Life Boat Blues

Published November 27, 2021 by April Fox
I suppose it looks like
I should be drowning
in the proverbial sea of alcohol and tears
but let me tell you
Hank had nothing on me a few years ago and in the interim,
although it seems as though
I'd been saved and pulled aboard
a life raft crafted from his very skin, the truth is I had
carefully and willfully frozen the surface over and I could see
not long ago, the agony that I should feel and I confess
to having ordinary human
compassion and concern
for one I thought was hurting
(and admittedly, that was my mistake, but if those things make me a fool, I'll run the risk each time around)
but I was able to stand
above it all
and walk away
And perhaps I should apologize
for not reading the guidebook
The Modern Middle-Aged Woman's Guide to -- never mind
but the truth is, when it's been a life
of synapse hating synapse and of fighting every day
to keep myself and stay alive, I don't have time
for mindless reading
I'm so sorry
I don't care.

I don't have time to grieve
for things
that never even were

There's so much grief that's been required of me
now

There's no space left to mourn the ending
of some fanfic autobio.
And if I reached out for a hand
-- not the first
and by far not the only --
and let my hedonism rise and shift to
something like the taste of
coffee on a lazy Sunday morning
dark and sweet and lingering
forgive me if I choose this
over drowning
or sitting on the ice and staring down
at the shit below the surface
while I wished for something more.

Jump.

Published November 7, 2021 by April Fox
It's possible
that everything I thought I knew
was true
was false.

It's more likely, in the interest of objectivity
that it's probably a goulash of sorts
true, and not, and quite a few things that had had
the truth scraped away in order to show
the skeletal frame of deception.

It's certain, with very little margin of error
that I don't give a shit.

"You can't just turn it off
like flipping off a light switch."

But you can, if the bulb's been burnt out anyway
and you were only able to keep a hazy field of vision
by making light refract
from somewhere else.

It's already dark
flipping the switch just closes the circuit.

It's possible that I'm a little bit high,
taking a pause from responsibilities to
let a few words creep into my head
and out again
--and none of this
means anything
at all.

That's the one I'd gamble on.

I can look at the clock, now, and predict
when the next touch is coming
when I'll shift from blurry background prop
to something perfectly
but not at all sharply
focused
when I'll connect with this unfiltered life.

I can look at a few simple words scattered across a screen and tell
exactly where I'll be
when I close my eyes at night.

I can tell myself
with prejudice
that this is well-deserved.

I can watch the muscles of his forearm
jump as he leans forward
and know without a doubt
that this part is.

It's possible that everything I've said here is a lie

You never know.

Insomniac Storm Warning

Published November 7, 2021 by April Fox
He talks in his sleep
now and then,
a soft growl
low and deep, that wakes me up
for half a second
like distant thunder
that reminds me that
the storms are there
but miles away.
I'm too old
and cold
and tired
to have time to imagine things like fate
and deities and
predetermination;
karma is a privilege of the good, and the
universe is just a mass
of angry gas, but I have
learned
to heed the warnings and I am
grateful
to have listened when the
sirens all went off and I am not ashamed
to find myself here
sheltered from the rains
that weighed me down and nearly
made me drown.
Whatever's in the distance
has become quite self-contained
If it depletes itself or feeds itself and propagates again
is of no consequence;
there is shelter here
and peace within my walls.

Might Be

Published October 23, 2021 by April Fox

I might be
a little bit drunk, but the fact remains
that he never was.

It never was.

I left this behind
the same way you leave behind
a pile of trash, bits of paper
Once upon a time it meant something and now
You wonder
why the fuck you held on to it in the first place.

Did you need it for a return?
Proof that this thing existed?

Waiting on you, I know
you'll keep me warm

Melt me
into nothing.

Conversation, hypothetical

Published September 29, 2021 by April Fox
What are you looking for?

Nothing.

I don't think you'll find it there.
There's a mannequin in the window, watching you. What's it thinking?

Not anything. Mannequins don't think. They just stare.

Lucky.
Remember the one thing you said, did you mean it?

Of course I did. I never will. I never have. Did you?

Of course.
One day they'll drop the bomb on us. I hope you're here with me. 
There was never a point, was there? All the pencils, dulled with use and whittled down to eraser stubs, the pink dregs of mistakes huddled in the bent metal grip like refugees, bits of foil in your gums, chewed up by anxiety --
And the papers, long forgotten, formulas and spelling rules burnt up in time's incinerator

(I didn't coin that phrase; look it up)

And there goes my mind, spiraling back again

To the safety of lost album covers and songs they never played on the radio till they were oldies

And the speakers at the gas pumps tear my ears away

from my battered scalp

The exhaust fumes make big holes inside my eyes
What were you looking for? Did you ever find it?

No. I wasn't looking.

You were blind.

I was blind.
The lights were keeping score, tabulating risk

Halogen predictors of the future.
Why are you so quiet?

Go to hell.

The Economy of Loss

Published September 14, 2021 by April Fox
In this one small act
-- miniscule, undetected by almost
everyone --
there is the end of the world

A heartbeat steady and sure, stopped
by an unseen hand
vibrations stilled
the silence echoing through
a suddenly empty skull

I wish that I could hear what some might say should pass
for reasons why.

In this, there is no vast beyond, no other side;
the existence thereof is inconsequential
anyway
when one is there
and one is here

In the night sounds, I sit waiting
to hear the low thud of a string plucked,
reverberating

Nothing

Just the high-pitched sounds of ignorant, lucky things
with wings.

We are reduced in this to nothing more than the first thing that we knew

I am three years old and watching
my father melt into my mother
the universe closed in around them

I could feel it then, the nothing
the curtain coming down, closing off the reality
of permanence
the shape of letting go.

Apple

Published September 8, 2021 by April Fox
I killed my aloe.
Everyone says you can't do that;
That aloe is impossible to kill.
I can kill damn near anything.

Pert near, my grandma Fox used to say:
"Supper's pert near ready."

She was the softest person I've ever known
And probably the toughest

I remember the apple tree in her yard.

I wonder how she walked and talked and breathed when her little ones were gone.

I want to make apple butter,
sit in the kitchen and watch it cook down to thick, brown
Paste

Feel the autumn forcing its brittle way into the heat.

I want to reconstruct the farmhouse
Stack it plank by plank, haphazard
Crawl back up into its lap, settle deep into the sawdust and woodsmoke and the crumbling edges
Of the floorboards
and the softened stairs, sagging in the center

Find the places where the ghosts are huddled
Whispering to me that the aloe can live
pert near anywhere.

Go.

Published July 28, 2021 by April Fox
Find a place
go there
look around
try again.

Cover your ears with thoughts
of escape plans
and tiny spiders crawling
up your arms
Cover your mind with things that used to work but now
only make you real.

Find a place and know
it isn't yours
sit down in the grass
try again.

Cover your eyes with
indifference and giant shades
Cover the holes in your mind with bandages made of memories
And lyrics from the songs you used to sing your kids
to sleep.

Find a place to hide and don't come out
Try again.

FloydFest 21

Published July 28, 2021 by April Fox

In case you missed it, here’s my coverage of FloydFest 21 for Glide Magazine; it’s essentially my highlights reel. Spoiler alert: Billy Strings and the Avett Bros aren’t here, man.

https://glidemagazine.com/259416/ten-things-to-love-about-floydfest-2021-short-company-devon-gilfillian-dr-bacon-more/

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