Formerly Badass Horrible Poetry

This isn't just a poetry blog. Let's be honest, a lot of what I post is poetry but there are more often than not also postings about short stories. I do try to keep this blog separate from my others and post strictly creative work here. Some of it will be better than others, and much of it is in first or second draft stage when posted. These are raw works, and there will be spelling and grammar troubles at times because I use this blog to gauge what works and what doesn't. I use it as a place to get feedback. That's the reason it is "horrible". Because it's not finished-- And why should it be? We all want feedback but most of us are too afraid to put ourselves out there.

Welcome to my word.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sinner's Halo: Book 1 Weaver of Snares - Chapter 3

You're dangerous 'cause you're honest
You're dangerous, you don't know what you want
Well you left my heart empty as a vacant lot
For any spirit to haunt
-U2 Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses

Chapter 3: The Liar and the Cat

† It took me a few minutes to realize that Zack’s muscles still hadn’t unclenched. I jumped off and before I could tell him, Luke was at his brother’s side. Zack waved off the need for the nurse and said that his legs had just cramped up and he just needed a minute to relax. However, each of his fingers erected into stiff rigors, as his blood pulsated inside. Each muscle spazzam ran through Zack like ripples through a river. His breath quivered but he smiled. Liv had forgotten her momentary attention ploy and run to get Zack some tea, leaving Asher looking on, running a hand fruitlessly through his hair. Luke coached him through breathing – four count inhale, four count hold, four count exhale, four count hold. Repeat.  
The Styrofoam cup Liv set down on the table in front of Zac squeaked. The steam that rose in curls from inside smelled of burnt bread. Zac wrinkled his nose and moved a little closer to me so that Liv could squeeze between him and Asher on the bench. One hand in each boy’s, Liv clenched her fingers between theirs. Playfully she began a surprise thumb war with both of them at once. Slowly Zack’s shoulders relaxed as he concentrated moving his thumb. Zac’s paroxysms subsided as he and Liv struggled to force each other’s thumbs down. I barely heard Luke exhale as he got up from where he had been crouched in front of his brother to join me at the table. While Zac relaxed, Luke remained tense.  He glanced at me and let the shadow of a smile form. I thought he was looking at me, but his gaze was pointed, like an arrow, past to my plate.  
            “So you’re not going to finish that brownie, right? Great. Thanks a bunch!”
            “No wait I—”
Before I could finish, Luke picked it up and smashed the entire brownie in his mouth. When he smiled, his teeth were blacked out by chewed brownie.
            “dhoo ymm wnnit bmack?”
            “No Luke, but thanks for asking…”
            “Imn—” Luke swallowed what he had in his mouth. “In that case, I’ll be taking that!” And picked up the other brownie from my plate. This did not go unnoticed by the other boys, and after a brief argument, they split up the brownie in crumbling pieces. The atmosphere was wrong. Bubbly laughter replaced the static electricity that had burned through each of us only moments earlier. Just like that, we were kids again. Asher chased Luke around the table, both passing pieces of ever decreasing brownie off to Zack for ‘safe keeping’. At one point, when he thought none of the teachers were looking, Asher shot a purring smile at Liv and me and propelled himself over the table. Finally both Luke and Asher triumphantly held as the boys finally decided that their pieces were equally sized, a stout man in a hideous orange tweed suit trotted up to us.
The man’s dark brown hair was gelled into wings on either side of a slightly zigzagged part. His eyebrows were so small that only appeared visible on the very ends, which curled up in a tight corkscrew. His flabby face concealed beady black eyes behind a bulbous nose and his upper lip extended itself far over his bottom lip, glistening with saliva.
Stale silence had infested the room, not just from our table, but the rest of the cafeteria as well. The hum of smacking lips and grinding teeth and all levels of chatter had been stifled as if a deadly virus had killed every sound-making thing in the room. All faces turned, anxious sunflowers towards a bulbous sun.
The man jutted out his lower jaw so that his yellowing teeth met.
“What in the name of all that is good and holy and liminally appropriate is going on here?” He spoke in a forced British accent, clicking his tongue against his teeth with every ‘t,’ on every ‘p;’ his vowels were wide and round. 
             I wanted to laugh. I wanted to speak. The words almost drizzled off the tip of my tongue: The hell are you talking about? Zack’s lips were quicker. 
            “You see Professor Lyre, the three of us,” he indicated himself, Luke and Asher, “were just working on a—a celebratory dance to celebrate the—the innermost workings of your high and glorious mind. Those two,” He shoved a finger in the direction of my chest, ignoring that Liv sat at least two people away. “Were giving us constructive criticism—in hopes that it would better portray it… it being, uh, your mind.”
