Homesick

You will feel an explosion
twisting your compass rose.
This is normal, when you are so far from home.

A malignant longing will grow over space
and the chemotherapy of daydreaming
will only intensify the ache within.

This throb is an overflowing heart
extending outward into ligaments.

But reminisce love-
while in your agony.

These bittersweet memories
will inform the present
as relief comes with change.

Time, Concrete

A building is set
on a foundation
that is slowly crumbling
one hundred years after
a man in a wheelchair
is giving a brief
speech about history
one day past
the arrival of a train
on which a German is dreaming
of sledding down a hill
one hour beyond
the time in which Hendrik
is running late for a meeting
that will discuss
a series of books
from lectures at a university
and as these men
are proving something
the girl in the back
of her physics class will notice
the clock has stopped.

Red Weber Grill

Into desert sunset I watch as my shadow grows,
And the grill sits among friends; petunias and a windmill.
I am also a friend on the stoop with my sun burnt nose.
The embers warm this early evening. The heatwaves till

scenes behind the Weber Grill- imagine a wavy stop sign.
My dad appears to check on the source
of this smell of charred chicken which causes my dog to whine.
From the heat of the coals, the food is now coarse.

The stoop has been sold, the grill is now gone,
But I’ll never forget what summer nights hinged on.

Ode to the Sirens

Oh. Oscillations, incantations
& reverberations, around corners
& across streets. I thank you
for the variations of the low baritone
in my window. & your creative
finesse which disrupts my thoughts
& rattles my nightstand
as you whistle across my view.
Echoing over brick I once
followed your voice, & down the hallway
of my street, & chasing after you with
blind joy & entangled thoughts.
& there, behind the disruptions
of your voice. I saw what lurked,
what distress & distaste your harrying
voice hid. & in that moment,
I slipped on the pavement and stopped.
I saw the scene of discontent
& overwhelmed mothers. & I saw you, voice.
& I now know, that to hear you howl
around corners and across streets means
to stray from your sounds. & to only
listen from a distance as you
undertake misdeeds & overshadow
your doings.

Friday Night Louse Hunting

Louse Hunting
Isaac Rosenberg

Nudes—stark and glistening,
Yelling in lurid glee. Grinning faces
And raging limbs
Whirl over the floor one fire.
For a shirt verminously busy
Yon soldier tore from his throat, with oaths
Godhead might shrink at, but not the lice.
And soon the shirt was aflare
Over the candle he’d lit while we lay.

Then we all sprang up and stript
To hunt the verminous brood.
Soon like a demons’ pantomime
The place was raging.
See the silhouettes agape,
See the gibbering shadows
Mixed with the battled arms on the wall.
See gargantuan hooked fingers
Pluck in supreme flesh
To smutch supreme littleness.
See the merry limbs in hot Highland fling
Because some wizard vermin
Charmed from the quiet this revel
When our ears were half lulled
By the dark music
Blown from Sleep’s trumpet.


So I had a very fun Friday night. While grading papers I was petting my cat, Elsie, and discovered that she has fleas! I turned to Google in a cursing frenzy to see what I could do immediately. I ended up bathing her with dish soap, doing all the laundry that could possibly be done and vacuuming every surface. The initial affair kept me up until three in the morning. I then woke up around seven to make it to pick up flea medication and diatomacheous earth (food grade).

The last few days have felt exactly like Rosenberg’s poem. A few years ago my apartment in Edinburgh had bed bugs so I’ve dealt with a similar ‘supreme littleness’ before but it’s always such horrible feeling when you discover it initially. You feel like a slob who has lost control of their surroundings. You go crazy cleaning every possible thing you can but you don’t know where the fuckers really are and if what you are doing is making any difference. All you can do is work as hard as possible, keep working as hard as possible and hope that what you are doing is the right thing.

Elsie already appears less stressed. She seems to be scratching less than normal which is a good sign. I know we aren’t out of the woods yet and that I’ll have to work in a routine of daily vacuuming, weekly dish soap cat cleanings, monthly cat flea treatments and probably diatomacheous earth spreading about twice a week. I know that sounds heavy for now but it’s temporary until I feel like the infestation is under control. After that I’ll make a new routine which is less insane.

The Wait

Waiting time has a memoryless property.
So while I sit at the table with you
sandwich in hand
I am supposed to have forgotten
about my first thoughts of you.
Who does this guy think he is?

Since when did waiting erase
the recollection of a skipped beat
from an unexpected text.
The smiles formed over
an inside joke from dinner.

Because the moment waiting implies an
end result is the moment
I hold on to a beer over
our shared stories from undergrad
as the truffle fries grow cold.

