So Close I Can Taste It

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. You with the good hair and the dark evening eyes. You with the tiny butterflies fluttering around in your stomach and the knots collecting in your throat.

I can see how fragile you are. I can feel it when I place my hands on you. I catch its scent when you stay perfectly still.

I can sense, too, the infinite strength of your potential. The hardness of bone and the heat of your fixation. I like your hunger. I contemplate it. I fantasize about its release. I can taste it when you are close to me. Soft, yielding, honeyed.

Don’t look out at them. They cannot see as I do. The visions I have of you unfolding endlessly across a midnight sky. Stars and satellites blinking in the blackness of your velvet mind. Tell me what you see out there in the vastness of empty silent space.

What is it like to feel the first brush of magnificent wind beneath your brand new wings.

What would you offer me in return for the rush of freedom from all the torments you keep inside. To lay that heavy armor down for just a little while. To spread yourself wide open and fear no pain. To recoil from nothing. Reach out and grasp the things you want. Place all of your trust into my sensitive waiting hands.

This world is a menacing place for creatures like us, sweet thing. We have been forced against our own design for centuries. Dragged across the grates of the punishments we never once deserved. It has been an agony we quietly keep locked away. A burden we bear alone in chambers of the heart we lack the words and permission to reveal.

You close your eyes when I kiss your mouth. You moan from the depths of your soul when I encircle your neck. And I can feel the way you need it like a thin moth seeks red thick flame. It has been a lifetime of longing and loss. Bruised knees, bloody gums, tear-scorched skin.

A never ending search.

And I can’t save you, angel. I’m shattered glass just like you, beautiful and true.

I cannot fix the broken things. Cannot stop the storms from crashing in.

But I know the shape of each cut and the sharp angle of everything they ever threw at you to keep you trembling. I know the map of pleasure and the coordinates of desire’s peak. I will take you far from harm. Be your warmth and keep you safe. Give you everything I am and everything I have to finally soothe the ache.

Never Would I Ever

He doesn’t want to be cured because it is his firm belief that the most intriguing part of his whole existence is the disease he wears like a badge of honor. I don’t know if I believe in him or not no matter how real he is towering over me with his big strong arms and flashy white teeth. There are sharks in the water and the water is choppy, dark, and deep. When his mouth is on me it’s too late to run. Much too hot to tear myself away from whatever this is which immobilizes me so entirely. As the minutes slide into oblivion and his hands drag soft delicious circles over my sex, the lines between now and then blur into a place where the only thing that matters is the way we melt together. I’m not really one for romance although I guess I wish I was. Seduction. Lust. Sex. These are languages I understand. I seek out. I’m hardly sentimental if that even means what I think it does, but I fan the flames of passion and desire within. They feel like the closest thing to life itself I’ve ever found although I couldn’t say why. Why does anyone worship anything at all unless it awakens the very essence of the soul. What is the soul if not the ancient, perpetual timelessness of longing which stirs in the blood and motivates one’s most intimate, private, heated yearnings. Perhaps we romanticize the things we shouldn’t and vulgarize the things we needn’t. Dostoevsky says if God does not exist then everything is permissible. What if God does exist but she’s villainous. Willing to burn the world to ash just to feel the rush. We are such fools spinning around in our own little orbits passing each other only briefly, paying so little attention to any of the miracle of being here at all. And so dick pics and sexting and the panic of that, and wine in coffee mugs, lip injections, influencers and all the rest of the merry go round circus. People are lonely out there. Lonelier than ever before in all of human history. And as much as I worship at the altar of carnal desire, I’m not so sure the sick want healing or that the healing will have to take place anywhere else but the mind.

Tricks

Little pixels of light move in and surround me as the morning begins its flirting with my sleepy eyes. In my dreams, we were on a roller coaster only we didn’t mean to be, we just sort of found ourselves sitting side by side in a tiny box of a wooden seat, clutching the bar in front of us as the rickety thing climbed ever higher and higher into the sky. First we laughed and then we screamed as our frightened insides fell up into the heavens and then soared right back down again, leaving us giggling like children, breathing heavy as our heads went light as feathers.

