Oh, sweet lithe creature!
You radiate light
And a playful arrogance, harmless rebellion
Your smell is clay and moss,
Cigarette and cologne and Society
We burn burn burn through the night
And share sweet desire and bitter coffee
But you turn on your heels
And go. Go!
When I see you again we'll be ghosts
I'll blush and you'll tell me something dry
I'll want you to wrap me in your arms,
To feel your breath on my neck again.
"I'm sorry. Take care of yourself, Cailey."
It's placed squarely in the upper corner.
I'll send you away,
And wash my hands of you forever.
You'll tell quite a tale-
And it may be honest,
But it's certainly not true.
My gold hair still reflects the sunshine
Back to your wet but empty eyes
That tell your earnest, bumbling mind
To take the straight and narrow path
Directly towards oblivion.
Camel Blues protruding from the right hip pocket
Of your too-tight skinny jeans
Containing the gracefullest legs
You're a tower.
You've left your mark on me
In more ways than one
And I fell to pieces, leaking colors through the cracks
Like none I'd known were there
But you aren't going to pull me close again
Or run your knowledgeable hands
Over my worn-cotton white skin,
These pale little fingers
Are lavishly decorated:
Dried clay soil
Around and under jagged stubby nails
A pink crescent-moon scar
On the third one's second knuckle,
India Ink dried in drips and streaks
Deep whorl prints
Like no others- snowflakes, IDs
And slow to heal,
Painful to the touch,
These omnipresent little slashes,
We prepare peasant food:
Base for boiling fish stew
Cooled in the snowbank beside the brown ale
The pineapple pies
and the venison steak.
Proclaimed the paper-cutout placard on the table:
Clothless gray plastic-surfaced round.
In this immense faux-stone (concrete?)
Faux-English country house
We escape to the top of the stairs:
The noadmittance sign is no deterrent.
The iridescence of your skirt is captivating
But all I can remember is living in a castle like this one
When I was a little blonde nothing
And feeling the way I do now,
As if there's been no transformation, no progress.
Maybe there has,
And this band must be pretty great
To keep this many old white people dancing so enthusiastically
For such a long time:
An ancient one with a Christmas-themed vest
Foxtrots with a once-lady in a polyester pants suit
Thin hair dyed roofing-tar black, suede kitten heels clacking.
The world's a damn strange place.
Even if we feel like we aren't quite awake,
We'll adjust our stockings and fill our plates
With that mystery-shrouded gelatinous citrus dessert
And our plastic cups with apple cider, light beer, 7-Up.
Endure a few more minutes on this rented dancefloor with me
Because they're playing loveshack
And who doesn't smile at the mere notion of the B-52s?
Hearing the high-register flute tones
Drift up from downstairs-
Not sweetly like the angels' song
Or gently like a bird's:
But forcefully, repetitively,
Like the sound of a car's anti-theft alarm,
Has slowly heated my mind past its boiling point.
And now the walls are closing in
And the water's running black from the tap
And it's dripping down your cheeks
Flowing like your endless grievous tears.
We can't accomplish anything we set out to do
You call me and we babble for an hour
You'd had something important to say
But it never came out-
Your plans like the half-formed sneeze that looms imminent
And then inexplicably disappears forever.
This morning drenched our little world-
Fogged our vision driving in,
As the wind blew the water sideways in sheets
Which threw themselves against the windshield:
The wipers fought a losing battle:
Stepping out the driver's side door
Was like having walked the plank
And reached the end,
Emerging into nothingness,
And then endless water.
Wool socks were damp for hours
Souls were exhilarated, voices tittering ironically joyful grousings.
"Can you believe this weather?"
How can one as pure as you
Endure these times, emerge unmarked?
You seem to live apart
From all this pain and loss
Evil and filth
I can't extricate myself
From this quicksand-sin
And none have trod upon your heart;
It's still full of helium and joy
And sweetness and light
And love- for me!
Laying here with you
Under the paper-thin gossamer canopy
(Providing protection from nasty dreams)
I think how much I love you,
I roll over and kiss your clean white linen shoulder
I breathe in your sweet smell.
The tentative contact of your full smooth lips,
Your quick shallow breaths and cold white hands
Are more wonderful than the touch of any other.
The candle burning softly on the nightstand
And the musicians singing from the corner of the room
Bring us to a better place;
We're all we need.
Things aren't what they were
And they won't be.
And we're everything
But we aren't anything.
Your hard square hands
Won't move over that scrawny frame
With its gently rounded hips and healthy little breasts
And the cold little chapped pink lips
Won't brush yours: warm, soft, full.
Still, something from you pulls me
The way the moon tugs on the sea
And I know you know how much we took for granted.
Such solidarity we created
On the hilltop with the cows
But without inhaling tar
We have come.
The cornbread with anise and wheat berries
Cruncy and sweet
Slathered with strawberry jam
Was such a luxurious meal
For us two tired wanderers.
We're left over from the '60s
Living in the past but in the moment
Listening to MamaTried (well, she did!)
And crying over WharfRat
We model turtles, Celtic knots, a moose
Dream of yesterday and tomorrow
Say what we mean
Take a misguided turn driving home
And our minds meander to slumber and internal illusions.
