// penitent //

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I can tell by the tilting of the moon that you feel the grip in your thickening skin as I encourage a deeper cadence of your machine body: count for me backwards from thirteen, I need to drown the ticking of the clocks nonstop in my head. Nobody wants to do these things unless they run along the trick blade of madness but you like the things they tell you not to touch.

I am in anticipation of you always, pulling tenderly on the triggers of the flustered beg of your breath on my breath before the body remembers how to fill its nascent lungs. It’s okay to be new here, angel, we never knew how it could be until our ivory wings were clipped and stitched against the ruined monuments of tragic beliefs. Stop counting. Place your fingers in my mouth and I will deliver those milk wings back to all the world as you erupt for me. This will be the gateway to endless melodic dreams come true but only if you don’t let go.

There are instincts we indulge in fantasy but deny in the flesh until the image we see of ourselves on the face of love overwhelms; reflections beyond time and space returning to us in the intimacy of the private lives we keep in jars with fireflies and broken trees. When I listen to the silence I hear every syllable of the thousand words promised us since the beginning, but they are spinning sparks in the dark, in them I see the truth that would strip the world of its desires.

You sink heavy into my thoughts before I understand the gutting rush of what I’m thinking. You have become the split reaction time between seduction and satisfaction; the alien ability to remain ready, patient, throbbing, quiet with wide eyes in bare rooms at the back of the houses I’ve abandoned inside.

All is lost, all is empty and hurled out into an orbital distance that once belonged to me. A place where souls who left this earthen chamber long ago still blow whispered pleads into the wind. Coming undone, the haunts collect me, daggers, tongues. My mind is falling along blank walls catching on hooks; my body submits to the flames, the fevered licking of unhealed wounds.

You: braiding my hair, tying ribbons around my wrists, ours is the way of redemption, the confession that breaks an honest man to dust.  Release has become a midnight garden blooming under shallow moonlight, grass stains on my tired knees.

Leave me here.

Let me be alone until the night is again where it can reach me.

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// heartaches and vice //

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The pains in my abdomen are leftover from a ferocious laugh and a searing cry and all the ways I’m not sure how to feel about either of them. The earthquakes seem to come from the sky as the sidewalks fall away from my feet. People aren’t listening you can tell by the panic in their eyes, chain smoking cigarettes and coughing up ignorance disguised. As I watch them not watching, I’m imagining cutting out faces: one for each day of all the weeks that people throw out the windows of high rise buildings hoping for new ones by the time the elevator to the basement drops. How did we get to this place where wrought iron gates are more intricate than we are and less cold. Everything I try to make move stands still in its cage.

I don’t mind writing alone for weeks on end next to these fleshy crimson roses dying in a vase at my crystal fingertips. The way they seem to bow out of a life they exposed themselves to fully, ripe, red, soft and silently urgent seems like the purest form of a love that knows no fear, only bloom and grace.

Thorns, tho, no bowing out for them, hard and tough as nails for good, stabbing like the piercing of your eyes underneath my skin: bleed me of my salacious greed, pin my poison against all the things I can’t stand about hurting myself and believing its the truth.

In dreams the words I want to drown you with flow, it wasn’t supposed to be so hard in the daylight but there’s a condemnation in the expressions on the people passing by that I seem to swallow and worship like someone I no longer recognize; someone who has lost her conviction. I am stronger than this but the desire to go limp is the edge of an elegant cliff at ten thousand feet and me on one toe on a pinhead hoping to balance the wind through my teeth.

I’m in love with the promise of another morning, the rain falling on electric orange autumn leaves, the gray skies please me because we understand each other.

Maybe after coffee I’ll shave my legs, wear that dress you like and learn to look at you again. Tonight it’s hard to sew all the faces back into the one I came with in the box. So many lives are shifting inside of me, none of which I can depend on for more than the better part of the hours that tighten against my slender neck.

Forgive us this day the terrible monsters we care about. We are skin wrapped around steel interchangeable bars, chastity, vice grips holding tight to the things that turn us to black inside. Let it be ink and not terror, let it be black as the night we feel at home inside. If it’s only darkness I can’t breathe.

