ends,
living room begs for Clorox.
dipping fingers in a ripped bag,
thinking up lies when
asked how much I make,
and all I’ve made is chalky regret.
pace and trip over the past,
face in line with dim stoplights
and lips short like mumbling,
mosquitoes ridiculing every crease.
I see you three days out,
the week’s hefty wavelength
throws its hunger on still shale,
footprints solemn like young moons.
pat these cheekbones pink,
grapefruit skin clings to meat
so raw and pretty when prosthetic,
though sinewy as your goodbye.
I press myself dutifully against the creases
of my first sofa, curling pink toes and taking
a breath here and there because I cannot rely on
the increased intensity of our 2AM releases while
we’re both so grounded in not exactly knowing how
to spell something other than “astronaut” after
they continue to ask us what we’ll come back as
when there are no more shops selling milkshakes
within the hours we both gasped at just how good
it feels to wear everything backwards (everything).
slow it down, the lights don’t sleep like you
assume I can’t, and this is unusually fine with me
as you stub your toe on tables in ways I don’t
understand like the laws of physics multiplying in
heat while anyone with pity says my fear and lukewarm
speechlessness run to each corner of my faded paper
brain that’s more like a balloon skidding across a
sandy road with the shortest string trailing behind.
making the most of what brevity rustles on your
front porch and the flimsy reminders of old windowsills.
that’s all we have to do, and we will be just fine.