Wednesday, April 30, 2014

npm: 04.30



may the tongue keep wings
& lash unbashful tumbled
flight from perch, with bite

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

npm: 4.29

For today's poem I used a Rachel McKibbens' writing prompt, located here(click)

I cannot wait to go back and edit all of my poems from this month. All of the ones posted are unedited drafts, and it will be interesting to see how they grow/change.


Dictaphone in the parking lot;
your hair unnatural yellow when
we first hit lips
I said
"follow me"
and you followed,
kitchen counter
old house, junkyard and train track.

We made up reasons to keep on touching--

a summer night I drove forty miles south
to talk you down from car roof,
laughing mad in own lap
you slid down windowshield
past my arms
liquid prisms on your lips--

waterbed morning, early
when sun was still stretching
clutter of floor
confession on a collarbone

you shaved your face while we fought
calm until not
blue sweater and Basics
the calmness we left it
not our bed
not our argument
smashed glasses
lost pilot, early morning speeches
so sweet
hurt teeth
too little/too late
old green
of the last time
we ever said
not yet

May 8th Reading!

Hey! This is next week!

Monday, April 28, 2014

npm break

I was out of town visiting family this weekend so there are no poems for Saturday or Sunday. Not sure if I'll get around to writing one tonight--this week is my last week of work so I am busy on that front, and I have a neverending to-do list for things at the apartment.

Here are some things:

I have about 33 days left in Pittsburgh. On my drive back from Ohio yesterday I realized just how ready I am to go. When it's time, it's time.

However I'll be back in 2 weeks(june 14th) because OMG my book is going to be done! I can't believe it. I'm so excited--I thought it might not be done until the fall or winter but hooray! Just another month or so.

Yesterday(and Friday) on the road I recognized that I now get very, very nervous when I pass a semi-truck on the highway. That hit and run left an impression on me, a bigger one than I initially thought. Hopefully this fear will subside but for now I'll continue to pass with extreme caution.

My sister took me to get my first ever manicure. The woman taking care of me told me I have very strong, good nails. She also remarked that my skin was super soft. In closing, I managed to mess up the nail polish twice before we even left the place. Ah well. It still looks nice.

More soon. Onward.

Friday, April 25, 2014

npm: 04.25


She was gone for days.
We chewed on her shadow
until dark corners dissolved,
stained our tongues

When our mouths ran out of room
we leaned against the window
watched empty driveway waiting
until the panes gave up and scolded us
by falling out rhombus on gravel, plant.

Waiting grew teeth
waiting set the table
cooked us til meat
fell off bone.

She was gone for days.
The wait developed limbs,
shoulderblades that split the mattress
with their sharpness,
elbows and bullet holes.
Waiting raised us, hunched and rancid.
waiting grew us,
daughter fools.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

pittsburgh letter 1

Dear city,

Tonight I was walking on Forbes Avenue. I looked up and noticed white blooms on a young tree--this was pressed to a sky preparing for dusk. This moment, with my legs still striding, hit me in the gut. It was my first real, painful moment of missing you. Or beginning to miss you. I'm not even gone yet. I don't know if I've been playing it cool or if I'm extremely skilled at shoving those emotions of separation down into my feetbeds, ignoring them until they rise and spill. Maybe I am caught up in the surreal feeling of leaving a place I've known as home for almost thirteen years.

There on the street my heart sank. I've grown up with departure and goodbyes--absence feels threaded through my back bone at times. I say this knowing that our time together is done. I say this knowing, eventually, we will both get used to not being there together, as a human and their environment. You, dear city, will cease to be my background. I will know your roads until I don't anymore.

So many of my memories are tucked safely within your walls and non-walls. Ghosts of places no longer there, like Duke's bar or Metropol or Teleropa. The dead end shortcut past piled apartments by the house on Maripoe--the rooftop there, where still a pair of initials rest in octagonal shingle. Or that terrible drunk band that slid into our booth at Dee's, or Roz fixing me up the hangover special(3 orders of potatoes, all on one plate). Many, many moments on sidewalks and late nights and backyards. There is stuff I can never take back. Fireworks on the bridge, my cat on the neighbor's roof. Dear city you own so much of me. I will keep what I know of you with me, always. I will remember all the things I learned during your terrible winters, the warm souls I was fortunate enough to know and hold, all those bus moments that don't really belong anywhere--years of taking that thing, all the bodies in seats and standing. The way the sun would come in the windows on the 77 after work.

I felt it tonight--the reality of departure. Thirty-seven more days to soak you in, to fill my dance card, to eat all the thai food.
I'll do my best, dear city. I promise you.

npm: 04.24


Matador and dove--
our champion in bleeding gums,
his groupies growling
dripped in thorn,
sun in their eye
bruised wrists lifted like
purple starfish above
squinting chorus line.

Oaks were planted
where beast's rotted knees
horns down
white knuckled prayer
glint and slip
sheath to lung--

the women dig
all limbs in

buttered heels--

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

npm: 04.23


When young I kissed you once.
I remember because we knocked teeth
because you were handsome
dressed for work--
you had a truck.

