Archive for the ‘Free Verse’ Category

prey
September 8, 2014

Track my path, unfurling

distance.

Pocket knives with
their sick slick sheen
open
blood-rusty and hot.

Fists clench on cue.

I am the life let loose,

rabbit evading the snare.

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afterlife
August 11, 2014

I study indifference,

pause the expansion of the universe,

desire curled as a bud in the flesh,

burrowing down in the gut.


Now, my soul is

weightless.

I float between the twinned stillnesses

of hunger and fear,

drawing breaths never to be exhaled.

 

 
So light

the wind on sunny days

is my fate,

my body drifts,

unexpectant,

ethereal,

limned.

#gpoy
June 25, 2014

The one and only downside of being included in a print publication is that I can’t easily link to my work online. I’ve wanted to share my poems that have been published in Pages for a while, and so here they are, thanks to my realization that camera phones exist. (On that note, I recently started using instagram. So far, this has primarily involved posting pictures of Austin with artsy filters. Follow me so that I feel validated in this endeavor. As always, my handle is hctrees.)

from Belleville Park Pages 21, Late May 2014

from Belleville Park Pages 21, Late May 2014

from Belleville Park Pages 12, Late November 2013

from Belleville Park Pages 12, Late November 2013

glutton
June 20, 2014

I am binging to fill up the empty parts of me.
Oil and grain and sugar and salt
all packed in until I am solid stone.
I will sink to the bottom of the pool
and no one will look for me there.

I am building muscle, all density and heat
until I am a molten mass
hurtling through space, reckless.
I am a loose cannon, iron, wrought.
My flesh will bash through your flesh.

Was it good for you, too?
Good is a loaded word for loaded bodies.
My eyes are brimmed up with glances,
my wrists are weighted: blood and tendon and time.
Hear me out. My hands are wide enough for us both.

an origami trick
June 13, 2014

In a single omnipotent gesture, I would
fold the map of the earth onto itself,
connecting all disparate points,
the state borders lying on each other,
languishing,
all the geographic limbs –
peninsulas, archipelagos, valleys –
mingling their longitudinal longings,
latitudes drifting across
oceans, wave
by wave, from parallel to
indelible proximity,
evergreens twining roots
with palms, dawn and dusk
loosing themselves into risings,
fallings, winds
collapsing into their opposites, until
in stillness all the world
faces itself and sleeps
as a single speck,
all closeness closed,
hands clasped,
a brilliant winking spot of
singularity,
and outside of us,
nothing.

This poem is in part inspired by Sharon Olds’ “Topography,” which includes the brilliant lines, “my Kansas / burning against your Kansas your Kansas / burning against my Kansas.”  If you aren’t familiar with her work, I’d suggest starting with her 1987 collection, The Gold Cell

skeptic
March 24, 2014

I am worried about the children 

who too soon stop believing the lies they are told,

which is to say I am fearful

for my self, alive, limbs still attached,

miraculous unity, symbiosis 

of muscle and mind.

I am stitched together,

threadbare at elbows, knees,

lips and tongue;

pull me and I’ll tear

in all the necessary places.

Cut me loose, watch my self spill

across the altar of virtue and decay.

What a way to live, but tell me,

do you know another means 

of making it from one day to the next?

You, who would live,

memorize the names of the dead

and speak them again into being.

For a moment, feel the privilege

of your heat and terror

while I remind my self 

to breathe, to sleep, to breathe again.

the serious taxonomist
March 23, 2014

(A poem presented without comment on my long blogging silence because really I have no excuse. Not even writer’s block. I know, I’m terrible. I’m sorry. Please don’t hate this thing I wrote. It has been a long winter.)

When you imagine, as you do,
Vladimir Nabokov at his microscope,
poring over the genitalia of butterflies,
you wonder what makes writing good.
You suspect it involves will,
observation, and time,
not mere skill, but dedication
to crossing out phrases that don’t belong,
replacing them with ones that do.
Perhaps it is also a question
of plot, character, truthiness,
but what has that to do
with the bleary-eyed lepidopterist,
purblind from the strain of study?
He knows only how to preserve
the color of the spoken word
and the symmetry of two blue wings.

