Category Archives: poetry

brick by brick, limb by limb

oh yeah

poetry in progress

 

brick by brick, limb by limb

i)

i was born into a country

divided by a wall that:

cut through people’s breaths and yet

straightened their shoulders like a spine;

i was born into a country with

a cast grown tightly around (and into) its body:

half-disease, half-remedy

ii)

finally, the fall came:

as the trees began to shed their leaves,

the wind picked up brick after brick and

carried it away;

it left us with a new kind of emptiness that

made my father tear himself apart:

he took limb after limb and threw it against

that same brick sky until he was no longer my father but a

tiny white spot in the distance

iii)

most wars won mean several battles lost,

no big victory comes without defeat on both sides

keep in mind the bigger picture, i hear you sing –

your catch phrase:

keep in mind the bigger picture,

we are making history, we are changing things for the better

(battle after battle, defeat after defeat)

iv)

sometimes I open an old book and some of my father’s

fingertips or eyelashes still crumble

out from in between the pages and fall into my lap;

we all keep in mind the bigger picture, of course

but you should know that in order see it clearly,

most of us have to stand on each other’s shoulders,

that’s why some of us fall and break their backs.

 

human-ness

humans – you just have to wonder what we’re up to these days …

img_20170205_135017

“He who wants the world to remain the way it is, doesn’t want it to remain.” – Erich Fried

 

human-ness

Part I

you say you didn’t see it coming but

you’re a liar (you have a remarkable history of lying to yourself, there’s no one to match you, I swear)

you just can’t let it go, the immediate high

not even because it’s really all that good (it’s not) but

it’s right in front of you: hot sips of instant coffee from a plastic cup, not good but oh so hot; it warms you up like nothing else (that is, if you ever were to try anything else, of course).

 

you’ve avoided nine dark alleys

convincing yourself you’re better than that (you did it, ace, nine times!)

only to walk into dark alley number ten

convincing yourself that once won’t hurt (or twice or three times or who keeps track of these things anyways, huh?)

 

I’m sorry to say this, but:

you’re weak and you’re a liar.

(Am I being too harsh? Don’t cry!)

Maybe you’re just being

human – but someone has to tell you:

your human-ness is eventually going to kill

you, for good.

 

Part II

just try

quit searching through the trash for

the touch of a hand, the tip of someone else’s tongue to lick your wounds;

times have changed, dear:

these things aren’t found on the street and they don’t grow on trees (sometimes they do, but only on trees budding in glass boxes, hidden away so you’ll never ever find them)

no, these things aren’t handed out freely – people keep them sealed up in their original wrapping: they’re collectors’ items, they’re sold (like everything else)

you only give to get (and why shouldn’t you when everyone else is doing the same thing – don’t be stupid)

oh, how we’ve learnt to keep little secrets (from our neighbors, our lovers, our children, ourselves) like our lives depended on it (and maybe they do) and

you should learn, too

just look what your carelessness has

gotten you into

if you keep running around with an open heart like that

you’ll eventually bleed

to death

 

Soundtrack: Rising Appalachia – Scale down

 

 

poetry is dead, says the poet – a Q&A session

https://i1.wp.com/mirrorfect.in/files/dont_let_poetry_die.jpg

The question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The answer: “A poet.”

***

You get up, you breathe in, you drink your coffee, you work, you breathe out, you drink your coffee, you drink your coffee, you work, you work, you breathe in, you breathe out, you work, you go to bed.

***

The question: “Do people still read poetry these days?”

More questions: “What do you want to be when you grow up? You’re already grown up, so what do you want to be? What are you? Who are you?”

Some answers imperatives: “Choose a career path, choose wisely, make some a lot of money.”

The answer: “No one reads poetry these days.”

***

“No one reads poetry these days unless it’s scribbled on dirty walls in public restrooms, girl”, says the poet and pours himself another glass of wine from the box. “I should know”

“No one reads poetry these days unless they’re dead drunk and their life has just started unraveling like a badly knitted sweater”, says the poet and pours himself another glass of whiskey from the bottle. “Also, this is exactly when most people start writing poetry” It seems that he should know.

