The Trouble You Keep

The trouble is that writers always think the answer to everything is in the words. It’s been a whole day and I have produced nothing at all. Not a single word worth saving or repeating. My head is creaky and my mind is entirely exhausted.

I gaze out the window into the summer evening, tiny bits of dust linger suspended and then sift along on the sheer breeze. For some reason the light does not bother me today. It is soft and kind where usually it makes me cringe a little bit. The deep green leaves on my many potted plants are turning toward the sloping sun.

Pouring my wine and swallowing it down like rain water in a dying place, I think about the calmness we each exhibit as the world around us rages and burns. Humans possess an uncanny ability, it’s terribly eerie really, to deny themselves to themselves. We monetize it, strategize it, optimize it. You flick through some social media bullshit. Advertisements. Boats for men and bodies for women. Flashes of a kind of alternate life which doesn’t exist except for in your head. Your head like a screen. Your limp limbs like poetic tragedy. Movies and distractions, sex toys and ‘self care’ as if we knew the self or remembered how to care. Glossy lips the size of grapefruits.

All the while underneath, you can feel the darkness sliding in your veins. Everything is on the brink. Life in all of its various junked-up forms, huddled on the edge of collapse. They say sleep disorders are on the rise. I read about the garden variety traumas. I read about the interworkings of the modern mind. We are research. We are blue clinical and we are aquamarine sterilization. Dressed and pressed and injected against the latest disease.

Another glass of wine and dinner facing the back yard alone. Chain link fenced in quiet dramatization. The trouble about the body is it will betray you when you least expect it. You were supposed to remain cool. You were supposed to extend your gratitude. You were supposed to stay patient and you were supposed to hurry up. But it’s all spinning so far away from you now.

Swallow your food, swallow it all the way down. Kill the bottle and swirl your dumb panic around and around. Gaze across the distance until another day turns from pale to crimson. Do what they tell you not to do but do it in secret. Just don’t let them see the way the invisible crush takes you out.

Fade to Black

You won’t remember so I will try to for both of us. Gin in the evening before you touch me the way you like to do at the end of a long hard week. Shadows falling along the walls as the dark caves in. I wanted to write something for you but I swear nothing would come. It was so many hours, baby, I just don’t know what on earth is wrong with me.

I can be sweet sometimes, I know maybe not often enough. The clouds grow thick and sink all the way into my bones until I am like a weighted thing, a pearlescent stone long buried among the wreckage at the bottom of the sea. You like a watery beam of light I can barely distinguish, reaching all the way down, down, falling all over me.

You tell me not to worry, everything will be alright. And I hear you, angel, I promise I am following every word you say. I watch your beautiful mouth move warmth around the sentences. Curves of breath which extend from the thickened groves of your exotic mind. I tug on them as if we were leashed together. Please give me more. I’ll do anything you tell me to, anything.

Somewhere far away from here the ocean turns black as the night swims in, velvet strokes of shimmering dark. There are surf sounds and there is freedom, I can almost taste the salt on my tongue. They will tell you you are only good for one thing but it is not true. My body is ten million ways to find what you are looking for, I promise you it is.

This little hand shining your shoe. This small soft frame against your palm, as though a painting you could hang upon the wall connected with hooks. Shadows now and again, nearly still, moving into one another. I glide like the open air, as though a portal, a vision, a river flowing out in all directions.

Isn’t it a funny thing, I try to tell you, as you stiffen my drink. This ridiculous life all around and through us, tossing us any way it pleases. I think about all the people who can’t imagine any other way to be and I feel sadness wringing my whole heart. There’s so much more to you and I. So much more we have yet to see, if only I could figure out the words.

I Can Give You Anything But Love

As he sings in his gentle androgynous voice, my head fills with images of women smoking cigarettes, lingering, touching their long smooth hair and gripping their tall microphones. Dagger nails and black lipstick.

He says he wants to crawl inside, he says he wants to fuck her slow.

Would you sit with me a little while, stranger clad in shadow. Would you listen as I tell you a sad secret that nobody else can know. About a little girl who could feel the thirsty flowers growing in the center of her soul. They grew and grew so wild until the cage of her small chest was full of petals soft as snow. The pretty press of passion, suffocates her slow.

Can you hear the static in my throat when I whisper to you in soft tones. It is the noise the cosmos makes when it is exhausted of its own gaping expanse.

