// And You Call It Love //

Isn’t that what you always wanted, something to dangle me over the edge with, some kind of blade some kind of sliding eyes. I believed you when you told me I was everything but maybe we are all thirsty, maybe we are all scabbed over the knees and forever halfway between home and heartache. Some of us live here. And die here. And spin ourselves sick in the cruel open hands of those who cannot take care of themselves. I would open my mouth for you but then you’d come too close. This is a silence we wear on the outside, we are window panes heavy and drunk with rain. Locked down tight but completely transparent. We would hide but our hearts had long ago, by unspeakable things, been forced open. And oh, our hearts. Our mad beautiful masochist hearts.


// Almost There //

Turning to look at you, I can barely feel my own body as we nearly kiss. Under your gaze I am already the faintest linen sheets, even before your fingers reach my skin. This is the fascination and the destruction, the way you build me up into heaven before all hell rushes loose from you. No matter the weather, I drink.

Late night phone calls, sex on the sliding pale of dawn, cigarettes and wine, the way the moonlight splays herself down along an endless hallway of cherry hardwood. Through a break in the blinds I can see the old wind turning shadows upon the autumn leaves.

The time changes to sweaters and tall boots and my new obsession with photography even though I never get the angle right so I end up mostly paralyzed and distracted. When it’s pictures of myself it only gets worse, the insecurity, the hyper attention, the opening in my stomach which imagines new and more spectacular worlds, more quiet and less beautiful. We have made ourselves this way as if on purpose and yet we cannot seem to undo ourselves quite as easily.

I like the taste of your fingers across my mouth and how when you speak your voice is nearly choked with worship yet there is a tinge of something on your tongue that tells me you don’t have the capacity to care beyond a certain point. Some people grow a callous around the place too many have touched the wrong way and it gets walled off forever. I don’t need that part of you, at least that’s what I tell myself so that I can live on the edges of a pain I can give my innocence to without losing it completely.

They tell me I have a problem with addiction but I think it’s just that when I look at you the devotion in my heart is like ribbons threaded through a young girl’s dream. Tug on it and the whole thing falls apart. The trouble is you’re just like all the others, the way they sprung up around me like the gush of sudden fountains just to collapse in upon themselves. Mindless. Reckless. Incredible. How the mind can leave its shell behind and we just take whatever we can get.


// Wading In //

Sunlight dims to gray pretending to fall through the window as I pretend my mind is not so full of madness I can taste the blood in my gums. When we speak of art, of beauty, of the written word, of what do we actually speak? Mostly torture. Mostly the cutting away of every untruth the others cannot even detect. I’m no better at life but I do show up and the showing up is usually what tears the skin off the bone.

They say you have to keep going even in the face of adversity and then they try to convince you that the adversity comes from outside. Look on the walls, they say to you; look into their flush faces, listen to their unbridled hatred. We cannot admit the demons are really on the inside, that the monsters may multiply but they all wear my face.

Gazing into the dresser mirror, I think of the way you left me stronger than you found me and then I question even that. To know you was to love you by untying the fears which kept me pinned to the ground. I came up to the surface for air only to discover you and you were a drowning I wanted more than life itself. Why do we do these things, why do we cringe and sweat over the way certain people kiss with death all stained upon the mouth.

Why do we try, why do we write, why do we peel the mothworn curtains back just to reveal another day. To get to something. And even though we know it’s there we fight ourselves to get to it anyway. We the small slits of intimacy, we the sharp unnatural bends in the wing.

When no words worth repeating show up I imagine packing away my notebook and heading back into the world gutted by depletion, rejected even by myself and I know that is the heaviest burden of all. To feel that there is not one single place in all the world – outside or in – where you belong.

Maybe the bad days are just the way too many good ones weigh us down in the quiet moments we never speak about. Maybe they blend the unforgiving sky with the cold rain and even our insides are made of decay. Maybe I just have to wait, and I can do that. I hate it. But here I am, waist deep.


// The World In Your Hands //

Tracing the curve of my left shoulder with your tongue you whisper your obsession with my feathered tattoo and the way my hair smells of cream linen and musky autumn warmth.

