Without Poetry

A heart without a voice

May as well be a grave.

The ink hemorrhages

From my lips and ears.


my pain does not serve

But consumes

Everyone from the inside out.

I would laugh if I could

Bare the sound of it.

Amongst the nettles and stars

There are no men at all,

Only wafer-thin allegiances.

My blood hardens in my chest

Like an unfulfilled wish.

I have survived despite

My own ill chosen affinities.

I have survived with a sneer

And one eye cracked open

Like an old woman’s

Inexhaustible purse.

To whom should I assign my pain

When the burden of silence wears my nerves raw?

In each room, come a certain time,

You will find a shadow without origin,

A shadow autonomous and self-serving,

A shadow in human form

That draws closer when your legs are bare

And your principal is uncovered.

The abyss never flinches when in pursuit

and I dare not look askance for fear of collision.

Though the windows here

are too small for chance

I have opened them.

The air is nimble and the sunlight bold

Two finer companions I could not ask.

I fill three identical teacups

And arrange them in a semi-circle.

I am not asking for a miracle

Only a little warmth to dry my cheeks.

Nothing glimpsed in my nightmares

Prepared me for the mirror’s serrated edge.

There was no soul, no arabesques, no innocence

Only a scrap of burlap with the features sewn in.

Stitch by stitch I let down my smile

And laid my two button eyes in a porcelain dish.

I held my empty face over the basin,

But the water could not soften my flesh.

Should I surrender to apathy?

A ghost in a human carapace,

A rind pulled off in a single ringlet

And left to leather in the the trash.

Of what use is a mask

When it is only my own face

Doubled over on itself?

Give me another crime

For which I can atone

Otherwise I can’t guarantee coherence.

This is not my scene.

This is not my moment.

Regret is only wounded pride.

I pick the scabs as they accumulate

and let the ooze flow

According to its own currents.

The angels have all gone to sleep.

If I were to speak my truth now

No one would hear it.

The stone-faced people

Appear at each crossroads

With fingers fanned in every direction.

I sink to my knees

Pressing my forehead

Into the dust and the excrement.

They have no answers only jests.

(I have forgotten how to write poetry)


Wordle #96

Week 96

I hijack the cherries from
your meandering tongue.
Tendrils bound and subjugated,
it hurts to be chosen, to be beaten
within the perimeters laid.
I’ve come a long way
from necessity only.

We are rarely arborescent,
the slouch of doubt,
my turgescent member
familiar within the context
of your gradations.
A deception worn, torn,
and inundated with violence.
Are you generous enough?
Will you spare in the face
of your self-reliant poverty?

I can’t visualize a world
more buoyant, we flail,
advancing slowly,
sometimes not at all.
The stars coalesce behind
our tethered lips.
I wear your flesh,
eight inches deep
and struggling for breath.

I stack my imperfect days
vertically, a prison in which
we are both contained.
Your guilt is the only
portrait I have of you.
The resin of your gloom
suspends me indefinitely.
How can I tolerate
what I can’t understand?

I am struggling with time management right now! Also I am listening to David Usher Little Songs which may have influenced this and yesterday’s poem. Today I have my job training interview and my doctor’s appointment so I may not manage anything for Tuesday.

Wordle 235


Without risk there is no anchor,

no meaning, no fight to drive action.

How heavy these hours, this state

of perpetual innuendo and each time

I hit the floor it gives way, another hell,

another temporary fix. A team of one,

a bludgeoning of facts, a necrotizing snooze.

Wordle #81

Week 81

I keep sugar cookies in a tin

By loaves of gasping letters.

Animal print scabs clutch

At my heart, scurrilous stamps

Ripped from the corners

And taped impersonally

To sheets of college-ruled paper.

A warehouse claws

At the horizon with its filthy eyes

And I think of you blinking

In distress at concessions

That no longer suit our needs.

I hate you, particularly myself

But what is the difference?

The rivets carrying my smile

Have rusted and my lips

Ground into a fermented pulp

No longer conceal the teeth behind them.

Your mouth objects like boards over

An unthinkable and terrible space.

There is nothing to be said or done,

Nothing to be arranged or emptied,

Wordle #125


I shift my answers

To the center,

One must have magic

If one is to take heart.

I split the avenue like a bell

Footsteps echoing,

Belligerent as a stain

Always announcing

My whereabouts,

My mutability, as I skulk

From place to place

Desperate to remain unused.

In my dreams there is only me

Though I wear many costumes

I appear most often as a house.

What intrigues me most

Is that we pay for our mediocrity

However, profound our gifts.

(the secret to genius is sweat)

We want to possess,

To change without struggle,

To validate without work.

Scarred and encumbered

I have wept and waited

I have withered and illumined.

But the most profound role

I have ever portrayed was man.

Photo Prompt #39 “Scream by the Pier”

Arno Rafael Minkkinen 39

Arno Rafael Minkkinen

I swallow each plank

Mouth oblong, exacting

A splinter-filled well.

The distance

Between us is arbitrary,

An illusion generated

By our inability

To dismiss labels.

If truth does not conform

Then what will?

But truth does not

Always favor the majority

Sometimes only one

Rises to the cause.


If a fantasy the moral

Would breathe its very last

In the very first kiss

Living does not imply

Perfection, it is an art

Fueled with whatever madness

Ignites but does not wholly consume

The soul it confesses.


Steady hands struggle

To contain the pulse

And when the water rises

One cannot but scream.

To be human is to hunt

In the wreckage

For a weapon capable

Of defrocking these myriad veils

To be human is to drown

Whether above or below

Whether within or without

Sensation is not optional.





