I Love You Like You Love Anyone Else

I never knew what I wanted,
beyond feeling relaxed,
but even that seemed at odds
with what nature desired for me.

Nature desired for me
a lot of silence
before causing my head
to swell uncontrollably.

“I love you, I love you,
I love you like you love anyone else,”
was my constant refrain.

My head remained so large
for such a long time,
so big that I constantly
woke to check that it was true.

But it wasn’t.

In that moment, I understood
that the truth was everywhere
and to see it required
no effort whatsoever.

I saw that the truth was true,
and could do nothing to help it.

“I don’t like this feeling
of simple truths,” I told
my mirror when he and I
met for breakfast yesterday,

“it’s not really my thing.”

“The feeling I’ve got now,
well, that’s my feeling,”
I told him. “It’s a true feeling
of feelings of correct ideas

“of true feelings
in a true world
that has feelings of
truth in the world.”

“Your mother told us that you wanted
to be a singer,” my mirror said.
“And a singer must always know
the true feeling of feelings.”

I raised my head in an attempt
to be kind and replied,

“I think I’ll have
a better time
with true feelings
if I am by myself.”

“But listen,
(and this is what it was)
it was that I didn’t know,
I didn’t know the feeling,”

“It felt like feeling
like everything was possible.
Like some things were
about to sort of happen.”

And some things did.

I made a move.

I Love You Like You Love Anyone Else

We were very much in love with the idea of being in a place that was really different from the rest

When we died
we went to Florida
and created a heaven
from orange peels
and costumes
discarded from Disney World.

In the off season,
we haunted Miami Beach,
ghosts among ghosts,
moldy parking garages
and half-flooded
apartment complexes.

In the summer,
you could drive down
the South Beach strip,
past the bodegas and dive bars, and discover
a world of color
and sex
and slow decay.

In the winter,
we pretended it snowed.

We were the weirdest group
we had ever seen.

We were like
a second family.

***

When we died in 2003,
the world was a different place. The Internet
was for the young.

We lived by codes
made up in Stanford
dorm rooms
over pizza and cheap beer.

We would go online.

We’d join a chat room.

We’d talk about the weather.

We’d talk about movies,
and our jobs,
and our jobs,
and our jobs.

Then we would get drunk
and pretend to fly
around the world.

The first place we went
was to the San Francisco
Museum of Modern Art,

then we flew
across the country
to Washington D.C.,
to the National Endowment
for the Arts.

For a while we were in Italy,
and for a while we were in Berlin.

It was really intense
because we couldn’t see anything,
just the other ghosts
trying to use Skype
in an Internet cafe.

One day, out of nowhere,
we were on Google Earth
and we saw a plane
sitting abandoned
in a secluded field.

We grew so excited
because we planned
on making that plane
our house.

We had never lived
in a plane, only apartments
with snoring dogs
and sniggering rats,
only apartments
in real bad shape,
half-flooded with seawater,
yet somehow still
worth a million dollars.

We were very much in love with the idea of being in a place that was really different from the rest

Then One Foggy Christmas Eve

We were singing
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
at church
instead of
Amazing Grace
and something
didn’t seem
quite right;
like
there was no verve,
no gumption,
no gratification
for caroling
to the heavens.
It didn’t seem
like the right
little ritual
for the time.

And this was,
at bottom,
the very reason
I wanted
to sing
my memoirs
at a Christmas Eve
extravaganza.

I needed
to sing
these truths:
that we must love each other,
that happiness isn’t constant,
that the brain needs melody,
and that life is like a gingerbread house:
quite messy
and prone to collapse
just when you think
you’ve got it all
put together nicely
(but pretty sweet
from start to finish).

The people
in my memoir song
sound different
than they do
in real life.

When my mother sings,
“Would you like
to be
a little elf?”
she sounds like Emmy Lou Harris
and I recall my mother,
wide-eyed and wrinkle-free,
with hair halfway down her back;
when her voice drifts down
to sing,
“Or would you like
to be
buried under snow?”
you must recall
that’s how
I’ve written
her parts
of the song.

