This is a petition for the colony

of poems hanging upside down

in your throat.  Give me hope. Something related

to prayer for that floating wick in your belly.

All I ask is that you give those lines

air to burn, that you teach yourself

to light fire with less than two pieces of wood.

That you swallow all the lighter fluid

your stomach lining will allow. Make sure

you never bury anything alive.

It’ll start with what seems

like mere flatulence.

You’ll burp similies

until the words rise into

what tastes like rebellion,

and no one will realize that you cry

just to calm the burning,

you’ll try to ignore your dragon breath

while eyeing fire extinguishers

from behind plated glass,

and when your lover cracks your back,

you won’t know how to explain away

the clacks of a typewriter.

Your obituary won’t give

the cause of death, won’t describe

your combustion, how that night

it started to hurt after a belch

sent sonnets riding paper planes

off your tongue, tailbones ablaze,

how the smell of sulfur was strung on the ceiling,

how fountainheads replaced fingernails

as you clawed at your neck in panic,

how this could have been your poem, Jessica,

or how you left behind a mobile of stanzas hanging

from your showerhead; All your battered bits

littering the tub.

Grow Up

I’ve watched people go

about their business with the distance

of an adult and I wonder

when childhood expires.

When detachment finds a home

in the aftermath of a wisdom tooth.

When the finger paintings on my heart

will crust off.

When the glitter no longer sticks

to the elmer’s glue on my bones.

Please. I don’t want this anymore.

Take the skip in my step.

The night-light behind my cheeks.

Take the training wheels off my tongue.

Take the glimmer from my eye. Use it as a letter opener.

I sometimes find myself

still saying the phrase When I grow up,

As if I wasn’t already twenty years old.

As if I thought I could get any closer to the sky.

He told me it wasn’t my fault.

I couldn’t help it.

I just get excited.

Can’t shake him into forgetting

whatever words hopped the fence

of my bottom row of teeth.

There’s got to be rehab for this.

Some place where they confiscate juice boxes and Crayola.

The doctor will find traces of confetti in my lungs.

They’ll tell me that I’m an addict for smiles.

A junkie for hello.

How sniffing Play-Doh is ruining my life.

So go ahead.

Make me a man.

Tell me a blanket is not a cape.

A 2x4 is not a sword.

To stop believing in strangers.

Say it slow.

Repeat yourself often.

Make me believe you.

And when my heart sinks this heavy,

when the arteries

pull on my neck at the pivot

and my head stoops,

my tongue is trained

to only speak the language of apology.

Only to say I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry

as I walk out of the room, backwards.

Like a scolded dog.


You notice the piano wire vein tucked under the ear

of the stranger sitting next to you,

and this is the second time you’ve fallen in love on this train ride.

His wishbone looks like every wish you’ve never made,

come true.

You eye his clavicle like a mantle for the heart,

and you imagine his collarbone tastes like salt and a jealous pillow,

if he would push you away, or let you fall asleep on it,

Seasick off of him, chest heaving like waves.

Go ahead. Approach it bibbed.

Plan to pick your teeth with it

or rest on that bone like home,

like there’s a welcome mat on his tongue

and the smell of something baking in his breath.

Wrinkle the bed sheets of your mother’s face

and become the walking parade you always imagined

you could be, a celebration of self.

There is nowhere else that needs you

more than here,

your own insomniac city,

as hard to catch as a falling piano.

This is how they will miss you.

This is how you will make them miss you.

So leave with the man on the bus, the train,

the taxi; he will belong to you, and you will belong

to no one. Guilt will become novelty.

A cherry stem knot you’ve untied with your tongue so many times.

The ones who knew you from before

will condemn you with their left eye,

adore you from the right;

your most useless admirers.

Tell them you are their fault,

That you are something so necessary.

Mom and Dad won’t recognize

the battalion you’ve become.

The neighbors will be sure to ask about you.

Your parents will deliver the only truth

you have left them with and say, with a smile,

“We gave it a name.”


After learning at a young age that Batman was not a practical career option, David Ayllon is now a graphic designer, poet, and righty who writes like a lefty. He has featured at the acclaimed LouderARTS poetry series, and has performed at venues such as New York University, LaMama Experimental Theatre, and the Bowery Poetry Club. As well as spoken at colleges including the School of Visual Arts, and will be published in the Spring issue of Ganymede magazine. This Long Island boy wears his heart on his sleeve, among other organs.

David Ayllon

3 prints and 3 poems