marseillaises

Little windows framing lives
endless boxes piled sky high
Rosey hopes wilt
to dusty pink
etched with rusted
forlorn dreams
The sidewalk teeming
with discarded traces

of love displaced
for a quick fix
parked in the dark corners
of feigned smiles
that barely beguile
enough coins
for cab ride home

it’s just an airport

We walk worldly
Our steps echoing on polished floors
The hour is early busy
Clouded eyes lifting
Coldly neutral as the airport we’re in

You are at ease
I am frazzled
The ads talk to you
They silence me
You are begged to invest
While I am divested of worth

We walk and talk
Too soon of the state of the world
Old angers rise to meet old excuses
I linger bit behind you
Lest I be thought complicit
by association

In the building
of walls and corridors
to preserve men
and their treasures
From the hunger and horror
through which they travel
well creased and unscathed

drumming

jotNrot

I’ve been through some troubles
And I must confess
I don’t think I like
Being caught in this mess
You think it’s exciting
You think it’s fun
But something inside me
Is coming undone

You smile and say something
That I can’t hear
So I smile dumbly
And I feel my ears
Drumming red
At the thoughts in my head
Of things we did
And what wasn’t said

I stare at your shirt
There’s a faded print
I make out some words
That read this is it
You notice me staring
And ask what I’m thinking
Just to be daring
I say without blinking
That nothing would look
So much better on you

You smile as you’re leaving
I wave back at you
Was that an invitation
Or just something you do
When you’re done talking
And awaiting my move

I lose my balance
As my bicycle swerves
I forget…

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meating 

At the high end of the market
the meat is pricier
but under the cologne
and expensive wrapping
these portions are still meat
meeting up to grind
hoping to find
a reflection sweeter
than the acute inspection
that awaits them at home

And I can sway like the others
under the light of late summer
Make like it matters
that my wine is as chilled
and light as the chatter
of birds with no need for words
to spell out the signs
held up by time
ticking ornately by

Night is coming on strong
as cologne mixed with sweat
set in air
conditioned to keep
the numbers aloft
But there is nothing soft
in desperation
or the blaring pink strobes
that probe transparent fabrics
for a hint of low cost hope
to make up for the price
already paid

misunderstanding

jotNrot

I gave you this volcanic bit
Because it’s born of a heat
too intense to be contained
And it rained destruction
on all in its path
And even when too cold to sear,
it cuts if you hold it too tightly
And though it inspires
such awe and wonder
if you look closely
it’s just an ugly rock

Yet you found it cute

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bigger things 

The girl is standing on the railing of the veranda. Her arms hang over the top for balance so she can get her chin over and tip her head to see onto the street. She feels the sun on one side of her face and turns just her head to warm the other and almost falls back. She grips the fistful of rabbit pellets snatched from the pot of basil tighter. Below the soldiers are marching. It’s a long parade coming over the hill like a row of ants. She wants to wave at them but they only look straight ahead. She remembers the pellets. The soldiers are wearing flat hats and she pictures the pellets bouncing off of the hats. She throws one and misses. And another but she doesn’t wait to see if it hit. She turns away and looks at the empty swallow’s nest under the awningso they won’t think it’s her.

When she looks back they’ve all stopped. One of them looks up. He doesn’t wave. She looks down the road. Inside, she hears her grandmother’s slippers flapping quickly from the kitchen to the front door. The girl turns as far as she can without letting go and looks past the front room’s doorway to the sunlit entrance beyond. Her grandmother is talking to someone she can’t see. She hears words she does not understand. She is relieved. They do not concern her. They didn’t see. She doesn’t throw any more pellets. The parade starts moving again.

Her grandmother comes out to the veranda. The girl steps off the railing she is not allowed to climb. Her grandmother is not angry. She just tells her to come to the kitchen and help her.

It will be many years before the girl learns the words bastard and junta and resistance and the unmentionable “c” word. Many more before she finds out how lucky it was her grandfather had not been home at the time and that her grandmother knew the power of feigning weakness. And still more before she realizes her biggest sin will always be her desire for attention in the midst of bigger things.

the curse

jotNrot

I would have given her a smoke
I usually do
to whomever asks.
But I have only one left.
She wanders off
And circles back
To curse me
That one day I too should know
what it’s like
To be forced by the system
and state
to sell my body and live and sleep on the streets.
She circles away and back in again
To be beaten and imprisoned and forced to leave.
And again
To have to lay with the corpses
pretending to be dead
just to be left alone,
and they still fuck you.
I sit swaying imperceptibly.
Amplitude and frequency make all the difference.

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rock bottom

In that building lot
where we waited
under the scaffolds
for the rain to ease
I was shuffling
rocks into a pile
and you were kicking
them around

we were
each other’s
rock bottom
we laughed

drawn there
by the same force

but you
were looking
to climb up
beyond its reach
and I,
to go
underground
in search of
its source

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