// Love Is On the Drinking Cup //

It is not enough, is it, even if I could turn these wallshadows

into fruit, even if my body were the dark burst of blackberries between your tongue

and your enemy’s teeth, stain the bed sheets with your

lips.

Even if the way I touch you riddles the sunlight across the window; little flashes burn through the fog around your cheeks

the way we feed each other on this thin selection of time,

is this your breath I pull across my mouth, is this the rib I borrowed from the birds you hold in your hands (one is sorrow, one is freedom).

It is always you, you inside me as I

write what hangs from the trees in dreams. Who am I to hope for anything when the world is on fire. Who will they send for us if we do not emerge again. Love is on the drinking cup, love is on the fountain top, love is the bottom of roses gummed to shoes.

Take me with you into the familiar warmth, take me back to the way it was before, when I told the truth and you would believe me.  You

wanted to believe

me.

Now it’s only the green mornings they tell me I should smile upon; they keep telling me not to blink, throwing hurricanes against my eyes, and raise my useful hands

up to the sky

(but it is hard because she’s falling

as I am falling, and we

can’t seem to touch)

and I’m so tired, there’s never much good in telling a thing when you are very tired. It feels so smooth and good to slide my fingers across these keys like a child digging in the dirt with spoons.

I remember digging: bending silver spoons in the soiled mouth of the mud. Fresh dirt upon the worms upon the smell of springtime, that was fragrance, that was mood.

The ivory scent of lilies-of-the-valley running along a chain linked fence, blacktop seething the coming summer rain.

Everybody wants to be so heavy, so full of metal skyline and mysterious things. What is that worth to you? Where is it getting you to summon up the truth?

The hair on your head still itches.

The gums you hold together in your jaw still bleed.

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// How You Are //

It’s so beautiful to see you out there trying with the cracks in your forehead and the whispering feather lines just beginning to form around the corners of your mouth. The days are a quiet crystal snow falling upon us, we are buried soft, cold, slow. But somehow you keep that light in your smile and your chest.

Don’t let them frighten you, heaven is the most ordinary of things. A slate gray sky and nothing to prove any longer. No more reason to rage against the falling out of time.

I wish I could sleep. I haven’t slept in ages, I just sift through blackened hallways of the night which calls to me in fire, in butterfly wings made of excitable circles.

Enough about my crumbling. Tell me how you are. Tell me what hurts. Tell me everything. What does it feel like inside that porcelain skin? Isn’t this mad rain the soak of the end of time? Wouldn’t that be lovely and a relief?

Please forgive me. Something in the rise of your face takes me back to infancy, to helplessness and greed, to a love so innocent that the feeding only makes it hungry.

This woman in me, she is the tilting sand in the hourglass, a ring of wax candles, weeping and singing for the clouds which cover the moon. Her veins are a river of planets, deep angel blue.

This is yours, wear it inside out, hold it close as God and then set it free. This is a season which has come for letting go.

Thank you for being here. I’m so glad you came, this garden is only iron wire and rust without your stories. I think you are beautiful and it is okay to be awkward for your entire life. No one else’s eyes bend like yours, but I bet you hear that all the time. I think you are beautiful even with my eyes closed.

Now maybe try to get some sleep.

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// Who Are You To Do This //