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// evidence of bodies //

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I don’t want your body, I want your secrets. I know the games you play and why you play them but you’re so lovely it makes my mind bleed. Even the dreams in me have dreams and yet I can’t manage to extract a single one. Of course, no one ever said love makes sense. I pour a glass of Merlot and my insides are a relentless penetrating bloom of thick red roses groping their thorny vines around the veins that push my blood toward a heart that knows no boundaries.

When the last sliver of daylight finally fades across the grass, I can feel the setting sun unbuttoning my inhibitions. The way you wait so patiently for me binds me with threaded ropes, framing erotic images that deepen my darkening mood. You want to touch me but I’m not where you thought I’d be; my mind is seductive but it’s always somewhere else.

Using only the memory of your hands, you wrap me in crimson ribbons of delicious heat. The swift movement of your body sets me free to water midnight gardens of savage desire in beautiful rings around the moon. I’m ugly in ways only you can make an aphrodisiac as the twisted things I long for hang suspended from the ceiling, purple faces tongue the agony of my ecstatic soul. Everyone seems to think they know how your life will end up if you’d just sit still and listen but most try very hard not to understand anything that could make a difference.

Sliding past everyone else’s better judgment, I light three rows of candles and drop into a darkness that is not sleep. It’s more like a strange way of awakening in order to hold hands with death and own him before he owns me. We all worry about being invisible; that’s why we hide. I devour volumes of ancient spiritual texts and Bukowski, they seem to break me apart and deliver me back to who I am in a package I almost recognize. Deciphering their codes is the plot of every gutting love story ever written. The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life grow like inverted mirror images, side by side. To be human is to have a grasp on neither.

I drip hot lavender oil into a steaming bath and sink in as I envision you with cake in your hands. I’m kneeling at your feet licking icing from a dozen silver spoons between your fingers; the sweet life is not always what it seems, but we do try. At the center of something more encompassing and brilliant than we can possibly fathom, everything is submerged. Right here. Everything is different and the same. Every safe choice should make us more and more afraid.

It’s warm underwater and even though I drown my head in thoughts of self-defeat to keep from slipping into the vacant sky where I might finally be free, I trust being alone more than I trust anything else. I don’t know if God is alone but I know this world is mass murder on painted screens that cover up the truth.

In my makeshift blackout room, spinning pins and needles on the windowsill of the universe, all I ever wanted was to make a spark that would catch the hills on fire.

It’s not hard to breathe in the dark, it’s just that you see so little of who you really are.

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// prisoners of love //

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Take these words for I am deviant, I am full to the throat of the things I desire, the heavy punishing conflicts I turn over and over again in my cavorting mind, can nothing satiate these caustic depths. I chant melodic hymns to navigate the hallways in my blindness, threading these tender ashen fingers against the night wind as she envelops me. Take from me this graceful bow to the aching I feel in constant, a need I wake up starving for and walk through my days alongside, reverently, gratefully, obediently.

You cannot imagine the noise, beloved, the chaos in the violent light of this mad world, this riotous menacing landscape hell bent on denying my psychic chemical longing for a thing unseen. We cut our hearts free and hang them from empty trees, trade our bodies to lose our minds.

I adore the things they despise. I take all corruptions as part of myself and attempt to glean and restructure the patterns they refuse to see: when you expect porcelain skin against your patient tongue, I press myself to your smoldering warmth, broken shards of light, refracted, disconnected. A hunted shadow guides me: breathes with my lungs, walks with my stride, nourishes, sings and seduces through me. She is the dark violet flame, I am her splintered kindling, together we are endless nights burning ceaseless voracious fire.

Faceless moving figures, beautiful angelic figures, spread themselves on lavish lawns before me; a time for worship, a time for healing, the world is at war without and within, captured on film, clipping in dreams, coming undone in playbooks, in theaters, in stained glass windows and we are becoming stoic screens. I undress in ways they never see, eyes closed, soul gliding just above the ground. Take the words, swallow the words that hook us, collect us, recognize us, seep into us like rain penetrates the rich dark earth of our secret fertile places, the textured cream pages within me rupture and bloom as I bleed for them.

There is a spirit there in the midst, shining somewhere between the artist’s blood and our own disturbing self reflection. A benevolent message is being written by ghost hands behind the walls. Something that mirrors us, reminds us of who we are, who we always were, even beyond death, we carry each other. Poetry is not dead as long as it is listening. Words written under the cloak of this human shell, etched into these crumbling toxic bones. This is me. I pray to a god I can no longer taste. Take these words from me as the universe inverts itself, returns life to us, a faithful companion in all of its brutal handsome generosity.

