Artemis Drifting

Just because she tippietoes, doesn't mean she's a creepin'.


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You think you’re awfully clever
a jack of all trades
chameleon shaded tongue
hobgoblin fingers that only
pluck heartstrings to the tune
only you want to dance too

I’m not wise
but I’m no fool
I know the worst sort of
changelings that there are
steal still beating hearts
because your kind
they aren’t so picky
they’ll take the wounded
the lost
the scared
but what scares you the most
is the brave

I am the chemist
the alchemist
that will be your
ultimate undoing
because I still hold the vial
filled with golden truths
and I will place a drop
in the deceived eyes
riveted on you
and your glittering circus
will become choking dust
that will turn your coat
of garish hues
into the tattered hides
you squirm behind

I am the alchemist
I am the iron sword
I am the black smith
I will win back
What you stole.


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I put a picture away, I fold up a letter. I cry. I know this is natural, that this is healthy. It’s just something I’ve never done before. My memories wind into my DNA, using those curving ladders and their sparkling seats as home. I don’t know how to undo it, to break it apart and send those feelings flying would be breaking apart my very self. Whatever I am, whoever I am, whatever I’m going to become.

I take a breath and put my head in my hands. I feel my hair slump over my fingers. I’ve reached the two roads and there’s no sign post. There’s no warnings. I can’t just walk straight ahead, there’s a dark gulf between them that I know is bottomless. Sitting at the point is no option either, my choice to remain still would rob the color from my hair and bleach my corneas bone white.

Either way is hard. Either way is perilous. One road welcomes me with willow trees and a path as soft as moss. The other is murky, uncertain of itself, in the space of a blink the curves ahead can twist into unconquerable loops. I’ve never taken the easy way out, that much I know about my character; I also know things have never been easy for me, and my triumphs over the many darknesses that have followed me since my childhood have served to make me resilient.

I know sometimes I step up to the arena to fight a battle that I know I cannot win. I take blow after blow, spitting out blood and teeth for a dream I’m not even optimistic about. I torture myself with the possibilities, I torture myself with what I’ve lost. I’m under the bright lights and I cannot see anything beyond the ropes keeping me inside. I tell myself I don’t need to be rescued: I beg to be rescued. I want to stop this brutality on my soul, I want to crawl away from the kicks battering at my ribs.

I want the path that makes me happy. I want. I want. I never knew I could want. I never knew I could want something for myself. My life has been by proxy, living in the smiles and tears of others. Now my body burns from the inside, calling out for the hand to lift me away from it all. My Lord saved my soul, now I want someone to save my life. I used to feel that it was weak to need, to open up, to use someone’s shoulder when I’m stumbling. I wanted to be the horse that steadfastly carried my loved ones to safe havens, crossing whatever perilous land ahead.

I don’t want to be a means to an end for anyone anymore. I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to be a saint. I just want to turn my face up into the autumn wind and not have tears running back towards my temples. I want to stop telling myself I’m alone, spinning away with no tether to the ground. If I am water, then always, I will fall back to earth. I have to remember that.

I want to be the rain that fills someone’s upturned hands. I want to be a precious heat inside of someone’s heart.

I want, I want, I want.

And thank God.

It’s Amazing

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She sits on the edge of the table, her toes pointed downward. “It’s funny.” her head rolls back, “It’s sad.” now her tongue is touching her left canine. “It’s important.”

With considerable grace she slides from the table, her heels arching high into the air. “They hate you for your strength. Your unpredictability. Everything that you can do and undo. You don’t disappear well. Every box you outgrow.”

Now her fingers slide against calloused palms. “They resent your courage when they cannot move. They fear you because you are fearless.”

Carefully she pushed forward, tipping weight between two bodies. One slid forward. One slid back. “And here you want to shed your wings? You’re mad. Will you cut your talons and file your teeth? You can change everything ahead of you, you can conquer the universe.”

She felt resistance now, knowing that she could never break that balance. So instead, she fell forward into a chest that rose and fell ever so evenly. “Don’t let them tar and feather you. Don’t let their hateful labels stick. No one that loves you would want to push you to the ground. No one that cares for you would cut you just to see you bleed.”

“Run as hard and as fast as you can into the light. Let the water split beneath your feet and leave a hot mist behind you so they can never see where you go. Stop looking at them, their eyes are ivy around your feet. Don’t give up. You’re good. Please don’t ever give up.”

