prompt 12 (honesty, honestly?)

The sun is rising over New York City at 6:15am tomorrow morning,
which is my father’s 62nd birthday and I sit in the dark of this
burning-the-candle-at-both-ends,
police-lights-cutting-through-the-darkness-when-they-come-to-inflict- the-civic,
kind of night and
think only of the apology I would offer the students  that I cannot
teach them how to calculate the sunset from sunrise or
the altitude at solar noon

knowing too that if I were  to read them my version of a sunrise calculation 
with tea and the words of a certain writer which
remind us that we do not have to dare, to
pray, to be happy, that daily, the sun creates the world again, 

they would scoff, bored, confused.

I am so sorry,
I would say, so tired,
so hungry for their own words.
so desperate for their words
that I carry pencils in my hair
that I chase them through linoleum
hallways, that I give them  Tuesday and Thursdays or Everyday to come  I would ask them-

What do you thirst for?
Have you ever been this lonely?
Will I ever be so angry as to ever so casually  dare to say I would
shoot the whole class like Kevin did and a SWAT team almost came to the school.

He like me better now- he asks me to draw
him things to copy, ask me for advice on  color, line, shading, anatomy.
I would do anything, almost, to affirm the unspoken apology.

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a Monday Morning Attempt at prompt #5 edited

This day,
Coming in to school,
Sitting at this desk, alone,
I have never felt so hopeless, ever.
Breathe deep.

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prompt # 13 … things that happen on walks…

Four floors down
Closing the door
Tightly, the man
Asks again for
Beth’s number. I
Do not know
Beth’s number, though
I am sure
She has one.
Later, up the
Stairs which I
Took three at
At a time
Hoping the evening
Cleaning women
Had my back,
Would body block
Him with the
Full-sized vacuum
Equipment they had
Been bring in
The door when
I flew past,
punched in the
Keypad, flew up
The stairs, I
Thought how easy
It had been
To become Beth,
He asked me
My name and
Misheard the sigh
Under my breath,
One more man
Asking for something,
Thought I said
Beth, I said
‘why not,’ and
he asked where
I was from
I made him
Guess.  Telling me
I am beautiful
Is not a
Compliment that merits
Acknowledgement these days
In these parts.
He guessed Italy,
Spain, South American,
He guessed names
Of countries that
Were familiar but
Never would have
Voluntarily come to
My mind. And
He guessed parts
Of the former
U.S.S.R, he guessed
Romania and then
He guessed Russia
He asked if
I spoke Romanian.
He asked if
Beth had a
Boyfriend, I told
Him that she
Had many, complimented
With a coy
Smile, eyes always
Straight forward on
The street lights.
He asked if
He could join
I said did
He have good
Credentials, did he
Have a resume
Beth would want
Me to vet
Them for her.
Beth, he said,
And I smiled,
Beth, do you
Have a phone
Number? I am
Sure she does,
I simply haven’t
The faintest idea
What it is.

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prompt #11 tanka

They all black and blue
black and brown behind bars and
jumpsuit orange and
the guilty ones are holding
the keys outside of these walls

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prompt # 10 unlove

Ms. B. says that we are like
crabs in a barrel
we so close that we all up on that

I never agreed to be stuck in this
tank of rancid salt water
with all of you
especially the king crab with his
pincers and napoleon complex mixed
with some kinda Oedipal issues

which I know well because I played
Oedipus in the tenth grade play
when was in high school (before I
knew I would return years later and
masquerading as an adult)
because my friends were bullies
of the most loving sort, of course-

And they say keep your friends close and
your enemies closer and
at the rate we’re going, we’d rather
take each other out
unwilling to unclench our claws

even to save ourselves
in some kind of twenty-fifth hour
and at the rate we’re going,
we’ll all end up in that boiling pot together

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prompt 9 (noir/mystery)

These are lots of pieces that I am interested in coming back to but right now are just one heck of a jumble.

I.
It’s about the time my boyfriend got his Period and
the cramps lasted for days     And reverberated from his hips       through my rib cage
And lodged there like a small insect     a dragonfly     an atlas moth
Dizzying for years to come if I breathed in too deep
The uncomfortable     wings just to the right of the right atrium
It’s the story of the telescope we built together to see Philadelphia
From my east-of-the-Schuykill row house roof
Out of pterodactyl toenail clippings,      Of topiary toads and taxidermied tadpoles
And fishing poles or anything else that we might have found at a yard sale
The stethoscope he gave me for my fifteenth birthday that had me so
Turned around so I checked my pulse
With an ear to a sixteen year old dragon       A wolf-boy        A python (who swallows food whole and living and then doesn’t eat for days) heartbeat

II.
This is the maybe murder mystery
Of how Sarah went missing

III.
We smoked clove cigarettes
Over train tracks like we
Were rockstars poets kestrels
His cunt like fresh ground coffee
In a someone else’s childhood
Bedroom in Mt. Airy
Just by Carpenter Woods

IV.
Some people remember
Before Sarah left-

I wonder if there exists somewhere a
Graveyard,      A playground,     An insane asylum,   A bathtub filled with carp for gefiltefish
For discarded names
Of children who go missing
Onion skin      cicada shell thin
Cracked and shed

It was that time when this body
Was about his gender

V.
Who stood on
Stage in the school auditorium
And read a cereal box ingredients list   Corn syrup     Cornstarch    Corn
Coloring (yellow)     Cinnamon
Cisgender
Confusion
Compromise
I thought she was just
Most brilliant cucumber I had
Ever met, the smartest string bean

VI.
Nine years later
On a bench together
At Grand Army Plaza

He doesn’t know there
Are leads that were not
Followed up

There was a second set
Of foot prints in the
Soft sandy dirt create by
The vernal pools
When Sarah left

We don’t know who she was
If she came back

If she was ever missing

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prompt #3, Sea Shanty

If all the girls were whales
And walked around with shining scales
If all the girls were whales…

Hey nonny nonny, Ho nonny nonny
Hey nonny nonny, ohhh

The sirens on the the wandr’ing trails
With carmine blood upon their nails…

Hey nonny nonny, Ho nonny nonny

And when the men up in the sails
Jump in to follow dancing tails…
They’re never seen again
Poseidon’s sweet revenge
They fall into the raging waves
walk through air to wat’ry graves

Hey nonny nonny, Ho nonny nonny
Hey nonny nonny, ohhh

So in the end ye know
Whatever seeds ye sew
Return to thee as blust’ring gales
The blood will drain, the dead man pales
However lonely thou might be
Sailing ‘cross the endless sea

Hey nonny nonny, Ho nonny nonny

Sea lion-girls are not the key
Alone your homeland shore’ll set ye free
Don’t tempt the fates to tip the scales
By wand’ring off with girl-shaped whales…
If all the girls were whales…

Hey nonny nonny, Ho nonny nonny

Thine own sweet love would clap her hands
With sea legs thoust disembarks and stands
And tell of that which ye knew
Yes, of whales ye saw a few…
But never any wanton maids
To mind ye through the gloomy trades
Nor any of those wayward girls
Thine tongue a tall tale now unfurls…

Hey nonny nonny, Ho nonny nonny

Hey nonny nonny, Nooo

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