Time Apart

I have to be away from the writing for about a week and I am dreading it. I don’t know why I am telling you this but I don’t think anyone understands except for writers, what it is like to have to put down the pen for a while. Even if it’s just a handful of days. It feels like severing part of me, the truest deepest most loving part of me, and leaving it behind. In any case. Hopefully maybe there are some rare times when, if you can bear it, the time apart makes the time back together even sweeter.


The moon is one dead white eye, shining full in rocky light. In dreams, he strips me naked while telling me fairy tales about enchanted forests and animals who stalk and kill but just for food not for random cruelty. Only humans do that, so instead of dwelling on it we go down by a lake of swans, tease each other into a frenzy and make sweet love until the sky disappears and we become the air which vanishes after caressing the cold light of each forgotten star. All those glittering diamonds, all that generously scattered space which expands and expands and never stops for all eternity. Makes me feel both tremendous awe and completely insignificant at the same time. I respect the universe even as it shreds my nerves and causes me to panic. As I put pen to paper to document a series of disturbing dreams about my skin sewn in places too tight and a man staring at me on a train I am taking to a city whose name I can’t seem to make out on the ticket because my eyes won’t focus, the story of an alternate life begins to emerge. We run across a warehouse rooftop and tumble so close to the edge it makes my heart slam in my chest and tempts me to see if I can fly. Grabbing onto the belt loop in the back of my jeans, he pulls me in and pins me underneath him while letting my head spill backwards over the edge of the building. Observing my exposed neck as my hair whips and blows and turns all colors of the midnight wind, he places a strong hand behind me and to my surprise asks me how my writing is going. Blinking with shock and something that feels like affectionate gratitude for his benevolent attention, I tell him it’s a maddening goddamn torture but I will never stop as long as I live, which if we’re not careful could only be another minute and a half. Suddenly realizing, as one inexplicably does, that I am in a dream inside a dream and he’s about to evaporate, I quickly sketch a mental image of this man into the soft folds of my memory. He is a shadow I want to swim inside, he is a stranger I want to hold my hand. He is a messenger, perhaps, or an omen. He grips me tight without a sound and then fades to black. I wake to the darkness of morning, pull on a knit hat against the cold, pour coffee and open my laptop. The full moon is a single yellow eye sliding down behind an electric wire. We watch each other closely, until she finally slips out of sight.

Take This Cup

You have a way of turning away from me while still looking back at me that my blood cannot seem to forget, it courses like silk panic through the blue rivers in my veins. As though you were holding me and leaving me at the same time, I am suspended, one foot in front of another but only half of me has crossed the line between freedom and captivity, huntress and prey. The thing is I can’t blame you because then I’d have to let you go completely and that would be too hard to do. Hard because of the quiet softness of your eyes on my skin. Hard because of the tender sweet ache which consumes me, head to toe, body and soul, when your hands shake reaching for the small of my waist. All of this swirls within my chest as I walk along a lonely street as this early evening in January is becoming dark. The concrete scent of cold pavement mixed with the spiced fragrance of a distant wood burning fire. High above the frozen buildings I can just see a few twinkling stars, washed out by a thin swath of pewter clouds, spread almost as scantily as the atmosphere itself. Filling my lungs with frigid night air, I reach into a pocket and pull on my gloves. It would seem in winter we are always protecting, shielding vulnerable things. A sleek sedan passes by slowly, its tires along the cobblestone the only sound aside from my boots scratching against the sidewalk. The driver stops at the corner to let out a tall woman in black tights and heels, she thanks him, slams the car door and lights up a cigarette as she leans her curvy hips against a wrought iron railing. Her coat tight about her, eyes and lips glistening in the moonlight, she exhales short breathy plumes of smoke and I can almost feel her heart beating fast on the nicotine. Back at home I pour a glass of wine and nestle in among my many stacks of books, notes, papers, journals. I’m trying to decide how I feel about the difference between erotica and pornography because for reasons I cannot seem to explain this matters to me. It matters to me to understand if it matters, if that makes sense, which I am fully willing to accept that perhaps it doesn’t. Nin opens her collection of erotica Little Birds with these words, “It is one thing to include eroticism in a novel or a story and quite another to focus one’s whole attention on it. The first is like life itself. It is, I might say, natural, sincere, as in the sensual pages of Zola or Lawrence. But focusing wholly on the sexual life is not natural. It becomes something like the life of the prostitute, an abnormal activity that ends by turning the prostitute away from the sexual. Writers perhaps know this. That is why they have written only one confession, or a few stories, on the side, to satisfy their honesty about life… But what happens when a group of writers… devote themselves entirely to the erotic? How does this affect their lives, their feelings towards the world, their writing? What effect has it on their sexual life?” There is so much I don’t know about how I feel about any of this. For my entire life I have been a sensual girl, a sensual woman. Every nerve ending, it seems, is acute, alert, attentive. Some of my senses were praised, while my sexual senses were down played or hushed at kindest and outright publicly shamed, mocked, or ridiculed at cruelest. But despite what harsh and belittling treatment I have known, there remains in me a desire, a need, a curiosity, a passion, which flickers and licks at the walls of my tight little prison. There is no such thing as a poet, an artist, devoid of sensuality, sexuality, eroticism. There is no such thing as a woman who does not hunger and thirst to devote at least a portion of her most secret self to those forbidden flames. I light up a cigarette and open my notebook. I blow smoke to the ceiling and write about burning things. I write and write and write until my ink runs dry.


