Worm Food

I remember fishing with my father,

his big lean hands held hooks heavy with nightcrawler,

how we would pinch their bodies in half

to fit each barb on the lure.

He said it didn’t hurt, the rending of their bodies,

using a thumbnail to cut into their flesh

through their intestines and stomach matter.

I always thought it might,

because being ripped in half must feel like something,

some pinch of pain must have rippled through

their long pink forms, and sometimes

if it was done incorrectly, they lay slithering in the grass

half here and half there.

We never really caught any fish,

the screams from the worms must have bittered their taste.

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Pithe

It is 9:52 pm.  She is sleeping next to me.  I am hunched over my laptop, the sick light of the screen turning my face white, pale.  She has been sick.  Too much serotonin and it scared me.  I worry.  I worry about her and this life and everything that we have built.  I cannot promise stability, I cannot promise balance, I cannot promise normality.  We have bipolar disorder.  We, together, experience the chemical compromise of our brains.  And we try to fix it…we try so hard that our nails are torn from scratching at the cliff, trying desperately to hang on.

What we have, right now, is chaotic certainty.  We are certain in each other, even when we cannot be certain of ourselves.  I know she faces giants…we do.  And the scariest thing is not knowing when the brain will slither and click into place, the nerves aching against the back of the eyes.

Our cat, Kibby, has crawled quietly onto Ashley’s hip and has settled in the bend of her side.  She does this to me when I am sick, curls silently against the shivering of the body.  She tries with all her might to make me feel better, and now she is doing this for Ashley.  Kibby is comforting her with her physical presence, willing her to feel better.  I am empathetic towards Kibby and her soft soul.  Kibby has always known when my demons dive upward, and now she fights along side Ashley.  It is quite a beautiful thing.

rpp

Road Tripping

Weekly I travel along the asphalt hills,

car bumping in rhythm

with the dips and drops of the road.

The road stretches like a cat,

long legs and long paws

that reach out in long, lithe lines.

I wrap my fingers around the steering wheel,

cushioned by rusty foam and cracking leather,

push my foot faster,

faster,

until I can feel the electric engine

kick like a gun underneath

my body.

I cruise eighty along miles of

verdant trees and hedged scrub bush,

counting the green glowing markers

as I inch closer to home.

I see her face, rising out of haze

and sleepiness;

I push the pedal further,

closer to the metal floor until my foot

is a cinder block, grey and rough,

trying to get to her.

A Fine Country Church

Her absence was like the sky, spread over everything,

and I am lost in lachrymose,

the rib cage exacerbated

under the pressure and vacuous

space.  It is colloquial

to speak at funerals as death’s harbinger.

But people are garrulous

with their soups and cakes and surmise

that food will fill an irrevocable

loss.  This is not the lead face of chagrin

but indelibility.

It might be possible that the world itself is without meaning.

 

A Few Words

I let myself out

in infinite strings,

laced among trees in bright glowing

strips

to fall against the green branches

and green leaves.

I pour myself into

black words,

the rustle of language deep in my

ventricles

pushing blood through red arteries

and red veins.

I wake myself up from

sleep paralysis,

coax the nerves and tendrils to light

flame

along the grey wires of my

grey brain.

I turn myself on with the click

of a gun,

oil metal residue clinging to my

lips

in dirty copper splotches and dirty

copper rings.

Everything just to feel,

for a moment,

zero gravity, the lack of pull on my feet,

a freedom from this.

 

Full Size Bed

I watch you sleep

sometimes,

your chest rises and falls

like some great wave lapping

at the grains of sand

on a faraway coast.

But you are not far,

physically,

lying next to me in

our full sized bed.

 

I love our bed

the way you love something

gifted, in a moment of tenderness;

the intimacy of our two bodies

on a narrow mattress

brings us close in the

silent hours between midnight and morning.

