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Permissable Topics (108)

we cannot talk about some things

because that causes them to happen


We cannot talk about sex

or death or injustice


because they do not exist


we cannot talk

of our experience


because it contradicts others


we cannot speak to each other

because that could build bonds


we cannot speak of the voices

that await us at school

at home and in our heads


we cannot speak

we cannot talk


we are not allowed

(January 21, 2021)

a darker shape was always present

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (78)

after the worst of summer’s heat

we’d sit in the grass

beneath the pecan and cottonwoods

away from the radiant streets and sidewalks

the adults spoke of friends 

far away or long dead

they’d laugh and tell stories

which we were not a part of yet

we ran wild through the night

afraid of nothing

(July 18, 2020)

templates

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (76)

so many boundaries

are employed

in any definition


the outlines cut

from what is not

are as important 

as what remains


a pattern

even with

a patch

bears a pattern

if not original in intent


with care I fold my words

into this conversation

like origami cranes

from crisp white paper


(July 14, 2020)

first word last word interrupt

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (27)

if anyone speaks

of anything

she might know

some small bit

that might relate

to her

a childhood memory

the center

of a collapsing star

anything at all

sparks her speech

until it is hers

and she turns and

turns and turns

all to her

as if she were

more

than who she is

and knew more

than

what she was

(February 16, 2020)

accents shift

from one neighborhood

to the next — one town

over– no more sounds

like yours or your friends

at the corner pub

where even the odd

and unloved fit warmly

at a table in the dark

where the fog follows you

home into a darker wood

until your voice tangles

among incestuous roots

and a knife draws

a line along your throat

at the possibility

of a misunderstanding

(April 22, 2019)

Speak Into Silence



S

As if with a spoon,

she scoops the words

from his pliant mouth.

The rounded vowels,

and crisp consonants

shred her tongue

with shards of ice.

Meanwhile, with slick

knives, he carves

all conversation, 

leaving bits of blood,

like rose petals,

to stain the ground

in a red-wet lust.

Neither he, not she,

can speak into

what was said.

They stare, stunned,

past empty eyes;

their mouths slack

like the recent dead.

(February 5, 2019)