// is this fire, is this water //

It may happen that your words fall short of your thoughts, do not despair. You do not have to worry, you do not have to do this right. The great privilege of the poet is simply to be afforded the chance to even try – it’s all just a try, all of it is just an attempt, a reach – to cradle, just for a few sacred moments little flecks of infinite amounts of the stuff which explodes in the galaxies, which turns always on its axis within us, the very life which is relentless in passing us by.

You do not have to do this how they tell you. You do not have to be anything other than what you are, sliding your torn humanity alongside the words. You are worthy. Give to the words everything and they will give you everything in return.

Humility. Curiosity. Joy.

All of this fullness, it is all in motion as we stand still at the glass: at the swift feet of the winged universe. We are here inside a translation, a transmission, making attempts. Making little marks on trees, on sand, on paper, on hands.

Reminders: we are here, we are here, we say to ourselves.

What does it mean? How may I serve? I’ve been to a secret place and this is what I have seen: Is it fire, is it water, is it honey, is this something you can use? We unearth tools from a time we no longer recognize but something – a thorn, a glance, a pin prick – is familiar to the blood. We belong and we don’t belong. We are footsteps, echoes far away from home, making a way in the dark.

We are suspended always inside the reverent space between the scream and the static. Holding. Holding. Holding.

Listening for the breath, sinking low underneath the quiet only heard by the solitary ones. Hold steady the weight of a world gone to dust and offer it your gentle arms. Hold this space, hold this space. Hold this skin. Collect these bones and let them teach you how to build, word upon word, the honor is in the courage to approach that which calls to you.

Bare feet. Bare soul.

Because this too shall pass.

Clouds will cross a lonely moon.

You will become your own again soon.

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// inside me //

Triggers are a tough tangle, they seem to elude you even as they decorate your dark disturbing thoughts with false promises, plastic limbs and rehearsed orgasms, and somewhere in the shimmer of crystal webs made of chaotic screams, I am a ruby spider with sapphire eyes borrowed from the destruction of another world.

This life is only death, beloved, with her pale foreign face turning slow, fading into sweet melody against the phases of the moon.

How many legs, how many lives, what does it matter to be trapped, to be exposed, to be an overflow of mouths if all of this is just a dream?

Too many people slam nails into the coffin of a narrow system they’ve yet to believe in, but I’m not a slave to passion as much as I want so completely to remember an exact pierce: how to resuscitate my own experience, shatter like glass into my own symphonic ecstasy, sit obediently, patiently, tenderly with the sadness of my own solitary pain, drink from your forbidden wells and emerge pristine in the oil stained streets of every neglected city at the sunset of the final collapse of time.

Would you walk with me if I were blind, if the heels of the night were the only way home?

The sincere (I’m too seasoned to dare assume innocent, but I’m far beyond devotion to shallow truth so I’ll say sincere) intricate fabric of your interest in the oddity of dangerous things probes at the swell of ache within me. What is faith if not the pleasurable agony of longing spiked sharp with the buried memory of impossible exotic demands: command without control, love songs strung up in cages covered in orchids, virgins tasting stamen, tears in my angel hair washing your perfumed feet.

I’m not sure normal is a thing we should be concerned with, as you seem content when I’m taken in mind, body and spirit, by your view of me through windows draped in erotic scenes. We are ruthless and humble, undressed and willing, inside the beginning again and again when you lap at the edges of heat in circles of flesh across my pink sedated mind.

The heart of me is the heart of all creatures: motionless, the beauty of the stillness after a kill. Vulgar doesn’t distract me, crooked is just another trick to get back to the way it was before the labels they’ve stitched inside your skin. Forget them, turn into me; I’ll be your religion, love, tell me wordless what you need.

You like the press and the smell of leather to my lips, how I’m thorough but careful of the words I never speak. There is no such freedom as the emotions you’re not allowed to express and this is the fear, this is the tempt, this is the withholding, this is the paralysis, this is the plague. This is the game and the price you pay to play.

Heaven is the clutching of your pulse on the distorted lens of what you crave, my soft teeth tugging at the waves of trembling madness underneath.

