Blundering through Blarney

Blarney Castle, Ireland

Black hair vine,

fleshy soot bulbs,

green leaf tongues

mock us;

other tourists pace the grid

of Blarney’s poison herb garden.

Nausea pushes me onto a park bench;

I watch strangers sample the mechanics of death,

their eyes picking at plant plaques,

stripping facts of Ye Olde drafts

and potent potions.

The moving bits under my skin

groan “I want to go home”;

the sunlight kisses my skin,

my sisters clip pictures from

the garden while

mom sucks a cigarette.

Blarney Castle, Ireland

I take a bracing breath,

push myself onto my heels

and walk towards some hanging vines.

My grey eyes are fixed on

plush pink, flowers,

a perfect place to hide.

I plan to stick my nose

into soft palate

and breath, body

aching for soothing;

they are buzzing with bristling

bees: fat, fuzzy, alive.

I gasp sharp, afraid of poison sting.

They ignore, indulge, enjoy ripe pink petals

and yellow nectar seems.

I’m tempted to clip one from the sky

and keep it on my phone.

I don’t.

I stare at their mechanical wonder,

their synchronized swooping;

I breathe.

Vagabond Baggage

The tear wound bleeds inked paper,

book spines, rusty sandal clasp,

computer cord veins, black. Ribbons of

blue frayed flesh unravel lissome. The

mouth heaves a soft bible with

matted leaves like a sigh, teeth

tearing apart, a toothbrush

tweezing the jagged gap.

Pens poke like spines from its

netted sides, tangled in old receipts.

A half-full CamelBak wedges between it

and an unfamiliar backseat. Two slender

legs, long, crossed, curl over it, serape-coated,

socks swishing the window at cars that pass

on the road.

Peripheral Neuropathy

White-washed tomb,

tiny square bedroom,

women’s voices twitter

outside the closed door.

Knees give,

shoulders crunch

into wall,

body thumps

to the floor.

One arm hugs legs, the other caresses wall:

Stroke the little white nodes these hand can’t see;

Eyes adjust, I call myself crazy, pat wall softly;

Smack harder, the wall will be closer to nerves—





Numbness, only, tingles up my arm.

I scream

into pale sheets.

The pattering feet of happiness, I hear,

come down the hall. A feminine voice coos lightly through the door—

Are you there?

No.                                   Yes.

I don’t know anymore.