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His Muse

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Cemetery Visit

I.
Look!

The cemetery is full
of related remnants,

buried in shallow graves
with perennial markings.

Monoliths with the same
name but different epitaphs—
or at least the last

name. But there are no
mausoleums built within

the premises.

II.
Get all of them out
of their graves—

dig them. Don’t mind
about the epitaphs.

The moon is at its brightest,
and the stars flower

like hanging street lights.

Do not worry.

III.
Collect them all; try to
assemble them despite

their incoherency.

it is hard
to be stable

like a family
when glass shatters,
kissing the floor.

Assemble them.

IV.
You’ll find
the body that you
have been searching all
along

despite the incoherency
of the glass. It will still

reflect.

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There is something tragic and beautiful about falling in love with a ghost, the unspoken words of experience that lingers in the air, and I was good at it.

I turned moments into poetry.

You can't help loving a poem.—  The embodiment of things that can't be fully explained, like love. Like falling in love.

My first experience of love was meeting in the midnight hours, laying in the cul-de-sac and looking up at the stars. It was notes tucked into trees by the lake. It was being given a book of love poems, with a page marked with the words meant for me. It was giving my journal, myself, in written form to someone else and having it returned with a page that said "I LOVE YOU".

What else is love than having someone accept you for who you really are?

But it wasn't real.

And then like the Santa Ana winds it disappeared seemingly without notice. Because at the time, love, to me, was a fairytale. It was moments made into poetry.

I lived inside the poem and not the moment.



I have honed my craft in building structures out of words.

Surrounded my heart with a structure built on heartbreak, graffitied the walls with every broken promise and lie. Boarded the windows and nailed them shut.

I built a maze of hopes winding underneath but always leading back to the same heartbroken home.

I have been living in a world of yesterday's and tomorrow's possibilities but never the moment.


My heart is aching for a demolition.



-Melanie Hamblin

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A future

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Queer Blind

This poem begins with a quotation

“love is love is love is love.”

Found on any Pride Parade t-shirt.

 

Some of us love like broken records

like prairies, like devotions, like hurricanes

like food fights, like drag queens, like tides

like broken bed frames, like monsoons.

Some of us love like sandy beaches.

 

When you show me a picture of skeletons

and say “I don’t see the difference”

you are saying that I am only bones.

That my muscle and organs, and tissue

and veins, and blood, and brain don’t matter.

You cannot disregard parts of my being

for the sake of your rhetoric, please use all of me.

 

Placing images of two men or two women

with the words ‘love is love’ over it

not only limits the identity of queer people

to gay and lesbian, but also fails to recognize

the types of love a person experiences.

The way I love a partner is different

from the way I love my mother, is different

from the way I love my best friends,

is different from the way I love my audience.

Love cannot be measured or compared with love.

 

These statements are intended to show similarities

between people regardless of sexual orientation

or gender. They falsely assume everyone

has the same dreams, while passing over

the life experiences of queer people. 

You can’t neglect someone’s sexuality or gender. 

When you say love is love you are failing

to recognize your own sexuality and gender

denying my experiences with oppression

and your experiences with privilege.

 

Some of us are bi-racial bisexuals.

Some of us are polyamourus multisexual.

Some of as are gender confused pansexuals.

Some of us are homo-romantic transgirls.

Some of us are Asian-American lesbians.

Some of us are Latino queer ally’s.

Some of us are white gay men.

Some of us are questioning.

Some of us don’t have the right words

Some of us are outside the language we create.

We are not ghosts you can stare through

we are valid and demand to be seen.

 

Being blind to the queer community

is a shame mechanism. I want you

to see the rainbow spilling from my mouth,

being gay has colored my experience

the same way a kaleidoscope turns

the world upside down, the same way
the brain changes our perception of

what we see in the mirror, the same way,
the wind creates the landscape of deserts.

Speaking of another person’s sexuality or gender

does not make you ignorant or offensive

it makes you conscious of our differences.

 

This movement is attempting to say we are all the same

but we are not the same and that is the beauty in humanity.

Christians and Muslims never discuss how they both

believe in one God, a virgin birth, or heaven and hell

instead they kill each other over which is supreme.

Understanding and recognizing differences creates

a safe and welcoming ecosystem where the tenants

of my sexuality are not persecuted into blood and ash.

 

Some of us love like broken washing machines

like dirty pocket change, like silver spoons,

like mud wrestling, like latex and leather,

like building a house, like we depend on it.

Some of us love with our whole bodies.

 

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Losing a Truck

               I pull into the parking lot, driving my truck into an empty space. I throw the gear shifter into park and sit for a minute. The cigarette in my hand that I lit a minute ago still has a few drags on it. I rest my arm on the open window and finish it. It didn’t do anything for or too me, nothing much did anymore. Still I smoked them, perhaps a reminder of a time before… well, just before all of this. It also helped fit in sometimes, you’d be surprised what you can find out in a group of smokers; especially at a place like this.