Invitation.

Invocation.

Addiction.  Affliction.

Redemption. Release.

Faith is carved in the center of your hands: trust in all the things you wish you didn’t need.

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// under a concrete sun //

Silken mist becomes the shape of you emerging in my dreams and I am bathed in extending shadows, reaching for stars to place against your silver tongue that you may taste the heat. This desire is a terrible landscape laced in lavender evening lights, a tender sleep in the hollow life of the oldest trees.

Night will close against my skin in vapors, incense, altars; your body as ritual at the edges of my hands in prayer. I sit at your feet and remember who we are, the way the sun slides toward a blood red ocean and weeps. Beloved, I have broken open, exposed myself to the chaos and taken all of it within my breast, I lay wet in the hands of the smallest seed.

Witnessing my own birth, walking next to my own death, facing the entrance to hallways marked for pleasure and destruction. Fear is a familiar face at my window and mine staring back. Without the words I am unable to build the castles you seek, the earth I touch seems to fall away from the feet, but I promise you shelter of an infinite kind.

This beauty within me how she aches, wondering why I am so afraid, I am trying to stretch with ecstatic fibers I have yet to understand. You teach me faith when you tip my chin back underneath the moon that I may learn to breathe with wider eyes. To see you in the pale blue light, collar bone, scars and stone, is to shatter inside while standing still. This darkness is submersion into the light, a vortex, a baptism, an orgasm of flesh and spirit for which we sing, in praise, at length, dripping nectar from the supple tips of fingers.

This love is light and darkness, prismatic reflections side by side and I am falling through the middle, a centrifuge, a collision, the splitting of minds and corsets at their seams.

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// illusions of grandeur //

To read you is five cold chains draped across my glass raspberry lips, the tempt of touch and dim lighting that makes it impossible to speak. By design? You trace your words like fingers around the edges of keyholes and never let me peek, then again so many writers kill a grand thing by saying exactly what they mean.

Do love me thorough, so much of what I could have been is already gone. This body is heels wearing footsteps, wings wearing heartbeats, drums like thunder inside a revolving sky, and I keep charts of the seasons by mapping how closely your movements match the gold flecks in my eyes.

Lady Lucifer is a painted mime with a bouquet face and horns made of tar eyelashes but this isn’t something I can prove so you just shrug and wish my visions would one day yield messages more useful. They are to me. It’s no small gesture to hold my hand, my gratitude foams across ten foot waves inside but I’m never sure where the world is headed so I kiss like reincarnation ahead of time.

I can feel you letting go and it’s like mirrors on ceilings full of broken glass, long black fingernails between the gap in my scissor legs, amber crushed split images that transfer into hellish reflections, tenderness, erotica, delusion, permission, hands over hands over hands over my transgressive mouth, and the writing on the wall is latex paint peeling away from my neck.

Pure seduction is the way of the rain: conducting a fragile flower, bending spine stems alone in the dark.

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// dysmorphia //

The inverted hollow in your disloyal eyes, dry plum wine soaked into cream linen flowing from tables left empty in gilded ballrooms, the staleness of your vacant mouth even after all this time, smoking and keeping your perverse thoughts to yourself. As you slide your fingers along my jaw, those snow white glimpses of my pale flesh still flutter in a desolate place that has curled itself inside my ribs for protection. Half my heart is a leather bound journal burning under a stack of wooden tombs, orgasmic oceans lapping at angel corpses on Jupiter.

We move like a headless dance without hands without eyes, stimulate, arouse like secrets traded and kept in steel drawers with the keys locked inside. All is static, penetrating. Undressing in silence, the cruel pace of the city is mute as I watch for the stars through tall windows, touching myself to the coming dark.

I am after, before, within all of it as trembling limbs, shards of my lifeless body in the fibers of that lace trimmed linen, traces of my voice on the lips you use to speak the words I could never let escape from my throat. You remember me because I line my eyes in charcoal even on the good days. The things that haunt you are never the things you can bury. It’s what is just out of reach that mauls you, just beyond the thin veil of the tolerance of what is no longer possible, those are the phantoms you keep in the chamber of the blood.

Those tremors, that pain, that hurt, that ache which stabs at the air in vain, that is the love story which must be written in the euphoric journals of the clandestine prophets, in the war torn diaries of the chariot gods.

We are not entirely of this world. In a flickering place within our wandering souls, inside a layer of resonance where even the cold stillness of the moon widens in the face of our marked vigilance, we know it. We can taste the almost imperceptible distance between the surface and what grows beneath; it fascinates the parts of us that would teach us everything we want to know if we would just listen with everything we have.

Union, creation, deliverance, freedom, these are the strange intricacies of true devotion. This is what it is to cherish, to attend to the calling, dissatisfied, hungry, uncertain. To fall into our own arms and breath from the depths of who we are far beyond what they’ve told us we owe them.

You stand naked against my back, I open my mouth and curse the petals falling in lush cascades across my tongue. This is what it is to bleed, even the piercing of thorns is the thrust of ecstasy.

Careful how you touch me, love, nothing about this will ever be enough.

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// penitent //

I can tell by the tilting of the moon that you feel the grip in your thickening skin as I encourage a deeper cadence of your machine body: count for me backwards from thirteen, I need to drown the ticking of the clocks nonstop in my head. Nobody wants to do these things unless they run along the trick blade of madness but you like the things they tell you not to touch.

I am in anticipation of you always, pulling tenderly on the triggers of the flustered beg of your breath on my breath before the body remembers how to fill its nascent lungs. It’s okay to be new here, angel, we never knew how it could be until our ivory wings were clipped and stitched against the ruined monuments of tragic beliefs. Stop counting. Place your fingers in my mouth and I will deliver those milk wings back to all the world as you erupt for me. This will be the gateway to endless melodic dreams come true but only if you don’t let go.

There are instincts we indulge in fantasy but deny in the flesh until the image we see of ourselves on the face of love overwhelms; reflections beyond time and space returning to us in the intimacy of the private lives we keep in jars with fireflies and broken trees. When I listen to the silence I hear every syllable of the thousand words promised us since the beginning, but they are spinning sparks in the dark, in them I see the truth that would strip the world of its desires.

You sink heavy into my thoughts before I understand the gutting rush of what I’m thinking. You have become the split reaction time between seduction and satisfaction; the alien ability to remain ready, patient, throbbing, quiet with wide eyes in bare rooms at the back of the houses I’ve abandoned inside.

All is lost, all is empty and hurled out into an orbital distance that once belonged to me. A place where souls who left this earthen chamber long ago still blow whispered pleads into the wind. Coming undone, the haunts collect me, daggers, tongues. My mind is falling along blank walls catching on hooks; my body submits to the flames, the fevered licking of unhealed wounds.

You: braiding my hair, tying ribbons around my wrists, ours is the way of redemption, the confession that breaks an honest man to dust.  Release has become a midnight garden blooming under shallow moonlight, grass stains on my tired knees.

Leave me here.

Let me be alone until the night is again where it can reach me.

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// heartaches and vice //

The pains in my abdomen are leftover from a ferocious laugh and a searing cry and all the ways I’m not sure how to feel about either of them. The earthquakes seem to come from the sky as the sidewalks fall away from my feet. People aren’t listening you can tell by the panic in their eyes, chain smoking cigarettes and coughing up ignorance disguised. As I watch them not watching, I’m imagining cutting out faces: one for each day of all the weeks that people throw out the windows of high rise buildings hoping for new ones by the time the elevator to the basement drops. How did we get to this place where wrought iron gates are more intricate than we are and less cold. Everything I try to make move stands still in its cage.

I don’t mind writing alone for weeks on end next to these fleshy crimson roses dying in a vase at my crystal fingertips. The way they seem to bow out of a life they exposed themselves to fully, ripe, red, soft and silently urgent seems like the purest form of a love that knows no fear, only bloom and grace.

Thorns, tho, no bowing out for them, hard and tough as nails for good, stabbing like the piercing of your eyes underneath my skin: bleed me of my salacious greed, pin my poison against all the things I can’t stand about hurting myself and believing its the truth.

