I hate your poetry

I hate your poetry
Its lines are florals
Camellia base notes
Beautiful and brave
Vanilla would be ample, too

I hate your poetry
The Banting diet incarnate
Too much double thick cream
Where is the bread, man
Can I have a cracker, please?

I hate your poetry
Garnering blank looks from able faces
A knife twisting into guts
But nothing is felt
You can not murder with flowers


Breathing Underwater

I’m seeing things that aren’t there
snippets of things, of people
I feel a presence in the room with me
my cat looks up at it and I think it’s him
Is this how it happens, then?
The drowning, is this how it goes?
Softly, for months, for years, and then
seeing an irritable Indian lady in the window
out his side of the car; it could have been the tree
either way
seeing something, someone, just once,
out of the corner of the eye, startling
and then gone
or never there
feeling, sensing, a something while I wash my hands
and my cat stares at it, the place it’s coming from
and I turn around and it isn’t him?

Well fine.
I thought it would be…
than just this, I always liked to think so
But if this is it, I’m ready in my own way.
Where are the sobs, though? and the blades
and the pills and the glamour and the drama?
I’m fine with this, I am, but I did expect
more. something.

Suppose I’m just tired
from sleeping too much and resting too little
that would explain it, but the tide has been coming
for a very long time and I thought
something would be drowning me soon
I’ve been on the lookout, scouring the shores
looking out, agitated at every wave in the periphery.
A peculiar end to it; no crescendo to speak of
(there’s always a crescendo). I’ve heard enough
even with the ocean, a crescendo is inevitable:
the wave builds and builds and
Simple, inevitable.
It’s neat enough in nature, but this has never been nature,
has it?

There’s never been anything natural about the way
you sit on the now-cold sand day in, day out
the way you squint towards the oncoming ripples,
your hand over your brow in a salute,
only blocking the setting sun.
How long has it been since you moved, do you think?
Days? Weeks? Years?
You’ve thought about it: getting up and moving
but you’d only move further down the tide-line,
tracing it with your footsteps, watching and still

You imagine you’re a mermaid, you’re a phoenix
who’s been trapped underwater instead of in ashes,
fire never applied to you, it’s too hot and quick.
You’re a phoenix in the water and when you rise, you have legs
you’re the mermaid who traded her voice for legs
but all you want is your voice back;
you don’t belong in this sand, it’s cold here
this isn’t what you thought it would be
so you have legs and you stand on the shore
and you let the cold water envelop your calves
of course you do
and you wait anyway
because there isn’t anything natural about you, about it.


The shower water was beating
down my back
even though I wasn’t feeling it
And I was thinking murder, murder, murder
The idea crackled into the periphery
and I held it tight between my legs
and prayed
Still dripping, dripping, now onto paper.


I never had the dream again, the one where we were in the bath together
because in the dream, you never washed my hair the way I needed you to
and even though we smoked from the same cigarette, my hair still smelled
like matted hair might smell.
If I needed you to rinse it out with soft hands, veiny hands, fragile hands, would you
or doesn’t our contract extend that far?
Could you make it smell like citrus and honey or
is it easier for you this way, the broken way?

If I hand you my Lacrimosa do I get to keep you here
if the contents evaporate does it mean you have to leave
because I’ve got more stored up if that’s the way you need it
Give me something to talk about and I’ll give you something I’ll weep about
I wandered forever and found my way back but you weren’t there
and the front door was open but you were on the phone, weren’t you
and you said, “just a minute,” and I took it to mean, “go away.”

I tied my fears around the brick and threw it through your window
just to pique your interest
the content was good, the technique was lacking
the throw was slightly off and landed where you weren’t.
I told you, “I’m afraid I’m afraid I’m afraid,” and you couldn’t soothe it
but you pretended to, like handing me a torch when I tell you
I’m afraid of the dark, but not coming into the dark room with the torch
and with me, so I changed the topic, changed the fears,
even changed the brick, and it worked for a while until
I was the one who had to leave and throw a brick
through my own window
and my little glass bottle overflowed
and never evaporated again.

Almost 1am

It’s almost 1am
and my forehead is clammy
from the heat and
the noise inside my head
that won’t stop

grinding out every possible explanation
for every possible action
the ones that weren’t, too
Would that I could unscrew a cog
or disengage the connection

Can the humidity
the stifling claustrophobic heat
cause the fog that settles
over almost every thought
and memory

If I ice my head will the fever
the imagined one
recede from the shore

How many nights have I spent
exactly this way

You Too

One day I must have clicked my red heels together in the right way
And there you were at last
I waited an age without even knowing it
No longer did I need to stand on the pavement alone
The fight scene swirled around me still
And you, without doing so, showed me it was there
You were the comic relief and your punchlines obliterated
    the gravity of the fencing
at the right moment, too
And you stood there and said
    not only “me too”
    but “you too” as well
The music started up and everybody left
bored, even though the ending was spectacular
But you stayed – we stayed – until the lights flickered on
    and the cleaners came in
It was very still, very peaceful
And even when I wanted to leave, too,
    you just looked at me, saying
    “you too”
So we stayed a while longer