I keep eating things I shouldn’t.
Dreams, cars, ink, brick
These are the things that make me sick.
Skin, bone, flesh and scars
Topped with sugar, flush with stars
Love, death, silence still
Down the gullet, living will
Though I swore I wouldn’t
I’m eating things I shouldn’t
I don’t understand why love should save.
It’s sinking still
Stills of whiskey, mellow bitter.
Metal tinned, heavy and satisfying
It makes you weep and rage and sleep.
Aching toes and numb cheeks, silent sobbing into your pillow
For reasons that haven’t come to you yet.
Do you feel saved? For numbness? Dripping
Gaping mouths, searching.
Am I talking about love or a monster?
We can’t tell.
I won’t argue with results, fact sheets still dripping romantic slurs
But I will argue that saving is not what you think it is. Mercy
Is not what you think you’ve made it.
We are tired of years ago tired of to be tired.
I’m a clock in the shape of a woman, counting months in weeks
Weeks in days in hours in minutes in seconds
Recorded in the strands that make me
Water slipping through my hands, I’ll ask you to keep it safe
But you only have your own hands to use.
There are houses on this street filled with wolves.
He-wolves and she-wolves and wolf-whelps howling for meat
Scattered like snowflakes across the neighborhood.
It starts slow, and ends with “I lost my temper” “It was their own fault”
“All the better to see you with, my dear.”
Some of us are eaten up, and some of us grow wolves in our own bellies,
And some last long enough to meet our wolves down the line.
What does it matter if you become the wolf or not?
What narratives are left to us now?
My memories were located in a box
Just to the right of my dreams, nightmares
Playing out like half-improvised scripts in my head.
The memories were polite, always, just resting patiently in their places
Until you looked for them and they escaped out that hole in the bottom,
The ones the rats chewed last summer.
My brain is a well-mapped city.
My brain is half-destroyed.
The box of my dreams could never hold them all, so they littered
Waking hours with their eyes.
I expected it from them, but not memory, my polite and pleasant fellows,
My childhood friends. Loyalty is a short-lived ideal.
The boxes fell into each other.
I’m forgetting why I gave them different parcels of the brain in the first place.
They taught us in primary school to rhyme;
One million separate identities of the lovesick took it as an invitation.
You might think that’s a rebuke. It is not.
It is meant as an invitation. Every word, in weft and weave,
In wave and tide, in sigh and heave.
It calls for another to love us. It tells us to never love again.
At the first breath of rhyme in elementary-
‘down by the banks of the Hanky Panky
where the bullfrogs jump from bank to bank-y’
We are hooked. We are starving. We are addicts.
We want to chime. We want to sing.
We want to love with words.
You want to make something beautiful.
You try on your many hats-
Can you make art that stirs hearts to syncopated fluid intake?
Can you sing songs that lift the diaphragm?
Can you move in a dance that will bring your audience’s tear ducts to full production?
But you are not good at those things.
And you are not patient- here’s where it gets difficult.
You are not patient, so you move on.
You pull more hats from the closet.
You want to make something beautiful, so you save lives
In safety features for automated factories,
In the stitch of a needle through shredded flesh,
In the measure of a brace in a new office building
But you are too good at those things.
You want to feel like you’ve made something beautiful
Not just looking back, but as you make it
The stroke of a brush forming the curve of a lover’s cheek
The curl of the final bracket in a series of nested loops
The flex of your shoulderblades and press into the pillows
Everyone wants to make something beautiful,
In blood, in sweat, in paint
In lyric and code, in ink and tears
They want to have made something extraordinary by the time they die
So they can say they did, so it wasn’t a waste, so it just
So it was, and is, and could be forever.