poetry

All posts tagged poetry

Drive

Published November 22, 2018 by April Fox

Pushing a decade or so ago, now

before we knew who

or what we were

you were traveling

Your words popped up periodically:

“Gas is stupid expensive here,”

“Do you know this song by Ween?”

“I’m lying on a picnic table somewhere in Virginia, looking up

but it’s cloudy and I can’t see what the moon looks like from here.”

So I sent you a picture from my bedroom window, looking out

The moon in a clear sky, small and grainy in the black.

When you returned you said it took you twice as long to get where you were going

because of all the conversation

I apologized and you said that it was worth it

just to see the moon from where I was.

Tonight I’m waiting

The moon is high above the highway and the brake lights on the cars ahead

remind me of the way we used to talk

about the fluid physics of time.

Tomorrow night, from somewhere in Virginia

you’ll step out of the car and let me know

you’re headed home.

Feel.

Published October 29, 2018 by April Fox

This is what it feels like

(I don’t know)

to be kept out, sent to the back,

inked with numbers like cattle

(I bought my ink with dollar bills

you sold your soul to make)

This is what it feels like, one tenth of a percent

to send my child out, brown eyes

thick lips, pants sagged and face

inked like you don’t know

he never pulled the trigger

White as I am

you can’t tell,

arms scabbed and ribs shining

like blades in the street light

You can’t tell

I held that belly, sunken now

in the palm of my hand when he came home

small as life

You can’t tell

I wear my whiteness like armor

(you don’t know)

protect me when I walk at night, keep me in the car

when I get pulled

my brake lights shot like Walter Scott’s but I’m alright

It’s just a warning

        Careful now,

                don’t get hurt.

I know this

My breasts

        (no matter how small)

my ass is a beacon, shining out

spotlights on the fact that I am there

to be taken

that you can have the thing that I have never

until right now

given up one hundred percent voluntarily because I know

from the time I was 14 years old

that if you want it

you’re going to take it

anyway

This is how it feels

(I don’t know)

to be safe in the world

This is how it feels

(I don’t know)

to be safe

This is how it feels

(I know this, now)

to be helpless, to lie flat still frozen

in the dark to wait

for the things that gobbled up the blacks the Jews the

mouthy women the men crawling on the street with needles in their veins

the infants pulled to term and shit out on the sidewalk

screaming with addiction while the pro-life movement dangles formula and warmth

above their heads, the cost of daring to be born

to be sacrificed to hungry priests to be grown up

cut and bleeding

on the bathroom floor

This is what it feels like

(I don’t know)

to be quiet, watching, waiting

until they come for us.

Again.

Published October 17, 2018 by April Fox

In the middle of the night

he is lit from behind, the glow of the hall light

shining through his skin and I want to ask him

all the things that end in

Yes,

the things that someone else with

better words and softer, paler edges

could spin into the silk of romance and something like

forever but the night

is heavy with the weight of day and though I can see him

my eyes are closed and somehow I can only ask for the one thing

that’s immediate:

water.

When his shadow crosses mine again he brings me all the answers

in a paper cup

and holds it steady till I rise to drink.

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.

Losing October 

Published November 15, 2017 by April Fox

In my nightmares there is metal everywhere. 

The little one is hungry,

two-dimensional

I’m not sure if he’s real or a

creation of my 

imagination and the wires

the image projected flat

onto the glass —

The eyes are still the same. 

When he was broken, once

I carried him and had him cast. 

I am waking up and

waking up and

waking up and

not. 

When I finally sleep, I’m cradling

all the tiny things

Trying to keep the other ones

from tearing out their spines. 

%d bloggers like this: