// Who Are You To Do This //

How could you
let me watch this warm immaculate sun sliding its heavenly white up through dark trees
and how could you let this beauty invade itself inside my burning flesh.
How could you let me gaze up into the misty galaxies
and see everything I ever begged for as a child
come
true.
Who are you to walk through the eye of the needle and pierce my blood.
How could you let this happen, the way the fear unlocks the chains threaded through my teeth, the memories of hunger which used to snake themselves around my neck.
How could you let this ecstasy happen in plain view, out in the open meadows, in the open wounds, under the gaping cloudless indiscriminate sky, this sadistic magic, this reckless radiance, this cruel rising sun they raise up from the graveyards of the stolen mind.
The way you turn away from me is the way I am trying to learn again how to move. Downtown trains speed by in slow motion like nightmares and the tricks up my sleeve have all been forcibly removed. Who are you to be so goddamn gentle, who are you to touch my disturbance so smooth.
Where were you when I needed the sound of your madness.
Why must I sit among the red rose gardens scratching my nerves with her thorns; why would you deliver me to these black sins crawling,
just to loosen the reins I had on life,
on death,
on the blurred images repeating themselves in the mirrors down the hall.
I have written so many words and mishandled so many more than you ever cared to read.
Who are you and why have they let you in?
You see how I try to pin the butterflies to the ivory ocean waves in my hair
and all they want is to be allowed to fly.
Why do I do this thing where I try to keep what keeps me from falling apart. Should we not all run wildly toward the things which unravel us and instead give our undying gratitude to the ones who rob us blind.
Take these knives and thrust us apart at the seams. Who are you to keep the scars and the stars intact.
Is it not the seams which collect us into anguish, is it not the way our tired eyes close over our afternoon shadows which cause our disfigured lovers to look like an iron oasis of doorframes in the floor boards.
When I was strong you were desolate. When I was torn you were standing on top of a windy hill singing and pulling the swollen rain down along the rabid fires in the midst.
When I needed you you were not there.
So how could you let the sun
rise again.
How could you slope this miraculous new dawn across my face
and leave me alone
with the bloodstains on my knees.

.

.

 

// Looking Glass //

What would it take to touch the face
the one you hide away,
everything I cannot stand about the way you move
lives here on the dark side of my shoulder in
all the days which mark with red the end.

As the scrapes glide down the thin cell walls
of my fragile
mind, I am made to come apart
and yet

I am only washing my knees with
small tears at the feet of it.
Whatever this is,
believe me.

Wherever we need to go,
take me.
We have been there before (we have been everywhere
we just couldn’t see it was forever) and we

know the finger streets in the palms
of it
and it knows our gravel stone
hearts bleed well.

Whatever this is calls to me from the
holes in your eyes.
It contains and contaminates everything we
cannot bear to

speak about.
Please forgive my dying mouth but,
my love, this quiet is becoming so
loud.

This crimson world crawling upon my lungs
is crumbling, ashes to ashes
dust to dust and I
am afraid I do not know how

to count backwards from
I might
be losing you.

.

.

// With You //

I know they will take you
and I will have to let go
of everything I ever built, everything
that mattered
more than everything.

So this is the aria for the lengthening of tenderpain,
this is the sorrow which is keeping the
the skies above
from alighting upon the earth.

This is life running her chainlink vacancies
through stale hotel rooms,
racing my bloodstream
over the hills which eclipse my pale moonbody
in the bruised desires of night.

What they cannot know
is that hidden inside me, of course,
is you.

And this is a language you have
always known. There are no words
between us.
Listen deep for its
singing, listen with all of your
empty pages.

Listen for the coming darkness.

Reach with your eyes and
take in her static
dressing gowns.

I am within the voices. I am within the faces
you see reflected at the windows
of a time gone by.

The tides are the beating of my heart
curling and receding upon your breast.

Wash the sheets and keep the curtains
closed and know by the firelight
eternity
is home.

Inside the secrets inside the stars which you have not yet met,
there I am on the edges
with you.

Wherever they take you, my beloved,
there they will take me, too.

.

.

 

 

// the bones of the artist //

I love that you do not shy away from your humanity,
divinity,
possibility,
uncertainty.

I love that you move into them, inhabit them, crawl inside them and open up your soul before them, allow yourself to become what they are in full tragic erotic chaotic bloom.

It takes my breath away to know you let them fill you, emerge from you, surround you,
have you,
have you,
have you.

And in that holy space, in the infinite spread of that rarely glimpsed suspension, you are as still as you are in motion. You become the flesh and blood of every creature ever born into this madness.

You allow their wisdom to touch you everywhere.

When I see you, I feel all of this written across the sky inside my heavenly earthen body.

Because I know in the secret chambers of my wild heart that which you know in yours:

that if it is not tearing at the bones, it is not poetry. 

