STUNTED

Like the precursor

to a best-selling

teen dystopian novel series

with half-heartedly-made

cash cow movies,

the cherry tree in our front yard

has failed to blossom

for the first time

in twenty-six years.

We do not buy 

into symbolism,

yet trees being 

the lungs of the earth

those that still stand tall at the capitol

boughs branching out

embracing

amid further political unrest

pushing back

against barricades

for certain unalienable rights

each ones’ ideas 

of freedom

under banners

such are false flags

and comes at the cost

of choking on the pollen

that is tear gas

as flowers fall

gracefully

like defeat.

But home

is where the heart is 

    (no insurrection here

though unsure as to what this lack of affectation means)

while our love

written in lines of 

poetry, stories

carved into the skin

M.L.M.

    +

G.R.H.

like tattoos

bleeding that sap

sticky, sweet lifeblood

still pumping 

rings 

true

for you, our children

rings 

chronicling the years

the orbit around the sun

rings

around the rosie

ashes

take upon new meaning

as we hold onto life

neverending.

Another Chore

I found a teakettle

at the high water mark

after years

of riversong

movements

magic lamp

water djinn 

beaten up

broken in

boiling off

impurities

because all that mess

is still serviceable.

Three wishes

after dishes

because we still have cleaning up to do.

Reflections

i rested so long

woke up in my room

saw my shadow

and seen I’d turned into bones

time moved on

as it often does without me

slipped through my fingers

found this no longer was my home

echoes of ghosts

glimpsed in the mirror

looking at yourself

through haunted eyes

chains been done rattling

dem bones dem bones gonna walk around

connected to the heart

but all that’s left are empty sighs

Rip Van Winkle

off in the woods to take a tinkle

after playing nine pins

and drinking with the dwarves

I’m naught but an old man

twenty years grows a long white beard

friends and family all passed on

which is something I’ve long feared

big pond in a little fish

tuning fork

only i can hear

my body

humming

with opportunity

to an unknown frequency 

the songs

of my brethren

vibrato 

whistling 

through my skull

in concentric

pulsating circles

ripples

in pools

that time 

has best 

left 

forgotten

A Little Misunderstanding

I can’t remember

our last date

or much of the drive 

back from State College.

Also known as “Happy Valley”

onceuponatime 

waybackwhen 

longlongago,

times sure…were.

The house we passed on 26,

and every time 

from that day forth,

I notice the awning you pointed out

that reminds you

as it in turn reminds me

of the eucalyptus tree

and the lies that we once held:

koalas are not bears.

I also misunderstood

the visual acuity

and leaps in logic it would take

as I look past you.

Much like whatever we had,

you don’t elaborate

and it’s taken me this long

after this many drives

to realize

why it is 

you didn’t tell me

why it is

you may have thought 

I wasn’t important enough to understand.

I still don’t.

But that I understand.

Featherhood

An American robin.

Randy robin redbreast

running

repeatedly

into the plate glass door

as if looking for a way in.

I worry about today’s youth:

the instinct

above all else

this drive 

to procreate

when 

for the life of me

circling back around

cannot recall the pros

only to be found

in prose.

Are you and I

birds of a feather

having already built this nest

just 

as concussed

beating my brains

looking

for a way out.

B-Side

when the songs you sing

have someone else’s lovebites on them

you are flush, burning:

though not from passion,

but embarrassment.

this here whores den

you rail against,

frequent.

not only as a customer

but as proprietor 

you write the checks

your saddle sore

ass 

can’t cash.

moseying down

poking ‘round

back stair

fire escape.

hell,

throes of passion

deep breaths

lying 

in the bed you’ve made.

you sleep the sleep

of death.

you know your guilt.

Autumn’s Fall

feel

the thrum

of a ruffed grouse

mating call

as it 

beats

beneath my breastbone

asking after me.

ruffled my feathers, too.

***

pine boughs

like a lover’s caress

feather

down

my back.

spent, red

bed

of needles

whispering promises

of the green winter to come.

***

foliage 

fanning flames

burn orange, scarlet, yellow

screaming

peals of atomic thunder

lick

‘cross the ridge.

On Being A Tugboat

Been tryyyyying to make me a schedule during this pandemic with all the ups and downs. This gives me some hope.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Kirsten Voris

I was going to let this anniversary go unacknowledged.

I must have known it was a big deal. I wrote it in my calendar. One year out. July 26th, the day I took the decision to sit down for a specific amount of time, on specific days every week, to write. No matter how I felt or what else was going on.

Guess what?

For one solid year I have been sitting down, for a specific amount of time, on specific days of the week to write.

I wasn’t going to mention it. But that’s just false modesty. And feeling shy about outing yourself is counterproductive when you’re in the business of writing personal essays.

You might be wondering how I did it.

I had some help. From the Tucson Writer’s Table. What we do, is write. For two hours. Together. At a table. Every Monday. After…

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