// 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.

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// 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.

.

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// 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.

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// 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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// other //

A stranger’s heart
holds my
hands,
blood of the innocent but I
do not recognize
myself.
This pale body, the doorframe to my
vanishing.
My silhouette a vacant passage,
a dark image emerging
behind an image,
the eyes a silent search
for something hostile
not yet
breathing.

.

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// people keep talking //

Lush disordered worlds are breeding and collapsing upon my mind every time I close my eyes, even if you can’t hear the sound of this dance or this death or those thoughts of yours I’m invading.

People keep talking, glistening mouths, crushed pearl teeth. How readily we abandon one another, how easily we misunderstand a thing and leave it there. Please turn around again, the world has grown so cold. How each wispy staccato breath is brushed forward and disintegrating; you can’t feel the tilting of time toward the precipice but they keep on with their speak and I am falling farther and farther away from the gravity of their distraction.

They ask me why I write about missing a thing I cannot name, why I write about making love to immortal creatures, and then they tell me how it all lingers too long, probes too close to the beauty behind the sadness. It’s not that I don’t want to give away the answers it’s that I don’t want answers, I want questions like white lights hanging in the trees. I know they think I’m writing to find fulfillment, and they feel sorry for me, some of them actually do.

There are no tears on this side of the wall but I see it in the coffee houses wearing sweater boots and talking through me like thin snow flakes painted on glass.

.

.

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// heathens //

A lady in black holds herself up, eyes wide, wet, wild, the blood throbbing in her sex ruptures the sky into vast pulsing waves through webs of liquid stars, spinning in endless expansion. She is the universe groping desire from every angle. She is the thin movement of air, she is the legs of the needs inside you suspended, withering figures tangled in trees.

Pleasure, pain, writhing, and you on your knees. The night grows hungry for itself.

I play with the words and let them seduce me, slender light and the pale gray shadows of bodies on the wind, blown from the corners of my buried mind: paper dolls shaped like me but someone forgot to cut out the bones. Skeletons dressing in my skin, a row of street lamps exploding in slow motion; shattered and exposed we are made to collect our own pieces, float like angels on the tops of bare trees.

The shakes of restlessness would eat you alive so we carve hearts in the sidewalk with pocketknives and promise to walk until the end of time.

Every footstep interrupts the pattern, the world is dying in our punctured hands as we become reluctant symbols of the future of those who don’t believe we’ll make it.

The cold and the pavement and you’re getting tired and the smoke between your teeth is the taste of orgasm in mute. Sound is a numbing warp through miles of ocean water and I am dreaming of the way it is in dreams, running, running without gaining ground.

When you were with me and understood everything, I kept still behind the glass.

Images of prey, hummingbird wings in wet mouths, cigarettes in broken fingers, sliding like phantoms on my evening wall. All day, all day, the hush of silence is a naked room and a miniature wooden chair, a supple rain shower and your lips searching me, opening secrets I am too afraid to speak. My womb is a beautiful moonlight garden in waiting, touching is red velvet gloves wearing hands and nothing is protected.

The night tempts a sky of pink ivory and words are the only food. I am swallowed by the sunset in your sea salt eyes. I burn with lust for the way you train my eager skin. But I won’t touch, and I won’t move, and I will trade the madness for a chance to breathe you in.

The brutal soak of heavy slicing rain aches to break itself open within me, this looming clench of an immaculate crush, this clenched torment seems to spin fast like cyclones gasping for wind. Everything I’ve now become is yours; the satin lick of blind infection has to be enough.

As the storms move in, flashes of lightning beneath my skin, I caress myself: defiant, blistering, illuminated. Raindrops slashed across the glistening membrane of a soul in her triumphant birth.

Pain is savage ritual bleeding, the final break in the gruesome night long screaming, a restless dawn that needs my love waits in the hands of life to receive me.

I am the howling and the healing.

This mourning that enfolds me, exposes me. Water, soil, seed.

Beauty is a mouth on my mouth like butterflies stitching themselves to faces in the dark. Strange stimulation the way we unfold: this is what it is to bloom.
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