When my family comes
to my song’s premiere
no one asks
what the song is for.
They only ask
why they all
sound different
from how they sound
in real life.

After the premiere,
we all go out
to eat fried rice
and steamed veggies.

We wait hours
for supper
to arrive.
We don’t talk
about much,
but we do hum
along to some
jolly Christmas tunes
saturating
the air
around us.

Then One Foggy Christmas Eve

Dazzling Tales of Broken Truths Vol. I

In middle-age
I decided
to get myself
a narrator
and take up
the life
of a protagonist.

Critics found
themselves having
a few problems
with this approach:

a) In the book, the narrator early describes the protagonist, Mr. X, as “…the only man in his class in school who is unlikely to wield a pitchfork.” But then, later on in the story, Mr. X is described as “…the only man in the county who could run the family dairy, manage the town’s small hotel, maintain several properties, is the seventh son of a seventh son, and spends his time on learning books as a hobby.”

In other words,
they found
the narrator
unreliable.

They went on
at some length
with their critique:

b) In the book, the protagonist, Mr. X, describes himself as “…the most intelligent man in the world, with three degrees in mathematics from a four-year university.” But the narrator, who is Mr. X’s roommate, reports, “There are two things I can’t write about in this story…my name and the names of the people I worked with and their jobs.”

Mr. X (punctuation marks removed, emphasis on “him”) says one of his supervisors writes in an annual review:

“This guy is a fucking genius! He’s got two degrees, he’s got a doctorate, and you’ll never see him in a story book. Give him all the raises!”

c) In the book, Mr. X, says “I’ll work for anybody you want”. The narrator describes Mr. X as someone:

“…who loves work. He’d rather sit in his office, alone, and wait for the sun to come up and his job to end than spend time for any reason with any woman or child he co-created.”

The critics
seemed unsatisfied
with my fictions
and the fictions
of those
around me:

d) In the book, the protagonist, Mr. X, talks to Ms. M, his co-worker. “I’m always a good liar, especially when I tell the truth, and no matter what happens, I always get away with whatever needs gotten.” The narrator describes Ms. M. as “…a woman who is constantly telling lies, and never even tries to avoid them.”

e) In the book, Mr. X, says “I never get tired of lying about anything. I can just sit down and lie about anything. It’s something I’m born for. It’s my work.” Later, in the book, even the narrator says “I can’t talk without lying, because everyone knows I lie. It’s my work.”

f) In the book, toward the end, we are led to believe that the narrator is Mr. X, the protagonist. This is perhaps the most distasteful sequence of the entire story.

Dazzling Tales of Broken Truths Vol. I

Untitled No. LXI

When I was a child,
my father told me
I had a miscreant’s mouth
and a ne’er do well’s nose.

In the nights then,
my fingers bled feathers
and my brothers
bit my ears.

My sisters‬ and I
were ne’er to start,
yet we shared‬ the same father
so cooked from his fire.

Our mother‬ desired,
so delighted,
to have us‬ become
real‪ mother‪s, too.

Though she‬ was not‪ much‪
for mother‪-teaching‪ us,
so I left the family to grow
a ne’er boy of my own…

‪I aged and fell away
and imitated a‪ mother‪
despite the feathers
that fell from me.‬

‪My brothers aged,
more‪ interested
in‪ beautiful‪ women‪
obscured behind‪‪ counters.‬

‪I was‬ taken in by‪ a thing
pretending, and made lost‪
from‪ the‪ world
because‪ of‪‪ beauty.‬

‪My sisters‬
became bakers
and shopkeepers
and I turned towards them.‬

‪‪I‪ entered‪ their‪ shop‪,‬
and opened boxes
while their customers‪
stood by, impatient.‬

‪Inside the boxes
I‪ beheld their treats;
treats just like
little boxes.

