Monthly Archives: February 2014

Where the Sun Collides with the Sky

I believed fully
for a second, suspended
between the air and the limbs

outstretched to catch me
as I tossed and turned
through the sky,
remembered a dream of running
when I was a child and

the sheets twisted around me
until I couldn’t breathe,
they felt like curtains,
or maybe it was like falling
in nightmares and when I

hit the ground I always woke up,
I woke up,
I woke.

 

(an old poem I dug up, I’ve since repurposed some of the imagery)

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The Best Thing Ever

So, WordPress informed me that today was my anniversary with my blog (3 years!). And I was feeling guilty that I had forgotten and not gotten a gift for my blog. So to make up for that, a cento composed entirely of lines from previous blog posts (yes, even the title).

The Best Thing Ever to Exist

a discussion about the history of elevators

and I’ll be able to say that at least I tried

if I knew I would be absolutely safe

 

Then you read his next story

seeing some other lives played out

it’s like a poem where no one
says anything or a film set without color

 

I’ve been losing bits of myself slowly

shore and stones and waves but nothing else

when I’m halfway into dreams I’ll remember

they dissolve quickly

 

I asked if you knew how cold the water would be

after the wind storm danced

across the ice cloaked pond

it’s different than any cold that you’ve ever felt

 

Sometimes do you dream of cities that don’t exist?

I imagined that they must have become water eventually

the men dressed as the shadows of the ones they’d lost

years passed in the happiness of children who cannot comprehend

 

I try to imagine worlds

I go there sometimes, when I’m feeling

that before god there was blankness

The hardest thing is that sometimes you can’t stop falling

 

But, I still thought, why not?

It might be a trick

a language spoke underwater

Know, though, they will always come to hold you

 

as tightly as they can.

 

 

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Top O’ The Snow Day To You!

Well, the snow is falling outside and the chai is hot. I’m not sure where exactly I was going with that, but anyway, it is time for blog writing and news!

Ol’ Pints here is working on a new grouping of stories. As readers of this blog may know, I have an unhealthy obsession with the form known as the story cycle (novel-in-stories or interlinked story collections are other names for it). I’ve just about finished drafting the entirety of a new story cycle (previously, I wrote one as my undergrad thesis). A couple of the stories I have been working on for a bit and they have now safely found loving homes with wonderful literary journals! Stay tuned to the blog (and, especially my “Writings” page) for news on when those pieces come out. As always, I’m also on the lookout for recommendations for favorite story cycles of people. I’ve read a ton but I always want to read more of them!

In other writing news, I am working on a grouping of poems that are very connected. Some of these poems have found homes as well and I’m excited to see where this writing project goes. The linking topics include: demons, magic, and abandoned places. (Also fun fact: This collection’s inception has been heavily influenced by watching a whole lot of Supernatural. So, that’s something.)

And in other news, I just wanted to put some great information out there for all of the writerly folks: the wonderful literary journal Flyway is in the midst of its annual Sweet Corn Fiction contest. It has a pretty low fee and a wonderful prize of $500 AND organic Iowa sweet corn. Noms! The judge this year is an author I’ve mentioned on here before as amazing: Dean Bakopoulos. So definitely, if you’re a writer or know someone who is, check out the contest info here.

Well, that’s all for now. If you’re in a snow-drenched area, make some cocoa and crack open a good book (and or watch some Supernatural. It might lead to some poetic inspiration!).

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Places We Sleep In

The ghosts were outside
my bedroom again last night.
Their shouts ran shudders
through my walls
and I was returned
to a child climbing
through a village,
of bed sheets and pillows,
which even under invasion
only ever collapsed softly.
The sheets with the yellow
caterpillars patterned across
were always my favorites.
So I made them the sky
when it fell,
a rain of bodies,
I imagined wings
and butterflies. Those soft
thuds were nothing
but cocoons.

 

 

*This is an older poem of mine. I reared it and was interested in how I’ve reincorporated a couple of the images for later poems.

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The Bodies of Saints at Night

Casting hands downwards, to sides,

away from the angle of prayer

 

Stained glass windows shed light

hard to pull from your clothing

like cat hair or those little green buds

of sticktights

 

The feel of beads, rubbed worry-smooth,

does not keep the pain from your palms

 

Outside someone is calling your name

but you can’t ever seem to remember

what name to come running

back to

 

 

 

**this was written for a poetry workshop. The assignment was to capture a moment. Being me, I had to capture an invented moment. That’s not cheating, right? it did give me an interesting idea for a story, though…

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3 Nightmares

I’m back in the school auditorium with its chipping ceiling and

hard backed seats. There is a new clock on the wall with hands

made of a young girl’s finger bones. Tonight’s entertainer stands

in the front of the room and the music begins. It is tinny and

discordant like a forgotten ballad, perhaps about a man who

cannot lie, or maybe it’s like the music out of speakers in Chernobyl.

