We forgot how to put down a mobile device and express subtle forms of flirtation.
The eyes are less misconstrued than digital, emotionless messages.
I was standing on the shelves, attempting to reach for the candies designed for adults. I fancied the exterior design. Treats I truly would have popped into my mouth, mulled over, and spat into the walkway near the checkout counter. I begged with chattering hands, reaching in the heavens, speaking to the moment, speaking in magical tongues, attempting to make my arms stretch out like cartoon characters.
The paling fluorescents grab color from the aisle, a stained crème, making me feel sicker, smaller even. A slow wane into pronged hooks holding cards of greeting. Like a busy street in Chicago, one goes to my shoulder, one grinds into back bones. My body stumbling like a plinko chip until I reach the end of my momentum. A neighborhood cashier recognizes the situation but works for minimum wages, so she bats her eyes and organizes the lottery tickets behind the counter. “Where were his parents?”
A rush through the back entrance; doors swing open into an oversized van like a bank robbery gone awry. Van progresses forward but my head was spinning. How ironic is this carnival ride in the parking lot that actually houses our town’s festivities? Knife-like flashes of nausea pummel my stomach paired with an headache rocking from front to back of stage, “where is the fuse box?”
In our mad rush, I reach for the door handle, a universal sign for parents to pull over, even in high speed traffic. I expel what was left of my day on the pavement, the portion that splits between roadway and nature — the gravel that tells two tales. In the fresh air, I spoke to my situation. “All of this for a box of chocolates that I may or may not have enjoyed.” “You know they had coconut in them,” my subtle brain twirling. I didn’t even recognize. I hate coconut.
Breaking her heart
broke my bedroom collectibles within the next fifteen minutes,
storming through screen door,
rushing down the short hall,
blasting a radial space to pieces.
Sitting in my driveway
off to the side where the grass
pressed against the steering wheel
of her 1999 truck, or Buick, whatever it was.
Sitting at the lunchroom tables
deciding to start 3rd period homework the day of,
She needs consultation for the past 7 years,
when her mother died,
when she had to develop tendencies,
being over it, but emotionally
fluttering to stay alive.
Breaking her father’s heart
when she engages everyone sexually.
She forgot the rules
that she attests to on Sundays.
She paused. She clasped my hands quietly, as if she was trying to avoid waking someone. I looked into her eyes and spoke to the moment. “Just don’t speak.” The tears swarmed. She was lighting a wick. My chested welled with disappointment; her body was failing.
A glass chandelier
smoker made of tar and character,
camel rides slowly into stifled Atlas
cloud somehow broiling,
sweating from a marital broast,
overflow leading to the Erie Lake.
cubing into glass
figments of calm,
fancy enough for cocktail
parties full of enormous bubble cans
of DUI potential.
What’s left of it all
strung up like a chandelier
but truly for drinking.
Barn of barnacles,
Sea seen, of homeliness,
ocean opens for one,
a jumble of water watchers
and sand jumpers.
A drink of wine
reds to blind
lips on glass to bind
a pass of time
past the mind
that grasps the
glass for a sip
of white or purple
or sparkling wine.
Monthly home, logged between pines,
chopping at the bit,
chunks of patience fall
as long as the hunt
for rental exists,
dropping me further into
the unknown behaviors,
tirades branching from
improper financial growth
or maturation — a sapling
sampling the market.
Impaled by the looks —
implanted by their eyes,
somehow breaking my skin
without scars —
under my skin,
Hands stuck like wax sticks,
deformed by work weeks,
twisted and frozen after heating,
unable to play piano or cut fruit,
holding the string, afraid of the burns
from the match and the shaking
formed in the bone.
Tethered flesh is fashionable
but it can’t help tremors,
his bodily earthquake.
Let it burn. Don’t let him melt.
Coat hoping for chamomile,
warmth dripping down the zipper,
newspaper-lined interior dripping
with stories past,
burnt to a crisp for self preservation
Jeans sitting uncomfortably
on a stoop trying to fill pockets
until they too form a hole.
Coat becomes looser
over each season,
both warm and frigid.
An alarm clock is
a signal to beat garbage trucks
and music for every other moment.
Cardboard, once housing a flat-screen
is a home for a coat and a canine
before it was caught in net.
A coat in this case is more
than material item.
In our youth, we were told to reach for the stars, but I have an understanding of star, gases, and outer space. Reaching for the stars is either a death wish or completely insurmountable. I’d much rather grasp everything around me.