How could you
let me watch this warm immaculate sun sliding its heavenly white up through dark trees
and how could you let this beauty invade itself inside my burning flesh.
How could you let me gaze up into the misty galaxies
and see everything I ever begged for as a child
come
true.
Who are you to walk through the eye of the needle and pierce my blood.
How could you let this happen, the way the fear unlocks the chains threaded through my teeth, the memories of hunger which used to snake themselves around my neck.
How could you let this ecstasy happen in plain view, out in the open meadows, in the open wounds, under the gaping cloudless indiscriminate sky, this sadistic magic, this reckless radiance, this cruel rising sun they raise up from the graveyards of the stolen mind.
The way you turn away from me is the way I am trying to learn again how to move. Downtown trains speed by in slow motion like nightmares and the tricks up my sleeve have all been forcibly removed. Who are you to be so goddamn gentle, who are you to touch my disturbance so smooth.
Where were you when I needed the sound of your madness.
Why must I sit among the red rose gardens scratching my nerves with her thorns; why would you deliver me to these black sins crawling,
just to loosen the reins I had on life,
on death,
on the blurred images repeating themselves in the mirrors down the hall.
I have written so many words and mishandled so many more than you ever cared to read.
Who are you and why have they let you in?
You see how I try to pin the butterflies to the ivory ocean waves in my hair
and all they want is to be allowed to fly.
Why do I do this thing where I try to keep what keeps me from falling apart. Should we not all run wildly toward the things which unravel us and instead give our undying gratitude to the ones who rob us blind.
Take these knives and thrust us apart at the seams. Who are you to keep the scars and the stars intact.
Is it not the seams which collect us into anguish, is it not the way our tired eyes close over our afternoon shadows which cause our disfigured lovers to look like an iron oasis of doorframes in the floor boards.
When I was strong you were desolate. When I was torn you were standing on top of a windy hill singing and pulling the swollen rain down along the rabid fires in the midst.
When I needed you you were not there.
So how could you let the sun
rise again.
How could you slope this miraculous new dawn across my face
and leave me alone
with the bloodstains on my knees.

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// The Trouble With Heaven //

I’m too much of a dreamer, so the story goes, but the truth is that what they call reality often turns my stomach in ways that are hard to describe. People want straight lines and I want the way pink stained glass bends images into cigarette smoke curling foreign tongues down your throat. As everyone else joins hands and I fall farther and farther away from the circle, I tuck myself inside a faith in the broken shards, the holes in the floors, all the crooked sides of my comical cosmic existence, and attempt to pour forth a drench of words that flood the earth until we all worship at the single altar of mad love instead of sadistic runaway greed.

What is the harm? What is this fear no one can seem to define, yet lives within all of us roaming freely, assembling crucifixions like clues on a board game. Is it blindness or hope that gathers us together, vulgarizes us, vilifies us, heals us, gently carries us toward a distant red sun that delivers us to the promised land of how brief we are, how inconvenient, how troubled, how beautiful.

Will they release or neglect me, these graphic phantom fantasies I press my head against in the quiet of night? Perhaps too many times already, the vacant songs of the things I’ve loved and lost could have remained my veins, my daily ritual black, but somehow I’m the dream coming true in spite of itself. Magic is a fragile flower welcoming the sweet assault of the rain. My obedience arouses you, something in your disarming movement touches me with invisible hands, holds my fickle attention. I want only for you to descend with me and escape, love is the danger of infinite folds, a sapphire ribbon of milk skin; resurrection is your hunger for my sacrificial bones.

Bodies on the pavement, serpents in the sky, and I am undone by the slightest trigger in your eyes. Grace is stillness swallowing hurricanes as an exotic universe creates and destroys itself just to please you. Your teeth against my pulsing wrist startles a flock tiny ancient birds: thin flutters thrusting violent wings in my chest, a dead world ecstatically disturbed. Your mouth on my breast is baptism, the way you collect me breaks us down by fire, fingertips for flames, the gravity between us absorbs the cries of a helpless world, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Sometimes, angel, pain is freedom and the prophets reach for heaven in reverse.

You tip my chin up to the sky, bend me just too far before letting go, I am aware my limits are merely physical. A matchstick glides backwards across the splintered catches in my mind. And as the clouds eclipse the windowless room we inhabit underground, deep beneath the time the gods play roulette with and wider than the desperate gaps between our staggered breathing, our union may be distorted but it is certain. Let the hoards of humanity speak, lifetimes of faces become one face and I’ve lost my lust for listening.

Lovers on the edge have the unfortunate habit of spilling dark secrets when their backs are naked against the wall, but I hold on to mine: silence is my only vision, a castle built upon the rugged journey of your voice as it calls me home, even after all this wasted time.

.

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// Write All Of It //

I believe if we want to remain prolific, if we want to maintain flow, if we want to continue to be nimble, a writer must write all of what it means to write. Just like with any kind of life, the struggles we go through to create are part of the creation itself.
Birth, death, ecstasy, curiosity, brutality, resurrection.
So much of what we have to do is sheer survival of the word, of the vision, of the expression.
All the ways the words are meant to be formed, the way they are forming within us, it is so often a terrible mess.
It can be very hard to break through. And the brave ones keep going. The brave ones write all of it.
So write all of it.
Even as many people come and go,
as they adore you and forget you,
as they question you and open you
and move on.
As they stay.
Do not worry about them.
You are still here.
You are still this heavy beautiful collection of dark skies
stealing catches of light through trees.

