time suddenly reverses and we watch together
as winds and rivers build mountains from dust
as islands sigh and sink back into the ocean like brooding leviathans
we erase what we wrote and forge forests from blank canvases
we excavate corpses like buried treasures born from the earth
we compress and collapse the last great cities into cravings for change
time suddenly reverses and we watch together
as portals of Polaroid people and places become pointless pieces of paper
we disentangle our desires from the raveled ropes of realization
we dust off deserted dreams and unpack them from boxes in the attic
we set them out on display for everyone to know and see
time suddenly reverses and we watch together
as scientists discover new ways to delete technological innovations
as people strive to detach themselves from their material possessions
we admire how hard everyone is working to remove all the distractions
each person playing their part in order to get back to what really matters
everyone is trying so hard to become less
time suddenly reverses and we watch together
as our moms and dads rise out of love and divorce with a handshake
as people evolve and devolve as they fade into and out of our lives
as everything continuously changes every day
for a moment we remember that life is rewinding
but then we forget
by @whatisyarvy on twitter
A Sonnet of Invented Memories
1. I told you that I was a roadway of potholes, not safe to cross. You said nothing, showed up in my driveway wearing roller-skates.
2. The first time I asked you on a date, after you hung up, I held the air between our phones against my ear and whispered, “You will fall in love with me. Then, just months later, you will fall out. I will pretend the entire time that I don’t know it’s coming.”
3. Once, I got naked and danced around your bedroom, awkward and safe. You did the same. We held each other without hesitation and flailed lovely. This was vulnerability foreplay.
4. The last eight times I told you I loved you, they sounded like apologies.
5. You recorded me a CD of you repeating, “You are beautiful.” I listened to it until I no longer thought in my own voice.
6. Into the half-empty phone line, I whispered, “We will wake up believing the worst in each other. We will spit shrapnel at each other’s hearts. The bruises will lodge somewhere we don’t know how to look for and I will still pretend I don’t know its coming.”
7. You photographed my eyebrow shapes and turned them into flashcards: mood on one side, correct response on the other. You studied them until you knew when to stay silent.
8. I bought you an entire bakery so that we could eat nothing but breakfast for a week. Breakfast, untainted by the day ahead, was when we still smiled at each other as if we meant it.
9. I whispered, “I will latch on like a deadbolt to a door and tell you it is only because I want to protect you. Really, I’m afraid that without you I mean nothing.”
10. I gave you a bouquet of plane tickets so I could practice the feeling of watching you leave.
11. I picked you up from the airport limping. In your absence, I’d forgotten how to walk. When I collapsed at your feet, you refused to look at me until I learned to stand up without your help.
12. Too scared to move, I stared while you set fire to your apartment – its walls decaying beyond repair, roaches invading the corpse of your bedroom. You tossed all the faulty appliances through the smoke out your window, screaming that you couldn’t handle choking on one more thing that wouldn’t just fix himself.
13. I whispered, “We will each weed through the last year and try to spot the moment we began breaking. We will repel sprint away from each other. Your voice will take months to drain out from my ears. You will throw away your notebook of tally marks from each time you wondered if I was worth the work. The invisible bruises will finally surface and I will still pretend that I didn’t know it was coming.”
14. The entire time, I was only pretending that I knew it was coming.
by Miles Walser
The humiliation I go through
when I think of my past
can only be described as grace.
We are created by being destroyed.
And let me ask you this: the dead,
where aren’t they?
Vex me, O Night, your stars stuttering like a stuck jukebox,
put a spell on me, my bones atremble at your tabernacle
of rhythm and blues. Call out your archers, chain me
to a wall, let the stone fortress of my body fall
like a rabid fox before an army of dogs. Rebuke me,
rip out my larynx like a lazy snake and feed it to the voiceless
throng. For I am midnight’s girl, scouring unlit streets
like Persephone stalking her swarthy lord. Anoint me
with oil, make me greasy as a fast-food fry. Deliver me
like a pizza to the snapping crack-house hours between
one and four. Build me an ark, fill it with prairie moths,
split-winged fritillaries, blue-bottle flies. Stitch
me a gown of taffeta and quinine, starlight and nightsoil,
and when the clock tocks two, I’ll be the belle of the malaria ball.
by Barbara Hamby
On Missing You
Here is the skin that you said you loved
draped over the back of the chair in the kitchen.
Here are the teeth. Here is the sternum, the
clavicle, the fibula. Here are the angel bones
laid out on top of the dresser like antique
jewelry. Here are the earlobes, the knobbly
elbows, the beauty mark near my temple
that always got a moan out of you. Here are
my thighs, my femur. All ten toes, all ten
fingers. My pubic bone, preserved and
wrapped in a velvet bag. Your name on the
tag. Your name on everything. Here is
the body that loved you. Here is the
heart, bloodied and wanting. Here are
those drunk voice mails, the sober texts.
Here is your promise of staying. Here
is the lonely hum in my brain where your
name used to be. Here is my spine. Here
is all the hollow. Here is all the longing. Here
is the heavy tongue, the scratchy vocal
chords. Here are all of the I love you’s.
Here is the shocking wreck of it all. Here is
how you were closer to me than my bones,
my skin. Here is the quiet city, your empty
side of the bed. Here is the empty. Here is not
knowing whether you loved me or not. Here is
the poem that can’t save us. Here.
by Kristina H,
If time’s no more than the flesh of space arching its back,
what’s to stop the limber words from making geraniums bloom in winter?
