the final victim of a metro serial-killer

Oh, this us creepy! Well done!

The literati mafia

he is the neatnik of her dreams,

natty in his dark-wash jeans.

a brown heather sweater vest over

a sky-blue button down and under

an elbow-patched tweed blazer.

wing-tip shoes.

a bow-tie would be overkill, which he clearly knows;

so he tops it off with argyle socks

and a sharp but casual

hounds-tooth fedora.

He wonders what it would be like to undo each button to discover the underneath.  Not the undergarments; his momma raised him to never overtly wonder what lies beneath a woman’s clothing, especially not to himself. What he would like to find is the way in which the rib cage sits upon the vertebral column; to stroke the xiphoid process gently. To find the swell of stomach as it peeks from under its bony confine in the left quadrant. He knows she’s just eaten, so it will be easily palpated.

she cannot avert her eyes,

beneath thick lashes she spies.


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It’s This One

It’s such a vulnerable feeling calling something love, and often realized and verbalized too late. Beautiful.

The literati mafia

Two TV characters
stole our song,
but they should probably keep it.
We didn’t believe
in it enough.
We didn’t believe
in our love,
& yes, I’m going
to call what we had
that from now on.

It was a too-sad song,
overplayed at the time,
& I can always count
on a period piece
to bring our era
into focus, into view,
right in front of me.

You’d hate this movie.
You’d tell me that no one
really acts like that,
but you’d love half
of the soundtrack.
It would bring
you right back,

These lovers on the screen
have ended things,
as lovers often do.

Do you think they hate
that song now,
just as much as we do, too?

© Jennifer Patino (2018)

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You conquered me

Devastatingly beautiful.

The literati mafia


I must say goodbye with tears, pain next week
and though we’ve broken us with fiercest war
and though our faiths diverge, I urge you love –

to fight the good fight, to run the tough race
and never ever lose hope, peace or face.


Know that I love you with intensity.
Know that I hold you (here) candescently.


And if the rage of fate tore you from me tomorrow,
if paroxysms of angst and weeping crushed
me like a car careening into a sidewalk
and I’m left forever smashed with crushed headlights
of insight, a smashed engine of consciousness,
a broken windscreen of vision, a destroyed, debilitated
dashboard of memories, then my very identity
takes a gunshot to the head,
my self lies decapitated,
because you helped resurrect me
from the tumbledown, machine-gun town man
I once was, you breathed love into me,
thawed steel; made…

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Down the Eaves

I love this.

The literati mafia

curled up on the porch
my cheek resting upon my
tear-soaked hands

the rain pounding down the roof
and yet
all I can think about is

the sound of your voice
caressing me and
how I long to feel your body
pressed against my skin and
your fingers threading in my hair
as our lips
clash and join and mold together

our tongues thrusting
our breath in
ragged gasps and sighs
flesh upon flesh
sliding together

as easily as
the rain slips noiselessly
down the eaves

©️tara caribou – 2018

You can read more about the rain and longing love over at Caribou Crossings.

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Let’s start with now and work our way backwards
A timeline of my life thus far
Some think I should be moving onward
Not thinking so much of the past
But when it haunts your every present
It’s hard to make that last

But, Emily, it’s been played over and over
There’s no point in bringing it up again
The fact is you don’t have to make apologies
For what it is you went through

You don’t have to be sorry for being a sponge
or easy to hurt, and vulnerable
Big girls cry, that’s what Sia says
And she’s the one to know

Covering her eyes, her face with a mask
With such a beautiful voice behind

She suffers in pain, like so many do
Because they can’t see what’s in the mirror
Someone that endured countless pain
Maybe not the third world type
And don’t get me wrong, I feel for them
I wish I could do so much more
And maybe I can, and probably will
But I have a battle to fight on this soil

Cycle breaking, sick cycle breaking
The minutiae never ends
I’ll continue this fight until my last breath
I’ll show my girls what they’re really worth
They won’t get to say how awful they look
Or complain about a roll of fat
Or feel like their worth is in what makeup they wear
They don’t need to feel all of that

Growing up to find a man is lame
I’ve been through all of those silly games
And now I have someone I love,
But it’s nothing like a fairy tale
We teach our girls to be saved by princes
Instead of holding the reins themselves