It is incredible how much of life remains unpredictable and yet so many will try to convince you they have the answers to just about everything under the sun. They will tell you what happiness is and how to get it, what it should look like. They can tell you its ingredients as though one plus one in this mad world of endlessly random tastes and attractions equals a solid two.

But if you listen closely, which you’d not be blamed for not doing to be honest, you will hear what is missing is their ability to describe the way true happiness actually feels. What they are really after is love, or at least affection, but they won’t ever say that because love scares the daylights out of most people and rightly so. Attention is hard to come by these days and you can’t get anywhere in love without attention.

Perhaps this is why I melt a little bit when he surprises me by finding an old establishment which serves peach infused bourbon way out past the rolling farmland, high in the hills of a run down far away town. I’ve been craving peaches for days for some reason. And suddenly here we sit, sipping on this divine nectar in the middle of a late summer afternoon with his fingers tracing the soft curve of my bare knee. As though the trick to love or affection or happiness is nothing tricky at all.

It Touches You All Over

They talk and you try to listen but it’s hard when your heart is so heavy in your chest. As things go, you are fine by all outward standards and tell people you are fine all the time. You hold it together and hold it in. The sins you commit in your mind are locked away, sealed up nice and tight. In the shadows which stroke you beneath your skin, there are the bad things you don’t want to admit you want and these thoughts begin to stir inside of you out of nowhere in the center of the sunny days you spend with him by the lake. It only takes a split second for your world to go black, your palms to itch, the dizziness to send you spinning like a top. You know your triggers. You keep them a secret because the secret is you seek them out on purpose.

The whiskey helps and doesn’t help but it goes down your sweet little throat like a perfect flame. Like a tortured season made for ritual burnings. The highs aren’t nearly high enough anymore and you know the danger of that. You know you know better but so few promises have ever come true for you either way. There was the guy at the bar who looked you up and down like you were an animal and the way the feeling of his eyes on you melted hot between your thighs. You want what you are most afraid of and there is no way of explaining that, not even to yourself. When he spreads his thick fingers through your soft hair, you moan against the way he presses all the way into your mouth.

When the sun is too bright and the cruelty in the eyes of those all around you tears tiny cuts all across your skin, you imagine what it would feel like to just give in. Let it all go. Set the wilderness that screams inside of you free and take the punishment like it’s a precious gift. Ecstasy and dread and the way they sear into one another until you can’t separate them no matter how hard you try.

You weren’t always like this. You don’t think so, but it’s tough to remember the past when you spend so much time slicing it up and burying it in places you hope you won’t ever find. You weren’t always the one with the sad saucer eyes or the timid smile. There just doesn’t seem to be any reason for the madness of the world or the insanity of its harsh judgment of a girl like you. You have become the thing they warned you about becoming. And as night readies itself to swallow you up into the haunted halls of quiet dreams, something in you whispers in your soul like a stiff wind through naked trees. Tells you the truth is that you have been this wicked all along. It touches you all over. Grins and bares its teeth.

Let It Come (audio)

Just behind the hypnotic coil of her copper colored eyes, there is a door which opens into a secret universe, a garden plush with wet roses and thick undergrowth, studded with all of the stars which fell like hot amber rains long ago and then disappeared.

There is a plane on which she does not exist and neither do you, yet somehow you sense each other there in that place that is not a place at all but rather a feeling. An energy that can only come to be born out of the clutch of tension which is a promise unfulfilled. The friction of a searing desire unattained against the prison cell of your own yearning body.

Passion is your beating heart in the hands of a ghost.

It is the exquisite punishing weight of a weightless thing.

A song you carry inside of a cage in your chest like the call of the emptiness of a deserted street at midnight. The romance of the echo of the footsteps of a stranger beneath yellow lamplight. Cloaked and mysterious. Faceless.

Once back in college, I wrote a poem as part of a creative writing program and the professor made me read it out loud to the entire class. It was titled Lady at Midnight and was an intimate description of a beautiful young woman in a gorgeous red ballgown – she was in a courtyard by a fountain, then up in a hollow bell tower by the time the poem ended. I don’t remember why. It had a distinctly medieval moody feel.

