Gear – Rana Kelly

I wipe the blood

From my nose

And massage

The sore needle holes

Dive back in

To overdose.

There are no more faces

Like yours.

So I try to smear your photo

From my mind.

So that even while

You dig into my head

When I’m lying in bed,

I’ll be able to forget you

And sleep for a week.

Maybe.

You’ll be a secret I keep.

Pushing away.


 

[Rana Kelly was born and raised in the Deep South, and now resides in the Southwest.  Her poetry, personal essays, short fiction, and photography has been published in anthologies and literary magazines far and wide over the years, ]

‘ This mess we’re in ‘ – Collaborative – S.K. Nicholas & Samantha Lucero

 

   the lights are always on now, no one ever sleeps.

   i am one of those dreamless alien lights; one of those nobody’s cradled in the teeth of a high-rise window. my building’s a fang that pierces an eye of god. i loved you more because you turned away from me.

   i stare at my reflection until i become the memory of you; until i am become death and stones in pockets, and the formless outside in the velvet dark. you, the ghost that rushes in the corner of my eye, the reason i wear lace when it rains. i’m trying to read your mind, wherever it’s gone, but i can’t. i try to unearth the sandalwood smear of you on my walls and in between my fingers, but you’re not there. i’m not there either, not anymore.

   and so i’ll go to the hudson where they sell fire for your throat when you can’t weep or scream, where there’s bad news in the laughter and they find you floating the morning after.

   this mess we’re in will be over before it can begin.

   With a rock in my hand, I lay you down and taste the sweetness of your lips. I make you pretty and breathe in a scent that tickles me just right. With my fingers around your throat, I squeeze them tight and tell you that I want so much to believe. Among a bed of roses in a part of town others have no need to tread, I watch over you as the sun is replaced by the milk-white moon that makes you look like a porcelain doll my sister used to own. You, my beautiful secret. You, my only regret. You, the only one who knows me for how I am. Sit with me a while and hear my reasons. Give me a little time to tell you how this came to be. Speak some truth to heal these sins. Say something that will ease our passage to a place we were never meant to resist.

   With a rock in my hand, you move with such speed. Like a cat, you twist and turn as I stumble trying so hard to make it known that despite my deeds, I am indeed a good man. But the more you fight against it, the harder it is. The more you move away the closer I come until the only way I can make you understand is for you to see a part of me I try so hard to hide. Hitching up your skirt and sliding down those tights, I smear your lipstick and kiss your throat. Touching you where I feel God the most, I whisper to you knowing there will be no answer. Pulling your hair and sinking my fingers into the ground beneath your head, I hear no birds. I sense no movement at all as the world we used to know turns without us.

   This mess we’re in will be over before we know it.

   i could be the smooth arms of angrboda.

   i could hunt the heat lost in you somewhere like a tremble of life, find the skeleton key that unlocks all locked doors. i could keep one dying secret down in flames. i could birth in kerosene the chained wolf-child, your half-dead maid, an immense snake that cradles the sea. we could be the myth. we could be the end, for fragments like us to fit in life’s hands, full of dirt.

   i’m spit miscarried on grass, i’m all the things i thought, except the thing i could’ve been. i’m lost in my head, and you want me here. swallowing all six red seeds, I still starve in spring. i like it in the dark, with you believing, and you want me to believe in good men, when they would bury vestals alone with a lamp. leave me on a road that i can hitch hike to hell on and think, think… !

   think about a time in red converse. stepping on your toes just to get a close up, listen low so no one else can hear, fuck them, late night in a leather jacket and a pin with a gold tooth and vampire fangs. warning label. 2 packs of american spirits until we’re dry, and anne boelyn’s ghost in the tower of london. a grin of blood they never found on the wall. hell can be real. it’s here; but your face in my hands, watching me cry, that’s worth it.

   “time is a flat circle.”

   if we have one moment that matters,

   this mess we’re in can happen over and over again.

   With a rock in my hand, I use the other to cradle the base of your skull. You used to be my woman. You used to be my girl, but you just wouldn’t be tamed. I never wanted to clip your wings. No, I never wished to see you like that at all, but you never gave me a choice. I could’ve been your man, could’ve been that someone to watch over you when you needed a friend. I was here to give you all of this, yet you went a different way. You gave yourself to those who know only how to betray. It should never have come to this, but what was I supposed to do? Just allow it? Just let you fall further from grace? I’m not a monster, I’m a poet, and all I ever wanted was for you to know it. It was your choice to make.

   With a rock in my hand, I dig the soil with the other. You speak to me but it’s too late. I’ve made up my mind. And yet this isn’t the end. You are the seed that shall be planted. You are the nucleus of what I shall become. You will be mother and lover, and as I lay you down and watch you grow, the past and the future are already dancing on the same page. You have this voice but it needs to be silenced so I can hear what you have to say. You have this beauty but I need to cover it because others will surely come and attempt to sniff you out yet again. Y’know, I’ve never been this open with anyone but you. Never had the chance to be so close. It’s not how you wanted it, I’m sure, but with time you will understand, I can feel it in my bones.

   This mess we’re in gives birth to everything.


