i'm sorry you find it necessary
to put other people's body parts
inside your mouth
like you're some teething mental infant,
or maybe you're trying to take the place
of the baby we're pretending never happened…
…fuck. i need a moment. .. …. …
fucking got you into this
so you think fucking will get you out?
it's fucking funny i have to flee the fucking country
to get free from your fingers' guilty grip
on a sad mind that can't fucking forgive himself,
on a mind muddied with so many mistakes
i get light-headed every fucking morning trying to decide
which regret to let ruin my day today,
but thank god you've always been there to remind me.
i thank that great guy in the sky
that you're always there
willing & ready
to rub it in.
maybe i just loved you too much,
& you loved me just enough
so i'd still do favors for you
& god isn't that what Shakespeare was talking about?
we were rarely a well-written romance
but we fucking NAILED tragedy.
& i told you that first night
as we talked over
some movie i didn't care about
in some language i'll never learn,
that i fucking hated musicals….well
you must've read my subtitles
because you still sing inside my head sometimes.
now i know why twenty-seven
is the age where
people bleed out in bathtubs,
or asphyxiate in the attic
swaying from an angry beam
with a face as blue as
the gown their mother wore
when she introduced them to misery
in a hospital,
or put a bullet to their busy brain
leaving a red Rorschach reminder
of their final moments
on the hotel room wall
that will only be seen
by a 42 year old maid
amidst a guilty type of jealousy
she doesn't understand,
or standing with shaky hands in a kitchen
emptying a bottle of aspirin on the counter
& greedily swallowing the little white teeth
following by gulps of water that feel like boulders
tumbling down a throat
with nothing left to say,
or even spreading their arms wide
like jesus on the cross or like a relative
at the airport waiting for a delayed hug
& jumping from the highest bridge or building
they can find so they can feel weightless,
it's funny how you pretend i was never there
i was a transparent terror
in the tale of your existence.
a dog-eared page stained
with paper-cut streaks of blood
& smeared ink between quotation marks.
once you made it to
the back cover you tossed it
into the fireplace like it was a bookshelf,
like it was always meant to be there.
but i hope it turned to smoke so quickly
& found a new home in your lungs
& i hope you coughed those little bursts
that i fell in love with at the beginning of every summer
when your allergies kicked in.
i want to write another book
no sequels. this is not a trilogy.
a brand new branching plot where we
just love relentlessly & forget religiously
those other volumes us young authors
hastily rushed to print.
we know what people want to read now
& we can be best sellers.
so you've got a heartache in your belly.
& as you casually told me
" it's about the size of a thumbnail
right now "
i looked down & realized
i needed to clip mine.
your eyes dimmed like theatre lights
when i closed the curtain
on your monologue
to tell you we couldn't keep it.
& i probably never loved you more
than those days where we would sit
thinking about how empty we were about to become --
& we went to that sterile building
with the bulletproof glass windows
& the chubby old woman,
using a blue blouse as a veil to cover the layers of
stress & years underneath.
she spoke to us through an echoing intercom
in a grave attempt to keep her distance
from our fingernail problem.
we got buzzed in & we waited &
we sat close but god you were so far away
& i reached out & grabbed your hand to pull you back in
& you looked over at me --
overpassed me --
& the ghost of a smile haunted your lips for a second….
they called your name, well
not your name…not the name i call you,
but the one your dad gave you,
& they told me i couldn't go back there with you
& i said i understood but i never will.
the waiting room filled with somber souls,
& we all pretended like it was just a normal doctor's office
but it was obvious who the better actors were
as some randomly burst into tears
like confetti poppers at a birthday party.
we all knew we were at a funeral but
they turned up the volume on the TV
like the quiche that Rachel Ray was baking
would make us forget the mistakes we were burying
& i remembered the picture you showed me
that looked like an x-ray of a jelly bean & said
" that's it.
that's what it looks like. "
& you stared at my face like you were trying to
memorize my expression in that exact moment
so you could dig it up whenever you needed to hate me again,
but then you came out of that door holding your belly
& i knew you wouldn't need to dig that up
because you would have no problem hating me
i need to start falling in love
stop idolizing every brave girl
who shows me the part of her skin
that rarely sees the sun &
waits patiently for my response………..