I’ve given my all to the man I love
and though I won’t give up easily
If I was ever alone,
I would force myself to stay that way
Until I could say
Without a doubt, that I’m of endless worth
So that each slight or nagging pull
To believe the voices in my head
Would be a moot point instead

Today is Recovery, Phase 3, Day 1
My binging, purging days are done
My drinking to numb myself just to cry later
Is all too mundane to think about
It’s time to stop being in love with my sadness
And be in love with myself

Emily Cloward © 2015 – 2018


The literati mafia

Most times when the week ends, a time I sought all week, I feel the crush of water breaking, from dams vulnerable to bursting, I think of how my heart beat, the times I held my breath, pushing through another moment, all tiny moments,
culminating in a wellspring of tears, uncontrollable.

The pressure to perform, provide to those within my sphere, the comfort and the mercy that they need, like dehydrated sponges that wish to be filled, I fill. I fill and empty as my own wells run dry, the words I speak often volatile, like guttural cries from voices pushed down by hierarchy and stigma.

I wish I could say I understood everyone, that I even try, but I don’t. Only to those that understand me, will I give the gifts of my own. Closeness longed for, connection needed, substance to fill the vacant holes, unaware of my selfish…

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Omertà 2

The literati mafia

A Literati Mafia Collaboration: Part II

there was a time when it would settle, a threadbare mantle covering all the things that buzzed and hummed inside, demanding stillness. but now it is the rasp of snoring children, the score of tires on asphalt, the whisper of birch leaves. it does not cover so much as it permeates from the outside in. penetrating skin and fascia and muscle and bone until there is no more to traverse unless it were to exit. and that it will never do on its own. it is still made to settle, preferably in the supple bowl of my diaphragm, until breathed out by forces beyond control. only then is it reality, when it has been stealthily captured and exhaled in the guise of my own air. only then can i call it silence. and that silence is the enemy of mine enemy, welcome yet conniving…

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The literati mafia

It may be too soon, but I feel what I feel, having felt what I felt last night, in all its splendor and delicious beauty, embracing at first sight, holding it long, gazing in eyes as if saved from a drought, holding hands, soft kisses given, received with grateful wonder.

I felt myself open, my tongue was loosed, I felt free to speak the words on my lips, show you my prose, knowing it could backfire, but hoping the risk would produce gifts instead, and it did; I felt comfortable in your arms, like all layers were peeled within mere seconds, like I had the strength to open again, despite all the hurts before.

We danced and I saw the joyful abandon as you moved like your life depended on it, and I moved right along with you, a smile widening in spirit, on face, feeling like I could be…

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This is an amazing piece. I felt things I can’t describe reading it.

The literati mafia

We are all seekers at the start.    Waking up
in a field of spectral sunflowers.
We are all seers in the end.    Seeds
grown to shatter surfaces.    Eventually,
there are no veils to pierce,
there are no more crumbling walls.
Torment has torn them all down.

Trading with the toll collector.
One habit or crown for another.
Soothing self suffering by the piling on
of others’ pains.    Half moon
releasement.    A session with
the gazing glass.    Dymphna appears,
a blade of blended faith.
Swirls of earthly blues
and greens hypnotizing.    Everything
feels apocryphal when the ground
is so alive underneath.    Just lie back.

I sift through fonts in modern dreaming.
I can’t see any faces I recognize anymore,
only blurred strangers fading
in and out of a sea of words.    They don’t know
they’re drowning.    They don’t see
that the…

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Omertà 1

The literati mafia

A Literati Mafia Collaboration: Part I

In the end, everything is silent. Maybe that’s why I hated it so much, I’d always liked beginnings so much more. My flat when my parents reached the end of the end of their marriage was like being a character in a silent movie. We might as well have been in black and white. I laid in bed, waiting for them to start shouting, arguing, reading the same old script they’d been reciting every single night for years when they were foolish enough to think their insomniac daughter had fallen asleep. But it never came. There was nothing left to fight for. The war had ended and they’d both lost, claiming my childhood as a casualty. I never thought I’d miss the fighting, but somehow the silence was worse. My own relationships are plagued by all the things left unsaid, silence where there should…

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