I was a bird

When last I loved I was a bird
Ruffled and old-boned
Pinned between gust and thrust
Alit upon an ancient continuum

Finding a window agape
Draped in azure voile
The room within aglow
In expansive rapture

Barreling over the event horizon,
One fleeting instant of silence
Unaware the impending disruption
Oh! Love travels faster than light

Beyond the sash
Light and night transposed
In the haze, clarity
Alas! It was a mere antechamber of infinity

Husk against feather
Grist against filament
A reconstruction of the avian
That old brutality of fusion

Shut out
Flung upward, flapping
Into the laughter of a cold blue sky
Ah, how nothingness burns!

The inevitable surrender to gravity
Downy smash on new grass
Earth, my oldest friend
A reprieve

Flattened, I am new again!
The attending Silence
Broken by my tentative rustle
So reticent to fly again, since last I loved.

Coffee with a friend

I had coffee with a friend this weekend. Not so unusual, except that this was a very old friend whom I haven’t seen in a while. To be honest, it was only the second time we’d ever been alone together.

We’ve known each other for close to two decades. He reads my blog. Mostly I hate it when people talk to me in real life about things they read here, but with him, it was okay.

We talked about things we want. We talked about what it feels like to go crazy. We talked a little bit about marriage, but mostly what we talked about wasn’t important.

Sometimes you have coffee with an old friend and afterwards the old friend feels new again.

He be alright

mw05-600x400“He taught me how to read people’s eyes, ya know what I mean?” I lifted one a my tools, a heavy-ass poker, and moved toward the roarin fire. Flames curlin outta the fireplace. Damn, shit was hot.

“Nah, you don’t know nuthin, do ya, kid?” Kid cowered where I tossed him on the floor, shaking his skinny little white-boy ass off. He was scared. Real scared.

“Lemme tell ya, kid. My Pop, he a man, kid. A real MAN, ya know?” The tip of the poker got red-hot but I didn’t take it outta the fire yet. Kid whimpered.

“Pop, he work real hard, ya know? He did whatever he hada to keep the groceries comin in. He a MAN.” Kid eyed up the fire and trieda scoot back a little. Welts was comin up on his little ass, his butt-ugly face. Good.

“Pop was real nice mosta the time. He’da laugh at anythin, mosta the time. Momma n him’d be laughin upa God-damn storm mosta the time.” That gave me a laugh, rememberin dat. Poker was headin near orange already. Nice.

“But every once ina while, kid, Pop’d get angry. Somethin’d piss him off and he’d go off drinkin, stay away hours, days, once even weeks. Shit. Momma was half-dead time he took two weeks a come home. Shit.” Tipa the poker was blue. Kid cryin then, sad little screechy sound kinda gotta me. Didn’t stop me, though.

“So, times when Pop’d get angry, he got MEAN. Real mean. You ain’t never seen nuthin like it, kid.” Kid’s face was bleedin where I wooped him.

“Pop’d come bargin in, all drunk n shit, dirty, smellin like a barrel. Thing is, kid, Pop always dressed nice, clean, n he was always laughin, never mad. Till the drink got’m.” Memory kinda got me. Poker was hot n heavy.

“He’d come bargin in and first thing, he’d get Momma. She’d be screamin upa storm, putting upa fight like she did, and there was nuthin nobody could do, ya know?” Kid squirmed and whimpered. Underneath’m, a river a piss. Damn.

“Not nobody could stop him, kid,” I took a step closer to’m, makin a few slashes ina air wid the hot poker. Like Pop useda do.

“Big bro useta try’n protect me and all, ya know. Ya gotta big bro, kid?” Kid too far goneta talk. “He’d tell me go hide n all, but it ain’t never help. Pop always find me.” Swish, swish, closer to the kid.

“This one time, he gotta poker from the fire, like this one I got here,” I waved it right up in his pasty little face. Kid cryin real bad.

“Pop, he angry, he drunk, and he come lookin for me. He find me under the bed all crammed up in the corner. He drag me out, toss me around. Like you, kid,” I shot him a smile but kid don’t get it.

“He standin dere, holding the blue-hot poker, and he smilin. But his eyes ain’t smilin, ya know what I mean, kid? His eyes just dark and angry and fulla the Devil. Shit.” Kid tries to scootch sideways along the wall but it ain’t work. He too scared.

“Why’m I tellin ya this, kid? Ya don’t givea shit.” I gave’m a poke on’is ugly face and he yelped real loud. Another. Another. I went someplace else. I was stabbin him n runnin the poker down his skinny chest and his bony back. The lines showed up real nice on his white skin. I played around with’m, havin fun, laughin like Pop usedta, and I starteda wonder what my eyes were sayin.

northrupWhat are my eyes, sayin, kid? I didn’t ask it, though.  Just kept havin my way with him, makin him sing his sad wails, makin him piss again, makin him cry, over and over, everythin the same.

“Don’tya worry, kid,” I boomed in Pop’s voice. I laughed Pop’s laugh. “I ain’t gonna kill ya, kid.” Nah. Pop never killed me, did’e? Nah. Once a kid all marked up real nice, red lines criss-crossin and repeatin like mine, I all done wida torment. I cleaned off the poker like Pop useda, n put it away so kid don’t see it.

I cleaned’m up real nice, like Pop useda. I even sang’m those old spirituals, like Pop did. Everythin the same. I put the fire out n took’m back where I found’m.









Go ahead

via DeviantArt

Lock me up in your bars of rage;
Open my throat to sing.

Watch my longing escape,
Seeping out faster now.
Watch my blood spread.

Truth is the dirty knife in your hand
And knowing those unknown things.

Fearful still?


There was this one time

There’s this guy I know. I’m not going to give you too many details. Suffice it to say, you probably don’t know him.

There’s this guy I know, but I don’t know him that well. I’ve known him awhile now, but he’s always been at the fringes. He’s a guy, which is problematic for me. He’s a guy, so I don’t know him that well. This is not a statement about him, only about me and how I’ve always relegated guys to the fringes.

There’s this guy I know. He’s always interested me. Because he’s a guy, I’ve never given him much mental space. Since he’s a guy, I’ve mostly ignored him.

I’ve mostly ignored him for several reasons: One, guys scare me. That’s a long-established fact. Two, I’m married. My definition of marriage has long excluded giving mental space to men other than my husband. I’ve never bothered making friends with guys. Three, he’s married too, off-limits in my world. So I’ve mostly ignored him.

There’s this guy I know. I’ve observed from afar that he is good looking, hot even. I’ve observed that he is funny and friendly. Very friendly. I’ve observed that he is a great husband, a great dad. I’ve observed all this without comment, without action. I’ve just noticed it.

Years ago, there was an incident. This was a long time ago, before this guy became a dad, long before I became a mom, before I was even married, even before I began to actively relegate interesting people to the fringes. I’m not going to give you too many details.

There was a large celebration. Something horrible happened to me and I was crying, in public. This was a celebration, so all of my friends were there. My real friends, the ones I don’t ignore, don’t relegate. All my friends saw what happened, they saw me crying. They stood there, shocked, unmoving. All of them just stared at me, except for this guy I know. This guy I know, he didn’t say anything, but he did hug me.

There was this one time that this guy I know hugged me. I didn’t know him that well; I still don’t.

Sometimes a lot of knowing happens in one hug.

There’s this guy I know.