Ordering a drink after a long day made to feel even longer because I’ve had to fight the rain to make it up the street, I’m watching as the guy across the bar drapes his arm around the girl he’s with and gives her a long deep kiss right on her pretty little mouth. Just seeing them making out in public is enough to turn my stomach but it’s not so much disdain I judge them with it might deep down be jealousy. How disorienting those beginners kisses are, dizzy with desire and lust, fascination, hunger, the numbing bliss of ignorance. As I swallow my whiskey I taste you on my tongue like a drug, feel you slide down my throat and torch my insides until I burn myself to the ground all for you. You who would lick me until my embers turned to ash, until I was nothing but air, breath, weightlessness, beyond. Those fingers of yours, how they teased and penetrated and bruised and penned your dark poetry all over my alabaster skin. Love and blades and ink and dreams of fields of wild flowers bending beside a turquoise sea. Love is a fog they say but it is also an electric current which cuts through right to the heart with lightning speed. Not for you and I, we were not love we were mouths, tongues, bodies, cravings. Or so we thought we could be, thought we could sever the feelings from the flesh, cut the heart out and leave it on the square patch of grass by the hotel we rented too late and left before the early morning light could reveal to us the staleness of our sinful ways. Maybe none of us are quite sure what love is. Maybe it’s just another tired place where right is wrong and wrong is right and everything turns inside out on a dime. The guy at the bar and his doe eyed girl drown in their last sips of cheap happy hour beer and stumble out the doorway, lips still locked as they giggle and trip beneath the rain blurred neon lights. I miss a time when you could smoke in bars but I suppose it’s all for the best we’re no longer permitted. A dirty habit in a filthy world. I’m more careful now. Not to confuse who’s in control with who’s in power. Not to build castles out of sand or wish upon a shooting star, spinning and falling and dying so beautifully inside a black hole sky.


