Winter Poetry

The Menzingers – The Bars

This list (which may repeat some poems I posted on here) is a compilation of 10 semi-edited poems I submitted during my winter term intro to poetry course. I hope you enjoy some of them.

 

Shade Is His Enemy:

I watched a lizard for about an hour;

He didn’t move.

I watched the same lizard for another hour;

He didn’t move

I looked at the weeds next to him growing;

Casting shad to the side of him.

Soon he’d have to move.

The shad is his enemy.

Move damn you.

Move!

He didn’t move.

The sun set.

He didn’t move.

 

We’ll Make Sure of That:

A couple lovable leeches

Jealous of Jeff because he reaches the best leaves–

And it’s only after adulthood that we stop believing violets are blue

And start saying like, “fuck,”

And “I’m the one that’s blue.”

What a waste of talent;

Like Planet of The Apes,

But with no apes.

 

Poison Abalone:

That’s how this radiation story begins

With the Illuminati and a tiger religion.

All handing out lion infusions

Like nobody would notice the minerals of emotion in North Korea’s water.

It’s a devil evaluation by unknown politicians.

Where Hollywood dragons travel block to block, shielding prostitutes.

And God cursed these devils with evil rickets and lonely hearts.

Daisy and I danced to the shitty music,

At the moment it was rather magnetic, I agreed.

And my poor, fragile, deltoid felt like jigsaw fangs under my dress coat.

The tip of fragile slug looked like panties slopped with placenta.

We ignored the prayers emanating from paper cars

And shoveled Haas avocados down the throats of sharks.

That was the year the sun shut off its glow.

 

Crabs:

The figure rose from somewhere unseen

Dimming moonlight from on the precipice

Climbed and clawed its way to me

Eating,

Stuffing its mouth with dead fish

I knew it wasn’t,

But it had to be.

And the gangrenous tendrils wrapped

Its shredded loose-leaf material around

The grasped claws with dead fish trapped

Buried it within the confines

Deeper and deeper into the ground.

The garbage, by such a creep, given grief

On which the same has grown

And the melted wall’s dissolved mush

Flooded the lung, as the creep crawled on.

 

13 Ways of Looking at Life:

  1. A rooster illusion
    On the horned back thorns of a dinosaur
  2. That boys got the devil in him
    Lobotomy
  3. Commercialism at its finest
    Socio-economic trends
  4. Coordinated furs make for perfect animal pairs
  5. Go ahead and substitute me
    With your newfound abundance of grief
  6. Steered ships with arthritic hands!
    Powered a lighthouse for the blind
  7. Gentlemen dressed in rags
    Spent all our free time at the wishing wells
    Muttered well wishes to wish everybody well
  8. She smiled at me, but her teeth were black
    I gritted mine and managed a smile back
  9. Laid in the dirt with the bodies and the worms
  10. Placed my hands on the hide
    Felt the trembling in my chest
  11. The fighting pit was no longer fun
  12. Continue burning the candles
    At both ends
  13. Keep cutting your teeth
    C’est La Vie

 

A Bond as Strong as Steal:

A gathering of pork skins

and a murder of crows,

where heroes go to die young.

Sheep wool strangling a child,

a bond as strong as steel

the likes of which might steal your heart.

Or steal a steely look at your bride,

yours, the one you love,

the one you’d die for.

The one you got high and left

because she slept with your best friend

your most well-dressed friend.

The friend you protected

in the car crash that took you,

the car crash that separated you and your wife.

 

A Hero’s Welcome:

a dog destined for destruction

well-equipped and armed

dressed to the nines with nails and narcotics

ready to riddle the enemy

tagged to the wall and medicated

strong enough to be forgotten

but weak enough to never forget.

 

River of Life:

River of life, run through me

Unhindered, teach me to breathe

Dear river, I feel it.

Finally free

To find a field to fester in

Forgiven, never forgotten

For, given the freedom, families fall apart

And friendships ferment,

In foil frozen.

