It wasn’t often
I was invited to a friend’s house.

A grand adventure
for one always told

No,
we can’t afford it.

My mother’s touch
of the feminine.

I’m tempted
to live in ignorance
agnostic
of the partisan divide
that threatens our democracy
unity we once held dear
disregarding
the ubiquitous Breaking News,
turning away
from chaotic commentary
manufactured outrage

the whole darn world gone mad…

 

Cal’s class ring, barely snug
despite the red yarn
wrapped around its band,
slips off her finger, clatters inside
the cast-iron basin.

She places it on the sideboard
holds on to its uneasy memory,
one she wraps around herself
in scathing moments
of doubt and lonely regret.

Details of their last conversation,
tinged with subterfuges
she did not know she was capable of,
bit down — hard — on the heels
of all that messy death and fog at Khe Sanh.

The choice had been hers alone to make.

Redemption, now, never once a possibility.

Sinister longings perish
in a hail of loneliness,
solitary specters of humanity
twisted, tainted, tormented and tattered.

Writhing in misty coils
vanquished blue-haired nobles
smoke their pipes
and drink their tea,
moral beneficence lost amid
the dithering squalor
of their own wanton needs.

Frosted-glass pillars
glow amber and vermillion,
intentions forever severed
by hazy razor-grim phantoms.

Cinder blocks elevate in an obsolete breeze
powder puffs of pink videotape the masses.

Lemon-lime apples tart & sweet,
my fever rages on, hot with need.

Tides permeate the lower grasslands,
neon spectacles of fright

and immense longing,
reeled in one antelope at a time.

hearts quaver
in somber wake
of laggard lapses,
a crystal clarity

 

all faith denied

 

minds slow and sedate
in earnest repose
free of unseemly query

 

bodies recoil,
horror vivid
and unyielding,
incautious and unwise

 

darkness

sparing none

Grit sustains me.
I hold on both soft and tight,
a self-embrace unlike no other.
Conspirators
seek to overlay
to coexist
amid my red-blue veins,
these emanating cords of my within.

My words belong to me.

Mine to invert as I please.
Mine to wrestle, to subjugate
to contemplate, to savor.
Mine to coalesce toward
my own redress.
Others’ steely wits resolve to upend
yet I remain true.

That lovely muscle
that beats for —and of — me,
moving toward
benign forbearing,
loyalty to self: rewarded.
These peaceful pebbles glisten just for me.

I care not if for no other.