buttercream

drag me
fold me into your deliberations
the frothing flute in hands linked arm in arm
buttercream on my tongue
magnolias touched to the wrists

shake the beasts of burdens from our skins
become large, extrasolar
candled and sleek in the firelight
sugar castles in humid Southern air

today
the very first day
just like any other day
a day is a day is yet another day
and tomorrow, tonight, today
kinked ever so slightly
into an elevated plane of being

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seabed

global warming, incandescent, swallows oceans,
punishes innocents
blind-swimming in double-cupped handfuls.
salt scales crust earth
newly raw to light and sting in the open air.
seas, evaporated,
residual scarring:
the junction of thirst and bloat
puckering gravel beds to
suppurated seams, strained stitches, ruptured weaves.
net the shallows, haul up, and count.
there’s a bulge of bodies to triumph at,
never mind how cursory the trawl, how still they lie.
never mind how deliquesced the skin over meat still aquiver with pulse.

dead nights, up waiting

Your gifts for our marriage bed are
long-winding sheets woven from discourse,
words spun out into thread and spindled into sentences,
into whole mythologies of late-night deadlines
and beer out with the boys,
dyed for authenticity with under-eye bags and sleep-drugged slurring.
A flawless fabric, smooth as Egyptian cotton,
satiny on bare, cold, unfeeling skin.

the becoming thing

My friend over at flutterinspacetime has sponsored me for the Clarion West Write-a-thon! You, good sir, are a pinnacle of awesomeness. :D

As thanks, I promised to write a short poem for him on a topic of his choosing. Which, flutter, was a damn sight more difficult than it should have been.

Topic: write a short poem about a person who wants to become stardust.
_____

in the absence of a cohesive core we resort
to diffusion: inner workings
extruded, particulates turned
inside out. to seeing molecular bonds
unraveled and
the gulf between protons amplified
on a scale of galaxies, each part greater than
the sum-all being. what’s more perfect than
total, absolute dissipation?
like every aimless vagabond, I want
nothing more than to say, for a microcosmic moment,
that I was vaster than the ghost of me.

warm bones for a cold bed

Inevitable, the questions that surface during a family dinner:
sweet, genuinely warm,
and each a cold implacable needle
slipped silently into the lower abdomen.
My wife’s fixed smile, her terse evasions;
nothing dissuades parental convictions that one day
a new generation will be had.
_____

May’s Scottish Book Trust 50-Word Story Competition: Write a story set during a family meal.

And for once, it effortlessly falls under 50 words! Yes!

fast forward to now

In another life I was grander, vaster, hungrier, stronger.
I devoured continents, I drank the blood of sacrifices.
I was the fire.
A god, in truth,
born in flames and smeared in the ashes.
I was worshipped.
My followers huddled in perpetual fear of the stalking dark,
and only I, with my heat and light, could drive the nightmares back.
So they chanted
and I listened
and I gobbled their prayers in.

Time burned down.
Castles, gunpowder, locomotives, electric lights.
It’s a sleek, modern world we live in now.
To survive, I’ve had to rebrand.
No longer am I a fire god.
I am a kitchen god now: domesticated, refashioned.
I haunt stovetop ranges and electric griddles,
rewarding with a gentle, even simmer,
punishing with burnt bacon and scorched pans.
I’ve learned to reimagine myself,
to play to an emerging market segment.
No one cowers in fear and awe of me now (except on rare, catastrophic occasions),
but I’m there in every home, every restaurant, every office breakroom with a microwave.
My appeal, reevaluated, has been accepted.

The business of worship is cuttthroat; we’ve had to adapt.
Look at my sister, spider goddess, hoarder of shadows and secrets.
Now she’s goddess of a different sort of web,
legs straddling the world, plucking social media posts from Chicago to Beijing.
Or father dearest, the All-Seeing One,
viewership mogul of Netflix and YouTube.
Our distant relative the god of the feast has fared the best,
growing fat on transactional fees and mortgage interests, the glutton.
The world doesn’t run on blood and stone anymore.
It runs on fiber optics.

All the more pity for you, mother,
and you all my brothers and sisters,
clinging to your wooded groves and sacred springs,
howling sacrilege even as you fade away.
I pity you; yes, I do.
I may be smaller, differently shaped, unrecognizable to you who birthed me,
but I am still here.
I cling, tenacious and enduring.
I survive, while you–

You become nothing:
a memory, a shred of wistfulness;
a sentiment of time
that has long since stopped existing.