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My brother said he slept with me (unholy congress),
a bramble brier of limbs, cocks and mouths.
They never said, oh so poor sleeping beauty’s wall
was pocked with uncoupled blasphemous poppies.
But I was a strumpet, the number of how many I slept with
could be be found if you tore through a cereal box.
His first wife sang Hail Marys when hearing of my lovers,
labyrinthine mazes of prayers. When my husband danced with me.
the Pavan, Lord Zouch’s Maske. We all wore delicious masks,
fingers touching then other things touched, fevered, liquid.
But that was a long, long time, things are clove breaths,
they are endlessly muttered prayers, they are my brother standing.
The blade is waiting for both of us (but he is innocent).
I am not but I was not taught to be innocent.
So I remember a mouth singing unholy psalms into my mouth.
Missing GirlsMissing Girls
These snippets of girls, broadsheets, ballads,
a one paragraph whisper in a smudged newspaper
beneath an ad for a pizza, two for one.
But they are singular despite their raveled tangled names.
They are still awake, a litany of how young girls die.
Delia is gone, 14 years old, cinched and muzzled with rope,
two bullets. He was pardoned. She sleeps somewhere unknown.
Her bones whisper to the unknowns. At least Delia has a song.
Johnny Cash sang about her, the Man in Black.
Did they bury her in black, a thrift store school dress
with sweat stained underarms?
They tell Delia of truck stop stores gaudy with harsh beaten light,
racks of DVDs of Country’s greatest hits. A bus stop smelling of aged urine.
He promised he would leave his wife, girlfriend, so many words.
In a church bathroom. He had a kind face.
Grainy posters stapled to telephone poles, taped to smudged windows,
small store billboards cramped with fading pleas
amidst ads for babysitting, massage and guitar le
In the parking lot, my brother shoots plastic arrows
at our station wagon, sleeping bags piled in the back.
"Can we have a pool shaped like a bass guitar,"
he asks, "when we get to California?" I float gum wrapper boats
in the shimmering heat mirage, my knees barnacled
with scabs and mosquito bites. As we drive, we count road kills,
eighteen wheelers and truck stops named after some guy.
You can drink it," Mom says cutting open a barrel cactus.
"Even if you get lost, you'll never die."
She taped Dad's latest postcard to the dashboard.
"Found work. I love you all. Come." We have postcards
from almost every state: amarillos from Louisiana,
pine flats from Arkansas, a Texas gas station with pipestem hoses.
Dad once worked in a diner, brought home day old cherry pie,
placemats I could draw on. When he kissed me goodnight,
I could hear jukebox songs. "Be my baby, do wah."
Mom stoops beside me, touches my spearmint boat with a bitten nail.
"Where is this one going?"
Marie AntoinetteMarie Antoinette
They gave me shoes, velvet heels that spun like windmills,
dribbles of satin, laces gossamer as imagined spider threads.
They designed me shoes to be orchids, bees drowsed around my feet. I give them names.
But they took my language, words shaped in my own tongue,
familiar as milk and bed.
The language they gave me, I never exactly knew what the words meant.
I pouted, smiled, fluttered my eyelashes until they were hummingbirds.
They murmured of people starving, bakeries hollow of flour,
echoes of the rights of the man. But they said not to worry. Silly things.
So we dressed as shepherdess, lambs washed until they were pillows.
Our crooks hooked the sun. They gave me extravagant pastries,
almond, cherry palaces in my mouth. I could not shape the names.
Then they showed me the cards that were circulating of me, the crowds howled when they saw them.
My face was a false moon on some other body.
This body was on all fours, someone thrusting inside into it.
I heard other wor
A Romance NovelA Romance Novel
Underneath the whiskey bottle billboard,
my sister Ellen sells daisies, crocheted potholders
and chocolate stained, water raptured paperbacks.
"A buck a cover," she yells lining up the tabloid bright offerings,
a woman fleeing down a mountain path, a lighted window
the swamp blue of a TV screen. Ellen's trying to get money
so she can marry Rick. She culls the books
from neighbors' shelves, windfall apples.
