Letter to BeethovenPerhaps it was not your aim after allTo describe the moon to a blind person,But when I hear Piano Sonata No. 14,I envisionThe splendid, yet lonely, moonlit nightWhen you weptFor the loss of your hearingAnd where I now sometimes weepFor the loss of my sight.It's a shame you grew tiredOf people loving that song so much.I wish I could have told youThat it was because you managedTo derive beauty from pain.
ThomasLoveStill shines the brightest,Like refracted sunlightThrough broken glass.
I Won't Always Be ThereIt used to beThat all it tookWas for you to reach, fondly,Into your pocketAnd feel the reassuring coolnessOf the lover's charm you've carriedFor longer than you can remember.When life was hard for a spell,You'd pull it outAnd cradle itIn the palm of your handWhere you could see it,Because seeing is believing,Right?You're not sure when,But somewhere between then and now,You lost it.Maybe it fell out in the wash,Or while you were on the swings ...Or maybe you didn't replace itWhen you handled it last.Inspired,You turn your room upside-downIn search of your forgotten treasure,But only time knowsHow long it's been gone.
Love at First SongGently, I rest my handsAtop your shouldersAs your fingersFlit across piano keys.We harmonize easily,Even though no oneWould probably expectOur voices,A mezzo and a bass,To blend so well.How can two peopleMake music togetherAnd not fall in love?With us, at least,I feel itEvery single time.
Flow of MeaningHearing half of a conversation,The poet speaks,Shedding poetryIn BrailleOn paper napkinsAbout love and other demons.He calls it the art of destruction,But art creates the self.
Singing in ColorWhen Caitlin sings,Something in my heart justMends.Like a blend ofThe balminess of duskAnd the coolness of dawn,Indigo and silver mistCome together in my mind's eyeAnd take the shape ofThe face I know and love so well,Haloed by the notesBlossoming from piano keysAs her delicate fingers flit across them.I'm never far from her embraceIf I just listen.
Touch Is PoetryToday, you recite Frost.I've always loved being read to,But for some reason,This morning I can scarcelyAbsorb your flowing words,Which instead trickle through my fingersAs their tips registerThe vibrations of your voiceAt the place whereYour chest and shoulder intersect,Then trail down your bicepTo the crook of your elbow,Then turn down the pathOf your forearm,Then happen, at last,Upon your precious left hand,Which brackets the dusty anthology.I hope you know I touch youBecause I adore you,Not just because I can't see you.
StillPardon me;My tongue isThick with Earl Grey,Past kisses,And things I'd die to tell youBut can't bring myself to say.
Life in OrigamiFold, rethink, unfold.Poetry pearled in paper,What shape do you take?
Spectraphotons like phantoms cross our pathsunseen except for their effects every poem begins with sometimesevery dream begins with maybe
i hear knives in the windsomething in the timbre, tall heat,sugar licking palm fronds fat catssweltering sundays.wash the salt; wash the afterburn itisn't like we planned you neversay the words plain, only mm mm if we ever could we maybe staywe always tried but couldn't shakethe open space we make the world a-nother shape as we stand among thetimbertall sugar licking palm frondsfall. til heat escapes.
five hour energyi supposelast week was only an aftershockof the earthquake you were before.this place used to vibratewith metal strings and melodic,off-key shouting-testimonies to life,emitting coffee-scented moodsand the burn of it too.i had memorized thesounds of silence,a cacophonyso despisedi couldn't help but relish it.no longer had i knownthe sounds of folkand scent of mocha-you became nothing morethan an echo of the laughteri so desperately needed to hear again.then the echoes got louder,bouncing ferociously off the wallsto be made manifestand dissipate.i walked into your roomexpecting exactly what i found-an unmade bed,bare desktops,and an empty beer(the one that you insisted you neededjust days ago).i pressed my noseinto the pillowhoping desperately,begging silentlyfor incense and cologne and starbucksto penetrate my mindand thinking fervently"you bastard,i already knowwhat a clean sheet smells like."it's amazinghow strong an aftershock can be,but st
Glass MemoriesDearly Beloved,Hey, love, it’s me again. It’s winter now – the icy wind throws itself at these stained cinderblock walls but to no avail; a wall works both ways.A year has passed since I last spoke with you – a year already! No, I’m sure it was yesterday – a Monday.I never did like Mondays.I remember where we met. In the subway. You were the last to board a crowded train, I stood up as the wheels began to creak, glancing at you as I did so and nodding ever so slightly towards the empty seat. You laughed and called me a gentlemen, tucking those few strands of honey-colored hair behind your ear. Your nails were painted blue. Light blue. Like the sky.The mass of people gradually thinned out as we neared the end of the route, until you and I were the only ones left in that car. We sat awkwardly next to each other – you twirling your hair and I fiddling with the buttons on my shirt cuff. I don’t know why I didn’t get up and move.I
what love is not.it was a s l o p p y first kiss wheremy drunk lips fumbled against yours.the dull thwack of my heart,locked behind curved ribscleared my groggy brain, clouded with lustful premonitions.it was an e l e c t r i f y i n g first kiss whereyou entwined your hands in my hair.your mouth encompassed mine andmy breath became lost in the steadyrise&fallof your chest.it was a s h y first kiss wherei pulled away before you could explore.your tongue grazed my teeth, searching for a way past the ivory gates.i dug my finger into the stubble along your jaw,my nail lulling your carnal desires.it was my first kiss with you.
ViolinI remember the dayyou told me violinswere strung with cat gutand that is whyyou hated music(who says that to a child?)I followed youall that summer.I watched yougrow away from mother -your whiskey held better conversationsand all she did was cry.We'd sit cross-legged on the porchand count the horsefliessettling on our lunch.You would drown tadpolesin a bucketsurprised they could not swimand I would dreamof cherry popsicles.And when night would gatheron the sidewalkI'd hold my breathuntil a star appeared.Don't bother making wishesyou'd tell me -stars are dead weight in heavenand God has cloth ears.
Graffiti Dreams in Black and White The strokes are dreamt permanent,the only lasting demarcations of claiming existence,and the collective artists who painted them majored in Biology,or Accounting, or English and Professional Writing, or dropped out as so many do when they wake up.The poet paints them into existence with his words: “ideas are illusions, and all words are untrue.” And we nod our heads and sip our coffees, indeed,put a price to labors and words and even to thoughtsbecause we no longer want freedom if it costs us the freedomof saving face and keeping pace with the ebb and flow
Under the Willow TreeHomeOnce upon a time, a very, very long time ago, there existed a young girl who loved to paint. She did so many things with only the tip of her fingers. She painted the sun orange, the oceans blue, and the grass green. One day, she noticed a paintbrush lying under the willow tree."What is this?" she asked, for she had only created with her fingers. "Where did it come from?" She received no reply.She was a curious girl, and instinctively dipped the point into her maroon paint. Streaking the brush across her paper, she gasped."It works so much better than my hands!"She swooped and swooped with the brush until the sun dipped, and smiled the whole time. It was growing dark, however, and the girl was tired. She collected her things, sealed off her paint, and slept beneath the arms of the willow tree.DreamsThe young girl grew accustomed to the paintbrush, and began to favor the instrument. She drew nature more vividly, and the grass was a brighter shade of green. The ocean and sky bl
SolaceShe never slept well in the dark,not without the children of the sun and moonto guide her weary lids home.Guided by the aftermath, she was always two steps behind.What did the world look like to the girl who had been through it all?Braved the heaviest of storms,yet skipping over cracks in the pavement.They said her eyes were the wisps of clouds before the storm.To him they were reflections of pages overlooked.She said it was like she lived the life of someone she had never met.Laid out to dry, yesterdays news.He knew her as the girl who was built to never collapse.He wished he was too.He loved her more than words could say, and yet her pain was such,that at times, he feared she wouldn’t make it.But on nights like these, even when it threatened to consume her,he became convinced that somehow she would.
FloodgatesWe’re lined up as we enter Year Seven.Rulers are pulled out, skirts inspected. Three inches above the knee, no more.Our skirts are millimeters too short. We hope to pass. If we pass, we’re allowed into the house. Those who don’t are sent home so their mothers can mend what’s broken.They scour for torn hems, loose stitches, and find none. But Marissa filled out over the summer, and the back of her skirt rises up her thigh nearly an inch above an appropriate level. We share a knowing glance as she flows out of our line, thrust back into the office where someone will call her mother to gather her. Our mothers taught us to lean back when the ruler passed, to let the hem dip down to the creases of our knees. No one would know. When we pass, we share a silent victory.When they can’t hear us, we whisper about Marissa’s chest, how red splotches cover her nose and cheekbones. We think she won’t come back, girls like her never do, and seventh years a
consensus + AUDIOconsensus Ii told you that night i would forget, but youwere too busy thinkingof when to see methenIIoverdosing on bedsheets and sunshine we were salty and guttural tides -i had all but forgotten the smell behind your ear, the softnessof your throat when it growls in hungerthe comforting shape of your head under my clumsy hands, thatfamiliar taste on the tip of you, pulling usapart and together againIIIbut we overlooked the bitternessof candy-coated chimeras(ignoredthe call of their acidic tongues)IVnext year’s crop should be better, the almanac said;we chose to believe itVgo east; the trees whisperedthe snow took away their breath leaving me herewith onions to peel and tears to wipenoticing them you mentioned winterwould last longerVIi agreed-Sophie, january-february 2014Originally published in issue #25 of "Up the Staircase Quaterly"http://www.upthestaircase.org/chouinard-consensus.html
It's hot in my apartment even if you're not hereWhy do I wake up,halfway drowning in sweat and rattling thoughtsabout who you could be,candles in my room down to their wicks end,and me just laying in bed for a few hours.the worst part is that you're not ignoring me.I could call you up,lasso a conversation like we never left our last onetell you I love you like alwaysbut it's worsebecause you would only ever be half there.I could never have all of you,could never take the full moon for what it is.so why do I try to sleep,with a wild hare up my assabout what could have been of us,candles burning brighter and hotterthan all of the solar system,drowning in perspirationwhen I know I'll just lay in bed for hours.
