Monday, November 8, 2010


For Mark Hartenbach

Addresses scrawled by a stranger's pen,
such mysteries held in manila envelopes
makes one wonder where it will take them,
unsure if glued lip and taped seal
should risk being broken.

Both sit on the table like orphans
hunched on concrete stairs
of an ancient church, pleading
with moon-eye saucers,
heartbeats whisper at a gaze,
the thought of liberation
from this place, faintly possible.

Dry fingers turn the golden paper,
avoiding well plastered edges,
peels the bottom slowly. The fresh book
sits in hand glossy-cold from winter metal.
Her name inscribed inside the cover
appears alien and incomplete.

She is anxious and wary,
begins feeding lines to her head--
none making sense twisting sideways
and upright from crisp ink. They
always start this way, fractured
jagged. She returns for more, same results.

Her feet stir beneath her, inching
to repeat failed attempts once more;
only aloud does it all meld, these manic
stricken lines, these cold pressed moments
of cynical silence and echoed ego.

The cat follows paces behind,
sits when she halts, wants to give
her his downy white belly in submission,
but looks on with caution at her lips
moving, persistent to capture rhythm.
He waits for the turn of the page,
waits for her stillness, if it comes.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea) 12/09

If under other circumstances we meet again

for Brad Burjan

Life is a helix, which we never grasp,
but strangely trace in the air with fingertips;
nails bitten to the quick unconsciously.

We run its track faithful
of some ending to strung out nights
and reclusive days, the tread of our soles
worn thinner in successive heel-toe combinations.

The crossing over from eight to infinity is nothing greater
than an angle of loops moved to reclining
on the divan; inhibitions release like smoke,
one mad eye watching our endless struggle
in paralyzed freedom.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Publishes by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea)

Between Wales and NY, a conversation

For David E. Oprava

for time and god
to show me,
it is all the same
in the end.

Here, without regret,
man quietly steals
all the words
from my mouth.

Sweet morsels lifted,
tip of tongue
emptied onto a passing
universe, deconstructed.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea) 12/09

Dies Illa

(after Tammy Foster Brewer)

Yes, I was HER—
that girl stuffed into a mold
too small, her mind convinced
her expanse greater than the plains.

          I lived a double life (life). The secret
          second binging on food with room lock latched.
          The contraband of my desire slowly rotting
          the bed .

It would go down easy at first,
a slow trickle and burn like a first kiss
that turns to bite you bloody in the end; I’d
force it in then, damage done, to bury it into
a stomach s t r e t c h e d to limit. The void
still gapping in the dusk of teenage summers.

                            There I am naked with the mirror
                            my enemy; shadows mock flesh and curve.

           Mouth full.
           Tears avenge cheeks
           with hate
           found in every inch of reflection.

           Breasts uneven (imperfect)
           Arms doughy (imperfect)
          Waist full and hips thick (imperfect)
           Legs less than feminine (imperfect)

I am unrecognizable.
There are several shades of disgust
gathering on my tongue, none of which would stand
up for me if called upon. They’d laugh outside
courtroom doors, snide and perfectly jaded, feeding
the illusion of perfect to me one dainty morsel at a time.

When it is all swallowed (soul and all)
and the Lacrimosa is on its final string,
I cover up my discretions and pretend to be normal.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea) 12/09

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My mother always warned me

For Mark Hartenbach


You are a secret
kept under a shell,
the magician’s three-card
folly giving everything, but nothing;
marks on the page as close as one will ever get.


Your body poses a calculated confidence,
more intellect driven than ego ridden,
but my mother always warned me,
the bigger the bark, the smaller the man.


You reek of ebb and flow,
a stream of consciousness
making jagged ripples in the lake’s glass,
only reaching dry land once in several moons,
a solitary boatman without oars,
cynicism and defense easy on the tongue.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea) 12/09

Bathymetric (Building a Tsunami)

For Dan

Hot water illuminates invisible
markings on my rib bones
left by the grip of your hands.

There is a faint outline of your lips
on the pink swell of my breast
and a silver-shadowed trail as your tongue
leads you to worlds unknown.

It is the heat that raises the memory,
my arms taut behind me, gripping thighs
as if my life depends upon it; hips thrusting
forward and hair disheveled while you
elevate me in soft flickering light.

It is the heat that sews the sound of your voice
into my skin in the darkness of these nights.
We connect like tender filaments in thin glass,
joined tentatively, transferring arced energy.

We've become inventors and explorers
sailing in the ocean of uncertainty, words
you know so much about, and each
with sights set on lands and time of snow

where the imprints of our bodies
make angels in the powder and the drawback
no less impressive when glaciers fall into warm seas.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by erbacce (Blood at the Chelsea) 12/09

Pariaman, no more

For Sumatra

The mosque’s minaret
has succumbed to the earth
as she swallows whole
villages in her muddy mouth.

A great underground
t h u n d e r erupts cascades
of rock and thick mud,
envelops a wedding party

at the foothills of the bride’s
childhood home. Her most
precious union sealed in darkness,
her unborn children, myths once again.

