Ants

I must have been a sight to see,
there in the bathroom shower
water sifting around my toes
and swirling in a flaccid current around a clogged drain,
face peeling like the bark of an old Birch tree
to reveal the Queen of Hearts
in all her vulgar, red-faced fury.
I must have been amazing for just
a few
moments.

I gathered power behind my teeth
and dispersed an entire generation with my breath.
I watched,
with indifferent eye
as confusion set in,
tiny legs scattered to avoid
the corpses floating down the drain.
I must have been in my element.
Fight or
fight or
fight.

But my anger is a smoke screen,
an alluring deception.
It is layer after layer of oil paint,
that’s never been given the time to cure.
It is loose and wet and it breaks and runs
and runs
and runs.

It scatters as ants on my bathroom windowsill.
It sends me flying down the stairs,
knocking my hip on the wall
as I harness my damp skin in whatever the closest piece of cloth is,
because I have to leave right now;
right this minute.
Now.

And I will spend an hour walking my dog through the neighborhood.
I will seek movement as a balm for the severity of my anger.
I will make predications and sort the meaning of my choices
like I’m scrying our future out of cracks in the concrete.
I will throw off sleep and sanity like an abandoned shoe.
I will hear my breath as a labored love song
and I will hesitate in the comfort that is my mourning melody.
I will make earnest excuses for tiring behavior
and I will push ahead, through the foliage,
around the next corner,
a block to the right,
until I can’t see the lights in my upstairs window,
until there is a sunrise in my soul and I am so awake I cannot see the ghost of us
in tiny skittering legs on my bathroom windowsill.

 

© Laura A. Lord, 2020


As always, thank you to MindLoveMisery. I used a number of your posts this time. You have been choosing some wonderful words for me. You may see the posts here, here, and here.

I Won’t Name This Thing

When I was 17 I brought home a puppy.
It was black and brown, with a small purple tongue.
It was squirming around and I held it,
with all that I had.
I held it with two hands and called it mine.

But you told me not to name it.
If you name it, you’ll keep it.
If you name it, you’ll make a bed for it.
If you name it, it’s home,
and it’s awfully hard to get rid of something with a name.

You drove me to an empty parking lot.
There was a crate under a streetlamp, a small bowl of water inside.
A safe haven for the unwanted.
But I cried when I put him in.
I cried when we drove off.
I cried, because I wanted that damn puppy
and his name was Rocky.

I learned that lesson well.
I held on to it,
tucked it back behind my rib cage,
right near my spine
so when I think about it hard enough
I get a single sharp pain right down my sciatic nerve.
A literal pain in the ass,
that’s memory .

That’s why I won’t name this thing.
This you.
This me.
When my therapist says, “Call it what it is.”
I tell her it’s a new found species.
Some undefined thing,
never before seen in the wild,
and I’ve got it almost tamed, I laugh.
Right here at my dining room table,
in my shower,
on top of me in bed.

I’m not naming this thing.
I don’t want hard to hold on to.
I don’t want another wedge jammed against my spine.
I have no room inside for this thing we’ve created.
These broken words.
This broken bed.
This you.
This me.
I’m not making it a home here.
I won’t name this thing.

©️ Laura A. Lord, 2020

 

Unwilling

You scaled me like a rigid, unyielding mountaintop
and you slipped through honey nectar words
that pooled in my head.
I wiggle a finger in my ear and make the world shake.
Your words stick to the grief track circling my ear drum –
hungry tentacle lullaby.

I lay back and stare at the ceiling.
There,
in the far corner –
a stain the color of sweet tea
has spread into the shape of Australia,
an eerie match for your birth mark.
So I force focus over your shoulder
and see the edge of your ribcage in our ceiling.
I’m looking for the you I used to know –
feather flight traces blow in the barest gap
between our flesh.

And I only feel you now
when you aren’t touching me.

© Laura A. Lord, 2020


Thank you to MindLoveMisery for the prompt.

Stranger

I am a rose-tinted vase,
glass hips,
swiveling on the edge of the counter –
dangerously close to teetering over.
My lips are heavy headed blooms,
wilting and breaking at the stems.
I am a cascade of confusion –
baby’s breath fluttering like dust
in the ceiling fan’s breeze.