You hold the short balsa match
Between your stubby pale fingers
The bitten-down nails painted black-cherry-hot-blood red.
And you tremble.
Strike it- sulfur's tangy odor permeates the air.
Your soul rattles like dead leaves
On the end of a long blight-stricken oak branch in November.
Skin, it hisses like firewood left out in the rain
And reddens like your cheeks did when your lips first touched his,
When you first saw his skin gleaming white
In the Autumn-chill moonglow.
Now it blisters, white and swollen, tender, sore.
And you feel you've accomplished something, moved forward,
But there's a faint voice
Calling to you from the back of your consciousness
Telling you you've gone down the wrong road entirely.
You'll be wearing an old grey pea-coat,
Buttoned tighter than my grip on the wheel
On my way over,
My hands trembling
Like something small, trapped, scared-
As I was speeding off toward freedom, security.
Your scarf will keep your neck and chin
Protected from the damp cold night the color of slate.
And there'll be Johnny Cash playing:
And I'll take my place against the rail.
You'll sidle over to where I stand
But you won't stand too close.
You'll smell like moss and musk and sandalwood
And slowly you'll slide closer
A deliberate, serpentine motion.
Our hips touch.
You go red and my hands tingle
As your fingers glide into their place between mine,
Warp and weft.
I'd risk it all right now.
We've been driving for hours
And I'm hypnotized
By the endless white dashes
Hi-Reflection government-grade paint.
They rush by
And they're innumerable, extending endlessly in both directions
Each of them someone I've met and forgotten.
I become distraught
Thinking about all of the missed opportunities ,
You tell me it's all in my head;
I'm being ridiculous
But I can't take it anymore.
So we stop at a diner.
The warm rolls,
Coffee: burnt and bitter,
Big plate of greasy meat and fries
Restore me to my humanity
And remind me that we're all we've got.
Are red and swollen
But still they're spectacularly lucid.
Your gentle little moon-white hands tremble
And clutch at your knees.
Your sweet, soft voice shakes
As you tell me what you've needed to
And what you've carried far too long.
The words had been heavy stones in your quiet body
But they flow out freely from you as water from Christ's punctured side
Become almost nothing
Dissipate like smoke.
You're freed from your burden
And we hold each other and sing
"It's Gonna Be All Right," as performed by Dawes at the TLA 11/4/2010.
When you get home,
You won't help me in the kitchen.
So you walk into the living room
And I get an idea.
I call your name
And you come back in and see me there,
Shirtless, stirring cookie dough.
We end up on that putrid brown sofa
Your arms around my waist
You kiss me until my lips are raw, and...
After, we lay there with your arms around me
And you fall asleep, your breath heavy and slow.
You're dreaming now,
About that pretty girl from San Fransisco.
I roll over and it wakes you up
And we don't know what time it is
But I don't care if we're late
Because you're warm and you smell so sweet
And you kissed my forehead like you did the first time.
I know you wouldn't stop me if I tried to leave
And it kills me
But I'll always be here with you
Even though I know I should be with him
With his camel blues and his tight jeans and his argyle sweater.
He's perfect and
We both know it.
You're nothing and I love you.
Is so refreshing
Like a long cool drink of sencha
With honey in it
On the last day of July
When the weather feels like Hell
And to hear your voice
Was what I needed most just then.
Hold me in your arms:
Long, slender, pale.
Brush your lips on mine:
Rosy, warm, gentle.
Kiss me hard, now:
Passionate, forceful, deliberate.
And in the rain, my hair curls
So you run your fingers through it
And I can't love you any more than I do now.
I've got my bare feet on the floor
And I'm running my toes through the high-pile plush
And it's making a noise like the ocean does
When it rolls over that pure white Key West sand
We laid on back when times were good.
We're listening to Fairport Convention
And you say something about TamLin
And I think about how you're like him:
Once I saw you as so noble, knightlike.
And now you've become this evil thing,
Stealing wealth and purity from high-class Christian girls
(Almost always blondes).
So I decide that when the faerie queen shows up
To pay her tithe to Satan
I'll break the clasp of my arms around your form
And abandon you to your well-deserved fate.
But then, grey elf,
Your dewy eyes catch mine
And in my weakness I know I'd hold you tight
In the face of Lucifer himself.
So I stay here with your fingers intertwined in mine
And our palms sweat in the heat of our stuffy living room(dying room?)
But we don't let go;
We wouldn't for anything in this world or Hell.
Trying to get through
This endless pile of papers,
I brew another pot of coffee,
Smoke another cigarette,
Think I might be dying (for good measure)
And close the door.
But all I can think about is you
Out there on the sofa
Under the yellow-and-white afghan
Shooting up and watching that old telenovela
So I give up.
And I grab us a couple of PBRs
And we lay there together,
Talking about your metaphysical journey.
I say something funny
And you go all red
And you hit me so hard
The wind all comes out of my chest.
I'm upstairs on the bed
And there's eyeliner down past my cheekbones.
And you come in
And you kiss my forehead
And I close my eyes
And I give in.
Waking up with your arm slung over my back
Incense on the table burning down to nothing
Like the remnants of my life,
I can't remember what made me love you.