By A.J. Huffman
Happy (Hateful) Anniversary–June 5, 2012
for Andrew Wilhite
The number 5 resonates from inside its markered circle.
A silly sentimental scrawl splayed beneath it
to [rein]force a remembrance
I now wish I could forget
as I sit here shredding any and all evidence
of that fateless day.
There goes the ticket stubs to the museum full of stars
and teddy bears – the perfect place for the childish dream
of “us” as a beginning . . .
There goes another picture of us in a wooded garden:
a simpleton’s smiling portrait of the happy couple
you now swear we never were . . .
There goes the dress I wore to impress you,
not realizing I was committing blasphemy in your eyes
by believing I could ever look better than the “average”
you believe I’ll never reach . . .
I am standing to my knees in the rubble; this piled mess
of paper, cloth, film and wish
I was a humble[r] match
capable of effectively scorching these tracks.
Instead it is my anger that sparks, and I who burns
on this mountainous bonfire of regret
as, finally, I realize it was I who never amounted
to more than a handful of futured ash
for you to feed to the wind.
There goes the [metaphorical] knife scarring the skin
of my breast – senselessly searching for any scrapped piece
left that might have enough faith
to manage a solitary beat.
I Cut My Hair Off
with a machete, out of frustration
and a commitment to metaphor
only another writer could empathize with.
I looked into the mirror early Sunday morning,
hangover-hued eyes clarifying previous denial.
There is such a thing as too much
hair. The freshly dyed auburn strands, struggling
against genetically passed waves, attempt to drown
themselves in hurtful memories
of sporadically spotted grays. The roots spit
accusations of incompetence and over-processing
from depthful intentions of natural mimicry
never quite attained. I searched for scissors
strong enough to saw through the build-up,
found only the wall of decorative weapons, collected
for collecting dust. Such possibilities, I could not pass.
I grabbed the great jungle gutter and Whack!
off came massive chunk of mane. A few more
swinging chops later, and I was, once again, master
of my own melon. I had eyes, a neck,
neither seen in the open for years.
I scanned the carnage. All about my feet,
a puddle of pieces, years of residual product,
heat-damaged corpses, keratinned extremities
rendered unnecessary. I bled them willingly,
sweeping former life’s style into the bin. Welcoming
future’s shave with a relieved smile.
A.J. Huffman has published thirteen full-length poetry collections, thirteen solo poetry chapbooks and one joint poetry chapbook through various small presses. Her most recent releases, The Pyre On Which Tomorrow Burns (Scars Publications), Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink), A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press), and Familiar Illusions (Flutter Press) are now available from their respective publishers. She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2600 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, The Bookends Review, Bone Orchard, Corvus Review, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.