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// dream lover //

Gently, gently, gently, lover, over and over it seems I am new to my own anatomy, just learning how to breathe, how to behave and temper impulses, understanding where my pieces go, how to open my arms, my throat, my veins and walk in the punishing daylight bleeding. It’s not gentle enough when the nocturnal air moves his poisonous breath against my vacant, expectant skin and I need you to be softer, softer, softer still. Touch me like dark feathers sifting, falling lightly through the collecting fog and I will begin again on my knees at your feet.

Folding these hands, bending these wrists, teach me to speak with your tongue.

I am only a whisper easy to suffocate but impossible to break; a dangerous intimacy that drips inside a second heart most stab at in nightmares trying to deny. Such force, such resistance, such loss. I am the freedom of velvet ropes that bind you to tears of grateful orgasmic release. My way of living emerges in spheres that penetrate and overlap, illusions pressed against the milk white legs of a shifting reality.

May I possess you, may I enclose you, may I appear alongside of you as you rage against an open sky and become the shedding of your veils, your fears, your widening eyes.  My way of dying into my own bare flesh occurs behind the command of your silence, my way of focused, curious adoration is the way a ring of sapphire candles is a beckoning portal in the back of your volcanic mind. A slip into another time and place, where pleasure is sacrifice and ecstasy thorough, to hold back is to forfeit everything we gnash our new cut razor teeth trying like mad to become.

You and I: shadows standing back to back, watchfulness reflected. When I reach for the stars I know they are birthing each other, blurring too heavily inside me and I’m trying to go home. I search in wet purple evenings for the redemption pulsing in time to the way you look at me; your every masterful movement is the closing of trap doors, of prisons, of ruby studded cages strung up against the ceiling of skyscrapers but my god, angel, how we decorate each other.

How we expose one another on the willing altars of this fragile faith in dreaming.

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// fall from grace //

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Tracing the outline of my open lips as I stand before the floor length mirror, I imagine pressing my dark eyelashes together and leaving this blue electric mind for just long enough to go beautifully numb. Not the kind of numb where you don’t feel anything at all but the kind where you still feel the warm pressure of fingers and it doesn’t frighten you, doesn’t hurt, doesn’t tempt you back to the kind of life that feels like plastic sheets over everything you were told you could touch.

A kiss the taste of jasmine and warm vanilla before everything became so sterile.

It’s not that I don’t want to reveal myself it’s that I’m terrified there is no way to warn you of what’s beneath this withering skin. We are all pretending, peeling, receding, removing ourselves one thumbnail, one fang, one whisper, one blink of a down turned eye at a time even as we dig our heels in and try to stay on the sane side of honest.

To move forward is to slip screaming under the ice, to break is to relieve the ones who don’t believe in love. I don’t want to pour what’s left of the ink into half the words that lay themselves undressed at my fingertips but this isn’t me, if I knew what was I would try to protect you from it.

As I move my fingers down along the soft curves of my body, there are shadows bending over the back of this tired day when lighting a cigarette is the sweet claw of knowing I don’t quite fit in, the inconvenience of my mismatched presence here is fading but palpable. It’s possible to feel at the same time like raven wings the breadth of the clear midnight sky and like even the gentlest hands would fall short of opening your barbed wire heart. I know this now.

What I am in the dark is condemned and torn away from me in the light, and in the glare I forget where my feet belong: which hours of the night am I, which collections of which moments, which seasons of which days? I try to console myself by remembering it’s not me they want anyway, it’s something beyond any of us, something vastly, infinitely more loving and severely less infatuated with being seen, being heard, being accepted.

Some kind of sacred alien thing so fierce, so substantial, so insatiable it devours itself and continues to exist. A hunger without the terrible pain of going hungry. A thirst that needs only itself, never goes in search of a drink beyond its own infinite pools. Something that pleasures us to tears of everlasting fulfillment.

Sometimes when I am stuck, when the urge to open up is butterflies thrumming in nets in my ivory chest, I think of the way you handle everything – people, poetry, phrases, books, rejection – so lightly, so effortlessly, so graciously and gracefully. I imagine the warmth of you and the world sleeping in your benevolent hands and wonder how you would handle me if my breasts were fire instead of flesh, if my insides were venom instead of honey.