You asked how and I said, Suicide, and you asked
how and I said, An overdose, and then
she shot herself, and your eyes filled
with wonder, so I added, In the chest, so you
her face was gone, and it mattered, somehow,
that you knew this…
From You Asked How (formerly Even Now She Is Turning, Saying Everything I Always Wanted Her to Say) by Nick Flynn
Full text HERE
I felt you tremor from across the cup-holder
as a closed door on the left side of your chest rattled,
which must have been frightening
because the days were all empty rooms you waited in,
and the women were laughter that lived outside your walls,
and the men were impossible to be.
From The Unfinished Suicides of My High School Sweetheart by Shira Erlichman
From Direct Address
Oh god of walking out
into a field that will burn
in a year, wrap a square
around these peach trees
and call it a holy of holies.
In this empty air I can see
an air conditioning unit, and
I need you to breathe this clay
behemoth back to the car lot.
Oh god of life going on unannounced
on the other side of this wall,
there would be so much space here
were it not for all these people.
Come out with me and we’ll lay down
sand bags and tour the entire length
with trumpets. Something will fall,
and I’ll name it after you
by Peter Bogart Johnson
Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.
The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.
It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.
by Frank O’Hara
Unsolicited Advice to Adolescent Girls With Crooked Teeth and Pink Hair
When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys call asking your cup size, say A, hang up. When he says you give him blue balls, say you’re welcome. When a girl with thick black curls who smells like bubble gum stops you in a stairwell to ask if you’re a boy, explain that you keep your hair short so she won’t have anything to grab when you head-butt her. Then head-butt her. When a guidance counselor teases you for handed-down jeans, do not turn red. When you have sex for the second time and there is no condom, do not convince yourself that screwing between layers of underwear will soak up the semen. When your geometry teacher posts a banner reading: “Learn math or go home and learn how to be a Momma,” do not take your first feminist stand by leaving the classroom. When the boy you have a crush on is sent to detention, go home. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boy with the blue mohawk swallows your heart and opens his wrists, hide the knives, bleach the bathtub, pour out the vodka. Every time. When the skinhead girls jump you in the bathroom stall, swing, curse, kick, do not turn red. When a boy you think you love delivers the first black eye, use a screw driver, a beer bottle, your two good hands. When your father locks the door, break the window. When a college professor writes you poetry and whispers about your tight little ass, do not take it as a compliment, do not wait, call the Dean, call his wife. When a boy with good manners and a thirst for Budweiser proposes, say no. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys tell you how good you smell, do not doubt them, do not turn red. When your brother tells you he is gay, pretend you already know. When the girl on the subway curses you because your tee shirt reads: “I fucked your boyfriend,” assure her that it is not true. When your dog pees the rug, kiss her, apologize for being late. When he refuses to stay the night because you lived in Jersey City, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because you live in Harlem, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because your air conditioner is broken, leave him. When he refuses to keep a toothbrush at your apartment, leave him. When you find the toothbrush you keep at his apartment hidden in the closet, leave him. Do not regret this. Do not turn red. When your mother hits you, do not strike back.
by Jeanann Verlee (via sierrademulder)
One mourner says if I can just get through this year as if salvation comes in January.
Slow dance of suicides into the earth:
I see no proof there is anything else. I keep my obituary current, but believe that good times are right around the corner
Una grande scultura posse rotolare giù per una collina senza rompersi, Michelangelo is believed to have said (though he never did): To determine the essential parts of a sculpture, roll it down a hill. The inessential parts will break off.
That hill, graveyard of the inessential, is discovered by the hopeless and mistaken for the world just before they mistake themselves for David’s white arms.
They are wrong. But to assume oneself essential is also wrong: a conundrum.
To be neither essential nor inessential—not to exist except as the object of someone’s belief, like those good times lying right around the corner—is the only possibility.
Nothing, nobody matters.
And yet the world is full of love …
by Sarah Manguso
Another Awkward Stage of Convalescence
Drunk, I kissed the moon
where it stretched on the floor.
I’d removed happiness from a green bottle,
both sipped and gulped
just as a river changes its mind,
mostly there was a flood in my mouth
because I wanted to love the toaster
as soon as possible, and the toothbrush
with multi-level brissels
created by dental science, and the walls
holding pictures in front of their faces
to veil the boredom of living
fifty years without once
turning the other way. I wanted
the halo a cheap beaujolais paints
over everything like artists gave the holy
before perspective was invented,
and for a moment thought in the glow
of fermented bliss that the bending
of spoons by the will was inevitable,
just as the dark-skinned would kiss
the light-skinned and those with money
and lakefront homes would open
their verandas and offer trays
of cucumber sandwiches to the poor
scuttling along the fringes of their lawns
looking for holes in the concertina wire.
Of course I had to share this ocean
of acceptance and was soon on the phone
with a woman from Nogales whose hips
had gone steady with mine. I told her
I was over her by pretending I was just
a friend calling to say the Snow Drops
had nuzzled through dirt to shake
their bells in April wind. This
threw her off the scent of my anguish
as did the cement mixer of my voice, as did
the long pause during which I memorized
her breathing and stared at my toes
like we were still together, reading
until our eyes slid from the page
and books fell off the bed to pound
their applause as our tongues searched
each others’ body. When she said
she had to go like a cop telling a bum
to move on, I began drinking downhill,
with speed that grew its own speed,
and fixed on this image with a flagellant’s
zeal, how she, returning to bed, cupped
her lover’s crotch and whispered not
to worry, it was no one on the phone,
and proved again how forgotten I’d become
while I, bent over the cold confessional,
listened to the night’s sole point of honesty.
by Bob Hicok