            Not a single person laughed. Several eyebrows were raised, and some eyes shone in ridicule, but no one even betrayed a smile. Professor Lyre’s chin rose revealing the uneven stubble around his adam’s apple. He studied us each in turn for over a minute. 
            “Was this the way of it?”
 When Liv, Asher, Zac and Luke nodded, I copied them.
            “Then you must continue. It had better be perfection if you expect me to put it into the end of year galleria—you there!” Professor Lyre’s head turned suddenly in the direction of a small dark haired freshman standing rigid next to the tray return, her spoon about to push grey potatoes off the plastic plate.  
            Twenty minutes later, the five of us left the cafeteria in silence. It wasn’t until we reached the main quad that people started muttering about what had happened.
 “Dang, that was harsh. We got so lucky no one laughed, or we would be worse off than potato-kid.” Liv whispered.
            I was totally blown, nodding. “What was up with that? All that she did was not finish her mashed potatoes. Half the people sitting next to her hadn’t finished their food.”
            “Yes, but they all finished their potatoes,” said Luke.
            “She still didn’t deserve detention,” I rolled my eyes, and glanced in Asher’s direction. He shrugged.
            Zack’s gait slowed. Despite the limp, he swung his cane like a golf club before tossing it over his shoulders to use as an armrest. “I guess there’s only one way to explain it.” Zack said. “Professor Lyre is completely insane. Crazy. Any rule that he comes up with himself is irrational—sometimes dangerous, always stupid. Rule one: if anyone takes potatoes from the Cafeteria, they must finish the whole thing or else get detention.”
            Asher slowed to walk beside Zack. “All of his rules have stemmed from some sort of epiphany that he had during one of his mind exorcize classes.”
            “That particular one,” explained Luke, “came after Professor Lyre did a study on Ireland. He thinks that the potatoes famine is still a problem, and he refuses to let anyone waste even a tea spoon of any kind of starch.”
            “I saw that thing the school sent me in the mail but it just seemed like such a joke…” I said, reaching for the doorhandle of the Bram English Center.
            Through the door I followed my friends into a corner of the building, shaped like an oversized book. Sculpted pages seemed frozen mid page-turn and disappeared as I wandered into the foyer, an airy indoor garden. Light poured in from the wide skylight, broken up by the ribs of a vaulted ceiling. Sunbeams settled on a small waterfall that graced the front of the room. Several classes were already stationed around the garden, some sitting on benches, some on giant rocks near the falls, while many others sat on thick grass that carpeted the floor. Classrooms dotted the edges of the atrium on three floors.
            “And this, my friends, is where leave you,” said Liv as she executed a swirling bow, “Have fun in the bookworm class!” She hopped to her English class in the nearest doorway. I waved, turned without looking and ran right into Luke’s chest. The slight bump on my nose did not hurt but I lost my balance, and landed on mossy floor-tiles. I grasped Luke’s wrist as he pulled me up.
            “Ugh,” I said, shaking off the clammy cold of his fingers and reaching for the Purelle in my pocket. His skin had been so warm in the past that we had often joked about selling him as a Space Heater to our grandparents. “You better not have gotten me sick, Luke.”
            The boys dragged me up two flights of stairs, down a hallway and up another small set of steps before we found room 333. The atrium may have been gorgeous, but the layout of these buildings was a laberynth. I was dragged to a desk in the back row and caged in by the twins and Asher.
            “I can see you have all found your seats.” 
The angular young woman I had met during homeroom strolled through the rows, handing out papers to each desk she passed. Alongside her name, Ms. Ayern Fendever, she had listed an email address and her office number.
            “I hope you liked the seats that you have picked, because they will be the ones you will have for the remainder of the year. That is of course,” she stopped next to Zac and Asher, who had plastered cherubic big eyes to their faces in mock adoration. “Unless you distract each other so much that I need to move you.” She handing them each a piece of paper and continued, “I doubt any of you really want to sit half a foot away from the desk. Again.”
            Zac and Asher exchanged guilty grins.
            On the board, Ms. Fendever wrote down book titles. To my surprise, she put the chalk back down after only three.
            “This year, we will be going over, in depth, the following books. Romeo and Juliet, Catch-22, and A Tale of Two Cities.” Groans revved up like engines at the start of a Grand Pre.
             “Come on Ms. Fendever, Dickens was paid by the word— Can’t we just do what the regular English Class is doing and read To Kill a Mockingbird?” Zack said, running a hand through his hair until it stood on end.
