The Gift - 5It was nearing 8:00 PM. Eli was back in his and Larry’s room. Larry was already asleep and Eli lay on his back in bed, holding his arms up in front of his face, inspecting the stitched up holes in his wrists which he could see now that the gauze had been removed. A service provider had taken scissors to it earlier in the day. He would have permanent scars—that is, if the wounds even healed. If he lived long enough for them to heal. He ran his fingers over his forehead, feeling the gashes that, despite time and a seemingly endless supply of antiseptic, were still etched into his skin, fresh as ever.The Gift - 5 by TheEmptyChest
As if overpowered by a sudden force, he felt an intense urge to write. He bolted off his bed and tiptoed over to the writing desk in the corner of the room. He sat down, opened the composition notebook that sat, untouched, on its surface, took up the felt pen that was available (for fear that an actual pen or pencil could be used as a weapon) and started to write.
Writing was an
The Gift - 4Eli rocked in and out of consciousness, encased in a balmy miasma of light. When the anesthetic wore off and he was finally able to fully open his eyes, he found himself in a hospital bed with an IV in his right arm and thick gauze wrapped around his wrists. He felt weak and his ears were swimming and despite just having been unconscious, his eyelids were heavy, yet he managed to take in his surroundings. There was a window next to his bed, revealing a light blue sky—the kind of blue that was described as “robin’s egg,” but Eli was immediately reminded of Sarah’s eyes.The Gift - 4 by TheEmptyChest
He shook his head. Don’t think about her, he told himself. Not now.
The door to his room opened and a young woman dressed in scrubs with a freckly face and a messy ponytail walked inside. She had a wad of bubblegum in her mouth, which she chomped as she absentmindedly took his vitals. She didn’t say a word. As she turned to walk out, she blew a huge pink bubble. Its
The Gift - 3When Eli stepped out into the courtyard of the St. Thomas Mental Health Institute, he had to shield his eyes against the light. It wasn’t a particularly warm day—a cool breeze was blowing by—but the sun was high in the sky and blindingly bright.The Gift - 3 by TheEmptyChest
The courtyard was the closest thing some people at the institute got to freedom; a place where they could roam around without being confined by walls, where they could see something other than small, hospital-like rooms and offices and evaluation sheets, where they could feel like they were still part of society. It wasn’t much to look at: a mown lawn with a few benches, a garden, a pavilion, and a badminton net. But it was an open area and that counted for something in a place like this.
Eli sat down on one of the benches and drifted off to sleep with his head leaned back. He dreamed of faceless soldiers, pitch-black nights lit up by fires and machine guns; he dreamed of screaming children, of shadows and eerie silence;
The Gift - 2"Nice to see you again, Eli," the psychiatrist, Dr. Anderson, said. She was smiling but Eli could tell it wasn't genuine. He knew a fake smile when he saw one.The Gift - 2 by TheEmptyChest
His eyes wandered from her too-white teeth to the black, cushioned chair on which she sat to her office. She was an organized person by the looks of it. There was a desk next to her. Stacks of crates were situated at the edge with papers shuffled into them. Her computer and keyboard were both well-dusted. Pens and pencils were clumped together in a utensil holder. There was a box of tissues at the ready for when he broke down and spilled his secrets. The only thing that looked remotely out of place was the evaluation sheet she had on a clipboard in front of her, ready to label him. Eli leaned against the back of the couch she’d told him to sit on and added, “Should I lie down?”
“If you want to,” she said.
There was a coffee mug on the desk, which she put to her lips before speaking. "How are you fee
take this to my gravegod disowned me ontake this to my grave by herbodyismycoffin
my sixteenth birthday;
with his spit
on the nape of my neck
and the words
"no child of mine"
still fresh on his teeth,
he tossed me
on hatred's doorstep,
i am the son of his rage,
and the daughter of his love.
hibernationmy love is chameleonhibernation by somewhither
when it must change shape
to survive. afraid
it may kill itself
in its sleep--so sharp,
so demanding. sometimes
it becomes softer, rounder
simply to survive itself.
sometimes it doesn't do
to be so murderous.
now i ask my love
to go to sleep instead. please
don't change your shape
to slip out from under
your grief. please,
curl up with your dagger
teeth, and breathe deep
until you don't feel
the winter anymore.