I pull my hair up into a messy bun teetering atop my head, open up a bottle of white and walk out into the garden in the fading tangerine evening. The last rays of autumn sun turn to beautiful colored beads of sweat sliding down the chilled glass, tiny globes of peaches, pinks, roses, golds. I light a cigarette and watch the droplets glide, remembering the way you traced the curve of my shoulder as you undressed me for the first time, my body reacting with pulses of warm sweet nectar. We are never quite the same person we are at the beginning. People change like seasons, evolve. Some do, in some respects and not others, but their troubles are nothing to me at the moment as all I want to do is shed the remnants of another day gone by, my body and spirit offered up for someone else’s ridiculous wet dreams of power and brutality. I know I’m not the only one and it’s just the way of the world but something in me has never stopped believing there could be more. Different. More honest. Less moral and more genuine. What in this life could ever possibly be worthy of the splendor of your body, soul, mind, and spirit? Doesn’t it have to be more glorious than numbers, deadlines, time clocks. We are so reduced, so imprisoned. Too accepting of what is and how it’s always been. Acting like there is some sort of way back to what once was when what once was is a lie we’ve been telling for centuries anyway. We chase our money and we chase our tails and try to get our kicks along the way in secret. Behind a closed office door somewhere in a yellowed building across town, a woman gets on her knees to ask her boss for a raise. She hates it but it kind of turns her on to be reminded who’s in charge. She isn’t sure of much these days because the loneliness is palpable when she gets home and crawls inside the emptiness. She cries a lot. She smiles when she knows she is supposed to, though. Telling no one seems to be the only way to make sure her existence isn’t too tight a fit. As the sounds of the freeway running close to the yard pour over me like one of those white noise sound machines my therapist places outside her office supposedly to protect my privacy but I think it’s more to protect the yoga practitioners on the other side of the door from hearing my sordid tales of self destruction, I pour glass of wine and down it rather too quickly. As the chattering teeth of my ‘generalized anxiety’ finally turn to liquid heat, I look up at the trees as the little birds flutter and chase each other in circles. I recall the taste of the hot pressure of your kiss and how our bodies sunk into each other perfectly. There is no way out, of course, only in further and further until it’s all blackness or light, no one can say for sure. But until I can figure a better plan I’ll keep writing. Digging. Disrupting. Fantasizing. What else is there to do when this life is madness. Everybody’s drowning, and everybody’s thirsty.

Play for Keeps

Her face is chiseled and poised, her lips lush and glistening, such is the existence of beautiful people in a world hell bent on selling it fast and then crushing it out even faster. I think about her sensual body as I run my fingers over her image in a glossy magazine. What would she smell like if she were standing before me. Could I bear the heat of her eyes gazing into mine while she speaks with that perfect pink mouth. Meanwhile in a land far from the posed or polished, the fog outside my window is so thick I’m certain if I were standing in the street I’d not be able to see my own feet. It is my favorite kind of slow morning, the sound of soft rain, heavy mist like white linen curtains draped over the charcoal trees, and an almost imperceptible breeze which stirs the scent of wet soil and cold winter air, blends them together and moves them around you in a ghostly embrace. There are those who would prefer you stay silent and those who tell you to speak up but you won’t do either unless you agree to it. Unless you are ready. With you I was always ready. To speak, to fall quiet. To open, to bend, to give, and to receive. Such was the strength of your hold on me. Your hands upon my neck, your hands upon my hands. What perversions in that dark mind of yours. How creative your play, how vivid the colors and sinister the shadows of your secret desires. Your scorching words a constant trickle of heat which gently, relentlessly, fervently broke through my long frozen ground. With persistence, with intensity, you unraveled me with intention, stroke by elegant stroke, encircling, taking down the crumbling walls of the resistance in my body, in my mind, in my spirit. Resistance. To my own hunger. My own magic. My own pleasure. My own need. You, the crimson fever of sin in my blood. You and I. Beautiful people. Flawed. Broken. Bound.