“Zack, we discussed Harper Lee last year. You haven’t read Dickens yet. How would you know if you do or don’t like him?” Ms. Fendever challenged him with a raised brow. When she again turned her back, Zack turned to us and made a vomiting sign with his hand, which I returned with a polite grimace. Truth was, I loved the book. Sydney Carton happened to be a favorite of mine, right up there with Atticus Finch. Ms. Fendever must have seen the exchange, as she straightened her back, like an angry raven ruffling its feathers.
“Its just so boring,” Zack whined, shrugging at her.
            “Zack, don’t be biased because you couldn’t get halfway through the book.” Luke chuckled, taking a worn copy from his backpack. “How many times do I have to tell you? Just get to the ending. Throws you for a loop – not to mention the freaking glorious imagery.” He added for the teacher’s benefit.  
            “Thank you, Mr. Cane. Though, please refrain from using the word ‘freaking gorgeous’ to describe Dickens. I think I heard him roll over in his grave,” Said Ms. Fendever.
            The rest of class went by in a blur, and too soon the bell rang. Asher and Luke grumbled something about Spanish on the other side of campus and dashed out. Before I could read it myself, Zack grabbed my schedule from my bag and scanned it.
            “Sweet! We both have Felis for history next period. You’ll like him.” 
            We ran down the hall and thousands of stairs, wizzing past Liv arguing with a freckly underclassman and out the door.  Across the neatly trimmed grass we approached a building shaped like a globe. Grey veins littered its surface and a loose map design covered the marble façade.
            “So,” I was almost more out of breath than Zack, he was moving me along so quickly. “Who’s this Felis guy?”
            Zack shrugged. “You would have seen him in homeroom this morning, but he came in late. He never likes coming in on days where we have long boring homeroom explanations. You’re in his advisee group.”
            “With who else?” I asked.
            “You, Me, some ugly dude named Luke, Liv, some uglier dude named Asher and a chick you don’t know called Kelly Ovis. Kelly isn’t technically in our advisee group, but she’s skipped out on her own to bum around ours. Senior, not high-strung or anything.”
            I held the thick oak doors open, noticing Zac was favoring his cane. Inside, I gazed across the newspaper wall again. People still loafed around the circular entrance, and a glance at my watch told me I had a minute or two to browse through the history wall.
            Titanic. World War I. World War II. Woodstock. The Berlin Wall. Some Clippings as early as the Civil War and some as recent as 6 weeks ago just pinned to the wall. I got so caught up in touching the crinkled parchment of some old letters I almost didn’t hear the bell sound. Luckily Zack was there to tug me along to Mr. Felis’s classroom.
            I was digging around in my bag for the extra notebook that I must have misplaced when the door of class clicked shut. As I fumbled for a pencil I glanced up at the front of the room, where a very young teacher pulled out the chair from an ancient looking desk that I hadn’t noticed when I entered. Mr. Felis could barely have been over 25, if that, and would have appeared completely unremarkable in his button up shirt and coordoroys had it not been for his hair: styled like a ginger Lawrence Olivier with a thin mustache to match. All I could think was that this was the first line of hipster gone corporate. Or educational, anyway.
            While we waited for the rest of us, students, to find their way in, Felis never looked up from his hands where he played with a string, making adept loops and images between his fingers. When the last kid finally ran into the room and apologizing a million times a second, Mr. Felis finally stood, tucking the string into his pocket.
            “Good afternoon,” Felis waited patiently until we all mumbled as one, “Good afternoon,” back. “If you read the schedule, the syllabus or my desk nameplate, you are probably aware that my name is Mr. Felis, comma, William, and as I always ask, I hope that by the end of this year you will all call me William, at least behind my back, if not to my face.” He gazed off into the motionless fan above our heads. “Nothing makes you feel like an old man more than people refusing to say your first name…”
            “Its alright, Bill, that’s what we’re here for. To keep you feeling youthful and fresh.” Zac smirked.
            “Hardy har har, Zac. It’s pronounced Will- eee- um.”
            “I mean, if you insist, Willie.”
            “You know what?” Felis raised his fist in an imitation threat. “One of these days, kid, one of these days.”
            Zac rolled his eyes and gave an overindulgent sigh. “William is too old man, Old Man. You don’t want ‘Felis,’ you don’t like ‘Bill,’ or ‘Billy,’ or for some reason ‘Willie,’ so what do you want us to call you? ‘Hey you,’ ‘teach’?”
             “Lets hold a congress about it and vote!” said wafer-thin girl.
            “Wait – hold on – what’s wrong with ‘William’?” Felis said as everyone got up and moved to the back. I followed as Zac dragged me along to the back of the class beside some industrial fake-wood cabinets.
