A Short Enumeration of All My Flaws

I think very carefully before I speak and sometimes it still comes out wrong.

There’s a dripping faucet and I can’t get my mind to turn off the sound, drip, drip…

I don’t know why I just wrote out the onomatopoeia for a dripping faucet. Everyone knows what a dripping faucet sounds like. Dripping faucets sound the same all over the world. All dripping faucets sound alike. Beisdes, ‘drip’ isn’t really an onomatopoeia at all; it’s a verb. The faucet is dripping. A more accurate description of the sound the dripping faucet makes would be ‘plink, plink.’ “The dripping faucet sounds as though it is dripping,” is essentially what I just said. 

When I was in middle school I didn’t wash my hair; I took plenty of showers and I didn’t smell, I just always put my hair in a shower cap before washing

Like, what’s even the point? it takes more time to shove 15 centimeters of hair into a shower cap than it does to work in some shampoo-

 

I don’t know the metric system; I have no idea how long 15 centimeters is. I am American and it is my fate to never know how long 15 centimeters is, or how many miles is a kilometre. I say it’s because I am American but really I am just lazy. 

 

I can never fall asleep. It’s 2:44 a.m. when I’m writing this. I bet you could tell. But you’re too polite to say anything.

I’m too nice. I befriend the misfits and other lumps of breathing flesh that no one else wants to be friends with. Then I find out why no one else wants to be friends with them (usually, they have horrible personalities and also they smell) and then I regret being so nice. Like a saint or something. That’s what I am.

I’m horrible; I say things I don’t mean. I have a lot of enemies, but I’m too nice and don’t say anything to them and they don’t know that we are my enemies. Mortal enemies. They probably think we’re friends. They are so wrong.

 

I’m too short. I wish I could count it as a disability. I can’t reach anything and my legs are stubby. I just want the parking decal. I hate to park so far away. 

 

Once I was pushing a shopping cart back to the place where all of the shopping carts hang out and snigger amongst themselves after dark—the shopping cart paddock. The shopping cart stable.  And I was being lazy and thought that it would be okay to not put the cart out to pasture and instead lean it against a large statue of a giant sphere. This was at a supermarket. I do not know why they had such a large statue of a giant sphere, but there it was. I leaned the cart up against it and started to walk away. The sphere was on an incline, as spheres are wont to be, but I did not know this about spheres at the time. The cart’s wheels gave way to gravity and the whole thing was yanked down the slope and started to roll into the traffic circle where people pull up their cars and make minimum-wage shopboys put all their bags away for them.  There was a woman in a bright red car that looked new, and the cart chugged towards it. She screamed at me to snatch the cart but I didn’t do anything about it and just stood there like I was dumb. The cart hit her red car that looked new and probably scratched up the paintjob and left a dent. I ran back into the store and pretended to look at comics while my mind raced. Is shopping cart negligence a crime? Could I be arrested for letting my cart roam free? I worried about it this for months. I also slept with the lights on because I was afraid of Bruce Willis’ ghost coming to haunt me. I was ten years old and The Sixth Sense had just come out. My emotions were very fragile.

 

Most of all, even now, while I sit in bed, at 2:57 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, I am still thinking about the day when I was ten and let my shopping cart ding up a lady’s red car that looked new and then after went home and slept with all the lights on. 

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Forgiveness

Down the boulevard

There is a little chapel

And inside of it, past its thickened iron-wrought doors,

Meet two strangers who will never meet again.

They talk over the sacrificial wine; they say grace together over two loaves.

They eat in silence.

One asks the other for his name.

It’s Eduardo

And he lives by the river. He makes his living

Giving guided boat tours of the local valley, crosscut

By two mountains, framed by them from both sides.

He has lived her his whole life, but he has never set foot inside this chapel until today.

It is Wednesday evening and no one is there save the two strangers.

I am very troubled,

Says Eduardo,

Troubled by what I have done,

Stolen kisses along the riverwalk with

One of the college boys from the city.

The other man cups his hands and tells Eduardo that he is forgiven.

Eduardo,

Without knowing why,

Believes what the man says to be truth.

He kisses him on the mouth and the other man kisses him back.

Down the boulevard

Eduardo walks on Sunday  to the little chapel,

Framed by fig trees half in bloom.

His pockets are full with a donation for the church.

He asks for the janitor,

A tall man,

Who slept the floor on Wednesday night,

Who prayed with him and

Offered him solace.

“There is no Wednesday janitor,” says the parishioner.

Eduardo fumbles for the words.

“But he told me his name—

He was called Jesús.”

Flexuous

Perfectly carved

Like a sculpture old

She stands on the stage

Wearing only a sash

Please do not look

She has only tonight

Before it all fades

The twisting lights

Blue and green and

Red and yellow and-

There she is.

If you look

You may never see

Again.

February The First

February came
With all the excitement of a wet leaf
Soggy, damp, and dew-dropped.

The leaf holds no promise for me;
Prim-rose and parquets line
The cusp of my garden.

But to the vole; squeaky, sullen
Silent among the reeds and thistles
The wet leaf means renewal.