Forest of fire, give life freely

Because it is I that stands at the end

I alone and soon I’ll find it.

A place to hand my hat and my skin

For I saved my money, but it won’t save

Me

Sleeping with serpents,

Sacrificing suffrage for sustenance,

Suffering in similar pitches but softer sounds

Suffering sweetly to save face.

 

Hear Me Out:

Lend me your ear!

Or at least give me a hand.

I don’t have a leg of my own to stand on.

I’m more willing to speak about things in public

Than I am to partake in public speaking.

You’d think as my metaphorical ship sinks,

That I’d try to find land. Nope.

Here I go, down with it.

I am the captain now.

And you haven’t lived until you’ve sat through class

Or work still stoned from the edible you had the

Night before AND on a microdose that you thought

Would ease you out of the marijuana high but just

Intensified the lingering effects and drew it out

Over about nine hours or so.

A banana hammock is just a relaxed monkey.

 

Whiter Shade of Pale:

Stare at the corner table.

Notice all the books on its surface.

Did you really notice ALL the books?

Look at the vibrancy of the ones on the top of the stacks,

The ones that, by deduction, you know get picked up

More often than the others.

The ones that are drab and white and grey.

They like attention, too.

Go over, grab one of those drab looking fellas.

Like that book, I imagine, you often feel drab and white and grey.

You wait for that one brief fleeting moment to feel vibrant like

All the other books on the stacks on that table in the corner.

You feel as important.

At some point, you lost your color, though.

Somebody got ahold of you and showed you things.

Like where to cut and edit and develop.

Handed you a brush, sent you to the printer,

And glossed over the vibrancy.

And now here you are.

Half-finished.

Drab and white and grey.

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Fake Fan: A Short Story

The Avett Brothers – True Sadness

Somewhere along the way, I stopped lying to myself about the beach.

How on Earth do you tell someone you don’t like the beach?

I never go in the water; it’s cold and unknown depths freak me out to no end. Because of this, I never fulfilled the whole experience, but still always claimed to love the beach.

I just like the feel of sand under my toes when I throw a frisbee around. Fuck the water.

Believe it or not, my mom is full-blooded Cherokee; just ask the Englishman that married her.

He was a Raiders fan and drove a Ford truck. Raiders fans drive Chevys.

I remember when we were leaving the beach, back when I was 6 or 7ish, the big one-ton truck had a tire removed and “Fake Fan” sprayed across the side, the Fathead sticker scraped off leaving behind a bit of facemask and the ironic letters “aid,” – by some twist of fate we would receive none – and in big block letters “FAG” across the windshield.

That was before I understood that word or grew to take offense to it. Though I had been made fun of for seeming different in elementary school, nobody really learned that word until middle school; I learned to protect myself against it.

I started taking Kickboxing classes at 8 and the first time somebody called me that name I beat her ass from one end of the playground to the other. Took about 4 “security guards” (they’re yard duties, don’t let them fool you) to pull me off of her.

My mom was pissed. My dad was proud of me for sticking up for myself, and when the time came, I told him how I felt long before my mother.

She probably could’ve guessed but her fathers would tell her to wait for me to come to her on my own terms. Denial is a slippery slope.

Much later in life, I visited Dad to see how he was holding up. Mom was gone now and the funeral wasn’t far off. I brought home my boyfriend and laughed hysterically when they got in a fight over the old Ford sitting in the driveway, a new Raiders sticker on the tailgate. He started placing a new one on top of the old one every couple of years so that now it’s raised enough that there’s a noticeable edge.

About five years later Dan and I went to cremate Dad. We had married a year prior to that, Dad was the best man and had seemed the same old geezer I had grown to love, no health issues at all it seemed.

He was lonely. Turns out a broken heart is a real thing.

Mom I could handle, but Dad…

Dan unhooked his boat and drove me all the way out to sea where no ports and no piers were visible. When I opened the Urn there was a note at the top. I tossed handfuls of the ash on each end of the boat and then slowly dumped the rest in a circle around the boat as best I could. Dad was only 57 when he passed, and mom even younger…

I opened the note after crying on Dan’s arm for a while, the sea air slapping at our faces.