Burn for You

It’s all been done before and probably better than you can do it but that doesn’t keep you from trying. You scratch your palms and then your forehead but only because your gums itch and you can’t seem to get at where the itch is coming from. You are fidgety and wired from too much coffee, so you light up a cigarette and continue typing terrible prose into the empty void just to feel the keys clicking beneath your fingers. Somewhere in you deep down inside, you know this is where you are supposed to be, what you are supposed to be doing, word after word, trash or gold, thick or thin, the writing has kept you steady when absolutely nothing else in the world could do it. There is an itch in you that you can never quite scratch and it is torture and it is madness and it is beyond pleasure into some kind of masochism, but it often seems to you it is more than life itself. All the hangovers, all the lovers, all the failures, all the fantasies, they swirl in your rib cage like a drug or a sickness, like flowers blossoming forth, delicate and heavy with wetness in the soft mist of a rainy August evening years ago. You and I, bodies, tongues, whiskey, and the way my head tilted back as you whispered decadent words against my neck about the way I taste like the open ocean, a smoldering summer sunset beach. You bound my hands together at the wrists, raising them above my head, a single finger to your hushed mouth. Instruction. I suck my bottom lip, go silent as I struggle to hold in the sounds of pleasure I’m desperate to release. Gazing down at me as your fingers grazed and teased the center of my glistening ache. In your eyes, the endless darkness of midnight lakes, pools of sweet danger I drown myself in. At the mercy of your hands which played me until I was taut in glorious frustration, you twist me, dangle me, push me to my blinding limits. At the command of your naked desire, I laid before you exposed. Vulnerable. Hungry. Unashamed to become the embodiment of my need for you. Who in this world can you trust if not yourself. When you write you can fly but only if you write the things you are afraid to say. Tell the stories which flutter and bite at you. How afraid are you to die? How terrified are you of what you really want? How afraid are you that life has already passed you by? Taking a drag from your cigarette, you invite the smoke into your lungs and tap a crinkled clump of ash out the window which opens to the garden where you once had me, dirt stained, rough, our skin smooth with sweat in moon glow. Though these memories are now nothing more than time gone by, to you they mean something sacred. They have become a part of the way you move, the way you see things. You can still taste them, conjure them, almost reach out and caress them in all of the sensual experiences you crave. The way you touched me with control, measure, fascination, admiration. And as you raise your eyes, gray clouds move steadily over the black night sky, erasing all heavenly light. You can no longer see the stars. But you know that somewhere out there, beyond all time and space and eternity, they still burn.


Everybody plays along and nobody fits in but oh how desperately they try, how they let the fears of being left behind fry their nerves like shredded electric wires underneath their skin. It’s not that I don’t have it in me to get on well with others it’s just that the others exhaust me with their unspoken angst as they chew it and swallow it over and over again. You want to go and you want to stay and you want it both ways without letting go of either until something inside of you that used to sparkle and dance turns motionless and cold. What happened to the girl who looked so lovingly into her own shy heart? Where do you go when no one’s around and the shadows want to play? Who have you come here to save and are you doing it now as promised or are you just killing time until the next shiny object comes along? It has been so long since I’ve felt invited into a day’s unfolding hand. They make the rules and you say you’ll break them but you won’t, you never will because the fear they fed you is working and you’d sooner die than risk the safety of the monotony of one foot in front of the other, dead on arrival before you even step outside. The sun is shining bright and cruel upon the pavement as I make my way toward no where in particular. The air is excitable even as it smells like a coming frigid rain, not a cloud in sight though so maybe because of all the holiday drama my instincts are off. All around me are the little rich sporty people with their green smoothies swearing up and down about dry January. Why don’t I just give in? Why don’t I just suck it up and be like everyone else, stop thinking so much and just do the things which somehow make you simultaneously attractive and invisible. The world being far too beaming a place for me to stomach at the moment, I arrive back home and open my laptop. I think about a winter morning sky that was blue enough to blind you if you took it in straight. Razor blue, the kind of blue screaming so loudly of perfection it cuts at the veins like knives. A perfect lover’s mouth without a face which spoke about sex acts and death and whose infectious words dripped all over my body like warm honey. I know it’s tough out there and even the things you thought would save you have left you broken and afraid of your own footsteps. I know there are dark urges the mirror cannot reflect. I know sometimes out of nowhere your insides twist and it gets harder and harder to breathe. But if I could find you, touch you where the pain makes you exquisite, if I could catch a glimpse of the fire in your dark sharp eyes, I would give you everything I had left in me that hasn’t yet been ruined. I would write you a story which would quiver and shake inside of you, cause your beautiful blood to burn, your senses to rise to pulsing attention. I swear if you just let me in I would kiss you sweet, I would spread my ivory wings and split the blackened sky. I would risk it all to bring us back to life.

