Shattered

I never knew much about people until I saw the way she looked at herself in the mirror.

 

Some girls stand as though being admired by the whole world and they were the center of it. Not this girl, though. As soon as she saw her reflection, everything changed. It seems subtle to most people; around anyone else, she would act as though she didn’t see herself, as though she wasn’t there, or if she had to, as though she was the smallest detail, barely noticeable.

 

By herself, it was different. I saw her stand in front of the mirror, a full-length mirror, not admiring her body, but judging it, every detail, her hips, her thighs, her calves, her stomach, her arms, her breasts, her smile, her stare.

 

Then I saw a crack appear in the mirror, starting near her eyes like cracking tears, then, spreading, supernaturally, cruelly, down her body, splitting, pieces falling, a sound somewhere between a pop and a scrape and as pleasant as neither. She opened her mouth to scream.

 

And before I knew it, she shattered into tiny pieces, spread out all over the carpet, and the mirror glinted, unfazed.

Moonlit Playground

Ghosts come out during the moonlit day.

Raspy wood protests its burden as ghostly horses neigh.

Silhouettes dance on moonlit walls.

A crisp chill stains the air with smells of fall.

Wet footprints splash across the red-bricked hotel’s floors.

Vacant desks lie under mason ritual and folklore.

Mystery bleeds onto the dusty street.

Ghosts emerge stirring as dancing sheets.

For before long, they will come out to play.

When the ghosts come out in the moonlit day.

The Stain

Every stain has its origins. Many particles all residing in one specific area in which they begin to seemingly collect more; building upon what once was a minute spec on the wall, to obscure design that engulfs your very existence.

At first, only you notice it. The little dot of what may have been just some coffee spilled from this morning’s breakfast. It is your little secret; a secret in which you pray no one will discover.

As the stain begins to expand, you turn a blind eye to it. Still, no one seems to observe a difference. And to be honest, neither do you. Or at least, any change you do notice is counteracted by the feeling of denial. Besides, the stain is no bigger than your thumb at the most.

Days turn to months, and the stain is now the size of one’s fist. Today is the day; the day in which you finally decide to remove the unsightly mark from your wall. However, after hours of scrubbing, you see no result. The coffee cup, still almost full, flies with incredible speed towards the wall. You watch the cup shatter into a million little pieces, and the coffee only adds to the impenetrable stain that you must now find a way to cover up.

You begin avoiding people; keeping only those closest to you, knowing that they will not judge you for the stain on your wall. Social events become hellish, a nightmare that in which, there is no escape. One last time you try to eliminate the stain for good. Armed with what was the number one-rated stain remover on Amazon, you confront the stain in a last ditch effort to be free of the burden. Try as you may, the stain now is part of your life.

The stain has become an everyday part of your existence, and the fear of change is eminent. The shame that surrounds you deflects any kind words bestowed on to you. The entirety of your wall is black. No matter how desperate you cry for help, no one hears you. When finally someone does respond, your retaliation is brutal; knowing that if you do receive “professional aid,” the stain in which you have become so accustomed to will be gone forever. The constant push-pull relationship with your inner emotions pertaining to the stain has you forever exhausted. Every time you attempt to penetrate the immense blackness of what once was a beautiful white wall, you fall, chastising yourself on how you could ever conceive the idea of having a clean slate. You love the new color your wall has become, yet you hate it; knowing the complete control it now exercises over you.

The path in which you know everyone wants you to go down is clearly the most dangerous. You want the stain to consume every last part of you, and yet knowing what it has already done, leaves you in a state of woe. The harder you try to please everyone, the more you end up loathing yourself; thus falling back onto the stain that has now entered your heart.

Darkness.