than dead. better still
than gone. i have never been
one for hibernation,
no, but i would give much
to keep you. to preserve
you, a sleeper
encased in ice,
and in doing so
wildfires burn snow transparent and i adore youremember there is no justice,wildfires burn snow transparent and i adore you by chromeantennae
it’s just us, just ice cold
stares and no just love
in dead winter glares
or frozen snow season gloves.
and i am an epicurean hologram
stating the obvious
to a person who doesn’t really
have it all figured out
but to be honest,
no one really does
so don’t take that personally.
i only know you
from poetic endeavors
and while you claim
there is nothing to see here,
your living organisms
juxtapose your mantra
from the mouth are not still
and if we forget who we are,
then we can remember
we were born actual.
stillborn kill cords
and discord wave around
dissonance from far-away places
but my antennae need
the, the, the, the-- my message
to reach radiowaves
with wildfire pen ink tips.
part two comes unexpectedly
because this is more
stream of acuity
with mercurial rhythm pitches
than a well thought-out
planned of attack.
i just know you inspire
and i aspire to write
words that persp
sometimes i hate mewhen i die,sometimes i hate me by bringyourownbomb
i want to become the beach.
my skin will burst into sand
that knows just how to sing
and i'll exchange my blood
for clear lake water
with nothing to hide.
swap my bones for driftwood
with all the rough edges
i never could reach sanded
down and weathered away.
take apart my very dna
and string me out, unraveled.
make of me seaweed.
and as the final touch
stick the sun inside my heart
so i'll burn and shine
like nothing ever has before.
i will rise and fall
with some order, and finally
become something beautiful.
American lowlifei am 18 years young and i sit
in an empty park on a partly-cloudy day
with a cigarette hanging out my mouth,
idly flicking the lighter with a hiss, hiss
of releasing gas. flame, no flame. flame,
a small, tattered notebook full
of worthless shit scrawlings and poems sits
on my lap, and i let the wind blow the pages
of a lovingly dog-eared Bukowski book
laying by my side like having it makes me
into some sort of cultured adult.
flame, no flame. flame,
elephant dreams.you are everlasting, transient
& time sometimes sets as a stye's eye
waits in blind patience while haste tempts at fate,
feral faces out-foxing daisies.
sister earth, save me.
help me raise sturdy babies
flaming paths & suckling grass
help me gather growths amass
hatched of dreams, daring things
daunting tasks seeming freed:
seen, a seraphim: flings fawn-wings
careening clean 'cross crispen skies
cradles crystallized creations
baptized by babes howling orations
organized by nations, natal equations
& these earthly elations cause a calming sensation
cease inferior imitation
a knowing being, awake & feeling.
Fragility.Her delicate thumbs rest in
the hollows beneath her cheekbones,
begging an audience with happiness,
and wishing on falling tears for deaf ears
so she doesnt have to listen to them
graves.we have become as brittle as elder bone.
i am bent to a crossbleeding in the garden
watching white lilies creep up.
their feet curled around calcium graves.
i am built from carcasses.
a collection of ghosts. beetles mull in the
pits of my hands and ask me to forget
for my fingers crush them so.
like a leopard skinned i
am just a mound.
all glamour lost to the knife.
inebriatedher words were his whiskey,
getting him drunk with every syllable
but she spoke with a rotting tongue,
the air escaping from corrupted lungs
her words were his drug,
spun of moonbeams and soft shadows
and her voice curled around him like cigarette smoke
eroding his ears like it eroded her bronchioles
her words were his poison,
whispering through his veins
just an echo of a soft voice
and dirt thrown on a coffin
each dying to exist.