…..& i always inflate her ego
like a carnival balloon,
& in the coming weeks
i twist it into different animals.
a lion when i'm lonely,
a mouse to mimic misery,
but one day when i'm twisting up
the closed fists of some
metaphor of a memory
it pops & she's suddenly aware
of the clown.
but love is a dish best served
not at all.
skip the meal
& lose the weight of love
& the world seems so much bigger
& instantly you fit into places
you had never even tried before.
the feet that used to make those
distinct etchings in mud
like a tiny topographical map,
hauling that love around
like a bowling ball in a backpack,
those feet don't even touch the trees anymore
& the clouds envy your freedom
as they whisper pick up lines to the moon.
it makes me so sad
that you're alive & not in love with me.
that your existence persists
despite your ocean waves of interest,
foaming on the shores
of my subconscious.
but it's not like you SAY
you don't love me.
no, those tiny words would never squirt
from your bursting lips,
pink like a ripe grapefruit
that i've forgotten the taste of.
no, you've never uttered it
but i see it when i dive
into those brown cups of coffee
you call your eyes,
there's someone else's sugar.
someone else has sweetened them,
& you just expect me to drink from the same cup??
no. i have burnt my tongue too many times,
but the other orbs were blue,
like glasses of water,
& i could see through them,
& i knew you were a more muddy concoction,
like the blue transparency
of other women's water
gave me false confidence,
& with you i wanted some
& holy shit,
you got me good….
i didn't see all the lies crouched behind the couch,
that deceit with a lampshade on its head in the corner,
the fabrications pressed flat to the wall trying to blend in,
the dishonesty hidden behind the door
that all JUMPED out at me
one day when i came home from work
like some birthday party from hell.
doesn't feel complete, but i had to get rid of it.
i took a corpse
to the mall
(it was a religious experience)
& the weird thing is
& when i got into her
we hugged & kissed (like relatives)
but that was it
then she went stiff
a tattooed statue at the wheel
coughing up embalming fluid
amongst the cigarette smoke
i whispered out the window.
& you winced as we wiggled
between winnebagos & station wagons,
or like a mother
placing an infant
in a crib,
hand behind its head.
& she understated the overture
so i sort of never understood
we were ending
up as enemies
all before the engine
& it was winter but i was overheating
smoky breathing &
the words i couldn't reach &
the heaviness of my chest,
the weight of waiting.
but she never said another word
as we walked through the mall
& i floated next to her
like a ghost
or a balloon she was holding
& she grasped
at something new to try on
& let go of me
& i floated
i still think about you
every fucking day.
feet flat on the tile floor
eyes locked with myself in the mirror
foamy lips and the bristles of my tooth brush
methodically scraping memories of you,
residue of our relationship,
white plaque off white teeth
like it makes a fucking difference.
i grind the back ones down
in an attempt to forget you, i think.
hopefully one day i'll wake up
but now, as i gargle
i can see the face you would make
as i rubbed the head of my dick
against the inside of your belly button
trying to get it
to come out the other side
and sometimes i would
press on your belly
to see if i was close to breaking through
and your eyes would disappear
and you would open your mouth
s o w i d e
i could see you still had your tonsils
and i would go to kiss that
gasping mouth of yours
and you'd act like
i wasn't there
so i spit that ghost into the sink
and watch it linger there before
it has a chance to spill down
the pipes clogged with your hair
and i think..
...i'm gonna go ahead
and take down all the mirrors
in this apartment..
...as i blink at my reflection.
you're so gorgeous
in the morning
the sun can't even
spreading itself evenly
across your sleepy skin
in a way i can't even
get peanut butter to...
