Like a mermaid supine, on the prow of a ship,
insomnia has me in her wooden grip.
Snakes climb the boney steps of my spine.
Alalia stitches my lips, but not my eyes.
I search for dreams. I search for Hypnos.
A cold breath crawls the stems of my collarbone.
A shadow looms in the dark, his stare unblinking.
A herald of my own insanity in the making.
The evil that lurks, this body-shaped phantom,
whether man or delusion, I cannot fathom.
My imagination, an infinite shuffling of cards
that weigh my nights, and limbs thick in tar.
Her thorny tendrils bind, drown me in my sheets.
Just another night cursed, without sleep’s release.
Written July, 2022.
This is July’s entry for The PoeTree House’s monthly contest. July’s prompt is “Insomnia.”
Will you always love me?
With cliff edges at my
tigers at my heels, and
in my chest?
When ghosts cling to my back
while I flavor dinner
with my weeping?
When I come home hissing
like a glass-breaker?
When I’m sighing,
sinking into sofa cushions,
and I have no strength
to pull off a smile,
so instead, I push?
Will you still think I’m strong?
Will you love me always?
Written May 20th, 2018.
A poem I wrote when I was grieving, and thinking of my significant other who had to live with me while grieving. Understandably, I was a depressed, anxious, weeping mess. It’s nothing fancy or full of any special techniques. Just feelings on a page.
“They look like you.”
My father says it like I’ve ascended, but it feels
From far away, the hipster’s coffee shop
looks like a gaping black hole
swallowing everything that was
like someone or something took a bite of that space
that space in the sidewalk
a mouth I won’t go into.
But others do. Some of ours do.
The mouth spits up. Something new.
Offers organic after yanking the organic
that’d grown there before yanked it by the roots.
Bricks from before I existed. Before my mother existed. It existed.
It sits like a shiny gold tooth wedged between
venerable Italianate row houses.
Or like a rotted tooth, perhaps.
Which one of us is decay?
Our pain painted in black matte.
A puncture wound from a fang.
Black, white, gray, and glass.
They wash away colors
until it’s something cadaverous
or something that blends into the night
something that hides
a shadow in the dark
At least the barred windows with our flags, the graffiti that said “Jesus Saves” or “Say nope to dope!,” the mouldering, crowded stoops where we ate a dollar’s worth of candy, which back then, was a whole paper bag, the rusted fence that we tied our jump ropes to —
they were honest.
“You know what you walkin’ into. What you see is what lies here.”
Brooklyn laid itself bare.
The coffee shop is the darkest thing around
even darker than us
darker than everyone else.
the drums the congas the heartbeat
I barely hear it anymore.
“They look like you,” my father says, “You must feel right at home now.”
He says it as if we no longer share home. Share here.
Aren’t we walking side by side?
Reminds me of the story he’s always told me.
Grandpa’s first time meeting me as a baby.
White baby, rubia, blanquita, green eyes.
Grandpa raised me up with both hands raised me high
like a blessing
like a cure.
“Finally,” he told my father, “You’ve done something right.”
Aside from the earlobes, I don’t look like my dad.
More like my mother, but even she, I had surpassed.
I have ascended.
But if my skin — my casing — is ascension,
what of my soul?
Their skin might mirror mine,
but you raised me, daddy.
— in my soul.
A maw in disguise
no matter how good their coffee
won’t make me happy.
In fact, I have never felt
farther from home.
Written today, July 14th, 2022.
The coffee shop pictured is not the one that inspired this poem. Please don’t be mean to the coffee shop. I’m sure their coffee is delicious… if you’re a coffee person. I’m a tea gal. Anyway, did a quick google search, couldn’t find the exact shop or one that looked like it, gave up. But just for the sake of a visual, I picked something.