You exhaust me, baby, in all the ways I need to be spent. Spend me like the money you wish you coulda made, pay me like a hooker, pay me like the rent.

I will make it flow. I will make you feel it, make you never wanna go. They will tell you about the blinking of the stars above, but they don’t know their loneliness. I can feel it when I fall for them from way down here below.

This world is so man-made, collapsing at its mechanical knees. Whatever happened to candy-flavored lip gloss and sky-pink lemonade. He’s much older than me, I know you think that’s wrong. But I love the way he loves me, love it when he takes me home and turns me on.

This life is so much darkness crying for the light. I take my own heart between my teeth and sink them in, sink them in sharp and tight. Your mouth is summer in the jungle rain, baby, won’t you stay all night.

When I sing for you, your head fills with flashes of bodies making love and making war. Shallow is the soul of this desperate hellish place. Fuck me til you have to leave, fuck me til it haunts me in my sleep.

Creatures of Madness

Life itself is full of craziness and at bottom utterly illogical. Man strives toward reason only so that he can make rules for himself. Life itself has no rules. That is its mystery and its unknown law. What you call knowledge is an attempt to impose something comprehensible on life. – Carl Gustav Jung

It’s not that I cannot write a nice little poem about a sunlit trickling stream, or a lovely rose, or a sweet smelling meadow. Of course I can do those things. But even when I try, something drags against me. Something is always pulling me in the opposite direction towards darkness. It wants to be dirtier. It wants to be decay and destruction. Chaotic, sensual, and unpredictable.

Even in my gentlest moments it is there underneath. A kind of prickling reminder that no matter how hard you try to pave over something with perfect order, the wilderness is always gripping you back by the hair. It will never let you forget it’s out there and it’s bigger than you ever will be. It isn’t nice about things like girls are always told to be. It’s got fangs, is not afraid of blood.

And it’s not out there. It is inside you. You are made of the stuff you think you can run from. Maybe that’s why we run. Deep down we know that if we stop we will be right in the dead center of the hot pouring rain. Fear of being saturated with the madness of daily life. Alone with its stubborn unwieldiness . Sucking on the drench of unpredictability and the jagged patterns of the inevitable.

For me writing is a kind of handcrafted wilderness. You take the beautiful filthy chaos and you wrap it all around yourself, pull it, tug it, play with it until you blend together. Until it fits. It is not pretty or safe. It’s like slipping into some racy lingerie. Intimate. Delicate. Deadly.

Bet Against You

If you could only find a way in, you could turn your life around. Find the words you have needed to say for centuries. They’d just be hanging there from the lush summer trees like ripened fruit.

But to find a way in you’d have to be able to bear to look at your life straight on. This is excruciatingly hard to do because of all the lies you’ve told yourself over and over about movement, freedom, power, and how death will never come for you. But you want it. You want clarity so badly. Cognitive dissonance. You seek it and kill it off simultaneously. Mother and maiden and murderer.

The sweet liquid honey of tempting fate just to feel your body melt until it disappears.

I pull a white stone plate from the cabinet and set out my meal. I eat in small portions. I am thinking about ways to run. I am happier than I deserve. This part cuts closest to the bone. Happiness is a knife. Trust no one who seeks it out on purpose.

The brutality of light. This is written on a thin slip of paper which is tucked under my sleeve in a dream. Poets in their dark studies all across the land. Poets as pools of midnight star stuff, floating like dead fish. Eyeless, tongueless, shapeless, helpless. What on earth do we think we know so well we should write about it.

I am starting to notice patterns in the jacked nature of human interactions. No, that’s not quite right. I have always noticed them I just couldn’t piece it together in a way I could articulate. Shy kids in corners. The heated rage of rejection. Silent humiliation. The patterns of destruction and chaos which are woven into the words we speak, our communications and how hilariously stunted they are.

People open their mouths and now we can see all of that. Now we have to see the lips and teeth moving and watch as the mania shrieks out in bursts of static.

I speak with the harried waiter. He is young, jittery, impatient. The sun is hot upon our faces as thick globs of water slide down the outside of my glass. All of the candied colors of summer inverted and splotching down onto the pavement. Is this where we run to to get relief from a kind of pain which sizzles underneath everything. Strangers everywhere. Afternoon martinis. Cigar shops. Lingerie boutiques for the rich and sexless. Fancy young women with their small dogs and their meaty boyfriends.

Behind the door into our fraught little delicate lives is a kind of intimidation which lies in wait. False moves and false starts. Tension wires. A bird in a cage on a leash. What you wouldn’t give to make a couple of fine life-shattering mistakes.

Faces Come Out of the Rain

There is a face in the mirror which is not mine. Not the face or the mirror. An old hotel and multiple bottles of cheap wine. In the restaurant bathroom washing my hands. I have seen a ghost who wears my features. She holds my jaw with hers, gazes into me sadly before she goes.

She was only passing through, on her way to her own funeral, she stopped for a drink. She was beautiful because she was empty, she could walk through walls.

A woman lying naked on a crumpled bed, legs spread, eyes dead. Sharp white sheets and blood stains on the ceiling. In the faint light she floats inside the ocean of her own saturated mind. There is a fantasy carnival life she leads down in the city. Walking beneath the yellow street lamps, carrying her young tight body beneath a long thin coat.

Red is the light. Fire’s alive and it burns all night.

A man at the old hotel bar, mahogany and the smell of wet dish rags. You can still smoke in this place, it still smells like cigarettes and the bile of loneliness. Dust in the withered carpeting which runs wall to crooked wall along the slanted floor. No windows and no doors.

There are creaks beneath her stockinged feet.

“Would you take a walk with me,” she says, “I don’t want to die here, in this run down place. Take my wrists, dangle me over the black water.”

She. doesn’t know why she needs a man to hold her away from herself. Tiny creature with wide silk eyes, flies through the window into the dark blank night.

She. glides through walls.

She. shakes and rattles her smooth skeleton bones. She. dances slowly for a bad man in a small pink room. Her fine pale body is a shadow in the cage of the door frame. He smiles as he watches the little doves on her hips swivel and twist.

Nothing is holy in this place. Red wine in plastic cups and smoke stains in the rugs.

Little girl, little one. On your knees, now, there’s a good little one. We’ll be alright in the end, my sweet. We will be, sooner or later, in the end.

. . . . .

Visions after sucking down over 300 pages of Jim Morrison poetry. Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of his death at the age of 27 in Paris. We were both born on December 8th. He once said if he could do it all over again he would have just been a poet tending to his own garden in solitude.

Streams of Quiet Light (audio)

Summer sunset is sliding along your tanned face. You by the window writing in your leather notebook. Your eyes cast downward, those magnificent fiery eyes. I want them on me. I want your gaze all over my body. Hot. Penetrating.

I imagine what you may be writing about. Something sensual most likely. About the subtle movement of a nocturnal creature, or a flower opening into the low evening light. You are always taken with a kind of softness which bends itself willingly towards the dark. This I understand with my whole being. My whole body and soul.

In a world of palpable and constant apocalyptic dread, in this madness where the height of human condition is to maul and destroy one another for money and the satisfaction of blood, here you are. Steady pulse of burning attention. Hungry mind reaching out in all directions. Pulling into you that which fascinates. That which is sinister. That which catches the breath in the throat.

Recording the way things are and imagining the way they could be.

Truer. More trembling. More alive.

For all the bravado and showmanship, the flexing of muscle and thirsty threat of war, how much more dangerous it is to adore, to worship, to drink of the cup of that which remains mysterious even after ages and ages of study.

Silently you sit alone in the elegant air. An amethyst universe, glistening, turning in the palm of your ancient heart. There are secrets you are made of, places within you which exist beyond the realm of the written word or spoken language. I am drawn to you because of this. Because you are a thick forested wood and I am a wanderer. Your rich soil flashing beneath my naked feet.

What if the heart could become unguarded. Would you know how to handle the feelings that would flood within you? What if the most powerful defense against death was complete and utter surrender to the ache of passion which begs, and tempts, and tugs at the veins without relent.

Read You Like a Book (audio)

You are saying all the things they let you say which are none of the things you are actually thinking. The pleasantries are turning my stomach and all I want to do is scream to end the bullshit, but this is life, isn’t it. Holding back. Shutting down. Slipping off. Turning away like a celestial body hurled far out into the nothingness of cold vacant space.

Desperate for any kind of flicker of honesty or truth, I take your hand and lead you away from the rest. We walk through the tall trees alone, sneakers dusting up along the dirt road which swivels and twists down to a wide open lake, rippled with soft waves and dotted with the heads of black geese off in the distance. You drop my hand and shove yours into the pockets of your worn out jeans.

I know you are going through some shit you don’t want to talk about but underneath it all, you desperately do. Without a word, we light up our cigarettes and joke about how we really should quit as the evening sky slides slowly into dark. The crickets are buzzing louder in unison as the little fireflies begin floating out from under the pines, climbing higher and higher into the midsummer air.

It isn’t easy, is it, angel. To tell me about these twisted desires of yours, the ones which they forbid but which burn so much light into your mangled heart that sometimes it makes it hard to breathe without tears streaming down your tired face. There is a monster inside that is sharpening its teeth. There are voices in that head of yours. Visions full of ecstatic dreams I pray to the heavens you will one day let me see.

. . . .

Sometimes it feels like there’s a story unfolding inside me. Something about a boy and a girl and the darkness which compels them to get together and do strange, beautiful things.

Cigarettes After Sex

Your fingers trailing along the tears in my cutoff shorts as we sit in our small garden on a Sunday evening. Sadness and sweetness hang suspended all around us like twinkle lights. Tanned knees and crisp white wine. Behind my dark sunglasses, I close my summer sky blue eyes, taste the grassy notes on my tongue and thank god for foolishness, fools in love, fools for thinking any of this was going to last forever.

The problem is you distract me. Like the constant buzzing of the rattling air conditioning in the stuffy room at the back of the house. My mind flashes. It hinders, hovers, blinks against glimpses of you and I on the beach at night, the wilderness collecting our bare feet into the soft beds of silken sand. Darkness falling behind cranberry clouds.

I remove my shirt and straddle you in your chair, the glare of afternoon light stinging my bare nipples, now exposed and hard despite the scorching heat. The trouble is I can’t stop myself and the truth is I like the trouble that you are. Hands in my hair, gripping my neck, sliding up my ass, sucking me into you like water rushing the gutters when a late June rainstorm slashes the heat from the streets.

I rise like steam. I take your mouth with my mouth and forget how to breathe.

They took bets, you know that, angel? They bet against us from the very start. Thought we were full of shit. Full of ourselves. Lost in a fantasy which could only culminate in disaster. But what they couldn’t see was that disaster was the least of our concern. Our skies had fallen ten thousand times already. We taught ourselves to raise them back up.

The other shoe was always about to drop – that’s how life is. They were pointing out on the blackened horizon while you and I were behind them alone and on fire. We were the emergency. We were the only responders to each other’s alarms.

And you can hold your breath and shut it all down or you can scream with everything that you have, with everything that you are, with your whole body and mind and spirit, and your heart racing in your chest, you can scream until the pain of the deafening silence stops. You can fuck until the tears come streaming down your burning face and you finally feel anything but numb.

You can let it all out and let it all in and crawl broken and mighty into the arms of a love which promises everything and guarantees nothing. And if you are very, very lucky, your wild desires will find you a cave in which you can duck out of the fears the world is trying to sell you for a while.

Just as the wine seeps warmly into my soft gray blue blood, you bend my body over the wooden table and make me ask for what I want.

Let me hear you say the words.

You, baby. Please. I just want you.

Fits and Starts

I’m late for class again and class is all the way across campus which means I am entirely screwed. Even still, I attempt to throw all my shit in a bag in time to hustle along but I drop my phone, can’t find my ID, and tear my homework in half by mistake before ending up accidentally-on-purpose falling into the arms of a tall dark stranger and making out with him instead.

None of this is my fault, of course, and I would have told my professor the same thing had my alarm not gone off to wake me from yet another manic last-minute catastrophic nightmare anxiety attack. I don’t know what it is about my mental state lately. I am distracted by something I cannot name or understand but Jesus Christ is it persistent. When I am in one place I long to escape to another. When I write one thing I feel is true, I question it over and over to death.

The frustrating dreams happen. Always right before it’s time to get up. My heart races, I’m jittery and nervous about being late or forgetting something. Not performing. Not meeting expectations, maybe that’s it. I’d Google it to find out what it all means but then I might discover even more reason to panic so instead I rise, knot my hair atop my head, pour an obscene sized black coffee and curl up to write a little something, if only to soothe my weary bones. I hate being tired at the beginning of the day. Makes everything feel like quite a long slog from here on out.

Outside the window to my writing room, morning sunlight is beginning to warm itself against the lush green leaves of the majestic trees which tower above the pretty houses along the street. Manicured lawns and fancy cars. Electric wires, home security systems, and garbage that gets picked up like clockwork every Wednesday at noon. All of us prim and proper, tucked and cut and chiseled and ever so gracefully insane.

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