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Personal Philosophy.
your_artbeat
Negative emotions are healthy because they enhance our appreciation of positive emotions.

In the long run however:

anger is unproductive
fear is unproductive.
hate is damaging.

distrust holds you back.

transmute anger into passion.
fear into adrenaline.
hate into pity.


Trust is more complicated:

Trust everyone BUT trust that they are human.

Remember: Trust ≠ a commitment to your expectations

Trust them ONLY to be themselves, including weaknesses.
This way you will not feel betrayed when your expectations are not met.

An Almeh Performing A Sword Dance
your_artbeat

An Almeh Performing A Sword Dance 

The window moved
a golden curtain to spotlight
the bow of her feet, the stern of her face,
as she rocked and said, “My stomach is lapping.  

The mimic. The ripple.” We turned
and wiped the spray of moisture
caressing our necks.

“Your thoughts?” We replied, and moved to sit still
“are barefeet that strike
the carefully shaded floor”

A lantern lit deep in the room,
but still only our shadows were golden.
She sliced back through the dark oil mood

with a Persian sword balanced on her head  
and only the arch of her hips trembled. 
I seethed and my friend told me, "I have never  
loathed the ocean more."

And with the rock of the boat, 

she dipped  
and vibrated,  
and was painted a new color

 
Only our clothes matched the pigment of her face.  
And we ached privately, sick with the motion  
of each wave pulling back,  

And on dark benches  
elbowed for a better view.  


trust no one
your_artbeat


Venus Fly Trap (Calypso)*

 

A sunset is only the closing of petals,
Dark-ink indigo,
folding in over pink,
Swathing pure gold in fragile ebony.

Seven years of his sunsets,
She coddled his glow,
wrapping him in shadowed petals,
and dusky, warm sins.


He melted sugared light
in her obsidian veins,
While the taste of hot violets,
Drowned in honey flavored pitch.


Each sunset he floated
Back towards her bloom,
Starving butterfly tongues,
Clutching nectar under
satin sheet waves.

Which sunset did the petals
Become succubus?
Him, a fly, between two panes of pink,
Cursing the delicate rose of her cheek?

Calypso, the blossom
With a jagged, candy grin
Each petal a tooth,
Aching to close sunshine in.

 

*Calypso was the Sea nymph that trapped Odysseus on an island for seven years as her lover.

 


Bitter Love
your_artbeat


Superman’s Wife

 I enslaved myself to follow you.
hand stitched, red and blue,
Shadowed by an “S”
Tattooed on the night sky

And a cape
 in the smothering dark,
Where doubt pours over jealousy.

not a sidekick, but a spatula,
Scraping fat from bacon.

Every wife’s dream, dear:
To stand at the sink,
With clock hands
 wringing sweat for attention.

 And hand washed,
A dirty dishes’ post- it note:

(At least
 I saved you
                    dinner.)

 



Distance

The phone chord swallows her voice, it wraps itself around my neck and forms a noose of curls. The conversation ends in pulling teeth. I polish them in rows and the phone goes dead. The voice retreats to its cradle. It tell me to hold. Silence is the consequence of static, and she drops me like a call.

 

 


Fibonacci Poems.
your_artbeat
 

Restless

Don't
Panic.
The clock has
Always been red and disapproving.
Don’t worry,  The clock has always been silent
Its block numbers twitching minutes like the freshly plucked legs of a spider,
square and bloated and moving towards the bed.
It’s natural your legs twitch.
Even now,
Don’t
Panic.

The Day After


February
fifeteenth
she finds
He keeps pouring
the wine until it spills.
The room stands up and blurs its stain
into his bedroom, where he fumbles with her top and forgets she’s drunk.
The floor tilts. Without remembering she would regret
red spots on white cloth,
he takes her
flushed mumble:
Please
stop.


Weeds
your_artbeat
 
Dandelions

I am no silken petal,
no delicate sunburst,
tasting of liquid butter.

I am no fragile blossom,
no apple cider perfume,
dripping honeyed dew.

A tall gawky weed,
heavy with coarse beauty,
I'll never be a perfect rose.

I thrive in blasted soil,
in harsh hardscrabble
that crunches like dead leaves.

