Day 1 – The Snake Inside The Self

(Photo Credit: Flickr / DavGoss)
(Photo Credit: Flickr / DavGoss)

It was pandering to my evilest self,
the sign I was birthed under,
the snake I was born to be.

The distance between us had grown,
the miles stretching further
with each yawn hushed over the phone,
everyone else I had to ignore
to shut myself off from the world
and speak soul-ly, only to you.

But this I would never share.
If you hadn’t figured it out by now,
if all your hopes bred with denial
hadn’t connected the dots
like the child’s picture we were
making mockery of a former us,
then you deserved the pain as a lesson.

You’d said you wanted to remain pure
until marriage, and my most innocent,
high school self had agreed.
But college changed me,
the longing vexed us,
and I finally found the silver tongue
I’d always been hiding.

Innocence doesn’t taste good
after being preserved
for more than three years.
There’s an expiration date on everything,
I just had the bitterness to read it first.

But after all that work,
I’d be damned if I’d let
someone so sweet, so clean,
leave me untainted.

I may be damned already –
this slither has a knack
for knocking and unlocking
even the darkest of doors.

That which is most ruthlessly and lovingly excavated – NATIONAL POETRY MONTH 2015: THE 30/30 CHALLENGE, ROUND 3

(Photo Credit: Flickr / Charlie Baxter)
(Photo Credit: Flickr / Charlie Baxter)

Well folks, here I am, at it again.

Today marks the embarking of my third 30/30 Challenge, dutifully written in honor of annual National Poetry Month. Back in April 2013, I haphazardly started this very blog/website to host revisions of some of my old poems and do my first ever “30/30 Challenge.” And then, a year later in April 2014, I completed my second 30/30, in which I challenged myself to be more open, more honest, and more vulgar (when necessary) in my writing, which proved to be a great experiment full of personal and creative growth.

Thus, continuing in that vein, kicking off tomorrow, I’d like to make a promise to both myself and to whomever’s out there reading my poems to poetically go after the parts I’ve been trying the hardest to guard, the parts that should be most ruthlessly and lovingly excavated. This was not my initial idea, but rather, a response to a critique.

Earlier this year, I’d put myself through the arduous and psyche-wrecking process of applying to grad school programs for an MFA in Poetry. And, in preparation, I’d sent out a dozen of my poems for critiques and suggested revisions from trusted friends and fellow writers. In response, the wise and talented Kerry Cullen shared this insight with me:

“Try to explore more of the gross innards of the speakers that you’re working with here. They tend to be great observers, and that is so important — but I want to know what they are most deeply embarrassed about, ashamed of. You work with righteous anger a great deal here, but when are they pettily and unjustly angry? You work with their realizations, but when do they not realize what they should? They are often victims of this other royal “they,” but when do they, the speakers, victimize others?”

She’d hit the nail right on the head, pointing out one of my writing’s biggest weaknesses. And thus, my challenge to myself for this April’s 30/30 is to write about these topics I’ve been avoiding, have approached only tenuously in previous drafts but never felt bold enough to share them here for fear of judgement, repercussion, or shattering someone else’s image of me and my writing.

So I thank you in advance for reading whatever’s to come out of my head in the next 30 days, and I hope that if you’re moved in any way by my words, that you’ll let me know in the comments sections.

Happy writing, happy reading!

Answering Odd Questions About Shipping Packages

(Photo Credit: Flickr / Infusion Fibers)
(Photo Credit: Flickr / Infusion Fibers)

What is this?
Yesterday, I shaved my dog
and had a slice of depression.
Today, I sent out a few emails
and assumed I’d accomplished something.
Tomorrow, I will earn $100
for answering odd questions about shipping packages.
Saturday, I will write poems with children.
Then I will see my aged and ever-aging parents
for the second time within a month
and very little will have changed in their lives.
Very little has changed in mine
since I’ve turned 26
and they will ask for updates
as curious parents are wont to do
and I will tell them that
I’m waiting, still waiting, ever waiting
for my carrier pigeons to return home
with any message whatsoever
even bearing the worst
would relinquish one rein’s grip
on all these potential lives holding me in places
fluttering out of existence
like feathers upon the earth.
But tomorrow,
tomorrow I will earn $100
for answering odd questions about shipping packages.
Tomorrow will have a purpose.