“Thanks for facing your fears.”

Bubble: A Short Story

Every Time I Die – It Remembers

 

We covered the trash cans in plastic wrap.

Necessary precautions for any party Bubble came to.

My brother and I had one night with an empty house, and neither of us wanted to lose that.

Meredith took the kids to the in-law’s and Keith and I baby-proofed what we could and taped all the knives to the roof of the coat closet. Last week we pulled three drowned squirrels out of the tub and Bubble was passed out with the kitchen cutlery duct taped to his hands, fucking alcoholic bastard, like prison wasn’t enough for him, now he has to come fuck up our lives. Keith was keeping those squirrels for an experiment at work, and his three sons were training them to chase cat toys like house pets; Bubble just thought they were pests. Keith and I put up traps outside and caught a couple wild ones so that Keith might be able to keep his job–Meredith already has divorce papers drawn up.

Bubble got out of prison about a month ago and spent two weeks hitchhiking across the country, I always told him he couldn’t outrun his problems but I moved from the east to the west coast so what’s my excuse?

“Does Bubble drive?” Keith had the curtain drawn back a bit.

“Not as long as I’ve known him. Why?”

“I dunno, somebody’s pullin’ up.”

“Shit, I guess we’ll find out, maybe he got a ride? How long does this pizza need to bake for?”

Bubble came busting through the front door, following him was a man we had never met. But he wore a cowboy hat and some worn out boots; not surprising for this hole in the wall Keith calls a town.

“Hey, Hey! What’s up, fuckers?”

Oh, Bubble.

“This big bitch here is Tex. Don’t stare at his ugly ass too long, he’ll make you blind.”

Tex tipped his hat to us and took a seat by himself in the living room.

“Who’s comin’? Anybody I know?”

“Bubble, who the fuck do you know round here?”

“Shit, they’re all in the house already. Last week was pretty crazy, though, no repeat customers?”

“You scared ’em all away.” Keith set the timer for the pizza and turned the game on for Tex.

“Bullshit, that was nothin’ last week.”

“Nobody wants to play Edward Scissor Hands with you anymore, Bubble. And you leave those squirrels alone tonight, alright? Tex, man, whatchu drinkin’?” I grabbed a few beers.

“Tex don’t drink. I’ll drink his for him, though. And I’ll be happy, too.” Bubble chuckled, grabbing the drinks from me.

“Does Tex even talk?”

“Enough to get by. Shit, the guys right there, go ask him your-damn-self?”

The guy kind of freaked me out a bit. He didn’t stink but looked like he should and he had a twitch, hardly noticeable but when somebody jerks their face around a couple times every few minutes it starts to be.

“Tex, where ya from?” I brought him some water and sat down.

“Jersey.”

“Small world! I’m from good ol’ NJ, too! Keith, too.”

“Jersey Island.”

“Oh. Where’s…”

“Oakley, California.”

“Is that close to anything?”

“Depends on where you’re talkin’ about.”

“Okay… What do you do?”

“Ain’t much work for an ex-con. Work so hard to change, hardly the energy to actually work.”

“Ex-con? Is that how you know Bubble?” I sipped from my IPA.

“Told me his name was Bartholomew. Just met the guy last night at the bar. Kept talkin’ about pullin’ a job and Lord knows I need the money.” Tex still hadn’t touched the water.

“You’ve got some forehead sweat goin’ on, man. I’m gonna turn down the heat. I’ll be back in a bit.”

Truth was I had to talk to Keith. How the hell is Bubble going to bring this guy in here having barely known him. Kids live here goddamnit.

“Keith. PSSSSSST. Keith come here!”

“And that’s about the time I woke up with my pants on my head and shoes on my hands… Hold on to that for a minute, Bubs. I’ll be right back… what’s your issue now, Jason?”

“Well, isn’t it obvious? Tex, man. Dude freaks me the fuck out.”

