In Your Image

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Image source: ESA / Hubble, R. Sahai and NASA

In Your Image

After erasure, starting anew,
I’d begin with you in permanent ink,
and perhaps myself next in shading-pencil,
or even a charcoal, perhaps not
quite that dark or indelible.

You see,
I don’t know
where I’m supposed to be,
but it never really matters
as long as you’re here
with me,
and not necessarily
here with me,
but somewhere
on this massive rock,
daring to exist without meaning,

exchanging meaningful vibrations,
we’d bubble, churn,
and ooze into anvil-clouds,
raining grey slivers onto sunsets.

Because I love you,
and that is true and fine
and completely permissible
even without my understanding;

I say the words, and I feel it,
even as I don’t know exactly
what it means; I mean I chose it,
but even had I not,
I’d have it all the same,
splitting my breastplate,
spitting into my denying eye
as the heart rushes to keep pace
with the words that won’t come,
claims that get caught out-of-sync
like an 80’s high-hat sharp-hit
where a 90’s boom-bap snare-kick
should land as planned.

Nothing went as planned;

I crave order and there is none
and that is perfectly fine
except when it isn’t;

I desire structure and superstructure
even as I chafe at the yoke
holding us together; holding us apart;

I’d shatter the firmament
for your fleeting smile;

with a snap of my fingers,
I’d snuff-out the sun
if it meant that my final moments
were sitting on a rapidly cooling
solitary park bench
next to you,
hips scarcely touching,
in tranquil silence.

I’d ruin the image,
saving your sketched outline;
my greatest work.

How can I possibly remake this world,
the next, or any other?

My own name,
now and beyond,
lacks structure or meaning
unless you write its narrative
with hands that shape its very context,

or unless you call upon it,
breathing its purpose
with your own lips;

which isn’t the same as saying
without you in my life, in some way,
I am nothing,
but it’s oddly similar to
The Commodores without Lionel Richie
in that I struggle to find the point.

But what I do know is this;
I’d begin with you
in permanent ink.
***

Inspired by dVerse Poetics: New Year – New World, hosted by Mish. Other poets contributed to this prompt here.

Bed Unmade

Bed Unmade

“But I couldn’t control my restlessness, an eagerness for violation was growing in me, I wanted to break the rules, as the entire world seemed to be breaking the rules.”

– Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, a novel by Elena Ferrante

We should forget.
It’s better this way.

I won’t divine
entangled spirits
from rat-nested bedsheets,
shades unfurled,
eclipsing shame.

We have fun.
Yeah we did.

No love misplaced,
like spilled spirits
and tongues.

Yet I return,
haunted spirit,
to the mistake
we never made.
***

Inspired by Real Toads Words To Live By, hosted for the final time by Rommy. We were asked to reflect on a word or quote that means something special to us.

Ironically, as someone who loves words, I drew a blank here. Ultimately, I settled on a quote from a book I’m currently reading (Book three of a four-book series by Elena Ferrante, collectively titled Neapolitan Novels.)

Also shared at dVerse Quadrille #93: Spirited Poems, hosted by whimsygizmo. Other poets contributed to this prompt here

Last Thing I Hear

Last Thing I Hear

I bzz-buzz his beer
‘cuzz it’s bittersweet.

He shoos me;
irritatedly,

so I bzz-buzz her martini.
She’s staring past me,

through him, past his seat,
to wherezz? Why ask me?

I’m to bzz-busy, you see?
This bzz-sequence is key!

She ignored me! I’m in!
Sweet delectable sin!

Bzzyum yummy-yum,
oh I knew I’d love rum,

now-drowsy, oh no,
the bar scene runs slow;
no one can save the groove,
molasses-mellow,

morass-indigo;

wings heavy with
melancholy
fate and doom
sweet regret swells,
atrophy and ache,
can’t movezzz!

She frownszz,
slow-blink,

he frownszz,
I drink, I drownzz,

I think, unwound;

can we flies think?

Impaired,
the bland bar muzzac
disappearszz
into thin air.

Do flies have earszz?
Meh, I don’t care,

but the last thing that I hearszz,
before it all vanished into ether

he zz-said to her wet eyelids,
with scarcely a whisper,

“I’d have given you kids;
we’d have been good together.”
***

Inspired by dVerse Poetics: Surrealism in Poetry, hosted by Linda Lee Lyberg. Other poets contributed here.

First and Last Wake-Up Call

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Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

First and Last Wake-Up Call

Lip cracked,
erupted.