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// the bones of the artist //

I love that you do not shy away from your humanity,
divinity,
possibility,
uncertainty.

I love that you move into them, inhabit them, crawl inside them and open up your soul before them, allow yourself to become what they are in full tragic erotic chaotic bloom.

It takes my breath away to know you let them fill you, emerge from you, surround you,
have you,
have you,
have you.

And in that holy space, in the infinite spread of that rarely glimpsed suspension, you are as still as you are in motion. You become the flesh and blood of every creature ever born into this madness.

You allow their wisdom to touch you everywhere.

When I see you, I feel all of this written across the sky inside my heavenly earthen body.

Because I know in the secret chambers of my wild heart that which you know in yours:

that if it is not tearing at the bones, it is not poetry. 

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// give me more //

We are foaming at the mouth with heavy greed, how it glides through the veins like silk silently threaded alongside joy; thrumming steady but out of sync next to the beats of the hurricane heart you gave away to the ones who do not know how to see the light in the darkness.

Let them go and use your hands to carve a home for yourself inside me. Cross my heart, cross my fingers, untie my secrets and hope to die.

We want more when contentment would require much less. I wonder when you reach for me, pull me close and try to hold on to something neither of us are sure how to name but we can taste the mad tugging in the jaw when it aches, do you feel the stars blowing in the wind? Do you feel the jealous sun sliding through the winter trees, heavy with hunger for centuries of sleep? As you place your fingers in my mouth and I obey, I am not here in this body you crave, I am above the world looking down upon this strange darkening scene where we dissolve in the wine on each other’s tongues, and dance and fall and crumble and disappear.

Dolls that will break are already beautiful. Horses that will run are already free.

I hear the voices of the loudest ones and they sound like insanity draped over a vacancy no one dares to speak about, while inside my skin my sins are screaming. They sound like white noise caught on plastic bags floating down the heels of a crowded city street: dirty, disregarded, excessive, hollow.

They sound like nothing and yet people hand over their lives, their last thin dimes, and their slim cut souls, all these little people like insects trapped, going numb waiting for it to matter, for someone to notice that no one notices anymore. We are homeless, we are hunted, we are gladiators. We are white pearl eyes on fossilized  butterflies, we are filthy money down the drain.

Your hand moves toward me slow, a subtle gesture in the mysterious dark. It does not remember as the heart does not forget, where you and I have been. The body in slow motion betrays the mind, you are warm flesh and erotic games beneath the cold night air in my lungs.

How these fingers thread through the bones, whatever it is we are searching for lives forever in the paper tissue dreams which never left us. They can never leave us. They are the fabric of the moon, the place where the bodies of every ocean in every galaxy connect. They are five thousand red mercurial suns setting along the cyclical edge of time.

You at the back window seat of my mind, you on the lines they took from my hands. How I adore you. How many bloodstained years have I been gone.

.

.

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// a taste for curious things //

You are only love, a child of the underground, flower of the morning carving images on the walls all night; soft petals dripping from your heart and your thighs and your feet, cold are the hands which once held me.

To sleep is to breathe oceans through broken windows, to leave is to return, to break is to be rebuilt without bone, without walls. In the depths of your bruised ribs I am swimming, I am changing from sea creature to animal to woman to lover as you paint my lips from blue to lavender to vanishing.

This fervent greed which laces his gruesome tongue through your palms, which suckles the wrists of your newborn skin, it is passing, passing, passing through you, you the arms of a finely crafted instrument, you at the beckon of deliverance, glistening nude in the bronze cured sun.

Would you kiss me here in this baptismal fire. Would you and I – the way we taste like salt on the froth of a moonlit summer, the way we plant our ivy gardens beneath the rings around our fingers – would we turn out to be the end of every silent war, the end of the currency of blood, would your chest to my chest be the end.

You are safe, you are full in your emptiness, you are listening and this, beloved, this listening for the fluid stars in the womb is the promise of our kingdom to come.

