Poems of Smoke

Among The Coals

Born in the hazed amber
I was swaddled and charred.
Another faceless giver
In a faceless sea
Waiting to choke

Tarred and Feathered

Inhale, hold, exhale
Self inflicted.
Slowly pluck feathers
spring chickens
Cluck no more
- cough - cough -
Burn one more
Spark up

Smother

Science is unwelcome
It's unholy.
Innovation is unholy
It's unwelcome.
Dunk the witch
She'll float
Burn the witch
She'll choke

Parched

She's gasping again
Under the wildfire.
Mother Earth gasps
Inland on avocado smoke
While you're eating
Avocado on toast

Faithless Grief

I’m faithless and unashamed 
For God did not give us grief.
Love manipulated our trust
So that chance could gamble
With the futility of our existence,
Ripping the tense velcro bonds
Of hearts grown together.

I applaud it’s gamesmanship,
For it doesn’t laude it in our faces
By any means other than simply
Gathering the grim and gaunt
In coats of greyed gaberdine.
Long coats hanging as if empty,
Made black from the heart’s rain.

I am faithless and entirely alone,
But still gesticulating to the air:
An open chested final demand
To give back the gift of grief
That greeted me at this graveside.
Need I be a god-fearing glossolalist
To return this heartbreak?

Buried Under the Rose Bush

We never mastered houseplants.
Above and beyond, but a foot to the left.
A green thumb was never our best asset.
If you didn't shoot, the leaves would be green.

The potted plants thrived on the terrace:
In the house they just repeatedly cried uncle,
Their roots wiggling like an old b-movie.
Do all new killers go blank in the stare?

Gardening was worse than getting an instrument:
Another substandard, low average hobby
Intended to expand the pointless talking points.
Maybe your urge is due to seasonal pollen?

The effort level of the cactus was minimal.
Yet in a humidity it was still kindling to burn.
Should never have made them my central focus.
The hardware store had a shovel clearance.

I have to straighten literally anything out
So I don't pace 'til the hour of judgement!
You think I could pretend I wasn't here and hide?
If you go down, will you bargain for my pardon?

Gunpowder and Whiskey

A crystalized lowball glass sways; 
Jigging the rocks around the whiskey.
Holding the glass is an aged hand, 
Belonging to an aged man 
Just threatening to tell a story. 
The bar listens with tense ears 
And choked breaths.

"She was my first wife; 
June, beautiful, bewitching, bodacious; 
Too much so at times. 
She wore her hair pinned 
At the crook of her neck 
With a single silver barrette. 
It softened her harsh features 
Just a little you see. 
I came home one day 
To discover her on the floor, 
Deceased, 
With a single silver barrette 
Plunged deep in her eye socket. 
But nobody knew a damned thing!"

The lowball swayed mores
And the tavern slouches listened on.

"Next there was my second wife, 
Anna-Marie. 
She was a pious woman, 
And her slight figure would pray 
Before performing any activity 
And i mean any, before the Lord. 
She tied the waist of her dress
With a bright green ribbon; 
it was so tiny that waist of hers. 
Shame I found the ribbon 
Around that pretty porcelain neck. 
And for some reason, 
Everyone thought nothing of it!"

The lowball was empty.
Once the bartender topped it up 
The man continued.

"Finally there is my beloved Jessie. 
Far too pretty and young 
Especially for this old ruffian, 
But she would ignite the fire 
To warm any man's soul. 
Now she's still alive. 
But that there stiff 
That got my gun going 
He's the bastard
Snatched her from me. 
And with God as my witness, 
She remains my wife, 
So she belongs to me."

And with one long final sip,
He left the bar without his gun;
High off of gunpowder and whiskey.

Forever Linked

We Got matching Tattoos
And we laughed when they sketched them.
The needles buzzed,
But we didn't pay them any mind,
We merely enjoyed their sensations.
When the guns were pulled back
Our hearts had matching hourglasses,
But yours was half empty,
And mine almost full.
We assumed an artistic difference
Nothing more
And delighted gleefully,
Content being forever linked.
I didn't see that last grain,
But it fell faster than mine.

Mrs. Delora

Come take a seat with Mrs Delora.
Find the answers to your questions,
Discover your truths,
Explore your future,
And marvel at her talents.
But, beware,
You may find more than you seek,
You may learn more than you need,
And you may leave... Liberated!