I always wondered about those people who had the job of picking

up pieces that had been held or used by the once loved, hated,

respected, doomed who had once been walking in that same spot.

And I wondered even more about those men who had disappeared

in flashes of ecstatic light. Did their shadows end up weighing

anything more than a feather? On stage the dance begins: a whirl of

misused colors, a flash of quickly bruising flesh, and then he

is bowing to us. The bow is sarcastic and he is waiting for the

the applause that he knows we must provide. My hands are clapping

until I’m leaving bloody prints on the blouse of my best friend as

I try to hold her close and imagine that I can hear the flutter

of breath still coming from her lips. But, it sounds nothing like

rain.

 

The closet opened up as I was cleaning inside it and it lead into

a room that I don’t remember where the seas spread out around me

and I’m still holding a pair of shoes that can never be worn again.

The arch of his foot was beautiful and I’m not an artist but I could

still tell. Then there was the glass and I remember thinking that

blood shouldn’t be like that. I thought of it filling in the shape of his

toes where he had walked through the sand and I fall to my knees

and try to kiss them but they are only just shapes; some meaningless

memory of weight. And I’m just in a cramped closet holding a

pair of shoes that will never be worn again.

 

It was in the café where I had first met him. We had once drunk

crazy things together. He sipped Twisted Raspberry Lemonades

and I drank an Upside Down Pineapple Extreme. I remember

how lovely the whipped cream felt as it slid up the glass and onto

my fingers. It was the newspaper in my hands and the sudden

realization that I had lost him. I went to find him at the basement

of my dead best friend’s house. I don’t know why I thought that

he would be there; except that I remembered playing in there as

a child and crouching down in the corner and listening to my friend

as she counted back from twenty and when she found me she

laughed and it sounded just exactly like spring rain falling on the

plants in my mother’s garden. Of course, my friend hasn’t been

here for years and the basement is icy dark and cold. My breath

curls out of my mouth like smoke and I can imagine shapes there as

if I were watching clouds. And there are two people already down here.

They were waiting for me, I think. I recognize one of them as the

lover of my sister who I had never met. She was the one who

drowned when the lake broke out of its manmade cage and ripped

a strange new river across our hometown and— Oh. God. She’s

looking up at me, empty-eyed gorgeous, and with her mouth all

shut up and bleeding down her front and the faceless man on the

ground is swirling his fingers in the wasted red. He is painting

a mural of a woman with no features and whose hands are made

out of sticks. I run out; my feet are pounding a rhythm of escape.

Somehow I reach the city; the same one where the glass once

fell and littered the streets with tiny shards of other people’s

fears. The sun is at the peak of its impossible height and the light

breaks my thirsty lips with the hungry force of a kiss between

the recently re-found. In front of me a little girl in white splashes

in a mud puddle and gets red splotches and patterns all up and down

her dress. She looks like a winter battlefield. And now I can’t go

anymore. The press of distance, of ink on paper, of a face I won’t

see, of a shoe that won’t feel weight in it again, is all too heavy.

So I lie down in the street and caress the concrete with my hands

and I can taste what it will taste like when they catch me:

copper, salt, sharp, and cold. So, I wake up the empty house with

my screams and it feels like it almost could be ecstasy. But

I know that’s not true.

 

 

*This is a recently recovered prose poem I wrote in one of my first creative writing courses! I actually still like quite a bit of it.

 

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Like Crossword Puzzle Clues and Other Misnomers

Sometimes we count ourselves

like eggs before they’re hatched,

like chickens in the coop before the fox

has even been born. We pride ourselves

on keeping up appearances, on the length

of our stride, on the color of our eyes in photographs

from long ago. You and I were never so lucky

as roulette wheels and scratch tickets and slot

machines. Sometimes we land on our feet

like cats always do, like birds falling from

great distances and everyone thinks they’re

just flying, just swooping low. We take all we can

get and still feel a wanting deep in the pits

of our stomachs. You and I once tasted the

divine and said it tasted like burnt sugar,

like gravity after it was discovered. Sometimes

we place question marks after all of our sentences

like mystery novels, like jokes without punch lines. We

once tried to explain the meaning of life but it came out

sounding like we were singing show tunes.

You and I are lost in the woods and we keep circling

gods until we have nowhere left to search.

 

 

This poem rose out of a freewrite where I imposed several restrictions on myself including a pretty short time limit. I’m not sure I like the overall poem, but think it might be interesting for revision.

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