[dancer in the dark]you.
rippling, fluid grace
a dance of shadows;
evanescent nights spent gazing
at ephemeral stars --
far beyond your grasp --
and wishing upon a
you are ink and shadows,
converging lines and contoured edges
a chiaroscuro of waning moonlight
chase your demons away
and keep your skeletons
under lock and key --
they'll haunt your dreams tonight
we are all hiding --
not from the dark,
but from what's in it
forlorn dreams and cast-away hopes,
sinking under a sea of forgetting --
we all have things to hide
heavy footfalls, dense under the weight
of oppressing gravity
you've forgotten how to fly,
you used to be so light,
borne upon silver wings
you've shed them now
in somnia an hedoniasleep rolls off of me in stages
i am trapped in the gelatinous membrane of dream-choice
and the chance at something different.
the colors rise.
i am chanting, deep blue, come find me.
whoever said nights were for sleeping
has clearly never been in the restlessness
which comes after a bleeding love affair
with a hologram, an image with no purpose,
has never tasted how loud it can be,
loud like the word forget syrupy dark on their tongue.
i am chanting the lyrics that constitute oblivion,
and the life-force is reckless and the days bewilder me
as they go by, in and out of strings.
and the numbers point and laugh, there is no
use for them here between the strung up lights
of this city, there is no monster
trying to escape the confines of the
imagination, illness is stark and waits beneath
bare bones for somebody to find it.
it is spread out like someone who tried to understand,
but i can live my life a reckless hole
and shovel only regrets when
the frozen dirt won't chip beneath
with a bang
(or a whimper?)
blows a hole
each of his
and a world ends.
Laced.Slit-skin glances and
sour tongue words slip straight
into my bloodstream and fester.
And won't you please take back what
blood on the temple walli still try to die tiny deaths,
destroy tiny pieces,
because i cannot live with the whole.
tiny deaths- some stomach, some hair, some nails.
fingertips losing pieces, i will crumble.
embrace yourself- all of yourself, the truth of who you are.
but i cannot accept that i am nothing i want to be.
i wanted to die at the kotel today, just right there,
but i could not kill myself.
i could not, because it is too late.
but i wanted to stand forever in that dark satin wind,
and just be disappeared to nothing.
i wanted fire and explosions,
a bomb to rip me to shreds.
i wanted a bullet through the head
through the heart
but i did not want to kill myself.
when she says sorry,
she means it
while some people have god,
she has the bruises on her knees,
the holes in her dress,
and the knots in her hair.
like little boats in little bottles,
you're the one
who should be sorry.
she knows to always be cautious
of the people with rough eyes,
and a rough voice,
and a rough touch.
she knows always to be cautious
of the hands that grip
and the hands that hold.
she knows always to be cautious
of those who lie with their soul
instead of their lips.
she knows always to be cautious.
ProdigalFather, tell the calf to not bleed on me,
as I've watched God's name hemorrhage twice.
In His kingdom like a slaughterhouse, I'd go hungry
with a belly swollen with avarice.
Father, if I am an unworthy son,
let me know. I'll give you back your brown eyes,
your stern voice, your cleft chin, your legs that can't run
and I'll inherit Lucifer's wings 'fore I rise.
There are famines as barren as the womb
for those who won't be reborn humble and poor
So Dad, let me gorge on spring's growth spurts in the tomb;
some of us don't know what living is for.
Father, don't let your calf bleed on me.
I have hunger pains that I want you to see.
MoeraeEach woman comes ready-made
with everything she'll ever need:
A history: the chanting
in her mother's blood-echoes
unwound through the umbilical cord,
the kite string pull of home.
A future: the artillery
of microscopic pills
embedded in her hips,
a dowry of pearls.
Her own death: prophesized
in the Rorschach smears
of monthly blood tributes.
It clings beneath the skin
and quietly suckles.
She is a mosaic of women:
Crone, maiden, child.
Three facets of the same mirror
watch from within
layers like Russian dolls,
sharing a single compound eye.
They do not blink.
Each waits her turn. Her moment.
They are a DNA filmstrip,
each scene vanishing
into the next one's hands.
but irefuse to jump from ships
before they've even set sail
not an actual poemHow long can I sit politely on their couch?