Those that still roam find
hands petrified up from the land
like human plants searching
for sun. The dead are carved

from clay by villagers, culled
today only to be replaced
from whence they came
with a prayer for the sending.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Sugar Mule 11/09

The place we connect with the earth

I sit fascinated by the tenderness
in his voice as he speaks, imbibing
the curve of a woman's foot
with languid fantasy.

                         the arch is ivory silk
                         with feathered creases
                         to be lost in

His language a confabulation of hushed
words that lick all the angles turned
by her heel hanging over the bed's edge;
his smile overwhelms me.

                         heart strings plucked
                         with the simple curl
                         of her painted pink toes

Pleasure hangs on his lips like an epoch,
hands caress the solid air as if her foot
existed beneath his delicate fingers, as if
he could smell the jasmine lotion on her skin.

                          I slide my striped sock
                          over ankle, toe and heel.
                          I want him to tell my soul

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Sugar Mule 11/09

White Noise

What does one do when haunted
by the white noise of your body?
Long hours alone with riffled papers,
fingers tapping lightly on the desk,
a heaved sigh at banality and its
mere existence in the world.

Each sound laden with its own emotional
consequence and reference that is not
easily distilled; the process
of evaporation requiring more heat
than this chill will consent to.

The whisper the pencil makes
moving dutifully across the page
is an act of love; it captures
the abstract notion in amber
to be discovered in a farther place
and time, but not here, not now,

and all that is spoken about luck
boils down to how far your heart
is willing to open and for how long.
There is no luck in love, only change
and discovery and rekindled fires.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Sugar Mule 11/09


Skylight angled at forty-five
degrees, restless moon
haunting the rims of wood
sparkling off kitchen steel
and everyday glass,
awaiting a simple gesture.


and closes to something
magical and romantic, a ripe
Pandora's box without
the stardust and chaos,
but with leaned words
laced in fragrant pollens.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Sugar Mule 11/09

Dan tian

The old Chinese woman
does Qigong on the sidewalk
that slopes downward
like a gentle rolling hill.
She is a graceful crane
with a shock of white hair
and face stolid in morning light.

I stand by the mailbox
listening to the voice from her radio
give instruction in Mandarin
between the crackles of airwave
silence. There was a time
when my feet were planted
in grass, unwavering and calm.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Sugar Mule 11/09

Chasing Tales

I have found many four-leaf clovers
on the banks of this dyke.
The creek never rises high enough
to prove its worth, and maybe,
we are lucky for that; this land
was once burdened with floods.

It is hard to think here, as if nature
won’t allow it amidst water tumbling
over rocks; the sounds of fall crickets;
birds calling out for saving. Monarchs
and Paper Whites dance against

this unusually blue day while ruby
dragonflies hum like ghosts. But the city
is not too far off, its sounds ply
into this bubble I have built around me—
enough to distract me; I think of how sad
your voice was on the phone, solitary and distant.

You reassure me it is not the state of us,
only life in general. Your head full of reasoning—
trying to sort your place in the world,
running ragged in a circle as only philosophy can do.
I tell you we might never really know why.

You say it must be out there somewhere.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published by Red Fez, Small Press Editors Edition

My Town

My town has given up
on God and Love,
in that order.

The shelves at the thrift
store are filled with lost
                               affection, lost inspiration.

Their pockets fill deep
with trinkets and baubles
worn with the age of many owners
and they believe it will mask

despair in the face of a failing
community. We covet false
promises like gold in my town.

Aleathia Drehmer 2009

Published in Alligator Stew (print) 12/09

The Folk House


Rusted bars creak when your right hand pushes open the gate,
your other, warm and firm in the valley of my back; a gentleman
of the first degree. The gesture at once quickens my heart.

We laugh nervously in the long, dark corridor with its catacomb
silence, and my clicking heels on the Spanish tile ring loud.
The walls rough beneath my fingers, an earthen Braille,
its beauty only grasped in this temporary blindness.

The tunnel opens easily into a courtyard, wooden trellis crowned
and dripping with wisteria, the color reminds me of the lilac still in my hair,
plucked deviously from a stranger's tree, when you said you'd never smelled it.


I listen to the lilt of your voice making small talk, letting you go on,
knowing very well that you hate it, but you sense it will draw me out into this night;
this first mingling in the world without being caught inside the box.

We smoke, inhaling deep the clouded sky heavy with complaint,
the flower’s mixed perfumes, the chatter of friends, and the lingering smell
of our excitement, still fresh on the skin. I look up as the first drops descend,

the stars distant memories tonight; my life changes with each breath,
so fast I am spinning, and then all is quiet: your voice, the city, the people,
and I catch you watching me, smile spreading like a disease.


You let me hold your hand beneath the table, the room lit
with white Christmas strands around the makeshift stage
and the whisper of coup de foudre taking my breath by surprise.

Closer, fire dances in votives by way of ghosts let in
through the high window, making kaleidoscope women behind
the soft brown bottles of Weston's, sweating rings onto the tabletop,
as the singer's voice shocks the air around us all.

We are captured in the church of his piano,
his voice the heaven we can't bring ourselves to believe exists,
and when he reaches the pinnacle, there is silence.

Aleathia Drehmer 2008

Published by Writer's Bloc, Issue 6, 12/09