A Rare Form of Solitude

Victor is a spy:

Not a very good one, he

Is constantly seen

Perching on windowsills

Holding still on planters

Peering through windowpanes,

Big slats of smudged glass.

 

His mother is dead:

Not a very good death, she

Was diagnosed with some rare form of

Hodkins-Non Hodkins Sickle Cell Breast Pelvic Oral Skin radiation,

Or maybe she just fell off something very high, or

Maybe she was never really here at all; like an angel, or

A magic woman, come with potions and tonics resplendent.

 

‘VICTOR!’

 

His father shouts:

Angrily, from the balcony, he

Calls down onto the street below

Worried about the dinner on the table:

Did he cook it just right? Is it too cold?

Will he stimulate Victor in

Pragmatic, analytic, thought-provoking, developmentally rich

Dinner conversation? What with

Marie gone, and so suddenly.

 

‘VICTOR!’

 

Victor hears the echoes:

He crouches on a stoop, a crumpling one with

A rusty handrail and graffiti-stained granite steps

Leading up to a dilapidated building that houses

A thousand boring people who Victor is intently interested in.

He hides from his father’s call, beckoning

Him into a house he no longer desires, a life

That died along with his mother.

 

‘VICTOR!’

 

His father shouts into the night:

He sees his son under a thin strand of

Lamplight pooling on the steps

Of a long-forgotten stoop.

And oh, his son cowers, frightened of

A past that wasn’t so forgiving—

A childhood ripped and jarred.

Victor’s father walks inside the apartment

From the balcony and sits at the table to dine,

Alone.

He says grace, asking God to bless Marie,

Alone.

 

‘Victor!’

 

His mother cries from he clouds:

She says it softly, sweetly, she

Coos into his floppy ear.

Victor sits on the stoop and says Grace,

Alone

While Marie sits up in the stars

And waits.

The Nightmare

I saw the beast, he says,

Eyes wide, worn cotton blanket tucked

Under one arm.

With a jaguars body

And bear’s feet

And a lion’s mouth—

The devil!

 

What did he do? His mother asks.

Maybe he’s ugly but he’s not so bad,

Maybe he’s powerful but gentle still, maybe

He walks the earth just to tell us something

Good and whole and pure.

 

He wasn’t, mother,

The boy whispers, afraid.

Everyone worshipped him, and

Him alone. And they forgot God,

And all the children danced around him, and

They were happy, very happy.

 

So? His mother asks.

So, he says, shaken,

He ate them all up.

All of the children danced around him

As he ate them one by one:

Very happy, very happy,

Then nothing at all.

The Crane

Paper cranes torn from the scraps of picture books long forgotten,

Lifeless illustrations bending into folded wings,

A curved beak, the contours of the neck,

Covered in pastel picturesques:

A dusty sunrise closing in on an orange mountain-

A child’s favorite landscape.

 

And here, now, she breathes life into it with every crease of paper,

Sighing into the sunrise, which is purple and mottled with

Chocolate milk fingerprints.

From the rooftop she lets it fall;

It soars but remains lifeless still

 

The Seventeen Year Locust

The Seventeen Year Locust

Like the cicada she rises

After seventeen long years

Lifted from her cave

Beneath the earth’s surface.

 

The dirt, the debris

The weight of the years

Has caused her fragile wings

To snap upon first flutter.

 

She waits on the ground

While the others, who

Too waited for the light

Of first morning break free.

 

Alone, left behind

She waddles along

The dirt pathway,

Ignored by all.

 

As the others mate,

Flapping through the air,

Fluttering together,

Intimately, briefly-

 

She watches in

Stunned silence,

Chirping to herself,

Jealousy, jealousy.

 

For she was born

To be beautiful, her

Exoskeleton perfectly

Molded to fit against the curves of her-

 

Wings.

She flaps,

Attempting to take flight,

And, of course, goes nowhere.

 

 

 

 

Above her,

The dance of love breathes,

Betraying her heart

With every flutter.

 

 

Each is paired,

And none are spared

From their inevitable,

Early demise.

 

They lay their eggs,

Tiny, slimy products

Of a brief and breathless

Winged encounter-

 

And,

Then,

They die.

The parents die.

 

Their love is forgotten,

The eggs wait,

Alone, under the surface,

For seventeen hapless years.

 

And she, who is

Unpaired, waits for death

To greet her slowly.

The others dead, she lives on for months.

Falleth From the Vine

(I’m not much of a poet, but here goes…)

“…As the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as the falling fig from the fig tree.” Isaiah 34:4

 

 

As the leaf falleth from the vine,

As the fig falleth from the fig tree,

You shall fall into my mine open arms,

And we shall tumble in the reedy boughs,

And all the world shall slumber.

 

And while they sleep

A thousand sheep

Shall be met with the sword of God.

And a thousand goats, and a thousand steeds,

Shall fall thereto.

 

The ground is soaked with blood,

The sky is grey with vengeance,

But we are perfect before his eyes

(Fallen into my arms)

Here among the reedy boughs.

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