The most beautiful tooth I’ve ever seen
was crooked. In his full-lipped mouth it
danced with his laugh, leaned on a bigger
adjacent tooth. He had thirty-two teeth
in that mouth, all of them but one 
straight as an arrow, white as the clouds in
a Simpson’s sky but I could only see the 
crooked one nestled near the center. It 
had secrets to tell me, gave me a smile
with the glow of a child and I leaned in, 
longed to hear all that it had to say. Kissed 
him on the mouth, rubbed my tongue 
along thirty two teeth tasted the secrets
of each but none were as sweet as his
crooked tooth.
Advertisements

Once upon a time, in a small town just outside of a big city, there lived a man with a paintbrush. Ever the opportunistic American, he fooled his neighbors into thinking he was an artist – and not of the con variety! “What beautiful flags he draws,” the businessmen would say, who were all related to the mob but who gives a damn anyway. What matters is a love for the colors on the flag; the way it dances in the air as it claims new territory. Like a dog pissing on every tree near his home this man with a paintbrush worked on his American flags for every worn-out mobster with a buck. Oh it was truly great for the con artist.

Each compliment made his head a bit larger. This change in appearance became apparent a few months after his fame began to rise and was glaringly obvious after a year of the big scam. In fact, his head weighed half as much as his entire body by the time it got stuck in a doorway. The man could hardly look his followers in the eyes, what with such a heavy head and small neck. Some people started to worry, but not too many people, because nobody cares about anyone else all too much anyway.

Well, this con artist was sure in deep trouble. Stuck in the doorway to his home, just a few feet from his bed (where he sleeps all alone), the man called for help. “Help me please! I am stuck in this doorway!” But the townspeople did not know what to do. You see, the man lived in a house completely made of stars and stripes. Red, white and blue colored wood spanned four stories. It had become a site for tourists to visit (mostly Christians who had a prayer booth set up a mile back), all of whom were afraid to deface the patriotic abode. “I’d like to help you sir but you are stuck in a flag. It is illegal to break that.” And so the con artist pleaded “Well yes it is, but in this case I really do think it’s necessary…” The tourists found the artist to be quite contradictory.

Day turned to night and the man with a paintbrush fell asleep in the doorway of a giant American flag. His 70lb noggin could not fight the power of gravity and so his body was slumped in a very strange position; the kind you expect to find at a crime scene (but without blood – this story is child-friendly). It really was a funny way to sleep, and the kids in the neighborhood couldn’t help but laugh. “What a giant head that man has!” But nobody moved him because they were afraid to defile the flag, and secondly because he weighs a lot and they did not want to strain their muscles. The con man died a few days later with the Christians looking from their prayer booth.

And so the legend goes, the spirit of the con man haunts every American flag painted building in every small town for all of eternity. SO if you don’t want your business to be haunted by a fake artist with a big head DO NOT pay for a painting of the American flag!

 

That full sky
spits grub into the mouths of
green stems, red geraniums…

a vague light, as if from
the set of a movie
(the sun) hides
between the greyness of
clouds; it is all comparable
to the birds.

It always rains on Earth Day.

As if it were my
grandmother, always teaching lessons
through story books and
fantasies
always with the same ending; oh
how small we are and
children especially.

I wish to be larger

when it rains
on Earth Day. Like

that tree branch reaching
for its mother’s mouth, always
going just past it
never fully nurtured, always
standing in the
in-between but

with such poise.

I would wait for the
burst
of thunder and lightning
to soak through my trunk;
a meal chewed by her
the sky.

You see
man is not
so special

on Earth Day

when it rains
(it always does)

it is
for the rest.

quitting the shit

April 21, 2014

When I’m by
myself
I’m in
bad company.

That’s what
she said and
it resonated
with me so that
I sent it as a
text
to my boyfriend.

He quit
the shit
for me.

I didn’t
quit
the shit yet.

That guilt
enormous as
a brick on my
chest
pushing
down until —

Well I tell him
of course.

Everything I do
is
controlled by fear.

Everything I do
is
controlled.

The
addiction
is
real.

But
he quit the shit
for me.

I confess to him.

He forgives
me.
Must be
in love with
me.

Everything I do proves
cowardly. But

I want to stop for him.

He quit the shit
for me.

Made it
into
my poetry.

Everything I do
I do
without caution

Except for the things
that are close
to his heart.

So
I confess and
he
supports me.

Quit the
shit
and must be
in love.

This is the
happiest
poem
I’ve ever written.

Got
the sweetness
of Sunday morning
tucked
in the
palm of my hand.

hope & trains & mornings

April 14, 2014

There is undeniable hope in a summer morning; this is the kind that

reminds me what I’m afraid of.

I’m on a train. I live my whole life on a train. I once had a car but that’s gone now and besides,

I never really owned it anyway.

My birthday is on groundhogs day. Is that why I am afraid

of my own shadow?

I’ve met brave people in this world. I fell in love with them all

because

I think

they are something I cannot be.

I am a groundhog.