            “I, Secretary of Education Coggins, call to order, this cabinet meeting,” said the thin girl. Suddenly everyone was talking over one another about what to call Mr. Felis, who stood helplessly at the front of the classroom. In a few moment we were divided by neighborhood, given a district number, and informed of our electoral college votes. I was handed a small piece of notebook paper and given the choices. We voted and the paper was collected. Votes were tallied in the back by Zac and Ms. Secretary of Education Coggins, who was really just a girl named Amser, while we all went back to our seats. Felis inhaled deeply as his head swung side to side.
“Nice to know you remember what I taught you in Pre-American to Revolution last year,” he mumbled under his breath.  
            “Votes have been tallied, sir,” Zac said from the back of the classroom. “You’ll be glad to know that Willie tied the popular vote with Billy, however, as per the electoral college, it turns out that we have decided on ‘Mr. Will,’ for the remainder of the school year.”
            “All in favor?” said the girl named Amser.
            “Aye,” was the unanimous response, even from Mr. Will at the front of the room. The whole thing had taken up ten minutes of class.
            “I knew I could count on you guys for a great introduction,” said Mr. Will, “But now we move on to new learning and new revolutions,” he moved to the board behind him and began to write down the periods we would study. “This year, the curriculum will revolve steadily around the French revolution. This time in history is a great epic of pandemonium, bloodshed and is also the only course that the Prof would approve in the budget. This will coincide nicely with what some of you will be reading in your English classes.”
            “Aw jeez,” I heard Zac swear under his breath, “Not Dickens again…”
            Once he finished the summery of the syllabus, Mr. Will sat down lazily in his chair, took out his string from the desk and fidgeted with it once more. I looked around and everyone watched him expectantly.
            “What?” Mr. Will said to our staring. “That was all I had planned. The Congressional hearing and vote ate up a lot of the extra space already, but since you guys really don’t want free time –” We all stared in horror at him, shaking our heads – give us free time, Mr. Will, give us free time!— “—since you really don’t want free time, then everyone gets to do an oral report – right here, right now—on what you did over the summer. Amser, start us off.”
Everyone was grumbly after that, though ‘tell me what you did last summer’ was hardly the worst way to spend the rest of class.  
            Some people, boys mostly, gave a one or two word answer such as, “went to the beach,” or “played video games.” One guy, Tamãs, just grunted. Some people went off on long-winded rants of how amazing their summers were as they traveled to far away places. Zac told us how he went to what he thought was a heavy metal concert but turned out to be a senior citizens jazz festival—and how he was pushed on stage by a very flirty grandmother and made to play the harmonica.
            “At first I was wicked freaked, but then I started playing my harmonica, and it turned into one of the best nights of my life. People were throwing flowers and all sorts of things at me—some crazy granny even threw a bra.”
            There was a collective mummer, and someone said, “Right on Grandma.”
When he was done, everyone turned to look at me. Except, the thing is, I don’t have any good stories to tell. Interesting stories, sure – but they always end in me getting a black eye, suspended or ducking under a fence to keep from getting arrested for trespassing. What can I say – the asylum a few towns over makes for some great photography. Instead I said something about how I babysat my sisters through Hurricane Frank when my parents got stuck a few hours away at their monthly square dancing meet up. Mostly we just sat in the basement with a thousand water bottles, watching movies on my laptop till the battery gave out and we went to bed.
            The door to the classroom opened midway through a rant from Natasha Damalez, a nasally blond girl, who was ranting about how her mother bought her the wrong $200 dollar crop top for some party she went to.
            Crazy Professor Lyre skulked into the classroom, brandishing a harp from underneath his neon orange blazer. “Oh Felix-man, vat is this? ‘I vent to zee zoo,’ ‘I ate a lot of grapes,’ ‘I sat through a hurricane’ –” He had obviously been listening from behind the door as he rattled off the past three or four summer story accounts. “Vie do none of zem have their books open? Vie are dey not listening to you speak? Vie do zey look amused?” He was glaring daggers at Mr. Will.
“You see, Sir, right now we are examining the history of each students individual summer. Later, we will analyze them to see how they relate to the French Revolution, in a culminating Midterm paper. And once again, the name is Felis, not Felix.”
“Bah. Felis, Felix – all is the same in Latin. If I find out that you haff been goofing around, heads will roll.” Professor Lyre waddled back through the door, briefly sticking his head back in to say, “I geef you, B-. Good effort, get better.” And with that he closed the door.
A long silence followed.
Zac asked what we had all been thinking:
“So, uh, Mr. Will, do we really have to write a summer vacation paper?”
“If I said yes, would any of you do it?” Mr. Will said, still glaring at the door.
“Not even a little,” I said.
“In that case, you don’t.”
Then Natasha returned to her story and bored them all through the end of class. †