It's no flower garden
only crude, abrasive ground.
Harsh, stable, and real.

I can find peace,
in this unpolished land
and earthy taste of raw.

For I would suffocate
on mild affection,
if trapped in a jaded jar.
 
 
 

do i dare, disturb the universe?
your_artbeat


The Final Score

(John Wilkes Booth)

 Crimson curtains fall, Daddy.
You’ll remember me…
Cocking my finger to blow the civil from war.
Manifesting our joint destiny,
No shedding of sons over battlefield gore,
(filling rum bottles with chilled cavalry)

Cocking my finger to blow the civil from war,
Oh, Civil Steel Flower and Little Boy Gray!
No shedding of sons over battlefield gore,
Watch the hangman’s noose do a jerky ballet!
(The curtains rise on your final score)

 Oh, Civil Steel Flower and Little Boy Gray,
Attention! A little boy’s wet-dream tonight!
Watch the hangman’s noose do a jerky ballet, 
A bullet shatters the leading spotlight.
(The understudy becomes the star of the play)

 Attention! A little boy’s wet-dream tonight!
Toy guns in chilled hands: the end of the play?
A bullet shatters the leading spotlight,
Hollow-eyed Daddy, you’ll finally pay.
(The finale of war is not the close of the fight)

 Crimson curtains fall, Daddy,You’ll finally pay
(Watch and remember, the end of play.)

www.thisartbeat.com


A Guilty Wish
your_artbeat



A Guilty Wish.

And once again
His lips slip into
the hollow carved
by the lapping of his tongue

 My head drifts
Towards the screen
and wish
I could feel the kiss
of a suicide bomber.
The crunch of metal lips,
That crisp hair standing on edge.

 To just exist
 in the silence before
 the beating of hearts
 speeds up to
a held-breath bang. 

They felt so much more alive
than I have been.
Crawling from bed
to couch
eating toffee filled
with a guilty blush.

 My hair was dyed red
and at first
the body I pressed
myself against went up
in flames.

 But at this moment
He pets boredom
on his padded couch
and only the TV
is alive enough to
mourn in a foreign
keen that tastes like
liquid hot candy.

www.thisartbeat.com


Spooning <3
your_artbeat

Spooning

 
There’s a God in his feet,
pressed up to my legs
at night.
 He asks “Are you cold?”
I close my eyes
 to turn off the light.

 He laces his fingers
through my hair.
 Stops at the knot
of dreamcatchers there.
 
And the trees are bowing.
They feel the weight
of his back against mine,
every breath he takes,
 a hug from behind.

I hear fantasies move with every snore.
They twist and turn
And march out the door.
I watch them go with
 dusted eyes.
The branches clap
 and the windows sighs.

I can’t clap
His hand’s in mine,
but I hold his breath, and our sleep intertwines
I hold my breath, and our sleep intertwines.
www.thisartbeat.com

Childlike
your_artbeat

 

           “No, no, no.” Ms. Davenport leaned over and pried the matches out of the girl’s hand.

            I hesitate to say girl. Although the “girl’s” dress was the color and style I’d seen at my sister’s tea parties (This was back when my sister was young enough to consider Mr. Teddybear and Flufster the Bunny her two best friends.), a deliciously round set of breasts was peaking over the top of this girl’s bright, frilly dress. I was simultaneously aroused and repulsed.

            The girl scrunched up her face as Ms. Davenport took the matches and, standing on her tiptoes, put them on top of the fridge.

I cleared my throat “Not to be rude ma’am but isn’t that a little counter productive?”

She looked at me sharply “What do you mean.” She made the phrase almost sound like a statement rather than a question

I glanced over at the girl, who was now playing with the bow slipping off her head and was easily a foot taller than Ms. Davenport. “Can’t she reach….nevermind..” I shook my head.

Ms. Davenport wasn’t listening. She was pulling the girl up by her arm, presumably to get her stand, and the girl was squatting down further. The effect was almost comical. “This is…” she grunted with the effort of supporting the girl’s weight “Clarissa!” she said triumphantly as the girl stood up abruptly.