He gets me a drink. I get myself
slowly ruined by the shifting of her thighs
and the way she gently touches
what is hers -
coffee table, fridge door,
Broad-mouthed, slim-throated queen,
I miss the days
when neither of us
owned a thing
architecturethere are poor draftsmen who distill sound
in forty-two proof and forty-nine hundred decibels
that will always sound like wingbeats maybe heartbeats too
whirring around the scaffolding at three hundred feet
where the men hurl their lunchmeat over the steel beams
far beneath where the airplane will land one day
and they all chant together "THESE ARE THE DAYS
OH YES THESE ARE THE DAYS" in a trembling baritone
fit through the skeleton of the city that shudders
like a violin shudders all night long
if it has to like one of the lonely women
shuddering in the pale light of her living room
cuddled up with her lung disease and the dog
that wanted to be in the circus but settled
for the couch like she settled into her armchair
one day and tried not to get up ever again
even when the ice cream man wanted to love her
and the mail man wanted to buy her a drink
or two when all she wanted was a forty-five
playing in the background like baptism water
or strawberry ice crea
lightrub your eyes,
in your hands
in the sugar
in your coffee, sprinkled,
ego torn and locked in your hair
do not feed it,
it is already
obese, on the verge of dying
sleeping. I never closed my eyes,
wrapped in vertigo,
I fell towards you
our foreheads touched,
our minds opened and then it was just.
The Southern Land Not Yet KnownDecember can break you
when you live in this
neck of the woods.
The sun is a tyrant, pressing his
fingers on the mother-of-pearl
and the milk of my thighs,
probing at the silk
behind my knees.
Filling up my eyes.
And every summer I feel a little more
like roadkill, hot and bloody
and splayed. The aching pulse
is too much to bear,
the spilling, the rotting,
the rigor mortis knotting up my spine.
I can worship this.
I can make this mine.
Faith comes from the scream first,
and it comes from the stillness second.
I see the lapis lazuli of the harbour’s curve,
cold and bright-filled eye,
and I think I can understand this.
The summer storms, their dark and frantic rise,
the sharply swollen smell in the wetness of the dirt,
the deepest richness of the crumbled earth –
something primal snapping in the sky,
like puking or coming or finally,
starting to cry. I can understand this.
Salt on my teeth. Salt in my blood
and my sister’s hair. The snakes tangled
is my verse alive in amherst?solitude bred ingenuity while safeguarding innocence
Bird's eyeAn orange cat
elegant and frank
with a slim Egyptian face
dabs at a wounded bird
in the grass.
I bend low
and wave him off.
With a gentle shove
showing me the crook
of his tail,
in his walk.
The bird has
tiny beads of blood
between its wings
and under its beak
but the damage appears
to be minor.
Its eyes are wide and gleaming,
wild and deep and black.
They pitch something
off balance when I
look at them.
is alive and unknowable,
as if the original darkness
of things lay in there,
the ancient darkness
for which the first light
I pick up the bird
and carry it off.
The cat licks
as if nothing
boys dont cryand the way
that your hand
holds onto mine
feels like the noose around my neck,
i'm trying to hang myself
i'm not dead yet.
but your thoughts
and your words are guns
and when they shoot me in the head
you cure it with a band aid
because you don't have
a medical degree yet.
your kisses have left me
black and blue
while i still use
the mug you gave me
as an ash tray.
and i'm holding on
to the lip stick stains
on the dresser
wearing them around my neck
to hide how you took
my breath away.
the observant curator will notice...the observant curator will notice...
softly, mocking the rain, and
horses shuffle, shy
of what could kill
or sustain them
slowly dissolving, diffusing
into the earth
of how people curate
their lawns instead
of their families
#3 (my love was born still)i remember the colour of your hair the day that you were born
and the way that your eyes gripped like vices,
refusing to see anything more than your own inner sanctum;
i can still hear the first, curdled cries you let loose into the world.
i remember holding the talisman of your birth against myself
and hearing your gurgling as we drove,
desperate to find relief at the end of yet another road.
i remember the curve of your mouth as you ate softened apples,
the way you struggled to fit your fist between your gums
and the saliva that coated your fingers when you finally gave up.
but mostly i remember the ways i tried to love you,
and the ways in which i managed to fail.
the writing on the walls.tonight would be
a damn good night
to fall in love
one of your cigarettes
it will taste like you.
let's have a shot
of cheap vodka
and chase it
with shooting stars.
if you fall asleep in my bed,
i'll wake you early enough
to see the magic of golden sun
on my bookshelf in the morning.
Heidelberg, 2011Heidelberg, your streets run
with the blood of philosophers -
roses and rubies cascade
where they once meditate upon
the river Neckar, the pink stones
of fallen castles to be spat upon
by the people. Heidelberg,
your history outweighs the secrets,
it catacombs through snow
like coffee grains wedged
between wrinkled stones.
