Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Dispatch from the Cascadia Subduction Zone

Am I alive? I was told I was but there was no way
of proving it. After years of documenting
the various parking lots and waiting rooms
I’d spent so much of my life skulking around
the edges of, after years of withering
under the condescending smiles of the Shirley girls
as they posed coyly at the fringes
of their color-corrected ropes,
smiling as if at a little boy lighting his first cigarette,
the earth shrugged and let us slip through its fingers.
I was already about half buried
when the slide commenced.
Never stood a chance. Only choice
was to try to eat my way out, chew a path
through my neighbors, my comrades, my fellow working stiffs.
It could always be worse. Even at my lowest point
I could still feel the squish and crush of bodies beneath me.
I never hit the true bottom. What was down there, anyways?
Bedrock, concrete? A metal grate
to allow the blood and pulp to drain?
An ocean of magma? I look up
but my view is blocked by asses, backs,
flopping appendages, fingers scrabbling to climb.
I no longer hear the low, constant drone.
I catch glimpses of light but it’s not the sun,
it’s the flame of something burning high above,
sending down an occasional spray of sparks
and we open our mouths so they may singe our tongues.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Glass Bachelor

Fanned out like a deck of cards,
A spiral staircase made of glass shards.
The neighbor's blender bores through the wall.

Bachelor balances on his crutches
at the bottom of the stairs
Waiting for the bride to descend.

They say it’s supposed to snow tonight, I said.
That’s okay, she said, placing her hand on my arm.
I want you to stay. I’ll drive you to work
in the morning. The weathermen
are never right anyways.

I'm stiffening into metal 

one limb at a time.
The moon is a white hot forge. Melt and pour

into a sieve. She rolls over in bed.
There's fire down below. She needs
so much more. I stare up 

the carpeted stairs, waiting for her 
to spread her legs, to open the door.

A sheet thrown over a glass of milk.
The  moon is a urinal cake. The river overflows.

A crown, a bottle rack.
She pedals her exercise bike. 

Fan left whirring night after night. She claims
she can't sleep without it. 
Spokes spinning atop a rickety stool.

A tumbling smile.
I slide down the banister. Nuzzle
her Mona Lisa fuzz. Smoke rises from

smoldering coals.
The origin of the world
squeezed through twin peepholes.
A waterfall, a lantern, a fountain

The undulating hills,
My face buried in the snow

The aquarium froze and cracked. Fish turned
into shimmering gems. Bubbles hovering in place,
globes filled with her breath.
The frost-covered nest.
She curses when she comes.
A chessboard of lust. The queen's climax,

an overturned pawn. A melted shovel,
a statue of Duchamp sliced into facets.
Pillows and porcelain. Mortar and pestle.
Muse laid to rest in a snow globe cemetery.

The moon is a hole in the ice 

photographed from below. The engine belches smoke,
lurches to life, spits out copies of us. 
Ceramic plates strapped to our feet. 
Disks become shards
become spheres when they spin
The bachelors surround her. 

I'm no longer one of them. I'm turning to rust.

It snowed overnight
just like the weathermen had predicted.
She refused to get out of bed.
I checked the bus schedule,

strapped on my suit of gray glass armor
that reflected the gray glass sky
then shouldered my crutches 
and tramped down the stairs one last time 
to set out slowly across the fields of ice.