Flash poems (formerly known as “micropoems,” though some are not so “micro”) are poems I challenge myself to write in the time it takes to write a thoughtful Facebook status update or short blog post… 20-30 minutes at the very most. Sometimes I give myself a topic, form or specific challenge. Often I will post these unedited as a daily exercise, and edit them down later. Anything that was a result of a flash poem exercise is posted in this category.
“…Yesterday you told me about the way
forestry affects your mind:
hunting poison ivy, leaves of three
with greater poisons in hand,
your mind twists and grows
into moving shapes, tesselations
of trinities, hidden in the brush
like a Magic Eye painting.
The movement of growing things,
the taste of green gets under your skin…”
…I feel her pushing against my rocks,
evaluating the surface.
I feel the tug of her roots descending,
cotyledon bursting, Kermit-green:
a heart-shaped inquiry
I can’t help but water.
What will they bring? Will this be a quick harvest,
a crop of radishes—lunch for the skunks,
or the start of a garden?
It’s hard to say, always. I lie under the covers,
trembling, osmotic—thinking of the other beginnings,
these inceptions I didn’t expect.
I turn over the soil, remembering them all.
I’m strangely calm, like always; my membrane thins
and I paint my cortex with the colors of her skin…
I’ve had just about enough.
The rattling of my car’s heat shield
against the rattling of my brains
cobbled together with failing adhesive.
Driving home from another government office.
The same songs on Spotify; I’m discovering weakly
that I can’t trust victory. A motor oil bottle leaking
onto rags on the carpet; corn chips on the floor.
The smell of defeat.
One step forward, two steps back;
my heart reminds me it’s planning an attack.
A chime from the woman who sends me snakes;
all of my lovers live far away…
I’m walking down the street with my trouser hems burning.
I used to try to shake them out, and obviously,
the flames only rose.
I stopped trying to stop, drop and roll;
stopped trying to jump in puddles
and I’ve learned long since to ignore the stares
when getting on buses.
Sometimes it gets on my fingers, my lips,
and I catch things on fire that I touch. It’s tough,
but I’ve learned to live with it,
with the smell of burning that sends people running
every time I enter a room.
I don’t remember how it all started.
Maybe, like Centralia, it started with a vein of carbon
inside my brain that caught fire, that no one could quench…
They circle and buzz around you,
these others you don’t touch.
You’re told to stay in your circuit
and cache yourself in your niche;
catch yourself on the precipice
of your words, before they speak
Because that would mean collisions—
or so you’re told.
Descent and burning,
the pain of gravity and magnetic poles…
The fluorescent lights in Rite-Aid
cheerfully pummel my senses. It’s 4pm
in the Quabbin milltown, in this January where the sky
holds tightly to its snow-stash.
I’m here buying laxatives, because it’s come to that:
everything is backed up. The government’s shut down,
my spinal cord’s frozen, peristalsis is a memory.
Even the clouds are stingy now…