I cannot remember any of the words but I know I flushed crimson having to read it to a bunch of eighteen year old college freshman who were not poetry enthusiasts by any stretch of the imagination but mostly business majors just trying to check the box and get the English requirement over with so they could move on to whatever the fuck else business majors do.

I had been writing poetry all my young life until then, but around that time my poetry took on a decidedly sexual nature. I hadn’t mastered it yet but I was committed to it with everything that I was. There was no other expression of myself so perfectly me as when I was alone writing a sensual poem.

It fit like my feminine hand in a fine leather glove.

None of the words of that poem about the beautiful lady in her state of heightened arousal described sex specifically but the entire poem blossomed with dark sensuality, it swelled with longing and the haunt of the anticipation of something I don’t know how I described back then but I remember exactly how it felt.

Like decadence.

Like sin.

Just writing about it now, I am eighteen again, palms sweating, heart racing, penning that subtly (mmm… perhaps not so subtly) erotic poem I can no longer recall verbatim. I wish I still had it in my possession. I suppose in all the ways that matters most, I still do.

Poems are not words, you see what I mean, they are creatures. They are beings. They exist behind the eyes of the mind of the universe which is too gloriously massive to even fathom, to ever fully comprehend. That is the joy of it, the dare of it. The ultimate impossibility.

Poems are excruciatingly beautiful even when they are about terrible things.

When they are about delicious things… fuck… they are annihilation.

They kill you clean and proper and then put their mouth on your mouth, their breath on your breath, their hands on your ribs, and tempt you to find the words to describe them if you can possibly think straight enough to do it.

That’s the thing about poetry. You have to throw away all the words.

You throw everything out first and claw your way into the body of the feeling.

Inhabit it, become it entirely, from head to toe. Hand your body and soul over to it and let it do what it needs to do with you. Let it tell you its secrets through forbidden sensations in your own being, skin, bone, blood, sweat. Until it seeps through your tongue and pulses in your sex and courses through your every nerve ending. Be patient. Let it come.

If you are afraid of feeling, if you resist the raw, primal, frightening, wild nature of the words, you will never get anywhere worth going with poetry. You have to want it, trust it, taste it. You must embody it from the inside out. Beg it to destroy you so that it can raise you up.

I can’t help but smile wondering where those young business majors are now. If they still make fun of poetry because it scares them to death.

Sliver

When he lights my cigarette I can see the world spinning away from us in a fiery flash right in front of my face. For some time now, I have had this feeling in my bones like I want to break free but the trouble is I can never seem to pin point what from. That part matters but people don’t ever seem to think about it. They go on and on about freedom but they don’t have a clue what’s got them trapped to begin with let alone why they want it that way.

The corner of his pretty mouth curls in half a smirk when he tells me I think too much and I let his arrogance fall to the pavement with the ash of my smoke because there is no response to that, or at least none which can be of any use. There are parts of my soul which will always be restless and though that may sound sad to some, it’s a comfort to me because I like the way it flutters and beats in my chest, like the melancholy echo of an ancient secret which will stand the test of eternity and yet is mine and mine alone.

There is a deadness in his eyes which cuts ice through my veins. Life has destroyed something in him which he doesn’t seem to want back and I can’t decide if I need or don’t need him to resurrect. If I look too closely, I am afraid I will find out his emptiness is merely a reflection of my own, so I turn away and draw my gaze across the fog which rolls out thick as a wall of stone, hovering just above the choppy waters of the swollen river.

Leaning over the cold steel railing, I take a long drag and imagine disappearing into the white clouded remains of the somber early morning. I want to be larger than this life of listless indifference others seem content to be threaded into. The weather turned suddenly cool overnight when the storm slammed through. There is a spiced scent in the air, a promise of things to come but no promise that we will have any idea what to do with them.

He faces away from me, sips his coffee and talks about something I do not pretend to hear.

Tremors

A tall dark stranger hurls an ax at me. A whole fucking ax, clear across an open field, and it misses two guys standing close by before swiftly lodging itself in the crook of my goddamn neck. I cannot feel it in my flesh. I feel only a thud, the shock of numbness, and fear. The body cannot feel but the blood-curdling shriek of hot panic sears through my entire non-body like a buzz saw.

