Poetry Archives C-D

Chemical Peel (a WebMD cento)

A reaction
Caused by
Any history of scarring
In your life
The effects are often dramatic
Also more complicated

How deep it was
And you may have to return

The most appropriate type of treatment for you
How much risk you are willing to take
Depending on the type of problem being treated
You need to prepare yourself

A controlled wound
Removes several layers
Elevating the head
Followed by a stinging sensation
Soft tissue
Some people may be more likely to scar
This can make regrowth
More difficult

Complete healing
To reduce pain
This procedure destroys parts
As needed
Chronos at Woodham’s Lounge

He said his name was AJ
but I think he lied
as he poured the first round
set before us
what we ordered
and not what we wanted
we watched as things condensed
on the outside of the glasses
forming as the moments formed
ticking and dripping
creating circles
when we were careless
wiped away
when we weren’t looking
everyone smoked
though we weren’t supposed to
hoping not to see
the man who wasn’t there
in the corner that wasn’t there
we told our stories
and I think we lied too
made promises to strangers
pretended not to notice
time and condensation
ticking and dripping
as we ordered another round

If I had a daughter
I would do silly things
like name her Athena
buy her too many shoes
tell her it is all right
to be afraid sometimes
let her eat ravioli
straight from the can
if she didn’t want to wash a dish
encourage her to think of things
that other people didn’t
she wouldn’t have to
make her bed
every day
as long as she could
sleep well in it
every night
she could paint her toes and eyelids
any color she chose
cut her hair and speak her mind
even if I didn’t agree
and she would never be told
not to ask so many questions

Ask me about the glass now
empty full half or whole
I say cracked
cracked to the side that no one sees
the one turned toward
the center of the kitchen table
the family gathered round
as the drops slowly fall
forks against plates as I reach
to grasp to stop
to mend the leak as I watch
the ice within breaking down
becoming what surrounds it
and all falling out
amid the mashed potatoes and laughter
standing to the side
of what should nourish me
I reach out again
and holding what contains
all I have been
feel it shatter in my hand
For Dale, on his birthday

I have this friend
I’ve never met
who feels sort of
like family
in that way
that people
sometimes do

like that cousin
you never met
until you were both adults
because you grew up
in different states
but then you did
and immediately
one of your own

in the way
your jokes were got
and your weird interests
didn’t seem so weird
and you were made
to think of things
you hadn’t before
but that seemed so obvious
in retrospect

in the way
you suddenly wished
you hadn’t grown up
so far apart
Disposable Alice

She wasn’t much
one for words
but if you knew
what to listen for
every drag spoke volumes
of inhaling
her own mortality
drawing it deep
holding it in
for cursedly unfrail flesh
to weaken
betrayed by youth
as she stood
miasmic and longing
for this
self-inflicted erosion
to wear her down
the futile remains
beneath heels that had
nowhere else to be
the next opportunity
came along
to barter
this unwanted lushness
for a stronger poison
or whatever
she could get
as long
as she had to stick around


An online friend took a picture and let me write a poem about it.


Dogs don’t get poetry

They don’t get the need for quiet
during the agonizing indecision
as one fights the battle
between “but” and “yet”
what they get
is that squirrel won’t bark at itself
either will the mailman
or the neighbors
they get that
if not for them
you could be murdered
in that chair you spend too much time in
and they don’t get your lack of gratitude

Dogs don’t get philosophy, either

You’re here because
you’re the one with the thumbs
you can reach the cookies
and the place
between my chin and my belly
that I can’t quite
and in return
you will not be murdered
by that squirrel
or that mailman
or those neighbors

Dogs get Communism
surprisingly well
Drunken Love Notes 1

I want to write you
an angry love poem
take everything
I’ve never said
and throw it in your face
and weak and wordless
and incapable of better
right now
and somehow
make it seem
more like it’s your fault
that you never knew
I felt this way
Drunken Love Notes 2

You called me “loyal” once
and I thought of all sorts of
poetically bullshittified replies
“would you call a moth
loyal to your porch light?”
something about a drop of sweat
being loyal to your skin
blah blah the air
in the tires of your car
a bunch of other things
that all had in common
things that need
other things
are drawn to them
and don’t function well
in their absence

Which is a kind of loyalty
but not the kind
where you really have a choice

More and more lately
I’m finding imperfection
more than
any well-polished
marble-cold smoothness
finding necessary roughness
exactly that
finding even the worst
sort of first person
preferable company to all
the tragically magnificent thirds
no one has ever met

I’d rather read
elbows calloused from
too much time spent
leaning on the brick wall
that backs the Denny’s parking lot
than the silkiness of
resting on 100-year-old inlaid rosewood
once seen in an antique store window
and now imagined
as a base for every word

I’d rather read
blackness like burnt coffee
tolerated for its unlimited refills
blackness like licorice
but darker and whipping twice as hard
but babe, you’re worth it
you’re worth the blackness
the pain
you always were
and if I burned
my last Bauhaus t-shirt
on the sidewalk in front of your parents’ house
that light and warmth would never be
like your eyes
in winter

I’d rather read
teen angst by teens
than Victoriana by 30-year-olds

I’d rather read
sincere dreck
than eloquent hypocrisy
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