 Previous Chapter

©2007 - 2015 Lex Vex 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Talia - Lughnasa August 1st

Jellyfish curled into a ball
her palm
she scooped it from the fire pit
flecked with kernels; a thick
white powder
ash freckling the trembling gelatin

the only water
playing hide & seek
in a wood over a mile
she held up the jellyfish;
smoky and fluid
caressed her cheeks

begged to lift up
a tentacle lengthened
to a simple seam
cupped between fingers
the girl sprung from her crouch
tossed the jelly up
till it as moon rose

©2015 Lex Vex

Monday, May 25, 2015

Remnants - part 6


there’s still half a glass of wine to go
but the peanuts
two inches salty
have arrived
the level in the glass
grins at the spectators;
down the stem
the base tugs on a thread
spoon rises
taste buds bite
and the thread falls slack
roasted beads funnel
back into the bowl
wine shoves a hand into the girls head
the ringing crystal voice
thrown into her mouth

peanuts are my god

Bacchus, God of the ventriloquist 

©2015 Lex Vex

Remnants - part 5


you have never been marble before
when the chisel is brought down
carving the curving
cheek bones and jaws
flowing water condenses
fills in cracks
& pushes passages apart
in this slab
the artist digs out a corpse
for feet to skirt around
haughty lips // bulbous closed eyes
dappled red
like the hum of mummification
now tourists pay attention
walking off to the side
now the arches of priests clack over your elbows
a shallow nostril
even the bishop’s toes
no one knows
because no one checks
but the whole floor of the church
smells of sour cornflakes
not that you would know
a stiletto cracked
off your nose
years ago;
all bodies erode
and it reminds me of
flowers etched onto toilet paper

©2015 Lex Vex

Remnants - part 4


is she behind him or beside
elevated on the narrow ledge
a path of walls
uneven bricks jutted
his slope is flat
a meander
in cobblestones slick
but flat
stone the color of new york haze
road with girth sliding out of frame
her red soul’d shoe lies visible
but only from behind
hers, a petal trodden on
by her own weight
as she climbs the ramp
a seat guarded by walls
or a cliff
maybe she will slip along the ledge
scrape a knee
grasp for his blue jacket
the road wide
they could still walk side by side
slope = 0

