Saturday, January 6, 2018

twisting (november 4, 2008).

More stuff, courtesy of a 20 year old Ashley.


Carol sat nestled into the worn synthetic cushion of aisle seat 3B.  She flipped nonchalantly through August’s copy of Good Housekeeping, although it was already November.  Every so often, she would adjust her bifocals, intent on gaining better insight into ‘Homes, Gnomes, and Garden D├ęcor.’ She sighed as the other passengers boarded around her.

Fifty-six years had been unkind to Carol’s body.  Her face was weathered from the sun, and her skin bore liver spots she could not remember having in her youth.  The lines beside her eyes tugged downward in a sad and deliberate sort of way, and when she smiled, her teeth were yellow from many years of coffee and tobacco.

 She hadn’t always been this way.  She married Sal when she was only nineteen.  Thirty-seven long years later, she was boarding a plane from Cincinnati headed towards Detroit, while Sal basked in the sun down in Boca Raton. She absentmindedly twirled her wedding band between sandy, worn fingers.

He arrived suddenly and without warning, like a hurricane of wit and charm.  His baseball cap was set high up above his brow, allowing the dim cabin lighting to dance across his twenty-something-year-old face.  Around his neck he was a worn silver piece in the shape of a cross, hanging haphazardly against his chest.  Though it was merely fifty-seven degrees outside, he was dressed in green canvas shorts and ancient black flipflops, with only a thin white t-shirt to shield his torso.  He glanced quickly around the snug interior of the tiny plane.

“I think I lucked out.  I’ve got the window seat,” he said finally, addressing Carol with a smile.

Carol leaned forward impulsively to move into the aisleway, but she was stopped by the cool wave of a hand.

“I’ve got it.  No need to move your pretty little feet,” he spoke brightly, surprising Carol with the lightness of his words.

Swiftly and with a grave Carol had never seen, he scooted over and past her, settling down into the faux-leather beside the window.

“Tell me about yourself,” he said, twisting his body to face her.  The smile he flashed was crooked and endearing, but the expression was honest and expectant.  Carol chuckled aloud, and she felt the deadness in her chest jumpstart to life.

richard's duality and the sunflower (2006 throwbacks).

I found my old high school blog. It's embarrassingly bad, but I need to archive all that badness someplace. So here goes:

richard's duality
shackle upon shackle
trading sweet, honey whispers
for ball and chain;
for illiterate moments;
for bitter but sweet
coffeecake kisses.
he’ll break you if he can,
from the walk
to the dress
to the sidewalk
until there’s sick in your hands
and your mouth and your hair.

day after day
pricing marketplace smiles
worth two dollars;
worth ten;
worth only what the
courting fools will pay.
they’ll bargain if they can,
from the door
to the street
to the vendor,
and when there’s nothing left to buy,
go home to their wives.

the sunflower.
there’s a sunflower dying
by the side of the road.
i watched it wither.
it was mighty at first
with radiant golden petals
but soon it browned with age.
neck stretching to the sky,
and face upturned towards the sun,
it was absorbent,
but didn't hold its tears.
faded, it falls –
crippled and worthless
as the season wears on.
i water it with saline,
fingers crossed,
fertilizing it with the blood
from my own two hands.
but still, it dies.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

worth it.

panting tongues and hearts that slam like a screen door in a storm laying quietly so still and the sound of rain pouring against a tin roof.  ratatat ratatat.  under a worrisome stare you say "should we have locked the cellar door?" unwrapping the red dress like a birthday gift and the pressure of your torso is a mountain on mine.  where have you been if not here i wonder who is your mother and do you like your coffee black.  i must be thirsty or it must be winter because the back of my throat is dry.  a souvenir on your keychain shaking when you stir and it's time to go somewhere else home to her and aprons with paisley print and banana nut muffins in the basket on the counter. idling in the driveway your whirring engine humming vibrating our sins into your sternum.  she is buttoned to you but i, i am a wild pitch and it's not til july that i think of you again.

angry knocking tearing clawing fingers ruining my door.  a feral scream.  wild wild wild eyes peeping through the curtained window wide with rage with pain with thirst. i will her away but she never goes and i wonder if she is a ghost or a demon or termites in my basement and attic eating the floors and walls and everything holding me up, holding me together.  a brick through the window ought to do it she thinks and suddenly boom pow smash glass.  she asks if your thin lips and sad eyes were worth it, worth the sharpness under my feet and police on my lawn. i doubt myself but i say i know they were because her fury states your value. and so when you call and say please i say yes and we do.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

unhappy mouth.

