The Last of Fairyland

She wanted the books to be real,
her father a duke or an earl
and not the one she saw so rarely,
and when he was home
nothing but rough hands
and beer breath and grunts for words.

And why not a castle
so her two sisters could have their own rooms
leaving so much more space
for a closet full of her
silk dresses, gold tiaras.

And if her father was to die
why not in battle.
He was soldier after all,
almost a knight by her reckoning.
But it was cancer that fired
fifty rounds into his chest
and none of them were blanks

She was young enough
to crave fairyland,
not a cramped house with no yard,
not third grade, bullying girls,
cold teachers,
not a mother pulling her
out of school at midday,
then trying to explain a death
in which no swords found their mark,
no one toppled from their steeds.

She had no wish to grow older,
not when she saw her elder sister
crying over a photo of their father in the Middle East,
in military uniform but without his rifle,
handing out gifts to children.
It was him all right
but she had never seen him so kind.
Yes he could have been a king.
The little girls might have been his subjects.
She didn’t burst into tears.
It was an illustration all right
but where was the underlying story?

The First Seven Weeks

In those first seven weeks movie-love was her vision
She was wet for a while but then she dried up
And my very appearance affirms her decision

My gut and my balding head earned her derision
She tossed me aside like a used paper cup
In those first seven weeks movie-love was her vision

“We don’t choose whom we love,” she declared with precision
But she loved me at times – my fat back was scratched up
And my very appearance affirms her decision

Platonically perfect, or so she envisioned:
“You’re so sweet to talk to, you lap it all up.”
In those first seven weeks movie-love was her vision

Now her journals contain the red marks of revision
No longer am I her adorable pup
And my very appearance affirms her decision

The black horse of “yes” is a grounded gray pigeon
Abashed I’ll be if again we meet up
In those first seven weeks movie-love was her vision
And my very appearance affirms her decision

Slow Swimmer

surface caress
dint of toenail farewell
tomorrow, i say
(i am here everyday)

(it helps me get away)

a body joined my lane today
but when a free lane opened
she
excitedly
crossed the buoyant partition

plashing

(she was faster than i)

i used to stroke harder
when someone threatened
to pass me by, by

today i just let her pass, pass

yet my arms ached
like they never did
when i was younger

Play It Again, Sam

you found me in the streets
but said i’d never know how to bleed real
emotions always seemed to scream
PAID PSYCHOLOGY EXPERIMENTS
a severed snake voice hissing:
turn up the dial, increase the pain
ignore the cries.
i took gatsby’s great american dream by the teeth.
it was never meant for me
i can only blame myself
for biting the curb.

i’ve earned my whipping girl bruises
by crowning the locks of low lying Lucifers
who whisper vows of everlasting light.
i’ve taken their pictures and i’ve stolen
their souls like a cocaine-powered grave robber
flying on the kick of a famous last heist.
they can’t compare; they never made me feel as low as you.

even after we died
i looked back.
you were my eurydice.

heaven as home is as grandiose and american as
your mother’s apple-pie and
your father’s gun.
heaven as home as you
killed our chances
ripped apart the threads of my mythology
made days tumble into unfinished sentences
made me lose myself
to prove that heaven as home could be true.

Pet Names

he liked my way
of fish tank living
i was never too far out of his reach.
he didn’t have to pretend
that i was a koi.
i was fast, easy.
no assembly required ornament
a shiny sleek model to impress
wholesome parents
too sheltered to look past the tops of their fences.
he liked my way
of taking affection
paying with choice cuts
strips of tender flesh
piecemeal work
labored for love lost.
nothing i do can extract
the siren ache of your voice
tearing down back alleys.
i part my lips to speak
and you fill my mouth with stones.
the only way to disarm your ghost
is by the parting of my thighs
even though each encounter
leaves me a little bitter, a little older.

Higher than High

we went adrift
you lost the ability
to read my skin.
you can’t see me
clearly. strung me up high
and promised that i was safe from a crash landing.
we penned an open-ended goodbye
our lines sewn across the mouth
of the Atlantic.
sometimes you kiss with your fist
to shock the romance and
your knuckles blush raspberry red.
sometimes i sip my cyanide
thinking it will kill you.
everything moves with the past
like water circling the drain
i’m falling asleep at the wheel
throwing myself at the mercy of your high-beams.

See you in 2015!

We’re on a publishing hiatus until the new year, but we’re still accepting submissions. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

–Crissinda Ponder
Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Publisher

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Motherhood

Little one depending on you 
No need to panic

Instruction manual
inside of you

It’s hard labor
But easy love

Giving your all
to a life so small 

Motherhood.

Bipolar

Moods go up and down 
Good days and bad
Happy or sad

Depressed to creative in zero to 60 
It’s all in a day 

Take meds or not 
Just love being you 

No labels 
Bipolar disorder, not a bipolar you.

Silence

Do you hear it?
That sound invading the canyon walls?
Echoing and burying itself against and within the vast perimeters of its landscapes
Do you hear it?

That sound so aggressive and yet so simultaneously subtle
That effortlessly pierces the mind, body, spirit and soul with such ferocity and nuance
That nestles rather comfortably on closed lips
That envelops open minds much like an aura
That causes the levees on thoughts to break free
And appreciation to slowly set in
That is the absence of

Shh. Do you hear it?
Listen and listen gingerly
Even pause for a spell
You heard it, didn’t you?
Didn’t you?
Silence