©2015 Lex Vex

Remnants - part 3


how did a horse
climb the steps of the arena?
twenty yards up
left the fossil of a horseshoe
did that chap trot back
down the steep
& toss off a higher heel
my Cinderella stallion
dances among men
on a field of blood-
-lilies . The balls of her feet
catching on the swedge
a fallen gladius
that charged ahead of the last
fallen servi
gladiators called
Cinderella slits her ankle
Molten roses
Splayed to the floor
She dances on the steps no more
& dragged off the dirt
meets with the medicus
and healed as lame horses are

©2015 Lex Vex

Remnants - part 2


the subjects got bored
swathed in color oil
stepped out of their picture frames
for a drink
her timid shoulder barely squeezes
wrapping around the canvas
she does not want the artist
to see her
like when her reflection
posed // poised
naked & all legs melded up
into a spine
fused with golden under-paint
the stiff breeze
sweeps a jacket upon her back
as white shirts and suits
leer into her
she wishes she could climb up her frame
& the photographs lining the slant
to the leafy halo
and dangle her toes over
the edge
like a statue

©2015 Lex Vex 

Remnants - part 1

flakes fall off the wall
crusted and buttered
the wall has made a sandwich
its wrapper pulled
peeling away
to a clotted grey
grey been put in a box
the box of brown? Box of mustard dip?
The box of white is broken
though the quality of layers
from her is thick
world tossed inside the box
grated like cheese through a siv
tattered paper
ripped by a skulking cat
mosaic of hipsters

©2015 Lex Vex 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Trouble on the Way

Trouble on the Way

There is a sizzle of mustard light that wafts through the bar. This sleazy haze drips slowly from the cigarettes, balanced on chewing lips and falls in clumps to line the last remaining ashtrays found in the wild. The smoking section signs are extinct. Most places they have been ripped from the walls and replaced with no smoking signs, but here the only signs emblazon clever pictures with beer brands and light up notice-me-neon.
            The bell tinkled when he tossed open the door, letting out the humid AC and letting in a wave of wind, heated by asphalt and left over from daytime. We did not notice much of him, only a white wife-beater and cargo shorts. His most noticeable feature were the off white socks he wore under his black reebok sandals. Sunday nights are not busy in the off-season. Summer grinds down the business at the bar, and the college is closed. There are us, the stragglers who live on campus, but Sundays are quiet, and most everyone keeps to themselves. When he walked in with his friends, we noticed because they were the only ones near to our age, with full hair and softly tanned shoulders. We noticed enough to share a glance with them, then looked at each other. Food arrived and we forgot him in the beds of hamburger buns and buffalo bites.
            He approached us just after we wandered to the jukebox. On quiet nights the musical lineup could be altered. On quiet nights, no one cared if we played the oldies and sang along in made up harmonies, especially when we sang in the back by the billiards. Baba O’Riley. Billie Jean. Billy Joel. As we scrolled the list we felt a body, like a radiator behind us – stood closer than my boyfriend does in the bedroom. Bad Moon Rising. We scrolled past it, just to check if there was anything else to want.
            “You have really bad taste in music.”
            The heat from the bar stayed pleasant. Steve and Alex strode along the counter, rubbing it with a damp cloth. Brian, the bouncer stared at the far wall, arms crossed.
            “Seriously, you guys have shitty taste in music. You should put on Beyoncé.”
            We ignored him, stepping towards the grey plastic of the jukebox. We pointed down the list at songs we liked.
            “Come on, Beyoncé – you girls must love Beyoncé.”
            I turned, not meeting his eyes.
            “I’ve always preferred Rihanna myself. I’m not really into Beyoncé.”
A cursory retort, cold and fleeting and he might back off. We had a plan: pick a song, pay, and slug down a beer while singing unsolicited karaoke using indoor voices.
            “She’s shit compared to the queen. You guys have trash taste.”
            Suckling grease from crusty fingernails we scrolled back through the music options, and without more than a seconds thought Kim pressed hard on Bad Moon Rising. As we turned to walk back to the vinyl booth, a box popped up on the screen.