In dreams the words I want to drown you with flow, it wasn’t supposed to be so hard in the daylight but there’s a condemnation in the expressions on the people passing by that I seem to swallow and worship like someone I no longer recognize; someone who has lost her conviction. I am stronger than this but the desire to go limp is the edge of an elegant cliff at ten thousand feet and me on one toe on a pinhead hoping to balance the wind through my teeth.

I’m in love with the promise of another morning, the rain falling on electric orange autumn leaves, the gray skies please me because we understand each other.

Maybe after coffee I’ll shave my legs, wear that dress you like and learn to look at you again. Tonight it’s hard to sew all the faces back into the one I came with in the box. So many lives are shifting inside of me, none of which I can depend on for more than the better part of the hours that tighten against my slender neck.

Forgive us this day the terrible monsters we care about. We are skin wrapped around steel interchangeable bars, chastity, vice grips holding tight to the things that turn us to black inside. Let it be ink and not terror, let it be black as the night we feel at home inside. If it’s only darkness I can’t breathe.

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// evidence of bodies //

I don’t want your body, I want your secrets. I know the games you play and why you play them but you’re so lovely it makes my mind bleed. Even the dreams in me have dreams and yet I can’t manage to extract a single one. Of course, no one ever said love makes sense. I pour a glass of Merlot and my insides are a relentless penetrating bloom of thick red roses groping their thorny vines around the veins that push my blood toward a heart that knows no boundaries.

When the last sliver of daylight finally fades across the grass, I can feel the setting sun unbuttoning my inhibitions. The way you wait so patiently for me binds me with threaded ropes, framing erotic images that deepen my darkening mood. You want to touch me but I’m not where you thought I’d be; my mind is seductive but it’s always somewhere else.

Using only the memory of your hands, you wrap me in crimson ribbons of delicious heat. The swift movement of your body sets me free to water midnight gardens of savage desire in beautiful rings around the moon. I’m ugly in ways only you can make an aphrodisiac as the twisted things I long for hang suspended from the ceiling, purple faces tongue the agony of my ecstatic soul. Everyone seems to think they know how your life will end up if you’d just sit still and listen but most try very hard not to understand anything that could make a difference.

Sliding past everyone else’s better judgment, I light three rows of candles and drop into a darkness that is not sleep. It’s more like a strange way of awakening in order to hold hands with death and own him before he owns me. We all worry about being invisible; that’s why we hide. I devour volumes of ancient spiritual texts and Bukowski, they seem to break me apart and deliver me back to who I am in a package I almost recognize. Deciphering their codes is the plot of every gutting love story ever written. The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life grow like inverted mirror images, side by side. To be human is to have a grasp on neither.

I drip hot lavender oil into a steaming bath and sink in as I envision you with cake in your hands. I’m kneeling at your feet licking icing from a dozen silver spoons between your fingers; the sweet life is not always what it seems, but we do try. At the center of something more encompassing and brilliant than we can possibly fathom, everything is submerged. Right here. Everything is different and the same. Every safe choice should make us more and more afraid.

It’s warm underwater and even though I drown my head in thoughts of self-defeat to keep from slipping into the vacant sky where I might finally be free, I trust being alone more than I trust anything else. I don’t know if God is alone but I know this world is mass murder on painted screens that cover up the truth.

In my makeshift blackout room, spinning pins and needles on the windowsill of the universe, all I ever wanted was to make a spark that would catch the hills on fire.

It’s not hard to breathe in the dark, it’s just that you see so little of who you really are.

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// dream lover //

Gently, gently, gently, lover, over and over it seems I am new to my own anatomy, just learning how to breathe, how to behave and temper impulses, understanding where my pieces go, how to open my arms, my throat, my veins and walk in the punishing daylight bleeding. It’s not gentle enough when the nocturnal air moves his poisonous breath against my vacant, expectant skin and I need you to be softer, softer, softer still. Touch me like dark feathers sifting, falling lightly through the collecting fog and I will begin again on my knees at your feet.

Folding these hands, bending these wrists, teach me to speak with your tongue.

