by Michael Dinga
You’re German now.
Beneath brick and bone.
The same walls from
meal to meal.
keeps you present.
Hidden from the sun,
your cell hosts a light.
The Shepherd watches.
Chosen for the pile,
“New clothes, dead denim.”
They were right.
a trip to the country.
No windows for cargo.
You close your eyes,
think of home,
the smell of fags
and old Tom.
Punch the clock,
Rust those diamond blue jeans
with the blood from your hands.
You’re a piece of the chain,
another shovel for the ditch.
You make a promise,
your promise makes a partner.
The both of you wait
for a wet day,
for heavy dirt.
You bury the weight
of mud onto the chain,
holding it down,
keeping it tense and still.
You strike with your life, all of it.
Everything behind this moment
pushes you forward again and again
until the metal finally snaps.
A loud snap.
another sentry from
His eyes, his feet
run toward you with
one hand on his belt and
the other on his gun.
He brings the hard hammer.
You grab the old shovel,
the one you can break,
the one you can give
to the guard to fix.
You make the handoff.
Your shovel to the guard
so he steps away and
your savior’s hammer to you.
You panic, you run,
you leave everything with weight
Your hammer, your partner.
Your fear is met with
the focus of your assailant.
He gets down on one knee,
one hand holds his arm steady
with one finger on the trigger.
Right at your back.You’re
thrown forward on the ground
and shattered like glass.
your last sense of the world
turns you on your back,
tries to pick you up
only to face his badge and barrel.
Lightning strikes again.
One final blow
sends you promptly
It felt like a dream, warm pumpkin lattes, pleated skirts.
C'était comme un rêve, des lattes chaudes à la citrouille, des jupes plissées.
The oldest English literature, and a quill pen like a movie.
La plus ancienne littérature anglaise, et une plume d'oie comme un film.
Seeing your curls bounce and you walk to the front entrance.
Voir vos boucles rebondir et marcher jusqu'à l'entrée principale.
I'll have whatever that stunning lady is having.
J'aurai tout ce que cette superbe dame a.
How to love
Dear Supreme Court Members,
Elizabeth 'L' Mahoney
I have been provoked.
The echo of my bitterness
bounces off your walls of justice.
Keep this perverted image of power
and absurd idea of law
away from your courtroom.
When cities are set aflame with resentment
and carnage you are to blame.
This was your choice.
And only then
will you grasp the spirit
An angry woman
What if we hid?
Vanished from society, like vanquished
Servants of the almighty.
We scoured the earth for its precious metals.
Seeked revenge for the hatred the other fools have held to us.
Dissipate and see how long it takes
For others to find our trails of never ending regrets.
What if we hid away where all our neighbors were hiding too
Finding the love that they never felt before the escape.
We are surrounded by northern lights
Bright and luxurious,
Baffling as betrayal.
You were my hideaway for a second.
Now I sit in the throne of lies and despair.
The beautiful scenery
Just you, me,
The brisk wind
Chilling your bones
The glistening sun beaming
off the snow
How can you miss this?
What could be
if you could see?
Inspired by Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman comic book series
Raven eyes pierce through me,
No light in them but a pinprick,
Like the light from the stars themselves,
Cold with anger.
I don’t know what I did to him.
He chases me every night,
Ebony robes and sand trailing after him.
I can never get away,
Waking up in a cold sweat.
The same for years.
Insomnia, they say.
My anxiety causing issues sleeping, they say.
When I explain, they don’t believe me.
The meds don’t help.
They don’t work on him.
He’s not real, they say.
Just a figment of my imagination.
It will go away.
But he doesn’t.
The sandman is not a story for kids,
He’s as real as you and I.
She may have grown up in Ballston,
but she lived in Narnia and Wonderland
District 12 and The Factions
Idris and Inkheart, the stories in her head
She lived in literature
because words were easier
to digest than paint
peeled from lead-filled walls
stomach empty and angry
begging for anything to fill it
Words were kinder than
broken parents trying their best
but never being enough anyway
Words brought her comfort
peace, family, hope, light
Dreams of domestic bliss
where she too could be Miss Honey
a beautiful vision of hurting people
finding their perfect forever
As she grows she will no longer
crave those books’ distractions
their places to be and hide
She will turn to writing her own tales
of crafted lines riddled with hidden meanings
to introduce anyone who will read them
to the woman the little bookworm formed.
I Pray For Cosmos
you deserve to know your worth
an estrial stork brought forth down
unique astronomical star shine free
my head like the Earth
polluted with the toxins of
brain fog causes
is it amnesia, nitrogen dioxide?
coal infused clouds, ashy skies
chemically produced tears.
am i in a double life?
no amount of dissociation will
erase contaminated destruction.
rise higher, add fuel to this fire?
stripping away bark, lumber, roots
forest lives and rights
just like they are an average woman.
i guess that is proof Earth really is
a Mother, a protector.
treat her better, treat us better.
one for all, all for one.
Your warmth protected me.
Of endless romance,
Sensations, hard to handle.
Cold february, warm april.
Sentimental moments of afterglows so small.
I know the merriment will end
In minutes time,
I’m rushed with emotions unlike any human can handle.
Solitude confines me in its cold taste.
Lonely march, jealousy june.
Solitude loves my wrath.
The alienated artist
Sits behind his piano
With his fingers dangling over the keys,
Heavy with creativity.
Music and lyrics playing in his head,
Just begging to be written.