Misery that you are,

I cannot occupy your flesh

The crumbs that you have laid

Are an obstruction of passage

I will not live in the archetype

That you have blessed,

In the multi-socketed sea

Of sodium and sulfuric ash

Within a hell not wrought

By my own misconceptions.

If I must suffer better

That I relish the source.


A short one high physical pain day

Prompt #77 and Tale Weavers #30 “Chalice”


There is no incision

That does not compromise its host.

I thought I might bleed today,

Drag my ancestors

From their common red graves,

A séance where no one speaks

Their secrets are safe in me

Perhaps repeated but never staged.


I am the jar, the chalice,

The latched box

Inside of me even darkness laments.

Those who live in the gutter

Brew in the piss of their benefactors

Those who live in the gutter

Never forget that foremost

In their composition are stars.


The clouds are my anchors

I flicker as a man

Approaching death

In another war

I might have been a gun

A solider, a limping child

I might even have been a stone

Mute, encrypted,

Worshiped in retrospect.


I am not limited to what I perceive

Some days I curse and others sow

There is naught to do but ascend

But I’ve done my fair share of tunneling

Hope is always stronger

When there is no where else to go.


You may find me ignoble, wanting

You may scoff at my suffering

My education, the tenor of my constructs.

I am proof of your excess

Proof that a smile heals

What antiseptic can only bleach

Proof that love is endemic

And that when there is nothing

Left to give, there is still more

Than enough to share.

S Slashed

Scarecrow Face

Richard Keeling

We of the swollen carapace

Shall know pain mightily

Shall learn when to hold

And when to surrender

But until then we carve

Our ruts especially deep.


The world is a petri dish

And my expectations

Are irrelevant to the duration

Of my species as a whole

I speak for no man who does not

Possess a heart and tongue

Equally capable of noise

Sometimes there is even

Music between us

A kind of invertebrate symphony

Our flesh more easily stitched

Than bone or is it?


No amount of persuasion

Could draw this veil aside

For there is always another

Willing to negate the privilege.

We are alive but only just

Who among us can face

The collective consciousness?

We’ve created a society

That is contradictory

To life and our sorrows

However, scarce their content

Cannot find amelioration

In any known conquest


We contend that as children

We lived but every whisper

Contains its dose of poison

To be is to be had, to become

For the sake of an approximation

That in conflict does not stand


There are no eyes only

Pits of contagion

No smiles only frowns

Of inebriation worn askance

No hands without blood

For mercy does not fill

Leather as hate does

The seismic universal

Of self-worth is S slashed


We never look into the fires

That we have lit unless

We’ve found in some

Fool a culprit or alibi

There is no accounting

For denial, we survive only

In this moment

No matter how precariously

The future rests


I got too excited about the prompt Jen suggested so I went ahead and wrote something. I might have to move that challenge up in my schedule lol This is just where my mind took me on reading it.

Tale Weaver’s Prompt #14 Elevator


Woman in paisley print skirt: What floor?

Man in flannel jacket: 666

Woman in paisley print skirt: (grim) Would you prefer 665 or 667?

Man in flannel jacket: (sighs exasperated) I’ve stated my preference.

Woman in paisley print skirt: Are you suffering from some type of intellectual deficit? A fetish? A death wish? A complex perhaps?

Man in flannel jacket: I don’t have time for your antics we’re all headed for the same place just push the damn button would ya?

Woman in paisley print skirt: (frowns, pushes button)

(Elevator doors close. Cabin mounts cries out like nails on slate.)


Woman with striped umbrella: (whines) Why hasn’t he returned my calls?

Woman in polka dot sweater: They never do. It’s entirely personal and you should take it as such. Whoever heard of post-coital amnesia anyways?

Man in flannel jacket: The Venusians are a contentious lot.

Man with messenger bag: Does she love me? Has she found someone else? Maybe I should workout. Get a job. Move out of my parent’s basement.

Man in flannel jacket: There are bats in the eaves. A wake of revulsion.

Woman with striped umbrella: His aorta holds as a latch so that nothing given can depart unblemished.

Woman in polka dot sweater: Love is only fatal when dormant.

Teen boy on phone: Archetype of Death 3 premieres on Wednesday. I’ll bring the sleeping bags. (I am so fucking lonely)

Man with messenger bag: Her smile is like a halo split and inverted.

Woman in paisley print skirt: Does she still speak to the Devil?

Man in flannel jacket: She speaks always on his behalf. Pity is a terrible mother.

Woman in polka dot sweater: (choked inhale) If only we’d never met.

Man in flannel jacket: Is that blood?

Woman in paisley print skirt: From the Apocalypse? That was last week…it’s probably just lipstick or a spot of red paint.

Woman with striped umbrella: What’s the weather like? I haven’t been outside since this morning.

Woman in polka dot sweater: It’s as cold as a serpent’s kiss and twice as venomous.

Old man: (shouting) For heaven’s sake Eleanor what time is it?

Eleanor: What’s the use of keeping score Harold? You’re already dead.

Old man: (still shouting) Is that vodka in your purse woman!?

Eleanor: (giggles) It’s vinegar to keep the flies off.

Woman with stripped umbrella: (shrugs) What’s the use he never listens.

Woman in polka dot sweater: Why don’t we go dancing? Men are always more attentive when hunting.

(Elevator stops abruptly rattles occupants like dice in a tin cup. Doors open. In the distance voices chant Zetsubou)


(I have a lot of trouble understanding what I am hearing when in a crowd so I thought I’d have a little fun with that. I also recently read a story written in complete gibberish. Anyone else want to give it a go? Post a link in the comments.)


This submission is for: Tale Weaver’s