AshStock-still, I breathe inCrisp night air perfumed with woodAnd think of old times.Our flames danced, but yours burned out.You're just smoke and mirrors now.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ThomasLoveStill shines the brightest,Like refracted sunlightThrough broken glass.
RecoveryBut if all else fails,I'll stand, steady, drawing strengthFrom your sturdy arms.
Spectraphotons like phantoms cross our pathsunseen except for their effects every poem begins with sometimesevery dream begins with maybe
asylumI have lines to crossand skeletons to shatter,because halted mercyresides in these hands.But I will notshow mercy with you.Today is paintedwith pinstripes and brokennails, it is whenyou decide I amgood enough to beyours.But I made myself worse,when I was with you.
when i dance, it isthe only timethat all parts of meare no longer lyingaround in placesthat i long agoleft behindand the piecescome back intoan order that althoughcracked and gluedare usefulenough to use again
The Dreams We KeepWhat deep-set dreams we keep, lest others pry -As if to say that silence guards them best,And keeps them most alive - there in my breast,In silence born, and therein left to lie;But not unknown, not they - for I had sleptAs men and gods alike did haply dream,And dreaming, knew of all my deepest dreamsEre I. Thus, any hopes I hereby dress -Desires bespoke, if not, in truth, confessed -Shall mark me as a puppet born and boughtTo shoulder wishes men themselves forgot,Not knowing which are more and which are lessMy own. A bastion, then, of debts and dues -As others dreamt, I dream - and dreaming, lose.
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.
Twelve Moments In The Dead Of Summer1. The sunlight glistens on her wet skin as she's walking towards the beach. He has never seen anything so beautiful in his life and even if the words seem to dry up in his throat, he knows what he is going to do next.2. It hasn't rained for months now so it only takes a small spark from the cigarette to set the undergrowth on fire. On the first sign of fire they panic and run, never to look back but to remember years later, in nightmares, the crazy old man who lived in the shack nearby and was never seen since.3. They lay together on the grass, watching the sun slowly go down behind the treeline. He takes her hand, old, wrinkled and frail into his, and whispers: "I would give up everything I have for one more summer like this". She responds: "Darling, you already did that years ago". They burst into giggles, just like the one he was supposed to take her dancing for the first time and got lost on the way, and it seems that all these years haven't changed anything at all.4. The thorn
AtlantisSometimes I think Atlantis wasNothing but a sandcastleBuilt below the tide line,And maybe so were we.
AmberIt's begun again.The sun has extinguished itself; brittle ashes fall into our atmosphere and suffocate. Annihilate.The air is dry and the sky blackens, the thunderheads in my head threaten implosion.I whisper a sigh into the bright field of poppies, but they don't listen, they don't hear,and my whisper stains the stars with no promise of secrecyI am human, my veins run thin with led, with skin made of thin iron pallet, and a pulse that beats with norhythm, no rhyme, but eagerness to escape a euphoria higher than the heavens itself.My heart is a grenade, threatening explosion with every beat it dares tread, a disaster so imminent thattime itself is my enemyIt's begun again.andIneedmyfix.
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
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
telephones and cortisonePuerto Rico is still asleepwhile we starfish aimlessly in the sea -We are like lost men seeking shelterin a place where the sweating sunis forever at high noon,ceiling fans turning slowlyand dewy drops on upper lips.I am like the skinny girl in an indie moviewho lounges around in her underwear,a cigarette dangling limper than dirty hair.A phone rings somewhere.I am grasping at a dreamlike I am drowning and watchingthe surface float away, fallingso deep into sleep thatthe stars seem to sing.
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
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
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
Volpi.You will find that the story you tellis very rarely your own. In Lucca,even the smallest pebblesbreathe in the warm sunlight.Knotted stones and cobbled roadsbeat out a paper-dry heartbeat heat my city breathes in and out,inhales sparrow air.It's writing a story.You are the pen.You will find that in Luccathe daisy chains forge firein side streets and back alleys.Teenagers intertwine. Tell me,odd flower, are you still closed?Here we are colored wax;the heat of the city melts us.We run into each other, rhapsodyof pigments. Operas are our specialties.Open up; feel the reds.If not, try and see them. There is a placeof deep knife marks, a streetlong as midnight you may learn something there.Valentina's voice glimmers like red wine.You may enjoy intoxications. Still,know alcohol has no storyand will swallow your own.Find the sign with the wolf on it.You'll know the place. Epiphanies ring true as church-bells.Lucca still guides the wanderersto well sp
PinesThe pines bend overCrookedDark against a satin skyOld and wind-twistedWeary of winterof going onThey stretch in a sweet spring sunStretch, straighten, and start overpale new needles pokeout of paper-crisp wrappingstender and softhaving never seen a winter
ConversationAnd I've been telling you, you know, how heavy the sun feels and how it makes my muscles jump like a bird's wings as it flutters gently down on a windowsill. I still have those glass bottles on my mantle where the morning light hits themstill there, full of colored water and seashells. And maybe I'll tell you how they light up the ceiling in blue and green and pale yellow just like they always have, like nothing ever changed.I smell you on the sea air, sometimes, when it rushes in past the thin white curtains you helped me hang. They still bounce with every gust like exuberant dogs. And I've been telling you how the salt has most assuredly worked its way into my marrow now, and maybe if someone were to put me in a pie they'd find it too brackish for their taste. And then I wonder just how much you taste like the sea.The ocean beats my heart for me nowadays. Even inside, even at night, I can feel each breaker rumbling through my sternum and radiating along my ribs. And I've been
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.
CaitlinLike Escher's hands,You and IFashion one another,Lovingly,Into being.