veins beneath the water

Marilyn Monroe took all her sleeping pills
to bed when she was thirty-six, and Marlon Brando’s daughter
hung in the Tahitian bedroom
of her mother’s house,
while Stanley Adams shot himself in the head. Sometimes
you can look at the clouds or the trees
and they look nothing like clouds or trees or the sky or the ground.
The performance artist Kathy Change
set herself on fire while Bing Crosby’s sons shot themselves
out of the music industry forever.
I sometimes wonder about the inner lives of polar bears. The French
philosopher Gilles Deleuze jumped
from an apartment window into the world
and then out of it. Peg Entwistle, an actress with no lead
roles, leaped off the “H” in the hollywoodsign
when everything looked black and white
and David O. Selznick was king, circa 1932. Ernest Hemingway
put a shotgun to his head in Ketchum, Idaho
while his granddaughter, a model and actress, climbed the family tree
and overdosed on phenobarbital. My brother opened
thirteen fentanyl patches and stuck them on his body
until it wasn’t his body anymore. I like
the way geese sound above the river. I like
the little soaps you find in hotel bathrooms because they’re beautiful.
Sarah Kane hanged herself, Harold Pinter
brought her roses when she was still alive,
and Louis Lingg, the German anarchist, lit a cap of dynamite
in his own mouth
though it took six hours for him
to die, 1887. Ludwig II of Bavaria drowned
and so did Hart Crane, John Berryman, and Virginia Woolf. If you are
travelling, you should always bring a book to read, especially
on a train. Andrew Martinez, the nude activist, died
in prison, naked, a bag
around his head, while in 1815 the Polish aristocrat and writer
Jan Potocki shot himself with a silver bullet.
Sara Teasdale swallowed a bottle of blues
after drawing a hot bath,
in which dozens of Roman senators opened their veins beneath the water.
Larry Walters became famous
for flying in a Sears patio chair and forty-five helium-filled
weather balloons. He reached an altitude of 16,000 feet
and then he landed. He was a man who flew.
He shot himself in the heart. In the morning I get out of bed, I brush
my teeth, I wash my face, I get dressed in the clothes I like best.
I want to be good to myself.

Trouble, Matthew Dickman

i blink my eyes into morning, your smile the only one i see.

They told me that I was meant for the cleaner life;
that you would drag me through the mud.

They said that you would tread all over me,
that they could see right through you,

that you were full of hot air;
that I would always be chasing,

always watching you disappear after sleeker models—
that it would be a vicious cycle.

But I know better. I know about your rough edges
and I have seen your perfect curves.

I will fit into whatever spaces you let me.
If loving you means getting dirty, bring on the grime.

I will leave this porcelain home behind. I’m used to
twice-a-day relationships, but with you I’ll take all the time.

And I know we live in different worlds, and we’re always really busy,
but in my dreams you spin around me so fast, I always wake up dizzy.

So maybe one day you’ll grow tired of the road
and roll on back to me.

And when I blink my eyes into morning,
your smile will be the only one I see.

No Matter the Wreckage
Sarah Kay

like everybody else.

[..] like everybody else, i want to die someday but not anytime soon. I like dusk just as much as anyone but I think I’m becoming more keen on sunlight, waking up to the sweet & coffee in the kitchen & all those birds. there are plastic spikes on my windowsill to keep the pigeons away & I don’t know what to think about that. things like that fill my whole entire animal heart… thin heat from radiator in the library. frosty fields where I almost died & died again until I forgot what it means to die or stay alive.

it’s November again & most of us are still alive. this make me so glad except for the fact that it has to be said. I look outside & a black flock of birds erupts into something that’s never been described before.

“It’s November Again”, Talin Tahajian

hungry for something it can’t name.

Owen keeps asking what
happens to his body

when he dies, what happens
inside the body,

and I tell him
all your organs slow

down, your lungs and
heart, your liver,

and the blood in your body
stops moving

around your body, until
everything stops

and become quiet and
rests. he wants to know

if it’s the same thing
for birds and when birds

die what happens to their
feathers, if the feathers

stay up in the sky and what
is a wolf, he wants

to know, and can it eat us.
He says that some things

come back after they die
but we don’t want

them to. No, I say,
sometimes that’s all

we want. No matter what.
For someone

we loved to come back
no matter how terrible

or painful it might
be. His older brother,

Hamza, is alone in his room
again, lying very still

on his bed working out
the compass of being

a teenager on his
Nintendo. I want to

take both boys out
into the yard and have

them bathe their feet
in the October grass.

