Garden Funeral

Hamsters stuck in plastic piping

Suffocate when they meet 

Pulled out the upturned foodbowl

They were still and almost kissing

Buried them, huddled together in flashlight,

In a box we got our shoes for school in  

Lined with a scarf we hoped mom wouldn’t miss

When the backyard was all wet and marshy

And dad’s gone out to work the night shift

Cause he’d get mad; shut off our electricity

When the slam of his fist threw your eyes to the ground

And his grip on your throat threw your heart out

It never beat the same

Said a couple words 

When brother threw the dirt on 

‘Bout how we’d said they looked like toupées 

And how I was jealous when their sister escaped 

And made a family somewhere else

Photo by Matěj Vachuta on Unsplash

Rabbit Vultures

In the garden 

There’s forever clover 

The hutch is still 

No sawdust raining 

An empty house 

No kicking, thudding 

No bundling of bedding 

No sneeze- or chew of weeds

An empty house  

With the door open

Cloaked starlings sail 

In the black bloated sky

Him palming tarot cards 

His false face armed 

As crooked as it was before 

Carving symbols into my childhood wall

The smell of the brick 

Evens the score 

As crooked as it ever was before 

Pillowed in the road 

Shallow, sharp huffs

And a rigid spine 

Blooming bob-tail bright

Ears tumbling round 

Beaded, Wakeful eyes

Glimmer on sight 

Glimmer in the headlight 

Pillowed in the road 

We lie head to head on the ground 

In the clover 

Vultures overhead circle

We can only blame each other 

Photo by Martina Vitáková on Unsplash

Guts

Evils inherent 

That darken doorways at 2am

That kept kids up at bedtime 

Begged the nightlight til age 10

Evils inherent 

Bury the cemeteries in earnest

Cut our diamonds routinely 

Unscrew sharpeners 

Berry blood beading

Resting cleanly on the surface

Evils inherent 

Shackle our ability 

To see what you see while cloud gazing 

Shackle our chemistry

Settle – stagnate accordingly 

These guts fall out 

Strip yourself of your clothes 

Kick shedding to the floor

Pull back fat, Peel off skin

The wetness and heavy 

Hits wood with a splattering

Tender tendon, muscles screaming

Blue veins balled up, leaking 

like angel hair noodles

From lunchtime binge eating 

Retreat to cocoon shells

Discarded and dry 

Put your wetness inside 

Meat still on the bone like

You’ve been eaten alive

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

The Night Walk

The mushrooms surrender 

Their spores in lunar glow 

Foxes sidle in the brush

Teeth grate on stolen marrow

Supping nectar as we walk down

Lured by a rising song from a flute 

Carrying in the crook of your arm 

Some thousand wildflowers in a basket

We’re drunk on absolutely nothing but cherub spit 

-halted 

Faces darken 

By a structure 

Suspended

Edges over

Hot steam bursts

Spit and cough 

Cogs grind

Relentless

Industrial blue whale 

Leviathan god

Slick like oil spills  

It shoots out

From back passages 

Brown, churned up meat 

From bodies it disposes 

Forest floors 

             Like carpets 

                     Lift away 

                           In 2D shapes

                                Eyes are closed 

                                     Skin is tight 

                                            It pulls at the nails 

Questing for nothing

Now sullenly given 

Moon swallowed tenfold 

Dogs chase rabbits in heaven 

Photo by Bruno Thethe on Unsplash

Maladaptive

Red hair wet and matted eyelashes

Heavy with water 

From the lakes of my summer

Reviving sparkling sodas 

And bouncing off of the sun in eyes

That turn malt green in the light 

Snapshots only looked at twice 

Once before and once again tonight 

I hold grudges 

Like a safe holds its gold

Like a tray holds its ash

Like you held Canon corpses in your hands 

Perfect Amber cylinders 

Perfect fucking Winters 

Living deaths of connections while 

I rip off nails from their beds 

Using childhood techniques 

And teeth tearing mastery 

To drip down inside me 

The salty iron honey

Nights I’m alone 

Nights that I’m done 

Breathing

A sponge for the earth

Contracting 

Heaving 

Soaking up the bleeding 

From nails that grow 

Back malformed 

I think it’s time to wash myself of you and I 

I’ve never wanted anything more 

Than to have both a painted manicure

And to have no fingernails at all

Photo by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash

Stages of grief poems

For you, wherever you are 

I hoped you weren’t afraid 

When you were cast out into unconsciousness 

Like a satellite knocked off its course

(We all have to be eventually)

