// bodies, traps //

Soft wet lips left behind on glass,
a white flower petal cuts the words
away from my hands.
None of it matters like everything matters;
we fall behind as we fall into
and out of
step.
Sand in the swollen nets of time. Thieves
lifting the broken windows of the
night.
We explore each other,
take into our mouths
the devil’s handiwork.
Love is tragic, love is
collusion.
When you look at me like life and death
are on the same side
I want to inhabit the palms of
your soul.
Hold me until my ribs dissolve into stars.
Forgive me these secrets: what we give away
we keep.
Where the rain floods the inside of the caverns buried in the mind
you approach me, tuck away your knives
as your skin becomes wings,
in the darkness we are free
as you
lose yourself and come for me deep.
You fall, you follow, you run,
you return before I’m ready.
Drink me like bloodthirst
sliding through leaves.

.

.

// 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.

.

.

lust for the taste

You permit my palms against your neck,
swallow my lust for the taste
of the pulse of all creation.
We are the birth and death
of nations
bending forward, falling back
into the midst of each other’s
dawning.
Witnesses.
They say the trees, when threaded close together
for miles and miles
bring to bear a spirit,
a presence
of their own
kind,
a knowing long buried
rises for a time.

There are no words for the sight of her silence,
there are no limbs in the halls of her dreams.

We are diamond claws at the back
of a dying thing.
Pull your veils down over me
the moon is pale
and cold but she
moves between us;
when we stand this close
and breathe
I feel it.

.

.

 

// 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.

.

.

// no one but me //

It’s okay to feel sad I guess when the morning light is far too critical and I’m holding my head in my hands to try to keep breathing, keep creating, keep hope swirling underneath these white shallow limbs. Where did the beauty and the mystery go? Why are there so many eyes and nothing to show for having witnessed all the mindless tragedy of this world?

I hear them shouting but cannot see down the train tracks to warn them, it’s foggy over the hills in my chest and it’s all too loud, all of it, most of all when you hear the silence alone. A ticking clock, dust on the typewriter in the back of my throat.

I used to trust you to do that for me. To hold my hands when I got lost in the clouds in my coffee but I guess I was always a little selfish, mad in ways only you could make an aphrodisiac.

As I stand in the doorway I’m trying to remember the poetry I wrote years ago, before it ever occurred to me that being a poet would change the way they thought about me, it was urgent prose but had more meaning than that, or so I’m fairly certain. I don’t worry as much about my skin anymore, I’m told I look much younger than I am, to which I do not respond because I don’t think we mean the same thing even though you are smiling and I am trying to make you feel less uncomfortable. Mostly, I’d rather not be seen.

I know I gave the words everything I had, all that blooms inside my pink sky body only makes sense if the page is there to catch it. I know it’s hard for you, I know I move too slow when you need to chase the wind; I know I drink wine too early and question so many things you refuse to talk about, or can’t. But I’m here too, last I checked, and all this has to get out somehow so I’ll keep on with the writing, the terrible fire I warm myself next to and curse as I dance in the flames.

Feathery snow is falling from trees and I am only myself so often. Footsteps shuffling down the hall, too many old hair brushes cluttering drawers, the pages of my favorite books folded into exotic birds. I paint my lips the color of a clean slate and the plastic things you cannot forgive but make love to anyway.

What do the shadows think of when they fall against the ending of days that don’t seem to move? The headache continues down my spine; I’m drinking tea with fresh ginger in a room which bothers no one but me.

.

.

 

// slide //

Where is Bukowski and didn’t
he predict this:
brown sugar bread crumbs placed
upon thick pink tongues
draped over the broken backs of these
delirious days.
In your bruised hands braiding through my gray stale hours
there are blue painted iron doors in the floor
and crushed bitter wine
bursting from
dark wet seed.
I open my mouth but shut off the scream.
~
Twilight, bewitching and twisted, is awash in childhood dreams
hanging from empty subway cars,
alone in the night, hurling themselves into nowhere
in particular.
We count eleven million stars and each of their oceans,
one by one for centuries,
trace constellations on each others bodies by the light of
pale bedroom eyes, breathing along my hips
in the tides of full orgasm,
trembling by a river of moonlight
flowing through your chest.
~
Strange the texture of innocent things
the mind will not remember,
the heart will not forget,
and my fingers can’t stop making the shape of you.
Cigarettes. Shadows. Hauntings. Mirrors. Halls.
A girl betrays herself
too young,
beautiful landscape
burned by too many suns
as they orbit split knees.
~
Statues. Angels. Graveyards. Nudes.
The afternoon heat is the swell of late lilac blooms
as they lay you on a bed of sacrificial ivory lace
touching you tenderly where it aches;
your cravings like sweet peaches
drowning in cream,
I watch you swallow hungrily such an elegant song
before the kill.
Folded and unfolded exposure,
heavy brocade curtains, impenetrable veils upon the wind;
I hide for days in a quiet room for castaway souls.
~
Across the tops of street lamps the enemy speaks
in a vocabulary of cruel needles:
sharp, clear, seductive destruction;
you say they never told you this
but the truth is when they did
you missed.

.

.

 

// prize //

Paint your walls
high on the hills and look for me
elsewhere,
the memories we spun like
royal garments
coming undone
can’t hold a candle
to a returned lover’s face
you could reach out and touch.
Tall buildings collapsing, windows –
ceiling to floor –
exploding
half way around the globe,
I can hear them inside
when I close my eyes.
I’m sleeping again, dreaming of blue canvas sky
the way I’ve heard that satin mourning doves
mate for life.
The way you used to taste me in full;
hard hot rain down the bare soak
of my benevolent
skin,
this darkness has torn my vision away
from the sun.
Just like her, just like him, just like they said it would be,
we – you and I and none of them – we in our aching blindness of being
rise like train wrecks to the next occasion.
Don’t you look for me in your disfigured instruments,
don’t you look me in the eye and bloody my hands
over the absurdity of sculpture in your withered gardens
all but overgrown, concrete limbs climbing along the vines;
beautiful horned creatures carved in black sand,
wander your lavish labyrinth of
tender flesh, steel traps,
rust in the back of the throats of those gone mad
from screaming.
I will be gone.
I will be gone.
White wings on heartache, pricks on the tongue.
You will fall thirsty, beloved, and I
will be gone.

.

.

.

// messenger //

Your lips part silently
around words I cannot hear.
Muted, but calling to me
just the same
and persistent.

Your face the promise
I’ve been waiting for,
a message behind the walls,
how the beautiful take long baths
in the
crumbling.
Please tell me what
I came here for.
What the syllables
are.

What is this developing distance
between moving and
standing
still.
The words have stopped
falling from your mouth.

“Patience.”

Time is held by the hands,
held in your hands, sliding
through vanishing palms.

And I am waiting.
I will wait with all the world
for the tremble of
a single word
from you.

.

.

// artistry //

“I was born with an enormous need for affection,

and a terrible need to give it.”

~ Audrey Hepburn

I have never melted into the folds of a truth so deeply as I did when I first heard this quote. It is so strong in its vulnerability. We are only as rich as we are willing to own these things about ourselves, our need for intimacy, our need to find little flecks of our own souls in other people.

Our need for togetherness, for kindness, for seeing one another.

These are very tumultuous times we are living in, they can feel vicious, dark, lonely, desperate. But if I could beg of you just one thing, it would be that you do not abandon your sacred craving to give and receive affection from other human creatures.

Affection, affection, affection. Compassion, compassion, compassion.

This is who we are. This is true artistry.

This is where we belong, in the gentle hands of one another.

Love.

.

.

 

// patience //

Perhaps the darkness
will learn to give way,
in time,
to slender suggestions
of light.
In a dust blue
shadow room
somewhere across the world
the first sound is heard
by the empty air,
so very few
believe.
And in the streets below
this broken window
soul,
nothing passes
nothing flows.

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