In the woeful weary aftermath
of you and I combined
after binary and
misery and renewing bad habits
like nailbiting and fretting allnight,
there is only the scrape
of a briefly-stolen snowshovel against ice.
Attest to inane activities,
the broken English grammar.
Undignified are we, you and me.
Sorted are we, you and me.
Soul-sifter and shape-shifter.
Priorities askew, they say,
knowingly, knowing me.
We will be okay.
i. When my skin is clinging to yours,
the valley between your shoulders is where I want to find a home.
that you are more than I can give you,
but I will always try.
I may cry, but mostly I'll be very quiet
and can never tell you why.
Sometimes my grip will slip.
I will try to hold you and falter,
but I'll re-attempt as long as you'll let me.
Sometimes someways I'll run away
because I've made myself a runner but
Love, know that I'll always come back.
Please let me watch you grow old.
I'll do things with you that scare me.
Be the heartbeat that guides my steps; I'll be that for you.
One day, our pulses will find a mean.
ii. iloveyou and it means
the churning organ within my skull is mine.
the words grow strongerstrangerfaster simpler.
i would rather be crushed than smother you.
you are the meeting of elbows and knees andandand
and, sadly, that
i've liedandlied and lied to those
on whom i wouldnotcouldnot rely.
that i've reached my destination alone
& mostly intact,
and that it's time for a new journey.
iii. To me, you are love in skin and sweat and teeth and warmth.
You are love in chill and fire and storm.
Toxic & intoxicating with potential.
You are the gasp of a lighter
preceding its purpose.
iv. I know things.
I know you.
Somehow, I know you.
I knew the rhythm of your breathing
before it lulled me to sleep in your arms.
I knew your heartbeat before we kissed.
You are a simple man with simple desires.
You've told me these things in the dark,
and I am distrustful because
nothing that is can be simple
except for you&I;,
and it is good.
v. Fuse with me and form a sea.
Stake claim to my heart.
Merge bodies with me.
Bodies of water should sing water songs.
We will succumb to our sirens
and hope between waves
that the next
for the perennial one who's here to stay.
Three hands around my wrists.
My arm can break three ways, I say,
and they laughing say yes, three,
but your breath can catch a million times and
for a thousand reasons.
They whisper my name in the night and
push me down by the neck, and dust is
floating carelessly through these shrinking airways.
Hair tangles in their hands.
I cannot extricate myself from these men
biting at my knees like a cement floor.
Too full of emptying to call for help,
too close to hell in heat.
SHE ALWAYS KEPT HER PILLS CHILDSAFE CAPPED & CUPBOARDED TILL THEY FOUND A BOTTLE OPEN ON THE TILES. THEY FOUND HER ARM STABBING THROUGH THE CURTAIN. THEY FOUND THAT HER ICE LIPS DID NOT TWITCH. SO THEY CARRIED GREY OUT SKINTIGHT TO BONE & THEY BURIED GREY DEEP WITH HER SAD. SHARED IN BINARY TO STRANGE. SHARED IN STRAIGHT BY ENVIOUS ANONYMITY. SHE CARVED HER ANKLEBONE WITH THREE LONELY LINES. SHE CARVED HER CAVED SKULL WITH SHAM & SHAME. SHE SHADOWED GREY EYES & PINKED GREY LIPS & WALKED FURTIVELY ON FEET THAT SHE HATED TO GO WHERE SHE WAS UNWANTED. GREY SILENCE. ASHED CLOUDS. STONE CROSSES. ROTTING PETALS. BLOODLESS COLD FEET.
this is cliffjumping shallow. this is
singing in the rain. this is committable
this is waking on an hour’s sleep.
churning inside, numb out. pathetically
this is a drunken night where all’s
ablurr but pictures phrases flashing sounds
remain to reconverge.
this is a poorly-written novel with
a stupid heroine for whom we know it all works out,
except it won’t.
this is last year, the year before, the year to come.
this is it. this is it. this is it. this is all.
:. because of the perennial man.
and then at last
I thought I had you
but you were never mine.
You belong somewhere
unshaken, where rocks are
(big rocks, that a thousand years
fail to pebble)
and where water flows but
never leaves except
to float and dance away because you
because you love (and love and love)
like the water cycle,
and never running out
until your world implodes and
then comes the desert
(to which you belong)
until the flood and briny
blood heal, heal,
steal your love away
to some new reservoir
(though you like us damaged).
Yes, I thought I had you,
but you are timeless,
and could I hold you an instant,
you need end
in a herricane
and I won’t stand for that.
*(water escapes my grasp)
You and I were born in a town where
cobwebs hung over the streets
and pedestrians were just hung over.
I wish I could say one way or the other.
I told you many times over breakfast
but my bitten lips lisped lies.
What I meant:
1. I cannot feel cozy while standing in a puddle.
2. I watched your fingers trace my scars and call them beautiful.
3. I fall in love quickly when I’m running from something.
4. I’m sorry.
We set up our Skype accounts together in an orange coffee shop
and promised skies and seas. I said once I wanted to marry you.
It made you happy. Please merely concede
that I made you happy
more than I made you sad.
A giant animal. A box of bus letters. A photograph. A pebble. Deflated balloons. Crumpled petals. The stories I try to keep straight.
Thank you for miles.
A locker full of lilacs.
Telling me that my smile when you said his name
:. because you made me brave enough and i strung you along.
