Monday, February 4, 2013

The End of An Era

Hello followers!  I have not been so great at keeping up with this blog as the format has been a bit of a hindrance to me and frankly, I started too many blogs way back when.  I am in the process of trying to simplify my life.  I am moving all of my websites into one Wordpress. This website will come down at the end of February.

The poems from 2012 back will not be displayed, but there are lists of where everything can be found.  The new blog will have links to recent publications, samples of poetry, fiction, and art as it happens.  I hope you will join me there.  If this is where our roads part, thank you for all your support.  Best to you all.

Be well.

Aleathia Drehmer

Monday, September 17, 2012


It floods in manic
notes of a violin,
with the desire to be tasted
in a primal sense—
nothing delicate or refined
or attached to love
but a mad grappling
of flesh

falling from dizzying
heights, drowning
in passion, suffocating
                      suffocating fast

                         at speeds
      greater than sound
and light;

all of it barking
obscenities into
the crease of night

overlooking who they
want you to be

long enough for

the earth’s under current
to rise up through your back
and steal everything.

Aleathia Drehmer

Published by Mighty Mercury

We Do Our Best Hellen Keller in the Spaces Between

I am painting
your face under
my eyelids
the crease of color
a braille my fingers
can’t speak.

You live there
between the lines
where definition
never touches you;
where most won’t
look for you.

You're layered
and covered in spindles
we all want to prick
our fingers on
to bleed life
for just one
solitary moment.

The vapor of your ideal
hovers over me constantly—
our connection
an ESP we never speak
of, but mouth in silent
air to not disturb
the ancients

from their slumber.

Aleathia Drehmer

Published by Mighty Mercury

The Leap

Our worlds divergent,
simultaneously, yours
adjoined to heaven overlooking
a river as wide and blue
as my heart; mine mounded
with defiled snow and frigid hope.

For one instant I leap
into that cloud, hanging
like a kiss in the air, face
first and arms spread
as if wings defying
the constructs of matter
and dispelling gravity.

It swallows me whole,
spits me back out
onto the pavement
in this place sullied with gray
leaving only the faint
whisper of water
on my cheek.

Aleathia Drehmer

Published by Mighty Mercury

Too Young to Know the Truth

Cold river winds
push through
my town this year,
j  u  m  p  e  r  s
from the span of the bridge
into shallow waters
with little results
other than further
scars of inadequacy
and ruined sneakers.

I crossed that bridge
with uncertainty
many times, the pull
to soar from its girders
in stop motion animation—
a figment wish to go
out like that, but in the end
I chose the underbelly
with Virginia Woolf
in my childish pockets.

Aleathia Drehmer

Published by Gutter Eloquence, Issue 15

Beyond Recognition

He looks at her crying face
marked sharply with fear
as he asks himself
who is this woman?

He makes her suffer—
fingers gripped into
the bones of her arm
imprinting this new filth,
erasing 40 years in a series
of blows:

Blow by blow
there is emptiness;
Zen-less inhumanity
seizing every wire
in his brain.

Her tears reach him
suddenly, softening
everything while he
wonders why his wife
is crying, bruised and beaten,
with his hands like weapons.
He has nothing left
but a face he can’t recognize.

Aleathia Drehmer

Published by Gutter Eloquence, Issue 15

The View From Plymouth Rock

“Clearly,” she whispered, “you left hope on the black horizon knowing my heart would settle on time and geography.”

The pillow said nothing.

“Why are you a stalwart sailor ready to go down with the ship?  I’m on the deck with empty hands searching waters for evidence to an unknown crime.”

Aleathia Drehmer

Published by Blink Ink

Punctured Tones

(with Brad Burjan)

The walls hum
with uncertainty
only because they
in thought, fluctuating
atoms of soundless
mind stuck in the air
like a black and white
picture that [[deafens]]
in the darkness,
                awakens with the thrill
                                  of defeat
                            and it’s

                         E              R             E

where the gods huddle
underneath            the skin of air
creating cavities in teeth
from the sweet decaying
                  hope of filling that point
of time that a million Buddhas

The heart quickens to stop
       and is entrenched in something
a little more than what even Jesus
could imagine.

