asheville poetry

All posts tagged asheville poetry

Shot Gun.

Published October 13, 2018 by April Fox

This is where they’ll find you

tattered and sore

what did you think would happen when you opened

(your mouth

your eyes)

your legs?

This is where they’ll find you,

painted on smile, don’t open

your mouth

(your eyes

your legs)

he’s always been a good boy

I heard he had a perfect credit score.

This is where they’ll find you,

battered and whole

hands tied feet bare

silent asking

What did I think would happen

when I opened

(my mouth

my eyes)

my legs?

This is where they’ll find you,

mask on, hands off, clothes buttoned up

tight

What did they think would happen when you opened

(your mouth your eyes your legs

your mouth your eyes)

the chamber?

This is where they’ll find you

standing

on the mountain that they built

This is where they’ll find you

when they close their mouths

their eyes

This is where they’ll find you.

Pull the trigger.

Keyboard Revolution

Published October 12, 2018 by April Fox

In a month or so,

we’ll all line up

heel toe heel toe

bootstraps high and tight

against our shins so as not

to betray the fact that we are

privileged

to be here;

we will stack ourselves in tidy rows and parcel out

our tiny pencils

we will color in the circles

very

carefully

(This is the Big Test that they told us

we’d all need to take someday. If you mark outside the bubble

your answers are invalid.)

Is your name at the top? Good.

Did you get your sticker? Excellent.

Don’t forget the perfect pout, or if you’re closer to the left

a countenance of precious outrage

One click

Two seconds

Fifty-seven likes and there’s the proof

you played your part.

And on one side there are guns, on the other

protest songs and the signs can be distinguished by

precision of the grammar and you know which one’s on your side and I know

who sits on mine and if things don’t go the way we want I

Swear

To

God

I’ll start a triple hashtag revolution

Man my keyboard

is on fire.

2017: Depression Ate My Brain

Published December 30, 2017 by April Fox

In 2017, depression ate my brain.

I wish the years were neatly separate, distinct like they are on paper

segmented like an earthworm you can tear apart and watch the old parts writhe and bleed

while a new one generates —

starting over, over, over

hard reset, the days would have an expiration date

live through this, and then you get to start again

with vocal cords that work and a mind that doesn’t will itself

into oblivion, just for the hell of it.

Social media’s a hopeful place, full of photographs of bubbly glasses, gold leaf and fireworks:

“Here’s to a better year, next time!” A dumpster fire, they call it, as if the ticking of the clock will put it out and we will Come Together To Make Things Better! and Make 2018 Awesome! and start fresh, resolution-bound and hungover in the morning

Happy New Year

but it’s not, when depression eats your brain.

I spent my days in the company of children, and the ones who cared for them also cared for me. I tied the shoes and bandaged the scrapes and explained a hundred times that cottage cheese is cheese, but not the kind you slice. I sat criss-cross applesauce on the big rug and read stories written by other people’s brains, the brains that worked. Shoes on, coats on, water bottles, line up: The routines that shaped their days helped stitch together mine.

I stayed put together and the year went on and it ate away a little more each day, and when people say Reach Out I don’t think they understand that all the things you’ll say, we already understand.

I know I’m not alone. My stuff happened alongside your stuff and her stuff and their stuff and it devoured us from the outside while we were battling the inside. The world was burning down, our heroes were dying left and right and everything seemed darker than it should. In the dark, it’s hard to see the things you should create. We are not alone, but that doesn’t make the aloneness any less.

I lost my voice, and my muscles atrophied; there was no reaching out because I know: The solid marriage, loving family, stable friendships, roof overhead wheels underneath woodstove fired up warm quilt wrapped around babies thriving sunsets starry nights and all of those things are real but the list is punctuated with the knowledge, too, that it’s all there in spite of me and there is nothing relevant

living in my bones.

Depression eats your brain and you can’t sleep or you can’t

wake up or you can’t

eat or you can’t

shower or smile or think

or hold a conversation past the canned fake plastic words you spit out on Facebook so that nobody

suspects there’s something wrong (because there’s not; it’s just your bootstraps wearing out)

You can’t do much of anything but follow the same old script but you can sure as shit argue

with the idea that there is something valuable

in you.

I lost my voice and people didn’t think I could, they wanted me to make them laugh, to mock the president, to say something sweetly vulgar because saying FUCK is trendy now and hey, what’s behind this song and hey, tell me stories that the music men told you and I just

stopped.

The words were stagnant water in my mouth. Nothing new could live there, nothing would come out; I lost the words and then I lost the chance to say

I’m sorry

Depression ate my brain

in 2017.

Dog Days

Published August 27, 2016 by April Fox

Maybe it’s the heat,

the dog days smuggling water in through your pores and into

your lungs, drowning you

inside your skin

forcing out your breath in labored

syllables

It could be the dark, creeping in

an inch at a time until one day,

driving home

you take your eyes off of the road and expect to see the sun

draped low on the horizon

but there’s only grey, tinged with the last remains

of orange at the edges, dulled

and faded

sung to sleep by the din

of the cicadas

It might be the moon;

blame it on whatever phase it’s in

waxing/waning

or the stars and their alignment

today or the day you were born, it doesn’t matter

planets spinning retrograde,

the chemicals inside your brain

The constant noise

is driving you

insane.

Refuge.

Published November 19, 2015 by April Fox

They are laughing in the sand,

their high-pitched voices crossing over and under each other and up

into the sky

into the clouds

dirty hands reaching for each other,

circling around

singing songs whose words we cannot recognize

but the tune is universal;

nursery rhymes are all the same.

They are smaller than the dogs who bark behind them

they are larger than the biggest men who wake up in the morning

ready for the hunt

they are oblivious to war

because war is all they know.

In the dark, their voices quiet

they are every child alive

they are sewer rats, princesses

trailer trash and debutantes

reaching for the shore

they are holding hands and dancing,

singing in the light

while the righteous and the holy scream in outrage:

Kill the children.

The Innkeepers

Published November 16, 2015 by April Fox

The innkeepers are waiting

their flags are on display:

sharp-edged stars and

stripes like blood and bone;

they are waiting for the visitors

to come.

Hand to brow, megaphones

in hand, they stare

across the ocean

they are waiting

for the visitors

to come.

When the boats approach the shore,

tired arms reaching out

battered, broken, devastation

written on their hearts

the innkeepers retreat,

turn out the lights and bolt the doors

hang the signs:

No Vacancy

there is no shelter here

for the weary and the lost

there is no solace here

for the visitors

who’ve come.

Scribble.

Published July 10, 2015 by April Fox

And in the middle of this, there are lines

drawn in chewed-paper crayons and apple-red lipstick,

in pencils with metal eraser bands sharpened and cruel,

in the sand on the sidewalk outside a long-outgrown day care’s fenced playground

with a stick, dragged behind

carelessly

In the cracks of the mirrors, the anger-creased palms,

the wrinkles that make up the maps to our eyes

the gaps in the boards on the falling-down porch

the seams in the grass growing up

from below

and from way up above, where we sit

idly watching

the wind shape the fields and the branches like water,

the lines come together to make up the letters

that scribble the words

to the story we wrote.

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