The pages on my heart
and the blood staining my soul
mirrors the countless stars—
Let’s make constellations
from my platelets.
As you push your way farther into the sheets
I will chase you down
in spite of my fear of small spaces
and of being enclosed in your eyelids—
I cannot stand to take myself away from you now
but it never existed,
this moment played on an endless loop in your head
a lapse in consciousness—
but I can no longer
- A Manipulation of Thought
I like to think you will read this in a cluttered room,
with your hand on your chin
and a lamp on the table illuminating the soft white of the page.
I like to think you will smile as you read,
because you will think I am witty
You will read this
in your personal place
I like to think there is a picture frame
containing small pressed flowers
that make you think of yellowed wallpaper
There is a clock ticking somewhere to your left
and that is strange, because
how many clocks have hands anymore?
But you are a magician in your own right
you speak words that conjure death
in a small way.
My poetry remains in the ashes.
The words will dance across your eyelids
as you blink in the sunlight;
you emerge from your hermit shell
a momentary mirage in the heat waves off the pavement
they are words they are these words--
The delicate flowers--
and the sunlight.
- Burning the Dollhouse as a Paper Lantern
You are meek, almost
humble, little bird.
Tell me, is that who you were designed to be?
Your mother leaves flowers at your door
like a tombstone
and she cries all the same.
Make them happy make them happy
I know there is a worm whispering in your ear
infecting the silver apple
there is a fingernail sliver of a moon tonight.
--He talks through headphones and broken binary
01001000 01000010... Hell I don't know what it means
they are switches like brain nervous endings
they fire 01010000 01010100 01010011 01000100
at a thousand beats per second
You are a paper doll you do not know how to exist
anymore. Light a candle you are beautiful in the flickering
send the flames licking the sky
a beacon to the one who loves
and leaves flowers at your shower door--
you are a fragrance divine
as your house goes up in flames around you
a watery grave your bathtub doesn't drain
but you were paper anyway.
The water was suicide enough.
- Love Songs from the Pillows
You are real like nothing else is;
like the god of bellows never was
beyond the stars and waves of ocean
crying out to sister moon
you are real like no one else is.
We've been waiting for days
and rather I've been crawling tearing holes in my knees
I am crumpled and worn out I am an old pair of shoes
but we mold together
two separate pieces of the same broken glass.
But we are real like no one else is.
I am not the same I am empty--
rather I am a goddess of the cemetery and no one seems to notice--
you plant flowers in the weeping bed of skeletons
and bury your face in my love--
we are an embrace of air and loneliness,
two separate pieces of the same broken glass;
we are real like no one else is.
Finally we come to rest beneath a peace and heaven
between a soul and the bedsheets we find solace
in a whisper--
you and I are a dream,
and we are the dreamers,
an embrace of air and loneliness--
two separate pieces of the same glass,
real like no one else could be.
- For Fear of Returning Home
I curl my hands up into little balls,
small concentrations of the frustration I'm boiling in.
I fold in on myself like a sheet of paper
I crumple and wrinkle
and I haven't spoken to you in a while, now.
I am a sad excuse
for a great many things.
But he loves me anyway:
saying those things are just things,
even if I have been through
"more than most people should."
And he still tries to talk to me
He still feels the need to tell me
things I would be better off not knowing.
"I liked cuddling with you,"
he tells me.
I collapse in on myself and forget how to exist.
We are traveling at 70 down I-55
tire treads and wooden crosses forgotten on the shoulder
and I think of the monks in Vietnam who
walk two thousand miles around a lake
falling prostrate at every third step.
And I think of how much easier that would be
than to pray at the side of the interstate
falling prostrate every third step
onto broken glass and all that litters
and glitters in the headlights--
and catches your tires as you slip into the shoulder
late at night when the moon is new and absent
and you are tired.
I think of how much easier it would be
falling prostrate every third step
down the fifty miles to my bed
than to promise myself that I will
wake up tomorrow at all.
I slept all day today, my love
and I know you are disappointed--
but sometimes, most times,
it doesn't really seem worth the effort.
I wonder what motivates a seedling to keep striving
for the surface at the promise of sunlight
after spending so long in the dark.
Is the sun even shining, my love?
Can you promise me that one thing,
that pushing through whatever
hell this is
that there will be sunlight when I break through?
I don't want to tell you--
your love scars the side of my leg worse than
his rape ever did--
but he haunts me worse than
anything before him
and I am afraid of going back home to look at
the God-fearing family that sleeps
The drops of sand
falling to the floor
of her hourglass
Is this hell?
Staring at the seat of your pants
I can see each thread of the denim.
Your deity lies on the sofa across from us;
this house is empty
except for the bed and your single barrel shotgun.
That wasn't me, I want to say;
you keep poor tempo with drums.
Is this hell?
You hold me close so I can hear you tell me
that you have to keep me away;
I saw your naked body by the knives.
This is hell;
we were going to have chicken tonight;
a one night stand salad of condoms.