He begins to compose,
Frantically playing and scribbling,
Creating a hurricane,
Blowing pages around his shabby apartment
Until they come together as a finished score before him.
Only he knows the world it contains.
Now he has to share it with the world he knows.
Where Do I Fit In?
They say home is where you'll always feel welcome
But how come I feel like a stranger walking through those front doors
The unknown of where I belong
Where do I fit in
A home is a box filled with memories
But mine is filled with ones I'm not a part of
Moments in my family history that I wasn't there
Where do I fit in
They say THIS is who you ARE
But how can that be when the things that shaped YOU
Happened when I was sent so far
My phantom self always on the sidelines
Family gatherings I’m included in through facetime
Family portraits I'm not a part of, I ask myself
Family gatherings I’m included in through Facetime
opening weekend. sky clearer than
the water your kids
splish, splash into each others eyes
jump, dive from the docks
gargle underwater as mermaids or
gulp, swallow between giggles between
Gasp. chemical burns airways shut
eyes searching, pleading, but
how could you help
with your house on the shoreline bleeding
spring cleaning into
your children’s summer screams?
A Child's Hiding Place
Small rotten tooth tied onto a string,
Glass pearl necklace, plastic diamond ring,
Fuzzy pink diary with all pages ripped out,
Handful of rose seeds that never got to sprout,
Booklet of church hymns you pretended to sing,
Matted teddy bear you always would bring,
Report cards infested with the hideous sixth letter,
Echos of promises that they would get better,
Blue plastic egg tied up with a bow,
Womb for the dead mouse with nowhere to go,
Painted picture of a black ocean’s white shore,
And a child that drowned with them under the floor.
The creak of the door
as you open your demise.
Melted walls now cracked.
Staring straight towards the abyss,
you call out.
The echoing of your voice bounces
off the walls, susurrate voices return.
Opening the door to your left,
a sense of uncertainty entraps your lungs.
You smell the rotting beds as you walk,
tasting the granular air.
It wasn’t the living calling out
but the decomposing cadaver
left out to be forgotten.
Take it or leave it, heinous men
Are pests like weeds that don’t
Know when to keep a lie
For example “I didn’t do that” to
Our faces, no I guess we are the whores
Death of a Baby Bird
calamity, or undiscussed
each bystander individually
perceived the fledgling’s
landing or descent or
allegations impede upon
my investigation into dissected
motivations and eventual
hypotheses. Disagreements on
actions seen and
evidence proves ultimately
an utter lack of
at the scene. Blinded
by the sun’s reflection, desperate
act of preservation, adolescent
dared to prove he had a spine,
the child fell and promptly died.
Ennio (Ode to Ennio Morricone)
Sixty seconds to what?
I’m afraid Deborah’s theme has no end
for the ugly and unforgiven
She lived in amber skin
with autumn eyes like
vespers over flaming hills
before you sold her mask
for a fistful of ecstasy and
chained her in Red Rock
for a few dollars more
There are little words but a million that could be said
How about veracious and tenacious?
There’s a time where I think about the heroes on celluloid burning memories of John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart helping those with your kind of eyes
Those eyes of long dares to lean in
And how I have seen you so briefly but reappear in every screen
In every word that I would say is so little could take so much out of me
To see what sculpture of hidden clay that plays in animation in front
Where every mold was curved deeply with touches soft with kisses
Tell it to me as you stand in the steam, the rising rain that begs for me to wish
All your clothes speaking to the rustic belongings that age and wear to the west of Colorado dreams
From your baby photos to your most recent where I can even match how you dress now with every pressed dress that glows maroon in the sunlight
How I wish I can ignore what I could say without sticking fingers into the fire
How every lick of the flame torches the fingers but holds me close
I can’t accept or feel how one burns
yet to describe is glamour Hollywood under spotlight musicals where I can sing in the rain and
not worry about it
War looms in the propaganda beatings over faces that wish they could cling to Helen of Troy
The city burns and we burn
Discuss before the eve of war how much I love what you are
How much you deserve to be on the plane to leave for Lisbon
And leave the rest behind to new promises while war rages
Around the Globe of what they cannot accept
That you are a beautiful woman
And a million other things that are deserving
I’ll always wait in Casablanca, a concocted Paris of the mind where I can reach from telegram
Cold as it were signing the check that was right to write
That it was not about a fight but to keep you from the dead end
Over Hudson River nights that will not be drowned
You take those letters of transit with your soul
Do adieus well and keep them under the piano you play
And run for the Spanish pines and go to your happy place
I would quote from a story I had to describe you, “Honey poured over Hawaii”
Letting it melt over islands and coming storms to dump the snow on the car roof
Where I could just watch you for hours and let that be my blanket to keep me warm
It calls for one hundred percent tango tease where your endless playlist
Can go on for a hundred years waiting for that dance
I can ask you how you hurt by mourning and going to lasso that moon into your Animal Crossing heart
Where waves would die down as you passed that moon glow to me
Songs sang from your lips close to mine to catch your breath and hold it
Treasury wild in blind blinks during phone rings
Airport departures will show your arrival beyond the city and instead your name
The baggage is lost and the smiles mail their name in customs
That’s where I will hold my bag and wait for that flight
Where will it go when I follow
To find your island paradise dance and find the plane ride
The flight worthwhile to land in front of the doorstep tombstones
To a past tour that you guide and I watch the journey