               I finished the last drag of the smoke and tossed it out the window. I hit the cranked the handle that rolled the window up and stepped out, locking the door as I did so. I looked up at the sign, Lucky’s Gentlemen Club. I’d started getting the dreams a few days ago, like usual. There was something preying on the downtrodden of this town and I was apparently the one to put a stop to it.

               It was frustrating how often that happened.

               So after a couple days of being unable to get a good night’s sleep I packed a bag, threw it in my truck, and headed here; to this small military town.

               There’s something you’ve got to understand about military posts. Army bases in particular I guess. I really only had the experience with the Army towns. In a past life I’d had experience with Army bases and their outlying towns. I wouldn’t know for sure about the others but I’d guess it’d probably hold true for the Marines as well. There are a lot of similarities between a Marine and a Soldier, but you’d get a busted jaw for ever suggesting such a thing.

               But I digress; I was talking about Army towns. Each base has one. It’s a collection of small shops and business that cater to Soldiers. Soldiers have a high amount of disposable income and a predilection towards the seedier things in life. Drive off an Army base in any direction and the three things you’re sure to hit are strip clubs, car lots, and payday loan places.

               I said Soldier’s had a lot of disposable income, I never said they were smart; quite the opposite most times. They like to spend their cash and they like to spend it hard. These kids are usually between the ages of 18-22 and they’ve usually never had much in the way of work experience before. Suddenly they’ve cash and they’re looking to spend it. And they love their strippers.

               I sigh as I push open the door, already pretty sure of what I’m going to find when I walk inside. And sure enough, I’m not disappointed. You’ve got your girl up on stage, trying to look interesting but failing more often than not. You’ve got the girls walking around the club floor, talking to the guys.

               I have a tremendous amount of respect for strippers. You ever want to see a customer service expert at work, watch a talented stripper. They’ll either walk up to a customer or be approached by one, and they’ll hold their attention like a pro. Smiles that only sometimes don’t seem to reach their eyes, nodding at the right time, touching at the right time; they know how to sell their product. You can see it sometimes though. When the guy looks away and the smile slips for just a second. Sometimes you can see it.

               Behind the bar you have a collection of Korean ladies, the middle aged one most likely being Mama, the one that takes care of the girls. A lot of guys come into strip clubs and spend a lot of time trying to get on the good side of the girls, impress them and whatnot. That’s a rookie mistake, it isn’t the girls you need to impress, it’s Mama. And the fastest way to impress Mama is make sure she knows your spending money. Not on the girls necessarily either, she expects that. No, you spend money on the bartenders, giving them tips, more than you really need to.

               If a strip club’s Mama likes you, then you’re golden.

               Yeah, I was a Soldier, I know my strip clubs.

               Then you got your customers. In a strip club in an Army town you got two types of customers and it’s usually pretty easy to spot the difference. You got your locals and you got your Soldiers. The locals have been here forever, and they’ve probably been coming to the club for forever as well. They fit it like a used glove. And they carry themselves differently than Soldiers.

               Soldiers are temporary, never going to be a permanent fixture at any place. One day the orders are going to come and they’re going to either deploy, change duty station, or get out of the Army. Any of those three things lead to them not being there anymore. So Soldiers are temporary, and they know it. They flash money, they talk loud, and they talk big.

               That’s the other thing about Soldiers; most of them think they’ve got something to prove. Ninety percent of Soldiers don’t come from much. Most of them joined to get away from wherever it was they were and couldn’t see a better way to do it than signing up. They grew up watching their war movies, seeing their GI Joes, and have a preconceived notion of what it means to be a Soldier. You stick a rifle in their hands and make them work out all the time, and that just reinforces that notion. A lot of Soldier’s feel they’ve got to prove they’re the biggest and the baddest and they set about doing it any means necessary.

               Locals don’t necessarily like this, which is understandable. What this sometimes leads to is a powder keg waiting to explode. And my senses went into high alert as soon as I entered the club. I handed the guy taking money at the door my two dollars and waited for him to strap the wrist band on my wrist. As soon as that was done with I shifted my body and started producing fear pheromones. Not strong enough to clear the building, but strong enough to keep people well away from me. Should have realized how that was a mistake, but I didn’t, not until later.

               I made my way to a corner of the bar and stuck my five on the table. The Korean bartender took it and I ordered a coke, waving the change away. She had a conflicted look on her face, the pheromones I was producing were telling her she didn’t like me, but the money in her hand was telling her that she did. She brought me my coke and left me alone.

               I turned and gazed around the club, trying to find what it was that brought me here. My dreams don’t take me places where I’m not needed. My senses don’t lie to me. It just doesn’t happen, much like I don’t get pleasure from nicotine or drunk from alcohol.

               My gaze passed over one of the Soldiers and he caught it. His face look conflicted, something was wrong with me and he didn’t know what, just that it scared him. I continued past him, trying to find whatever it was that was feeding off these people. They’re there; you just have to know how to find them, or really, be able to find them. Most people don’t and can’t.

               Fortunately for them, I’m not most people.

               Unfortunately for me, I forgot one simple thing. Soldiers are trained to push past their fears. Soldiers are trained to confront their fears. Soldiers have something to prove.

