the alligator beneath my wings

i.

my daddy was an alligator wrastler.

i was never dangerous enough or verdant enough to woo.

i used to try to distract him from his gator grappling

with one girl synchronized aquatic ballets

or dangling baby salamanders from my ear lobes.

listen to me daddy,

see me daddy,

pappa, can you hear me,

as you climb the jacob’s ladder out from beneath our toes as we steal

your amber blush rose cross to the lotus rich marsh in the azure.

ii.

my 2 cents.

illustratins on a stool.

men hide behind words.

women hide below pictures.

word and picture, mythical, magic mirror mirage.

iii.

where is the third nail?

“get off the cross, mary, we need the wood!”

he wonders if it  is late enough at night for morning wood.

he silently admonishes him for being a have playing

he imagines what having him tastes like.

nails across buttocks.

persecution sipped slowly.

frank and fireworks

10th Street….

“Hurry, get Frank! She’s waving a pistol on some lady’s porch!”

“Where is he?”

“Just find him!’

“Honey, what’s wrong? Put the gun down and tell me?”

“Your son beat my boy and took his twenty dollars. I want it back.”

“Here, take my twenty dollars. I just want to squash this.”

“NO, I want his!”

“He’s not here.”

She starts wailing and swinging the gun around the lady’s front porch.

Grady Avenue…

“Sounds like someone’s shooting off some fireworks,” she smiles.

the university

on day one, you overwhelmed my senses.

i was a teen on my own from Culpeper,

a dragonfly alighting on your pond’s waves.

supposed to have twenty-four hours, four years.

 

my tiny talk to earn my m r s.

i fail, academic probation, twice.

disgraced, I drag discover 2 1 6.

i danced on speakers, screwdriver, hold

the vodka, in hand sloshing nighttime sun

reflected out by scented body glitz,

pink sequins tube tops, rhinestone tiara.

 

radioactive techno makes me glow.

i strut yellow, passing all brown bag tests.

i reject verdant green in my rainbow.

money’s love rots my teeth and fills my closet.

slip dresses, skeletons fill my walkin.

my heart’s on my sleeve ’cause i like the red.

scarlet poems blow my brain- a break through.

now, my new livelihood programming enters.

 

now, my closet contains an ofrienda.

and, now my broad, heart-filled chest bursts springtime.

Tangental Sounds of a Recovery House

“I’m gonna go play with dese bricks and block.”

“We po’ed all that rubar over in the cut.”

“Gonna get me some ravioli.”

“Not everyone’s bad.”

“She told me I didn’t have to take the test again.”

“All ya gotta do is ask.”

“It’s all donated.”

“This tastes like vitamins.”

“There’s no can opener. There’s no knives in case someone goes crazy and stabs somebody. Nothing but plastic like the pen. Nothing but butter knives and no butter.”

“Laughter heals.”

Gypsy in Chains

“They hang out at the less hoighty toighty ski resorts, the ones with cross-country granola skiers instead of the women in three hundred dollar ski goggles.  The gypsies just grab their chainsaws and carve these bears and sell them for a few hundred dollars and live off the money off season. They had a big fire. I was cold and wet, so I went up to them and said, ‘Won’t be buying a bear today, but would love to talk to you.’ I really wanted their story.”

I remember my bear. Her name was Fitzpatrick. Every day, they would line us up in alphabetical order. Fitzpatrick was always called at least three times. He was either sick, on restriction, or unable to hear his name over the cacaphony in his unquieted mind. So, every day, I stood there looking at a picture of this bear with her (?) cubs on the hallway wall waiting for Fitzpatrick to get his shit together.

I stared at Fitzpatrick, the bear not the man behind me, and wondered about something capable of so much rage and comfort. I wondered if I only noticed this duality, because I like Fitzpatrick, the man behind me not the bear, was grappling with my own in the form of bipolar disorder in a mental institution in Staunton, Virginia.

“I don’t think my parents would ever let me do that!” prattled my  caseworker.

“Buy a bear?”

“Be a gypsy.”

Sigh.

“Yes,  a gypsy life is not for everyone.”

God, how mundane medicated normalcy has become.

Won’t be buying a bear today.

cop trick

“Welcome to CIT training. I have a degree from UVA in English and Philosophy. I am a peer support specialist and on the Board of this and that. And, I like karaoke. Also, as some of you may know, I have been hospitalized for mental illness over ten times. One cop ‘redirected me to the ground” colliding me naked into a Florida red ant hill, cuffed, and hog tied me, and ignored my cries for help to remove the constantly biting and burning ants. I had another officer sit with me for hours in the e/r talking to me about miracles and John Grisham.  What kind of police officer do you want to be in mental health crisis?”

 

A father’s plea

 

“Veronica, as your father, I demand you stop doing this. People get killed in their own homes. Control yourself. Please.”

 

“One of the first things I suggest is slow down. You’ve arrived at the situation. Now, it’s time to be patient and diffuse…not create another crisis.”

 

a cop trick

 

He worked for vice. She was doing a little something she wasn’t supposed to be doing.

 

He bought her an afternoon sweet tea at a bar near her dorm with medium lighting and a lot of cheap wood paneling.

 

He gave her once overs, smiled, and nodded a lot.

 

They decided to try each other out in a motel near grounds.

 

As she entered his car, she noticed his siren.

 

“You know most sex acts are illegal in the state of Virginia,” she says pretending to be coy truly being cautious.

 

“I know. I break them regularly.”

 

They had pivotal, shallow, masterful sex.

 

He taught her how to fuck with the lights on, and then they broke a lamp.

 

During the two year affair, he traveled hundreds of miles all over Virginia to be with her, dealt with pregnancy scares, and sent her a graduation card.

 

And, never fucked, saw, or called her again.

 

“Another suggestion is make it personal without taking it personal. You are dealing with a person who is not dealing with you but with themselves and their pains and their fears. Be kind even when we are unkind to you.  I believe if there is any judgment after this world… it’s about how we treated those who mistreated us.”

 

Occupy ousted; cops take naked lady.

 

they never showed me smile at the arresting officer.

they never showed me reach out to shake her hand.

they never showed her reach down and take my hand.

 

They never ask me to speak at a CIT training again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

will he remember me?

i watched the slow motion

impact of him with the car.

the thump turned my eyes

from the red and green explosions.

did the fireworks drive him into the street?

i was the one who stood next to

his writhing body, bending over

not knowing what to say or do.

everyone told me to get back.

i told him it would be ok.

i wonder if he heard me.

i wonder if he already knew.

i wonder if he will remember me

in heaven or as a new fig tree.