There is a kind of affection that grows its own womb out of its own tenderness and hangs it in the center of the hands of its creator; I have felt it, cradled it, made love to it in dreams that dissolve in the dust of morning sunlight falling warmly through the curtains. You and I in this makeshift house far away from home. We were made to bow down to a thing we cannot grasp even as it holds us firmly from within, and yet how far we have fallen, how lost we have become.

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// broken arrows //

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Some days are the fullness of tongues in excess. I know I ask for more than I deserve and I wish I knew how to help it, how to stop, how to escape, it seems as if this is how I was strung together by a god who should have known better, should have been less cruel and more clever. Some kind of laughter that tastes like wine in a chalice thrown from an angry plastic heaven, still I swallow too ungratefully and crawl inside. I’m not always pretty, I’m not always kind, I’m not always the way light trickles, sparkles, strokes like angel wings falling down my fragile spine. All I ever wanted was to tell you a story that feels like a lover you’ve not yet breathed against but have imagined emerging from the hungry heaving ocean waves for lifetimes, night after night the moon would lust to enter the sea. That’s what these words are if only I could get them right: a shape, a figure, a curve, a dark cavern, a passage into another world where you exist in endless flow, smoothness, salt, and the flavor of chaotic, rhythmic, liquid emotion. Tell me the words are crystal sugar froth, tell me you would wait out eternity to be so torn by a language you’d long since forgotten, but the sparking in your jaw recognizes as truth. And if that story were to move you, stir you, deliver you, take the words, take them, take them, thread them through the bending of your flesh and let the soul you bleed for sleep. Even as I write these my troubled manic thoughts they are fugitives, they are train tracks, they are ship wrecks, they are hopeful dreamer’s dreams. These words I plead for, take them, take them, they are yours.

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// stranger in me //

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I will write it all for you in golden bound volumes, reach into your chest and pull your seven headed demon hearts out for you and ask for nothing, but please understand me, lover, I absorb everything. There is an electricity in everything I touch, everything I encounter becomes spitting, surging, violent evolution within me.

Will you stand with it?

Will you drink from it?

I am the glow and the vacancy of failures, mistakes, torments, unfinished kisses, the wreckage and carnage of longings, stretched and starved beyond my control. I seethe, I breathe, I need, I crave. I summon with every cell the savagery and revelation of the depths of lustrous, compassionate love. My tongue is forgiveness, my body is sacrament, my pain divine and generous. And even as you, behind the mouth panting in your eyes, stand still before me, I can feel your energy like stacks of steel cities crashing through storm clouds, slamming into a frightened earth like meteors, all the world is dust and flame: for you. The frame of your features is my falling toward you and away in equal measure.

I shatter with desire and all I need is for you to try to hold onto me.

Curiosity is the only faith, those who condemn the curious are a threat only unto themselves. Where the liquid wings of mystery are severed, the punishment for sins not committed begins, sadness of the distorted ages steps in. Welcome to my universe where I am in bed with life and death in constant, my mind always chewing, chewing, chewing and the more I surrender the more appears, like throwing my body against a mirror. I write every syllable in spite of every other mad impulse that snaps and explodes inside of me, walls begin at the tips of my feet and extend themselves far off into the darkness I recognize, trust, but can no longer see.

Voices on the edges of my hands. Noises like the opening of doors, slowly, upon lovers in the ecstatic moans of headless, mindless pleasure. Love is forbearance and some things are just easier to believe.

I am a world of worlds inside, we melt, we burn, we regenerate, I breathe and new life begins, I shed tears to bury what’s dying inside. I have become the one who pulls at the tide of the oceans with her fists, raises mountains and even as I stand still the planetary spheres I reach for are spinning, spinning, a river of private thrumming conditioning runs through me in constant. and as my pieces are wrenched and separated they are sealed together by the nectar dripping at the pressure of my own compassionate hands, my ever-loving alien eyes turn forever inward, inward, inward.

I am strange and I am a stranger. Know this as you touch me, remember this when I am gone. For everything you offer me I submit myself to willingly, and everything you withhold becomes my naked longing need.  The silent night comes on like the smoke of addiction; my criminal love, you take me with you in the marrow of your beautiful bones.