Mama just shakes her head, fingers stained
with brown sugar and nicotine. "She isn't a little girl anymore."
At dusk when the air sweats, Ellen and I lay in the hammock,
strung between trees. "Lord Roger possessed
the dark wounded brooding air of a caged jungle cat,"
she reads. But the only cat I've seen is the next door tabby,
plush as a fake fur cushion. "Her blood pounded, her breath quickened
whenever he touched her." Does it quicken like it does
when you run uphill playing Cowboys and Indians?
Mama's wash would darken with dusk, Ellen's body a whisker of movement
Glass is dried light.
What we cannot touch
now holds our wine.
Yet once caught,
a nervous hand, brown grit will shatter it.
My words are dried perceptions.
What I cannot say
now fills the silence.
A strained image, a hesitation ...
What I give to you
is a thing alien to itself.
Food TraysFood Trays
Our fingernails are grimy crescent moons, public restrooms are often so busy.
You want to hide that we are trying to bathe there.
For a week, you fed me spoonfuls of chicken broth,
the fever an insistent voice, the sky a white sheet,
who wouldn't want to sleep on a white sheet.
Instead we slept on snail trailed, needle pock holed mattress,
insect eggs a map of the holy land.
There was one crusade of children,
most of them died or were sold, bartered into slavery.
We won’t go there because we both remember what that means.
But I remember a spoon entering my mouth, tinny saltiness.
You said I raved but I don't remember what I said
except I wanted to hear the Blue Oyster Cult's "Astronomy".
I stole food, trays left behind on the plush green grass, I would simply pick them up,
then enter as though I belonged and I would feast. I fed you stolen peanut butter sandwiches.
I wrapped them in paper napkins then I shoved them into my backpack cowering beneath the table.
We were s
Not FleshNot Flesh
He wants to paint the virgin with skin blue
as a stillborn child, as blue as his wife's eyes.
Around their cot in the earth, their seven babes
wait in line for the opening of the sky.
Christ will come back, the priest intones. But this time,
he will not enter through a woman's flesh.
How would he paint a Christ not flesh
the painter wonders? Will he be stone, the bitten skin
of a plum, a fly's wings, threadbare flaxen cloth,
or a white canvas, so white there’s no air to breathe?
"Blue skin," the painter thinks,
Mary's face pooling beneath his brush.
An angel caresses his back until feathers fret
and knot beneath his skin, wanting out.
Margaret Pole 1541Margaret Pole 1541
She refused to lay her head on the executer’s block quietly.
Instead she ran screaming, clawing, knowing it would happen anyway.
It took 11 swings of the executor’s ax to behead her.
Her sin was to support Catherine first wife of Henry the 8th.
A silly thing to us, he simply wanted to marry another woman.
When I first died I was four, an operating table.
With the swiftness of a falling ax, they opened my rib cage,
felt my heart even though it lacked passion.
17 children went on the table that week, 11 died.
I lived in a jungle of IV tubes,
I lived in an oxygen tank, the luminous belly of a jelly fish, no working brain.
My mother noticed piles of rotting food trays outside my room.
Pears swollen until they might give birth.
Meat blossoming with green as though swarms of moths were slumbering on them.
The nurses didn’t bother to suit up to enter my private plastic bellows of a belly.
The air rippled around me with each breath as though the universe fe
Dead ZoneWe met on an art website—you, me, and the Sprout.
Thing is, the Sprout and I didn't really care about art. Only you did. But when I looked online for a school art project and found you two bickering about something pointless in the comments of a picture that had nothing to do with any of us, I signed up for the site solely for the purpose of telling you two to shut up and take it to someone who cares.
So you sent me your Skype contact.