I am only a whisper easy to suffocate but impossible to break; a dangerous intimacy that drips inside a second heart most stab at in nightmares trying to deny. Such force, such resistance, such loss. I am the freedom of velvet ropes that bind you to tears of grateful orgasmic release. My way of living emerges in spheres that penetrate and overlap, illusions pressed against the milk white legs of a shifting reality.

May I possess you, may I enclose you, may I appear alongside of you as you rage against an open sky and become the shedding of your veils, your fears, your widening eyes.  My way of dying into my own bare flesh occurs behind the command of your silence, my way of focused, curious adoration is the way a ring of sapphire candles is a beckoning portal in the back of your volcanic mind. A slip into another time and place, where pleasure is sacrifice and ecstasy thorough, to hold back is to forfeit everything we gnash our new cut razor teeth trying like mad to become.

You and I: shadows standing back to back, watchfulness reflected. When I reach for the stars I know they are birthing each other, blurring too heavily inside me and I’m trying to go home. I search in wet purple evenings for the redemption pulsing in time to the way you look at me; your every masterful movement is the closing of trap doors, of prisons, of ruby studded cages strung up against the ceiling of skyscrapers but my god, angel, how we decorate each other.

How we expose one another on the willing altars of this fragile faith in dreaming.

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// fall from grace //

Tracing the outline of my open lips as I stand before the floor length mirror, I imagine pressing my dark eyelashes together and leaving this blue electric mind for just long enough to go beautifully numb. Not the kind of numb where you don’t feel anything at all but the kind where you still feel the warm pressure of fingers and it doesn’t frighten you, doesn’t hurt, doesn’t tempt you back to the kind of life that feels like plastic sheets over everything you were told you could touch.

A kiss the taste of jasmine and warm vanilla before everything became so sterile.

It’s not that I don’t want to reveal myself it’s that I’m terrified there is no way to warn you of what’s beneath this withering skin. We are all pretending, peeling, receding, removing ourselves one thumbnail, one fang, one whisper, one blink of a down turned eye at a time even as we dig our heels in and try to stay on the sane side of honest.

To move forward is to slip screaming under the ice, to break is to relieve the ones who don’t believe in love. I don’t want to pour what’s left of the ink into half the words that lay themselves undressed at my fingertips but this isn’t me, if I knew what was I would try to protect you from it.

As I move my fingers down along the soft curves of my body, there are shadows bending over the back of this tired day when lighting a cigarette is the sweet claw of knowing I don’t quite fit in, the inconvenience of my mismatched presence here is fading but palpable. It’s possible to feel at the same time like raven wings the breadth of the clear midnight sky and like even the gentlest hands would fall short of opening your barbed wire heart. I know this now.

What I am in the dark is condemned and torn away from me in the light, and in the glare I forget where my feet belong: which hours of the night am I, which collections of which moments, which seasons of which days? I try to console myself by remembering it’s not me they want anyway, it’s something beyond any of us, something vastly, infinitely more loving and severely less infatuated with being seen, being heard, being accepted.

Some kind of sacred alien thing so fierce, so substantial, so insatiable it devours itself and continues to exist. A hunger without the terrible pain of going hungry. A thirst that needs only itself, never goes in search of a drink beyond its own infinite pools. Something that pleasures us to tears of everlasting fulfillment.

Sometimes when I am stuck, when the urge to open up is butterflies thrumming in nets in my ivory chest, I think of the way you handle everything – people, poetry, phrases, books, rejection – so lightly, so effortlessly, so graciously and gracefully. I imagine the warmth of you and the world sleeping in your benevolent hands and wonder how you would handle me if my breasts were fire instead of flesh, if my insides were venom instead of honey.

There is a kind of affection that grows its own womb out of its own tenderness and hangs it in the center of the hands of its creator; I have felt it, cradled it, made love to it in dreams that dissolve in the dust of morning sunlight falling warmly through the curtains. You and I in this makeshift house far away from home. We were made to bow down to a thing we cannot grasp even as it holds us firmly from within, and yet how far we have fallen, how lost we have become.

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