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Scumbag Explosions

Your   mother  called  me  a
scumbag when I woke,  and
you loved her, so I left. I did
not      mean     to    be    the
reincarnate       of       absent
fathers;  I  did  not  mean  to
be  your  dirty  shoes;   I  did
not   mean   to   be  grinding
teeth  and  a  steering wheel,
eyes  lit,  blind  and  barking,
primer in  a  metallic  shell.  I
cannot  get  her  voice  out of
my shell;  it  sounds  like  the
ringing   after    cannon   fire.
Am  I  really   set  to  blow  at
any   touch?     Am    I    really
nothing   but  the  ticking  and
the bomb?                     When
the   sky    began    falling,     I
imagined   the   raindrops   as
bombs;  in   one   last   act  of
love,  I  tried   to   reach t hem
back to you.

Pretty

I.
She is pretty like broken glass.
Enchanting yet slicing,
Her gaze seems oblivious to the
Thousands of people bustling along the sidewalk,
Parting around her like ants around an ice cube left
Melting in the sun.
Tension builds between you, tangible even through the crowd,
As she notices your stare.
Skyscrapers look on indifferently over
The sea of bodies streaming against each other in a jumbled blend.
You slowly draw closer to each other.
Honking horns and exhaust fumes rise above the congested city streets.
Her shoulder is only arms length away now,
Then she walks past
Taking the warmth with her and leaving
Only pain in her wake
You glance back—
She was pretty like broken glass,
But what broke her?

II.
She was pretty like broken glass.
Shattered mirrors reflect her past.
Untied shoes and cries for mommy,
Sleeping dreams and long reality.
Time moves forward never ending
No pause for breath,
Just dull, empty feelings.
Memories tied together,
Fading fast, coming back, is it
Oh is it, made to last?
Vases dropped and coupons cut,
Flowers grown then ground to dust.

Just Sunset

With every promise slipping from my head,
a disappointed flicker in your eye.
Tomorrow’s May-time blossoms crumple dead.

List other people’s wishes to be fed,
impossible to quench and satisfy
with every promise slipping from my head.

It’s funny how you claim there’s time to shred,
as if our lonesome nights aren’t each a goodbye.
Tomorrow’s May-time blossoms crumple dead.

Each song I flounder through becomes a bed
to lay upon as I tragically sigh,
with every promise slipping from my head.

Yet still we laugh and carry on, but tread
so gently on old questions, how we try!
Tomorrow’s May-time blossoms crumple dead.

A canopy of sound ‘neath which to wed,
a never ending day that races by.
With every promise slipping from my head,
Tomorrow’s May-time blossoms crumple dead.

Yesterdays

Asinine,                 through the distance
I crave you            a pen run dry I-
I desperately         try to write on
write on                and on,
walls                      vacant stairwells,
spiraling                filthy concrete blocks
but                         they never satiate
my heart               my mind
splits                      it twists
tangled                  caught up
in                           in our
tomorrows,           yesterdays.

Until Night Comes

They knew that the cabin was too small for a family with children when they found it. Its door hung on loose hinges. Cracks spread into webs on the window frames. The fireplace was small and candles were expensive.

Her family had raised plenty of sheep and goats, so she had plenty of blankets and clothes she could pack when they eloped late one night.

He brought with him an axe he stole from his father’s house as well as journals his father made for a spare living and a few quills and jars of ink.

“It’ll be enough to last until I can sell my poems,” he promised, holding up a jar with a wink. Poems about the land, the peasants, and the feeling of longing were supposed to be all the range.

They filled the rest of the storage space with seeds, gardening tools, a few candles, matches, cooking utensils, and food. They bought two cows and a bull from the town to provide whatever else they needed for a while and kept them in the stalls next to the cabin.

“The town is full of patrons,” he said. “Once I find the right one, then we’ll have more than enough money to spare.”

He painted for her a scene of them in a house by a cerulean lake. Mountains of emerald and crystal would loom over them and create the boundary of their personal utopia. When he wasn’t writing for his patron, they would sprawl on the grass by the water. The waves would lap their washed, bare feet. He’d twirl her curls around his fingers. Their dark eyes would watch the night waltz around them.

His words trickled down her ear to her jaw. The tingling pulled her lips into a smile. The sensation dripped between her shoulder blades and made her press closer to him. She had no doubts he could do it.

Until then, she cared for the cows and milked them. She let them out to eat the grass while it was still warm, drove them back to their stalls next to the cabin, and cleaned after them. She prepared simple suppers of bread and whatever grew in the garden she planted and swept the table clear of crumbs. She chopped wood with his axe.

He worked hunched over a desk, his left hand always moving. By the end of the day, it was stained with coal-colored ink. Time danced in circles around him. He soon forgot how to feel the pangs in his stomach or the heaviness of his eyelids when he wrote. His eyes bore deeply into his journals, but he saw everything but the paper and ink. The layers of drafts torn from the journals grew in stacks around him. He was so close.