‪I stared up
at my sisters,
box of boxes in hand;
ne’er such expression‪s.‬

‪They were quick
to‪ understand
and from the counter,
handed‪ me‪ a‪n empty box.‬

‪At last, they‪ pointed‪ back
to our shared pasts‬
and ne’er once asked
for explanations.

Untitled No. LXI

Wherever You Went, There You Were

I wanted to kiss you until the stars blinked out into cold masses of dust and I wanted the heat between us to ignite a new universe filled with new stars named after candy and breakfast cereals.

And I wanted you in my bed, curled under my arm, whispering to me secret names for god and sex and I wanted to see you naked in the flickering candlelight, blankets bunched down at your ankles, sheen of sweat upon your thighs.

It’s a good thing we don’t have to worry about a future together.

It’s a good thing it won’t ever be our turn to suffer through such loss, yes what a good great thing we will never come to that.

Yet I can’t help but wonder what happened.
Where did you go?
In which wild country did you live?

How do we find the future if we don’t understand the consequences of our actions?
Are we human beings without?
That is, can we even be human without what if?

How do we feed? Who will take care of us in the future? Who will look after that which we have done and not done, kissed and not kissed, loved and not loved?

Will you remember me in your future?
Will you remember I told you?
Will you remember forever?

Why do I wonder?

My husband was like me. He lived a life filled with routine and convenience followed by frustration and depression, and while he had a respectable career in corporate America, he was not satisfied.

The only passion he chose to follow was raising our children. He loved them dearly. He wanted to keep them happy in a world filled with so much despair and misery.

He wanted them to have a future filled with light and love and love and life.

He wanted them to have a forever.

I think too often on forevers.

I think eternity is such a long, long time and I think I meant it when I said, “forever.”

I think I really meant it that time.

Wherever You Went, There You Were

Fountainverse: Friday, 10/11 Schedule

4-7PM : BOOK FAIR @ CAPSULE

SPONSORED BY PROSPERO’S BOOKS | KC

ART IN THE CAPSULE EVENT SPACE CURATED BY THE SMALTER GALLERY | KC

7-8:30PM : FEATURE 1 @ CAPSULE

RIVERFRONT READINGS | KC

SUSPECT PRESS | DENVER, CO

Host : James Benger

Riverfront Readings Features: Huascar Medina (Poet Laureate of KS), Lindsey Weishar, and Jermaine Thompson

Suspect Press Features: Eliza Beth Whittington and Brice Maiurro.

9-11PM : OPEN MIC @ CAPSULE

JUMP START ART WITH SHARON EIKER | KANSAS CITY

Host: Sharon Eiker

Features: Phillip Emanuel Frost Bounds and Waco Porter

Fountainverse: Friday, 10/11 Schedule

Melatonin Redux

I dreamed of kicking bears in their blood-stained teeth as they chased me up to the top of tall trees.

And I dreamed of fighting children armed with aluminum bats and covering their visages with riot gear masks.

Then I dreamed I saw a gargantuan arm in the distance and I knew I was no longer dreaming.

I walked towards the giant appendage and saw another arm waving to me from afar.

I knew I wasn’t imagining things.

Then I blinked and saw arms stretching from treetop to treetop.

I saw hands grasping at me and yelling words in a signed language.

I witnessed arms springing forth from my arms and I knew that they couldn’t be from any another arms but mine.

I knew the new arms were attached to my old arms, my own weak and weary arms.

I wanted to shake my own hands, pat myself upon my own back, climb up the trees like a monkey spider, but as I tried to leave the ground I felt something pull against my leg and I toppled.

With a great effort I picked myself up and looked down to see arms had sprouted from my legs and were carrying me over the edge of a ragged cliff.

I knew that I was dying then, dying in my own arms.

The arms propelling me over the cliff were the arms that I never knew I had and that I had recovered in my dreaming.

Yet I knew I wasn’t in my dreaming.

I knew that I was falling.

I could feel all my arms flailing, hopelessly treading air.

I felt my new arms break and splinter from my body as I hit the ground below.

