Poetry from David Estringel

After the Wake (originally published at The Gorko Gazette)
Yellow wallpaper  
behind faded pictures 
in dusty frames,  
falling to the floor  
in ashen drifts—ephemeral— 
of births and wakes, 
to the heart 
like first kisses 
or cold sips  
of Orange Crush 
but dulled 
from memory  
(and time) 
like giftless Christmases  
and old calico,  
drying on the line. 
What ghosts roam these halls, 
haunting bowls
of waxed fruit
and glass doorknobs,  
lingering ‘round chicken coops,  
dust bunnies, 
and jelly jar glasses 
like palls 
or the bitter of burnt almonds. 
As a pale pink echo 
of rose 
peeks through the air’s must,  
a voice whispers, “Remember this. Now,” 
leaving me to chuckle and smile. 
How silly it is to mourn life as we live it.  

Indigo (originally published at San Antonio Review)

The curtains pull ‘cross the landscape behind my eyes—the way they do on days like this—emerged from sleep, from splashes of water in the basin and black coffee past a sugared tongue. Silently, I praise drip-dried epiphanies that swirl and stir beneath drowsy lids, over smoking toasters and morning papers, rousing consciousness with gentle shocks like chewing aluminum foil and the last lick of a taser’s kiss. There’s a blue sky outside. A blue blue. The bluest blue. The kind of blue that bruises the sky before its skin splits, (re)submerging us with splashes (more) of an angry rain that dismantles but doesn’t drown, diminishes but doesn’t destroy. Indigo is its color—Indigo, the King of Blue.

It’s a violet field, trampled by God’s thumb and the hard souls of saints, raining down blessings of sweet water—like napalm set aflame by the perfumed blood of petals—upon waking earth and trees, parking lots and sidewalks, and skin, leaving scars and cold scorches and ghosts. It smells like cuts and mud and shit. It smells like indigo—Indigo, the King of Blue.

Longing is deep for the cold comforts of my walls and drawn curtains. The cool blazes of artificial suns in every room. The scent of dog and recycled breath coming from the AC. But I hear the call of the rain (I always do, it seems)—for all it takes and gives, for the cold it brings and the loans it calls in—and it draws me back, again, again, and again—a shade haunting the pane.

Today, I feel indigo—Indigo, King of the Blues.

Slam! (originally published at The Gorko Gazette)
Disturbing white calm, 
lightning strikes  
conjure storms 
in coffee cups  

and sleepy inkwells, 
baptizing words 
in snaps  
and rolling alliterations— 
of sweet ether 
and strums 
of liars’ strings. 
of fire 
on wanting eardrums
(and moistened seats)
sharpen sterling tongues
like whetstones
to a razor’s kiss
for a night’s slice
and dice.
How cuts flow, sweetly.

Sour Grapes (originally published at DED Poetry)
Crumb’ling truths 
and destinies, entwined, 
and crumble  
to dust 
at the speed of 
rushes o’ blood 
to cuckolded cheeks, 
boiling tears 
and setting fire to the rain, 
this love— 
a wounded fruit—like  
ice cream 
in the sun 

Last Rights of Fire Thieves (originally published at Fahmidan Journal)

before the viewing,
before your newfound family piled in
and my aunts and uncles, dear (long gone
since the judge’s decree), 
the black hole 
upon itself
to the silent ring of destiny
and cruelty of crossed stars.
How small (so frail) you seemed,
since Fate’s last kiss upon our lips,
like lint on God’s shoulder
or a water-colored echo 
of giants.
And angry. So angry,
you were, to give up the ghost
with a scowl I’ve long since seen
no mortician’s palette 
could ever begin to stave.
how true nature 
past the crud—a soured cream—
when one 
decides, finally,
to get out of the way.
here we are, again,
this time trading secrets,
eating crow
cold to the bone. 
I’ll keep yours
behind our brown eyes,
‘hind latches and catches,
lock and key.
I’ll hold them close 
like babes and beatitudes—
bullets and blood clots—
if you’ll keep mine.
Just look at us, 
a couple of fire thieves,
carbon copies 
left out in the cold,
forever looking,
looking for warmth, 
forever looking 
where there ever was none,
forever looking
finding none.

this is “Goodbye”—
“See you later.”
Don’t try to find me
(There’s no point, 
and I promise 
I won’t call.

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