Watching Horror Movies at 3 AM – a mirror cinquain

Oh, shit.
Shit, shit, shit. FUCK.
FUCK. FUCKING RUN. RUN NOW.
RUN, YOU MOTHERFUCKERS. GO. FUCK.
YOU’RE DEAD.

JUST RUN.
It’s common fucking sense, asshole!
Don’t stop! Don’t look back! Ugh!
Just fucking run!
RUN. RUN!

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Heirloom

Her cheeks had withered,

Then –

No longer

Cherry-red,

Or swollen,

Rouged,

And pert,

But sagging,

Now,

Prostrate toward the dirt;

Wilting

On the vine,

Flesh puckered,

Brushing soil,

Like caterpillars lured to a bloom.

 

Her hair was not her hair –

Long gone,

The gleaming coils

That crowned

Her regal head

In sepia glamor.

Her hands were gnarled,

Now,

No manicure

In summer scarlet;

Liver spots,

And bulging veins,

Striate

The muscles

Beneath.

 

Tension,

And strain;

Loop,

And knot –

The click

Of the needle

Against her brittle nails:

 

This is what I leave you.

 

Loop,

And knot,

Clatter,

And clip –

Down-soft yarn

For miles and miles.

 

 

He Was So Dead in His Dying That He May Well Never Have Lived

I trudge home singing a song that ended a decade ago,
The burden upon my back a blessing, like angel’s wings
Lifting me toward God on the briefest of updrafts,
And, for a moment, I can see myself as others see:
Too old to be a schoolgirl; her body is ripe with womanhood –
Two tits like melons rest upon the pumpkin stomach
That squashes her plump and juicy thighs.

My heart is deep-fried.

Bruised from stretching as it longs, and blackened, neglected in the pot,
It has been sapped of all of its substance –
It is a nod to miracles that an organ so charred can still find the strength to beat.

As I march toward home, I realize that I haven’t one –
That it is the presence, rather than the place,
That separates home and hell.
That house is empty, and this block, a boneyard.
I dread going in.

Seraph-me, lost in thought, recalls
Another time I halted at the threshold,
Knowing that to open that door would mean to face the lion’s wrath:
The king of the jungle, with his frantic, grizzled mane, awaited,
Prowling at the top of the stairs.

I would take that agony sweetly, now,
If only to lay eyes upon his face –
Creased in rage, lined in worry,
Staring murderously down at the spindly young male
Who had dared to defile his cub,
Hunched lustily,
thrusting awkwardly over the gear knob of a cramped Geo Metro.

If only I had known the love in his anger,
I never would have played that Ace –
Chucking it savagely with the hand of a born cardsharp,
Straight into his face to wound him.
I cursed his name, and I threatened to go;
I swore I would slam that door behind me and never look back.

To call him a lion is lying –
He was ever just a man,
Broken, and ailing, and alone.

He tried desperately to keep her –
Jewelry, tenderness, Viagra.
Every gift he gave her, she eschewed –
Ever the haughty queen –
And one day she left completely.
Like a snake, only her skin remained to haunt him.
Three petulant imps scorned the tragedy.

In the midnight of her departure, my sister used to wake, crying –
I pretended not to hear –
And he would hold her, and murmur,
“I’m right here; I’ll never leave.”

His words are leaves, now, scuttling past upon cold, autumn pavement,
And my tears, the soft snowflakes that bury them.

You Don’t Deal With Death; You Just Endure Its Company.

I hitched a ride to the bus stop yesterday
From my next-door neighbor.
Her name is Heather – it whispers like the wind.
But she never whispers; her voice is boisterous,
Blustering, like the breezes that stir the sludgy,
Softening snow in which she watched me slip.
“You look so pretty!” She said,
Her compliment cloaked in condescension,
As if she spoke to a kindergartener,
Rather than a woman.
“I’m twenty-seven,” I wanted to reply,
“And yes, I’m pretty – pretty sick of this shit.”

She means well,
As she sighs, and offers up her tribute:
Her condolences for the recent loss of my father.
Her throat constricts with emotion as she soliloquizes –
“He was such a good man,” she says,
“And he suffered for so long. We all knew it was going to happen – “
And it happens.
I stop listening.

It was news to me
To see my dad –
A burly bear of a man –
Supine upon that rigid hospital bed,
His ferocious muscles entombed in fat,
Covered only by a slip of a hospital gown,
With tubes crammed down his throat, and up his nose;
With needles piercing his skin –
So thin,
Papery,
And bruised from every brush against the sofa.

This afternoon, I stood precariously beneath the eaves
Overhanging the back porch as I sucked down a cigarette.
I smoke too much, these days, and write too little,
But when the words come rushing in, I’m never near to a pen.
Looking out over the weathered balustrade,
I glimpse my dad’s pipe dream –
A boat, battered and tattered,
Its sodden seats piled high with snow.
“It was a good deal,” he told me,
The day he brought it home.
“Only $500. Just needs a new motor.”

Well, Dad,
You just needed a new motor, too.

The words waft through my head, soft, and sorrowful;
Susurrations of sadness simply unexpressed. I watch a squirrel
Scamper across the rickety spine of our six-foot fence,
As syllables slink upward
With the cinereous arabesques of my smouldering smoke –
Up unto God,
And I hope He chokes.

Jesus and I are having some issues, these days.

It was Christmas Day, at 4:05,
The sky outside decked in blackest mourning.
I held his hand; clutched that tired,
Fulsome fist
As I sobbed, and sobbed,
Unable to stop.

This was the closest my mother and I have ever been
As she pried my hand from the hand of a cooling corpse
That lay supine upon that rigid hospital bed
Where once my father had been.