Saturday, May 2, 2015

Nikki Harlin: Poetry

The Jar

I know its July
stuffed into that mason jar
you carry around a murky lantern
behind the bars
where I first laid
eyes on that spoiled sun
you saying Go ahead touch it
Warm glass in such frigid
hands I knew it was bad to stare
directly into the yellow hot
now I always see this neon
blotch      a disposable
camera constantly in flash
catches me at the market
while I study the cherry jars
in my birthday dress
falling   off my bicycle mid-ride, past
the same house the porch
light always off
February is a cold
joke so I might call you
to ask you how you did it
knowing damn well you'll say
It was summer.

Charlotte Rose

Lives her life
searching for a light
cherried weed
in a dry field lean
She carries a drought in
Her body, clear
blown glass purging
itself of carbon
A ghosted hit
lingers like a figure
rushed from the torso
of a pipe animated by grief
or headlights passing through blinds
This is hard love.

Birthday Girl

I can't count today,
but I know how many
candles are crammed
into the sugar
scalp of the cake.
A single black hair
on each of the twenty
two, loves the flame
exhausting its wax.
They slouch
in consumption. I've
had better luck
snapping wish bones
mapping comets.
A sigh rises
off the blown
birthday heads

December Kiss

The sky is clear. Thin
dark trees slit its thigh
whiteness. You kiss
my mouth, a bright
gash in a fat plum
revealing its pulp
like a wild woman.
Bitter skin deeply
needles dimples into
my cheek. The air is cold.
My lips are wintering.
From their splits I unleash
plump seedlings and gush
cherry black

Beside Him

        “At his side and drunk on pride
          We wait for the blow”
                        -Amy Winehouse

I've had dreams of you
plating my tongue
In your eyes
little red slivers
shriek of skull powder.
Me standing mute
as a cannon
stinging mouthfuls
flooding my head.
But I took an oath
it tunnels through my veins
and quakes under a veil of sobriety.
I've given you words
that can't be knifed.
It's me and my man
draped in our violet banner
waiting in a tundra of cinders.