& i let the sun have you
& i watch you,
like a pervert wearing sunglasses,
as it kisses
i mean i knew you were into older men
he's more aged & damaged
than the planet that we're dancing on,
or drowning on,
& i'm jealous of his yellow fingers
lighting up the white
hairs on your belly
like his mourning dew defeats the dandelions,
but when i scramble
for your eyes' yolks,
you're already gone!
that--i--can--catch--the--theif---- --- -- -
but he sets ablaze my plastic wings
& i come crashing
trophy cases that i place you in
because i'm so afraid to touch you
in those moments
so i just whisper
in your ear
when your eyes are put away...
i've been having trouble holding sleep
since she slowly fell in front of me
like the golden autumn leaves
but i couldn't rake her up
quite quick enough
her season change was make believe
because she found a more familiar tree
she left me W I D E awake
but god, i fucking dream.
for 3 never-ending days
we soared to heaven's reaches
but she collapsed into an early grave
& was buried by the weekend
so she could sleep amongst the roots
the devil keeps beneath him
i'm in love with a fucking ghost
or a fucking corpse
or a fucking warped distortion of a woman
& that organ's omnipotent rhythm,
twisted with the weight of weeks
i've been distanced from her face & cheeks,
a scrambled, vintage, simple image
of feelings that did not exist.
a transparent carcass of her heart
with virgin valves & unchanged chambers
haunts my every aching body part
but leaves my lips to whisper prayers
& everytime i reach 'amen'
i'm attacked by that apparition.
it stalks me like an awful habit
she wants me with her in the casket...
since we've broken up
i've been loaded up
getting drunk & throwing up
swollen head all bloated up
from doses of the finest drugs
but it's never quite high enough
to forget your type of tired love
it keeps me anchored as i'm flying up
as i'm crowd surfing
on a cloud's surface
my head is drowning in the dirt
i'm ground to grains & feeling worthless
clay for brains & muddy urges
lead to vacant veins & vapor verses
a rehearsal for a solemn song
sedating the invading fog
while praying for the haze to stop
we both set the earth ablaze
from a different place
& the seas of trees
made ashy rain
& right where the equator lays
we licked eachother's flames
until we left the earth a charcoal marble
lost in outer space.
but spinning there
in burning air
& the awkward silence of despair
i think that we both realized
the oceans don't ignite.
i'm plowing through the crowded plains
all yellow grass & open veins
& belly laughs at better days
because i finally made a clean escape.
& i can pack a MEAN suitcase
stuffed with photos of your fucking face
& i'll abandon you in every state
leaving a polaroid in every place:
an image for each bridge & lake
that gives me visions of your lips & legs.
& by the time i reach those western beaches
my bags have lost a lot of weight
& i've erased all fucking trace
of the comfort of your fake embrace.
(( Joshua walks into the small diner by himself & stands obediently next to the "WAIT TO BE SEATED" sign. His eyes are casting shadows down his cheeks that blend into the subtle stubble that his long day created. Eventually a waitress comes over to him & he holds up one finger. They walk like a somber funeral procession to his booth, his grave, & he descends into it like a rigid corpse. He comes here because it is one of the few places left in the city to smoke, & he gets right down to business. The flick of his lighter is muted by the bickering coming from the booth behind him. ))
WOMAN: so do you still love me?
MAN: yes, but not really.
WOMAN: what does that mean?
MAN: well, it means i do, but not as much as i used to.
WOMAN: when did this happen?
MAN: yesterday...last week...
WOMAN: when, specifically? you still say "love" a lot.
MAN: i can't say, really. it's like waking up from a dream, covered in sweat and unfamiliar with your surroundings.
WOMAN: why are you sweating?
MAN: because of the dream.
WOMAN: no, your face right now. you look like you went swimming.
MAN: i know. could you hand me a napkin?
WOMAN: you still haven't answered my question.
MAN: another napkin.
WOMAN: you probably need a sponge.
MAN: i didn't see it on the menu...
WOMAN: so why didn't you tell me?
MAN: i didn't want to break your heart.
WOMAN: so you decided to stretch it out until it cracked under the pressure?
MAN: is it hot in here?
WOMAN: that's not your decision to make. it is MY heart.
MAN: well, you have to admit i had it on loan for a while...
WOMAN: WELL YOU HAVEN'T BEEN MAKING PAYMENTS!
(( A loud thud. Joshua looks up from the smoky haze to find a coughing waitress. ))
WAITRESS: to drink?
