Blood Is Red In the Open Air

Alexander Krivitskiy

Unsure of how to begin, I dive right to the center, or the middle, or the edges, I am never exactly certain which but I begin the nibble hoping to progress to a full meaty bite. Chewing on this life, this life the whole of which stands trembling before death as it has and does and always will on any given day of the week until the end. The Rest. The Final. I would tell you all about me but I fear it would shock or bore you so I dress it up as best I know how with a textural mix of sex and violence and drama and then try to weave my way back to the intricacies of the beginning so that you, and I, and we, the collective, can feel some sense of closure as we drift inside a tiny sliver of space within a world which is a never ending labyrinth of potential openings, doors, some already opened, some closed, some locked, some unlocked though we never know this because the fear of the other side is enough to keep us from even attempting to turn the knob and see. The terror of the blank page. The white blazing blindness of the vast empty and the threat of the desire to fill the void. To drain and fill the mind. Consciously. That of which we are aware. That which we deny. To re-fill the mind. To discard the old, not bury it, no dirty fingernails or ceremonial tears, but to stride deliberately into the darkness and set it on fire, thoroughly engulfed in flame and watch as the smoke rises into the hollow midnight sky. The piercing through of the ancients. The cutting of the heart, the suffering which is cathartic, which is relief. I am asleep, however, and unaware until dawn. I am clean. I am pure as in the womb, voiceless, warm and alone. The blood is red in the open air, it runs the distance which is blue, which is the track of the tubes of circulation which is a prayer, the prayer of kinetic energy, the prayer of budding teeth, a rosary of extending bone. The embers glowing as splits, flecks of eyes simmering out in the cold. Looking down into my own palms, I am this body and this age. I am beyond this moment as I am under it as I am moving toward it and away. I am these dreams I am desperate to speak of, but hold back. No more. No more, when there is no future whispering in the olive distance. No more, when the mist of this morning is a hall of mirrors hung upon the backs of doors which close and open, close as they open. Look into my eyes. Place your fingers in my wounds. Spread your lips beneath the wild gaping charcoal sky. Are you thirsty. Are you willing. Open, open, open. 

One Wing Would Break (audio)

Do you suppose
there is any difference
between
delicate and fragile?

Is it possible one wing would
break before the other,
even if by just a hair
line crack,

a whispered single
breath
beat
sooner?

I know you can’t understand
why I would concern myself
with such a ridiculous
question

in times like these.

With a matter so
utterly
useless
thin, insignificant.

Words inflicted upon
an age
of switchblades
victims and guns.

It’s just that right now
every fine boned thing
feels like an open
ivory wound.

Feels like a cut glass
slipper just about to
drop. Slice,
shatter

like a heart would,

before she could catch herself
shivering in the blackness
wet against tear
stains

running fiery tracks down breasts.

I want to know the
difference,
am I delicate or fragile
in my naked

foot steps
running, running.

Running.

Perversions

You tell me that when you read the poem I slid underneath your office door you had to take a seat and read it over multiple times. You enjoy the way the words taste like the sin of flesh and bone and youth. You do not smile at me and I do not smile back. I don’t want your happiness. I want to tear you into a thousand small pieces from the inside out, set you on fire and leave you there to burn. As you say encouraging things to me about my work, your gaze travels over my body slowly, drinking in my subtle movements, the crook of my wrist, the bend of my hip, the cocky way I tilt my head against the paint chipped door frame so my long wavy hair falls over my elbow just enough to skim my waist. Your eyes like two beautiful blades slicing me open, exposing me without even a touch, coming back up to meet my eyes. You stay there forever etched in my brain and even all these years later I recall you sat back like a very bad man who wanted very bad things. I miss the poetry and I miss the high of seduction, intrigue, play. But I am not me anymore and you are not you. Now the world is upon its knees as angry mobs line up together and demand their own execution. Make it grave, make it public, make it hard and make it hurt, how bored we are of the lives we don’t even bother to lead. Now my dreams are screams, I can hear them so clearly in their vivid colors. Sex and death. Bright fires flaring up along the empty streets of my skin, my soft blue veins engulfed in thick tongues of flames. My image fades in and out of a mirror which stands still against a blank wall, as the wind moves shadow into shadow. Intercourse. Dark moon. Nightgowns on pale women, singing on the lawn in the haunted hush of night. Their black eyes reach out like claws, they touch one another. The clutch of a bare hand to my chest. A fist of long fingers gripped tight around my throat. I need it, can’t you understand that? There is a cord which runs invisible from the pulse in my neck to the heat of my sex. I need to feel something which honors the fear. Something which penetrates the veil. I have such nightmares of late, and wake washed flush in a sweat, in the kind of glistening tears a whole body cries. I have these mad times threaded through the hallways of my ricochet mind. We cannot return to the way things were, but I’ll be alright. I don’t miss your eyes. They are with me all the time.

How Far Gone

Good enough isn’t but you continue to pretend because life is complicated and you aren’t as strong as you wish to be. You want to write about anything else but this is what keeps bubbling up and it’s trash and it’s useless. You pour the coffee and check the news. Social media. Prophets. Sages. Hand sanitizer. Beach wear with no where to go. Money where money always is and poverty everywhere. You scroll through your phone too many times a day and make tiny calculations in your mind. What am I worth. What is art worth. How do you cup the meaning of a word in your hands. How do you explain you can’t help the ones who need you most. What is the weight of the poetry on your tongue, and what would you sacrifice to ingest it. Would you dare let the past burn down to the ground right where it’s standing. Would you light the match. Do you trust yourself to see past the flames, watch the heated burning smoke blurring the tops of the pines. I remember she said to me: This too shall pass. Stay close. I remember her dress caught on fire, I remember the sound and the smell and her face. Fear. Indifference. Infatuation. I remember. Underneath the screaming is the anger and underneath the anger is the sadness which just will not shift, like a lump in your throat on the cusp of the tears you try so desperately not to cry. Don’t let them see. Just don’t let them see what you see. Where has your soul gone in all of this. Can you turn your back on your self, the ghost of your body, a severed head. A severed heart, alone in a far off field, still beating. Each night a dream takes me to visit my desire. Each night an angel kneels next to me, repeating the words my blood knows by heart. I speak without speaking, my voice is the pulse in her chest, the sound of the beginning of time, the music woven into the fabric of every star long faded out. How did I get here, why did I come. Where am I going to rest my tired bones, will it be safe there. In my own womb. In my own hands. In my own head.

Lucifer (audio)

Leaning up against a massive gravestone, thick gray marble half as tall as you are, you light up a cigarette and pull the collar of your long coat tighter around your neck. The mist in the air is cool as it mingles with the scent of damp grass, mossy earth. It’s too late to be out here in the pitch dark but as I wind my way through the cemetery, I can just make out the outline of your tall slim silhouette as my vision adjusts. Watching the curve of your hand move slowly from your mouth to your side, all I want is to fall into you like death. Even my ribs yearn for you, even my gums itch for the chance to sink my teeth into the stoic heat of you. I walk with a metallic heaviness no one in this world understands, it is mine and mine alone to bear. Such is this life. Such is the nature of pain. In my soul I carry the bones and the secrets locked away in order to keep pace with a world which has been lobbing off pieces of itself for ages. My heart aches but only as often as it beats. Maybe that’s why this soft wet burial place enraptures me, the cold seduction of the quietness of the ending of everything. I listen to the branches of the sodden empty trees which creak without motion, I can feel their wooden lives stiff and rigid in my veins. Coming up close to you, I take your cigarette between my fingers. Our breathing mingles together. Standing so close to the animal in you is surreal and yet it snaps my entire being to immediate life. Have you any idea the blade that you are, the knife which twists and grazes all over my skin. You touch me without a sound. With your feathered breath you enter me deep and spread your glorious wings until I am stretched with this wild beg I have become for you. You do not say anything because everything that you are pours forth from you without relent, without invitation or coaxing. Cloaked in a black hood, you are a shadow in the flesh, the skin on your face, your neck, your chest, dewy and flawless, your eyes shine and flash like search lights as they flicker over my body. If you are the cup, I will kneel down and drink of you. If you are the answer, I will open my wrists and bleed for you. I watch as you trace an outstretched finger along the name etched into the headstone. With the same finger you trace my lips slow and I begin to tremble. It’s the way you handle me like dangling me over the edge. It’s the things you do to me, the curse of the seduction which I seethe for and I dread.

Prophets, Gamblers, Circuitous Routes

Like fresh fallen snow which blankets an endless field beneath a heavy gray winter’s sky, the page spreads itself before me in all its pristine whiteness. As would a child, I want only to run right into in, stomp my little feet right through its glorious empty perfection, dig in, disrupt, burrow, tunnel, build, destroy. Leave tracks. Impose my footprints over and over just to see what they look like trailed out like alabaster snakes behind me for miles. My mind is a meadow of infinite expanse. I write because I am trying to touch it everywhere all at once, like a wild tentacled beast. I trace my fingers over the mouth of it, open wide. Alone with myself, I scan the dim backlit horizon looking for shapes of things I’ve long forgotten but would somehow recognize, I’m sure of it. There are shadows which lengthen out upon the snow like fangs. A full moon rising as the stars begin to reach out in all directions. We forget the way the universe extends itself from every angle. We think everything is pointing toward us but it isn’t. We are not the center of it all, much as we would like to imagine ourselves to be. I watch the people who can’t see past the end of their nose. I see the people who cannot see beyond themselves and these are the ones who terrify me the most. The blissful, the unaware, the ignorant. The ones who have all the answers. The ones who care only for the sick bulk of their wallet, get off over the throbbing size of their stock portfolio, thinking all the while they can separate themselves from the obscene indignities of the rest of the world. Stone hearts and hungry mad saturated eyes. Living for greed as though it won’t be that same disease which annihilates all of us in the end. Meanwhile, I sit in a small room and listen as the geese cry their shrill cry, soaring past the clouds in the sky overhead. Somewhere across town, the sign on the front door of a small cafe flips from Open to Closed too early. Two young mothers fight over the last small tin of tuna fish. And the earth somehow stands still in its spinning; darkness, like an eyelid tired, swollen, descends all over the globe.

Dirty

Almost the end of October and you can already feel the year rushing right through the holidays. For all the joy and excitement they bring there are always a handful of days that stretch out in painful gray-washed emptiness. For all the teary-eyed laughter there remains an aching in your throat that just won’t quit. That time not long ago when it rained the day after Christmas so that all the enchantment of the fresh fallen snow began to turn dirty, grit from the wet roads packed into its virginity by the cars sliding along in cold indifference. Rain in winter is heavier than rain in any other season, falling in large metallic globes upon the naked trees which reach like skeletal fingers high into the clouds, as if attempting to claw their way out of the earth and into the great beyond. But they are rooted here just like you, and there it is: the immobile center of your melancholy fixation on the thin line between life and death. The heaviness of the rain in winter has always been a part of you ever since you were a little girl, the weight of it which you both despised and cherished as your very own terrible invisible companion. You are seeing a man you shouldn’t be. He is much older and he’s not technically free, although when he takes you to a strange bed across town and reminds you what a devastating high ecstasy is, none of this matters to you in the least, just as long as he keeps looking at you like that, and moves his body like he knows the secret codes to all the forces of pleasure and punishment in the universe. What is freedom if not danger. What is lust if not what’s forbidden. Bite him, fight him, fuck him. Break the chains and break the rules. Let him pin your hands behind your back and take everything he wants from you. Of course, this is not the girl you were brought up to be but you’re on your own now and suddenly it seems everything you thought you believed in no longer applies. This man meets you in a dive bar which smells of must and cheap wooden tables, shaking off the rain from his coat and loosening his scarf he takes the seat next to you at the bar. You slink back in the corner where it’s dark and feels safe for the secrecy and sad for the scent of bottom shelf liquor at two in the afternoon. You order a Manhattan and he orders the same. He lights you a cigarette because in this place no one cares about anything least of all smoke or infidelity. As you take that first inhale to make sure it’s burning, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror behind the bar above a tangle of bottles of booze and below a string of multicolored holiday lights, blinking softly. Crimson lips and glowing skin, you are slightly surprised to find yourself attractive in spite of the feeling inside that you are falling into a black abyss, sinking farther and farther away from whoever it was you were supposed to be. And yet for all the chaos and indignity in your life right now, this man is gravity. He gets you so high and pushes you down so low, but for some mysterious reason written in the darkness behind his hazel flecked eyes, he keeps you coming back.

When This Is Over

Everybody wants to own a piece of you and all you want to do is break away. For just a moment, you stop the work you are doing at the computer on the dark mahogany desk and instead gaze out the large office window which overlooks a park. The clouds rolling out high above are pillowy ribs of charcoals, grays, and whites in a pattern which repeats itself for miles off into the distance. Through a hazy fog, you can just about make out the faint city skyline, barely visible set back against the wide mouth of the river. How many times you have joined him- tanned skin and light eyes shining- in his fast boat running up and down that river in the high heat of summer all the way through to the chill of the first of autumn’s early evening sunsets. All those carefree days of swimsuits, sunscreen, cold white wine, and stealing to the cabin below, making love all afternoon. As your mind wraps around the warmth of days gone by, you take a sip of coffee and wonder where all the time went, wonder where it’s all going. Last night you had a dream of dying but it wasn’t you, it was your mother who had passed. But here she was standing right next to you, so real, so very real, she seemed. Her high cheekbones soft in the light as she spoke, lips parting and closing slowly, exaggerated, around words without sound. What is she telling you? Now that she knows what none of us do: all about the end of time, that there really is an end to all this. Waiting. A man you know only vaguely but dislike immediately asks you if you are ‘looking for inspiration’ as he finds you staring out upon the world. You tell him the view is so beautiful this time of year and he just laughs a dismissive little laugh, glances blankly at you then at the carpet, never looks out the window, and walks away. The rusted yellow tree line in the park across the street is stark and bright against the muted blue of a darkening sky. There is so much beauty out there, you know because you’ve seen it, dancing in glittering sparks of golden light on the water. Coffee rings turning cold in the bottom of your cup, you sit back down to work at your computer on the deep mahogany desk. Everything has changed and everything has stayed the same and even those with everything, if they can bear the truth, will tell you it’s never quite enough.