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Altar

Published October 4, 2017 by April Fox

Let’s make a little altar here

from the things that we collected

while we walked.

Let’s make a little altar

from the broken sticks,

the colored leaves, the tiny

stones

that pressed between our palms

like everything.

Let’s make a little altar

from the love notes

and the bits of songs

the promises and tears

the handprints on the glass

in the back seat of the car.

Let’s make a little altar

with the shadowbox we made

from torn up paper, old receipts

the endless coffee cups,

the rain.

Let’s make a little altar

from the nursery rhymes and fairy tales

the hangovers and lazy days

the emptiness behind the

captive audience, the rapt and

awed, the onlookers, the fans

the stick figures, the empty heads

the arms that circled close, the

time

the blackness left behind.

Let’s make a little altar, but this time

let’s keep it out

where we can see it

keep the floodlights on

the spotlight keeping lit

all the things that we’ve collected

tucked away

and dusted off

on a holiday like nothing

Let’s make a little altar

from the darkness

left behind.

Domestic(ate).

Published March 15, 2017 by April Fox

Don’t leave that there for me to find.

I’ll never see it, hiding among the dirty dishes and the piles of laundry

dumped out and waiting to be folded

(worn

dumped

washed

dried

dumped

repeat)

and the half-empty ketchup bottle on the counter with the coffee filters

the Pine-Sol stench and the blue toilet water

sensory overload

is the vacuum broken again? The birds need fed.

The mud tracked in might lead me to it,

by way of the checkbook and the appointment reminders

tacked on to the fridge

scribbled in sharpie under David Bowie’s deadpan face

each rectangle numbered

counting up

and starting over

counting down

self-contained and endless

Don’t leave it there

I’ll sweep it up unseen

with the safety pins and the breading from last night’s chicken

and toss it in the trash can

with all the other things

that were never relevant.

Dregs

Published March 15, 2017 by April Fox

If you don’t believe I’m an optimist,

you’ve never seen me

at the tail end of winter

waiting

for the vagrants to drag their weary bones

across the lawn,

leaving trails of dust and grooves from worn-down heels

gaping mouths turned toward the clouds

praying

for rain

while the birds drop hulls

from angry beaks

into the wasted grass

and scream in indignation

at the bitter cross-wind blowing

Behind the glass I warm my hands

close my eyes and disconnect

the brain that tells me

this could be the last

cold night

This could be the last season

of waiting

to be warm.

2016

Published January 3, 2017 by April Fox

Funny all the cracks that made your surface

interesting, once upon a time have filled in now

with dirt and grime and no amount of scrubbing

can restore them

Leonard Cohen left us blissful

mirror-gazing at each other, dancing

long and slow, until the end

until the end and we were

cavernous, and gaunt like insects, exoskeletons

the mismatched eyes were watching everything

and slit the throats

of all our memories, bled them dry and left us screaming

hey Ophelia

Please come back

home.

Here We Go With the War On Christmas Again…

Published December 7, 2016 by April Fox

How long ago did I write that thing about how saying “Happy holidays” meant you were a child of Satan? It’s been a few years, but we’re still dealing with people who take some kind of personal offense to being greeted that way rather than with “Merry Christmas.” Now, Donald Trump is being hailed as a hero for giving the country permission to say “Merry Christmas” again. Just when you thought life couldn’t get any more weird.

“Expect a mad run on Christmas cards and stocking stuffers in stores across the nation, as Donald Trump has officially been declared the victor in the War on Christmas… It’s unclear exactly how long Christians have been unable to celebrate Christmas in the US, or how the war got started. Perhaps it was when Barack Obama refused to have a Christmas tree in the White House. Oh wait, that never happened…”

The Teenagers’ Guide to Pitching Plans to Your Parents

Published December 7, 2016 by April Fox

I love technology.

I mean most of the time, except when it eats my articles and I’m going OMIGOD I’M ON A DEADLINE YOU PIECE OF MECHANICAL GARBAGE HOW COULD YOU EAT MY WORK I HAVE BILLS TO PAY but yeah, most of the time it’s cool, especially when it comes to texting.

