Depths

The literati mafia

Like ink and blood spill from my pen,
lackluster in their shaping
of the words upon my tongue and lips,
within my mind, the buried depths,
transported here to bide their time,
creep into parts of my real life,
stories recalled, truths to be told,
delusions of what to expect;

puffy eyes, puffy lips,
vacate the tears I haven’t wept,
or lock them up tightly again,
a choice to die the slowest death,
I can’t abide what they express,
but can’t deny their usefulness,
in prompting when to run and hide,
’til I decide to gush again.

Emily Cloward © 2018

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Navigate

The literati mafia

I know things about you
I was scared to know,

discovered through means
necessary for my contentment

devastated at the thought of another potential failure,
unsure if the tailspin could be recovered

convinced that it couldn’t,
you said goodbye

unconvinced you could pull me
back to your side,

but I caved,
in my effort to understand,

seeking answers to questions
difficult to ask

when I heard them,
feeling nothing but renewed resolve
to at least know you,
continue talking as two wounded souls

unwilling to give up so easily,
connection formed,
prospects for happiness
should healing continue,

for us both,
in ways differing,
while the same underneath

fear of abandonment,
lack of acceptance,
for who we are at the core;
the filler of addictions,
coping techniques,
attempting destruction
of who we both wish to be

I have no fanciful feelings
that all will be as it should,
just hope for…

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Beehive

The literati mafia

all day I’ve been thinking of
what I’m facing,
soon going home to my family,

4th of July fireworks,
festivities, dreading the
possibility of seeing
those I don’t wish to see.

driving into the state
will cause anxiety,
no welcome nostalgia
washing over me,

as the home I felt safe in,
torn down and razed,
now a church parking lot for
the confused and dazed.

and yeah,
that’s easy for me to say,
down here, hidden from
the view of the Beehive state,
from a childhood I can’t forget,
I was one of them,
but now I’ve defected,

seen not as a human,
but a pitiful case
of a woman, child, mother
who lost her way,
from God’s forgiving gaze,
words of prophets denied,
denounced as hate,
meant to suppress and restrict
from any life enjoyment,

deeper still from the time
needed to reflect,
on times malicious and sad,
full…

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Change

Such a pleasure to work with Pretty Kool Dame on this poem. She’s such a talented poet.

The literati mafia

Some nights, I randomize my entire music collection. I like the surprise of never knowing which songs I’ll hear, or which memory roads they may lead me down.

A song from Grease, the musical, plays. Those Magic Changes. It’s a song I love to sing from the corners of lonely rooms.

I think of change and how it is, indeed, magic. I should know. I’m a master of illusions. I make grand, spectacular entrances, then no one notices when I log off dart out the back door with loads of ancient secrets & experiences up my sleeves.

I leave dust bunnies behind. Trace evidence of my existence. Clues for anyone paying close enough attention.

And isn’t that just the thing, darkling?
No one’s paying any attention.
Paranoia only invents the idea that I am constantly under a magnifying glass.

The one constant change–the magic–that I can believe in…

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Mending Heart

Last night I saw a friend of mine, one I once wrote a poem for, I shared with him when wonder was new, believing he could be a final destination,

but someone else was also there, taken by surprise at his attentive nature, sweet messages throughout the day, unafraid of filtering words I say, consistency building moment to moment, blissful being in his presence; my friend, he likes me too, a burden I hadn’t felt before, instead of acting as if all was well, I spoke to him with words sincere,

I don’t know how to navigate these roads, I met you first and felt a bond, so new, no promises acquired, now meeting him, it just seems there is more compatibility, can’t see two at once, that’s not my style, I free flow with brutal honesty.

It’s probably all for the best, I can’t provide you what you wish, a family, a child of your own, allowances not on the table, I can’t expect for you to change, nor I. Needy and expectant, I could soak in endless amounts of attention, from someone willing to provide and receive the love I wish to set free.

I thought this would silence him, most confessions do, but he replied soft and sweet, a feeling rare, accepted, new,

I hear the words you say to me, I bonded with you, truthfully, I don’t want you out of my world, or mind, if that means we’re friends, to me, that’s fine, let’s meet and talk, laugh and cry, I’ll hold your hand and kiss your cheek, respect your choice and honesty, just don’t let go of me.

and so we met, spoke as I wept of life and stories past, I begged him pardon for my tears, he had no fear of them, catharsis for the weary soul, indicative of hearts not closed, when seen with empathy and care, now harder to leave a kindred spirit,

we hugged, I kissed you on the cheek, then sent you on your way, you messaged me what you thought of our wonderful, lovely time.

I responded that I wept some more, not wanting to hurt his beautiful soul, a soul who cares enough to try, his words a calm, gentle reply;

I’m not hurting, I like when you are near,

now my heart floods with joyful tears.

Emily Cloward © 2018

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.

he…

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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,
stubbornly.

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

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.

II

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

III

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
slithering
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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Reprise

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