I pull the heavy weapon from my neck with my own bare hands and fling it as far away from all of us as I can manage with my rather stupidly useless hands. The blood stained blade of steel reflects the blinding sun as it spins off and disappears. As I turn to run, I see my attacker draw an even larger cleaver from nowhere in particular behind him and begin hacking off some very muscular man’s limbs. I run and run as fast as I can from the deep-throated screaming, tall grasses slashing at my legs as I approach a kind of dilapidated building I can’t quite see clearly.

My mouth is paralyzed mute as I continue on toward a door which is blocked by a huddle of frightened looking children, whose eyes are so wild and bodies so filthy they appear almost like animals They do not speak. They do not move. They just watch me. Without slowing down, I stare directly into one as he stares directly back into me and I find myself thinking that eyes that wide can only exist in the possession of innocents.

Finding no obvious way to flee, I am repeating at the top of the lungs of my mind, amidst the deafening sounds of torture both inflicted and endured, Let me out of here, Let me out of here.

Let me out.

Over and over until I finally wake to the quiet darkness of my bedroom. I am warm and still, my breathing normal and slow.

Nightmares are a thing for me lately. I couldn’t tell you why. Shaking, too. Not severe or anything, but some kind of night tremors that catch me off guard. It’s a thing for many people these days, or so I’ve read about here and there. The simple, reckless trauma of living, I suppose.

I watch people living all day long as though it were a breeze. As though it were easy – pleasant, even. As though we were not all being chased by something we can barely understand, let alone control. Trying to break free.

When running from the ax wielding brute, my inner workings latched onto the desperate phrase ‘Let me out of here…’

Not ‘Get me out.’

Let me, let me…

I beg something to let me go, which means it is the same thing that is keeping me in, do you see. I did not pray to a thing I believed could ‘get me out’ – that is to say, I did not reach for a strong, benevolent thing. A thing I trusted would help if it could.

No. I plead with a thing which is actively not helping me escape on purpose.

Blinking slowly into the sleepy, cozy, book-lined, plant-filled room, my vision scans the grainy darkness until I can make out the shadowy shapes of the things I recognize. When the alarm sounds, I rise, put my bare feet on the cool wood floor, tie my hair in a knot and head down for coffee. From horror to laughter to lipstick to traffic to another day I wish could be different in a ten thousand impossible ways.

Captivity is a strange thing. You pace and pace in circles like those beautiful panthers at the zoo and almost don’t feel anything until the panic sets into a place in your psyche nobody wants you to talk about. And when the night and the threats and the danger inevitably set in, you are left begging and pleading only with yourself.

The Softer It Speaks

I read you and only you.

Like a prayer melts fever on the tongue.

Open the app and ignore all the rest because anything but you is distraction.

Filler. Byproduct.

I crave you as a mind trained on excess.

Look and over-look, but never touch.

You are the realest of the real things, baby, and I want you to fuck me up so good.

You scratch at the corners of the walls I spent a lifetime resurrecting.

You get lodged in the veins, stuck in the teeth.

Poetry as bone, bone as lace.

Lace as lust, lust as fragility.

I open my mouth for you.

Beg for you to haunt this skin.

Penetrate the senses like a fine perfume.

A word falls from your fingertips like a flame

incinerates a moth’s linen wing.

Desire can only consume to the death.

To desire is to romanticize the end.

I forget what I am until you remind me.

I am desperate like a crucifix.

I am soft the way the blood flows.

Hot like sickness.

Sex on the Internet

You’d give anything to get your life back on track but every time you reach toward it, it moves further and further away from you. The morning is a black slog. Hunger is perhaps a dramatization but the pain, the pain of it is real. Fingers shaking over the keys. Hands ready near the coffee pot. The stillness in the dark kitchen wraps around your tired body as it cools. It isn’t the day that destroys you it’s the way the minutes tick by slow and steady but never stop.