The Altstadt is your legacy,
an anachronism; the Hauptstrasse
rambles through like a goatherd
beating a path for sheep; The Universitat
boasts arches and sandstones enduring
on history's pedestal - now lost
in the squall of market stalls peddling bratwurst
in the rain.
Heidelberg, from the Philosophenweg
I can see autumn's shadow collide
past and present, when summer leaves
brown in fainter sunshine, curl and whisk away
to dust the crimson rooftops, the pebbled paths
that once inspired scholarly thoughts.
Under my feet they promise of snow
sleeting from the peaks
of gingerbread mountains, white
and sugary, clumped
and rolled by human hands. I stumble,
and the earth c
ghost watersher tongue spins tales of poison,
lacing sailors with her forked lies
the ocean rises and falls
with quick, bated breaths from her chest
as the sails of her haunted, bowing ship
billow across waters of lost souls.
she pirates the never-ending seas,
and whispers siren songs
directed at youthful, wide-eyed sailors
lingering along the salted shore.
underneath the carcass of her ship
lies the eternal cemetery of her prey.
their cries echo in the icicle wind
while she laughs at their misery.
bruises and tattoos line her jaw
with one lone scar scraped across her right eye
a haunting symbol that she is
that even the huntress of the seven seas
can be vulnerable at times.
she’s forbidden from dry land,
a wretched curse she cannot escape.
she tricks souls aboard her boat
to gather tales from a land she mourns.
her eyes are glassy and her touch is cold.
the gag is still folded across her mouth,
and the bloodstains decorate her throat,
beside the nightstand sits a suicide note
004.a flannel shirt
those downcast eyes
your damn regrets;
your skinny frame
the moleskin book
i really miss
your classic look.
Early WinterThere's just one Earth, but I can't breathe with the others.
I'm not meant for them—
whether ordained by god
or tossed forward, into each other, by the raging indifference of nature.
Until they stop talking about weather
and the old men— what they wouldn't give for this misery,
wasted on the miserable—
I had said I will love you,
even if you don't love me.
tuesday nightsthe full moon aches.
tuesday nights are always full of statues.
i wonder what it is to be dead. do you remember
the mother? the comedown from the other, write
as an animal, as a breathing piece of fabric--
the fabric felt in the lines.
you are the main event. hold still.
disengage. you are no mercury flower.
imagine imagine imagine. the airplane
coating of skin to bone. all flesh is concentrated
on your ankles.
so much has happened and will happen
before we can respond to this as an end. epicenter.
the spider-work of lines.
the gas station attendant wondering
if he did the right thing.
the sky holding its breath, beware, beware.
there are no other answers.
there is never anything but light,
and light on light never told us anything about what
we needed to know or be or wear or be wary of.
catch the clouds in your hands.
call me miracle, though i am not
a thing of wonder, i am still
i am still a being made of sticks.
watch me fall apart.
exhaustion makes the most beautiful s
throbbin' the hoodthe garden, to be clear, means drone-stained and yonder stands,
and the guerrilla medium with its impression of white, dying horses.
And this, of course, is the body,
the tattered moon hung between rocks to protect the forest fire from the wind.
Now comes the part of the poem where I say something specific about myself
so I don't look completely full of shit.
So here it is: The garden is a crowd
in my dream, and my dream, the fragile panic,
and an excess of power-lines and their buzzing,
and a thesis on the institution of marriage-
How you can fuck senators and still be in love with a deserted house,
And the garden is duality,
how one person can exist in two places at the same time,
or be two people at the same place,
and its me the way the santa ana river dries to a valley of stones
and come find me and I miss you and how we're all different people and sometimes we're rooms and sometimes we're oceans and sometimes we're gardens.
snippetsi. your hands are maps i wanna memorize inside and out
so i'll always know the way home.
ii. you're dead to me but i keep you alive
on paper and black text.
iii. i will weave stories out of the lines on your skin.
iv. joke's on you: i made my heart out of nothing but brittle plastic,
good luck finding a home in there.
v. empty like a hollowed out pumpkin.
except not as scary,
just more pathetic.
vi. i have secrets that no one knows that i'm scared i will end up
taking to the grave.
i don't know if my soul can handle all that baggage.
vii. i want to hold fire in the palm of my hand