This Is How You Woo Her (for Junot Diaz’s Alter-Ego)

[Photo Credit: Flickr / MarySmith(NOLA13)]
[Photo Credit: Flickr / MarySmith(NOLA13)]

     I

There has never been a need to rush.
Attraction is 90% mental
and 10% timing, hold the touch.
Let your tongues dance from afar,
whisper wisps of nothings
and everythings in her ear.
Let your words act like magnets –
she’ll give you the sign when she’s ready.

     II

Fingertips are your friends here.
Let them pirouette and electric slide
down every bump of spine,
pulse promise of power given
just so that it may later be taken.

     III

Your lips know galaxies and oblivion.
They feel what your mind had
always thought you’d wanted,
grazing down bodies
waiting for the feast.
Trust them in their blind pursuit.

     IV

There will be valleys and troughs.
Learn how to use both
and you will become god
amongst broken and breaking men.
Your acolytes will follow you
over and under until they can fight
it no longer – they will succumb to you,
giving up their bodies as prized sacrifice
for your devotion of her every inch.

The Food You See Is Not The Food You Eat

(Photo Credit: Flickr / ElyceFeliz)
(Photo Credit: Flickr / ElyceFeliz)

I

Marketing is a deceptive fucker.

Every commercial you watch about fast food
has been doctored, dressed by a culinary mortician,
made to look proud before its final drive down
your throat to your bowels.
Engineered to be resistant of decay,
never really designed to be devoured,
it fights your digestion, will only cause you pain
with each and every swallow.

But let the ads run on in technicolor
at the exact moment your lunch has worn off
when you’re at your weakest
when you can taste the salt and sweetness
from your sofa, salivating
like someone’s dumb psychology experiment.

II

The best pleasures are best delayed.

You will eat this now
you will even think you enjoyed it,
but once the chemical rush
winds down and wears off,
it’ll leave you at your lowest
feening for another ounce
of whatever took you away
from shit you were swimming in
just so you could have it
swimming inside you.

III

Listen when your body speaks.

It’ll whisper at first –
You don’t have to finish your whole plate
like mommy used to say –
but habits have always screamed louder,
and you’ll not hear its pleas.

It’ll fight the onslaught next,
expelling what you never needed,
punching itself with weakness and wants
so the overriding brain will drop the fork
to grip the back, massage the muscle,
make it remember
that they’re still connected.

It’ll surrender at final,
knowing the battle has become futile,
too far gone, too fat grown –
got there one bite at a time,
one choice after another,
one ignored whisper
that fell silent
upon your writhing tongue.

Your Goods

(Photo Credit: Flickr / milkandhoney2012)
(Photo Credit: Flickr / milkandhoney2012)

This tastes like sin
like something
my mouth knows
it shouldn’t have
much less enjoy.

It reminds me
of my childhood –
the kid my mom called husky
because it sounded nicer,
placated me with sweetness.

It reminds me
of anything but my childhood –
the processing of something
that was supposed to be
passed like grandmother
down from one loved to another.

And each toss of the tongue
becomes a smile allowed
a guilt of glutton’s gut
an urge to slow and make
each bite worth its weight.

When I Wake

(Photo Credit: Flickr / AmirBayat)
(Photo Credit: Flickr / AmirBayat)

These are the breaks,
the breaks of bones that were never broken,
brokenness as inborn as blood.

To be human is to suffer,
and every morning I feel my most human:
unwind myself from the fetal,
position pieces upright and puffed-chested
so the metal of my spine may realign itself
with the stars it once came from,
the dust that once formed itself
into warped vertebrae.

I have felt my age ever since
the doctor made me magnetic,
have siphoned wisdom with every crack
of joint, every creak
of bone, every sigh
of pain released back
into a world that has always been
sharing too much of itself.

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." — Henry David Thoreau

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