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aayoung

Poetry, Prose, Art, Photography, Curiosities

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poetry

Liturgy of the Hours

every night you were away

i sought you out

through blackberry bramble ether

from weeping constellations above dixmyth avenue

to jessamine county barns filled with horse hay

perpetually wrapping blue ribbon around my finger

whispering vespers

my plea to the particles of the universe

to hold you together

to bring you back from oblivion

as you had done for me

you are my chosen family

inextricably part

of my thunderous heart

to which you will always hold the latchkey

pavlov’s monday

she got distracted mid-orgasm

thinking about a situation at work

and cursed, baffled

that’s fine, she thought

the spacious hierarchy

and building structure will allow for

never walking through

that department again

yellow petals

i walked into our backyard and spoke

to the witch hazel tree this morning

she was the closest woman i could find

beneath a sun that decided to shine

for the first time in a week

witch hazel calms angry skin

soothes redness and inflammation

her fleshy bark turned to me as i told her our story

though she already knew the words

she had felt the earth around her roots quake as i screamed

for the baby i tried to give you who is buried perpetually at our feet

for the day i walked out on you in a restaurant

to not hurt you with my sharpened tongue

i didn’t want to lash out at you for wounds i’m still nursing

that you didn’t inflict

the way you had the nerve to follow me

and when our eyes met

you smiled because you love my damaged heart perfectly

i told the witch hazel tree all of this

her buds bloomed yellow petals for an answer

right in front of me

 

-i love you, James

 

 

across the ohio

when the oxycodone and meth crops fail in kentucky

the country folk flock

across the ohio river into cincinnati

to go to the open air opioid market

people once came to the queen city from the south

to get factory jobs that no longer exist

they were called briar hoppers

we don’t have a name for these new immigrants

other than marginalized, homeless, inmate, and DOA’s

but they’re good at making change

a five dollar bill on the streets of this town

will turn into a baggy of heroin

faster than it will turn

to singles

deep water

life screws with you

as you trudge through it

deep water can look

deceptively shallow to emboldened drivers

the waitstaff hates you

crises lead to off color jokes about

what shampoo the exploding astronaut used

yet they help us cope

cats can be unexpectedly attracted

by the hum of a vibrator

a soul weighs 21 grams

your father cheated but he loved your mother

human suffering is caused by other humans

wisdom is what you get

in exchange for all of it

 

 

 

sparks

love is an unsupervised child

with bad intentions

and a chemistry set

embracing needles

age has
inoculated me
to human charm
genuine and feigned
thank goodness

The Secret of My Traveling Crystal Necklace

Back in 2012, when I had my first book release in Los Angeles, I had a crystal beaded necklace that pulled apart in my suitcase. It seemed wrong to rid myself of the estranged gems, and I harboured unlikely notions of restringing the beloved bauble one day. As I was packing to leave, some of the beads accidentally rolled under my voluptuous bed in The Biltmore Hotel. I suspect they may still be there, as things seem not to change much there, except the sheets, and I liked the notion of leaving a part of myself behind in the City of Angels.

The beads remained in my suitcase as I drove and flew to poetry gigs all over the country for the next few years. In keeping with the precedent set in Los Angeles, I started purposefully dropping them in places I stayed. I would toss the pea-sized stones into locations they were unlikely to be found: down antique brass filigree air vents in byzantine hotels, behind cabinetry permanently affixed, through imperfectly sawed holes cut for plumbing to climb and dive through plaster, beneath the loose floorboards of my friend’s apartment, into the chasms of airport elevator shafts. You get the idea.

There are pieces of my secret crystal beaded necklace hidden in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Redondo Beach, Berkeley, Venice Beach, San Francisco, Oakland, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Cleveland, New York City, Elyria, Canton, Nashville, Lexington, Dallas, Cincinnati, and even pitiful Little Rock, Arkansas, a place I didn’t care for at all. I consider them amulets to protect people and cities with whom I fell in love, and talismans to keep away those whom I didn’t. The faceted baubles keep me tethered, connected through minutiae, in the smallest of ways.

More beads remain in my suitcase to this day, an impossible amount hidden within the satin folds, certainly a greater number than my finite crystal necklace was ever originally composed of. It is as if the universe is telling me that I have more journeys to take, love to make, and fine people to meet. So, if you’re staying in a heat wilted hotel by the Pacific Ocean, enduring a vaulted matchbox overlooking the Hudson River, standing by a tuneless luggage carousel, or renting a beautiful two bedroom flat nestled near Lake Erie, and a magical crystal bead finds you, that’s just me…and I’ll be seeing you.

 

sweetly, simply

ice blue shimmer

swaddling a snowy city

morning is being delivered

at the library’s

side door

i crosswalk dash

through breathy billows

from my rose red lips

a parliament of cellos

cooing ave maria to a piano in my mind

focused on the coming coffee and time clock

when the man walking passed me

lifts my trance by smiling

sweetly, simply he says,

“beautiful…”

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