Psalms of October

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October is the month for praise;
the beauty before winter’s gray.

It blushes the clouds with pink,
and paints the leaves canary.
The air so crisp and busy,
still warm from summer’s memory.
The sun brush stroked in red
streaking through the trees,
before their abundance
is carried away.

October is the month for praise.
Before a somber dullness
takes over.
Turning the days into
unkind nights,
when every thought we have
is nostalgic

October is fall’s long
stem rose;
trying to right the
wrong of December’s chill,
and mother nature’s
stony stare.

The red rose rises up,
as if to make amends
for what will become
of the bees and ants,
and all of us who strive
to live harmoniously;
those condemned to ice
and Jack Frost’s
fixation with noses.

October is the month to praise,
so we offer up our apple
cider alleluias,
in the field of the great pumpkin,
and await winter’s bitter thud.

-Tosha Michelle

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A Town Called Phenylalanine

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Dedicated to J.R and P.S. (CCC)

He was a town that should
have come with a warning sign.
“Abandon all sanity, those
who enter here.”
Souls arriving but few departing.
He’d give them the key to the city
and his razor kisses.

Kisses that spoke of madness
on the confused mouths
of women lacking reason.
Always something thievish
in his eyes.

He was such a sweet talking void.
Yet, when you needed him,
he was never available for comment.
Still, if he moved backwards,
they would follow on their knees.

She passed through briefly
a few years back
and decided to return,
always enamored with the scenery.
Clytia, yearning for Apollo,
so sure the town she recalled
was heavenly.
Refusing to look
away from the sun.
Reciting some stupid
myth she had created.

When she arrived back
to where she was, she
found he had uprooted
and moved on.
flowers scattered everywhere.

Leaving behind hearts
and one stop streetlights
dangling from the wire.
His hat left on one of
his lover’s porches.
Now a fun house
of screams and horror.
Residue of tears, lingering,
stagnant in air of disillusionment

A lone dog wails in the
distance.

She stands godless.
Covered in numbness,
a few cherry blossoms
who’ve lost their cue
for timing, tragically,
drift by.

Lost and disillusioned.
Her detachment mask
slips to rage.
Her high heels do an
improvised voodoo dance
in dirt.
Trying to crush his name
before she becomes
part of the crumbling
debris.

-Tosha Michlle

My cover of Christina Perri”Jar Of Hearts” My talented father on electric guitar

“And who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?”

Of Bees, Veins, and Rage

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In the aftermath, when
anger grows.
The quivering sets in
like
hundreds of bees let
loose inside
your veins, the mind
screaming
expletives. You shake,
it starts in
the head and works
it’s way down,
like a toxic virus, it
invades the
lungs. It takes all the
resolve you
have to hold back
bitter words
from lips held taunt
Your jaw
like a vise. Images
best left
to the imagination
all in red.
You know if the quiver
takes you,
rage wins so instead
you write
You write away the sting,
the cold,
until the fever is gone
Words and
bees, rustling with pollen,
fall like
evening from your pen.

-Tosha Michelle

There’s NO Art in Small Talk.

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I hate small talk and how
it always leaves me
syllabically longing.
It’s tedious and exhausting.
It’s hard to get excited
about another conversation
attached to nothing.

I’d rather talk about rare books,
our literary gods,
elevator sex, Lexapro verses,
Wellbutrin,
the friendship between
Elizabeth Bishop
and Robert Lowell,
how sometimes in poetry
the pages weep,
the origins of the word
boeotian (I imagine it
stems from small talk),
how innocence can still thrive
underneath cynicism, and my
innate need to find trouble.

Conversation should be a Safari,
not a trip to the dentist.
It should be like champagne,
shaken and exploding
with bubbly decadence.
It shouldn’t make you feel bad
you haven’t died yet.
It should ravish you and leave you
feeling satiated, weeping
with ecstasy and profound knowledge.