All Here For A ReasonI turned onto a shady, well-manicured driveway that, for all intents and purposes, looked harmless enough. Maple trees lined both sides of the street, and a parade of Canadian geese marched across the road to a wide duck pond with a flamboyant fountain. There were blooming crepe myrtles and rose-of-sharons, and as I grew closer to my destination, neatly trimmed gardens with neatly trimmed bushes.I stopped to let the geese pass. They looked at me; one hissed. I honked my horn and moved around them.At the end of the road sat a collection of grayish buildings and a number of signs directing me to the appropriate parking lot. "Welcome to Ten Creeks Hospital," said one of them. "Please enjoy your stay." I parked in the visitor's lot. Surely I wouldn't be staying.I was shaking when I got out of my car. I had spent the morning getting high. One foot in front of the other, flip-flop noises, hot sidewalk. Mulberry and magnolia trees, freshly shaved grass. A bench and pan for smokers. A set o
LiliumTo the wilting lilies on my kitchen counter:I am reluctant to throw you out.You bloomed within a day. Well, some of you. I snipped off your blood orange anthers with the kitchen shears, coating my fingertips with pollen before it could dust the slate and stain my clothes. Hand jobs are always easier to clean up.I forgot to water you once. I'm sorry.In the mornings I plucked chlorophyll-starved leaves from the countertop and tossed them in the rubbish bin. Your support system fell one by one, even as you still grew and opened up to the world.Your petals began to turn limp and brown. I cut away the flowers that were no longer beautiful, but insisted the rest were good enough to keep – until they dropped off in pink clumps, leaving bare stigma behind.There is not much left of you anymore. I putter over a few unopened bulbs among foreign greenery I can't name: small fading leaves and rubbery green leaves with velvet underbellies.Still, I am reluctant to throw you out.You are
Liquor is one way out an'death's the other The art of growing up,is to pour shots of whiskey into your coffee in the morningto make it throughthe day.when all you want to dois lie in bedinstead,but there’s nothingbeautifulabout thateither.
Blank EntryInspector Andel removed her contact screens and allowed herself a small sigh of nostalgia. She had borrowed a tablet from the archives department, and now weathered hands were flicking their way through cold case files. Hand-typed files. She'd almost forgotten that she used to deliver reports just like these."It's not the 20s any more, Andel. We don't use tablets."Andel had been too absorbed to notice Dieter sneaking up on her until the overbearing git had pulled up a chair opposite. Dieter was tall, young, charismatic, and by all accounts was everything Andel was not."Cold cases," she said, with a lot less venom than she had intended, "It's the only way to view the reports."Dieter leaned back and propped his feet up on her desk. "Ah yes, cold cases. Well I suppose you have to do something while your officers are out with the response teams."She ignored the feet bouncing obtrusively at her. It was too late to say anything now – she had to pretend they never bothered h
Cyclical loveI see a beginning and an endclasped within the lines of your palms, echoingin the ripples of your irises;I remember the apricot april morningstumbling over your outstretched legsin the park which I had never seen asanything more than a cut-through, butmy life changed course and the parkbecame a destination and I still don’t knowwhen I noticed that I was waking uptwenty minutes earlier just totalk to you before work, just to hearyour lilting voice flow through my ears andfill my mouth with ideas;And I remember the dew drops kissing my feetwhen you convinced me that it was practically illegalto wear shoes in june and I watched asthe grass pressed hatched patterns into your skinand for a moment I wished that they were my fingersholding you in eternal summer lawns, swan choruses,whirring rollerskates, the smell of peach blossoms;And I remember you blooming and sheddingthe remnants of your cocoon as you pointed outmade-up constellations littering a swelling augu
love people"We call everything a river here." --Richard Brautiganthere's a love paradethis sundaybeautiful blue and white housesspill children into the streetlike beads of happy colored glass--music all over.the trees are spring,fall, and summer,apricot angelsgreen yellow maplesall love peopletwo moons to a faceI think of a quietpebbled stream in this moonlightand a younger woman,like a single brush of ink,dipping softly,as the pebbled stream dips,into winter, or untimed wild.
CaitlinLike Escher's hands,You and IFashion one another,Lovingly,Into being.