.

.

// face at the window //

Forgive me, beloved,

for I know not what I do

with this terrible

overwhelm of beauty

before me, beside me,

pressed at the doorframes of my

deviant mind.

Her soft body maddens the veins,

mutilates the heart,

she dwells

and swells within me.

~

And I am afraid this is who I am,

this bend in my wrist toward crooked things;

the way the pain pins her mesh sick wings

to the whispering floorboards.

Is this who I am.  These expert invisible hands.

I am troubled of this knocking

knocking

knocking

knocking

against the spine cage.

~

Disrobe me as the moon clutches at the

breast, at the stomach, for absolution.

I am afraid this

must be my nature,

the threading of my distorted face,

for this howl floods the house with silence

but never does she leave me.

.

.

.

// a taste for curious things //

You are only love, a child of the underground, flower of the morning carving images on the walls all night; soft petals dripping from your heart and your thighs and your feet, cold are the hands which once held me.

To sleep is to breathe oceans through broken windows, to leave is to return, to break is to be rebuilt without bone, without walls. In the depths of your bruised ribs I am swimming, I am changing from sea creature to animal to woman to lover as you paint my lips from blue to lavender to vanishing.

This fervent greed which laces his gruesome tongue through your palms, which suckles the wrists of your newborn skin, it is passing, passing, passing through you, you the arms of a finely crafted instrument, you at the beckon of deliverance, glistening nude in the bronze cured sun.

Would you kiss me here in this baptismal fire. Would you and I – the way we taste like salt on the froth of a moonlit summer, the way we plant our ivy gardens beneath the rings around our fingers – would we turn out to be the end of every silent war, the end of the currency of blood, would your chest to my chest be the end.

You are safe, you are full in your emptiness, you are listening and this, beloved, this listening for the fluid stars in the womb is the promise of our kingdom to come.

I would trade everything I wish I could become for a taste of you.

You, closing like a flower, lips together, legs together, hands together, the hymns and wails of all the world sewn together since the beginning.

My only song is your prayer unspoken.

My love is the echo of a word worth believing.

You are fading because you look like me, and I am fading, too.

.

.

.

 

// eaten up by nothing //

Legs the length of comets and bones to match but I wonder if you’d let me touch you where it would actually make a difference. It would hurt so terribly – you and I and you in my hands, trembling. And I would stay.

I would collect your salt water scraps of dignity, shards of splintered faith to my breast, to my stomach, to my veins as we pour forgiveness into the torn sides of the demons climbing the walls of the mazes in your mind. Step into me.

How I would clutch you, how you would feel it in your brow and your gums, in your lungs, your thighs and your feet, my climax just a molten aftertaste. How I would like to unhinge this wretched jaw from your skeleton heart and heal you by the grace of a God you buried lifetimes ago, with the yellowing animal bones of a past they seem to think you had but you don’t recognize when you look yourself in the eye.

The mirror on your hands is lined with dirt, crooked. She’s brutal because she’s blind but how could they, how could any of us, how could we ever hold the reflection of those heavy heaving eyes. I’d like to caress your sadness and stay with it a while.

A few drinks as dusk turns to orange pepper evening, a cigarette in your mouth through bedsheets on fire.

To touch you at all seems so unlikely now, though I’m not one to give up, not on love, not on anything with as much promise as there slips from the holes in your tired lies.  Spider webs wrecked, rebuilt; life regenerates, holds the misty dew up to the light of the moon. There is a resistance in your fabric, you wear it like desire and a bloodstain on the curtains. Wounds, blood without bleeding, plush summer mouths shoveling snow on the curbside of winter.

If you would let me do this the way you never thought you’d want it done, I promise beloved, I am only as forward as you’ll come undone.

Around my ankles grow vines of hopeful innocence.  Around my wrists one thousand thorns collect my nightmares and I am waiting on the other side of the wall; I am yours as long as you imagine me here.

I know it hurts, I know the way the spine of the pain stays alive while the rest of the body’s room spins dying.  Stay.  Stay with me. Stay busy with me.

Tears on the bathroom floor, laughter long run away from my throat. The truth still dances where everyone’s afraid to look.

Vulgarize me. Kiss me harder than you can stand. The force of this birth. We are so brave in our fragile skin. You and I, we are not like them, they do not seethe.

You and I and you in my hands, trembling.

We don’t take the shape of what we are becoming.

We take the shape of what we’ve always been.

.

.

// night swimming //

Maybe it’s just a slow ride into oblivion under a purple evening sky. Wicked trees. Maybe we’re just a slow dance from growing into our wings; from becoming quiet keepers of all the memories we left behind tucked into the backseat of the cars we wrecked and realized we were not invincible.

As you braid my hair I’m saying silent Hail Marys because I’m not sure what you believe or what I believe but I can’t stand it if that’s what tears us apart. But we are always being torn apart.