Breath sifts through your furrowed ribs.
My hair winds on your chest
like twisted seaweed. You lock your fingers in it.
look at me:
I am the moon’s reflection,
chalky white and wavering,
and your fingers know my face in the dark.
I am a tramplefaced reflection,
chalky white and wavering,
and I don’t know what to make of
your gentle fingers
how they’ve memorized my face
in the dark.
Tendrils wispy, rainstorm-tousled,
buildings etched and dark
point her toes towards her adversary, and
she stares her down.
When the shutter bit her deeply,
she was pale again.
Red dress. Night hair.
Weeping Willow, she
went with eyes that
whispered and legs that
tiptoed and lips that smirked.
A strap slipped off her shoulder.
She stared her down
till her sight blurred over and her
skin was flame & ash, till her eyes had
melted down her face.
She stared her down till dawn.
Trembling hands & twitching fingers.
Your arms are a frontier
where I am not an echo, not a rustling, not a mirror,
but a clamour,
unhollowed and hallowed.
And in the night, we brush noses
and in the night we play footsies
and when I afterthought ‘platonically’,
You inhaled deeply, exhaled quarter notes,
drowned the sirens with whispers.
Double expose our lips and eyes,
(let’s mirror mouths.)
And I don’t know this.
I know politics, maelstroms,
empty arms and broken doors,
(let our lips echo.)
Sign your name
in sure lips stained ink black
breaths that catch and fling
to serpentine, spiraling bright
over carpet-dimpled twisted knees.
Yes, this is why I
tamper with broken pencil nubs,
dust off these black keys and
pound out something
Your arms are not yet home.
Your arms are not for hiding.
Your arms are not an escape.
Walking shelved by enthused and others,
I say No;
He is my next kiss.
The next out-of-place smile to wrestle my lips.
My next bout of madness.
(let me put laugh lines on your face.)
My next adventure.
My next long letter.
These things I can guarantee.
(your arms are a frontier.)
Tear away my next breath,
render further ponderance irrelevant,
sweep me away on a wild goose chase.
I will not regret.
And that is why this is different.
And that is why this is different.
And that is why he is different.
Do I dare
to compare the utter brevity
of your life and mine to
a summer two weeks added on,
starspun evenings, sepia
days, thrill of stolen time?
Whenever Atropos severance makes,
it will be too soon,
and in nightmares I miss trains,
in nightmares I miss planes that
somehow lead to you.
And you have wisdom, and
I have madness, and
I compare us to London’s bridge, but
you say Nay, the tower.
Consider the spiders, spinning
silken endless intricacy
so effortlessly swept aside
alongside the utter brevity
of your life in mine.
And I trust neither
season nor spiderweb,
but I do these hands and feet.
So how should we presume?
Oaken, broken bottleglass
sharded through the leaves.
Departure brushed her cheek.
Fumes waltzed through the branches,
burrowed down her windpipe.
Wiping bruises from her eyes
with milkweed silk,
coughing nuts and bolts.
Toeing piecemeal sod,
sucking mercury beads
through a splinter reed.
I will break.
I will break.
I will break under your weight
you didn't when i was too drunk to care,
and i am grateful
but feel strangely obligated
to let you have me sober.
we wander aching streets downtown
as you light another cigarette,
an ember in the blistering chill,
and i want to take your picture.
we watch old re-runs and
speak virginia woolf
as we share a bottle of wine and whine
about our homes.
we have no idea what we're doing here
but it's cold outside
and my eyes hold many years
that my hands have yet to reach.
A shelf of books.
I know every one.
A half-empty glass of coffee sits on the table,
cold from neglect.
A phone number is taped to my phone.
I’m timid with these things.
I’ll call it one day.
Blankets cover the floor in a bed’s stead.
tartan and roses,
soft and eclectic.
Black and white photos
that I love and don’t know why
cover the walls with faces.
I sit on the floor and cry.
Nothing will be the same.
It is so dark
except for the faint glow
of streetlights through burgundy curtains,
painting the edges and corners of his brother’s bed
a dried blood red.
his hand slides down my skin.
My eyes focus and I see your shadows,
framed in crimson,
defining your face.
I knew them before I hated them.
It is June, and I wish to write you poems;
poems and songs and letters that I will never send.
Summer has just begun, but all I can think of
is how much I am already wishing it were spring.
You come home in the spring.
I watched the sun rise this morning.
It was the kind of sunrise that you love,
with clouds outlined in purple.
I took photographs, but everyone knows
that pictures of skyscapes are mockeries.
I miss you and the way you see things.
You were always a better writer than I,
and the reason for this is that you know more than I.
You see everything, but still pretend not to,
which is fine but it confuses me sometimes.
She forwarded your email to me.
It was a typical email to tell them you were fine,
but your words consumed me (as they always do).
I should probably write you, but things are oddly awkward,
and that message was not meant for me.
When I was eleven and you were thirteen, our canoe tipped.
I remember your hand around my waist
as you flipped the boat and helped me in
and told me a funny story about a grizzly bear.
I remember looking at you
Two summers ago, I kissed your best friend.
You were dating some girl
and I decided that I wasn’t worth you.
Remember that bracelet you made for me when we were kids?
With a flushed face and soft voice,
you told me you made it at school.
I don’t know where it is, but sometimes it’s all I want.
Last summer, I hugged you as I said goodbye.
I cried all the way home.