Any minute,

as I struggle with our cotton sheets

trying with great weight

not to wake you,

I can find you, just there to the left,

your hair matted

at the temples,

sweat across the bridge of your nose

and underneath your eyes,

rising in domes on your full cheeks.

 

You are never too far in

our full sized bed.

 

The paper crane mobile

that I made you

sways imperceptibly above our heads,

casting shadows in a kaleidoscope

of fuzzy birds.

This full sized bed is full

of memories

and us,

your skin and my skin,

the tangled scent of our bodies,

nights we’ve spent lazily sleeping

tucked together

like some ancient symbol.

 

To the corner of the room,

our full sized bed

waits,

every night,

every morning.

Without us

it is more twin than full,

a doppelgänger of every other bed

in any other room.

We fill tightly into the spaces

of want

left in the mattress,

fulfilling its fullness

in size and matter but,

most importantly,

us.

 

The size is irrelevant

if you and I

are not

there.

Let me watch you sleep in

our full sized bed.

 

 

 

“…and then words, moving darkly…” a prose poem

I think we would have gotten along smashingly, under the wide bowed branches of a juniper tree, our backs to the orchard, while the tea steams for the milk.  I have read your writing, your poetry, the deep pouring out of your souls onto the galaxy of white page.  There are things I want to say to both of you, take the weighty rocks out of your coat, turn off the gas seeping from the stove but I cannot.  Instead—I read your words again, and again, and again, my mind soaked and panting, in my humble attempt to understand your message.

 

3:07 am

This isn’t a poem.  And I’m sorry if that’s what you were expecting.  Remember reading in the small box below every post that most of this is rambling…well this bit is the rambling part.  I guess it’s my process in writing a poem.  Tonight, or this morning, I’ve been trudging through a milieu of words just to pull the right images from thin air.  It’s really a magic trick and I’m a very bad liar.  But at least I’m trying, right?

I think of Ashley and I and the image of a full sized bed pops up, full and round, heavy with meaning.  We sleep every night in a full sized bed, our bodies in a constant state of contact.  It’s comforting, especially when many past nights were filled with nightmares… nightmares so bad I had to take medication.  But I don’t anymore.  It’s because of her and our full sized bed.  Here’s a line I’ve been floating: “the intimacy of our two bodies/on a narrow mattress/brings us close in the/silent hours between midnight and morning.”

I want to make this great, a great poem that conveys what our full sized bed means, how important it is that we keep this full sized bed…

It’s consuming my thoughts and no words and no images are good enough to encase this feeling I have running along the lining of my stomach.  She’s sleeping, right now, and it’s beautiful.  Can I translate this into a poem?  I sure hope so…I’ll post it when it’s finished.

rpp

Morning Thoughts

I was in the hospital

when they found you

hanging in your closet,

the burden of life, a weight,

that had drug you down

to depths where the back of your eyes

vibrated from the constant

brain blows you couldn’t control.

It is faulty wiring, synapses firing

at odd intervals

and the constant hum drum buzz

of a life divided.

We are splintered and split

along the grey grain of our brains,

a chemical imbalance in

power and perception

because there is no direction the

mind won’t go.

I think the worst most of the time,

a constant expectation

that this, too, will fall apart

because reality is only up to me

and I can’t be trusted.

Conor

Your music speaks

like words pushed into paper

from the force of metal on metal

pressed into a rubber drum,

striking bold, black ink

onto a dirty page.

I listen to your lyrics,

the ones you bear to bare

naked and confused,

and I hear your poet’s voice.

You have the hands of an artist,

bones and knuckles and fingertips

that throb around the pen

in your hand,

but you still purge every inch

of your flesh

to give birth to sacred sounds.

Your words are not just music

but poetry

that seeks to give us truth

in a world that lacks,

succubus and siren calling

us to ruin.

But you, poet,

will save a few of us,

the ones willing to listen,

ear drums poised to pound

with your songs.

It is your attempt to make us humble,

to make us think,

to give us something we cannot give ourselves.

Thank you.

#ConorOberst