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// heathens //

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A lady in black holds herself up, eyes wide, wet, wild, the blood throbbing in her sex ruptures the sky into vast pulsing waves through webs of liquid stars, spinning in endless expansion. She is the universe groping desire from every angle. She is the thin movement of air, she is the legs of the needs inside you suspended, withering figures tangled in trees.

Pleasure, pain, writhing, and you on your knees. The night grows hungry for itself.

I play with the words and let them seduce me, slender light and the pale gray shadows of bodies on the wind, blown from the corners of my buried mind: paper dolls shaped like me but someone forgot to cut out the bones. Skeletons dressing in my skin, a row of street lamps exploding in slow motion; shattered and exposed we are made to collect our own pieces, float like angels on the tops of bare trees.

The shakes of restlessness would eat you alive so we carve hearts in the sidewalk with pocketknives and promise to walk until the end of time.

Every footstep interrupts the pattern, the world is dying in our punctured hands as we become reluctant symbols of the future of those who don’t believe we’ll make it.

The cold and the pavement and you’re getting tired and the smoke between your teeth is the taste of orgasm in mute. Sound is a numbing warp through miles of ocean water and I am dreaming of the way it is in dreams, running, running without gaining ground.

When you were with me and understood everything, I kept still behind the glass.

Images of prey, hummingbird wings in wet mouths, cigarettes in broken fingers, sliding like phantoms on my evening wall. All day, all day, the hush of silence is a naked room and a miniature wooden chair, a supple rain shower and your lips searching me, opening secrets I am too afraid to speak. My womb is a beautiful moonlight garden in waiting, touching is red velvet gloves wearing hands and nothing is protected.

The night tempts a sky of pink ivory and words are the only food. I am swallowed by the sunset in your sea salt eyes. I burn with lust for the way you train my eager skin. But I won’t touch, and I won’t move, and I will trade the madness for a chance to breathe you in.

The brutal soak of heavy slicing rain aches to break itself open within me, this looming clench of an immaculate crush, this clenched torment seems to spin fast like cyclones gasping for wind. Everything I’ve now become is yours; the satin lick of blind infection has to be enough.

As the storms move in, flashes of lightning beneath my skin, I caress myself: defiant, blistering, illuminated. Raindrops slashed across the glistening membrane of a soul in her triumphant birth.

Pain is savage ritual bleeding, the final break in the gruesome night long screaming, a restless dawn that needs my love waits in the hands of life to receive me.

I am the howling and the healing.

This mourning that enfolds me, exposes me. Water, soil, seed.

Beauty is a mouth on my mouth like butterflies stitching themselves to faces in the dark. Strange stimulation the way we unfold: this is what it is to bloom.
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// iron boxes //

wallflowers
You reach for me but I am a void, I am a hellish collision of dying worlds inside. These cruel words hang me on the wall and leave me there, exposed, afraid, unraveling, alone. And I’ve been writing, baby love, writing, writing, awful, awful, terrible writing, it ought to be a crime these unforgivable lines slashed in defiance against borrowed time, wretched incoherent manic overflow like bleeding an animal of poison, I’ve written one hundred journals in a mouthful of days, page after page, one more useless than the one before, stacking them, digging them, dragging them through the mud and the rage with me. Please don’t touch me anywhere, I am fever. My eyes finally adjusted to the darkness of this strange religion, where wings are clipped and spread at will.

Still as a cradle robbed of death, but for the smooth motion of the weapon in my hand, and the raking in my brain, and the slamming in my chest to the beat of city after city dropping to their weakened knees, I’ve kept on like the possessed searching for something. Moon rise, moon set, I have not aged since birth and I have never been so sure I’ve died too many times, I am only a pale reflection of myself, the blue fade of a forgotten lust for beautiful sins. The days have been rusted white cages, feathered ink, lace candy legs, something is dark and tethered inside me, darting its many faces in and out of the brush. Something nameless in me that I can’t seem to clutch, needs a love beyond anything the world can produce; a flower opens itself to an empty room.

And I am trying and I am failing, and this thing, this need that swallows itself into me – it is still waiting. All the world is wasted panting breath and me on the wall, and these words like ears on such abysmal pages, we are all waiting.

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