Stench of
menthol-infused fists
kisses mouth;

sentient ashtray punch-out.

Penny-flavored,
earthy-scented,
crimson disgust;

skin rising,
purpling dough,
enough to draw sympathy;

not enough for state-intervention.

Manly punishment for talking back.
Lead-knuckled wake-up-call
to first adult decision,

aged sixteen.

Time to go.
***

Shared at dVerse Quadrille #92: Take a crack at poeming, hosted by whimsygizmo. Other poets contributed here.

Also shared at Real Toads  November: Nothing is more memorable than scent, Imagined By Sanaa Rizvi.

Blackness, As Meditation

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Image by bella67 from Pixabay

Blackness, As Meditation

What can I tell you about being black?

I honestly haven’t the slightest idea.

Sure, whenever I complete a form
that’s nosey enough to ask,
I check the corresponding square,

but I’m just some random guy
born into a reddish-brown shell, and
there’s no option for human doing his best,
given the tattered incomplete playbook
passed down for generations.

Everything I learned about being black
I learned from others, from momma’s
early-warning games that life’s not fair,
the playing field isn’t level,
and the rules are different for folks
who look and sound like us; that the
difficulty settings are disproportionately

skewed; that there are folks who hate me
at first sight, before I could even begin
to hope to win them over
with a smile and a silly joke.

Being black can be tricky, but

what can I definitively
tell you about being black?

You’re better off asking one of my
blood relatives who are black and proud;

I don’t know if I’m not black enough
or not proud enough, but by all accounts,
and my admission, it’s probably both.

I’m amused by the idea of claiming pride
in something I had no control over;
it’s not like I achieved anything; it’s not
like I’m one of the best blacks like Barack
or Beyoncé or K-Dot; I’m just some dude
who popped out of his momma with
reddish-brown skin, a fear of
creepy-crawlies, and a love of words.

Being black can be bemusing, but what
can I honestly tell you about being black?

To be honest, I don’t think about it
very much these days, not unless
circumstances compel me to.

I’m certainly not doing it right,

just ask anybody with the
privilege of voicing opinion;

I don’t speak the language well enough
for anyone; if I’m confident, I’m too uppity;
if I’m insecure, I need to be saved
from my own ignorance; if I’m silent,
I’m one of the sneaky ones; if I’m loud,
I’m one of the angry ones; if I’m

actually angry, I’m a threat
that needs to be stopped by any means
that will most likely withstand
judicial scrutiny.

Being black can be maddening, but

what can I unequivocally
tell you about being black?

It would seem that I’m unqualified
to say for absolute certain.

My chest rises and falls to its own cadence.
I smile big smiles, laugh belly-laughs, and
dream dreams like any other common human.

Tears well in my eyes, and I weep
openly during sappy love stories,
or when a vigilante is acquitted

by his peers for murdering one of my peers.

(Granted, we’re all peers, but my neglecting
to use first-person singular possessive here
could be perceived as not black enough.
Refer to “being black can be tricky” above.)

I have irrational fears of spiders and zombies,
and a hyper-rational fear of meeting
the wrong policeman in a dark alley
after fitting the description.

You know the description;
it’s always the same description.

Being black can be terrifying.

But what can I fearlessly
tell you about being black?

It can be tricky, bemusing,
maddening, terrifying,
all these things at once,

and sometimes, when I’m alone,
staring at the stars above
on the blackest night,

as starlight takes eons to reach
where blackness has already been,
waiting indifferently for it,

it is an absence of all these things,

for when the cosmos
overpowers my brown eyes
with overwhelming proof
of my own individual insignificance,

that is when the truth speaks to me,
that being black is human,
and is but one of many facets
of our collective humanity.
***

Trigger warning: The video below contains satirical graphic gun violence.

Inspired by dVerse dVerse Poetics: On Shades of Black, hosted by anmol(alias HA). Other writers contributed to the prompt here. I know this one’s in dire need of editing, but I may leave it as is, as it came from an honest thread of thought.

All Hallow’s Etiquette

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Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

Hallow’s Etiquette

There is just nothing
remarkable about a
Hallow’s witching hour,

where absence of light and sound
pile upon one another

until the deprived
senses conjure demons, ghosts,
and apparitions of distress

manifested in the failures
of our memories, or
their perfectly successful manner

of projecting memories
of our failures back upon us
like a house of haunted mirrors.