I am trying desperately to tear my mind into shreds to keep her quiet and let me spread into what is sure to come next if I could just let go.

It is a hard thing to manage when the world is falling to hell more quickly now than ever before. Every word is a promise and promises break. It is so much more brutal to have to tell the truth when the truth is that half the time humanity makes no sense to me, that despite all the trimmings we hang upon the walls of the houses we build in our hands, nothing seems to be able to ease this restless burden most of us have become.

You lay me down and look at me like maybe you think I am the answer. The impossible beauty of your heart watches patiently as my body becomes the earth and my veins become rivers of thin pewter floods rushing out in all directions. I am a sea creature, I am a weather vane, I am the sobs of your childhood nightmares finally slinking down through the floor.

You are a kind of safety I am afraid to know. So many people live like lives should all be the same, they skim the surface and eat it and eat it and eat it instead of admitting they have been starving since birth because they are afraid to die. Push each other down, push it all away, press the dry burning leaves against the fractured window panes.

As you bury yourself into me my eyes catch upon a sliver of the sky, screaming blue. As though even the heavens do not believe our anguish.


// Wolves In Winter //

As the pale ticking of a clock slides eternity farther and farther away from my hands – I cannot shake this feeling buried heavy inside my limbs. There is a place where frailty is the beginning of strength beyond anything you have ever seen, where spring green seeds line the inner corners of eyes yet to be born, and it is there you may dream of everything they told you not to dream.

It is within the fabric of this oceanic thing you may breathe air, smoke, water, freedom.

And the voices which call you away cut against the grain. Where light flashes across your nighttime feet and you remember how to move, clumsily at first, hideous at best. From your dying mouth the world away turns, spins out across the purpling abyss. The inner world is the world according to yourself, the smell of rot, the smell of blood, the smell of a lilac tree blooming eroticism at the fullness of season. The scent of firesides lined with snow, winter climbing the legs of empty trees. It is the most exhausting softness you have ever heard.

There is a spirit who moves among even the least spiritual creatures. There are ties that bind us which we refuse to see. And for all the ways we burn each other to the ground it knows that sometimes ashes are the only way we remember how to believe. Will it come on paper boats, will it sound like drums, will the poets find the words in time.

I watch them write about what they tell themselves is love. I see how they stutter against the words they do not know they do not mean. There is a sadness which has hardened into stone, too many hollow people lusting after one another’s bones.


// Merry Go Round //

Had this come at a better time I would have placed my hands into your hands and we would have forgotten who was holding on to who. Instead I lower my eyes as your eyes close and bow to the end of whatever we had between us constructed. Little melting paper tissue promises, we traded words wrist over wrist, your mouth warm upon my alabaster skin.

I am the draining of the cup, I am the small child who writes only of leaving, only of the lightning in dark clouds. How even the slenderest tears streak the breast with fire before running aground.

I am picking at my fingernails and you are staring out the window of a neon train as my legs begin to burn. I used to dream I was covered in red ink and the more closely I inspected the skin the higher the vines of crimson would curl up and up across my stomach, my chest, my neck, and then I would awaken, awash in thrumming laps of sweat.

And here we are together parting ways, two hearts divided in ten thousand ways.

I watch as the gray buildings of the city sink slowly into the raging sun. I think of all the people reaching for something they do not understand and missing it like hell anyway.

Why do they think everything destructive is so pretty
and that everything pretty
is not them.


// Rise //

I had been given too many hands, brought up with ravens nesting in my throat. Love is screaming down the hall, love is darkness tearing cracks in a house which cannot fall. I learned the secret as it was threaded, woman into woman into woman into me. My wrists rush full of your veins (you at the ankles of my budding devotion, you the ascending lotus flower, you the sinew of the mouth of lineage).

My name is a language, my name is a generation, my name is earth, my name is seven letters penned in the dirt.

My name is the name of the truth.

I made it split my tongue, this opalescent rain which fills my lungs. Wet this room at the center of my neglect, concave, dim; the white eyes of this dying celestial.