 I bowed politely to Clarissa, and then made a head gesture toward the stairs to remind Ms. Davenport of our private conference. She got the hint and after leading Clarissa to a table covered in half finished scribbles and some pens she motioned for me to follow her up the stairs.

We continued past a number of other rooms. While the kitchen we had been standing in had been pristine white, like hospital walls, the rest of the rooms in the house seemed to fluctuate between newly renovated and decaying. The first room we past looked like it had just been sealed with a fresh coat of robin egg blue paint. The second room’s paint was peeling in so many spots it looked like a pattern intentionally put on the wall.

The final room we reached was at the top of the long stairway, where the steps narrowed into a freshly painted door. The paint around the door was still peeling however and surrounded the door in chunks that looked like teeth. It’s like it’s swallowing us I thought as she opened the door and stepped through. I shivered and followed her.

The room looked strangely tidy despite its chipped paint walls. Ms. Davenport ushered me to a metal chair with a dark blue pillow. I sank into it and took my hat off. It was the first chance I’d had to sit all day. I took my hat off my head respectfully and then clenched it on my lap.

What the hell had my father been thinking? “Go visit the Davenports” he’d said. “You’re marrying age” he’d said. “There’s a girl there I’d think would interest you.” I swallowed hard. Was this his idea of a practical joke? Yes, Ms. Davenport’s daughter was beautiful in her own weird glazed eye way, but she had the mind of a four year old. Clarissa wasn’t practically retarded. She was retarded. What kind of sick man did his father think he was? Hopefully he didn’t think I was kind that would take advantage of children, even if they had the bodies of eighteen year old women. To be fair the last time his father has seen Ms. Davenport’s daughter she probably had been four. Maybe he’d thought she looked like she’d grow up to be a likely looking girl. So now I was stuck in this attic trying awkwardly to say I wanted to woo her breath-taking yet incredibly simple minded daughter? Or maybe my father had meant Ms. Davenport herself? I reexamined the woman. For a mother she was surprisingly young, and strikingly beautiful as well. I’d never heard of a man connected to her name. I stared at her empty ring finger and thought hard.

“Are you widowed, Ms. Davenport?” I finally asked, it was unbearably and probably unforgivably rude to ask, I know, but I had to ask if I was intending to pursue her.

She shot me a look that could have dried the paint on the walls downstairs. Scathing is the emotion that comes closest to describing it. “No. Sir.”

I tried to digest that statement. She moved the silverware around her side of the table in brisk movements before she started to speak. “If you are here to, you know.” she gestured towards her ring finger. “I suppose you have a right to know.”

I backed up in my seat and waved my hands at the thought of marriage to this woman right away. “Umm let’s not get too hasty, even if my dad said….” I stopped short

 My nose twitched. Something was bothering it. The room smelled vaguely of smoke. I opened my mouth to tell Ms. Davenport, but Ms. Davenport’s eyes were glazed over with some memory and her gaze was so fixed I knew she hadn’t been listening to me.

If you are wondering Ms. Davenport’s story went a little like this: “It was in this room, before the paint was peeling. It was painted a dark blue. It matched the chairs we are sitting on. My parents hated it, but me and my brother loved the color. It was dark and mysterious like we both pretended to be when we dressed up and ate all our meals up here. My brother was four years old. He teased me horribly but he’d let me follow him around. I wanted to be him, I mimicked his walk, his talking mannerism, even his clothing styles, though my mom said it was highly inappropriate for a girl of my age to be dressing as a boy. I was fourteen. To me, the words “highly inappropriate” were about the highest compliment a person could give. Ms. Davenport looked at me apologetically, “I was a weird child, something of a tomboy I guess.”

I shook my head in understanding and thought about the door. My fingers were still clenched around my hat. I hadn’t signed up for this. I didn’t really want to hear her life story, as interesting as it might be. A non-widow with a child? There was only one explanation. Funny the woman didn’t particularly look or act like a loose woman. I let my eyes wander down her crisp ironed shirt and creaseless skirt that hugged her lean figure. Who can really tell though?