JOSH: an ashtray.
JOSH: there's no ashtray here.
WAITRESS: sure. and what to drink?
JOSH: coffee, black.
WAITRESS: and what to eat?
JOSH: i could use a bit more time.
WAITRESS: we all could.
(( The waitress disappears. ))
MAN: look, i never said i was right.
WOMAN: neither did i.
MAN: at least i am telling you now.
WOMAN: now is later than it should have been.
MAN: i said i was sorry.
WOMAN: no, you didn't.
MAN: well, i meant to.
(( A long period of silence & clinking plates. ))
MAN: i should probably go.
WOMAN: i am pretty sure you left a long time ago.
MAN: i'm sorry.
WOMAN: is there another?
MAN: another what?
WOMAN: if you don't love me, then your love must be somewhere else. you have to love something.
MAN: no, there's not. i've never been so alone.
WOMAN: that sounds terrible.
MAN: you will know the feeling soon.
WOMAN: jesus, the man behind us is smoking like a chimney...
(( Joshua puts his cigarette out. The waitress appears amidst the smoke again. ))
WAITRESS: have you decided?
JOSH: i don't think anyone has.
she has tear drops like treetops
& i'm breaking her branches
climbing her limp limbs
as they collapse in small splashes.
her tear ducts grow tree trunks
with roots tangled in eyelashes
& she counts every ring
so she knows when a year passes.
i am her magnifying lens
turning water to ashes
i help forget her forests
with fingers like matchsticks.
i burn her leaves like memories
& heat up all her habits
she hinders hope religiously
while i evaporate the damage.
her trees use words as fertilizer
stretching arms to freckled clouds
her buoyant bark a wet reminder
that gently decorates her mouth.
baby birds collapsed on concrete
i wonder if she gave them names
before they fell & became jelly
drenched in their own shit & shame
with limbs bent like accordions
after bursting from a broken egg
their infancy spread evenly
across the sidewalk's face.
& when the flies came floating in
to feast on bloated intestines
filled with food undigested
exploding out of rubber ribs
i wonder if the mother sits
watching from a skyward limb
mourning for her fallen kids
or if she's flirting with the worms
& already forgotten them.
2 years of separation
leads to reunions & dissections
of the shared heart we once betrayed
split symmetric down the chamber veins
& drained into a vacant maze
of muscle-coated misdirection:
from a gory war of self-destruction
to a boring morning-long discussion
on the proper functions of affection,
a lecture on the subtle pressure
of stitching missing years together.
so we descended through the memories
of manipulation tendencies
& our blended lungs breathed in relief
at our splendid self-discovery:
you're a different you & i'm no longer me;
thick skin grafts & habit transplants
transformed us to an image abstract
from a former siamese attachment,
our blurry split from commitment
carried independence infinite
& we soared more weightless through the clouds
with our orphaned organs on the ground
complex moveable pulley systems
consisting of rope
had hardened his heart:
that moveable block
a native of rocks
a kernel of nourishing corn
pumping starch to starving veins.
his naïve nerves reborn,
new to nature
where nothing is known
but the trumpets of judgement.
a society of contemporaries
with a common condition:
speak your latent conviction
while avoiding exhaustion by speech
(know the limit of the lungs),
so we accept the same transcendent destiny
of intense despair while it lasts
but not for nothing.
when we end up in the ground
do we still dream of the sky?
sometimes i get so alone in my loneliness--
an island in the dancing waves,
a dirtclod in a diamond cave--
i search for solace in your sagging breasts,
some purpose in your imperfection.
i use the ridges of your ribs' recesses
as momentary misdirection,
i indulge in the dimples of your lower back with
all intents of intense distraction.
but i'm sorry for my feelings fleeting
& my love not lasting past the weekend,
if i'm not tangled in your skin's dimensions
i'm in the trenches dispensing demons
(i murder habits like they're heathens).
& when it's time to wash my hands,
i rinse them in your innocence
& raid you like the villages
i plunder in the daylight hours.
i'm stunned at how your heart devours
what i run from like a coward.