i'll never give up longing.
i'll let my hair grow long like a prince
and tangle with the leaves in autumn.
let the pinecones fall around me like dead money.
i'll let fall become winter.
let myself become a crusty savage in a cave.
i'll let my teeth clatter against my tongue.
i'll let winter pass unburdened.
let the nights grow long and deepen.
i'll let the slow inertia of sleep come heavy.
then i'll let spring.
i'll let the tangerines ripen on the bough.
i'll let the afternoons stretch long and hazy in front of my feet.
let the fleeting birds find me on the lawn.
i'll let pollen collect in my bellybutton.
let the dragonfly light on my finger.
i'll let my jaw unclench.
let myself be shattered into fragments.
i'll let myself forget the bad stories.
let the rain wash away another year.
i'll let into my raincoat.
let my throat open and sing.
i'll let the breeze take my voice away in the field.
let myself become astonished.
i'll let the smell of the summer mist
enter my nose and stain my cheeks.
let the ocean impress me.
i'll let the sand bring me under.
i'll let myself cry on a mountaintop.
i'll let the sun guide me up a tree.
i'll let rage and calm and joy come together between us.
i'll let my body writhe.
i'll let kindness unbutton the fence i built there.
i'll let this impossible planet get lost.
i'll let america forget my name and orphan me.
let the elastic mirage just lazily dissolve.
we had a lot going for us
i had found the glue
the secret that holds all things
together, it was you
you were my perfect place
where the outside noise
i swam to you
and you swallowed me whole
My ex-girlfriend and I used to play this game, I guess we made it up, called Sing That For Real. So at any time, when one of us said "sing (a song) for real" the other person had to sing it. With sincerity. Whether it was playing or not. Had to put their best effort into it, without any humor or undue theatrics behind it. Any song. You had to just sing the portion of it that you knew to the best of your ability. In public, alone, didn't matter. Over the phone. We would tell each other thru text sometimes. Sure, you could get away with not doing it and the other person would never know. But I never did. I always sang.
Because it wasn't really a game. It was a trick. A ruse to get the other person to open themselves up. To be vulnerable in front of you. Honest with you. To break yourself open--if only slightly, if only for a moment--without fear of judgement or insecurity. Without hiding behind humor or parody, to sing directly into the face of the person you love. Or on their behalf. At their behest. Have a moment of tangible honesty between the two of you. Show that person that you aren't afraid of anything, at any time. Once, at a deli counter on A1A, I sang "Not Fade Away" directly into her eyes. She showed me a secret Beyonce taught her at a pet store in front of the fish tanks. We duetted on “You’re The One That I Want” on the trunk of my civic parked in a starlit cow field. It was a secret promise we made to each other. A private joke, almost.
She hung herself in her apartment 6 years ago today. She was high on *******. She was bi-polar. She was off her meds. She was scared of herself and everyone else. I picked her up. I cut the belt. I puked downstairs in her garden screaming. I loved her so much and I'll never stop singing for her.
you uncoiled my winces
with your aching summer breath
desire coursed vivid thru my veins
like the diamond sparkle of dawn-light
we intertwined & you attached yourself to my soul
& when you watched me, i felt seen
--a flower blooming in the basket
on your windowsill in the teeming light
my passion dissolved the disquietude
more simply, you set me free
you rearranged me
you dismantled me
& when i revealed myself to myself
in a swirling mirrored vertigo
i was drenched & purged on the altar
& now the emptiness is the consolation
i carry like a dream in my hands
the silence between us the only refuge
then the rains came in june
& bludgeoned the sky
it groans in despair
my chest doesn't burn anymore
it feels more like a bruise
& i linger among the futility
& wind-ripped flower petals
outside your shuttered window
like a frigid dancer on the brink
of nihilistic oblivion grasping
only for the bottom
my guilt does all of the thinking
in the wasting light
& the last note of your goodbye
barely greets me long-forgotten
from the dim shore--
one last regret--
another secret kept from me.
i caught a glimpse of her once,
just as she was leaving.
the sunlight cut her face
like a scalpel, and she flinched.
in the doorway, the dogs
barking at her feet, the day's
bags suspended from her frame.
the one with her wallet, her phone.
her purse pinched in the crook of her elbow.
the one with her lunch, also there.
the backpack with her water bottle
and planner riding high on her
trapezius muscles. the ones holding
last night's tears still hovering above her
and she isn't wearing the necklace
i gave her last year on her birthday,
i can see the pale line on her collarbone
where it lived. but why would she?
the ring i bought fits perfectly
in the kitchen junk drawer,
she is unadorned.
i tried calling out to her, but the dogs,
and she didn't have the time. the earth shakes
and the world sharpens it's blade
again. she turns toward her car in the driveway
and melts back into routine.
a piece of blue-black hair falls across
her face, and i am in love with her again.
but things change, and look how naturally
you made my heartbeat patter
in the driveway starlight
i was waiting for you to arrive
and i felt wonderful, child-like and perfect
i felt electrified like a timber-wolf
slipping quietly thru silver winter woods
as i watched with patience as
your silhouette emerged
you drifted low to find me
you were a brightly colored kite
an angel flitting in a hanbok
delivered to me by six black horses
you slipped into the soil of my body
like a whisper
i was already halfway there
in one sense and
fully realized in another
when i took your hand
i touched it with my hand
and i saw the secret harvest
we were on the edge
of what we wanted
as our hands folded
into each other
and a wind curl
blew our souls away together
a breath-defying disappearance
into the tented sky
into this future
the imbecile boy found love again
walking aimlessly & self-conscious
with the year's regrets falling
behind like fat blossoms in
a summer shower out of
my longing i had invented her
it was by happy accident or
a subtle shift of scenery
in the numinous grove that
i entered that spring with an empty heart
so i wrote her all these songs
so i could live again
cue the hallelujah choir singing
'this is ours, the impossible'
my rib-cage expands
every time i think of her
like recalling a beautiful dream at breakfast
through a yawning smile
my prophetic dove lying next to me in bed
the first flicker of reanimation
with the heat of her veins
interdependent with mine
stripped to the waist
with tresses of her hair across my chest
& shoulder i'll thrive in a forest of it
i launched 'i love yous'
from a sun-lit country porch
& they traveled 300 postcard miles
over roofs & the tops of old elms
to collapse into her ear, exhausted
now i am the pen, she is the paper
she is delicate but
my love has wild-cat claws
& live pink lips above smooth
wingless shoulders & i am hypnotized
by the adoration & light reflected in her eyes
i built this cathedral of words for her
these towers like puffs of smoke
& exultation rising in our slow dream
i carved this river through the broad valley
where the fish nibble at
dazzling afternoon raindrops
while i get lost in her body awhile
this kaleidoscope is a place i could stay
repossession & co-awareness
now we're strolling across the air
together in perpetual acceptance
gliding like the first morning orioles
through six panes of clear blue sky
over the circumambient hills of the new age
toward the alabaster sea
with her bright compassion pressed tight
against my side for the journey
we laugh softly as our hands engage
never again to disengage