Ms. Davenport puckered her lips into a frown and turned the full force of the frown on me.  “We had a party. Well my brother had a party. He wanted me to please his friends so he said if I wanted to stay up for it I was going to have to act like I was their age, not like some stupid younger sister. I spent hours sorting through my mom’s dresses. My brother was good at painting so he did my makeup. I looked older than him when I was done. I stood in front of the mirror for almost an hour. I couldn’t believe the girl in the reflection was really me.”

The air in the room was beginning to taste like charcoal, and was hot and hard to breathe. I wondered if Ms. Davenport had begun to smell it too. “Um do you smell that?”

Ms. Davenport’s eyes went livid. “Are you listening to me. They raped me. Those bastards. When it got dark in that room and my brother had passed out their hands wandered and bruised me. They shoved this in my mouth.” She shook the napkin I had been using with my tea in my face. I felt nauseous. “I was fourteen when I was pregnant with Clarissa. Fourteen!”

“Why are you telling me this?” I asked, confused and more than a little horrified.

“Because you’re not the first pervert to ask for Clarissa’s hand and I’m sick of men wanted to take her child-like innocence and…” Her lip trembled. “That’s why I made her the way she is today.”

That stopped me short. There was something seriously wrong with this woman. I should have stood up and left right there but I was curious. “How can you make Clarissa the way she is today?” I asked slowly. “Did you drop her on her head or something?”

She made a hurt sound in the back of her throat, though I couldn’t tell if it was from the smell in the room or what I had said.

“She’s not retarded!” Ms. Davenport finally said, sputtering. “She’s innocent!”

I just stared at her. In my mind they seemed one and the same in an eighteen year old girl, which is what I assumed Clarissa was if Ms. Davenport wasn’t lying about her age or the age of her rape. “I’m sorry, my mistake.” I said to placate her.

The room was now so hot I was sweating, and I didn’t think it was just because I was uncomfortable. I heard a faint sound from behind the door to the attic. It sounded like small creatures skittering around or…. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what it sounded like.

Ms. Davenport gave a grin that was the closest I’ve ever seen a human come to pure glee. “I didn’t want my baby making the same mistakes I did, trying too hard to be older, strutting around in front of those older boys like I had something they wanted. Then I found this.” She was holding a small, purple, bell shaped flower. “It's toxic, but not in a fatal way. One drop of it’s nectar in her food every morning and she stays with the simple innocence of a four year old.” She sighed at the thought. “She’ll never have to worry about all the things that bother us adults.”

She tried to exchange a knowing glance with me. I rebelled the best I could with my eyes. “Frankly, ma’am I think that’s sick. How does it help anyway, you’ve already said other men have asked for her hand.”

“That’s until they meet her.” She said and laughed, then coughed as smoke hit her lungs. “No one really wants a child as a bride. It’s far too taboo to try to have sexual relations with someone who can’t make their own lunch, let alone understand what you’re trying to do with them.” Ms. Davenport paused and said “Excuse me a second, I’m feeling rather light headed, do you mind if I put my head down for a second?”

I stared at the flower. Even if I didn’t believe her, the logic was still wrong on every level. I’d been thinking about Clarissa’s fully formed body and far too innocent eyes since I walked into the house. It was a taboo, to be sure but that didn’t mean a man wasn’t naturally attracted to such a taboo..

I stood up abruptly. I’d stop at the police on the way home. Talk to them about this. These kind of thoughts dripped of madness, I looked at Ms. Davenport and wondered if she’d always been like this or if it was just since the rape.

“You’ll have to excuse me.” I backed up and put my hand on the door. It burned. “Ouch!” I pulled my hand away and stared at it. It struck me what that sound was on the other side and I suddenly felt ridiculously stupid. It was crackling. What had Ms. Davenport pried out of Clarissa’s hands? My head felt fuzzy and I struggled to remember. Matches?

I glanced over at Ms. Davenport. She was passed out on the table. “Clarissa!?” I yelled through the door. I hadn’t signed up for this. I hadn’t signed up for this. “Clarissa?”

I thought I heard child’s laughter on the other side of the door. Or maybe it was just my imagination. I’m pretty sure it was my imagination, because I wanted to say I hate you mom for her.

I wasn’t mad at her. She was too young to know better.

My last thoughts were of Clarissa’s body spilling out of her little girl dress. Then I didn’t think at all.

www.thisartbeat.com