RATTLE

His interest machine-gunned
the freckles, the java-colored geode crystals
into her canvas of bleach.

The bitter spirit of coffee
syruped her accent,
which bent his ears
to islands of lava
and volcanic rock.

He whispered gifts
into the spaces between
her ribbed bole–
and he inhaled the unseen air
of her canopy.

DISCARD PILE

My discard pile–
a Van Gogh ear feeding the gut-red
in a tangle of Flanders’ Poppies,
a chokehold-harem
of vintage ladies
are high on the gas
that surrounds them.

Their murmured flirtations,
getting lost in the paste,
a puddle of incorrect passwords and corrupted files,
broken among the twisted bodies of their myriad
eyeglasses, he; my one, takes inventory of them–
he is the collector,
collector of lovely bones,
colas, pink berries, potpourris of dead flowers nursed
by the gardeners of Oz.

Gardeners chewing on Cupid’s cigar,
a barrel of exposed intestines,
that near-rhyme with lola,
a better song,
bereft of meaning
unlocking the achievement
of my bereavement.

What’s left of my baby’s breath and the limp cartwheels
of my childhood hope?–
Nope; this is a discard pile
of dead organisms and live people.

AN ARTIFACT HEAD

A head full of futures with eyes,
the fruit of the hazel tree, with lashes,
the dropped flourish of inked calligraphy,
with a forehead, the lot of fissures,
the gifts of wise earthquakes.

A head with an ancient grin,
the satisfied look of a man completing cigarettes,
the lips, the reddish-gray of a cauterized wound,
the voice inside them, the drone of aged tape-cassettes. 

PRESERVATION

I’m contorted in the shoebox
reinstating each and everyone
of my anxiety-driven locks.
Do not, heaven-help-you,
disturb this constitution–
preservation.

I’m looking at my hazel eyes
through hotel mirror lies,
homely misdirection–
preservation.

I’m rubbing the throbbing
out of my skull’s peripheral,
irritated by something ethereal,
praying off some incoming aneurysm,
sucking in, toning my tested-misdirection–
preservation.

Preservation lasts all day–
preservation, in-between meetings,
in-between beatings.

ALLIGATOR PRESS

Alligator press. I’m cold. 
Reptilian, yearning for the sun to bathe.
Alligator press. Don’t relinquish your hold.

Press. Press. Into me and fuse.
We can harvest our scales.
Press. Press. Olive press.

Olive skin, I am finished.
We sit together, mates, apart, similar
of the same kind of start.

My abdomen’s wound corresponds
to your abdomen’s wound. 
We are missing a part.

You are the only one to understand me,
perhaps, deliberately–
I don’t fault you for that.
You are no less lovable for that.

The caretakers dance around us in hazmats–
“There (they’re) but for the grace of…”

We climb from the sheets, joyous,
onto the chilled tiles.
Allied together, smiling,
an opening hanger of teeth.

CYGNUS ATRATUS

You are the antifreeze-laced gingerbread crumbs
courtesy of the witch.

You are the inevitable blue shock trolling behind
a malfunctioning light switch.

You are the glass shard bib
that the cob swan finishes himself upon when he loses a pen.

You are the outcome of an unpaid bill;
red bill of a swan dreaming in black.

You’re the invitation that I lack.

You are the splinter in the writing desk
where the dreams I write expire.

You are the daughters and sons moldering away
in Cronus’ sack.

You are the ice above the liquor and fruit that conspire.
You are what blue eyeshadow does to credibility.

You are the flow in the bleed.
You are a wall to me.

MINT CONDITION

Yes. I know we are poor. I admit that.
We cannot afford anything and yes, you sometimes
get your nails done and forget that.
At least you had them done up in the color of red wine.

I cannot whine. I’m still in awe of you.
I am in the bath tub, drinking and in the stew.
I am in a long climb. I am raw. I may still have some lock-jaw.

I am not anything close to brand new or in any pursuit
of closure.

CALLUNA

Tug at the snag in the cardigan,
the color of heather,
the color, the swirl of purple galaxies on film,
a stray, a tear-away, a souvenir of him.

Witness a lime crime.
These eyes light up the gory night.
These eyes, beryls in peril, cosmic fireflies.

Midnight lounging, under the banshee,
palsied, heathers together grit
and bleed into the beet fountain
of Zelda’s garden.

PROSERPINE

I permitted a garden,
dark, seedy mire,
where only poppies grow;
poppies that will make you sleep
in steep, unheeded desire.

I told you to do your thing,
Proserpine.

But you abdicated your position;
and now growing
from my preternatural stew,
are the broken briers,
the fetid fen,
a place where you throw the unforgiven in.

You took bachelor stints
and turned them into mints.
Your favorite pastime
is gnashing them with your teeth
for the pleasurable, justifying release;
catch and release.

Ah, revealed now, is your penchant
for packaged peppermint.

BACCHANAL ROBINS

This young, stumbling red robin
squatted at the bacchanal fount.
His head muffled with the juicy berries
of his latest bird romp.

But he was off the mark.
He was crippled before the earthen heart,
a temporal lake of spring’s tears.
His reflection, a red, mud-tinged smear.
He pecked at it to sober up.

He scooped with berried beak,
the iron rainwater seep,
after a hard exchange
of the liquored plumps.

He wobbled, sullen from his hydration feat,
then barely into the air, he took wing.
He skimmed the littered surface of the street,
a young intoxicated gatherer on repeat.

The bacchanal robins ingested the harvest
atop the winter arbor berries invest,
until they traded the March burgundies
for the varied gold, dried deposits
of their June nest.