Fracture this calculated light where I hunger and crawl and thirst for the rivers, watch as my numbness scales every mountain if only to peel back the sky, death is but a kiss along the seabed of a dying moon. Teacher, read for me. If my words disturb you, feed your breath to the cells of my body until I speak again of gentleness, speak the name, all of the names within my name, embryos falling through my hands.

And we will turn our cold minds to emptiness; we will coax a taste for morning, begin to raise our faces from the dust.



// Gentle Lights, Bury Me //

And what will you do to dig up these bones when I’m still here, how will you feed me to the wolves who need my throat, teach me, grow me with their yellow marks and claws. Suddenly it is all black water in this garden, the water rises and churns, setting the tides on fire and I am swimming deeper and deeper still until I find those things I lost so long ago, milkteeth, crickets, the shadows I crawled into behind my childhood eyes, before the waste of the world became so tired and over grown, before it was the cold which stung like bees, before it was the heart I bled underneath my sleeves.

The people don’t come back, they walk onward, they walk past, I weep for I would do the same, and have. The spaces in between my lungs (naked lungs severed and hanging from trees) there are wings fluttering there, little bodyless commotions, threadbare ivory wings who meant to reach for the burned out sun but fell blind, and I swallowed them whole.

No one to tell in hushed dry tones, no one to tease open my waterfall lips, no one to paint their ears on again, only doors into an ancient unhinged soul who is always leaving and does not bother to lock up anything.

Unchained, unrattled, untethered, untouched. This flesh was made for letting

There is a dark moon which rises alone in every heart, it cannot move, only reflect, it cannot breathe. And as these nights cave the days in upon me, I do not reach, I do not reach. Bury me, all these beautiful little moth wing lights sifting down as I do not speak. All of these gentle lights burying me.


An excerpt from my book Luminae, coming this winter.

// Slow Blood //

What are the skies like where you are, has the new air been good for you. Blue as the veins of the ocean tide, sweet as the almond sun. The way you look through the way I looked away. Do you bathe yourself with the salt of the tears in my hands, drink your tea warm with honey and is it sunset by the window, or everywhere. I hold your motion in the poetry, feel blindly the depths of the things I cannot touch. You enter me and leave your heart behind. Do you taste my hair against your strawberry mouth and draw the purple shades of night down with your low dark eyes.

I miss the lifetimes I spent alone,
someone’s always calling
but no one ever calls me home.

Could it be that we all reach for something like wind to keep us alive when the rest of the world smells only of rot, remains, annihilation. No two souls have ever touched each other inside such gentle bruising. How your teeth never quite leave my flesh days after, the way my voice fills your mind, dampens your tongue, breaks wild against your muscle. How I pray for your healing as I do for you to ache until it bleeds. Nobody says what they really mean.

When you move your body it speaks of the secrets you keep from everyone but me. Lights coming up all over the jagged bones of darkness. The drench of this heady stolen quiet smothering the bedtime trees. Desire presses in my skin. Beating hot, beating slow.


// This Time Away, Away //

Maybe they will wait for a little while longer to see if the birds return. Mouthing their warm bodies against the hood of the cold. The turning of a doorknob in a crystal champagne room, fall your face into my hands, fall down the rabbit hole, fall up inside the stars. These words you take are the breath of me, my breath a mere illusion.

Please do not. my fragile blood cannot bear the chime of your laughter, that smile of yours will surely peel my skin from the silk of her cloth. It is dark inside the nest I built of shadows, the light and the darkness always forbidden and undressing themselves here, always one without the other, always both speaking at once.

The ticking of a clock: footsteps.
Time is running out
and in
on us.

When it all slows down we are made to face ourselves. It hurts like hellfire behind the eyes when the sun swells so. I used to write like morning dew and now I write like the gray grass beneath the dying, always trembling, always on the heels of the ashes of leaving. Drinking the hips of melancholy static, this is the way I was sewn into a body which never quite fits.

It will be love, I know, I know, it will be love which tears me away from you.
Love laid bare on the wings of a soul adrift, love the rain in the iron garden,
love the silent water bathing night among the reeds.