Scrimshaw your pedantic lessons

On my bones

Repeat yourself until the cilia 

Of my inner ear

Lay flattened like clear cut forests

And I lose the frequency of you

Then teach me how to read lips

Use white chalk to outline

Those of use who question you

These cookie cutter outlines

That cleave away the useless bits

Leaving a homogenized army

Of trained test takers

Who have forgotten to ask why

Who believe our only choice

Is blue versus red and left versus right

But it’s really you versus us

Keep haves having and the nots nodding

I’ll admit I’m a square peg

My corners rounded off over the years

But know that the bits of my soul

I sold at the company store

Were just to fulfill Maslow

So my mind could break through

Your prime time television programming 

Your Monday night football frenzy 

Your rally to condemn the kneelers 

Your lack of televised coverage

Of Dakota Access pipeline 

Of #NeverAgain marches

Of the tear stained faces being deported

My rounded corners belying 

A sharp mind that looks

For shadow-dealers

Behind every choice I’m spoon-fed

That’s covered in KFC breading 

A mind that looks for subtext 

That questions everything

The mind…of a poet 




The water builds at the faucet’s mouth

Building until gravity claims the drop

You’re birthday just passed

You’re deathday about a week away

Two years gone in the blink of an eye

An eye blinking away the welling tears

Random stomach pains

Thoughts of a friend’s cancer battle

My son’s food allergy diagnosis

His life constrained

I’m gonna watch the sequel

To the first movie you took me to

I think you’ll be there

Not some ghost on the loveseat

But genetic memory and eternalism

When I was a kid my mom said I sit like you

Before I even had memories of you

A ray with a single point labeled ABC

A = past, B = present, C = future

The ray is the illusion of moving forward

Through time

So you’ll watch the movie too

At the same time you cry at birth

Clutch at your chest in the bathroom

I feel a weird pain in my stomach

My son scratches his food allergy eczema

I pour your ashes at your favorite park

My son looks like you/me

He does something that reminds me of you

From memories in his marrow

The water droplet hits the sink’s drain

My post “Tempus fugit” originally posted at Sudden Denouement, A Global Divergent Literary Collective

I imagined walking across the ocean floor The immortal lobsters and jellyfish my friends I said, “I wish I didn’t have to breathe.” I thought of wasted time and dreams deferred Of taking this split life and making it whole I said, “I wish I didn’t need to sleep.” I thought of money wasted, as […]

via Tempus fugit-Erich Michaels — A Global Divergent Literary Collective

Idle hands


It was a warm summer night

We meandered along

Down familiar streets

Finally lying in a field of grass

A small park amidst a quiet neighborhood

We were restless as teen boys usually are

Itchy skin ready to slough off

To begin anew as men

We sat in a circle, cross legged

Joe pulling out his homemade pipe

Made from brass plumbing components

He said the strain was called Buddha

It was one hit shit

Five minutes later

I’m marveling at how hands are constructed

Opposable thumbs are the shit

Joe said he wanted to guide us

To open us up as conduits

For inhabitation

He had the three of us lie on our backs

Arms out at our sides

In a velvety, therapist monotone he said:

You are completely relaxed

You are a pathway

Let the demons enter your right hand

Travel through your body

Exiting from your left foot

He repeated this over and over

I stifled my laughter

Opening my eyes just a sliver

I watched the new kid in our group

He started off twitching almost imperceptibly

In the matter of about five minutes

He looked like he was having a seizure

I glanced over at Mike, Joe’s brother

He had that shit-eating grin of his

Later me and Mikey lied

Saying we felt an almost electrical current

Running through our veins

Continuing on with our walk

Jonesing for a smoke

We’d all rifled through every pocket

Coming up short for the $1.25

Joe says how great a smoke would be

A few steps further

He stops in his tracks

Eyelids fluttering

Mouthing words from an unknown language

A smile creeps across his face

He slips his hand into the pocket of his jeans

He pulls out a five dollar bill

Praise be to Bael

We start walking

Joe in the lead, as usual

I look over to Mike

He rolls his eyes



A flash of lightning

In a state of entropy

The mind digs

It cradles the amber

Boring to the center

The rock candy blood

Of a cobwebbed understanding

Mixed with cerebrospinal fluid

Spun around the mind

With centrifugal force

The DNA mapped

An intersection of similarity

A ‘what if?’ moment

A graft taken hold

A tree of 40 fruit grows

The lightening is gone

Thunder rattles the windows

Wires crossed


There was a time

A time when hearing your name

As spoken to you by your mother

Made you taste her sweet milk In your mouth

A time when the words in a Dr. Seuss book

Shimmered, flashed and danced about

A time when your father

Played peekaboo with you

And as you watched him hide

His hands pressed against his face

You could feel the pressure

Against your own face

Though nothing touched you

A time when the radio didn’t just play music

But made rainbows

Pulsing from the speakers

Unfortunately that time has passed

Crossed wires uncross

Just like with a lazy eye

One eye will dominate

The brain ignoring the other

And a single, more useful image is presented

Its a matter of survival

Your parents talked of the psychic powers

That young children have

Of seeing guardian angels or spirits

But you we’re just watching

The velvety, pastel blue sound

That trailed out of your grandma’s mouth

As she sang long forgotten folk songs

For most of us

The only synesthesia we carry with us

Beyond the uncrossing

Beyond childhood amnesia

Is sympathy

Where facial expression and body language

Elicit emotional reactions

These crossed wires make us social

Make us human

Make us beautiful

Aurora Phoenix pulls no punches in this piece on Sudden Denouement!

he is sleeping fetally curled as the narrow bench allows hairily bedraggled a forlorn green bean hopelessly lost in a crisper corner. insensible to the hubbub lurch oblivious sea legs unconscious. his story has uncracked bindings though I inescapably draft this chapter unimaginatively entitled “homeless” subtitled survival strategies for bitter blustery days they wear their […]

via Subterranean Novellas – Aurora Phoenix — A Global Divergent Literary Collective

All in


Going to the casino for the first time?

Make your way to the buffet and indulge

Fill your belly with comfort food and carbs

And in that warm, contented afterglow

Give your money to the next stranger you see

This is the surest wager you’ll ever make

I guarantee it

You’ll feel good having made someone happy

And you’ll have saved yourself great torment

The worst thing that could’ve happened to you

Believe it or not

Would’ve been for you to win

The surge of adrenaline

The release of endorphins

You will be chasing that feeling

For the rest of your life

Let me be your cautionary tale

Here is the twist

My first casino

Was a writing contest in 4th grade

My essay on why a kid shouldn’t be president

Beat out the whole school

5th and 6th graders included

To this day I remember how to spell

The word ‘assassin’ because of it

I was paid in pens, pencils and erasers

I was led into a room, as best I can remember

That had a mountain of textbooks

I was king of the hill

A landslide of knowledge shifting beneath me

I slid my hands along the cool, hard surfaces

Looking for something

Something special

To commemorate my victory

I climbed down that mountain

An astronomy text tucked under my arm

My head in the clouds

The loudspeaker announcement

My name echoing down the locker-lined hall

I have been chasing that dragon ever since

Looking for the next mountain to climb

With my eyes towards the stars



Maybe I’m part moth

Maybe I’ve watched too much film noir

Maybe I see it as a tempting, empty throne

But when I’m driving at night

On some state route

Houses thinning out

The glow of the next city

Backlighting the tree line

And I see a streetlight

On some deserted corner

I get the overwhelming urge

This visceral need

To go there

And just stand

Beneath its light