Inspired by Sartre’s Being & Nothingness

I see a crescent moon
and what I see is not a lack
or crack but possibility

Son of a Rib

I can no longer cry
Because I’m already dead
And the dead are dry
But jab my side
And my still-moist ribs
Displaced
Will weep water and blood
A veritable flood
Then you’ll recognize
I’m neither God nor Man
Misplaced
Left dangling
Forsaken
In the spoiling heat
My heart may break
But not a bone of mine
Will be broken

Haunt

Observe these meddling thoughts
in my playground
taking up precious space
yanking at the ropes
of my nerves
stopping my toes
in slippery sand
pressing my chest
with oversized hands

Blood drains
to my head
feeding these
screeching leeches
leaving tread-marks of such
Big Ideas

At the Snap of a Finger (excerpt)

In a world where voluntary death was unheard of, so was the skill of finger snapping. No one had ever imagined a connection between the two skills because no one had ever attempted either. No one contemplated consciousness and therefore, never experienced anguish. People were too busy doing to simply be. They were too busy engaged in their various activities to stop for self-rumination. There was no such thing as impatience because there was nothing to expect. Everything that could be expected was already within reach. All one had to do was reach out one’s fingertips.

That was all before Leonard. Leonard the Toddler learned how to snap his fingers all on his own and instantly dropped dead. At first, no one believed Leonard’s death was connected to this newly discovered skill. But Leonard’s upstanding parents insisted that they were witnesses to the monstrous incident. Leonard was rocking on the carpet, watching an action cartoon. They observed the flicking of his right hand, the slipping of thumb against middle finger, a most unusual snapping sound. Leonard landed face down – dead. Further, on the basis of a careful and thorough physical examination, which showed no residue of common disease, the conclusion was drawn that the snap of a finger was the cause of death.

Backwards

Mother was taken away, not because she channeled Lot’s wife through the saltshaker, but because she poured salt into her open wounds.
Lot was the pepper. The countertop was the valley of Gomorrah. It was fitting that Lot wear black, mother said, for black is the color of mourning. She poured Lot’s wife all over the white, sprinkled-with-green, kitchen countertop. The green dots, she reasoned, are the grains of sand still visible after God, the stainless steel knife, turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt.
I was eight years old. Mother had been reading Bible stories to me at bedtime from the time I was five. By this time, we were well beyond Genesis and into the second book of Chronicles. I wondered about Lot’s daughters. How would we represent the part (after their mother’s transformation into a heap of sodium) where they kept feeding their father wine and each in turn entered the cave and lay down with him? I didn’t know Bible people were allowed to drink wine. And weren’t Lot’s daughters too big to sleep with their daddy in the same bed?
Mother’s cheeks turned pink and then she said: “Let’s not get distracted from what we’re doing here, darling. We are putting ourselves in the shoes of Lot’s wife. We are re-living the looking back of Lot’s wife.”
Only now do I realize that Mother tried to shelter me from select Old Testament horrors. She killed my incest curiosity and peaked my interest in Lot’s wife. Lot’s wife was not a horror. Her turning into salt was.

(Note: This is an excerpt from my short story “Backwards” – one installment in an ongoing collection as yet unpublished, Myths and Meditations. I used this story as a sample for my application to the Charles Pick Fellowship in East Anglia; wish me luck!)

The Smell of Wet Pavement

The smell of wet pavement.

Reminds me of the fact
that rain wets pavement,
among other things –
a trivial detail.
Like all the theories
and codes,
studied and read,
dead in my head.

Until a moment of recognition.

Like the color red,
from apples under a tree,
stained by a kiss
of lipsticked lips which kissed
the skin of an apple
before resting on a blood-stained bed.
I won’t remember
that the bed was stained
before the rest,
and who’ll remember
what was kissed first,
the apple or the tree?

Red lingers –
like the smell of wet pavement
long after the rain.

Madwoman’s Nouns & Verbs

Beach bench rest.
Slump.
Breathe.

Close eyes, open ears.

Shore waves lap.
Waters drain down
ear tunnels –
tickling,
trickling down.
Drip. Drip.
Drip Drip Drip.
Space invader.

Sounds slip –
liquid of birth canal,
and madness.

Open eyes.
Water sparkles,
A thousand stars – blinding.
Gold gleaming –

(Note: This is the title poem of my yet unpublished chapbook. It was published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2008)

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