“No one reads poetry these days unless it’s referenced in an obscure pop song, honey”, says the poet and takes another sip from his bottle of dark beer. “And in the end, all they remember is the cute singer.”

***

You get up, you breathe in, you get dressed, you take an aspirin, you work, you breathe in, you breathe in, you breathe, you drink your coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, you work, you breathe out, you breathe out, you take an aspirin, you work, coffee, work, coffee, bed.

***

You still read poetry: on dirty walls in public restrooms, on stickers stuck to sign posts, in old books, in new books, in your own books, in borrowed books, on postcards, in magazines; you still read poetry. You still write poetry: in letters, in your notebook, in your head. In your head, in your head, in your head (where’s my notebook?).

***

The question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Another question: “Do you want to grow up?”

The answer imperative: “Make some a lot of money (and then spend it and then make more money so you can spend more money and then – ).”

Answers: “You still read poetry. Poets still write poetry. Some many people still read and write poetry. You can still be a poet.”

***

“Choose any career path, girl – as long as you continue writing, you’re probably a poet anyways”, says the poet and pours himself another cup of black coffee. “Trust me, I should know.”

The curse of summer…

Curse you, July!

(You know I don’t really mean it, though – don’t you? Cause I don’t…

Curse you, July! For being so beautiful...damn.

Curse you, July! For being so beautiful…damn.

… how could I if you look like this? I couldn’t.)

Curse you for keeping me so busy, for not giving me enough time and quiet to write. Then again: thank you for bringing the summer to my city; thank you for pumping inspiration through my veins, for the itch in my finger tips. I can never decide what is worse: having no time to write but a lot of things you want to write down or having a lot of time on your hands but no story to tell.

This is not the time and place to come up with a conclusion, however – I’ve decided it’s the time and place for some actual writing: a poem, for a start.

 

 

summer nights

your voice

trickles down my spine

like Kool-Aid

dark and sticky and sweet

 

summer nights

 

I dip my toes into

the Atlantic

cold and deep and blue

 

summer nights

 

we pick blueberries

and squish them

between our fingers

dark and sticky and sweet

 

summer nights

 

when the rain comes

I stand still and

collect small oceans in my hands

cold and deep and blue

 

summer nights

 

your voice

washed ashore like a

message in a bottle

I can’t open

dark and sticky and sweet

 

summer nights

 

I hold my wounds

into a bowl full of ice

and watch the fresh cuts

cold and deep and blue

 

summer nights

 

we pick fights

and squish them

between our fingers

dark and sticky and sweet

 

summer nights

 

when the rain comes

I reach for your hand

 

when the rain comes

my fingers trace the shape of you in the dark

 

when the rain comes I don’t love you

any less

 

when the rain comes

 

cold and deep and blue

 

summer nights

Go (Mid-May).

A song and a poem. That’s really all.

 

 

 

Watch those horses

fathers tell their daughters

spruced in Sunday dresses;

so calm and clean,

their necks bending in red bridles

as they go and go

(and you along with them).

 

Watch those horses

fathers tell their daughters

with their pink-ribboned hair;

sweet and smooth as a newborn.

It smells of popcorn and sweat (it’s Mid-May),

and they go and go and go –

the fair is in town.

 

Watch those horses –

I watch those horses;

Once a year, every year.

Sometimes when it’s spring,

I’ve almost forgotten about them,

but as April turns into May

the smell of popcorn fills the air and

 

I hear wooden hooves (and your voice).

 

Watch those horses –

I watch those horses

as they come and go

(and you along with them):

sweet and smooth as a newborn.

The fair is back in town

(and it doesn’t let me go –

 

go, go).

 

 

Horses, as they go.

Horses, as they go.

Cherish the moment – on German-American relations. Or something.

The past two weeks haven’t been much different from most of my weeks this year.

There have been many good things: I spent time with a lot of great human beings, I listened to some good music, ate delicious food, I sat in the sun – I even had time to read one or two inspiring lines most days.

Of course, there have been a couple bad things as well: a heart attack, miscommunication and arguing, the usual fight with ghosts (sometimes they just surprise you with their great left hook), every-day trifles that stress you out like the water heater leaking all of a sudden.

Life is what it is: a mix of good and bad moments – dark and light, like a marble cake (and who doesn’t love a nice piece of marble cake? Who doesn’t love cake, really? That’s what I thought). So I’ve decided to cherish all the moments. Moments like these, for example …

Deep, I know. I didn’t come up with this myself, obviously; it was one of the inspiring lines I’ve read lately. Here’s the entire quote:

Cherish all your moments.

Embrace the beauty and

The importance of each one.”

~ Melody Beattie

 

I’ve decided to make this my philosophy (as much as possible) – which brings me to one very important, very cherishable moment in terms of German-American relations, at least for me. Don’t be afraid: I’m not talking politics. I’m talking – who’d have thought – sports (yes, I’m a sports fan, who knew, right?).

It’s NFL draft season and I’m proud to report the Indianapolis Colts drafted a fellow countryman of mine: Björn (you know it’s German when there’s an umlaut) Werner (my last name too! Maybe we’re even related!?).  That means now there are TWO Germans on the NFL (the other one being the Patriots’ Sebastian Vollmer, of course) and I am SO EXCITED (that’s right, capital-letter-excited!).

Ok, he's not that photogenic.

Ok, he’s not that photogenic.

Hold your horses, though, and don’t get out the case of (German) beer and party hats just yet – there’s more news. German-American baseball player Donald Lutz (who’s already on the German national baseball team … yes, there is such a thing) made his MLB debut with the Cincinnati Reds last week – and he isn’t doing too badly. Okay, now get out the Augustiner, folks.

Cheers and Prost!

Cheers and Prost!

Of course, you may ask yourself: why is this German chick so excited about all of this? Well, it’s very simple: I’d prefer a football/baseball game over a soccer match any day. Because even a boring football/baseball game is more exciting than most of the soccer matches I’ve seen lately. Besides, the outfits are better, too.

More to the point, though: there’s a lot of diving and whining and blaming the referee for everything that went wrong for your team in the end (although that may be a problem with all kinds of sports). To be fair: I’m talking German soccer. UK soccer, for example, is still a different thing – but that’s not going to change my mind, either.

So that’s that. Call me crazy or call me maybe, I don’t care. I’m just going to cherish this moment – I’ll enjoy the baseball season while it lasts and I can’t wait for the football season to start. I’m so excited, I’ll even care a minute which one of the German soccer teams is going win the Champions League in a couple of weeks (Go, Dortmund!).  

Hell yeah.

That’s new.

Okay. I know it, you know it – we ALL know it: I haven’t been a good blogger lately. Actually, I haven’t been a blogger at all, and I am sorry. Of course, I didn’t mean to. As always. Blah.

I didn’t really have time to write (at least, not in the way I want to have time when I sit down to share a story or an idea). Yet, this doesn’t mean I didn’t have time to think; think about stories or ideas I’d like to share. That being said: Enter new form of expression (that is, new to this blogger) – photography!

It’s not entirely new terrain but I haven’t really taken anything beyond snapshots in quite a while. Not having as much time to write, though, I’ve come to appreciate its quality to capture a moment on the go (which is handy while you’re on the go yourself) while still holding a certain poetic beauty (if you know what you’re doing).

So without further ado, here are a couple of moments I couldn’t put into writing but I want to share nonetheless.

A Piece of Advice

Just a poem.

 

 

A Piece of Advice

 

I)

 

An eye for an eye

the Bible says –

just one of its vague suggestions on

how to best love

your neighbor.

 

 

II)

 

But you never listen to

what others try to tell you

(because no one listens to you either,

and when was the last time you‘ve seen

any of your neighbors, really?)

 

so instead of taking the knife

to cut a large X into his thorax (and then hers),

deep into the soft, warm flesh and

muscles, arteries, valves,

11 ounces: a secret maze

 

butchered and all the secrets shed

on the cold, tiled slaughterhouse floor.

 

 

III)

 

You dig deep down into

your own chest:

nausea, lethargy, dehydration, a tremor

(11 shots of vodka or what was it again?),

a severe case.

 

And you, the lamb of

a god who’s never read the Bible

and hands out hamburgers and beer for communion,

lie on the cold bathroom floor,

split open like rotten fruit

 

dreaming of bible verses smudged against

the stark break of day, scribbles on the tiled

slaughterhouse floor: grant us peace.

And here comes … the end?

… all for now at least.

 

I haven’t made changes to the previous two parts I posted yet – nevertheless: here comes the final one. Yes, yes – the point is still to get someone’s opinion but it occured to me (last night, right before falling asleep; best time for revelations of all sorts) that I wanted to share the entire story draft piece with you before making any changes. And then the changes will come, big time. Or whatever. Enough rambling for a Monday morning, though. Time for some prose (okay, there’s some poetry hiding as well; sorry…not).

 

Part III: Count what’s left.

Liam

Emma traced each letter with her index finger as if she wrote them, once more. What she really wanted though: erase them, with the slow rub of her finger tip. Or edit them. Of all the books she’s edited in her life, this was the one she desperately needed to re-write.

She leaned back in her chair, staring at the letters in front of her: each one stiff as dead body (unchangeable). She blinked once: they twitched (maybe?). She blinked a second time: they were as motionless as ever (dead still).

She was overcome by the sudden urge to rip out every single page. She wanted to rip out page by page and crumple the paper. Or tear it to shreds. Burn everything. She pulled the secret lighter out of her secret cigarette pack. The flame went on, off. On, off, on, off. She put it back, closed the pack. She pulled it out again (on, off, on, off).  This would leave her, once more, with nothing. Then again: after spending all these hours reading; hours full of words she didn’t understand. She hated them. They meant nothing. So really, she was left with nothing already. After a little while (on, off, on, off) the lighter ran out of gas: off.

She couldn’t remember the last time words hadn’t been a shelter, comfort, an escape. But now, they had let her down. His words had let her down. She’d thought they would help her. She’d thought if she’d get to know them, she’d know it all. Now, she knew them – by heart. She could recite them like poetry; poetry in a foreign language. Much like when she was little and sang along to Spanish songs (tried to): she never knew what she was singing and she mostly made up words that sounded like something she’d heard before. A faint echo no one would ever correct.

 

Emma

Liam wasn’t the only one with secrets in the house.

Soon after Dave was gone, Emma started smoking – although she had promised to never touch a cigarette again (she’d promised herself and she’d promised Liam and Lucy). She snuck up the stairs from time to time, hid in Dave’s office and blew cigarette smoke rings out the window, like she and Dave had done it out the bathroom window of his parents’ house when they were sixteen. She thought, like then, it went unnoticed. But, of course, it didn’t. Not then, not now.

She hid her cigarette packs where she thought Liam would never find them but he figured out all her hiding places in no time. She had always been lousy when it came to hiding things. He’d always found his and his sisters Christmas presents, long before the 25th.

After a while, he started hiding the cigarettes from her. He knew if he was serious about it, she would never find them again. And she didn’t. She never even got suspicious. She simply thought it was her – scattered and depressed, desperate; desperately trying to hide everything from her son.

And still, Liam knew. He knew about her little cigarette breaks (he knew all about her sadness).

 

Liam

April 5, 2012 – the last entry. He’d scribbled a few words in sloppy handwriting, she could hardly read it: I might never be able to tell you in any other place or at any other time: don’t let me go. Then (in the same, eerily sloppy handwriting) another poem:

 

Rest

 

it’s all bombs and white flags –

I’ve been on war,

as long as I can remember

 

it’s all bombs and white flags

I can’t remember anything else

not even how I was shot

 

an ache in my chest: the bullet

still moving, stretching

a butterfly’s wings within its cocoon

 

metal that spreads

cold and hard

against my skin

 

it’s all bombs and white flags –

a battle that’s

making me sick

 

got me a gun,

a helmet (a deadhead) –

still I know: it’s nothing but a gamble

 

flipping coins,

weighing options, making the right move:

the one that finally breaks your neck

 

I’m on on on,

I say no no no:

I say: I quit

 

no more torn bodies, feelings

limp in the mud

groaning

 

out of the protect dig: out!

out to lie down and rest

and breathe and

 

rest and breathe and

rest and

rest

 

out!

 

Emma and Liam

She got up, stepped out in the hallway, closed the door behind her. She stood in front of his room. In front of his red door; his screaming red door.

She’s felt it staring at her the last days (or weeks? Or months? Or something that didn’t have a name yet?), screaming red, screaming his name.

(Liam. Liam. Liam. Liam). Liam. Liam. Liam. Liam. Liam. Liam. Liam. Liam.

Tiny stitches. Leaving her full of tiny pinholes.

She wasn’t able to set one foot – one toe, the tip of a toe – in the room, not since she’d found him in there.

She’d found him: a belt around his fragile neck; his body limp, his face pale, almost blue.

There was still a dark spot where she’d vomited on the wooden floor.

She swallowed hard. Her mouth was dry. It was simple after all. How do you make sure no one ever (evereverever, love) leaves you again? Beat them to it. You have to be the first to go.

She pushed the door open and entered. She could still smell him. He was everywhere. She was hurting thinking it was because she’d lost him forever.

Now, she realized that wasn’t it. It wasn’t.

As she stood in the middle of his room, it suddenly struck her: she was hurting because he would never leave (out, out, out).

He would be in his room forever, he would never get out (out, out, out).

 

Aspen Season.

Aspen season

I)

00:18: It’s over –

the rain stopped, finally.

The night’s gotten too cold,

she shivers (it must be

aspen season already).

She shakes

off water drops that

have collected beneath

the folds of her

many, many eyes.

The water drips down and

she breathes a sigh of

relief – a night breeze,

soft and sweet and a little bitter.

I think, it’s really over.

II)

00:19: Clang –

broken glass or

porcelain, maybe?

No, it was the moon.

She fell off the sky.

She fell to pieces:

how beautifully they glimmer

as they drift in

a tiny puddle of dirt –

what an odd wishing well.

I light a cigarette

and make a wish.

III)

00:20: Smoke fills the kitchen –

I don’t open a window.

I just don’t know how

to let go of things.

I let it fill the empty space

he left behind (along

with an empty promise:

see-through and

revenant like a ghost or

maybe just a nightmare);

all the emptiness

seeping out

of the walls, the sockets,

blue and quiet

like electricity.

IV)

00:21: Clang

louder this time, almost violent.

I feel a breath

in my neck, a cough:

sour and stale.

I blink, splinters in my

shivering hands (it must be

aspen season already):

Your promise – it lies in pieces and

finally, I can even see it:

Tiny holes in the dark like

fresh cuts that won’t stop bleeding.


Drunk In A Midnight Choir

We have tried in our way to be free.

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Uplift & Inspire

U&I Magazine

King of States!

I'm Michelle. This is my blog. I write about women and fatness, expound upon semi-coherent thoughts I have in the middle of the night, and offer tough love to those in whom I am disappointed; they are legion.

Peak Perspective

Trying to climb out of the fog.

Infinitefreetime.com

The website of Luther M. Siler, Author/Editor/Curmudgeon

Such Small Hands

Searching for Purpose and Finding Grace

Lucy’s Football

Author, digital editor, copyeditor

Quarter-Life Comeback

Making the most of my 25th year