I write with the intention of balancing both honesty and creativity. Poetry is my outlet for the people and images that are burned into my memory so clearly, that I am compelled to put them into words. Each individual poem is simply a snapshot of an attempt to reconcile with both the people and memories that haunt and excite me. There are certain people and images that I can’t let go of that keep finding their way into my poems over and over again, whether I make the conscious choice to include them or not.
Fried bird lies on the counter
next to a half eaten kiss and a frosted box of pizza.
The soup pot is drowning in muddy water
and there is a film of cheap champagne,
slowly boiling on the front eye.
There is a quick rap tap tap on the front door
but no one stirs from a drunken stupor.
Her dress is crinkled with blood and dirt,
drifting above her waist under stolen
double stacked men’s blazers.
She raps on the door again and again
until neon clad officers hover on the stoop
asking her question after question.
They finally let her in, stumbling
past Bean boots and Sperrys as she stutters,
“The president is BAN-NACK O-BAM-MA…”
she is missing one shoe like Cinderella,
blood gushing from her knees, as she sits
bare butt on the counter waiting for her cheese fries.
The timer begins to sing as she lunges,
her uncovered hand disappearing into the dark oven.
She balances a ketchup bottle on a mug of water
and reaches the foot of the stairs where she perches
to gather the courage to begin climbing.
She dives face first into her pillow, bits of fries
tucked snuggly into the duvet, and falls
into a deep sleep it takes days to awaken her from.
Rainbows and purple unicorns
were plastered on the technicolor walls,
and the red plastic slide was calling my name.
I ran, my chubby legs rubbing together,
racing to be the first at its ladder.
There was a flash in time as my heel caught
the smooth center of a red and black poker chip, sending my feet flying higher than my tiny face. The unforgiving metal was cold on my lips
as my skin grazed the rim of the blackboard. Warmth filled to the brim of my bloody mouth with the taste of pennies and old chalk.
The kids around me howled as blood flooded
the puzzle piece carpet, drowning the mermaids dancing in the seersucker blue of my ruffle dress. Minutes passed as I lay there,
but I was alone
with a gash so deep that it would never leave me.
A glimmer from the Christmas lights
on the balmy leaves in his window signaled
he was up waiting. It was my gauge.
He wallowed in seasonal depression,
refusing to abandon his cave with red candle wax,
racing down whiskey bottles and gray brick.
His neon green fridge held Brie and peach yogurt,
the kind everyone always tossed away.
The dinosaur duvet he bought to keep me
from snowfall and open windows,
lay at the foot of his twin bed.
It was as if he was waiting for me to slip under
green and purple dinosaurs and solve all of his problems.
I would trudge by day after day trying to avoid the magnetism
of the shimmer on the adjoining brick,
I never really could.
It still sends little shocks through my spine, begging me
to run up three flights of stairs to its cave
and dance under the dim shadows in his fireplace.
It begs to be noticed.
On the Yellow Brick Road
Therapy and horse tranquilizers
numbed her from the fame
and misfortune. She loathed pictures
taken by adoring fans and agents.
She was trapped in cycle after cycle
of pills and pep, pills and pep.
Panting was all she could muster up,
while hurling herself onto the stage.
She was stuck, staggering back and forth
from dressing rooms and stages,
leaving everything she stood for the moment
she signed on the dotted lines.
Her charisma was simply a mask
sewn to a broken marionette
that singing and smiles could not patch
after years of drugged isolation.
She left five husbands, three children,
and adolescent stardom that night
on her bathroom floor in Belgravia.
Her daughter was Liza, arguably
a bigger star than she ever was
or ever wanted to be. She was too shy
for that even with the liquid courage
MGM constantly drowned her in.
The gashes on her wrists were ironic, really,
she was just giving them the blood
they so outrageously demanded of her.