“Why? He hasn’t done anything but hold a conversation with you this whole time. He seems alright from where I’m standing.”

“He thinks Bubble’s name is Bartholomew, they only met last night–at a bar nonetheless, he’s an ex-con, he knows where we live now, and he and Bubble have already talked about doing a ‘job’ whatever that means.”

“Woah, Woah, slow down, dude, just breathe. Let’s just talk to Bubs, I’m sure it’s all just a misunderstanding.”

And around the corner we had pistols shoved in our faces. Bubble didn’t say a word as he tied the two of us up, back to back like the movies. I realized now how well we’d been played. Bubble wasn’t here to rekindle a friendship.

Keith’s safe was upstairs in the crawl space, no way they’d find it.

“Found it! Hoist me up, Tex, I’m too short for this shit.”

Splintering sounds lofted down the stairs.

“Bubble must’ve dropped the safe. So much for your DIY bamboo strips.”

“Shut the fuck up for a second, Jason. You talk too much. Can you get loose?”

“Really? If I could get loose I’d’ve done it already.”

“I think I can undo your ties, push up against my back more, try to get a good grip on this shit.”

“OH, BOYS! I know you heard us comin’! We dropped the safe down the stairs for ya fucks!” Bubble bounded towards us, Tex in tow with the safe. “Now, Keith, Jason, tell us the code.”

“Fuck you, Bubs. We invited you to my family’s house. You’re a real piece of shit, ya know that? You drowned all my squirrels, terrorize people with knives, and steal from the only people that ever placed any value on your life. You deserve to be back in the Pen, man, this is bullshit.” Keith spit at his feet. “You remember when we were kids and you were trying to catch lizards and accidentally grabbed a piece of cactus? Jason and I spent hours getting all the little spines out of your hand before you went home because you weren’t supposed to chase lizards at our house and we didn’t want you in trouble so that we could still play together. And the time you had your birthday at our place. We played Red Rover and one of the neighbor kids yelled to pick your sister again because she tripped last time and we all laughed. Or the time we jumped in the frozen lake together and Jason almost drowned because of hypothermia, but we couldn’t pronounce the name back then so we said hippo-ferma instead.”

“That’s the past, Keith.” Bubble lowered his gun and pushed it against Keith’s head. “That was before I discovered how desperate this world makes people. Now, I could beat you, or put a bullet in your brain, but instead, Tex and I are going to skip the bullshit middleman and use some power tools. So, take care now.”

Keith and I watched the door shut and the car headlights moved out of sight.

Human Encounters

The Jungle Giants – No One Needs To Know

Short and sweet tonight, folks. Next week I plan on writing out a short story I’ve been working on. Who knows how long that’ll take, though. I wanted to talk tonight about how people, no matter where they are in life, are adamant and quick to share information about themselves.

I mentioned in my last post, The Sacrificial Lamb, that I drive for FedEx when I’m not in school (which would be now…thank the universe for holiday breaks)–I also brought up the methadone clinic and that whole scenario I experienced. Another thing I’ve picked up on, in brief, fleeting moments–people will share just about anything with somebody they don’t see on a regular basis (or have any reason to trust).

I find this to be more humorous than anything. For instance, I delivered a box of wine that required a signature from the recipient. I rang the doorbell and they signed. However, the elderly woman insisted on explaining how I had perfect timing because she had just returned from a vacation to Hawaii. I didn’t need to know any of that, I just needed a damn signature…

I’m not talking about anything new here either; every single day somebody starts a conversation with a drawn-out monologue about how their right foot feels heavier than their left when they climb stairs–meanwhile, we all just want to live our own selfish lives and talk about how our feet feel fine when we climb stairs, but that we are worried about how our son is dealing with his first sexual experience or drug overdose. It’s all relative.

Honestly, it’s not something that bothers me–in fact, it’s more intriguing than anything that people would share their personal life so easily with strangers.

Oh! Another great example–I was standing in my truck prior to delivering my packages for the day, and the fella in the truck next to me starts blurting out how he used to live in Wisconsin and how people here in Southern Oregon don’t know how to drive when it’s cold outside.