I expected you to start the conversation with arguments or even flirtation, but instead you just asked me how my day had been, as if we'd always been friends and you were just greeting me on a lonely Tuesday night. When the Sprout joined us a few minutes later, haven taken a bit more time to accept contact with the guy who he had been arguing with earlier, his first words consisted of telling you that you typed slower than his three-year-old niece and brought the conversation to the comfortable squabbling that had taken up most of our relationship.
SolaceShe never slept well in the dark,
not without the children of the sun and moon
to guide her weary lids home.
Guided by the aftermath, she was always two steps behind.
What did the world look like to the girl who had been through it all?
Braved the heaviest of storms,
yet skipping over cracks in the pavement.
They said her eyes were the wisps of clouds before the storm.
To him they were reflections of pages overlooked.
She said it was like she lived the life of someone she had never met.
Laid out to dry, yesterdays news.
He knew her as the girl who was built to never collapse.
He wished he was too.
He loved her more than words could say, and yet her pain was such,
that at times, he feared she wouldn’t make it.
But on nights like these, even when it threatened to consume her,
he became convinced that somehow she would.
Nine TimesI saw him nine times.
The first time we were both sitting in the room together, getting ready to take the math test that would determine our placement. I was scatterbrained and throwing things around, trying to find the pencils that I had known I would need but had still just tossed in my purse. He was lounging backwards in his chair, looking for all the world as though he didn’t have a single care in the world, including the upcoming test. It annoyed me, that I was frantic and ready to scream, while someone else could be that relaxed.
I tested out of the class.
I don’t know if he did.
The second time I saw him, it was a few months after I arrived on campus. He was the one rushing and frantic this time, running across the square. He was probably late for class, though I had no way of knowing for sure. I was already lost in my own thoughts and ideas, deciding on my major and convincing people that yes, this is what I really want to do with my life. If they weren
MaaheWhen the Maaheseum wore off, Onteia knew she was close to death. Her hair had gone white, her eyes were sunken and glassy, her flesh had receded. Those in her pod were the same: decrepit old men and women, none of them older than twenty-five. Outside, the blueshift had pushed every black hole, every brown dwarf, every burst of cosmic radiation from every pulsar in the Galactic Center into visibility. In hyperspace, even someone who never saw the shining beauty brought out by Maaheseum could see what lay beyond the cursory glance that was their lifelong perspective.
The pod was nearing its final destination--the spectacular, unmatched glory of a collapsing star. This was what all Travelers longed to see before their inevitable early death from the drug. Onteia reached into the small container at the center of their pod, where there were enough green-tinted black shards to last a hundred Travelers a decade. She took a piece just over an inch long, and set it on her decaying molars, and b
Graffiti Dreams in Black and White The strokes are dreamt permanent,
the only lasting demarcations of claiming existence,
and the collective artists who painted them majored in Biology,
or Accounting, or English and Professional Writing, or dropped out
as so many do when they wake up.
The poet paints them into existence with his words:
“ideas are illusions, and all words are untrue.”
And we nod our heads and sip our coffees, indeed,
put a price to labors and words and even to thoughts
because we no longer want freedom if it costs us the freedom
of saving face and keeping pace with the ebb and flow
Stories about our fatherOur father is fourteen in this story
so we must imagine him young and slim
bobbing on his toes, the quiver
of his racquet like the quiver
of a cat’s tail.
We’ve seen our father play before,
sitting courtside with our action figures
and paper dolls,
deadened to the minor explosions
of balls striking asphalt.
But we are surprised now by the
in his face, his eyes moving the tight loop
from court to net to opponent
and back again.
And it occurs to us
that we haven’t occurred to him.
Our father is pre-marital,
his world blazes between these
But soon we look where our father won’t:
To the stands where
our boy-faced uncles jeer
beside our grandmother, thin and erect
where we know her
soft and stooped.
She raises a hand to the metallic crest of
her hair and calls out,
David! What’s the score!
And it is understandable to us
that he pretends not hear.