All my favorite writers
lived with fists and pens,
unshaven faces, switchblades,
hearts outside
thrust on sticks.

One summer,cramped cars and mugs of malt--
I wanted trouble
more than trouble wanted me,
grown baby in the weeds.

And then blood and sleep.
Incisors of our brittle weeks

because romance changed faces
it wasn't the bar anymore
it wasn't the broken
or brick leaning patrons of our
older affections and their small town bands
no more winking over neck
amused by youth as
ashtray goes above sea level--

carriers of decay, restless
in our abandoned boats
beards to our bellies
yet still--


surviving ourselves


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

npm: 04.22


if you opened my mouth
there might be a tree
something both gnarled, flourished,
trunk shoved right from tongue.

among the newsprint,
some graves.
piles of wilt
a hole where reasons should be.

my bed is red--worse than blue.
oven hollers and wine glasses
pop like glitter--
unhinged bone
rarely burns.

do me a favor

find these teeth
a reason to bite--
find me meat
I can earn.

Monday, April 21, 2014

npm: 04.21

Another haiku.


Sometimes the words fall
asleep and when they twitch with
dream we break their legs.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


The year = 1998. The event? Best play ever.

stevie nicks

I love this. Young Stevie Nicks singing "Wild Heart" backstage while getting her make-up done.

npm: 04.20

I didn't write a poem yesterday. I was too busy hiking and soaking up the sun. Last night I went out. I fought the urge to hermit myself away and instead met some new people and danced my ass off with an old friend. Just one of those days where you get caught up in living and there's a pen nowhere in sight. Yesterday was its own sort of poem. I needed that.

Today's poem is comprised of three haikus.


It is how you can
smell a season. It is what
you tape to the walls.

Hills hides the dancers.
I look up and still myself
to see the clouds move.

Rare these days become--
the ones that threaten time,
the ones that feel like God.

Friday, April 18, 2014

npm: 04.18

today's poem is a haiku. i was reading about the habits of bees(fascinating stuff--i highly recommend it) and came across the term "balling." when a new queen becomes available, worker bees will kill the reigning queen by balling her. this entails tightly surrounding and stinging her until she dies. i like the idea of our girl knowing its coming and being ready for a battle



colony morale--
pollen crown queen, broken legs
loads her gun, spits blood

Thursday, April 17, 2014

npm: 04.17

for today's poem i used a ghostline from another Rachel McKibbens' writing exercise, which you can find here


her hands are vanished
round the head, hiding.
i know you, or don't i
a voice remarks all
strung syrup from ceiling,
both feet punch out the bottom
of brick shoes.
chain coils around her
wedding train restraint
perfect teeth
belly carved in,
apple core.

On knees she slides
to side of bed. Eats the sheet.
Cicadas circle the wrist she
gifts my hip. They sing the songs
that break my heart. The shards
rise to surface and she pulls them,
stained glass stacked in palm. Insects
wiggle from their wardrobe here.
And the light and the shards and the sickness
oh beauty
none known
with rotted beak she leans in
this is what we call forgiveness.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

npm: 04.16


Sun, mad at moon, never rose. She tried old tricks of counting backwards from 10, 20, 4.6 billion but nothing worked. Steam still brewed from lash and knuckle. She took a walk and burned the woods. She considered prison but melted lock and bars. To the whiskey, huddled in a bad way. Around her shoulders a blanket thrown, full of stars and stains.

End this feud, the rain chanted. The clouds linked arms. Grass grew in, the color of forgotten lemons.

Moon, crooked above, craters all full of blood. The waves get worse. Dams are deceived. I apologize, she writes. Bird wing dipped in tar.

A waitress brings it, impatient, marked with hemisphere of condensation. Another round, mugs melted. Sun reads, waits, smiles to lap. The soft in her lets it go. One day she will consume and collapse. There is no time to hate a waning gibbous.

The two meet somewhere, undisclosed. Craters drained, our girl rose. World squints a parade.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

npm: 04.15

I thought about going back and writing some poems for the days I missed, but figured I would keep going forward instead.


Between waterspots there is reflection. A sort of thing I know. I can check the guest list of freckles, can note the lips split nightly by smiling. I marvel the liquid bit of road map hinting under light and surface. One could travel from my temple to my toe if every turn is a detour into new tributary. A branch of blue in my chest, the invisible birds that weigh it down. What is this sulking?

I stand all thief with the goods piled high on the ankles. No sweat. Just lean into it. This sadness is all thick and thumbs. I follow on my hands and knees until I find a weed. I exhale her dry. I pull her with teeth.

(Renee reading at Sphinx Cafe)

Monday, April 14, 2014

npm: 04.14

(I'm a few days behind due to being out of town and then getting the usual head pain).


you don't want to see it
so of course
it's everywhere.

shot off at the mouth
even bullets
carry compacts
filled with mirror.

the trash smells like pennies.

floor a minefield of fallen attire,
to stop

prior self melted
your hunch of shirt with billowed neck,
demure cross of empty leg

every minute a bit of us gone--
cells dead
bad roof
peeled wind
rubbed raw
new leaf

Sunday, April 13, 2014

the busy life

Poems for Saturday and Sunday will be up shortly--hang tight. I was out of town this weekend soaking up lovely time with the family.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

in the neighborhood

Came across this scene in the neighborhood:

This guy was trying to make a run for it.

npm: 04.10


Photo fuzzy,
like captured bad reception
rabbit ear
let go
to left instead of right.

