// 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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// broken arrows //

Some days are the fullness of tongues in excess. I know I ask for more than I deserve and I wish I knew how to help it, how to stop, how to escape, it seems as if this is how I was strung together by a god who should have known better, should have been less cruel and more clever. Some kind of laughter that tastes like wine in a chalice thrown from an angry plastic heaven, still I swallow too ungratefully and crawl inside. I’m not always pretty, I’m not always kind, I’m not always the way light trickles, sparkles, strokes like angel wings falling down my fragile spine. All I ever wanted was to tell you a story that feels like a lover you’ve not yet breathed against but have imagined emerging from the hungry heaving ocean waves for lifetimes, night after night the moon would lust to enter the sea. That’s what these words are if only I could get them right: a shape, a figure, a curve, a dark cavern, a passage into another world where you exist in endless flow, smoothness, salt, and the flavor of chaotic, rhythmic, liquid emotion. Tell me the words are crystal sugar froth, tell me you would wait out eternity to be so torn by a language you’d long since forgotten, but the sparking in your jaw recognizes as truth. And if that story were to move you, stir you, deliver you, take the words, take them, take them, thread them through the bending of your flesh and let the soul you bleed for sleep. Even as I write these my troubled manic thoughts they are fugitives, they are train tracks, they are ship wrecks, they are hopeful dreamer’s dreams. These words I plead for, take them, take them, they are yours.

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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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// cringe and cages //

 

All they ever thought I wanted was to be myself but I’m only myself so often. The selves, I sort through them with expectant, humble, delicate hands and wonder: which face is it you wish me to pull out and put on for you?

In the place where we came from, out of the resurrection of a thousand suns, I can slip inside your movements before you make them, as you thread your fingers through my plush and thickening mouth, one by clever deliberate one. Another of the selves kept quiet: I stand off in the fog of the distance timing my heartbeat to your hesitant receding; this is how they taught us to be available and remain untouched.

The voices of those who want in will not leave, they reverberate inside of me, they are clamor, I am a skeleton of distraction unto myself, a splitting of the mind of my infinite selves. I search the expansive black for an entrance, an exit, a hallway into freedom from these exhausting dreams.

My own heaviness wears thin within the marrow of the bones, the crushing suffocation of my own voice.

And it is my voice I need to return to somehow.

The only solace is lush and secret solitude. Letting go gradually, gradually, all this light is chaos, all this sound is the nectar of a synthetic womb, all these hungry gaping mouths are a world gnashing in constant against a reluctant house of drawn windows, this hurts me, too. It makes me into someone who needs the need and this is the fevered spiral death of all creative things: obsession.

The animal in me is headlights flashing across endless muddy fields, I crave the energy of the smooth spinning earth, to bury my tremors in the sweet cool of dark forests and replenish my veins. The flow of all creation is to pour forth from an abundance, a ripeness, an overflow, to be bitten, sucked, devoured by the material design of the fabric of the cells I carry, the stimulating vibrations of the seeker; the tear-laced dressings of melancholy desire.

I am at odds with the corruption they bottle and rupture me with, this skin, this skin, they have imprisoned me in, I have given it everything.

And a voluptuous song continues its turning on the tip of my soft tongue.

And these many, many souls and I, wander alone with the rest of me.

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// lady in waiting //

I sit down to write but the only thing that comes to me is everything I’d rather not say. Writing is just like anything else, the hardest part is finding a way in. Shadowy advances, wet wide eyes, shattered hearts, lovers stalking alley ways, all come in jars they hope you can’t see, but writing is tougher to open even on a good day. A drink and a half later, I’m undressing in the doorway, watching you as you absorb the fading evening light that drapes itself around my body. I wish you thought of me as a temple, intricate tunnels adorned in golden dragons with emerald eyes, ferocious winged mystical things, but delusions like these are just a way of shadowboxing with the truth. Even in this heady haze I know what we want to be and what we are is split by glass of a thick and distorted kind. You ask me to spread myself over you and my skin is hot pricks head to toe, the way you barely touch me makes the beginning taste like spiced flecks of the afterglow, just the way I like it.