I’m pretty sure you forgot to water me.

You –
you’ve got one heavy finger
wrapped around the neck,
a safety harness to keep me
from falling and splintering across the tile.

I can hear your pulse through your finger.
I follow it –
a yellow brick road
and I’m seeking the wizard here.
I close my eyes and pull back the curtain,
move my hips,
glass vase,
tilt a whirl on the countertop.
I just want a peek at the new you.

I’m pretty sure your face is unrecognizable now.

You’re all severe edges
and sharp cheekbones.
You are stark and solid.
You are steel bars and strangle smoke.
You
are stranger.

© Laura A. Lord, 2020


Thank you to MindLoveMisery for their prompt.


 

Good Vibes

I bought a vibrator that comes with an app.
I can literally connect my pussy to the internet.
Hands free,
wireless compatibility…
It’s the self-driving car of my era.
And I’m stuck home alone,
self-quarantined,
fucking myself
with someone’s vibe recording from San Jose.
I picture them –
heavy-handed beige fingers
tracing their own sob story
across the screen of their phone.
They write:
“Hi,”
“I love you,”
and
“Ready. Next.”

I slide their orgasm on like I’m trying on a stranger’s coat.
It fits, but not quite right.
They move with a certainty that speaks to their lips
and like another fucking language
I’m so busy translating
I exclude a few unknown words,
hit the buttons on the app,
and swipe my own way to a chemical uprising.

 

@ Laura A. Lord, 2020


Seriously though, stay home. Find yourself some happy chemicals in your brain. Go buy a new vibe. I definitely recommend Monster Pub. Just saying. I’m not being paid anything to recommend them. I just like my new vibe. 😀

Oh, and check out the promptsat MindLoveMisery. Thanks as always.

Karen

I want to call customer service.
I want to bring a very specific problem
to a knowledgeable bank of experienced people.
I want quality advice and then
I want to speak to every manager until I’ve reached the top of the whole fucking chain.
I want to be a Karen.
I want to stomp my foot and demand the answers,
because I am at my last possible straw.
I am tired.
I am more than tired.
I am a leaf at the end of autumn.
I’m at the top of the tree and the wind is howling
and I’m clinging with paper-thin threads of life
to the tip of a branch
and the whole fucking world is staring and waiting for me
to break and blow off into the distance
only to quickly be forgotten.

I want someone else to put out the fires.
I want someone else to find the answers.

When I called you and said my tire was flat,
our daughter staring holes in the side of my face,
hands tip-tap dancing along her thigh,
I eased the wrinkles of worry from her brow and said,
I’m calling Daddy.
And you said,
and I quote,
“What do you want me to do about it?”

I felt the headache’s immediate fingers
prod at my temples
and stretch its nails across my stoic mouth muscles.
My teeth ground powder thin patience
and turned my salvia to clay –
thick, heavy, and red in my mouth.

I wanted Triple A.
I wanted a manager to speak to.
I need to report your employee.
He sucks at his job.
I want a discount.
I want a return.
I want someone else to have the answers
and I want,
I want,
I want
to cling to this goddamn tree for awhile
without everyone staring at me
and wondering why I can’t even tell
the whole thing is on fucking fire anyway.

© Laura A. Lord, 2020

 

Shave My Head

I feel you –
not a sharp shard of glass that pierces,
but a glistening hunk of safety glass –
a small cube jammed into the base of my skull
where my feelings meet my common sense
and jumble together into the map of nerves
in my spine.

I wear you –
some awful decoration,
a name badge on my shirt –
the kind that leaves a sticky rectangle of residue
after making its way through the wash
and I surrender to that spot –
verification that I have once had to announce my name to the world.
But can’t feel it anymore,
that tickle in my throat
and I’m not sure I would recognize it
if I heard it aloud.

If it weren’t for you,
I’d shave my head.
I’d turn up my music to obnoxious heights
and dance in my kitchen.
I wouldn’t feel my hair in my face,
plastered to my cheeks in the wavering heat of the stovetop,
curled around your fist.

I’d shave my head
and let myself slip-slide across the floor in my socks.
I’d uncover that spot in my spine
and pluck you free.
I’d make a new name
and plaster it to the wall of some stranger’s throat.