Some people — generous people

they call admission bravery

but

I think it’s quite the opposite.

There is hope in the sunshine;

there is hope in the spring morning

throwback thursday sucks

April 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday
ruined my life.

It’s not so much
that I was cool
beforehand but
now I know for sure
I will never

outrun
my past
self.

The truth in
me was
discovered
via eighth grade photos.

Cockblocked again.

Throwback Thursday
gave me
depression.

Had to see the doc
told me I had the
insecurities
prescribed me some anti
anxiety medication now
I am
addicted
to Xanax.

Brought me back
to narcotics
anonymous.

Sold my laptop
for a
bundle

ran away for
the open
road

picked up by a
man of about my age.

He said
aren’t you
Stacey’s sister?

He said he loved
that Christmas card
picture
recently posted.

I jumped from the
moving vehicle.

Throwback Thursday
broke both my
legs.

21st century poetry

April 4, 2014

He told me
he would break
vegan
to kiss me.

21st century love.

The kind you
find
in a messy bedroom
quoting lines
from a documentary
that made me
laugh.

Not eating meat
stands for
something.

He showed me
the movie
lying under covers
one arm around
a small waist and
a cigarette
out the window.

I call myself an
omnivore.
Eating scraps of
anything
I stand for
nothing.

21st century philosophies.

The kind we discuss
over the static of
a state line. That
kind of repetitive
thinking of all things
meaningless.

And he called himself an
existentialist but
he stands for something.

Documentaries don’t
show deleted
scenes. Documentaries
do not give you
contact information.

He kissed my
lips, breathed in
the faint smell of
chicken fingers
and bacon.

I told him
this
is 21st century poetry.

 

A Poem for Chupie

March 31, 2014

Woof
woof woof
woof, on a leash
of peanut butter
and drugs you cry
in a strange room, so
alone, stuck in the
cage bought for you
by your master.

Oh, to be a pup
so full of life and then
to be old, backed
into a corner by bigger
dogs with more recent
birthdays but old age
look good on you, I
say, and you have gone
through all the phases
of doghood but the very
end stage. To
be a chupie.

Why do you make
crying sounds? I
am here and yet you
feel alone. You are
in a foreign place of
which you do not know
the name for you do not
speak except in
woofs.
Woof woof.

Oh chupster, lay
your head on this
pillow here, right here
next to the cookies.
These are not for you,
your tongue tastes like
peanut butter.

Lazy pup, with
old age comes the
love of simple comforts.
With my old age has come
a love of dogs who long
for simple comforts. We
are of the same breed,
perhaps, Mr. Chupie, or
maybe you are human.

Woof
woof woof
woof.

Sylvia

March 14, 2014

Soul sister and lover,
in dreams I kiss your lips and
you cry in my arms, hush now

My breath into your ear whispering
sounds of a language not native to
us.

Goo goo gaaa gaaa

I think you are better than
me, like these nails which dance up
and down my back, sings
poems into spines, written
by the ghost in your bedroom.

Cosmos fall from these pages, sister,
and dust in the eyes, only a subversion
from the spaces between black ink so
that each word is only a stain in the back of
my head because they are me and you
are the wind blowing the leaves
so that they make a despairing droning sound.

These fingertips scream dark truths
into a lonely room and me, the object of such truths
as whole and real as the tap in my heart, the purr
in my scream and you, the author and you,
the housewife.

I think, I need to, fix your badly burned
insides because you are me and I
am the flower inside each restless soul and you
are a watering can only half full.

Dear Sylvia, my best friend and
stranger,

you are the painful cracking
of leaves as I walk, the wet tears on a stone
near the pond. You are my fingertips
and my nightmares.

2800 miles away, in my bedroom,
tucked between a long hall and the place
where my parents sleep, I see his face. I can
follow the brow line with my fingertip, long for
the feel of his skin but bump into a tablet
screen; a 21st century mirror.

I can’t remember what we said. Can never
remember what we say except that it lasts
quite long and there isn’t any touching. Oh
but promises of touches, the kind that makes
my skin tingle with excitement, the kind I write
bad poems about.

A screen, pictures and words on a screen. I
suppose that is all I am, all we are made of
anyway and the idea makes me giddy. I like
21st century mirrors, these kind of mirrors
which talk back.
Talk
dirty
to
me.
These kind with a face and a beating
heart. The kind with a past.

We make plans to meet. This
summer, oh the summer is so filled
with hope on twenty degree days like
today! I tell him I will fly to Oregon from
New York, we will make love and he will
hold me and I will crack jokes about our
day.  He tells me he can’t wait, that I am
so pretty and he likes who I am.

He likes
who
I am.

I daydream of his body. What his hands
feel like linked into mine. I picture
kissing his neck and scratching his
back. He will give me rubs. I will bite
his nose and pinch his cheeks oh I will
not let him go and why should I —-

He is sleeping in Portland, I am
on a ferry to Manhattan. Dreaming
of
his
summertime
touch,
hoping for a fairy tale.