Pull the cold air over
them like a woolen overcoat.

But I need to get dinner
going and I need to

grab the clothes from
the dryer and fold

them. I don’t know
how I will get the house

cleaned up before it’s
time for bed. Before

I became a father my
greatest fear was dying

in a plane crash, the
plane stalling through

a cloud of birds. Now
I sit at a kitchen table

and stare and stare
at the gas bill

like looking out
the window at a car

on fire. Sometimes
I want to be a ghost

or a vampire, a zombie
slowly walking over a hill,

hungry for something
it can’t name but,

with arms outstretched,
begs for anyway.




ALL HALLOW’S EVE, Matthew Dickman

what i do know.

it’s only september. i don’t know how many seasons i will be allowed to love you yet.

what i do know is that you have flown one thousand miles to stand in my kitchen, dropping chocolate chips into pumpkin pancakes

—like arranging freckles for the face of a perfect child.

“A Simple Love Poem”, Megan Falley

In July

You and I moved fast and slow, twisted time to match the beat of our hearts, eyes closed to something no one dared to see. Go on, I said, you’ve made your choice but we breathed and lived for all the wrong reasons and you left for years without looking back and here you are now, bittersweet perfection, sullen and angry like a Cat 3 hurricane too far offshore to be noticed, sad and angry like the hot tears you once cried so long ago in July.

Diana Perry

like morning.

i think a lot about your eyes
…and how painful it is to be
in a room full of people with such
empty pockets and words that are
so heavy i cannot lift them from
the fog.

you are the greatest secret
if i could i would hold you between
my hands like morning.

Alison Malee

Uncertainty.

mumbling over

my own tongue,

so fat and full.

like grapes

never plucked

from the vine.

my tongue is

alcohol spilling;

time drunk and burdensome.

every word tastes like uncertainty.

like tar black midnight

in the quiet afternoon.

truthfully, i just want to say

i love you and

have that be enough.

ALISON MALEE

happy valentine’s day

scorpionnrl illustrations

I Can’t Grow A New Heart

kurt cobain baby

these stories, they come to me in dreams the first time I fell asleep since they told me you’ve fallen into flatline

I dream you

sometimes in colours, green and oranges, purples and blues, and not bleak nor dark, we are not in the shadows

in these dreams, our children they’re born. they’re not sucked to death, they’re not stillborn nor bled away

they live and we give

names to their innocent loving faces

the eldest has my eyes, her brother has your smile

in these dreams we’re not bitter

we’re not numb from pain

in these dreams you are standing tall

little daughter dances on your devoted steadfast feet

her brother clung to your arms, his head rests on your secure and sturdy shoulder.

he’s falling into another dream.

in these dreams, I dance with you under the chuppah

and you recite a long vow, a song we used to hum

before we went to sleep

about lovers

lost

and again,

found.

 

On birthdays that are wiser,

On Letters to Lovers Lost. 

 

This Much I Do Remember

this much i remember

It was after dinner. You were talking to me across the table about something or other, a greyhound you had seen that day or a song you liked,

and I was looking past you over your bare shoulder, at the three oranges lying on the kitchen counter next to the small electric bean grinder. which was also orange, and the orange and the white cruets, for vinegar oil,

all of which converged into a random still life, so fastened together by the hasp of color, and so fixed behind the animated foreground of your talking and smiling, gesturing and pouring wine, and the camber of your shoulder

that I could feel it being painted within me, brushed on the wall of my skull, while the tone of your voice lifted and fell in its flight, and the three oranges remained fixed on the counter the way stars are said to be fixed in the universe.

Then all the moments of the past began to line up behind that moment and all the moment to come assembled in front of it in a long row, giving me reason to believe that this was the moment that rush out of sight into darkness behind the eyes.

Even after I have forgotten what year it is, my middle name, and the meaning of money, I will still carry in my pocket the small coin of that moment minted in the kingdom that we pace through every day.

This Much I Do Remember, Billy Collins