Stay with me for a second… it was 7:30 in the morning and I hadn’t even officially met this guy… and he was yelling from inside his truck with the windows closed… I smiled, laughed when he laughed and nodded to him… then I began my strange spiral into the idea that people are incredibly open about themselves.

Pay attention to your next couple conversations and see how quick some people are to share about what’s going on in their lives at the moment. You’ll see that you do it, too. I know I certainly do, and it’s a funny little thing to be self-aware of.

Enjoy your next human encounters!

The Sacrificial Lamb

Desaparecidos – The Left Is Right

I wanted to bring this up because sometimes I believe we as humans take for granted the common struggle of being alive. We are our own sacrificial lambs. Our own judge, jury, and executioner. Our own UFOs. And our own Boogiemen. We are the reason we fail or succeed at anything we do, not just life.

When I’m not in school full-time I drive and deliver for FedEx. A couple days ago, Tuesday I think it was, I had a delivery to the methadone clinic in the city I live in. It was hands down the most intimidating delivery I’ve had up to this point. The place itself wasn’t overly seedy, but the people that were there stared me down the ENTIRE time I was inside. Like I did something wrong. If I was wrong for doing my job then so be it–it got me thinking, though.

I tried to put myself in their shoes. If I had been a struggling addict mother, one baby on my hip and another by my side, standing in line at the methadone clinic at 10 something in the morning on a Tuesday, how would I look at a clean, well shaven, FedEx delivery driver? Honestly, if I had the same personality I do now, I wouldn’t look at all. I’d more than likely be too ashamed of myself to look. Not because I’m a bad person or anything, but because I’d know I was in a much worse position. I could be the happiest mofo in town, but as soon as I’m reminded of how better off some others are (not that I’m all that well off necessarily) I would immediately shut down. The rest of my day would probably be ruined.

The only point I’m trying to make here is that none of us truly understand the sacrifices anybody has had to make in their lifetime.

You can sit me down, look me in the eyes, and tell me you understand it and always will. But say it to me next time you’re in line at the methadone clinic awaiting your legal dosage.

And then say it to me again when you’re spending time at your summer home in Cabo.

Yeah, you’ll be lying both times. I’d do the same thing. We like to think that because we’ve had experiences that we can automatically speak on the struggles of another, but the reality is that we only reflect on the struggles of others when those struggles are forced in front of our faces.

Exhibit A: Me at the methadone clinic… I didn’t even know that clinic existed until I delivered there.

I started thinking about how when I die nobody will know what I went through. My close friends and family will be aware of the things that I did but not necessarily of the life that I lived. Not as a whole at least. It stands to reason, the only person you’re out to please is yourself, and even those people that carry on and on about their life hold some things back. Extra special secrets only shared between lovers or perhaps a dark thought that need not be voiced–even now I’m withholding information from all of you (not about my thoughts on the clinic and the subject at hand, though).

If your life was played on a projection in the sky for the whole world to see, what parts would you be embarrassed about? What parts didn’t you share with people? How much of our life goes unseen? A handout to the homeless? A donation to Toys for Tots? Chances are you told somebody about those, though. The unfortunate part of life is that we are all destined to share only the things we deem worthy. We pick apart our life until it’s neat portions and then we divvy what we want and keep the leftovers in the freezer for some drunken occasion in the future… or it rots in our graves with us.

As morbid as that sounds, all I’m hoping anybody takes from this post is that our lives are continually taken for granted. We go around flaunting all of our nice things and forget about our neighbors on the other side of the fence that are starving (or standing in line at the methadone clinic). We sacrifice and give up things right and left until we have a “successful” life and then we forget about that struggle, we forget about when WE were standing in line at the methadone clinic (or whatever hypothetical situation), we forget when WE were homeless or when we received a donation FROM Toys for Tots so that we could have a Christmas like our neighbors had and refused to share with us.

We forget sometimes what it’s like to be human.