The heart quickens to stop
        as lips hover to drop
a punctured tone and the only thing
you hear are heart attacks falling
from the mouths of men.

The heart quickens to stop.
We are all accomplices
to murder in the end.

Aleathia Drehmer/Brad Burjan

Published by Red Fez, Red Reader #1

Generation of Guns

(with Brad Burjan)

Sometimes these bones
are strangers, touching
each other in the night
like blind/deaf lovers.
They call each other
by name, their words
Morse code vibrating
into fresh cells.

Like frightened armies
cut off at the river,
they move together
in the trenches, faces
smeared with mud,
limbs articulated
with their sentences
in the open mouth
of the air…searching.

Legions of men rise
and fall in this mist,
this place of stopped
time and stolen history,
exhaling the exposed
wounds we’d rather
not carry.

All that dried blood
of reality pools
and hardens in
cold chambers—
in a generation of guns
now frozen in the memory’s
trigger and I’d rather shoot
the teeth out of love
than admit defeat or truth.

I’ll just sit here
choking on every syllable
that weighs down
my throat, and cease
to resist destiny.

Aleathia Drehmer/Brad Burjan

Published by Red Fez, Red Reader #1

Conversations Around the Water Cooler

Grey chairs huddle in a semi-circle around the room.  It smells stale in here as the water cooler and the air conditioner sagging in the window battle for bragging rights over the public radio announcer talking about some factoid of the Middle East.  I sit alone clutching my bag unsure of this day the same as I have sat feeling unsure about all the days that came before it.  The threat of feeling this way for all the days after it, weighs slightly heavier than I want.

I inspect the dissection of my therapist’s waiting area.  It was once a grand old home now chiseled into cold spaces and sterile pools patients can pour their anxiety.  I reconsider making my session….there is still time to book….he doesn’t know I am here, but then another patient comes in. There is a tension between us, a slight pause in the conversation he is having on his cell phone, before he sits down.  Our eyes meet for mere seconds which is just enough to be recognized on the streets of this small town; enough to cause an awkward passing down the cereal aisle at the supermarket.  We look away not wanting to know each other’s story.  It is just better that way.

My hands are curled tightly around the bag I bought while in England.  It reminds me of that day with mixed feelings surging from the fabric into my skin.  There are more mixed feelings in my head.  My hands and head are having a conversation without the use of my mouth as if I didn’t count.  I’m talking to myself again.  I’m answering too.  I hold in a laugh at the back of my tongue thinking about how crazy I am.  I am a cliché.  I am a child.  I am a frightened rabbit.  I am considering these sessions will be Catholicism’s coup over my heart and thoughts.  I will Hail Mary and Our Father my way to the crossroads.

I hear my name.  Who said that?  Did I say that?  Did I just ask myself a question and wait for an answer?

“Do you want coffee?” the therapist says poking his head around the corner.  I jump.

“It appears I don’t need any.”  I try to joke.  He gives me his best therapist-I-don’t-really-think-you-are-crazy smile.

I follow him to the room.  There is a couch.  I fight the urge to be another cliché.

Aleathia Drehmer

Published by Red Fez, Red Reader #1

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Well

“Are you there?”

“Yes, what’s up Walt?”

There was silence on the other end except for his breathing into the mouthpiece.  It wasn’t that labored prank phone call breathing, but something more contemplative and measured.  It was laced with beats not everyone could hear.  Its feeling unregulated.  She waited for his litany.

“I think you need to come over here right now.  I mean really because there is something you have to try.  It is off the chain.”  She could feel him fidgeting over the phone; could see the tremble in his hands and the tapping of his toes he did unconsciously that she always noticed.

“Walt….it is a really long drive for this time of night.”

“I know, but you have to,” he insisted.  His insistence was always child-like and never offensive.  The power behind his asking was always knowing that she would say yes.  This made her predictable and in turn made her irritated with herself.  “Ok.”