I hope gravity pulled you to a gilded gate

I hope that you weren’t as afraid 

As I am when I catch myself waning

Under fine aged compulsions 

Drink from the bottle ‘til it’s empty 

Carved yet another bloodied tally 

Haven’t crossed the line to your bedroom

Where the bed touched most every wall

Still chrysalis in dusty pink silk

Pills next to analog clocks 

Medical bullshit on the bedside

Morphine next to full water jugs 

Next to incoherent notes scribbled 

Written only a week before

Nonverbal – didn’t know if you could hear at all

Smaller than an acorn 

released from the largest oak tree crown 

Thinner than the baldest branch in winter 

Hair softer than the softest down 

Wednesday night 

Mark the day 

Anticipate rising to drop

The sun arches over

Pull your limbs up like roots

That had you bound to soil 

That wouldn’t nourish 

Now heaving with tumour

Gunpowder used up

Just a shell of the bullet 

I’d blown the dust off of your cut glass collection

And in all this time, it still hasn’t settled

You’d said to me 

“I’m gonna beat this” 

With such stubborn will 

That when I looked at you 

You only saw you 

Back in the reflection

I held your hand in mine

Cause I would choke if I spoke

And If I choked you would know 

so I didn’t 

And so 

Now people who had no reason to speak to me tell me they’re sorry 

You’re gone 

I’ll never see you again 

And that’s just how it is

On Losing grandparents

Can I say words at random

Like daisy chains or boughed path

The spongy split of river logs

The hospital bed whirring to rise 

The drip – drip – drip – of fluids in vein 

The lovers in the yellow glow of their date 

Can I say words that don’t make a difference?

Like Birthday cards or bald street dogs 

The red rising of pheasants from the tree

The quiet passing of days and months

The chaotic flurry-swarm of disrupted moths 

The dead promise of possibly, maybe 

White, electric chemotherapy 

Can I say words that make me sad?

Like the slackening of skin on dove bones 

The solid lakes that bed rest the swan 

The heavy sky dropping penny sized rain

The childhood song Alzheimer’s forgot 

I missed you before you were gone

Spring cleaning 

The palest stems of wax that’s dripped 

On the tops of yellow radiators

Dusted collections of crystal glass

Packed up in paper and boxes

Black mildew-freckled curtains 

Are lifted from their hooks 

Super-market flowers wilt

Before they start to bloom 

The cordless vacuum huffs

Uproots the trodden carpet 

They take pictures of the hallowed-out rooms 

We make it home ‘fore Spring has ended

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Swamp Hanging

Look here, our jury of conviction, 

He’s tossing around his blocks of mayhem

Find me in the devil’s playpen,

Riding on a blacked-out tire and 

Reduced down by the sweeping hell-flames.

Upon one too many howls that night

He’d yanked the dog, by the chain, outside 

The mouths of fires 

Pelican-wide in their drums.

A sanctuary of larvae 

Suspending under fronds. 

Mallards dipping

Duckweed on feathers.

Gnarled mouthed logs 

On the surface tension.

Look here, 

Him crouched in the stagnancy

Knees in the lily 

Like fleshy pads, 

With their veins all matted,

The white-hot crack of sulphur split me 

He prayed over the goddamn body 

He butchered the sedge, cleaving papyrus

Roped the feet, dangled it from the branches 

Doves came down to us with scrolled messages

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, 

They scorched up, 

Scooped below our cloud,

Into our atmosphere 

Where the marsh swallowed them down

Photo by Jack Ward on Unsplash

Summer Child

A season ticks over

Severed heads of clover are exposed nerves of teeth 

Cut/ Slice/ divide/ peaches for the pies 

Sweet sunlit child 

Puke your guts up at night 

Make empty 

Feel whole 

Feel worthy

Feel warm 

Summer evaporated a stagnant pool 

She blots away colour with her rose-tinted bleach

Skin blends with the blue-pink, Barbie bedsheets 

Unstick- disconnect- pull away like snail spit

Put on ointment, Aloe Vera, for sun damaged leaves 

It’s 4-

Hugging knees back and forth 

Skin degrading off the face of an old rocking horse 

Baths for dolls, where inside, the blackest mould grows 

Stuffed bears next to beds, standing like soldiers

Clovers 

A stray Tomcat 

Sunning his spots 

Ladybugs bouncing

Under sprinklers

Showering plant pots

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash

FROM DUSK TIL MOURN

Her red life leaking out 

On a dusky, sullen Sunday 

Slumped hanging off her sofa 

Me heaving in the door frame 

Time moving like jellyfish 

Couldn’t pass the threshold 

Her face, eyes on the inside 

Grim slackening, teeth on the outside 

And on the floor 

I heard the yawning pipes in the wall 

Windows raining condensation 

Jesus cross crooked on the door 

Swan song masked radio buzzing 

Walls alternating red and blue 

Tiny dog yipping on her lap 

White fur wet with bloody love 

Skin was blotched, mottled lilac 

Jars of the dead on the shelf 

Phantom hand felt on my shoulder 

I was breathy, he gasped 

“Take care of yourself” 

Didn’t get home ‘til dawn 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash