Thom Yorke and Aliens

Published June 22, 2021 by April Fox

It’s not like I thought you didn’t
fit in here, or whatever

Not that you seemed out of place, exactly
Although it’s the universal lament, isn’t it?

“I don’t belong here,” although Thom Yorke
(to his credit) sings like
he invented the idea
It was more like you were the only native and all the rest of us
(by which I mean me) some sort of
invasive creeping shrub you allowed and cultivated
for the flowers
and the scent

And at night I start these thoughts, and travel off along some strange tangential road and midway through
a sentence, you step away
“Hang on a second, there’s a thing…

I’m still listening”

But by then, my thoughts have settled in
Cozy in a den of softly played forgetfulness and by the time you turn
your face around, again
they’re fast asleep
And we go through the motions
of our day.

In the darkest part of the night, restless from your footsteps and your weight
against the mattress, I begin
“But like, that’s not all he was, Thom Yorke”

And you walk with me along the winding path of thought
to sleep,

The resident leading the visitor
the alien following blind.

Ghosts (again)

Published June 10, 2021 by April Fox

They flatten themselves against
the walls, as I walk past
trying to make themselves
invisible
holding the breath
they never had
to remain unheard and I
flex my fingers
once, twice
feel the cracks in my knuckles and my
ribs
as I breathe for them.

They are not shrinking back in fear
but in relief
heads bowed, ghosts
in awe of the living
hiding from the light.

It never comes
and still they stand there, waiting
flattened paper sculptures
where the spectres used to hide.

Every crack was a stolen breath
every smile an act of defiance, every
act of rage, every fast, illicit
fuck
a testament to life
where the ghosts were meant to be.

Every smile now
a fair exchange
every slow, deep breath at night
a token like the precious
bits of treasure taken from a child’s
pocket:

A smooth stone, a penny, a tattered wing from a broken moth
their worth unknown except to those
who picked them up

The ghosts are watching from behind their paper eyes and I am
staring back with matches
set to light.

Boot

Published January 7, 2021 by April Fox

You don’t have to be gentle
with everyone.

You don’t owe it to the boot that stomps your face to smile
through broken teeth.

You don’t have to prove yourself again and again
and again
worthy of the praise of those who aim
to crush your larynx closed; you don’t

have to
stanch your rage to be accepted in
polite society
Manners are for tea time
and waiting in line for the sink.

You don’t have to look away avert your eyes pretend that you don’t see
Just because you can
Just because you get to.

You don’t have to be the one to plug the flowers into
the mouths of the guns while the bullets fly
and the bodies fly
and the flags fly
and the buzzards fly and wait
to pluck your eyes out
as they melt into the ground.

You don’t have to be gentle, but you are
because it’s counter what they’re doing
and so you’re not like them, but understand
You are the teeth
Or you’re the boot
Or you’re the laces
tied up tight.

January 2021

Published January 1, 2021 by April Fox

Look at us, scorched and scornful

black-burnt stick-limbs scratching messages on the walls,

pencil scrawled profanity to make you

stutter and avert your eyes

like you never thought those words

in pleasant company,

gloves stretched tight white painful across your knuckles

buried deep behind your teeth, tasting

blood at the back of your tongue, fighting

hard

not to swallow. Look at

us, small and sinful

brains gone flaccid, atrophied from

lack of use and no desire

to exercise

they tell us

GO OUTSIDE

TAKE A BATH!

positive

fucking

think

like you can’t even

make a spark

to light the way

Look at us, sunken-eyed and dark below

so goddamn depression-beautiful

we’ll let you know if we need anything

thanks so much for reaching out

the platitudes drip dirty water

down our chins

“If only we had known” and in truth

your arrogance

is all that separates us.

Ocean.

Published January 1, 2021 by April Fox


I am not

prepared

to look at the place

you left your shoes

(I see them at night, behind

my shuttered eyelids, I picture

them

side by side, one laid over sideways

discarded with the laces

struggling to catch up)

I have a towel, here

I have hot coffee

you can have my robe.

The waves creep in and I know it’s not the ocean

yet

you never made it there, and still

-and still.

Ain’t so Real

Published August 3, 2020 by April Fox

(They tell us)

Real women have cuuuurrrrrrrvesssss

-Gotta draw that out real slow, let the word trace along the edge of the

Fat thighs, round hips, breasts like balloons every little boy

want to die in

Real women look after themselves,

legs like stilts that hold up the pedestal balanced there,

low flat belly, chest like a smooth wave in the ocean

sharp cheekbones cut like ice if you aren’t

Perfect(ly made; don’t tell me

that’s a real woman)

Anorexic overeater tell you hormones make the lady

but that facial hair they say to shave says otherwise,

now don’t it?

(They tell us)

Real women take care of their own, work hard, bring that money home and

ain’t no real women go away all day and leave her kids.

Real women stand up for themselves, don’t take no shit

get that dinner ready on the table when your man gets home

Keep him fed

Feed him good.

(They tell us)

Real women don’t belong HERE in this restroom

Real as the ache of not being seen,

real as the ache of being questioned every day, from the inside,

Who am I, and why am I here?

Real as the knowledge that power comes from the pocketbook

and that your breasts are weapons to be feared

even if

they haven’t started yet.

Real as the leaves in the hair, the rocks in the knees on a dark dirt road cause you need

a place to stay that night

and when you’re fifteen,

nothing feels like home.

Real as the blood on the sheets, the blood on the arms, the blood on your face

waking up in tears

remembering.

Real as the day long hours wondering why you weren’t made

like all the other

Real Women

with their fat flat asses and their sharp smooth hips and their

curves worn damp with time

erased

Real like knowledge

Real like the mirror, waiting to look back

And feel complete.

Said

Published July 2, 2020 by April Fox

I said this

then I forgot what it meant in the haze

of lost remembrances and words skewed catty-cornered

from the way they should have read

In my myopic misanthropic misalignment of the margins I

let slide the focus and the letters I was

sending in my head slid

off the page

burnt down to ash

and then to ash and then to

ashes as they scattered but the fragments

of the bones, they stayed behind

too hot to touch, still a spark

I said

I think I’ll leave you here

to start a fire.

Avenue

Published April 29, 2020 by April Fox

This avenue ain’t for the downhearted,

the heavy steppin’

This is where people walk who got

five pounds of flour under the stairs

and enough sugar left over

to make a cake

This where folks walk who got a dollar in their pocket

without the corners torn off

already half spent on

nothin’.

This is the bench where people sit and talk

to no one

about they diamond lives and how they mad

cause they don’t want everyone else

to have it too.

This is where they stand up and stretch, put their noses up and look

sideways and down to make sure the nets

they keep around them

ain’t come down.

This avenue ain’t for the folks who walk

authentically, worn-down soles

and battered souls, this is where they walk

on shiny heels, in the light so bright you

can’t see

nothing else.

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