Water cut her across the face as she fell backward, shielding her eyes as the splash scattered blue gems. She felt a great wake in the air and stared over her shoulder.

“Keep moving, dear one, I’ve passed the torch to you.”


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Mary pushed her hands down on Luke’s head, squeezing her fingertips down in a drum-like rhythm. “Come on! We’ve got to get closer, I want to see the fireworks go over the bridge.”

“Oof.” He adjusted his balance and shuffled through the tightly packed audience. “Quit grabbing my hair.”

Mary grinned wildly and squeezed her legs until her heels nipped in at his ribs, “Ya!”

Luke pursed his lips and drew them to the left. “I am not a horse.”

“You’re right. You’re more like a bull. Charge!” she rocked with impatience, the movement jarring her short hair along her jaw.

He gripped her calves and edged closer still to the railing. Luke took the annoyed stares of the jostled in stride. A crazy woman was driving him, what could he do?

Mary released his hair and drew deeply of the night air, the delightful smell of spent fireworks heavy in the July heat. “Oh wow. We’re gonna be able to see everything.” when Luke didn’t answer, she continued on. “I’ve always wanted to see this. The last time we were in the back of a truck, remember? It was so weird. We were all crushed together but ..”

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We went over to the house I was raised in to check in on the state of lawn, pool, hedges and etc…

The pool was green. No surprise. Anyone we’ve ever hired to take care of it seems to be stricken with the auto-immune disease of lazy.

While dad was flushing the pool, I went down to the lower yard. The little playhouse that I never spent the night in, even though I told my ten year old self that I would every night of the summer – was long gone. It’s been gone several years actually, since it became the moldy crooked little house full of hornets and centipedes.

I saw indentions on the ground of all the big and tiny holes I had dug during my childhood. I loved to dig, mostly with my hands. I’d make complex tunnels and caves for our puppies to explore. I didn’t just dig, every summer that we spent out at the marina, I’d be chipping away at the limestone exposed on one of the big hills. I’d find a shard and start carving elaborate buildings into the face of the stone. They weren’t great, but I had made a change in a substance that had been around long before me. I don’t know if my desire to change the landscape around me was to connect myself with something, as people were more balloons to me. Sometimes I had ahold of the string, but most of the times I just let go.

It didn’t take me long to find Milo’s old tennis balls. They were stripped of their outer fuzz, half collapsed and full of tiny sprouts of clover. I took all that I found and put them in a safe place by the pool. I didn’t want another run of the lawnmower to shred them into oblivion. Just as my parents were calling me to leave, which I don’t blame them at all — it’s sweltering out here, I looked down and saw a red circle completely even with the ground. I hunkered down and brushed enough dirt off of it to recognize what it was. The object was one of Milo’s frisbees and just like that, I had my hands in the dirt again. The protectant Sally Hanson nail care flaked away during the first few scrapes. Then the nails started growing ragged and the space beneath grew thick with dry soil. I got one finger under the lip of the frisbee and lifted it free. I’m not the sort of person that smiles to themselves when they’re alone. But this time I did, I felt a little curl starting at the corners of my mouth as I carried the frisbee and bald tennis balls back up to the pool.

Most of my past is buried. Literally.

Not a Hit and Miss

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Winter is the steadfast love
Spring is the sweetest love
Summer is the hottest love
but Autumn is the dying love

the air is still so warm
but that breeze comes by
and i know it’s a dying love
a passion that’s a cancer
trying to live while
it’s all fading to fall
crisp mottled leaves
twist through the air
i raise my arms
just to hold onto the sun
for a moment longer

it’s just so addictive
the trees reach down to me
and kiss my skin gold
and the foliage underneath
streaks my hair like hot fire
would it be a tragedy
if my beauty only blossoms
in the fall?

the waters are still warm
deep down from the summer
but the surface is cool
and i gasp
like the first time
we made heat together
between our hands
while our knuckles
were growing cold

i only love
when everything is falling
curling up and dying
shattering on the ground
is this some sort of curse
or perhaps
some sort of cosmic lesson
that autumn love
living while dying
is the bravest love.


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I feel like I’m playing a game of black jack.

I’ve got a good set of cards.

Problem is, anytime I start thinking I’m lucky – I lose that streak. Funny thing, that. Auto-humble.