You’d never recognize me.

© Laura A. Lord, 2020


Quarantine has proven good for one thing…I can write again. Look for my book ,I Am, to be released soon ❤

Self-Isolation

My son wears isolation as chapped lips.
He licks them red and bloody,
gnaws the savage edges of his fingernails
and taps his knees against the concrete sidewalk.
He is cross legged in the grass –
his best friend across the street.
They are exchanging golden smiles
and raising battle-worn hands in some sort of
social distancing salute.

We all do our part.

The rumble of the train coming into station
is my daughter’s new alarm clock
and she ruffles her pigeon feathers.
Wide-eyed ,
tap, tap, tapping,
bounce down the steps
and into the rainy morning
where her mouth opens and
she explodes into a million
Willy Wonka golden tickets.

We all do our part.

I am busy folding myself into separate little compartments.
One moment, please.
I’m just trying to fit myself into this suitcase.
Packing for a trip…
I’ll be right back, I say.
I preform the simple trick –
fold over, over, over
until I’m all tucked away,
safe and sound.
Out of sight.
Out of mind.

We all do our part.

© Laura A. Lord, 2020


I’d like to think we aren’t the only ones losing our marbles over here in quarantine. Be safe everyone. Thank you to MindLoveMisery for the prompt.

Monsters

Desperation is a large hand,
pressure on the jugular vein,
thick calloused thumb pressed up
into that soft spot under my chin
that makes me gag,
choke,
and sputter
like the bass coming from a broken surround sound speaker.
I’m all busted noise and empty language.

And I wish I’d learn to throw my voice,
to hold my words back,
ramping up their power
until I could heave them –
move mountains with my lips,
excavate freedom with my tongue.

But instead I sit here
holding my phone up to my face,
trying to see myself
in selfie mode
through your eyes.

Your voice is soft as Robin’s Egg blue
and as sharp as a switchblade.
It pierces so quick
I’m left staring at the cut across my lips,
feeling the blood shift and run down my throat.
I’ve lowered my voice,
like a gaunt corpse,
right into the crevice you’ve carved
somewhere in the shallow valley of my breasts.

We tell children that monsters aren’t real,
because telling them they wouldn’t recognize evil
when it dresses up as love,
pushes your hair behind your ears,
and kisses your forehead
is just too far fetched.

© Laura A. Lord, 2020


Thank you to MindLoveMisery for this prompt.

Sunlight

It is the fall of 1985
and my mother is unwrapping
a soft yellow blanket from
jaundiced tinged skin –
exposing the stiff shoulders,
tongue pressed hard into the bottom of a bare red mouth…
screaming newborn.

She lays the baby on the carpet in front of the bay window
and lets sunlight splash –
a Vitamin D baptism.

She draws her dreams into the baby’s skin,
traces patterns of hopes for the future
with an intensity that leaves behind
history’s long scratch of tradition.

Thirty-four years later
and I realize I have leveraged her hopes
against my heart
and have failed again and again
to come to a compromise
between the tap, tap, tap
of my name behind my teeth
and the salt etching of her tears.

I lay in the window of my house
I pretend the narrow light
is a small cathedral arch
and I’m bathing in the closest I’ll ever come
to redemption.

© Laura A. Lord, 2020


Thank you to MindLoveMisery for the prompt.

Break Through

They call it breakthrough bleeding –

There’s a leak in our bathroom sink
and I’ve had a fan blowing for two days,
as my aunt’s fancy kitchen towels brine in musty water.
It blows a brisk breeze on my bare calves –
my skirt billowing out around my ankles,
puddled on the floor,
with my berserk little hormones
borrowing into the floor under my feet.
My breasts hang low and drag across
the peel and stick tile
until my bloodshot eyes finally focus
and find the bleak little ray of light –
shining simply because it’s switched on.

They call it breakthrough bleeding
and I know it means I’ve lost you somewhere in this dilapidated bathroom.
You have scattered your cells across the pad floating,
there,
on the floor between my feet.

They call it breakthrough bleeding,
but it’s really a leak
and the floor’s gone soggy,
so one wrong move
and I’m tumbling down with you.
Break.
Through.

© Laura A. Lord, September 2018


Thank you to MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie for their prompt.