Sunday, April 22, 2018
Everybody is doing trigger warnings now, so
To Whom It May Concern, I hated God
when my sister died. I didn’t know it was
coming, but we were at the hospital in a private
room for family, and our pastor
was there, the one who baptized me, and
he said Let us pray, and I kept my eyes
open to watch everybody, but
listened, and when he said Sometimes
God has to take back his angels,
I was smart enough to know, I was 14, that
he was saying she was gone or going
and I loathed him so much, he didn’t see
the look on my face, that blazing anger
blank heart f-you-forever look, but then
my parents told us we were going to
take her off life support, and I died then,
and after they took away the machines we had
solitude, family time the five of us, mom,
dad, me, my brother, and my sister. Holding her
body she was warm she wasn’t conscious
but she could hear us I know it, then they
opened the door for other family to
say goodbye and I was hugging her back
in her bed, my face against her face, my tears
wetting her cheek it was flush and her wavy
hair, I wanted to hold her forever I was
hurting but felt selfish like other people
wanted to say goodbye too so I let go,
and her head kind of tilted to the side and
I straightened it so I was a mess then
goodbye goodbye we left there to clean
the house for mourners to come.
by CM Burroughs
Saturday, April 21, 2018
I Invite My Parents to a Dinner Party
In the invitation, I tell them for the seventeenth time
(the fourth in writing), that I am gay.
In the invitation, I include a picture of my boyfriend
& write, You’ve met him two times. But this time,
you will ask him things other than can you pass the
whatever. You will ask him
about him. You will enjoy dinner. You will be
enjoyable. Please RSVP.
They RSVP. They come.
They sit at the table & ask my boyfriend
the first of the conversation starters I slip them
upon arrival: How is work going?
I’m like the kid in Home Alone, orchestrating
every movement of a proper family, as if a pair
of scary yet deeply incompetent burglars
is watching from the outside.
My boyfriend responds in his chipper way.
I pass my father a bowl of fish ball soup—So comforting,
isn’t it? My mother smiles her best
Sitting with Her Son’s Boyfriend
Who Is a Boy Smile. I smile my Hurray for Doing
a Little Better Smile.
Everyone eats soup.
Then, my mother turns
to me, whispers in Mandarin, Is he coming with you
for Thanksgiving? My good friend is & she wouldn’t like
this. I’m like the kid in Home Alone, pulling
on the string that makes my cardboard mother
more motherly, except she is
not cardboard, she is
already, exceedingly my mother. Waiting
for my answer.
While my father opens up
a Boston Globe, when the invitation
clearly stated: No security
blankets. I’m like the kid
in Home Alone, except the home
is my apartment, & I’m much older, & not alone,
& not the one who needs
to learn, has to—Remind me
what’s in that recipe again, my boyfriend says
to my mother, as though they have always, easily
talked. As though no one has told him
many times, what a nonlinear slapstick meets
slasher flick meets psychological
pit he is now co-starring in.
Remind me, he says
to our family.
by Chen Chen
Friday, April 20, 2018
Stopping the clock
I didn’t think the pendulum
was so heavy and cold. It wants to
finish its arc, but I hold on and
it clunks against the oak
cabinet. The weights are low, but there
is no need for two fluid pulls
to bring them to the top. The small
black cat sniffs at the still
metal. Wrinkling his nose at
the cabinet’s musty smell, he does
not linger as I buff
my fingerprints from the brass
with my shirtsleeve. The pendulum
knocks against the back as I latch
the door. I stand up, press my forehead
against the cool glass, closing my eyes
against the fading hand-painted numbers.
I know what time it is.
by Chris Fow Cohen
Shared with the author's permission
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Nightstick [A Mural for Michael Brown]
There are gods
is offered praise
& still cannot
its colors are blue
& black, a cross-
hatch of bruise
like my son’s
like lungs, excised
or autopsied, splayed
open on a cold table
or left in the street
for hours to stew.
is a gun—
is a gun, skin
a shiny pistol,
a demon, a barrel
not to bear
but bare. Don’t
into the wrong
is not dark
but a red siren
who will not blow
breath into your open
like a heart. Because
I can see
I believe in you, god
of police brutality—
of corn liquor
& late fertility, of birth
pain & blood
like the sun setting,
dispersing its giant
crowd of light.
by Kevin Young
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
You must not think that what I have
accomplished through you
could have been accomplished by any other means.
Each of us is to himself
indelible. I had to become that which could not
be, by time, from human memory, erased.
I had to burn my hungry, unappeasable
so inconsolably into you
you would without cease
write to bring me rest.
Bring us rest. Guilt is fecund. I knew
nothing I made
myself had enough steel in it to survive.
I tried: I made beautiful
paintings, beautiful poems. Fluff. Garbage.
The inextricability of love and hate?
If I had merely made you
love me you could not have saved me.
by Frank Bidart