Marnie pulled into the dirt driveway and made a mental note of the sound the stones made under her tires.  It reminded her of the day she found out her grandfather died.  He was old and crazy and mean and now dead.  For some reason it didn’t stir her heart towards him, but she liked the sound just the same.  It was dark now that she was in the country out by the lake.  Marnie had hoped the moon would have given a bit more reflection off the water, but like most everything else, it disappointed her.  She was egotistical for even thinking the moon would be so gracious.

Walt her the creak of her car door and stood on the porch leaning on the pillar.  He was smoking a joint and Marnie liked that smell too.  She told herself she wasn’t going to smoke.  She couldn’t afford being loose in the mind.  It disintegrated her inhibitions and made her reckless.  She shuddered with the memories too many to count.  Walt’s toes were still tapping his internal beat.  They were his metronome and sometimes they were hers too.

 "Ok Walt.  I am here.  What is so fucking fantastic I had to drive out to the boonies for?”

 “The well,” he said matter of fact.

 “The well?  I drove all the way out here for the well?  Seriously Walt, I am damn tired.  There better be a fucking baby in it that I have to rescue.”

“No, no baby in there.  You have to taste the water….it’s off the chain.”

“You asked me over here to have some water?  God, why do I always say yes?”  Marnie turned to go back to her car.  If she left now, she could still get home before she was deathly tired…before she ran herself off the road.

Walt grabbed Marnie’s arm gently.  She looked at his fingers in the dark and then at him, but all she could see was the glow from the lit joint on his lips.  He sensed she was irritated about being touched.  He could feel it on her skin and so he let go.

“Wait Marn…come on.  Just come taste it and talk to me.”

“I’m pissed right now Walt and you don’t want to talk to me, seriously.”

He took her hand this time.  He liked the softness of it so he held it awhile.  They said nothing.  He put all his good energy into that hand sitting lightly in his.  He felt Marnie’s body slacken a little the longer he held it.  He felt her mood soften some.  It was time for the water.

“Come on,” he whispered.

n the dark, Walt led Marnie to the well even though she knew where it was.  She let him take her there…let him have this important moment.  She didn’t understand what was so great about the well and what, if anything, it had to do with her.  She closed her eyes as he walked her there.  It was too dark to see anyway.  Marnie knew Walt would not let her fall.

The well was traditional and stone built with a bucket.  It made Marnie want to make wishes and she supposed she had made a few a time or two without telling Walt she did.  In the blackness, she listened to the pulley haul the bucket up from the water.  There was that rush of the pail ripping the placid surface and the cascade of splashes as it spilled over the sides on the way up.  Walt pulled the bucket from the center of the well and let the rope go limp behind it.  He set it on the edge and cupped his hands into the cold, clean earth driven water.

Walt offered his hands to Marnie.  “Here, drink this.”

“You want me to drink out of your hands?  Are you being a pervert?”

 "No I am not being a pervert.  Just drink the fucking water already!”

Marnie hated it when he swore at her.  It was unlike him and now she knew they were both irritated.  She stepped closer to him and reached out in the dark to find his wet hands.  They had a slow leak and the water was dripping onto the tops of his shoes.  There was that beat again.  Always a beat.  She held his hands in hers and drank from them as if she had her face in a stream.

The water was beyond anything she had ever tasted.  Her mouth felt alive and her thirst doubled and tripled with each slurp.  When she had drank it down so low, she began to lap it up like a cat.  She stood there in the dark licking the water off the texture of his skin.  Her head was spinning.  Her heart was bursting with light.  Her body feather like.  Her thoughts somehow free.  Free.  Free.

Walt took his hands away from her mouth and put them on her shoulders.  By the well in the night they had shared something.  They both knew it. 

“I just saved you,” Walt said quietly.

“I know.”

Aleathia Drehmer 2010

Published by Not From Here Are You?  Guest Writer, 1/11

100 Years Will Get You Nothing

I blow my nose
standing topless in front
of the bathroom mirror,
after reading a poem
about an centenarian
awaiting the revolution,
with my breasts lying flat
against my chest like that old man’s
dream of an uprising.  I struggle
with the box of tissues—
pull out too many and catch
a glimpse of my tired face
and even more tired body
and wonder exactly
what am I doing here?