I took the man up on his offer,
And sat on a stool inside the tent.
Across the large wooden table
Sat a Fortune teller
Drowning in hemp cloth
And gold charms.

Her face was haggard,
As if she had seen a thousand lifetimes.
Her breath, strained and heavy,
And the smell of stale smoke,
Mixed with burnt herbs choked my lungs.

She placed her hand out on the table,
And coughed, wordlessly
Demanding my hand in hers.
In my open palm she placed a red stone,
And closed my fingers tight.

Are you a whore child?
I gasped, offended,
A whore! How dare she!
I guess you’re just promiscuous,
Don’t be offended,
I’m just teasing, child.

She started laughing,
Throaty and coarse she cackled.
But her humour was fugacious.

You’ll be barren of life,
You’ll just be a stand in,
A temporary.

Her words spun around my head,
As they tightened the garotte
Around my throat,
Pulling burning breaths
And twisting them under my tongue.

Would you like some tea?
It helps with the truth,
Makes it palatable…

I sip the mossy coloured liquid,
It burns my mouth,
But I can breathe again.
I can breathe much slower,
Pulling air deeply 
Into my famished lungs.

Yes child, that’s it,
Breathe.

I nod, and bare my hand,
The red stone in my open palm,
It was tinged with black,
Like a plague was spreading
Tainting its surface.

You won’t have to worry,
You’ll not be left a spinster,
You’ll be left,
Penniless, naked,
Alone in a ditch.

Wha… Wha…
The words slur incomplete.
My breath long but shallow,
My eyes open,
Unblinking.

Just breathe,
Let Mrs Delora liberate you,

Come take a seat with Mrs Delora.
Find the answers to your questions,
Discover your truths,
Explore your future,
And marvel at her talents.
But, beware,
You may find more than you seek,
You may learn more than you need,
And you may leave... Liberated!

The Sequel Child

Images move animatedly across the tv screen,
Sounds are blended into the background noise,
The foreground filled with heavy breathing,
The satiation of pleasure between two,
Summed up by title of ‘Netflix and chill.’

The sequel, a follow up on two series merging,
Finally born, gendered by the pink onsie,
The gentle curves of tassels and bows,
And the growing basket of perfectly painted,
Single expression, pose-able dolls.

Years of playing courting, marriage,
Nuclear house, one ken, one barbie, and baby,
Of traditionalism imposed in playtime, destroyed.
The babe who once played with dolls,
Becomes the doll in the tent playing with her bae.

Within a flash, the two are married,
Both taking and barrelling their surnames,
Living equal in their roles, life, and love,
Until the hourglass is empty,
And the grieving hold their umbrellas in the rain.

Are There Cradles in Heaven?

The unborn soul haunts me,
Digging claws in deeper.
Pulling my feelings into contortion.
Why aren't they in Heaven?
Has she brought them here?
I wanted to be a good mother,
I wanted to hold her when she cried,
It was my fault I couldn't,
Not hers.
I was careless and stupid and young.

Are there cradles in Heaven?
Does a better person rock her to sleep at night?
Do they tell her she is loved and cared for?
Does she know I love her and I'm sorry?
Do they tell her I'm her mother?
Or am I the devil who left her there forever?

It's hard to be a woman
When you should have been a mother.
I'm in no high regard with God,
I'm written on none of the entry lists,
I accept this duly.

Has she grown at all?
She'd be older now, right?
Or is she cursed to her prenatal form?
Does her daddy visit her?
Does he look into her eyes with love?
Or does he avoid her gaze from hating me?

How Will I be Remembered

How will you remember me?
As a schlemihl? As a schmuck?
As the one who was helpful,
But always deceived.
As a lunkhead who fell for lies?
As the one who always gave,
But was never to receive.

How will you remember me?
As the gregarious one? As social?
As the one who didn't fear the world,
But always felt constrained.
As the benevolent one? Unconditional?
As the one who acted amicably,
But was met with antagonism.

How will you remember me?
As the auspicious one? On track?
As the one who strived to achieve,
But meet obstacles.
As the triumphant? The fortuitous?
As the one who tried,
But put themselves last.