poems by Lana Bella

Words best left unkissed on a dry martini


words best left unkissed on a dry martini,

still, I will unlock my door’s latch

for the woman who hid behind

the Chanel red rouge,

and whose lips chiseled my grief

on her desert-scorched



every syllable she spoke

found strange shelter in my flesh

gone wrong, tasting her lies

I stayed, spitting out dust

I was granted a passage across

her wide-mouth yawns,

she found my heart can flex,

and eyes swell with her remaining,

so she peeled wetness

from the glass of my martini,

as vertigo buckled down the portals of our kiss.




Lost and found then lost again


you were narrow as a church spire

when everyone else pooled silvers in

their upturned palms, carrying goods

like water from a well–


stealing vermilion to construct ink,

you thought of reformation, of envying

a little less by sketching white horses

on carousel–


your old carbon a dissolving silvery

orb, solidifying as sequins on a halter

top nestling the weight of a burlesque



but still you sought, vexed the greed

with thirst for seraphim from heaven

and oblivion draped in prayers’ beads

that stretched your bones in two—


then August moon turned gold leafs

into shards as sharp as ice, your eyes

ached and teeth chattered from poor

and hungry fingers that plagued your

pockets for coins–


now, your gloved hands filled with dust

and blue smoke instead of wine and fine

lace, your face dressed in an old, frayed

armor, mouth hummed a worms’ song

and feet standing above directionless





This is how I failed


On the final Tuesday,

I begged for words but got nothing.

Not even a gossip.

So why did that make me ache?

when I have lived through decades

of caterwauled summers then

blood-letting winters

with the bareness of half-moon

to warm my back.

Bitten nails towel away bleating

in the nights,

an empty flagon of ointment

that flaked with dust

to salve the dark’s knowing,

and my narrow elbows with flailing

bone-tips float amid the sleeves

like twin inner tubes:

their follicles spread like uranium

in the company of woolen threads.

Fingers crawled out

the sleeves, pale tips reared to

the midnight air’s convulsing halos,

only to comb through the yearning of

my breasts like tiny hurling fists.

Still, there I stood,

a thin black silhouette on the history

still to come,

a hidden fissure in a paneling of air,

gathering the dark burr back

inside my mouth.


poems by Lana Bella

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