That ghoul is not a ghoul;
it is an eye-floater
casting a shadow upon
your retina

that became entangled
with a stray set of neurons
where an unresolved
disagreement with

your long-dead beloved
continues to take up
residence; our evolved
pattern-recognition

makes us see their sunken cheeks
and disapproving glare, and
nothing more than that.

At the very least,
that is what I tell myself
to keep my heart from racing

and my unspoken words
from spilling into this dense,
uncaring,
unremarkable space
at this ungodly hour,

where no one replies
to my wailing demands for reason,
and for good reason,
as no one is here
to hear them.

But in the extremely
unlikely event
that I’m wrong about this,

all of these reasonable
observations,
which I’m mostly certain
is extremely improbable,

if they truly exist
between our realms,

my first thought would be
probably
that demons, ghosts, ghouls,
and all the like,

in addition to being
needlessly frightening,

in all these years of
ignoring my queries

they’re also extremely rude.
***

Inspired by All Hallow’s Eve and Poets United: Midweek Motif ~ A Million Years Howl When Voices Whisper Among The Trees, hosted by  Sanaa Rizvi.

Also shared at dVerse OLN: Casting a Spell, hosted by Linda Lee Lyberg.

Initiation

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Photo by Simon Wijers on Unsplash

Initiation

“Though your eyes are kind, I’m afraid,” she confessed, lying nude before me.

“Me too,” I said through angelic gaze, “but I see something in you that I can’t explain.” I gorged myself upon her kiss. “Deep within you; I must have it,” I continued urgently in the fading light, embracing her shoulders gently, sliding towards her neck, enclosing her throat with the yip of her last gasp, her fingernails, sunk into my clenching forearms before dropping lifelessly, dangling from her naked corpse.

My ecstasy was interrupted by her now-disembodied laughter. “Foolish mortal,” she hissed, “now you are mine forever,” as my body slowly dissolved. “Of all my new candidates, you surrendered yourself completely. Now you will never know pleasure without death; never the sensual without senescence. This is the barrenness of harvest or pestilence reserved for only my favorite Incubi.”

I regret nothing.
***

Inspired by dVerse Prosery 5 – All Hallows, hosted by Björn Rudberg (brudberg). Other writer’s contributions can be found here.

The Art of Ghosting

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Photo by Jesse Bowser on Unsplash

The Art of Ghosting

It requires a deft feel of
space, atmosphere,
my place within it.

Shrinking is the easy part;
few notice my contortions
to accommodate.

Conversations flow in torrents;
my awkward trickle dries,
I silently observe.

By the time anyone pauses
to notice my absence,
I’m long gone.

Disappearing one’s self
from physical social functions
call for skill and patience.

Social media ghosting only requires
resolve to never logon again;
no one looks for you there.

Voiding verbal social contracts
with friends and loved ones
can be a bit trickier.

But total mastery of this art
necessitates majestic dexterity
and stately self-loathing.

It is mastered only when
you never leave your bed
no longer seeking connection,
and no one ever again seeks
comfort within your touch.

Ghosting is easy with practice,
but living with the aftermath,
not so much.

It’s doubtful you even noticed
that I left this poem.
***

Inspired by dVerse Poetics: Your Majesty, hosted by Gospel Isosceles. Other poets contributed to the prompt here.

We were supposed to implement some type of majestic vibe into this prompt, but as you can see, I predictably went the other way with it.

Fractions

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Photo by Amanda Flavell on Unsplash

Fractions

Even now, forces battle for fractions
of light and dark, air and earth, truths and lies
the spoils, ripened treasures and abstractions
like oil, our foods, as humankind’s soul cries
split to the bone in factions
honed for overreactions

My soul’s not known for overreactions
compressing, sealing night into fractions
of morbid amusement, viewing factions
through porous veneers of their willful lies
unmoved by their biased cries
on currents of abstractions

Our sun will yield to night and abstractions
leaving the void and overreactions
light evening showers won’t drown-out the cries
of justice-seekers sliced into fractions
divided by clever lies
blinded factions fight factions

I welcome rain as night deceives factions
truth is our souls are merely abstractions
these lines dividing us all are sad lies
gains of few, fueled by overreactions
many fight over fractions
immune to his brother’s cries

I remain in-tune with my brother’s cries
but turn a deaf-ear to brother’s factions
I see us whole, and not just the fractions
bellies are filled by more than abstractions
stilled by overreactions
humanity’s fate still lies

I wonder which side will win through the lies
will we have our peace or feast on war-cries?
I still observe the overreactions
blackening hearts into soulless factions
they have killed for abstractions
weighing lives by the fractions

I wonder which lies will fell the factions
silencing the cries; soulless abstractions
overreactions leaving fractions.
***

Written for dVerse  Poetry Form: Sestina, hosted by Victoria C. Slotto. Other poets have contributed to this prompt here. The Sestina is an oily form, super-tricky to pull off, like Jello-wrestling a sexy, nude, female vampire who’s riding a velociraptor. Naturally, I had to give it a go (the poem, not the Jello-wrestling, though I’d probably be game for that too.)