The Clouds Will Cloud

If you want to write you have to cut them off. You have to crack a window in a room where no one else will find you and you have to learn how to expose your soul while at the same time disappear completely. You have to understand how to make love entirely inside your mind, feel her softness as it parts for you, blinds you, envelopes you. How will you approach? How will you ask the ask and see the thing through? As the cool air sifts in over the windowpane, it causes your skin to tingle, bare only at the wrists, ankles, and face. This is how we let the world in, in small waves swallowed slow. I have seen a lot this year, yearned perhaps for too much but I think that’s just the way I’m put together and I’ve long since stopped apologizing. On this final day of a made up expression of time, I don’t feel much like reflecting. I do that every day of my life, it is exhausting. The trees are still black as fresh tar in their stoic silence, the sky is still a dirty kind of white. What do we set about trying to discover when we writers try to write? Is it all just an attempt or do we ever get to it? To where we think we need to go with words, with our incessant thinking. Observing. Mutilating. You create such elegant imagery when you tell me about a thing, the colors of the words you choose, the soft curves and jagged edges of the stories you tell with such incredible ease, grace, fire. As I listen to you, watching your mouth, your fine hands, my eyes are drowsy from champagne and firelight. Somewhere inside of you the universe is spinning about its endless sticky web, I can feel it in you, moving. Please, oh please, entrap me, bind me up and keep me. I’d like to be yours for a while. I’d like to be a succulent dreamy thing like you. Glistening. Aching. Prismatic. I’m reading Bukowski because I have all of his works and am taken by many of them, some will spit on this. But there was in him a way of nailing loneliness to a barren wall like a naked crucifix that strikes me as beautifully perverse. I hate the way it feels. I want it all over and inside of me. I want the way it hurts as the currents tear through me. I read it on repeat at the end of a year that is any year that is a string of heartbeats falling soundless upon sweet grass.

the beads will swing
the clouds will cloud
and the killer will behead the child

like taking a bite out of an ice cream

too much
too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody

more haters than lovers.

people are not good to each other.
perhaps if they were
our deaths would not be so sad.

meanwhile I look at young girls
flowers of chance.

there must be a way.

surely there must be a way that we
have not yet
thought of.


She believes in angels but only when she is so afraid of the shadows stalking her in the dead of night that she cannot find peace enough to even close her eyes, let alone sleep. Mostly her days are thin fog, rum raisin lipstick, the smell of warm rain in the air at the back of her throat. He doesn’t believe in anything though he thinks he believes in her. Her pale skin like silk as he tongues and tastes her yielding body until she is supple in his merciless hands. He makes her move, he makes her weak, he makes her come repeatedly for him to observe. And though her flesh reacts as she knows it should, her soul swims so low beneath the surface it has remained untouched for nearly her entire life. There were moments, to be sure, many in her younger days, of glimmering light, moments when the soft ache of a fading purple evening cut the glass in her chest, her naked love cracked, trembling, still beating. She will offer you her honeyed sweetness even as she hides away her finest fruit. She doesn’t know any better because some creatures are born unprotected, they arrive to earth different from the rest, unprepared, strange, withholding, and spend their lives searching for something they cannot name. The words they use are searchlights, the wet language of poetry. She keeps her gaze to the sky more often than most and as the autumn winds burn frost into winter, her crystal blue eyes turn gray and wide, as though she can see the many things that you cannot. She takes it all in and swallows it whole. Hurt and pain, lust and life, passion and death. Her heart is a graveyard hill covered in fresh white snow, a song of mourning in a land far off. Cloak and dagger. Hands clasped and cold in the valley in between her tender breasts. I think of her as I walk alone under a winter washed sky, my eyes to the heavens as the slim black geese soar high overhead, the hollow of their shrill cries coming close, closer, and then moving off. Lighting a cigarette, I tighten my coat against the freezing wind. There is a warmth in me that I keep to myself. There is a woman inside of me, I can hear the way she moves toward me, graceful footsteps falling into thin air. She speaks to me in dreams which call me home. Into her lips, into her ribs, into the heat of her disarming caress. As a mist moves in, I turn away from a world so cruel. I pray to nothing, breathe for no one. As the hour grows tall against the darkening hills. As the woman inside me waits, eyes upturned.