Choose your second Song

“Beyoncé! You have another for a better song.”
            We hesitated, feet turned away from the pair of thick sneakers behind us. We could find one more song.
            “How do you feel about Queen, Lex?” Kim asked, scrolling to the Qs, determined.
            “Yeah! Play the Queen!” The boy yelled, fist pumping and sloshing some of his beer down his shirt. The muscles in Kim’s upper lip twitched.
            “Bohemian Rhapsody?” Kim asked me, giving the boy her back.
            “I’ve never heard that song by her,” The boy said.
            “Sounds great to me.”
As we clicked the song, the boy let out a groan.
            “You know what? Here,” He said, digging around in his back pocket and glancing towards his friends who watched from the counter. He thrust a few dollars in our faces.
            “Here,” he said. “Some cash for you to put on some good music. Not this other crap.”
            I hadn’t spoken since my quip earlier but anger tumbled past my throat.
            “No. Keep your money, or put on Beyoncé yourself.” I grabbed Kim’s arm and pulled her towards the stairs just as our songs started.
            “Why are you bitches being so cold? Too good for me?”
            He may have spoken but our raised middle fingers got the last word.
            We sipped Lambic – Pêche – and our low chatter and harmonized songs, in time with the music we put on, faded beneath the rumble and clatter from the boy and his friends at the counter. Droplets of foam sloshed below them and splattered to the floor, but the bar was empty, so we paid them no mind. 
            It was not until we paid that we could smell them. The splinters of smoke mingling with the vapors of armpit hair. Although I opened no tab and paid up front, Kim had not. As we approached the cash register heads swiveled or stretched to gaze upon the only girls in the bar. I felt the tingling heat and the sweat stained musk curl behind me again but it was a voice to the left of us that spoke.
            “So what was that cold shoulder earlier?”
            “What?” I said.
            “You gave my friend here, the cold shoulder. You have boyfriends or something?”
            “No,” Kim said.
            “No,” I lied, staring down his well groomed hair and squared off glasses. His button down shirt was pressed, and muscles rippled beneath, but he gave off musk like mildewed wallpaper. Kim turned to pay and the new boy gazed down my shirt.  The old boy flit his eyes over her ass.
            “Do you go to the school?” The boys asked.
            “Do you think I could go to the school?” the first boy said.
            “There’s an adult program, yeah. I had an older guy in one of my summer classes. Nice guy. Probably in his 70s.” The corners of my mouth were up but my head was tilted down and my eyes slits.
            “Ew, you fuck old men?!” They laughed, patting the meat on each other’s biceps and gazing in mock disgust, first up my legs then across my chest again and again. Although I waited they never sought my eyes.
            “We go to the college.” They said, holding back appraised giggles.
            “You want to come home with me?” said the first of the boys. His smile gleamed like fresh bird droppings.
            “Sorry. I have plans.” I said, looking towards Alex, the barkeep, or Brian, the bouncer. Neither looked up from their phones, though Alex frowned as he handed Kim her change. The boy suckled on his beer eyebrow raised, waiting for an explanation. Kim fumbled with her wallet, zipper stuck. The boy’s wrist lashed out, catching her wallet for her. In a swift motion he pulled the caught zipper and forced it up, splitting the seam on the inside. We pushed past the boy and his friends, as the neon lights bounced colorful streams off of the polished wooden counter and onto their faces. They became dappled in blues and oranges and green. The laughter followed us to the door.
            “Have fun eating each other out,” they called.
Whistles and snorting laughter followed us out the door. A bell tinkled, echoed by the coins that fell, bounced and scattered to the ground from Kim’s broken wallet. 