I would trade everything I wish I could become for a taste of you.

You, closing like a flower, lips together, legs together, hands together, the hymns and wails of all the world sewn together since the beginning.

My only song is your prayer unspoken.

My love is the echo of a word worth believing.

You are fading because you look like me, and I am fading, too.

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// eaten up by nothing //

Legs the length of comets and bones to match but I wonder if you’d let me touch you where it would actually make a difference. It would hurt so terribly – you and I and you in my hands, trembling. And I would stay.

I would collect your salt water scraps of dignity, shards of splintered faith to my breast, to my stomach, to my veins as we pour forgiveness into the torn sides of the demons climbing the walls of the mazes in your mind. Step into me.

How I would clutch you, how you would feel it in your brow and your gums, in your lungs, your thighs and your feet, my climax just a molten aftertaste. How I would like to unhinge this wretched jaw from your skeleton heart and heal you by the grace of a God you buried lifetimes ago, with the yellowing animal bones of a past they seem to think you had but you don’t recognize when you look yourself in the eye.

The mirror on your hands is lined with dirt, crooked. She’s brutal because she’s blind but how could they, how could any of us, how could we ever hold the reflection of those heavy heaving eyes. I’d like to caress your sadness and stay with it a while.

A few drinks as dusk turns to orange pepper evening, a cigarette in your mouth through bedsheets on fire.

To touch you at all seems so unlikely now, though I’m not one to give up, not on love, not on anything with as much promise as there slips from the holes in your tired lies.  Spider webs wrecked, rebuilt; life regenerates, holds the misty dew up to the light of the moon. There is a resistance in your fabric, you wear it like desire and a bloodstain on the curtains. Wounds, blood without bleeding, plush summer mouths shoveling snow on the curbside of winter.

If you would let me do this the way you never thought you’d want it done, I promise beloved, I am only as forward as you’ll come undone.

Around my ankles grow vines of hopeful innocence.  Around my wrists one thousand thorns collect my nightmares and I am waiting on the other side of the wall; I am yours as long as you imagine me here.

I know it hurts, I know the way the spine of the pain stays alive while the rest of the body’s room spins dying.  Stay.  Stay with me. Stay busy with me.

Tears on the bathroom floor, laughter long run away from my throat. The truth still dances where everyone’s afraid to look.

Vulgarize me. Kiss me harder than you can stand. The force of this birth. We are so brave in our fragile skin. You and I, we are not like them, they do not seethe.

You and I and you in my hands, trembling.

We don’t take the shape of what we are becoming.

We take the shape of what we’ve always been.

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// night swimming //

Maybe it’s just a slow ride into oblivion under a purple evening sky. Wicked trees. Maybe we’re just a slow dance from growing into our wings; from becoming quiet keepers of all the memories we left behind tucked into the backseat of the cars we wrecked and realized we were not invincible.

As you braid my hair I’m saying silent Hail Marys because I’m not sure what you believe or what I believe but I can’t stand it if that’s what tears us apart. But we are always being torn apart.

Time is eternal erosion, destruction; moth wings, tiny and thin but they never stop beating away at the ribcage.

I know it’s cold but pull over and let’s get out right here, stop the rush of what can only continue and hold my hands until we become each other’s shelter from the raging storms in a wild mob of strangers’ eyes.

You are touching on my neck but what makes a poet is her breathing, which builds and releases out of sync with the rest of the known universe. I’d like to make it easier for you but this is the stuff that explodes in me. What is the use of comets, why do our souls cry out when we watch blackbirds flying against the night sky?

What makes a poet is mostly inconvenience and the backhand of truth when you thought it would be soft milky breasts and crimson wet kisses.

In a flurry of inspiration, I purchase a real clock, with arms that sweep around across three images of golden threadbare butterflies. Everything runs, runs out, runs away from you, so much of what we love runs so fast it flies. I place the clock on the opposite side of my writing desk across from a vintage hour glass. I’m sick to death of technology.

The grains of pure white sand begin their falling against the rusted sounds of ticking.

Time echoes time, minute by minute we become reflections on either side of the glass.

So many ways to remember we are lost, to remind us that this life is always happening behind closed doors.

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