Aleathia Drehmer 2010

Published by Nibble

Cy Twombly, Animula Vagula, 1979

His soul speaks in tongues
all snakebite

A hand on the bible
one in the air,
mouth sucking in
a yellow ochre moon,
painting over the stars
with proposed holiness
that will get him locked
out of the gates.

He warbles into the night
sparks at his fingertips
body arced back
speaking with a devil’s
intention—split and bleeding
           and all the lost ones
gather round to read
the writing on his skin.
They wait quietly
for redemption.

Aleathia Drehmer 2011

Published by Riverbabble 1/11

Descendants of Centum Languages

Tears painted my cheek
and then your shoulder
as we listened to the wind
rap against the glass,
repeatedly, begging to come in.

You whispered,
Don’t cry.

Aleathia Drehmer 2010

Published by Decompression 12/10

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

False Dreams of a Nightingale

People move in and out of tables
around us, each ordering plates of eggs
and toast. The smell of pancakes with
maple syrup is sickly sweet after
long hours in the ER, saving lives.

Both of us sit there
in an abbreviated second wind,
the years showing on her face
as I am sure they also do on mine
with all the losses we cannot forget.

There are tears over shared tragedies,
still fresh and painful,
that lead to ragged napkins
crumpled on the table amongst
the empty creamers and cold coffee.

She leaves the spot across from me
and I am suddenly aware of what this life
will become; one thankless night
after another, spanned over the decades
of my life, until I am here again

watching people drip egg on their shirts.
They make straws into geometric designs
in the awkward silences between bites
and I think to myself that I should have hugged her
when she told me her friend died.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by Decompression, 12/10

Lost Season, a novena

Day One

The light is faint through the window and my body lies in the silence of morning. She has died, I know. Her brilliance faded into tendrils of weakness on tree limbs and broadsided homes. Her smile is absent on my skin. She has died, I know. I rise with feet hovering above the sea of neutrality.

Day Two

They have come with her burial shroud, lacy and white, sheer muslin from stitched vapors in the crow’s beak. For once, they have nothing to say….just this once when I look for their clear calling across the meadow. She has died, I know. They have come as pall bearers now. I lift hands to sky asking questions; I stand willing and open for answers, however small. She has died, I know.

Day Three

I know when the ladybugs swarmed the air in a scarlet wind weeks ago that time was closing in, but never imagined she’d really go. It was not urgent in my mind, but now the elders have lined up in their naked grace. She has died, I know. Their once flexible branches now stiff in her passing. They no longer speak to me. Why is everyone so silent? Why is there no more crying out in the night? She has died, I know. I lay my hand upon great trunks with rough bark feeling for the heat of their cores, but there is nothing.

Day Four

She has died, I know. The path is covered in frost this mourning when I have come to absolve my disillusions of the world in her face. She would speak to me in the place where the paths crossed, where choices always come to be made. She has died, I know. “Mother” I call standing small with my own heart pumping in hand. I wait for an answer.

Day Five

“Come quick into the light before it goes” they whisper and from the downy wings of sleep my blanket warmed body shuffles from the dark cave in my mind. She has died, I know. With my head hanging and solid, I find the door. Its metal is rude and real. I need not open it to know that truth is only meant for dreams. She has died, I know. The window tells me to go back from whence I came. There are no answers here.

Day Six

In the night, I lie awake aware that maybe I have missed her in sleeping. My despair is fondled and molded into a new shape. It is warm and sticky on my fingers. She has died, I know. The night will not give me the answers. He is shrewd and keeps secrets. I count the breaths exhaled from my chest, waiting for something. She has died, I know.

Day Seven

I have counted 5,760 breaths, all of which whispered her name like a prayer. My body is suspended there momentarily until I go to the crossroads again. The goldenrod is gray there and the grass suffocated in thin white ice. The japonica will not even look at me; she has died, I know. I will wait until she comes. I will not move from this vigil. She has died, I know. The candle in my heart grows dimmer.