               Suddenly the guy who caught my gaze is standing in front of me, an angry look on his face.

               “You got a problem mister?” he asked.

               I shake my head and kick the pheromones up a notch, hoping to drive him away. Instead it has the opposite effect. Probably without even fully understanding why, he takes a swing at me.

               This isn’t the first time I’ve been hit and it likely won’t be the last. I remember what it used to be like, being hit. It feels painful, it feels electric, and if you’re someone like I used to be it makes you feel alive. That rush you get when you realize you aren’t invincible.

               Unfortunately for the Soldier punching me, that wasn’t necessarily true for me anymore; at least not that I was aware of.

               My skin hardened without me even willing it, instinctual now. Keeping the color and texture it became as hard as diamond, the mass of my body increasing so that it wouldn’t even cause my head to move. I heard his hand break as it struck my face, without doing anything to me. The Soldier screamed and dropped to his knee.

               There’s another fact about Soldiers at strip clubs, they rarely come alone, and they usually bring their battle buddies. So was the case here, three other Soldiers rose from their table and made their way over to me. I sighed, this wasn’t going well. I stood from my chair and cracked me neck and knuckles. Then I pointed and one of them, my hand making a fake gun, and shot him.

               My body displaced the air, creating a sonic shockwave that knocked the Soldier on his ass. The other two stared at him in awe, then back at me. I heard a hiss from the stage. One of the stripper’s heels and all jumped off the stage and took off out an employee exit.

               I cursed. Of course it was going to be one of the strippers. Who else would it be. I shifted my body again, reflecting the light in a way that it passed through me, causing a displacement like the Predator but otherwise leaving me mostly invisible and took after her. I busted through the back doors, the girls that were changing yelling in surprise and confusion.

               The creature, a succubus likely, was heading out the back. I followed. Pumping muscle, energy, and strength into my legs I picked up to speeds far faster than a human can normally achieve. Unfortunately my quarry wasn’t human either. Still, I got myself going faster and eventually caught up to her. I tackled her from behind.

               She hissed at me as I turned her over. Her fangs bit down on my arm and shattered. She screamed in pain. I shook my head and placed my hand on her forehead. Then I shifted it, my hand becoming a flaming spear of Hellfire. It consumed the creature, leaving a charred skeleton in its wake. I sighed and stood up off of the body.

               I quickly made my way back to my truck and pulled out, quickly making my way out of town. A couple miles out I ditched it. I didn’t like having to do that, but it was what was needed. They’d be looking for me in it. I shifted my appearance, altering the bone structure of my face, my hair and eye color, my height, and suddenly I wasn’t the same man anymore.

               I never was. Not for long at least.

               Dammit, I really liked that truck.

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There is no 'Friendship' category.

I would like to say that I was
always cynical, see-through
dryly thinking, rational,
that I was born, the world in my hand
and all around my fingers, but
not always as controlled.

I would like to say that I was
always cold, clear, round and
well proportioned, well pronounced
weary of surroundings
with a voice to match my stockings, but
not always as nice.

But there are times, I admit,
that I lie alone fighting in my bed,
sometimes maybe my father’s hand on my head.
That it would all pass, consolation in vain,
he more desperate than I.
Not sleeping, always crashing.
And that my neck is tired
carrying my head all day, that you say that
Everything is falling apart
and I have to confirm.
And no matter what, where, who I say wrong
and it could always be the last thing
you want to see, because you think
There’s no more room for me.
And the sun clouds my grammar
and the neighbors look at me
and I love you more than appropriately.

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Embers

She used her last cigarette
To light the photographs
Pictures of happy times
Before he had chosen
To make her just another
Of his many casualties

She used her last cigarette
To exhale his fumes
Out of her chest
Out of her head
And with a flick
She released was what left
Of the love they once had

She used her last cigarette
And then went cold turkey
Letting go of both addictions
That had tried to kill her
She stood up again
And with clear breath
And a clear head

She watched the embers slowly die out

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Cuppa' Joe

Cuppa Joe

 

the rising dawn brings

light and form

to inky night

fleeing like a thief

its deeds exposed -

her golden orb

in horizon boils

reclaims her world

left to the dark

into each window burning break of day

we stretch awake with slightly less

than feline grace

rub our eyes –

sit a spell on

the precipice of our bed

rumpled from tossing, turning,

loving in the night -

in mind, still there

yet, greet the morn with yawning groan

not much yet said

just hit the head

drain the brine

then, slowly amble

down the hall

take in the day -

unfocused, all

as the Keurig hums

its java scent

first sense kind imbues

relief in sight

the sounds of dribbling

in our cup -

mesmerizing

swirls of  cream

tinkling clink ‘tween

coffee cup and silver spoon

both hands hold

our truest friend

whose warmth pervades us

heart and soul

our audible “ahhh”s

first song sung

sentient stirring

like two lovers spooning

their own special way

to face yet another

brand-new day

 

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Pieces

  Self-creation, from
fragmentation:
                        numbs.
                        And the
subconscious,
becomes a target-

Breaking, this
concrete synapse
is impossible,
without:    

  Self-creation, from
fragmentation.