and i suppose
it very much is a product- of a product,
tied onto a parcel with a note that reads
“we will love wisdom from afar, and construct towers born from text:
let us forget that hunger is mightier than the pen.”
I will be told this till comparison becomes a desire for fission- then I’ll take my eyes out
through my throat and forcefully place them on a pike- why would I desire sensation?
Who thought of all these words?
do you know this?
sandalwood skin wrapping into a magnifying glass and its twin
resting fixed on a bridge between your eyes- a crooked tooth
living as a tiara
purposed for the interruption of symmetry in a smile that breaks on the crest of a sun breathing sight into
all that was lost in a night too dark for an adolescents chagrin to be crammed between stars.
as a desert filled with flower petals
moved by wind and the whispers of ghosts-
with my heart dispersed as a constellation
held together in red light.
I give you toys
to prop and position into forms
frozen halfway through pirouettes,
and a light for showing the
stillness of a shadow stuck in
I rest as a creature half dead from
eating the sun with his skin,
showing trinkets and colors to toddlers in high heels and keeling over at the thought
of ever pulling myself towards something more than.
you are beautiful descending
down a ladder called my spine
into the places I am upright,
till time effaces sharpened peaks-
I will speak of stone freely.
through the space inside of her
that dissimulation cannot be laughter,
how to tread through an ocean
of uncreated worlds
and claim an infinite nowhere
beside the revolving doors in her head.
I rest unbent
in the dale below,
where birds perform aerial dances
in the after-light of a sleeping sun.
I close my eyes
as heedless air carries my body
above a cotton sea
into strips of honey-colored sky.
I ask the stars
how to fall
and see the earth.
I wanted to learn
so last night my fourth grade teacher
tore my eyelids off
and sat me near a television screen
that showed my mother dying
over and over
and over again.
I left as a cavity
of a boy,
collapsing at the sound of passing cars
as I searched for a payphone where
I could speak to the static about Gabriel.
(where is he?)
When I look at my brother and father
I beg for my eyes to be caressed until they’re scarred
with every daytime matinee
and curtsy on the train platform
that built me into this mosaic
of a “man”.
deeply personal. would appreciate kind words and condolences. my mother is alive but a part of me has died.
i disgrace evolution
your existence is a contingency
for little years
crawling round on carpet
i sat in lint to pray-
that faces are many
to be left
on my chest.
stitched of love
and to be loved
of death and in-between,
in the eyes of forgiveness-
on the cusp of evergreen
with magpie beauty.
though with due reverence
i kiss the graves of dead poets-
the breathing kind must disassemble an atom to gain a fleck of praise.
no i don’t like it when they say
“i let you hurt me”
treat me to porridge filled with kerosene
i’ll let you
drag a razor across my gums
if you kiss those fickle carmine streaks
that dribble from my tongue every time
i find the audacity to speak to you,
tint me with spit and break me into cannon fodder,
i know that mirrors
and **** pipes are real,
right now i despise everything i’ve ever written
looking through the stories
of a million untold lives.
i feel my words
as hideous black mixtures;
foolish curves and games of association.
paint them on your eyelids,
and build another sorry ideal
to taunt myself with in the twilight.
remind me that i’m not a nag
and i’ll build you a boat made of
frilled marigolds & thornless roses,
i’ll float us along
and talk about how
it upsets me
when i see pieces of my father
mix into basic interactions.
my fear will leave
to go sit next to triangles in heaven
and i’ll wait for a scarecrow from high school that i loved but never slept with,
i’ll wait and think of your eyes.
since meeting you
i’ve understood the impulse
inside of a grave-robbers mind
when he pitches his shovel
and looks at a mound
of soon to be upturned earth.
i’ve wanted to take every action potential
and place it in the wires on a telephone pole,
watch it spark and yell timber
as tree limbs give way
on the route to the roof
of the home that i slept in
when i knew how to sleep;
ill wake to the sound
of the ceiling caving in
just to think it was creaks on the stairs
during christmas day morning-
i’ll look up at leaking pipes
peaking from the insulation
and ask them for presents and chocolate.
to undo the part of myself
curled as thin twine on her finger-
that pallid tissue paper skin
wrapping a network of crimson lighting.
veins turn violet
underneath layers of that kind...
my words cannot excavate every color.
yes your eyes were
a freshly struck match;
brief sight before returning
to cold outlines of breath in the dark.
i’m returned to their glow
every time i wish
i could isolate a melody
that feathers my cheek
(scribble the chords on a napkin
for when you get messy)
you know i’m deaf,
but my eardrums still quake
at the sound of falling pins
and dancing angels.
4 A.M My Lai;
in the lowlight
colors move off my skin at different speeds-
i’ll smear them into filth,
plastered and permanent,
for my face to be scanned like a barcode.
no more ligands
uptakes or exchanges,
just a wall,
a wall erected inside of me,
that rejects all attempts of a raze.
poetry is dumb to me
as it sits beneath this ache-
this ache that becomes my body.
i’m a ***** in an alley,
as bold and as beautiful as a newborn child;
throwing pennies at the feet of
****** addicts and billionaires.
i don’t know why i love searching for food in waste bins full of burnt-out cigarettes,
or why electricity is
underneath every scabrous sheen of skin-
i’m starting to think that hearts and brains are cliche.
i thought someone might ask about my
instead of all the scars, though they fell asleep.
when i was young
at regular intervals
i wished it to be a water balloon
so i could drop it on the sidewalk
like a kindergartner.