I’ll wait for another opportunity
to hear you complain about
school. Another opportunity to
kiss you goodnight. And while waiting
I won’t forget.

Pushing Play

I’m positive this counts as contact but
I told you I would write.

Walking into an empty room was unexpected
but I knew you would be gone
from tissues dropped on the stairwell.

The clock in the room stopped
at 7.30 we were hugging on turtle rock.
I told you we were just hitting pause.

I told you two lines would become an arrow again.

When I look out the window
I hear rain hitting the tops of cars.
The rustling of leaves from a sunny day.

When I look outside there is a working clock.

And looking at that clock I realized
it’s time to take your art down.

Because I noticed our clock is still
so I’m leaving the room.

Drown

I am resting.

Remnants of seaweed, foam, sand, krill
hang in the surrounding water
as their shadows reach my hands.

The depths are covered with planets
ringed from their own history- polished
by passing particles that
float between me and the floor.

The sun is caught in my hair
as it spreads around my face.
Framing the surface- tension
above stone below.

I feel pressure on my lungs
blood circulates through the end of my limbs.
Heart will stop
Eyes stay open.

Construct

It is morning; the animals
wander the land as
the sun silvers
over faces of those about.
I smell iron as I join the aimlessness
in this concrete playground.
Bleary-eyed, they brush past my shoulders,
replacing the wind
that cannot penetrate
these mountains.
You are in these mountains.
Can I call them mountains?

Instead, shadows
at dawn, midday, all day.
I find leaves as they
grey into the ground.
Your ground is unreal,
order where grass no longer grows.

Echoes from the animals reverberate
between the walls.
Their engines and sirens in passing
translate to static in my thoughts
like oil leaking.
I try to tell myself.
Here, with the steel air,
about the smell of open space.


Image from  this location: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Vacation_Packages-g60878-Seattle_Washington-Vacations.html

Through the Eyes of a Mantis Shrimp

Reading in Bed. It’s the state I typically find myself in when closing the routine of my day. They say that reading for at least thirty minutes before going to bed is good for the mind. Regardless of this, I work my way through parts of a good piece of fiction before falling asleep. While I enjoy reading I find that in my dosing is when he arrives most often. He appears when I become tired. His name is Freddy. Freddy the floater.

More like Freddy the Fuck-tard. 

He sits like a speck of dust on the edge of my vision indicating where my left eye ends and the world begins. He then slowly drifts down my line of sight over the page. In front of words that I am trying to read.

I dart my eyes to the right hoping that he will swish out of my view but I blink too early. He’s back in his original position sinking down my eye. What a shit. 

I don’t give up on my book. I give up on my eyes closing the novel and curling into the covers. Sleep hits suddenly. There is nothing Freddy can do when my lids are shut.

~~~~

I wake to sunlight signaling the new day. But the rays now wield a violet blue streaming through my room and on my bed. I glance out the window and am met with a cacophony of colors.

The clouds reveal a pastel magenta lining dusted with exotic hues of purples and reds. What was a slow blue sky yesterday is a mixture of silvery cobalt and periwinkle today. The sky looks so complex but I am unable to consider it as I realize I am late for a meeting with Taylor.

While walking through the meatpacking district I notice shades of ocean blue reflected off of the cobblestones in the street.

Finally, I walk up the steps to the highline and apologize to Taylor for my tardiness. We buy coffee and begin a slow stroll down the walkway looking at the fresh blooms.

“The bees seem particularly interested in these flowers.” Notes Taylor pointing to a bush.

“It makes sense, though, the blooms are so vibrant. Especially with the purple tips.” I say.

Taylor looks at me with a confused eye. “Those flowers are white.”

We continue and begin conversing about the art on the surrounding buildings.

I point to a building covered with a geometric chartreuse pattern. “That building is so vibrant. It’s amazing.”

“Which building are you referring to?” Taylor inquires.

I point again, “The building just to the left of the apartment complex.”

“Oh! I read something about that building the other day. Apparently it’s painted with designs to break up the reflections so birds to crash into the windows and fall to their death. It’s kind of an experiment, really.”

“That’s a cool idea. Though, I wonder how the people feel with a giant yellow shapes covering their line of sight ever day.”

“The paint is an ultraviolet color that the human eye can’t process. Humans can’t see the design.”


This is a submission to the Okay, what if? Challenge. This weeks prompt challenges the writer to talk about what if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I decided to write about being able to see all of the colors that a mantis shrimp can see. While humans can see three color wavelengths (green, blue and red) mantis shrimp can see 12. This means they can see ultraviolet light. If you are up for a laugh about the mantis shrimp then check out zefrank1’s video on True Facts About the Mantis Shrimp. Featured image can be found here.