Illinois, by India LaPlace

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Silent Motorist Media

Illinois

by India LaPlace

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We drove through Illinois once.
Actually, we were driving home to Utah,
From Huntsville, Alabama.
You were leaving me.
Not leaving me, really.
That wasn’t fair.
You were being deployed to South Korea.
I had to wait it out until the army said that I could come too.
I told everybody how sad I was,
How much I would miss you.
My heart was aching,
It had never felt so heavy
And I wanted to tear it out of my chest.
But it was aching because I knew I wasn’t in love
And I didn’t know how to leave.

This was real.
Legal.
And I had made a mistake when I signed those papers.

I was nearly four in the morning when we finally stopped.
The hotel was shitty,
But we were exhausted.
You always talked about how you could drive for hours on a road…

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Endurance

My end
shall not be
determined
by their finish.
Photos or not
bodies thrown
prone
spread out before you now
all within an arm’s reach
length, step
gingerly
aside, footsie, footing
for the best purchase
until these rugged
places become plains.

It’s all fluff, nutter.
Bananas,
sandwiched in
aren’t ever
going to make this healthy
no matter how palatable
the lie you tell yourself.

Keeping the pace
of your own race
struck
down
again
and again
(and again?)
pavement
sending shocks
through the system
algorithmic
malfunction chip
pry it loose
as it gnaws at you

try your best but you don’t succeed

or

pull yourself up by your trail shoes

because it’s not
place, PR, age category
but about time,
the shining glory
of your participation trophy
isn’t coming from it.

How the Hummingbird Got Its Sound

The glassy red feeder is dry, but I fill it up
with my words, ink drying as quickly as liquid sugar
as it permeates upon this page, sticky,
with the sensation of saccharine and empty calories.

There is a corona about my hands as my characters waltz airlessly
through the story, their auras attaining a rose-colored hue
memories of you and I. Even bad times
shade every sentence.

Hummingbirds, zumming across the porch
to sample its sweetness, spanning
galaxies, singing space operas
with the force of their dancing wings.

Overburden

My heart is heavy.

 

I marvel at this

rock of ages, eternity even

strip mined

for what’s stuck beneath

the surface.

 

All this runoff

just so I could,

baring it all

and laying it to waste

water, tears a by-product

of a cold coal

carbon-copy

of once-living

matter

stratified plants,

and these dinosaur’s bones

as layer

upon stinking layer,

the fecal fecundity

of fickle feelings

fossilized:

compacted

impacted

though it seems

as if it doesn’t

matter,

and we may not see

the error of our ways

for years to come.

 

The hardness,

burning hot and dirty

so close to beauty

can’t see

for buried too deep.

 

Time and pressure,

like Superman,

taken in his hands

to make a diamond

out of me.

Hillsong

They’ve given the business

to my mother’s favorite hill,

just off Little Plum Run Road.

 

Once:

a cascading glade,

the kind you’d see

in those old movies

couples, bounding

in slow motion

abounding

in endless love.

 

Banners agitate

waving the crests of

Science

and

Progress

white knights

mounting

their noble steeds

in the name of domestic independence.

These star-crossed

lovers of yore

(or at the very least a stanza before)

lost, the flames from the rigs

blotting out the night,

targets of this endless

economic war.

 

Taken up arms

taking aim

the birds and the bees

hooded robins

unsure anymore

of when to sing in spring

our faltering flags

the white fields of surrender

choked

with the soot

of a cleaner,

more “natural” gas.

 

Enjoying the view

from your ivory towers

thousands of feet above

while our view nine hundred feet below

as they dug

our fracking graves

one well at a time

beneath the surface,

much too far for our protests

to be heard

let alone do any harm.

(T)rain in the Distance

April showers

twice now this month

and we’re only three days in

    –not to mention

the onion snow

guaranteed

to make you cry.

 

Thunder

shoulders the heavy

lifting, furniture

looks better against

the far wall

upright

bass as the raindrops

plink against

the air conditioner,

grill, I’m itching to use.

 

And the train

bellows at the crossings

peals of its whistle

announcing its arrival

snow-capped gondolas

boxcars

I’m itching to use.

 

Finding flowers

along those Western routes.

Lounging

surrounded

by this great cloud of

witnesses

behind and before me

letters

the stepping stones

speaking out Your name.

 

I cannot bear to drink

from the cup

You’ve been offered,

yet I continue to request

a seat at your table.

The left, of course,

my liberal side,

but not too much so

because I am more comfortable here

with my OCD

holding me fast
to the simplest forms

of norms

I’m not willing to do without.

 

Stepping in time

with this parade of sinners

saints, as they go marching in

robed in the school colors

blood of the lamb washed white

technicolor dreams

of funding the arts

reflecting facets

of Your unending

spin cycle

the rinse and repeat

as I stare

while You hand wash

the delicates.

A walk in the park

Witch’s familiar

unlucky

black

cat in the hat

pushed from its perch

with a squeak and a lurch

giving Barry the evil eye

curses

a hiss, unmissed

amid circles

that speak in creaks

stifling ciphers

toeing translations

in shifting sand.

He sniggers

as the pounce

send the beasts bleating

retreating

in their sheepish ways

turning tail

leaving trails

droppings, like breadcrumbs

led ‘em.

Disappearing Ink

red pen

not in correction

    but connection

a written revival

red letter Bible

words of Jesus

    may it please us

 

the rule of thumb, among

us creative types:

write what you know,

but not about one’s self.

the unholy trinity

of me, myself, and I

 

bouncing bullies in back alleys

against the dead end

of another wall

the past, stacked

against me

boxes, such are coffins

bodies of work

parchment

sloughing off like old skin,

yet the hair

and fingernails

growing long in the tooth.