A circle of night,
a clue,
pigment in the snow.
Body vintage,
doll's lidless gloat,
finger bones of ghosts
point out shadows,
lumps of shade taped
by toe, curved wall--
Plato, plastic
4 by 6//some by none//beat by quiet

red so red is blue

loud so loud is silent

dark so dark
there must be

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

npm: 04.09


always be the cake you want to eat
the one animal standing in field of slaughter and slumber.
be cloud that moves fast, changes shape--
a tiger needlepointing thrice all her stripes
one paw balanced on berry, uncrushed.
be flickering light
be ridiculous, heavy,
a planet playing dress-up
be what eats fire
crowd mountains in spit
turn em to islands
be a glass half-broke
be tongue unsettled forever
romancing teeth
be sugar that ruins them,
be villian and prayer
a hammer of silk
a heart made of soap

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

npm: 04.08

today's poem is a little short, written from this ghost line exercise from Rachel McKibbens, located here


but they let go and you drowned.
you came back with more tongue,
so much your mouth wouldn't fit,
so much your collar stayed wet
and birds dodged drops to beat wings
in hopes of drying the dark but
you stayed that way, a river in the middle
of a lake blue and roaring--

Monday, April 7, 2014

npm: 04.07


In the quiet of a bathroom blue
when I forget to wash my face and
instead inhale both hands because
your skin and my skin somehow
smell better together.
Sun and cut grass,
peppered sweat
and coffee breath.

Not even plum, not even fist--
helix strands still missing heads,
rustflecked, outstretched
and I slept and I slept.

The moment it happened
must be unknown. Somewhere
between flora and teeth,
burrowed in the coldest winter.
The sheets, the floor--your
back or mine?
In all that living,

Sunday, April 6, 2014

npm: 04.06


Today's poem is a pantoum from a writing exercise by Rachel McKibbens located here.

What is never remembered?
Did I stay too long?
How am I to your heart?
What do I really look like?

Did I stay too long?
Was I ever enough?
What do I really look like?
Was there ever a moment I could have not?

Was I ever enough?
How am I to your heart?
Was there ever a moment I could have not?
What is never remembered?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

npm: 04.05


The body wept.
Through the night
through the sheets
saturates corners
of dreams
pirate ship of rhombus
rose and dipped the sea
wooden hips of mermaid mast
swivel eights empty
salt, flesh,
when i wake up
to stay afloat
I bobby pin the clouds to me.

Friday, April 4, 2014

npm: 4.3 & 4.4

I missed yesterday's poem due to a migraine. To make up for it, I'll write two today.


haunt(in weeks)

She spits daggers
lifts houses
grass grit of front yard
colors teeth--
her grin
black dirt and blood.

Flung her arms in the oak,
and the sun rose past scaffold
past factory, veils on stake
mourning post.

Only ever mine but never--
honey ghost go home.
Wanted true but wrong clock--

braids her snakes
driveway tongue
boots the ground below.


before before, there is after

When I had no silverware,
I stole a fork from a restaurant.
My heart at the time lined his pockets
with cloth napkins, jammed
the soup spoon in his sock.

Our refridgerator boasted
a bottle of wine, loaf of bread.
His bag rattled Mad Dog, our tub
roared with laundry.

When we left he said
leave it. This shoe, this plate. This gifted
surface on split leg.
I left my blood in the water back then,
bagged up hurt
and never unpacked the truck.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

npm: 04.02 (2 poems today)

I used a prompt for today's poem. The prompt is located here. This was a tough one, and a little weird, but a nice little exercise. When you're confined to certain words the results can be surprising.

04.02 poem 1

This empty stem is on the house.
Episodes of crush bloom riots--
this beaming howl of delusion,
behind each screen a misshapen never.
A jolt ruckus lingers,
perched method,
oh rapture
on you go.

4.2. poem 2

(I also wrote another piece on the fly, no prompt)

Can you love a door
the way you love
the other side
of it
the reveal
the quiet life of keyhole and lash
can you love the frame
just as much
without all the earthquakes
can you adore windows for keeping fingerprints
when the hand owner is gone
can you trace the blurred lasso of solitary thumb
so obvious midday especially when
the clouds beat out the sun
can you love poem the floor
if it meant collecting all those feet
straight lines will buckle
curtains will tear
can easily be

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

national poetry month - 4/1

This month I will write at least one poem per day in honor of April being National Poetry Month. Unlike years prior, I will be writing with one theme/project in mind, so all of it should go together. This may make sense to only me, but that's quite alright.

Anyway, on with it. Welcome to day 1.



Spiral, clumped and clinging
deep sea line to gravity--
our hero's balance compromised.
Red everything yet reliant,
our platelets
our fill of plants
carved out internals where sits a
bench full of initials.