Time is eternal erosion, destruction; moth wings, tiny and thin but they never stop beating away at the ribcage.

I know it’s cold but pull over and let’s get out right here, stop the rush of what can only continue and hold my hands until we become each other’s shelter from the raging storms in a wild mob of strangers’ eyes.

You are touching on my neck but what makes a poet is her breathing, which builds and releases out of sync with the rest of the known universe. I’d like to make it easier for you but this is the stuff that explodes in me. What is the use of comets, why do our souls cry out when we watch blackbirds flying against the night sky?

What makes a poet is mostly inconvenience and the backhand of truth when you thought it would be soft milky breasts and crimson wet kisses.

In a flurry of inspiration, I purchase a real clock, with arms that sweep around across three images of golden threadbare butterflies. Everything runs, runs out, runs away from you, so much of what we love runs so fast it flies. I place the clock on the opposite side of my writing desk across from a vintage hour glass. I’m sick to death of technology.

The grains of pure white sand begin their falling against the rusted sounds of ticking.

Time echoes time, minute by minute we become reflections on either side of the glass.

So many ways to remember we are lost, to remind us that this life is always happening behind closed doors.

.

.

// no one but me //

It’s okay to feel sad I guess when the morning light is far too critical and I’m holding my head in my hands to try to keep breathing, keep creating, keep hope swirling underneath these white shallow limbs. Where did the beauty and the mystery go? Why are there so many eyes and nothing to show for having witnessed all the mindless tragedy of this world?

I hear them shouting but cannot see down the train tracks to warn them, it’s foggy over the hills in my chest and it’s all too loud, all of it, most of all when you hear the silence alone. A ticking clock, dust on the typewriter in the back of my throat.

I used to trust you to do that for me. To hold my hands when I got lost in the clouds in my coffee but I guess I was always a little selfish, mad in ways only you could make an aphrodisiac.

As I stand in the doorway I’m trying to remember the poetry I wrote years ago, before it ever occurred to me that being a poet would change the way they thought about me, it was urgent prose but had more meaning than that, or so I’m fairly certain. I don’t worry as much about my skin anymore, I’m told I look much younger than I am, to which I do not respond because I don’t think we mean the same thing even though you are smiling and I am trying to make you feel less uncomfortable. Mostly, I’d rather not be seen.

I know I gave the words everything I had, all that blooms inside my pink sky body only makes sense if the page is there to catch it. I know it’s hard for you, I know I move too slow when you need to chase the wind; I know I drink wine too early and question so many things you refuse to talk about, or can’t. But I’m here too, last I checked, and all this has to get out somehow so I’ll keep on with the writing, the terrible fire I warm myself next to and curse as I dance in the flames.

Feathery snow is falling from trees and I am only myself so often. Footsteps shuffling down the hall, too many old hair brushes cluttering drawers, the pages of my favorite books folded into exotic birds. I paint my lips the color of a clean slate and the plastic things you cannot forgive but make love to anyway.

What do the shadows think of when they fall against the ending of days that don’t seem to move? The headache continues down my spine; I’m drinking tea with fresh ginger in a room which bothers no one but me.

.

.

 

// slide //

Where is Bukowski and didn’t
he predict this:
brown sugar bread crumbs placed
upon thick pink tongues
draped over the broken backs of these
delirious days.
In your bruised hands braiding through my gray stale hours
there are blue painted iron doors in the floor
and crushed bitter wine
bursting from
dark wet seed.
I open my mouth but shut off the scream.
~
Twilight, bewitching and twisted, is awash in childhood dreams
hanging from empty subway cars,
alone in the night, hurling themselves into nowhere
in particular.
We count eleven million stars and each of their oceans,
one by one for centuries,
trace constellations on each others bodies by the light of
pale bedroom eyes, breathing along my hips
in the tides of full orgasm,
trembling by a river of moonlight
flowing through your chest.
~
Strange the texture of innocent things
the mind will not remember,
the heart will not forget,
and my fingers can’t stop making the shape of you.
Cigarettes. Shadows. Hauntings. Mirrors. Halls.
A girl betrays herself
too young,
beautiful landscape
burned by too many suns
as they orbit split knees.
~
Statues. Angels. Graveyards. Nudes.
The afternoon heat is the swell of late lilac blooms
as they lay you on a bed of sacrificial ivory lace
touching you tenderly where it aches;
your cravings like sweet peaches
drowning in cream,
I watch you swallow hungrily such an elegant song
before the kill.
Folded and unfolded exposure,
heavy brocade curtains, impenetrable veils upon the wind;
I hide for days in a quiet room for castaway souls.
~
Across the tops of street lamps the enemy speaks
in a vocabulary of cruel needles:
sharp, clear, seductive destruction;
you say they never told you this
but the truth is when they did
you missed.

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