S.K. Nicholas is the man at a haunted hotel, alone on a snowy night, trying not to have a drink at My Red Abyss, and Samantha Lucero is the crumbling, lone grave on a hill poking out like a little rotten tooth at Six Red Seeds. ]

 

the heart asks pleasure – samantha lucero

when you become a parent,
you become less 

a p p a r e n t.

until i disappear completely,
i can weep into the liquid face of a mirror
and speculate about who used to dwell in
my iron & carbon skull, before i was
the me that faded.

i held onto me like a movie ticket
in the back of my wallet
the one we all keep
that just becomes a tomb
like a placeholder in our hearts
for a special day we end up
forgetting.

i’m perfunctory now, roiling,
knocked up by rainstorms
and lightning writhing down like a noose
on his red beard, drinking snake oil

maybe the world’s a cat’s eye and i am shattered faith
my shoulders a hewn epitaph of hopes
am i lucid dreaming, i never fell asleep.
these days, i lie down in a trance
and never wake up.


[ Samantha Lucero is the phantom haunting six red seeds. ]

NightBringer

By Oldepunk

Nightbringer

At the Altar of Life

granite and obsidian

carved into all that is, was, or will be

are the letters, in silver

of my existence

I am the nightbringer

I am shadow, and dust

lost dreams and broken homes

dark rooms and rust

I appear as you do

but the curse I bear

Oh, the sorrow

you will come to know

Anachronistic

life leech

vampire

draining sustenance

all of you are candles

But I am a pyre

You will love me, feed me

support me

carry me home

Call me friend, brother, sister, lover

Wife or Husband

we strive to live as you

We wish to taste love

As you do, to commit freely

The curse

And oh, the sorrow

How I wish to give

But all I can do is

Borrow

And Take

The lies, the drugs, the sex

The gambling and gin

The doctors, the lawyers, the authorities

The institutions that came and went

All to quiet this

raging conflagration within

You can never understand

your love you give and you give

Over and over

more and more

With the fears and the memories

of what has come before

The Wasteland in my mind

haunts dense and deadly

the war with ghosts

that no one can see

This chain of horror

that clenches my throat

Of use to none

I will scorch and burn

Everything I see

I try to show you how to burn

Just like me

I am the nightbringer

And I can only grant you

my tragedy

Oh, the sorrow…

You have come to know

The hard truth you see

the only way to save yourself,

The only way to love me

Is by letting me go

And you know who I am

I know that you see

Mark these words dear

before you burn

Just Like Me

 

O.P.

 

Misery – Sarah Doughty

Sometimes all I want is for you to hold me. Let me feel your strength. Let me smell you, feel your arms around me and know you’re real.

I want to tell you how much you mean to me.

But, instead, I’m frozen in silence. And it’s only in those moments when I think you won’t really look at me, and see how much I’m feeling — how much I’m hurting — or hear me if I say something, that any sounds escape my lips.

The words you do hear are often apologies. Beneath the hundreds upon hundreds of I’m sorrys, what I really want to say is that I wish it could be better for you.

Because you don’t deserve to share my misery.

You shouldn’t have to be my savior.


Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed novels and novellas of the Earthen Witch Universe. Good news, they’re all offered for free, right here! To learn more about how awesome Sarah is, check out her website, stalk her on Goodreads, or both.

all the beds are made – samantha lucero

when did you keep god under your tongue,
like
an uninvited pill
from that plastic nurse behind a wall,
masked
and reaching out to hand you an orange
mood
in a paper cup made in L.A.

for whom did your milky eyes blur,
or from whose unseen stare did the water
of your ribs buckle and hide
when you knew that worship was a mask we
wear,
that rituals and skin
give us a tendency to forgot how to say no?

i was born in a summer cage that sold
whispers to me
in body-sized trash bags, flung at donation
trucks where you wait and
where you drive up and pry a hole, pull out
unwanted secrets you can take home
and cherish as yours from other people’s
unglamorous lives; a boy scout’s book
on how to make a fire.
a girl scout’s book about how to cook on it.

my heart’s in a shot glass that says
‘i ❤ san francisco.’
on the floor by a fireplace
in his basement.

and i think that’s where i swallowed ‘god.’


[Sam does sixredseeds.]

Shoreline – Howl Davies

We stand like stones
beside the throes of the ocean,
beneath the gaze of
the holiest of crows
floating above the bones
and wreckage of those lost
at sea, you let your
pride swell and you sank with
an anchor at your feet,
cursing the moon
to let the water just recede,
pleading with every angry
memory,
to allow yourself to
swim out in decline,
the commotion of being
born of immaculate design,
you stand alone inside the mountain,
shouting that you want to call god
on a burner
to hide your trail,
to scorn him, to convince yourself
that you aren’t yearning for something
more, learning that there’s
no one there
to stop the drone. What are you
holding to? Solitude
asks nothing of us, and you
shouldn’t be ashamed. Scared,
maybe, but bring that to the
light and up it goes in flames,
four hours wandering
the skin of the sea,
the shoreline adores
you,
and your subtle step.


[Howl Davies is the creator of The Sounds Inside.]