 

new year
December 28, 2013

While I love having chips and salsa for dinner and watching as much Battlestar Galactica as humanly possible in a single 24-hour period, I can only handle a few days of winter break before I start to go mad. In the spirit of easing myself back into meaningful activity, I’ve closed my netflix tab and ventured back to the literary side of the internet. Surprisingly, it is still alive and well, despite my growing concern that the entire US population is out shopping (I went to the mall yesterday: 0/10, would not recommend).

Eunoia Review featured two of my poems this week, “Home Room” and “Baked.” The Eunoia editors are wonderful; they somehow manage to be organized enough to feature a new writer every single day, and I’m very pleased to have contributed to their blog.

Also wonderful is Thrush Poetry, whose editors very graciously rejected one of my recent submissions. I saw this rejection coming from a mile off, given that I originally discovered the journal on this list: “Top 10 Lit Mags to Send Your Very Best Poetry (and get happily rejected)“.  Regardless of Thrush’s polite brush-off, I love their November issue, particularly Geffrey Davis’ “Could You Forgive My Clumsiness.” He writes, “I’ve not yet learned // how to make clean, unequivocal room / in my poems, to offer an evenhanded display // of my inconstant heart.” It’s one of those poems that I read and wondered why I didn’t write it first.

On that note, here is one of my poetic cast-offs, whose only future lies in my dogged dedication to this blog. Think of it as store-brand poetry: cheaper and just as filling.

Confessional

Sometimes I go to sleep with everyone I’ve ever kissed
called to the forefront of my thoughts,
and I am always too alive
in those moments to give myself up
to the unconscious necessity within me,
but I try.

I don’t have enough words for the truth.
Even now I am lying,
because the whole truth would be us two
in a perfectly lit room,
stone sober, bare limbed,
me telling you that I don’t cry anymore.
(Does honesty still count
if no one believes me?)

I read somewhere that the average person
has been intimate with 4 people during their lifetime,
and I think that the average person is bad at truth
or bad at arithmetic or bad at intimacy.
Probably all three.
I don’t know what I’m bad at.
I’m just trying to find the way
to be most myself.

belleville park pages
November 26, 2013

Is everyone excited for Thanksgiving? Have you bought all your groceries? Are you starting to thaw out all the frozen pie crust you’ll need in the next 48 hours? In my house, there is going to be pie for days, and my body is ready. I’m also making a stuffed seitan roast for the first time (I’m one of those vegan weirdos), which should be exciting/disastrous. We’ll see. Even if all else fails, there will be mashed potatoes and wine.

But all that is beside the topic at hand, which is that I have some poetry in the current issue of Belleville Park Pages. It is a small literary journal published out of Paris every two weeks, and if you’re lucky enough to live in Paris, London, Boston, or Brooklyn (in addition to a few other cities listed on their website), you can get a copy for just £2 at a bookshop near you. So go do that!

In the meantime, here’s a poem in honor of the first snow of the season.

Traceful

A creature of nostalgia and carbon, I was
perfectly singed toast, candles cinnamon-scented,
and wooden picture frames.
Everything crisp-edged, smoking.

For now I am all whorls:
the spin of laundry in the machine,
your cow lick, water draining from the sink,
the sweep of blue dye into white paint,
the tail of a comet.

In the end,
thinking myself almost nothing,
I’ll imagine my breath to be
the impression left by sunlight
between the hours of 6 and 7am
after a snowfall in the night.

 

 

revelry
October 6, 2013

The fog comes in the night

when I am not ready,

with its dull teeth and

arthritic hands.

It seats itself at the table,

drinks from the final bottle

of last year’s wine.

 

All the heavenly bodies

are blacked out

on borrowed liquor.

The moon forgets to rise.

The stars tell me

not to wait up for the sun,

And I – I am high

on the inebriated mist:

where can I go

to empty my lungs?

 

The table is all wine-stained,

the bottle dried up.

The fog is expecting things of me

which I will not give.

In the morning, though,

I won’t remember

the questions it posed

or the answers

I – shivering – surrendered.