Also sharing at Real Toads

Her Scarlet Smeared onto Me

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Her Scarlet Smeared onto Me

“Your move, Mr. Bedroom Eyes,”
the words oozed from her coiled rubies,
mingling with her strawberry scent,
joining the rest of my taunted senses.

“She’s made so right
for all the wrong things,”
I think to myself
in her moon-drenched room,

willfully ignoring my own complicities.

Even when she turns away,
concealing her lewd loveliness
in muted midnight shadows,

her elongated shaded nudity
jiggled in ways that seemed
to beckon to a deeper need

transcending the lust and greed
gripping us within this bizarre gravity.

“And don’t you dare pretend that this,”
she added, gesturing generally at the
space between us, “is all one-sided.”

She read me effortlessly, relentlessly
just as she always had, dynamically
consoling, enticing, demanding,

“It’s just us now; be honest.
Don’t act like you don’t want this.
No lies between us tonight.”

She wasn’t made for me,
but her eyes perpetrate the lie;
giving none of the game away,
expecting to be taken,

inviting me to consume
all that I crave to taste,

daring me to meet
where her heat beckons;

the divine junction of where abstraction
melts into sensation, defining touch.

Using only the sight of her
copper-kissed marbled frame,
the ripened flowered goddess’ scent,

and the hot-buttercreamed
sound of her verbal dare,

she deftly sculpted my need
to close the distance,

to thrust my ugly intent
deep inside her beautiful taunt,

to drown her velvet purrs within
undercurrents of my straining grunts,

our bodies rising, falling in unison,
fueled by primal need to occupy
the same finite space simultaneously.

This is what I want
and what she invites.
Of this, I cannot lie.

But it’s also true then, that if we
shackle ourselves to our desires,
indulging ourselves, yielding to them,
we will forever be enslaved by them.

I take a step backwards, fussing with
half the buttons on my shirt that I
don’t recall how they came undone.

Turning towards me, her smile widened
leaning into my gaze, the moonlight falling
upon her contoured sex slowly opening
in my direction, cooing her incantations;

“Even now, you would deny your ache
to possess me, knowing by your pulse
that you were already mine long before,
when we first exchanged glances,

even in that crowded space of fortunes
untold, we saw what we saw in each
other’s eyes, the clarity of potential,
the unspoken intent, and even then,

I knew you were mine,
and that you wished it so,

and while you looked away,
you couldn’t help but to return
to my gaze to see if I was
still looking, and of course I was,

with each time our eyes met,
from you, I stole yet another breath
till now as you stand apart from me,
allowing yourself to breathe

only when I will it;

draw breath now and
tell me, am I wrong?”

I look away, failing spectacularly
in my task to rebutton my shirt.

“Look at me,” she commands.
I comply, my chest becoming tight.

“Breathe,” she says gently, and
I felt my chest relax as I obeyed.

“Now, don’t lie to me,” she demands,
“and don’t lie to yourself, either.
Right here, right now, speak truth.
Tell me what you want.”

“You,” I confess, my chest
once again restricting airflow.

“Who rules your air, your earth,
your body, your soul?” she asks,
knowing the answer.

“You rule me,” I answer,
my unbuttoned shirt now
on the floor behind me,
discarded with my integrity.

“Why are you still dressed then?”
she asked, and then suddenly I wasn’t.

“Still your move, Mr. Bedroom Eyes,”
she taunted again. “I can’t do
everything for you, you know?”

I moved towards her,
overwhelmed by the ache
to feel my skin pressed into hers.

Just as our lips pressed
colors into touch,

just as I tasted her scarlet
smeared onto me,

I smirked at my
illusion of helplessness,

yielding to the power exchange
we demanded the moment
our paths crossed.
***

Originally posted on Medium.

Shared at dVerse Open Link Night #249. Other poets also shared their work here

Bonus song, because I couldn’t get it out of my head after hearing the previous song: