// Here Is the Flood //

Here is the flood. Here is everything in me I cannot name, I cannot hold on to any longer, I cannot identify and you will not recognize as me. Here are the ways my mind is deficient. Here are the things I worry about and all the things I wish were different about me but they never will be. Here is the pain, the colour of amber glowing fireflies underneath pines, here is my fear of death, it is written in Braille although I can read. Here is my fear of speaking and not speaking the colour of the faces of those who are holding back the same things I am, and this is the way it feels to judge, the colour of chains. This is how it feels to be judged.

Here is my mouth covered with black tape, here is my mouth wet with hunger, anger, love, greed, hope. Here is the way I pray, it is the colour of midnight, it is the sounding of a word of a God they do not want me to know about, because I am made of it, the colour of love matches exactly the colour of rejection. Reflection and deflection mix, we are without lenses, we use the wrong colour eyes. This is the body, my prayer comes alive when we touch in dreams. Here is worship, it tastes like the rain coming down and filling small and large puddles, lakes inside of stones in my mouth, in my shoes, here is all the poetry I’ve read. It is so much better than what I have done that it liberates and punishes me in equal measure.

Here is the struggle I struggle with, wanting like mad to touch the sky. Wishing like a child when I’m no longer allowed. Crawling like a wounded animal. Chanting like a witch or a monk or a hollow bird. Prisoners. Keys. Book shelving and brittle lace sleeves.

Here are the things about me I do not yet understand. Here are the ways I hide. Here are the ways I want to love you enough that you will never have to die, but I need to learn to love you enough that you can. Here are all the things I’ve learned. Here are all the things I’ve not learned and I should have. By now. Here is the yellowing of my anguish. Here are the tear stains, I’ll trade you anything, but it is too late. Here is the silence of the passing of time.  Let’s take a drink.

Here are the ways I am not enough. Here are the ways I’ll let you forget everything for a while. Here are the things I’d like you never to know. I think somehow it is better you do know, I hope that’s okay. Am I a burden? Am I a siren? Am I your muse and will you always think I deserve to be? I hate that this matters to me, but I also think it’s sweet. Tragedy and comedy, any given day of the week.

This shouldn’t be so long, I shouldn’t have kept you but sometimes your kindness is so endless I forget who is keeping who around. I love you for that.  I hope our changing doesn’t change us but how can anything about the truth be helped. We can tie the hands but not ever stop giving. This should not be so . . . I should not ask this of you. To look at me. To be seen. To be still. But here is the truth I keep in a small locket underneath my tongue, and I’m sorry before you even come close to it because I don’t know who I am, I don’t know the colour of this thing. Please understand: I’m showing you things I’ve not yet seen. It is not fair. If I were to kneel in front of you, bow my head down at your feet, would you know exactly who you are. Would you recognize this as strength and would you be strong enough to lead a leader, to comfort a comforter, to protect the protector, to mother and father the mother and father.

Would we understand eachother if there were no sound. What is God but the pain between us understood. Where is this coming from, I don’t know. I have only just now noticed my insides, life is becoming an x-ray, a screen, a transfer, though it seems I’m falling into my own hands, these words could be everything, they could be nothing, they could be mindgames, they could be spiritual text to last for all time as soon as they disappear, I would love to fall apart next to you, finally, completely, and have you bear witness, and have you collect me piece by piece by piece.

Are you still glad you came? Are you still because you can see me and it’s beautiful or because you are steadying yourself to run. I’ve lost my instinct, I’ve lost my ability to collect and interpret the signs, intuition (it turns out) is just free fall, I’ve given up all the ground I thought I’d won but now I see it was never really there to begin with. How is it that we make terrain out of pride, arrogance, cruelty, and then stake a claim. Smoke made of walls. How is it that people can live their whole lives and never know their own names. What is your favorite colour and by that I mean what do you see when you are in full orgasm. What do you crave, what turns your mouth to fire, your belly to claws, what about the way I move makes you want to cry.

This is the flood, I carry it in constant. I am swallowing it over and over and over hoping to spare the world from drowning in a disastrous sea of whatever this is I’m made of, the flood of the human things I would rather you couldn’t see.

What will kill us all is held inside, held back, forced down, it churns with the force of a thousand tidal waves, crashing, crashing, crashing upon the inner shores, only to recycle itself and return again. We walk around afraid of the flood. Pointing out there, out there, out there I see it coming in the red clouds, in the blackgray sky, in the thunder as it rolls up the ground like carpet, in the faces of the ones I cannot understand. In the other. But the other is the flood in me. All the human things you cannot see, one day this will end in paradise. One day you will see them all in me.

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// Love Is On the Drinking Cup //

It is not enough, is it, even if I could turn these wallshadows

into fruit, even if my body were the dark burst of blackberries between your tongue

and your enemy’s teeth, stain the bed sheets with your

lips.

Even if the way I touch you riddles the sunlight across the window; little flashes burn through the fog around your cheeks

the way we feed each other on this thin selection of time,

is this your breath I pull across my mouth, is this the rib I borrowed from the birds you hold in your hands (one is sorrow, one is freedom).

It is always you, you inside me as I

write what hangs from the trees in dreams. Who am I to hope for anything when the world is on fire. Who will they send for us if we do not emerge again. Love is on the drinking cup, love is on the fountain top, love is the bottom of roses gummed to shoes.

Take me with you into the familiar warmth, take me back to the way it was before, when I told the truth and you would believe me.  You

wanted to believe

me.

Now it’s only the green mornings they tell me I should smile upon; they keep telling me not to blink, throwing hurricanes against my eyes, and raise my useful hands

up to the sky

(but it is hard because she’s falling

as I am falling, and we

can’t seem to touch)

and I’m so tired, there’s never much good in telling a thing when you are very tired. It feels so smooth and good to slide my fingers across these keys like a child digging in the dirt with spoons.

I remember digging: bending silver spoons in the soiled mouth of the mud. Fresh dirt upon the worms upon the smell of springtime, that was fragrance, that was mood.

The ivory scent of lilies-of-the-valley running along a chain linked fence, blacktop seething the coming summer rain.

Everybody wants to be so heavy, so full of metal skyline and mysterious things. What is that worth to you? Where is it getting you to summon up the truth?

The hair on your head still itches.

The gums you hold together in your jaw still bleed.

.

.

 

// These Are the Lines We Crossed //

Hairpins in the gaps between

my teeth,

developing nightfog turns my

hunger pains translucent and you

bite everything out of me which is clean,

let the dust collect upon the palms

upturned. These are the lines we

crossed.

And will you not be coming around any longer,

and will it be that even as my bones fade in and out of

shadow and light,

your fingers still curl around the bloodstains

in my feverthoughts

of the little things we killed

and left broken of flesh

dangling from the ache in our mouths

laid down at one another’s feet.

.

.

 

// At the Center of the Blood //

You are dying

in the palms of my hands,

they clutch the throat while

singing.

 

And as I hold you there I am

dying in the center of your heart.

At the center of the blood

of this collective single heart a whisper:

what is coming has gone,

what is born is undone,

what you reach for reaches

beyond.

 

This life is feeding itself to death,

death into life.

What hurts us is the feeding,

what hurts most

is the way the heart

keeps beating.

 

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.

// 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.

.

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// 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.

.

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// 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.

.

.

// 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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