Avoidance

let these words linger
on the lips
soft kisses
left by forgotten lovers
fingertips caressed
across the cheek
now claws
opening wounds
that will never heal
slivers of blood
that scar my face
and cast shadows
across my smile
let these words linger
let them wither and die
do not speak
utter silence
bubbles on your tongue
spill like syllables
and spit
on your pillow

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A Kiss of Legacy

It amuses me how many books were never lost. Though the cities crumbled and the libraries burned down, the data remained. As society slipped into the black hole it had birthed upon itself, the matter was destroyed but the information remained intact.

Granted, it took a few hundred years for the new colonies to unscramble the data, but it was all there. From Harry Potter to Tolkien, from the Hunger Games to Divergent to the script of Interstellar. These words and images were refined into shots for dispersion. At first all you had to do was take a walk to the drug store, purchase a pack, and head home, but the stories were too good, too great, too easy an escape.

Within a few years, the books were banned, but junkies kept them in the back allies and unlit halls, spreading these memories like a disease.

My friend Tabitha got too caught up, soon enough she couldn’t tell a horse from a Hippogryph or a sunrise from the eye of Sauron. She got locked up. I heard she still screams as she breaks the glass and the whole world shatters.

The truth is, I slip too. That’s what they call it, slipping. Back before only the data remained, you followed the words, they called it reading, but now it’s just a shot and reality slides away. For a while, you’re gone. It’s pure bliss.

But I gotta take it slow, can’t end up like Tabitha. Or James. Demal. Alicia. Collin. Won’t get myself locked up, not like that. Not ever.

There’s a soft spot on my wrist where the blank page fades away. I push my leather wristband down and see that small patch of blue and brown, always bruised, always fresh and raw like the stories I slip in. The books are glass capsules the size of fingertips, one end chiseled to a point. It just looks like water till it hits the air, then it shines in all the colors of the story inside.

As it drains into the syringe, this one turns green and yellow, a rich russet brown. The Canterbury Tales. A classic. I love the fresh air, the sound of streams, the scent of pine needles in the brush. I don’t feel it anymore when the needle goes inside, when the words fill my veins. Instead this bleak horizon starts to blur, to blend, and suddenly, softly, I’m standing in a castle.

Time for the story to sweep me away.

SPEAK

Speak
or forever hold your silence
cupped between your hands
as though a mug of coffee
waiting to overflow
Drink
swallow while it’s still hot
let the bitter waters
fill you to the brim
and simmer
in the stinging glory
of choosing inaction
creating motion
out of stillness and restraint
while the last dregs of water
puddle at the bottom
and reflect all the shadows
that stir you in the night
and drown your waking dreams
in regret.

So speak.

Defining Lines

Two points define a line
like lines define movies
“You had me at hello”
or maybe, baby
nobody puts you in a corner
and a corner, perfectly shaped
is sharper than words
and words, perfectly forged
are sharper than swords
and you stabbed me, baby
with a pen to the aorta
and thick, black ink poured out
formed a puddle in my hands
and two hands define a body
define a man, because actions
speak louder than words
and words spin with angles
and angles make corners
and two corners, perfectly shaped
form a line, and one line
is all you remember.