There were so many arms upon the dirt that I grabbed one and lifted it up to my eyes.

In the web of its hand, between thumb and forefingers were bloody teeth and a dark, hungry mouth, like a bear’s.

I thought about kicking the arm in its bloody teeth, but felt that wouldn’t help, so I thought instead to hold tight as the arm lifted me in the air like a bundle of helium balloons.

The world turned again and I looked toward the sky.

In the passing clouds, I saw my mother’s face.

She had fangs and a smile and around her head danced cherubs dressed in riot gear.

“I tried to tell you about dreams,” cloud-mother said.

“Yes,” I said. “Sometimes I remember.”

“And sometimes,” she sighed, “sometimes you forget.

Melatonin Redux

Melatonin

I dreamed of kicking bears after they chased me up a tree.

I dreamed of children armed with baseball bats and riot gear; perfectly masked so as to hide their innocent faces from those befallen by their wrath.

Perhaps for a few moments I dreamed your face made of stars and the world reborn from the blackest sea and all the blue monsters rising up from the depths onto new lands, the old world seemingly forgotten, unspoken, unseen, and unseen, to be

invisible like the dreams of middle-aged men, kicking their wives while they sleep, steeped in a silent malaise and weighing options to best cope with the inevitable betrayl of that which they tried to drown in those dark depths.

I dreamed of shooting and looting and reaping and raving and winning and losing and running stark naked across a barren field and being

in the end, afraid and tired, worried for the children and that which is coming for them.

I dreamed of kicking bears in their sharp-toothed mouths.

I dreamed of hungry children marching to claim their birthrights.

Melatonin

The energy to come back again and again

A flower seemed
to grow alone
in a field.

Upon closer inspection,
I watched a bee crawl
from underneath
a petal.

The bee whistled a tune;
something
about missing his honey
while being out
on the road.

The song had a slow,
steady melody,
undergirded
by a buzzing melancholy.

Soon, other bees
I also hadn’t noticed
joined in the whistling.

I found the music odd,
unsettling.
The chorus of bees whistling
took me back
to someplace
I thought
I might never
visit again.

I left the bees
to walk in wooded silence
for the next two hours.
While the sun dropped,
I came upon
the shape of a house
as it slowly moved forward
from a dead end
in the woods.

I knew the house was alive,
for it breathed,
and it sighed,
and it waited
to help me remember a world
that I had forgotten.

I sat down
on the front porch
in seat that was warm
and watched a broken moon
appear low
in the sky.

Did you know the moon
was once a simple ball
of amniotic fluid?
Before it became
a great, celestial body?
We were all birthed by the moon and we never even knew it;
that part of our common history
erased.

I then began
to recall
all the things
I learned
during my college years
spent on an isolated island
off the shores of Greenland.

I remembered my moon studies professor
telling us how
she had learned
on her first day at school
that the sun
was not the center
of the universe,
but that it was the moon,
our moon above.

She told us
that the moon
and the sun
had gotten divorced
long ago
over a terrible thing
that was too terrible
to say.

She told us
about the polar nights,
the forever dark
and the clinging cold,
nights which scoffed
at attempts
to separate them
by thin slivers
of noonday light.

She told us
about the colors of the moon,
what they meant,
and why we should fear
a deep-purple sky.

She told us
how the moon
is covered with dust
from the sun,
light and golden,
and how the moon
has an outer ring
like a belt of rocks
strung together
from our mistakes.

In fact, she once told us
that if we stared at the sun,
right into its hot, glowering eye,
we would see the moon within.

She told us
that the moon
is a great jewel,
a magic treasure
of the universe.

She told us
that the moon has two halves,
the side it presents to the sun,
and the other side,
which she never talked about except to say,

“It is impossible
to see it both ways.”

I think back
to how
I was taught
the hidden truths
constraining the moon.

On the porch
that night,
I stared,
wary of the broken,
still-circling moon
and felt anxious
at the approach
of the bees’ whistles
coming to radiate
right through me.

The energy to come back again and again