Day Eight

Sometime in the night my body collapsed onto the path. The pattern of rocks pressed sharply into my flesh, biting my cheek. She has died, I know. My nose shimmers with blue and I half wonder if I am still breathing. Have I forgotten to live while waiting? The thrush perches off in the distance. It calls me to waking, reminds me why I’ve come. Frozen hands push up frozen limbs from the ground. She has not come.

Day Nine

I have given up the wanting. She has died, I know. And by the window I sit more innocent than is understandable to me and somehow I am so empty I’ve become full. The rock pattern is still faintly indented into rosy cheek and I touch its outline. In it, I find the answer. Some grace of spirit has come to show me I am only human; I am real. She has died, I know.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Toy(ing) with the Revolution

You can’t wrap your fingers
around it, the elusive it.

There aren’t too many
things to wrap a finger

around, but the image
burns my eyes; your

fingers long and rough
wrapping around the neck

of the establishment. You
mutter it is all gift wrap

for tiny toys anyway. I try to laugh
but all I see are toy machetes

and your fingers the revolutionaries
taking it all down; your breath

the revolution itself, pulling
it in and spitting it back out.

Your tears create the flood
that washes them all away.

Aleathia Drehmer 2010

Published by Prathamata (India), Print, 2010


We were opposites then,
I was olde world
and you were new—
inverted paradigm
freshly enslaved.

It is all stolen

It is all quick
in this black night
of rain slicked
pavement with
angles incongruent
and mouths indifferent.

Aleathia Drehmer 2010

Published by Prathamata (India), Print, 2010

Reading Tea Leaves at Midnight

Through the window
the street light reflects
off the abandoned cars,
windows sheathed in the night’s
dew, now hardening into frost.

It is cold enough outside
to see the anatomy of autumn.
His sword falls onto the necks
of everything living, his blow
only hard enough to maim;
the deconstruction a whisper.

And inside, his fingers stitch
cobwebs in the empty places
we didn’t know existed.
We will find them when it is too late,
when the ground is covered in pale
misery, when there is no inspiration
to fight back.

Aleathia Drehmer 2010

Published by MUST, 10/10

Burrett's Mound

Josephine sat in the corner of the shelter off the edge of the yard. Her back was pinned against the cool pounded earth walls her grandfather had built so many years ago. She pulled her knees into her chest at the horror of the beastly winds above ground. They had not even reached her yet, but she felt their presence before the sirens beckoned her under earth.

She had been sitting on the porch after the day’s work in the fields, her knees feeling older than the stud beams of this house, watching a fall storm roll in across the flat plains of Kansas. Josephine had never lived anywhere but here on the outskirts of Topeka. She had never seen a mountain in real life nor the ocean. The thought of seeing those things were considered as implausible as living forever. But there on the far horizon the thunderheads formed. The lightning flashed like a fierce tongue lashing from Zeus. Josephine believed in Gods and Saints and all matter of higher powers. It was foolish not to in these tough lands with the devastation they could unleash.

Jo stood from the chair with her hand on the railing suddenly afraid of the electricity in the air. The chill of a freshly turned October was laden in skin as she pulled her sweater tighter. She had a feeling about this one despite it being late in the year, Josephine knew twisters could crop up if the heavens aligned just right; if the opposing air masses transcended their allotted space in the world. Now, she didn’t have any children to worry about and no man graced her bed (not in a great many years ) so she closed up the house and walked slowly to the shelter just passed the squared patch she had spent all day toiling.

The metal doors were heavy and rusty and in great need of oiling, but Josephine never seemed to find the time to do this sort of thing. She had not climbed down into this hole in so many years. With her flashlight, she located the tiny staircase and let the door clatter behind her. The sound was painful and filled her ears with pressured air. Josephine found the bench, sat down, and waited. She turned the flashlight off.

Here she was with an empty head and a racing heart that only beat faster in the darkness. An acrid taste formed in her mouth listening to the storm rage, rattling the steel doors like a rabid animal. Josephine sat there curled in a ball whispering devotions to St. Swithin under her breath knowing this time, he would not relent the storm. She prayed anyway.

Aleathia Drehmer 2010

Published by Doorknobs & Bodypaint, Winner of the Hayward Fault Line Section, Issue 60