By Holly Day
Music Stillborn, or Just Interrupted
Strewn with the bones of sailors lured to its rocky shores By sirens singing songs of love and sometimes loneliness Arms outstretched to passing ships as if in joyous embrace. A broken heart floats on a cold, neurotic sea. The waters beat upon the beach in bone-crushing white embrace Death himself parks his ferry sometimes close to shore A cold wind blowing at his back, bearing his loneliness. The coastline ringed by monsters guarding the deep, neurotic sea On the decks of passing ships, sailors stuff their ears against the loneliness Aim their ships at the dark horizon, away from gloomy shores and mermaid songs on rocky cliffs and whispered dreams, the cold embrace of roaring waves glittering high above the cold, neurotic sea.
The Future Critics and Judges
Someday, archeologists will uncover the door of our home, make wild guesses about the exact placement of the house number, and how to read the characters that make up our address, write papers based upon theories impulsively grasped at our lack of a doorbell, deduce our financial state at our time of death by the words scrawled across the tacky dimestore doormat. Someday, the clay ashtray I keep at the table next to my bed will become a relic in a well-guarded museum, complete with a plaque attempting to decipher the chicken-scrawl imprints made by kindergarten hands, the paint blob on the inside that only I know is supposed to be a heart. Children like my own will stare, bored, into the glass case, led by some museum docent, loudly announce to each other that people from the past were stupid, that they could make a pot as good as that one in an afternoon. Someday, future hands will stroke and catalog our furniture wonderingly, mutter incessantly, much as we as we do now, at the way we must have contorted our bodies to fit comfortably on chairs too short for you and too tall for me, and on the way no one piece matches another.
The mummy comes to my door, tells me he’s moved in down the street, only now realized we were neighbors, we should go out for coffee sometime, we should catch up. Startled, not expecting this shambling wreck of my past to just show up on my doorstep as though nothing had ever happened between us, I just nod my head say that would be nice. I shut the door and my daughter asks who I was talking to, asks why I look so funny, so strange. I say nothing can’t find the words to explain that sometimes the dead can crawl their way out through layers of dirt breathe life back into their rotting limbs and stop by for a visit, without any sort of warning, no polite warning at all. I struggle for an explanation, finally tell her that it’s really none of her business, that even mommies have things in their past that nice little girls shouldn’t know about.
The First Bite Is Obscured
all I can remember first bite of food after a 30-hour fast peach, a sandwich, I think, but I don’t remember or sweet mustard and glazed ham store-bought white bread is that peach. or just peanut butter and jelly on soft whether it was salty pastrami on black rye filling my throat. I know I ate more than that a ripe peach, flesh firm, dripping sweet nectar.
When Freedom Becomes Unbearable
We invite the government to read our minds, the aliens to beam new instructions with jagged fingernails and broken glass Give us a purpose! we shout into the night sky, praying that at least one cruise vessel bent on world domination is heading for Earth. We want to make wallets! we plead, eyes on the stars in supplication, heads matted with drying blood, fingernails ripping at our tin-foil hats and flinging them into the air. One of the tiny moving pinpricks of white above us must be an alien spacecraft, aiming subliminal messages into our prefrontal cortexes--we dig into our scalps with the hope of making mind control that much easier for our oppressors the communications satellites circling overhead, our hands outstretched, cracked and broken.