REM Stage 6: A Poetry Blog || julie niklas

08/22/2010, 10:15 PM
Filed under: Poetry | Tags: , , ,

I didn’t believe you
when you said you got a tattoo
purple blue
pulsing on the outside of your left
ankle, your skin,
holding mouthfuls of ink
in its pores,
as if that’s all that exists of you.

I didn’t believe you
when you said you could disappear
clear bones, veins,
but your colors
stayed like a light projection
walking, heavy footsteps in flip-
flops whispering
around the creases in the floor,
a violet faith-fish
shedding scales and I follow
the pieces like a trail
to where home used to be.

What if this was all I remembered
about you?


Sundial -National Poetry Month Day 10 (and one from…day 4?)
04/11/2010, 2:11 PM
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I wrote this for a friend. That’s what I do.
I write poems for people when they need them.

For B.D.


I told you once, over noodles, over
strawberries in Tupperware, over the hum of
the third floor water fountain that whatever
you decided to do would be the
right thing. And when the familiar
buzz of my phone rattled the dresser,
your voice on the other side coming through
in a string of electronic bleeps and static,
I listened and said nothing. I figure
prayers are not for religion, but for
friends, and you do not say them—you
pass them in form of notes and candy boxes and
souvenirs and sideways glances and
prayers are contagious like laughter. We’re
at our best when we’re infected,
ears deaf because our heads have
squeezed so tight in the ache of a laugh and
all we can feel is our lungs getting
smaller and smaller, our bronchioles curling
at the tips overjoyed to not breathe for
once. I beg you, please dear, stay sick with me.
The antidote is time and it will
exterminate the virus like weedkiller,
knock those precious dandelions
dead at the trunk of your aorta, weave its
way to the canopy in your atria and the
leaves will go brown. For once I beg you
not to catalyze it. Stay home, stay sick,
turn your face to the sun and cast your shadow.
Someone will stand in it.

This one I discovered in a different folder. It was the missing poem from April 4. Well, it’s here now.

When You Wake Up

Water in endless ballet, tip-
-toed, synchronized, syncopated, you
breathing in agreement with the tide,
heart beating, flexing under your lungs like
a squid pulling its tentacles
through the blue, dragging the tips curled in
and out through your cardiovascular dreams, try
not to drain yourself, empty your
skin into the water, red curtains for the show. Take the
tassel from the muscle-thick braid on your
neck, pull it apart and soak the vines in your ocean
freshwater, greenwater, lifewater, be
infinite, open your cell membranes to the
pollution, stride out in a scaly sheen and wrap
yourself in a threadbare towel. Water is where you are
going to resurface, brought in like a conch shell,
waves in the dry slick of your ribs forever.

Prose poem for a friend
03/01/2010, 10:59 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

You’re scared. You’re scared the world is going to start spinning with you in it and catch the loose end of your shirt in its vacuum like a revolving door and drag you with it. And the airtight lock is the most frightening sound you’ve heard yet. The hiss says, This is it. You’re alone, you’re done for. Keep breathing. Then you’re in silence, waiting to come out the other side, praying you won’t get stuck halfway when the power goes out, counting heartbeats.
You’re scared the world is going to strand you. You’re scared to turn away for the first instant of a breath in case it strays from your side.
You’re panicking.
This is your coping mechanism.
This is your yellow kid-sweatshirt.
This is your Plan-Z and you don’t know what comes next.
You’re scared of losing everything. You’re scared of drowning in a puddle so you walk like a child on the curb and edge around the street signs in your sloshing boots. Your feet get wet anyway. You’re scared that the next pond-duck begging for bread is going to die without it so you give it bread.
You’re the orphan and the innocent and the giver and the taker. You’re sick to your bones and your eyes are worn stiff like the edges of an envelope that has been tossed city to city because of a false recipient and no return address. You’re ready to stamp your face with Return to Sender, and it’s not your fault.
The world has not treated you well.
This is your woe.
This is your end-all-be-all.
This is your Achilles’ heel.
You’re scared and you’re too tired to run. I hope to God you find solace in something.