I saw your naked body in the knives,
your naked body,
and the knives,
and a wild hog as I chased you down the road
as you drive off with your deity on the front seat,
and this is hell, I say,
this is hell,
and your naked body,
and the knives...
He was never your daughter,
not since the day he was born.
He was an identical twin to his sister, sure,
but your daughter? No.
I am dating your daughter, sir.
He has an assortment of ways to please me.
I love him, and he knows it;
he orders his dicks online to please me.
He was never your daughter.
Couldn't you tell from the way he looked
awkward in dresses?
The way he always cut his hair short?
He was never your daughter;
I am dating your daughter, sir;
but he is not, never was, a sister
to the brother who just wanted a hug.
"She feels like she's wearing the wrong decoration;
how would you like it if I put you
in a dress and paraded you around
in front of your friends?"
He was never your daughter, ma'am,
but you knew it.
He is not a lesbian, he's something different.
He is not your daughter, any more.
Certainly we all know
he wears things to hide his breasts.
And while I know what's down there in his pants
he won't let me see it.
He was never your daughter,
but I knew that.
I knew when he said, "FtM,"
that he was something different,
"I want to be a pelican
and have a bag for a face."
"Baby, baby, baby."
"Where's my dick?"
I've spent a month with your daughter,
and he cannot wait to tell it to your face
that he's moving out.
The day's works doing have been done;
the midnight caught in the eaves
the eve of morning is lingering in your breath:
Against my ears eyes flutter and there is no undoing,
there is no unbuttoning or unzipping of clothes.
The day is working doing and done;
there is a shaking in the leaves
as leave you move a lingering in your step:
And my heart lungs whisper soft lullabies like yesterdays,
there is no forgetting, or letting, or knotting.
There! fingers break and unravel and
Yet! still sitting on the patio she is having her think
fighting pigeons with stale bread;
stepping on fallen branches you snap like a twig.
To think! to behold! to fall!;
she is your tea leaves, she is your hollow tree;
she is your empty cup and broken knee;
she is your hello to strangers and your goodbye to friends;
she is, she is,...!
You are more like
a photograph to me,
a still-frame memory like that
picture of my dog when she was younger,
the one that was in an album
that got water damage.
You're like that.
Except your hair's a little sharper,
your tongue a bit wetter,
your lip ring might just be
more kissable these days.
Do not take this lightly, my love;
if I say, “I love you, my love,” do not take it lightly.
You know I fucked someone who wasn’t you, my love,
but I want to come home to you.
Do not take this lightly.
I am messed up sometimes, my love,
and you know this to be true, I’m sure you do,
so do not take it lightly, my love
when I tell you tonight that I love you,
when I tell you tonight that I love you,
do not take it lightly.
I do not want to burn that candle you gave me.
I'm afraid of forgetting
how Tuesdays smell,
or how it feels to fail at
all the things that don't matter,
and to let them go.
I'm afraid I might forget your smile,
your eyes in the sun,
the scent! the scent of lemon and leaves.
And memories linger like smoke
in my eyes but there is no one
else, no one else but you.
And I love you.
I am bad at keeping promises,
but I think I'll say this:
I'm afraid of burning that candle
because I'm afraid of burning you.
You have to understand
where I'm coming from, all right?
You see, I am this
little bright blue flower.
I am small but I am green and I am growing
up to the sun, yes, growing, though I am tiny.
And you uprooted me
carefully as all the others
when it had come time for uprooting,
but, then, you stood to a great height
I felt the impact. I know you thought
I wouldn't, but I did
and my roots were splayed out on the cement
mingled with dirt and tears.
I can cry, you see, did you know that?
And then, get this,
you stepped all over me.
Over and over and over you stepped on me;
you crushed me beneath your sole
until I withered.
And, you picked me up.
You gathered the pieces of me
into your hands,
your ungloved, ungreen hands,
carefully as all the rest when it came to dying,
and you put me back together.
I still want to ask you why,
because as soon as I had been
put back into the earth
you shut off the sun.
The god damned sun, you shut it off.
So I withered again.
You never watered me.
I waited. I waited and I waited patiently
and I thirsted.
My roots are thin as are
my cell walls, my leaves, my membranes
and my petals have slowly,
one by one fallen to the soil.
I'm trying to refertilize myself, but
I don't think it's working.
Petals and dried leaves aren't worth much.
Eventually my tears dried up.
my voice became hoarse and thin and weak
like the rest of me.
I used to sing to the stars at night.
I am a nightflower; my leaves drink the sun
but my petals bathe in starlight.
I am a nightflower
but I am in a closet now.
It smells of old sweat and dead things.
It smells like everything you
want to forget about,
all the secrets you don't like to remember,
all the people you prefer not to know,
I'm still waiting, you know.
Still patiently waiting.
Before you know it,
or perhaps after you know it, but too soon,
too soon all the same--
the men are scarce.
He took my hand in his,
his hand in mine we walked beside the water--
the moon reflects in the choppy waves
but light pollution dims the stars
and fogs his eyes.