©2015 Lex Vex 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

a new odysseus

a new odysseus

high in ithaca
a new odysseus lost
just look to the sky

they married in a barn over an alter of hay and lanterns
while his bride & her groom
cascaded their hips
to pink
there’s a waltz playin frozen in time
uncle dave  tugged me across the room
wheelchair darting
selling me off to a dance partner
a budding seventeen
his nurse
the cropped brown hair and prickly chin
back and forth - forth and back
to catch
the grippy plastic wheelchair handles
their eyes locked
& for dave the match was called
love/ love
said, what are you anchored to this old ship for
with a lady like that
waiting on the widows walk?
Dance he said
dave couldn’t remember my name
or that we were related
but that could not stop the romantic in him

a different beat hummed
ten strings thrummed
in a different party days away
a whole parish brightly lit & unadorned
crossed only by rows of chairs & skylights in the ceiling
the curator said
it could be a church for a day
following like grapes from the same vine between seasons
family got up
told their best hooting
best hollering

he was a fighter pilot with me in the war
he kept trying to set me up on dates
our first dance, I slapped him
he skipped the air force class where we learned to land solo
he went AWOL to bring me daffodils
he set me up with the 34 year old nurse
next class he went up by himself and circled four hours cause he couldn’t get down
we had a good marriage
he stole licks off my mint chocolate ice cream when I wasn’t looking
he lived to see his sons flourish
he lived to see their funerals
somehow he landed the damn thing near perfect in a corn field
a man

I explored the old rooms above where mimi & jane
once kenny
once robert
once dave
the rooms are decorated
& antique
& handcrafted
mimi lives alone now
up until 80 years
she too held the sky
& flew herself to vermont
one person in a two-seater
for teeth cleanings
here there are wings over doorways
no crosses in sight
a woman

©2015 Lex Vex

Friday, April 3, 2015

Yes, its all about bugs

Yes, it is all about bugs

sanded down snow
casts shadows
of trees like type
the willows murmur their own poetry
husks of the winged
burn the words
charcoal dark

impish mudness
seeks enemies
cannot count on the sun
& the snow
warped parchment
of gullies & graves
the censorship of the dead season

casks of ink
explode the snow banks
in spring
crawled on jeweled legs
she dips her ink
in termite bark
her script
twining between the trees
at the edges of
birch paper
creeping inside
the meat of a rotting tree

© 2015 - Lex Vex 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Aquilegia pixels

Aquilegia pixels

i. Gameboy

the boys told me he
eats boogers
but I’ve only ever seen
his chubby fingers
clicking away
at the videogame
under his desk

saving for seven weeks
bills of $ones bound away
from my palm
for one used and looking,
if not tasting
of limes
a game is $twenty
& will take four more weeks

while i wait
my class gives each other
hearts with gluey veins
i take time to write what I want

i have loved many men
in my six years, so believe me
when i say i know
i love you

snot drips down his nose
his mother is called
holds his hand
ushered out the door
out of school
before the bell
i notice bit-music bleeping
& his gameboy under the desk
he forgot to save
the batteries rip out easy

recess is called
the barrette & butterfly bunch
say they have a new game
girls only

February 14th 1999
ii. 1800 miles from Colorado

the green plastic
hugged a greybrown screen
i tapped
even as the game
boy was tugged from my fingers

we are getting up earlier tomorrow
your father is driving you in (for safekeeping)

my sobs doubled
the crackling whitenoise
from the old cathode TV
between the static a man said some names
like the dylans and erics shooting spitballs in class
he swallowed those names
but they came up &
gargled around in his mouth
until he spat them up
 along with the whole state
of Colorado

mother glances at the game screen
& watches
a pixilated pokemon

why would you play this crap?

Dad eases the thick
green plastic
from her grip
tucks my covers
the light

set your alarm early for the drive &
don’t bring that game to class

as if a ride to school &
no more pikachu
would stop a school yard
April 20th  1999

iii. Every Game Includes a Witch-hunt

just a game
we played
all year

like tag
notes slipped
crinkled into backpacks

you are doomed

means you are it
& you puff clues
of your demise
like clouds
into the air

in spring Marly’s mom
was cleaning her bag
with a magnifying glass
to pick out
her missing
show & tell glitter
when she pulled the scrap
from the bilge of the bag

the scrap was slapped
on the acrylic desk
six of us girls
the barrette & butterfly bunch
brought in

haven’t you girls heard of the salem witch trials? we have Zero Tolerance for this behavior
(except this time)

We shrugged
& made zero connections
because the old principal makes no sense
she asked us to point fingers
we held hands

i don’t know

you are doomed
was placed in another bag
Marly sat alone
she wasn’t allowed to play                                                                                                                      
 May 2nd 1999

©2015 Lex Vex