Glass

The cylindrical metal rod heats in preparation

to collect the translucent molten crystal

from the insufferable furnace

a goblet commences

 

Ensnare the breath of life in

an immovable unfinished globe

rolled to create the perfect shape

growing colder, solidifying

 

Return to the glory hole for heat

constant spin, the centrifugal force

keeps the glass balloon intact

barrel doors open to transparent red

 

Sunburned arms swell as sweated muscles tense

the intricate assignment of form begins to take shape

metal tools and covered hands roll and mold to design

bonded to a newly heated bar, the punty

 

plunged once again into a pool of heat

the fashioned stem and bottom rim unite

congeal into a solitary structure

ready for the kiln

 

Kevlar protected hands and chest

carry the fragile sculpture to its temporary home

a fortified lid releases built up fire

the face shield cannot protect form the overbearing heat

 

Morning cools the modern contraption

to reveal the hidden treasure inside

a pile of exploded glass

contradictory to a chalice

Ice

Looking from above

Outside in

A scene set

 

Frozen snow-covered lake

Boats pulled to shore

Static air bites fiercely

 

Trail on the ice

An array of footprints

Fifty meters from the frosted beach

 

Broken ice reveals

Crystal blue waters

A hole one foot across

 

Gathered around in an oblong shape

Grandma’s ceramic jars open

Leak the precious ash inside

 

“She’s in her favorite place”

An ocean would have been better

But she loved this winter lake

 

Congregate upon the shore

To share stories

To laugh, to cry

 

Unsupervised kids play

In temporary ice caves

Made from forgotten picnic tables

 

Unmanaged adults drink

Pabst Blue Ribbon

From an old cooler

 

I taste my first beer

Chasing the horrible taste

With a grape soda

 

Return to the phony caverns

To find sister and cousins

Just wanting to play

 

The setting sun paints the sky

In deep reds and purples

A painting just for her

 

The cold seizes the minds

A sobering effect

As we all say our goodbyes

What Are You Thinking About?

In my dreams,

I clutch a bat

in my right hand.

 

I pummel

hair gel through heads,

wound thin mustaches

purple with glee.

 

I swing wild at

polos tucked into slacks

and clipboard-holding hands

who dare ask my phone plan.

 

I murder anyone

bold enough to acknowledge me.

 

I run nude through the streets

where no cars drive,

no eyes ask,

what happened to your clothes?

 

The love of my life

transfers to San Francisco,

I’d really love to come.

It’s just not possible now.

 

My family joins a cult,

now so much happier,

I keep the money

for the deprogrammer I saved,

spend it on a trip to Shanghai.

 

I read novels on the porch,

a shotgun at my side,

don’t look up

when I hear the footsteps.

I just shoot

and shoot

and shoot

 

Until nobody knows my name.

Red Onions

There is a man with his back

on a cold counter. Sweet sausage

grease in the air, his nose and cheeks.

 

She sings a song he’s never heard,

hacks thick steel through onions

red peppers and green.

 

He watches her neck bare, short hair,

pink spots where white shirt curves

up shoulder, skin the color of old pages.

 

Her naked feet splat upon the cold

cheap floor, and he walks, hard to hear

above the coffee black bubbles and chops.

 

Still, she senses his presence split seconds

before arms squeeze hips, ribs, rests

chin near a clavicle quite sharp.

 

Ow shave she laughs prickled

on her throat, his stiff whiskers digging in,

then cuts her short finger fairly deep.

 

Now the onion, dyed magenta,

looks ready for inspection

in a slide pinched between lenses.

 

He looks at the blood.

Song of the Mantis Shrimp

We’ve been boxing

since the Eocene, studied

the sweet science swinging

at speeds to make Mayweather

blush, throw five-hundred blows

in one human wink.

 

My hands boil

 

break shells upon

crab’s backs like glass.

Which we smash

when men in white coats

kidnap our kind for secrets

held in our cells. Bullets

become feeble for armor

made in our image.

 

I am purple

turquoise

pink ultraviolet neon dappled flame

and see

darkness like daylight,

heat, another paint on God’s easel.

Saw my mother’s heart in beat-burnt lines,

cancer’s black tendrils

in my father’s candy-red chest,

watch the life fade from prey

sunsets of death each time I dine.

 

You will never dream a single glimpse

of my Earth. These eyes, heaven-blessed

witness wonders bestowed for us only.

My people prowl the ocean proud

2-inch Neptunes whose subjects

cower not bow.

He Snores

In his nostrils, air convulses, vortexes of violent wet wind

hurricanes every heave of his chest, emphysema-black gasps,

as his tongue licks, laps and lip smacks. Symphonies

of saliva ring soggy, each inhale he struggles

in the dark, hollow shudders,

Typhoons of sawed logs penetrate

buds, pillows, plugs,

minuet up unwilling

earlobes to wiggle

moist lullabies

languorous

slow

sticky

sighs.