I get that I’m old and I’m supposed to hate these newfangled phones that have everyone preoccupied 23.5 hours a day, but if there’s something that can keep me from having to have actual talking conversations with people, I’m all about it. It also streamlines communication, even with people I enjoy talking to, such as my kids.

Texting would be the ideal method for things like making plans while I’m at work and the kids are at school, or for asking quick questions… if it was used to actually share information, which is something my kid seems to have problems with.

Before I go any further, let me say that I have awesome kids. The best, really. Baby girl is in high school now, and she goes where she’s supposed to when she’s supposed to, does reasonably well in school (freshman year sucks), and as far as I know, hasn’t done any of the things I did at that age, that should have gotten me arrested or killed. But. This texting thing. Oy.

Now I am not complaining about how much she talks, because I love our conversations and I love that she shares her life with me, but this is what she sounds like when she comes home from school (with names changed to protect the innocent):

“Oh my god mom. Petunia is so stupid. We were in class and she said that Jim Bob liked Louise but everyone knows he likes Francine and Louise is gay so it doesn’t even matter, but Petunia just likes to start drama with everyone, and so then she was talking and Mr. B was like, “Baby girl, sit down and do your work,” and I was like, “fool, I wasn’t even talking,” I mean I didn’t really say that, but why is he telling me to be quiet and not even saying anything to Petunia? So then I went to English and Mrs. K was like, “Did you do your homework,” and I was like, “Yessssss,” which is stupid because I read that book in like fourth grade and oh my god, it’s so dumb, like why do I have to read it again? And then at lunch Braden took my apple and gave it to Stephanie, and she gave it back, but it was right before we had to go back to class so I didn’t even get to eat it, so now I’m starving. Do we have any pudding? When did you buy Cheetos? What are we having for dinner? I’m going to make some chocolate milk. When are we getting a Christmas tree?”

My point is, she is not afraid of sharing details.

So today she texts me from school, and it’s a very typical exchange, and it always starts like this:

“Can I go to this place with this person?”

Usually I know the place and the person, and it would probably be fine to iron out the details later, but there are two things about that:

One, I am not always available to drive her places and pick her up, and once in a while we actually do things as a family, and I like to make sure our plans don’t conflict.

And two, I know she’s not me but she’s a kid, and as soon as you say yes without knowing the details, you’re in for a world of trouble. For example, had I asked my mom when I was a teenager, “Can I go to the Motley Crue concert next month?” and she said yes without any further information, I would have been halfway to LA in a van with 15 dudes with tattoos and fake leather pants bought out of the back of Metal Edge magazine, on a pay phone going, “But Mommmmmm you said I could go!” So yeah. I need details.

So here’s how it goes:

Can I go to the mall with Louise?

When, and how are you getting there?

Tuesday. Her mom can maybe take us.

Tuesday what time? How would you get home?

Around 4. Could you pick me up?

Maybe. Would you ride the bus home with Louise after school, or what?

No. You need to drive me to Louise’s house.

What time?

Three.

You get out of school at three.

Oh. Three-thirty.

Would I need to pick you up from the mall or from Louise’s house?

I don’t know. 

Can you find out? Louise’s house is 10 minutes away. The mall is 45. 

OK. So can I go?

I don’t even know where or when to pick you up.

Oh. Seven. 

Where?

I don’t know. Could you get me at Petunia’s?

See what I mean? Here’s how the conversation should start:

Can you please take me to Louise’s house around 330 on Tuesday so we can go to the mall, and then pick me up at her house at 7?

That’s an effective pitch. It gives me all the pertinent information up front, and it gives me a lot less time to think about the fact that she hasn’t cleaned her room in six months, and the last time she went to the mall with Louise she got mad because Louise hid in the photo booth with Braden for half an hour while baby girl was stuck in Spencer’s looking at plastic vomit by herself, until she ran into Francine and they went to eat at the food court, where they stayed until she texted me to be picked up… and you can imagine how that went.

 

 

Vultures

Published November 30, 2016 by April Fox

Plastic vultures,

pale and fat

shiny beaks spitting out

the phrases that they’ve learned

from television,

Cool Kid Slang

the mating call

of the

desperate-

circling, waiting

for the chance to pluck the eyes out

of the children

they were never meant to have.

 

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