 

One warm, clear evening, she untied her burlap apron made from a sack and lightly brushed his cheek with her hand.  He had worked all day and looked like he had shrunk. Her lips brushed his ear as she whispered how the stars were out and no one was around.

“Let me remind you what life is,” she said.

She led him outside to the grass and gently pulled him down with her. The moon illuminated an outline of his pale skin. His warm body against hers took the aches of the day away. His kisses drugged her and lessened her body’s awareness of gravity. She could feel her conscious flying to the moon.

She remembered her first time with him before they eloped. It was painful. Not this time. Her body whirled with cravings for it. They needed it, one night after the other.

That was until she found out about the baby.

Now he wrote all day and all night. His body barely so much as brushed hers. Her stomach may have felt full, but her skin felt barren. It craved like the grass craves for rain.

She continued her work of preparing smaller and smaller rations of food, caring for the cows, trying to make the plants grow in the garden, and cleaning up after him. It left her gasping fits of tears at night until she fell asleep and could forget everything.

His ink was dangerously low. There was no money to spare for more and no patron for money. He tugged his hair and groaned to himself.

“Why?”

As her belly got bigger, her eyes burned red and the pains got worse. The piles of torn paper slithered through the cottage like a high tide over the floor. She finally couldn’t work at all.

“Why?” he cried at her.

The cabin was too small for a family with children, but the baby was coming nonetheless.

Her husband ran to town for a doctor that evening. When they returned on the doctor’s horse, she was laying on the bed gasping. A single candle illuminated her pallid skin and the sweat that greased her dark curls. The doctor hurried to look between her legs, and her pale-faced, blurry-eyed husband dashed out the door.

She couldn’t see what was happening under her worn dress. She squeezed her eyes securely shut anyway. She felt the area between her legs part, and she screamed.

Then the wrinkled red goblin of a boy screamed too.

The doctor said he was healthy if he cried. He cleaned the baby, wrapped him in a wool blanket, and laid him in his mother’s heavy arms. He sighed and washed his hands before ducking his head under the door frame to look outside where the father said he’d wait.

The father was gone. Just gone. The doctor stared for clues, for answers, but he only saw the frosty grass, the hazy lantern-lit town up ahead, and the stellar-white mare the doctor had rode them back on. The lupine late-autumn air invaded the cabin and made him shudder. He sighed and shut the door ordering the mother to sleep. She fell into a blank, timeless sleep in less than a minute.

 

The cabin was too small for a family with children. It was enough room for two. It was more than enough for one and a baby.

The doctor watched the mother and the baby until she could walk. Then she could no longer afford his service. He could already see from their near-empty storage that she had nothing to pay him with.

Back on her feet, she swept up the marsh of papers and gradually fed them to the fire throughout the nights. They lasted a week. She burned the bloodied sheets next so the fire danced for another night.

She cut woolen blankets to fit the infant. She held him to her breasts. He suckled carelessly.

The baby wailed as winter loped in like a wolf pack. Fingers of snow leaked through the lopsided door reaching out to them. The air squealed through the widows. She fed the baby, but he wouldn’t stop wailing. She rubbed the woolen blankets against him. He still wailed. The more she gave, the more he wailed. She wailed too. Her face swelled with the salt tears, and her eyes glowed like lunar eclipses.

“Why?” she cried to the ceiling.

She fed and cleaned the cows who paid her back with milk and plenty of fertilizer. She sold both in town for a few coins. She carried the baby in a woolen sling with her to town. She couldn’t leave him alone and couldn’t hire someone to watch him. She couldn’t get a job either.

She eventually killed the bull on her own with the axe. She cooked it and stored the meat however she could. One cow she kept. It was pregnant. She sold the other cow back to the town.

She relied heavily on the cow for milk, and the baby relied heavily on her for milk. She fed the cow all her money could afford and the baby all her body could afford.

“At least the cow gives back,” she thought one day, wondering if there was anywhere else to take the infant. She picked him up to examine him with her lightless eyes. His dark eyes melted back into hers. He reached his swollen palms up and waggled his fingers. His plush face was soft against her chest. And one day, he would harden up. His limbs would lengthen out and grow sturdy. He would lift and swing the axe. He would stick a shovel in the earth and carry heavy loads. Just like the calf would one day provide meat or milk.

Maybe they could survive.

 

Night came quick in the winter. Blessed night.

Sleep.

In sleep, her body forgot her aching limbs, her swelling breasts, her sinking stomach, and her heavy, stinging eyes. Sweet, numb, oblivion… until the baby wailed.

She couldn’t afford a crib. The infant took his father’s place next to her in the bed.

She was too tired to cry and move. She had fed him and rubbed him until her hands felt like they were on fire. She turned over on her side and draped her arm over the baby. She slid him close to her chest. Her breasts were naked under the wool blanket, but the baby didn’t press his plush lips against them. The steady pulse of her heart massaged his head. He slept. Sweet, numb sleep. And then she could sleep, her hand pressed to his round back. This was the one time of day where everything could disappear, reset; make way for something new in the morning.

Thank God for the night.