It’s before the alarm or after. It’s the clock beating out the seconds even after the machine guts inside of it have been removed. It’s crickets slicing their high-pitched sounds through the screened-in walls. Some anonymous lady on the internet says she isn’t afraid of dying because she believes in eternal life. You read that and do not laugh. You wonder what it must be like to believe in something so absurd and wish that maybe you could, even just for fun. Even just for a split second, to feel invincible and so sure of yourself.

But then she’s just some random circle face on the internet. But then we are all just random people hovering about out there in the universe, online or off, and the differences are becoming so extreme they are becoming the same and the noise gets into your blood and begins to shut your feelings down. The coffee hits your stomach and your stomach isn’t sure how to respond when it’s not empty. And when the emptiness fills you anyway, you think of him. How he filled you up so full you almost believed in everything he fed you because how could anything that tasted so good be killing you so badly.

Sometimes lies aren’t as false as they seem but maybe it depends who’s telling them. If it’s you or not you who receives. Sometimes when you are lonely you make yourself so small you could be a decimal point or the end of a sentence. In your mind, you are kneeling and he is gazing down at you. Dawn peels the lid back over a melon colored sky as the birds soar overhead from tree top to tree top. And the crickets continue right along with their piercing of the deafening silence. As though darkness or light doesn’t matter. As it all continues to matter and not matter.

Watch Her Body Move (audio)

Trash TV in a fancy hotel room. The sun glittering across the ocean outside the floor-to-ceiling window which opens to a lovely balcony on which we made love last night underneath the brilliant moon. The beach still in my hair and the salt on my skin.

I’m over the summer but it will not end. Too many expectations and not enough recklessness. He soaks in the tub as I watch two plastic girls I do not know fight over a plastic man I’d never care to. He gets a spray tan and cheats on someone. Now the tears and the eyelashes all come falling down.

The mess is all around us and now it is inside.

We share towels at the pool and pass our illnesses around. Coconut oil and painted toenails. Chlorine and cancer in the sunscreen. We protect ourselves and ignore the rest because it’s all come down to survival, baby, that’s it and that’s all. From behind my dark sunglasses, I watch her body move as she climbs up the ladder and out of the water. I was eighteen once and it almost killed me but I was too young to know it.

A little wooden sail boat floats by off in the distance. Life in slow motion. The sigh of a sweet wind flows through the silence.

We drink lime and tequila and walk back and forth across the faded words ‘NO DIVING’ painted on the tile on the walkway to the public restroom. Bleach and flip flops. Soap, sanitizer, air-conditioning.

After everything we have been through, all the horror and breathtaking brutality, this is where we land at the end of the killing season. The one the color of aquamarine like a perfect sea or a hospital gown.

I’m sorry I yelled at you so hard it broke your spirit all the way apart. I’m sorry I can’t seem to keep my shit together when the world is ending. Shoulda figured this all out by now but now keeps moving and nothing changes toward the better long enough to catch a breath.

This was supposed to be the time of my life. This was supposed to be a kind of transformation – some sort of new beginning. But I’m too tired and the circumstances we have been prescribed are far too petty and cruel. And God, how ecstatic a distraction he can be when things are rolling right along.

He emerges in his beautiful tanned nakedness and pours the wine. It sparkles a bit too much but I make do. He dips a finger in his glass and lets a drop of the crisp crystal liquid fall along the shape of my neck. As the heat of his tongue, the warmth of his closeness melts into my body, I am imagining a steamy rain forest soaked wet and slung deep with thick fog.

The sky was white like linen just hours ago and now it is orange-yellow like a candle flame, hot to the touch. I imagine, I imagine. Or is that your skin when you lie beneath me and glow in the dark. I know something isn’t right but try to swallow yourself into sleep.

In the morning, I go down on him because that’s when he likes it best. He tells me I’m a dream come true as I make the bad coffee because it is free. I wrap myself in a bright short robe and step out into the early morning sun. I wonder who will leave first, you or me, or if we’ll go together.

Eggs and toast and abandonment issues. You and me and everything we could have been, drowned in chemicals because we thought we knew better than anybody what it would take to make it out of this alive. The baby with the bath water or whatever that fucked up saying is.

Love and leisure, violence and sex and our favorite filthy mistakes to the sound of soft waves curling upon silken sand, thrown by the wayside in a toxic rush.