Sometimes you still get it from a bullet
imagining fishnets around your
ankles and your dress
He sings and
it is a beautiful thing when I think about
everything has led up to this
but this will soon be over, and over again--
--pick up the pieces--
the lamp lies on the floor
and shards, the remains of an orgasm
still lingers in your pupils
but fuck you never liked it that way, anyway.
He tells me I'm scatterbrained.
I tell him I'm planning
Why are you bleeding why are you bleeding why
something to write but there's no
It's over, it's over, and over again.
I don't feel it, You say. And, pray tell her
name, my sir, that i may find she thee and prithee
Bear me off to southern sounds, fallow fields,
an altar ground, a garland rope of singing springtime snows.
this may be more than i can--;;
and i had such an awful dream last night--
you said, Bronwen, my love;
and i could not sweep her hair from the floorboards
beneath which you hid your porno mags from mice.
because you tell me about it.
you speak of gOd like dOgs & i am worthless coinage
in the sewers. the sewers find my dress still hanging from your bones.
your bones your bones your piano finger bones
kiss me again
until my lips swell my throat bleeds i do not want you to know how much i crawl spiderlike through the trails of hair in the drain as the autumn leaves the summer leaves the spring buds freeze over hell i am not i am not listening pan-drum please let me say this one last thing:;
he is your accordion player the organ player man who speaks fluent french and inflected english he is your accordion player on the pipes-----
and you say i do not feel and i reply,
this is too bad too late, chuckle replay as your fantasy walks through the door my team my team she is porcelain lovely see the perfume in your synesthesia colorblind goat footed grandiose Cesar with epilepsy she is your dream she is she is she is!
&meanwhile the trumpet in soul still plays solfeggio---
1 2 le 3 4 1 2 le 3---1 2 le 3 4 1 3--le 1 le 3 le 1
she is the discord of the seventh in the tenor line
she is membranes she is rain she is towels
LEIGH DAMN IT
if only if only you weren't so lonely i might call you mine and bring you back homely.
IF ONLY-----Charles weren't so busy while you
stare at silver spoons and cherub smiles
and cupid calls you home again.
follow my fingertips as i trace thin trails
of desire down your freckled chest
i don't even know you.
watch this as i draw thick lines of ink
in the palm of my hand
until there are only puddles of
i don't even know you.
sometimes the leaves outside my window
shudder against the shutters like my fingertips
on your chest.
&i don't even--
do i know you?
your eyes whisper lingering
on the liquid dripping down my
into soft puddles on the carpet--
(rain stains the ceiling tiles brown and bulging
and meanwhile the saxophone
plays the low end)&this is only the beg
this is only the&i don't even know you.
i don't even know you.
well, she said,
and there she took a
pause and a breath and shuddered
well, I don't really know, I don't
really want to know, I
and I knew it wasn't a matter of wanting
but a matter of needing and
she needed to know.
she needed and I said,
I didn't mean to--
and she cut me off;
I found myself daydreaming
of you in class and I noticed
she was saying, I didn't know, I
didn't want to know, but it
and I wept for her
I didn't tell her.
wild, and free,
and I know your wiles and
want to free your
hair from its restraint,
binding it at the nape of your
neck and let the wind into
your mind and show you,
show you there is nothing to
hide, nothing to hide except maybe
the unread text messages from
"where are you?"
if he can still hear me
Rise, every neighbor!
Hear the cacophony of dragon fire
and the pitter patter rain fall of disease
T T T T
pouring over your households this evening.
Catch that butterfly, there, boy!
And know that in your future you will be begging
to look as hideous as a moth
banging your skull against the roof of my trunk
as I drive away with your body.
You beg me
give me reason!
and I try, but it's so difficult
I don't want to live!
and what am I supposed to do to help
when you don't want the help I give?
And we plead to gaze at stars over the Causeway
going seventy in the sunroof as off in Norco
the refineries let go a blaze jealous of the sun.
The moon doesn't shine as brightly as I remember.
Maybe I was too young to understand light pollution
or maybe it's the gnawing away of the ozone
as my skin tightens and ages over my teeth.
Do you understand how permanent
Let me show you, this:
the vision you are trying to make me live through;
I will not let you force me into folding
your hands over your chest
while the embalming fluid grows stiff
beneath your cold hands.
I will not cry for you, if you bleed out your sorrows on a tile floor
or over a dark carpet
or crushed against the wall in your blue Mustang.
I will not cry for you,
but for the life you left behind,
the life you took, the life you stole
I have faced death with weakening knees;
I have knelt before the toilet whispering
please someone anyone
when it was too early in the morning for anyone to hear.
I have emptied the medicine cabinet of its promising contents
to find that nothing but
waited for me on the other side of ignorance.
and it rains lightly on Tuesday evenings.
Somewhere behind the doorjamb is a flute
being played by a breeze
through the window you left open.
The note you will never write is tickled by the wind
and a thousand sunsets later--
I do not forget you.
and all the dewbud roses fall silent in the sway grass breeze;
grasshopper and cricket fight over landing ... but what is that?
the pen leaves puddles of unhappy gravity on your pages
and you are nothing without her love
and her skin sweats blood in the fading sunlight of after-hours.