On Being Judged By My Grammy, And Told, “I’ll Pray For You.” 

Do not weaponize prayer against

me, or anyone.

I am not in need of your prayer

if you are using it to ask God

to change the way I think;

he created this mind,

as he created the galaxies: 

multiple, infinite, different

than the one we currently reside.

You can pray for me without 

announcing it to me,

when I speak my mind,

or say something 

you don’t believe.

My God does not hand out

gold-star stickers in heaven,

nor give special privileges 

on earth to those who announce

over and over

that they know God better.

Pray, instead, for Love to reign

from heaven, permeate these

broken souls, proliferate 

these addled, unopened minds, 

and sculpt an age of understanding.

Use it to better understand God’s

words, not limited to a book,

reinterpreted by man, 

again and again.

Beloved, let us

love one another, and

in this way, 

we may all benefit.

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Feelings

My cheeks felt hot

as blood rushed to my face,

partly due to embarrassment,

and partly wine.

You flashed me your phone,

asking me what this was,

and I looked at the screen

with genuine curiosity.

I saw the message,

asking if you knew that you

made your sister, me,

cry, earlier this evening.

I kept this facade, mimicking

a Victorian angel,

seeking refuge in my room

when you’d been too abrupt,

and judged my evening hosting

for not being hospitable enough.

I’ve been living without my litter,

a former rabbit, slowly peeking

from my warm nest,

burrow not to your standard,

walls too thin, disorganized,

unkempt.

Feast of flora set before you, 

lacking fauna

you so crave.

You have upset me often, lately.

I keep it to myself,

buried like a secret,

in a hovel full of trinkets,

half-dried flowers, 

and fluff.

Now, uncovered, 

I uncomfortably stand,

admitting that, yes, 

your demeanor, mean,

your bite, not playful,

and I recoil to a position

where I simply say,

“I’m sorry.”

I apologize to you for being

cruel to me.

It’s easier this way, you see.

Easier than telling you,

the timing of your response,

the way you came 

to expose my feelings, 

in front of everyone, is unjust.

I just

wanted to tell someone

the truth because it eats me up

that you don’t want to see

how the energy you brought

into my household soured

everyone’s mood. 

We were laughing, and singing, 

before

you got there.

An Evening Act of Violence

They ripped her to pieces

on the lawn of 

someone she trusted,

two who had no business

anywhere near her.

How cruel, the fate of onlookers,

safe, but helpless behind a fence,

watching without physical

form. 

Defenders from all corners rushed,

one wielding a baseball bat,

striking far more deadly a pose

than any seen from

the pitcher’s mound,

shouting a declaration 

with such conviction, 

I believed her.

A voice stopped the world

from turning, 

wordlessly 

conveying an emotion,

so unmistakably maternal,

as they handed the small

body back 

to her worried mother.

They will tell you this is life,

that violence is a part of nature,

and so is death.

They only say it because

this did not happen to them.

Phoenix 

Blurred, and barely 

recognizable, 

but still a similar shape.

Eyes speaking of degrees,

bonfires held in heavy lids,

leaving powdery remains

of memories

in wake.

Ash falls from the perceived sky,

gathering on the ledges:

lips, nose, cheeks,

hollow of the throat,

until they blanket,

sheets of soft snow.

Cleanse nostalgic notion

with ravenous fire, 

odious infection of frivolity 

fought with seering pain

and burnt sacrifice.

A relief etched into the heart,

a scene of paradox,

set to a syncopated beat

diguised as Reason,

and this memento will keep

when the wild winds whisper

notions of immortality.

You Aren’t 

You say this city-state is full

of people who are twisted,

deviants of one kind 

or another,

afflicted in the mind with

some disorder.

You aren’t wrong.

You claim you are above that.

It’s true that if you crawl 

long enough

in the social underbelly of this

culture, you comprehend

how far into the maw you step,

that abyssal space between

idyllic and grotesque.

We step through, willingly,

daring that entity inside us

to come out, and play.

You claim that you are not one.

You’re normal.

But you cannot step through,

and be normal.

Don’t you see this is a respite?

Most of us are running from

loss of loved ones, or

seeking to add something 

interesting into their life.

Sometimes this place is home,

drenched with nostalgia,

sentimentality in every trinket

you wear,

and other times it is a foreign land,

interesting, but cold, detached 

from memory.

Let me weave you into my tapestry,

displayed above my mantle,

tracing the times our stories

crossed, and what it brought.

You are just as broken

as the rest of us.

Revel in the beauty of 

what you won’t say you see.

Haunted by Wakefield

Your absence does not Pierce, 

nor ache, as it did.

Raw wounds have, over time,

healed, the rough scars 

interspersed against soft tissue.

I read Hawthorne’s “Wakefield,”

and within, I found a sentence:

“It is perilous to make a chasm in human 

affections; not that they gape so long 

and wide–but so quickly close again!”

I don’t think about you, like I did,
except in quiet moments

like this one. 

I don’t wake to check

for any means of communication:

by phone, email, text message,

the message system of a game 

we played, a letter…

I don’t check to see what time

it is there; 

the timezone difference

doesn’t affect me.

You can deny that this isn’t leaving,

if you like. 

Your promise still lingers,

a pale ghost in my bedroom,

a weight pressed

on the foot of my bed,

which I kick off.

I smudge the room,

and exorcise your worthless word

from the air,

for that is all it is now: air.

You might as well be Wakefield,

that man who sought thrill,

then became thrall, twenty years,

to sickness, in his mind.

Wither away, and may your words

come back to haunt you,

instead of me.

I will heal, 

and think of you

nevermore.