I gave four prompts to collaborating poet Karineh Mahdessian. She conducted three minutes of “fevered writing” with each prompt. Here are the results. These words comprise the lexicon I’ll use to create my dis•articulations poem.
Topless carwash raises cash for deputies wounded in gun battle at Rastafarian pot farm
Wounded the night you took the words and hurled them at my face. My cheeks were unrecognizable. How you laughed told me this is what I deserve when all I wanted was your future with me. you stood there, pointed the words and shot at my eyes. Thought if I was blind I wouldn’t see the monster in you. But you failed to realize I see with my skin. All of my body sees the monster in you and still you laugh. Make a mockery of my love. As If I’m wild. But you see, silly you, you untamable you. You have nothing I want anymore. Keep your stories and your songs. I am ready to be on my own. Keep the promises and empty kisses too. My skin has learned.
Scientists just discovered the first brainless animal that sleeps
If I could I’d offer sleep to my father and his tired body. He works enough to shame the rest of the family. He awakes at 4:01 am to kiss daughter whose fingertips produce words that he hangs from his wall in the kitchen. If I could give him sleep, I would let him rest until hell no longer was in sight. I’d give him my eyes and my knees too. And while I’m at it, let him have my ankles too. He works enough to shame his family. He works enough to shame. And still he does not rest. Even his sleep he has to work for. Let me give him rest, even if it’s just in my words.
Meet the hummingbird whisperer
She entered my world unexpectedly surely she must have been borne under a rock or at least thin air. When she came, she took my breath and left me with sorrow. Once, she adorned hummingbirds on her arms, whispered sweetly into their mouths. I was speechless, left unsure of this world. She was magic, hands and feet tiny enough. I always wondered how she kept her balance. How she held my hands with small fingers firm grip. Her eyes were the shape of almonds. Lips thin enough to disappear with the blink of an eye. Her skin was soft and full of freckles. I loved her once when I wasn’t ready to love.
What’s the difference between a Sweet Potato and a Yam?
There is no difference between a sweet potato and yam some will argue, it’s only in name. And I will remind you that in naming those who can’t name themselves, there is power. I hold it in my mouth, sometimes hide it in my cheeks, There I taunt you who have nothing and wait for you to attack. I am that power which keeps you up at night keeping the moon company in all her glory in all her brightness. You wait for me to attack. But I don’t. Instead, I hide in the shadows and wait for the sun to arrive. We break the day and once again you tell me how you love me enough to keep waiting and I ask you to love me enough to walk away from the madness that war has borne in me. You laugh.
Collaborating poet Karineh Mahdessian gave four prompts to me. I conducted three minutes of “fevered writing” with each prompt. Here are the results. These words comprise the lexicon Karineh will use to create his dis•articulations poem.
Your absence lives in me
It built a duplex right in the center of my chest. The bottom unit sits on top of the heart; the top story is stuck in my throat. The tenants stomp around all night; they invade my dreams but I can’t evict them. They are smaller than ants but their footfalls are heavy as giants’. The rooms are filled with smoke and the dead petals of forgotten roses. Empty wine bottles pile up on the front porch and clink when anyone comes or goes.
What is left in us once we have to become the Other
My alter ego is a boxer who’s gone too many rounds in the ring. The referee won’t stop thr fight, keeps letting her reel across the canvas, throwing punches in the air. The crowd left a long time ago. No one can bear to watch this show. My altar ego is a clown with split britches and a smile tattooed over the grimace on my face. My shoes are huge and I skitter across the dirt.
Each night I bury my love around you
It’s the same routine every night–brush, floss, smear some night cream on my cheeks, bring the cat in, drink a little glass of water–not too much because I don’t want to have to wake up to pee. Then I roll up the carpet from the floor, pry the nails from the boards and lift up those planks–and there you are, your bones gleaming in the earth beneath my house. I unfurl my love like an afghan crocheted and spread it over you to keep you warm.
In an era of strife, museums collect history as it happens.
History doesn’t just happen. Shit happens. Life happens. But nothing is history until it’s collected. Somebody puts a frame around something and declares it important. Then it is “history.” Nobody puts a frame around a mother taking her child to school before sunrise, or the trash men emptying our waste into the giant maws of their trucks. Surely that is history but no one will trouble to collect it. No one will gather our tears or blood. You will never see the afterbirth in a museum.