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.
I think they are probably going to leave. It will be a thing you said as your eyes slid clear past them to the corner of the room, or it will be a thing you didn’t say when they looked to you for the answer you did not yet know how to give.
It isn’t their fault, of course, it’s just how they were built. How most of us were built. The cravings for fast, easy, beautiful things to numb the pain. The way they never turn their heads these days, you know that wasn’t how they came. I once met a man who could turn his head clear all the way around like an owl; he could do it without getting twisted up at all it was nonsense and so frightening it was inspiring.
We were born one way but now we have become the raging discomfort of what they have impaled upon us. The way you speak, the way you think, the questions you do not have the guts to ask, how much of it is your own? What would you tell them if there were only five bodies in the streets? If there were five hundred thousand men, women and children of every race, color and creed. Would that change the depth of your message or just the size of the audience?
What builds us up tears us apart. What is walking toward us is walking toward walking away.
Here they come with their guns and their poetry. Here they come with their sunburns and cures for the common ignorance.
And here is you with your hands all on my early grave. Here is you with your tongue all down my throat. Here we stand face to face without one fucking single thing to say.
I’m not sure when I fell apart but I must have. Because everyone I meet is handing me shreds of things I do not ask for but they seem to think I need.
Every way I turn I’m kicking up pieces of whatever this is which has shattered itself to morph into me.
I didn’t want it to be like this
you hanging by your teeth from my breast
and my not wanting to kiss you.
How the being of neglect walks alone through the hills
black cloaks and woodland creatures falling all around
the birds have come to nest the birds have come to die
for lack of air in my lungs.
I could watch you spinning for as long as it takes
to stand the earth still
and freeze the clouds overhead in place,
write to me of the darkness you see. I want
to read the words you choose.
I bathe in cool darkness,
shower and dress and tug at my
line my lips and my eyes and stain my cheeks
with the smut and the ink
of the darkness in which
we dare not between us
are you okay
it seems like the corners of your eyes
it seems like the way you hold onto my hand is
flowers dying on the cherry wooden table
next to a beautiful vase
by the window left
like curtains alone with the breeze.
up against the wall i thought i heard the sounds of time
footsteps coming down the hall
are you okay
when i’m in here they don’t tell me anything
the carpets are greensea and the dust
chokes the daylight.
i’m turning in my sleep
footsteps leaving down the back stairs.
screen your calls, you have no more to say but
i am waiting and the calls cannot get through
i’ve disconnected all the lines
not knowing is not better
(are you okay?)
but i’m afraid there will be no answer
so i keep the questions folded in small creases
inside my paperfoil heart.
i’m okay i’m okay i’m okay.