That his shoulders twitc
may as well buy another packcollapse, and breathe into the carpet:
sunday mornings are not
for falling apart, but damn
the amphorics, this
is not an atmosphere.
you fell in love like you always
wish you didn't, made all their
smiles replaceable, interchangeable,
fell asleep with shadows and kept
drinking, just letting yourself sleep
with blue pills
and tried not to scream.
(keep this image in your head:
fire and nectarines, a sudden jerk
of realization, inspiration
breaking your neck and leaving you forever
breaking bones is not so different
from breaking hearts - it's all about
the leverage, the angle, the mode
(and at least it wasn't personal;
it can color in your own guilt
for starting lines and never ending
five hour energyi suppose
last week was only an aftershock
of the earthquake you were before.
this place used to vibrate
with metal strings and melodic,
testimonies to life,
emitting coffee-scented moods
and the burn of it too.
i had memorized the
sounds of silence,
i couldn't help but relish it.
no longer had i known
the sounds of folk
and scent of mocha-
you became nothing more
than an echo of the laughter
i so desperately needed to hear again.
then the echoes got louder,
bouncing ferociously off the walls
to be made manifest
i walked into your room
expecting exactly what i found-
an unmade bed,
and an empty beer
(the one that you insisted you needed
just days ago).
i pressed my nose
into the pillow
for incense and cologne and starbucks
to penetrate my mind
and thinking fervently
i already know
what a clean sheet smells like."
how strong an aftershock can be,
a timeless ringshe wears me upon
her withered hand:
an angel's halo
with no beginning or
she didn't like
but he brushed away the
drops of jupiter
twinkling on her
return but it was
just a fool's
and now i am
a memoir of
because he is
dead but he is
not, he is
gone but he is
here, he is
a memory preserved;
she wears me upon
her withered hand:
the crown of a
king lost in battle
grazes me with her
because soon i
will be a
she will be the
Red DirtRed Dirt
I eat only because my body demands it.
In the South pregnant mothers eat red dirt
because it gives them what they crave. Their bellies are full moons,
their eyes constellations of what their baby will be.
Forget tossed stones or chicken entrails,
the lines of a palm already scarred
by machinery bits, a barbed wire chicken fence.
I already know what my future will be.
I was given paradise but it did not want me.
They told me if you are not strong enough this paradise will scar you
and it has. I was meant to be pregnant at the age of 16
and believe this child will be different from me.
But I escaped, relentless, demanding. "Do not give into it."
But paradise rejected me.
I am now too slovenly, scared and desperate.
I want to bite myself, taste red blood,
red clay until it consumes me. I belong to it.
I want the red clay until it exhausts me and whatever I may give birth to.
My scars like constellations have told me we are not worthy.
Poetic PsychosisIn thirty seconds, the next shell would fall. Every night was the same, but every night Lorenzo experienced it as if it were the first time. His throat felt swollen; breathing was hard. He glanced around at the others; young men like him who had been shipped out in the name of honour and freedom. There was no honour in this, no freedom. Only death behind your eyelids, and a fear so gutting, that it carved out your innards and left you a hollow husk. Lorenzo tried to breathe, tried to assure himself that he was still whole, still made of flesh. They had lied when they told him he was ready.
Matteo ran towards him, arms out, rifle swinging uselessly at his side. He shouted for him to run, but Lorenzo remained motionless, unable to move as his friend’s warning was lost in the constant blare of gunfire. None of them were ready.
“The cycle is repeating. It is not safe.” The voice was soft and weak, yet it carried over the gunfire and battle cries without impediment.
longdead leafa longdead leaf
burnt brown in the depth of green
cups a handful of fresh water
a leaf left behind
holds something of worth
forgoing death with its dead body
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scheinbar is a much-loved and well-known deviant. Just one look at her gallery, filled with enchanting photography, will have you mesmerized. A deviant for over 7 years, Christiane can always be found posting inspirational features as well as regularly commenting on other deviations and encouraging and empowering her fellow deviants. We are inspired and insist that you too stop by and congratulate ... Read More