So come sit beside me.
We can move the language
toward enlightenment and
starlight things that help
remind us why we are here.
Or we can beat our tongues
against monotony,
and discuss the weather.
If you choose the latter,
just know I am
dismembering you,
slowly and sadistically,
in my head
one syllable at a time.

-Tosha Michelle

Reborn in Red.

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I’m tired of living the waiting life.
A still life is no life.
If life is a highway, I want mine
to be well traversed.
A science of motion,
even if I have no idea
where the road leads.

I want to throw banana peels at time
and watch it slip, and for once,
not away.
I want handfuls of sugar,
the long slow drip of molasses and honey.
I want to surrender
to the scent of the jasmines.
I want to rise with the tulips and lilies,
to be overtaken by the sun.

I want a man who pushes
me up against the wall
as soon as we get through the door.
One who kisses me
until I’m shaking,
until I’m drenched.
His mouth and tongue
explorers of the small towns
and cities of my flesh.

To hell with guilt and Joan of Arc.
To hell with a childhood of fear and damnation.
To hell with cotillion and Victorian girls
wannabes swooning, and acting shy.

I want to live.
I want to swim in the ocean,
and feel the current drag me around
like a broken piece of rock.
The waves of the sea whispering:
Yes. Yes. Yes.

I want to hum
until my own drum sounds.
I want to walk into calamities
and feel the wind’s elation.
I want to travel to distant geographies.
Happy with uncertain edges.

I want to circumnavigate the globe
and my own heart,
and let it lead me
to our next destination.
I want to suffer for art, for love,
and let it kill me,
and then I want to be reborn
in a red dress and six inch heels.
A dress that makes
your pupils widen.
I want to feel you
surge against me,
and tell me how fucking
good I look.

-Tosha Michelle

Call. Don’t Answer.

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I sometimes long to be a

name no one answers, a

name that no longer

tolerates humanity. I yearn

to take the wintery chill

of my mind and go off by

myself, to live in a great

empty space, where

the breath of solitude can

falls on me like clouds,

-The only greeting needed

the green grass. I long

to belong to none, to be

elusive as residue.

The sun in my arms,

the only embrace I

need.

Then (as it always is)

Someone asked

“so how you been?”

How quickly the name

answers.

-Tosha Michelle

Is This Going Somewhere?

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Discovering his cruelty was akin
to standing on the backyard deck
ready to jump into spring grass,
soft with newness and finding instead,
coiled, the venomous blunt head of a rattle snake,
lying in wait, ready to strike out
at whatever comes within its range
of pride or insanity. She couldn’t help
notice his appeal though.
The diamond back so lush against the green. His beauty beyond report.

The snake would say she is
getting the narrative all wrong.
He may slither, but she’s the
one with the come hither,
charming him right out of his basket
with her deceptively sweet song of the sea. The snake hisses. He knows
she’s rose petals on top of bees.
She only knows how to sting.

The truth shaking its virtuous head,
give its point of view. Scolding them both.
We pick up the story from here.
Truth let’s us know that these two
are a perfect storm of toxic.
Their common language, madness.
Individually, they are both soft spoken
and kind. Subdued and well liked.
On paper, a good idea. Together, the paper turns
to a dartboard
both aimlessly trying to
out dart the other.
Years of grievances flying through
the air.

She might have been the
mouse chewed up and devoured
by his devilish mouth, or
perhaps he was the
victim of a demented siren song.

It all depends on point of view.

Gorgeous stars or bastard moon?
The truth is the light in their room.
It never changes.
Yet, they both sleep with blindfolds on
and what they don’t want to look at blurs,
in the descent of memories.
Memories best left discarded.
The bridge burnt. Falling into water
spilled with oil.
The snake and siren drown.
The undertow winks at truth.

Truth tired of the story
and with no magic potion.
Delivers an elegy to two
sweet tooth addicted to madness-
Relieved to be done
with these loons. Truth ends
the narrative here.

Epilogue

The ghost of the snake chimes in
with but…but..but..
The phantom siren sings…..
and …and…and..

-Tosha Michelle