But that’s okay. Whatever I want, I’m going to work hard for it. And when it starts working out, I’m not just going to cruise. I’m going to bust my ass even more.

The writing is going well. I never liked writing on paper because I hated the lag time. Typing seemed a hell of a lot faster. But when I wrote Tides I was sitting exhausted on a plane back from Jamaica. It hit me like the wall of a skating rink. I borrowed a pen from the steward and set to work. My deadline was the flight landing. I knew if I had a break, I’d lose what was coming. When I type, I stop myself – I’m constantly pausing to think too damn much. To make the sentence perfect the first time, so I never had to edit.

But something about putting pen to paper makes you honest with your skill level. The most famous books, ones that will be classics for all time, were done this way. It was quill and paper. It was blood and prison walls.

Maybe this first story ain’t perfect, but that’s not what I’m aiming for. A piece can be like a child to me. It can get colicy and cough in your face. Other times it backfires when the kid has his hands in his pants in a grocery store.

But sometimes, just sometimes. It’s something different all together, and whatever it is crawls inside you and stretches your bones until you’re an whole inch taller. Closer to whatever it is that writers reach for. Closer to changing the lives you love, to strangers, and spreading like wildfire towards the next generation. It’s not immortality. It’s about waking up the mortals to pictures of all sizes.

I have more than enough acacia wood to make frames for whatever I dream of. Whatever I create. That tree of life is alight and I’ll let it illuminate my way for as long as it wills me to.

Because I won’t be a rose bud anymore.

Jamaica: First Impression

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The air is humid here, it sticks to your skin like the quick slap of a moist sheet. But just as soon as the perspiration slicks your skin, the breeze – a constant salty surge – steals it away towards the starving flora. Raphael tells me that it should rain soon. I can see this part of the land needs it. The trees on the many hillsides are a vibrant green, but there is a fragility to their branches – as if they were as hollow as reeds. I wonder if the grass will crackle like fire beneath my feet.

We are further along now, the trees grow higher as they spread up what has now become small mountains. To the left of me I see the ocean. The water breaks in a way I am unfamiliar with. As far as I can see over the ocean, whose colors change in such a way that I think of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Swirls of aqua marine run with the erratic-ness of paint dripping down an uneven surface. The waves come across to me as disorganized. Schizophrenic, they roll in foamy crashes with no allegiance to the greater swells. The beaches of Florida, the waves come in thick lines, timely reshaping the shore. Here they appear as a flipped sky full of scattering doves.

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did you ever hear the story
of the girl with frozen memories
all the scenes of her life
laughin’, cryin’, tryin’, livin’
got oh so still and quiet
from one helluva ice storm
oh but that ain’t the tragedy
she’s still livin’ in the present
with her bright skies
and fresh berries that aren’t glass beads
grass that doesn’t shatter
but behind her is only winter
her momma leanin’ over the stove
with a ladle that’ll never drip
and her papa under the hood
black ice stilled in a oil funnel
sister’s frozen pen
carving into sheets of paper
and her lovers mouth
with a galaxy of stars for breath
all those good friends
with hands too slippery to grip
this girl always wanted
to turn away from summer
and go back, her body humming
radiating like the sun
but she can’t melt them out
can’t shatter them free
even though her heart is scorching
it’s her hands that are to blame
from wrists to fingertips
it was her own midas touch
that froze them all to stay

Never Never

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we had it the best
honeyed kisses, endless wishes
but now it’s just a mess
you wanted me to come
but i couldn’t grab your hand
because i had no dust
and you wanted never never

my pockets full of marbles
the world tethered me down
oh i can’t believe i missed out
on your never never
and i’m breathing all their sins
husks of men full of lust
songs of sirens singing ‘em
straight to their deaths

i see you up in the sky
the clouds your stage
your shining fingers reaching
enough to burn my hair gold
never never, you say
and all the pain will go away

i’m waist deep in this muck
can’t stop from saving these fools
thieves, liars and cowards
oh my hands are just to keep them
from sinking any deeper
i can’t seem to get one free
to come to your never never

for you i’m gonna save them all
all the love that can’t reach you
i’ll use to burn up all the pain
oh to get to your never never
i’ll carry these fallen on my back
gonna eat the bad away
and cry for forty days and forty nights

then maybe i can reach you
but i know it ain’t now
there’s too much hatin’
and not enough healin’
oh but when i get tired
i kiss your fingertips
to keep fighting towards
your never never