so sorry
about your unhappy mouth
deceptively captivating curves
drawing my eyes
to them and back and them and back.
but then i find.
trickery, treachery, deceit.
small lips. dry.
gum-to-teeth ratio
not quite right.
so different than
mine. mine which are
made for movement,
for sliding against.
open. close. your tongue is
slimy, stiff, sad.
i say with a voice not my own
and your miserable mouth grins
its toothsome grin.
'i'llcallyou' you spit
then slip away,
slithering like a snake
back to your ugly Corolla
leave me standing
at my door.
i lose your number.
kissing you was a drag.

on needing space.

[ [ a work in progress ] ]

The first time you have a disagreement, it will be because you ask him for advice that you don't want to hear.  He'll spread his honesty around like tear gas and, have no doubts: it will choke you.  Pretend that his insensitivity is endearing.  Pretend it's part of what you like so much about him.  Pretend you're okay with the word "idiot" sitting at the tip of your tongue. You'll take your three #deepbreaths and sip your guava juice to avoid confrontation.

Lower your glass.  Here it comes:  Getawayfrommeyoustupidass. Howcouldyousaythat? Leavemealone. Ineedsomespace. And there it is.  Live.  In the air.  Soundwaves of regret the second you said it.  Did you mean it? Of course you meant it.  GIVEMESPACEDAMNIT.

But maybe come back later?  I still want to cuddle.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


fall into the sheets that are slightly damp with sweaty remnants of the last hour.  burrow your face into the crevice between his chin and his collarbone, and wonder if it's true what they say about oxytocin and sex.  consider if you will offend him should you move your deadened left arm.  close your eyes and focus on the  u p d o w n  of his chest as he breathes steadily into a soft slumber.

outside, a late night train rumbles past.  free your arm as he stirs.  let worry set in as the moon arches high in the night sky.  recognize the feeling of panic setting in your chest, hear the what-ifs and what-nows creeping into that toxic mind of yours, urging your voice to rise.  ask if he's okay. (he says he is.)

talk about superhero powers and read him poetry from the book on your night stand.  it's dark in the room but know he's staring at the odd curve of your mouth and the knots cascading through your hair. note the way it makes your skin feel electric against the bedsheets.  pull away when he wraps his legs around yours. pull away because you're afraid that if he's touching you he'll hear the apprehension rattling around in your head.  feel him reach for your hand.


recall the map of footsteps that led you to the wrong beds of the wrong men time and again. remind yourself that for twenty-six years, pulling has done nothing but isolate you.  fight the urge to compare this moment to the hundreds that came before it.  you are not a time traveller. this is new and he is different somehow but you can't explain it and shouldn't try.

study the increasingly familiar shape of his body.  notice the scar beside his left eye, the long fingers of an artist, the constellation of freckles across his chest, illuminated by the moonlight.  hear how his voice pitches and lingers, sticking to the syllables of your name like thick molasses.  listen as your heartbeat hastens - the cadence beneath your ribcage a symphony of affection, beating notes of comfortable madness into your busy brain.  know that this is real and certain and good.

his fingers settle into the space between yours.


let them.

Friday, September 19, 2014

crossed and dotted

another one i can't quite wish to lose.. not mine.

Crossed and Dotted

If I could write you a letter, I would
and I would write it with wire and string
so that when I sent it,
it would slowly unravel
and kink
and bend itself into knots around careless fingers
and memories turned jailbirds
flying to Cozumel but lost in highway-side diners
and the gabled lofts of old barns.

And when it finally reached you,
a whole day would be spent
untangling the intertwining jots and jabs
and picking through the bent mesh grill for scraps of tickets
to rusted-out Ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds.
Two children rapt with attention
and miles of tin-can telephone line,
we would start, one of us at either end -
you steadily leveling-out and me all coils and curls -
tripping and twisting, slowly in concert.

Then, and only then,
could we truly set this mess straight
and start to build
that fragile, immeasurable bridge between us;
the one that expands and contracts as we breathe
and trembles in our laughter,
but mostly sways as we walk together miles and miles apart.