I Am Mine/Kindra M. Austin

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I decorated

Jesus of mine, once you were

lean, hawk-eyed, and just

what I needed to survive

this life with you, without you

I decorated

myself, your fine laurels mine

struggle to dictate your law

less the presence of Jesus

and, Dad, I often

wonder how you have the nerve

to clap yourself on

the back for a job well done 

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there’s a price to pay for all the times you’ve fought her.

Fallen Alone

she was a penny that had fallen
out of your drunken fingers
each time you paused on your walk
back to the apartment where
you stashed a lifetime of ephialtes
in cramped suitcases,
and haunted corners.

she was the change you remember
to forget as you stumble on lampposts
 when the clouds shield Luna from your fists,
and your back pockets lurch in protest
to all the letters folded inside them.

she was that little dollar you earned
when you sold off
an old vintage photograph of a girl
in a wedding gown reciting poetry,
to a sculptor-
because you knew,
some bones are rather turned to stones
than remembered as ashes.

she was the cost of forever
that you failed to pay,
so now you live in small debts
and smaller deaths
watching the full moon in eclipse
 half the night, for quarter of each month .

••ari purkayastha

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Castles in the Sky

S. K. Nicholas

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Kisses on your belly and my tongue doing stuff your mother knows all about but won’t ever say. Fingers on your thighs as you lie there speaking of what hurts with no intention of making a change even though you know it’s all down to you and no one else. You can travel far and wide, and yet you can never escape your own skin. You can take as many lovers as you like, but never will they keep you as you wish to be kept. There’s autumn in your eyes and a forest in your heart. There’s a swan you call your own and a pathway to the past you try so hard to deny that just aches to walked. Penetration. A doorway made of light. A cigarette to link us as the years come undone like the ties that bind to that which we have no need of. I…

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Please Explain

Max or Not

i wouldn’t be lying
if i told you
i was being dishonest

at which point
would it really matter
anyway

its purpose
was not born of malice
nor to pacify
or justify

it is rather precisely
this reproachable pretense

of which it was my intention
to deftly circumvent

i’ve yet to find
the patience
for effusive explanation

if by scrupulous omission
i can subsequently skirt
obligatory inquisition
based on commonly feigned misconception

i would much prefer
to proactively forgo contention

conveyance is not my forte
abeyance is far more fitting

honestly, is honesty
not honorably objective

true, this might sound objectionable
as veracity is, voiced aloud

i swear i’m not despicable
and certainly, not proud

but i so despise such prodding
it deprives me of the scant control

over that which i have deemed
as essentially inconsequential

arbitrary, as it were
not befitting of retribution

now, if you would exuse…

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