Under your command I am a dove, an alien, a robbery, a beast because I have learned to stay awake even in my sleep. Once you become aware of the ground beneath you in dreams, the rest is simply sleight of hand. We try to shift ourselves wide enough to take more than we ever thought possible but it’s hard when you’re certain there’s a message tucked behind the eyelids of everything, and you’d swear on your headstone that the rain smells of swollen lips and secrets you thought were buried inside someone else. Seven minutes in heaven, spin the bottle, the time you skinned your knees on ice, slammed back to life by the sting. Your first kiss stabs me in the back, spills blood across the time before all the times you can’t stop sifting through now.

Be patient with me, angel, even in expert hands like yours this doesn’t get any easier. Winter seems to follow winter, all the seasons of dying and frost take place at once like a crystalline nest of frozen trees that crush your tender throat. Time is a gift and a thief and a scream and I promise to collapse the minute you leave. You wrap my hair in braids tight around your strongest arm, the pain is just enough to catch my breath on a single hook. This bizarre strain of release, a decadent thorn. There will be rug burns and bathtubs but my mind is walking on the street counting black birds on a wire over the railroads tracks I was framing for photos; five, six, seven of them in a crooked row and one far off, alone. This doesn’t mean anything, of course, except that I am not in the world the way I’m supposed to be; I’m in the one I resurrected from cut-out dolls, cardboard panoramic scenes, living in the cream-colored curl of imaginary pages.

Pain comes to me daily but I trust it, I let it lead if it wants to, it teaches me not to hide as much. The way you slide into me is a forked tongue, one side torture, the other ecstasy; I have to take them both or deprivation. As night takes over the moon, the salt in my veins sparks and flashes all around us like colors from the dark side of rainbows. You need not cry for this strange love, I like to watch the pieces of me fall, it’s the only way they catch the light. I’m stronger now. And even though generations of misguided wars rupture themselves through me before you can even say my name, it’s beautiful madness to hear you try.

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// if this is madness //

 

Learning to love is woman after woman dying inside of me.

I have been consumed by desire and left to live on the ashes that remain, a restless hunger for all dimensions of the texture of forbidden things, stolen feelings, the cruel soak of sadness, the tender pleasure of villainous blood mixed into my blood.

As I watch you bow your head, I catch the portrait of an expression I am tethered to, these piercing haunts, my spirit swells, aching with lust and emotion. We the creatives, doomed and redeemed only ever to ourselves. I am a silent song on the wind in the sharp blue streaks of an endless night, a ghost guide, a break in the bend of the clipping of wings, invisible, intrusive, mad. In my fumbling hands I carry the sand of the dreams of the dawning of an earth I remember with affection enough to tear me at the seams. We are vanishing, we are free.

All is naked elegant promise on its knees; all is silken threaded veins through an ancient heart that beats eternal.

Swallowed whole, I’m arranging flowers on the grave of the things I used to believe. Let go, let go, let it all go, tears are but reflecting pools. Dark pushing light, light pushing dark, the relentless hands of a pulsating God.

I am lost; into this handsome death I am falling, falling; to wander without a name is to collect pieces of myself for burial.

There will be rain and sweetness in their singing, souls shifting like blinks of eyelashes against the turning of a concrete moon.

I can feel a secret in the humid air that hangs itself around my pleading heart. I am borrowed from your night sweats, a burden and a siren, I am the rays of a truth to which you are blind. Your hands are throbbing against my disease, this pain interrupts my mouth but will not leave. Intimacy is the darkness that calls to me, builds castles in my bed, begs, delivers, and fills me.

Poetry is a way to keep breathing, the words spilled forth and those withheld forever weaving the soft pale of my tired skin.

Blessed are we the wounded, the ones who sense the coming storms and do not run.

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