now it reeks of chemicals-
i’m soaked in ethanol
probing all the people that pucker at the smell.
stuffed folly into the throats
of mathematicians, priests, and poets alike.
i nearly burnt all of their books,
but a paper boy with wide eyes greeted me at seven o’clock on sunday
and untied a parcel
with careful young hands.
i saw his legs shake
and thought yes,
god is tension;
with both its ends pulled.
oh i thought the ocean never turned to ice-
then i travelled farther south.
for months i stayed
by the pulsing white sea
growing ill in the cold.
i sought out a cure
for my shivering skin
but found only cots
lined in a windowless corridor,
on narrow frames i laid
and dreamt of morning time turning
glaciers into impressionists;
snow diffracting sunlight into streams of vermillion and violet
finding color in the spring,
changing frozen bones
i tear into bookshelves
as if i only eat peaches
to crack my teeth on the pit,
yet you have a dog-eared page
stained with scrawled hearts,
folded and flown across the schoolyard
by a boy walking circles
round a swing set.
yes i picked tulips with you when i was young-
when i never went past eskimo kisses
or knew about roots and ****** falls.
every day i carried needles in my stomach...
i wanted to stitch our skin together.
now you’re landlocked in the rustbelt
counting change all day-
i’d buy you a plane ticket if i didn’t look like saint jude.
i suppose i should
treat you suchlike a sweater
i don’t know whether to fold or hang,
plant seeds in foreign gardens
and carve our initials
when they turn into trees
or scatter your ashes on the throughway,
near a city you’ve never seen.
this morning I felt myself a bird
and stumbled into the pane of glass
that shields my shower;
for a brief moment
I became a limp body standing up,
with knees folded at acute angles
& elbows obtuse,
begging the ferryman
to float my feathered corpse into
the cleansing chamber.
he muttered assent
in my own voice-
and all the water in the atmosphere
poured directly through a hole
in the crown of my head,
it filled the hollows of my bones
and I no longer took flight.
I’ve spent the whole of this evening
drinking bug repellant and
wrapping my brain in gauze
because small shifts of her feet are registered on the richter scale
and my chest
is crowded with stalactites.
there are paintings inside of me;
a maudlin girl with porcelain skin unfolding onto velvet,
bleeding into other men.
her crying gave me tinnitus,
now my ears leak silver-
their canals are comprised of melted
in the center console of her car.
come winter I’ll cast a ring,
though I’m terrified of snow.
It’s always sedatives during hangovers,
until every blink feels like pouring dust on a patch of dry grass in the sun-
I am offset;
an old railcar piled with pages,
shunted forward a few
inches every Saturday or so.
my mouth fell off on crooked tracks,
now I speak through rust-
corrosion carries all the stories never told,
a burnt patina
imploring passengers to pore through
till their hands are herringboned with paper-cuts.
it always ends in locked jaws-
with tetanus in their blood.
when I awaken
I extend my finger
towards a panel of dancing light-
did you know that its veins were torn from a mountain?
a whole hierarchy of angels
living inside the earth
were turned to transistors
so that my letters
could glow in your hands.
when I learned this
I began sleeping beside a stream,
in the places where I could watch
beneath wooden pillars and their flimsy black arms
whispering secrets in permanent embrace.
every night I would dream
to the forward noise
of churning water;
of fluid drifting through the air unseen
or pouring from life long past-
for the maintenance of symmetry.
I would cradle those abscessed arms
like a marionette,
so I could feel like Jesus-
I watched widows
douse themselves in the same flame
that took their husbands,
just a bundle of sandalwood
lit by their firstborn son.
so holy it was
with their shaved heads
and their white cloth-
nothings holy in the room
I have wanted to be
Jesus a number of times,
but you cannot cry
at the cremation ground-
for their soul might stay home
to comfort you.
the second hand of a clock
what exactly makes it tick,
it told me that I’m blind
every fifty milliseconds;
I swear I’ve spent whole days
in between the twitch of an eye.
I asked the psychologist the same,
it yielded nothing-
the paper proposed that pupils
scale with difficulty,
mine swallow nebulae
during the easiest of tasks.
I asked away,
but realized in a breath
that those apertures are
little girls and little boys
as twigs to use for tinder.
I heard on the news
that the Apinae are disappearing,
“the drones darling, bumblebees.”
“you should decorate your hair with daffodils; the yellow offsets the onyx.”
I looked at symbols too often
you were thirsty for color
“you have never mentioned dying
bees before this moment.”
“oh, up until today,
I never knew that they danced.”
for this body can be unworldly frenzy.
barebacked in the glimmering half-light;
adorn your skin
with shell and bone,
with coiled vines and fig leaves-
you love equally
gardens and caves.
before the clouds became
your arms were flesh
athirst and empty;
towards sugary fruit.
I am unborn,
clawing through clutter
and encouraging my salivary
glands to push moisture
through the will of hypotensive
Laying next to my betters,
begging to die of a heart attack
while I *******.
It’s nothing like falling asleep next to someone.
I am nothing
but half-breaths lent as largesse to
a hypothetical togetherness
hurriedly collected in the night
and burnt into reels of film.
I ascend ladders,
my favorite has its base resting
in my cervical thoracic junction,
I climb it up,
only to find microlacerations
in the fibers comprising my thigh,
and a lovely image of
a love that is not.
I stayed home
and played with a figurine
made out of plastic.
It was laying in an impossible pose,
resting in grandfathers shed.
covered in cobwebs
fine enough to split hairs,
with nicks on its knees
and paint all faded.
My mothers father
moved with the gruff gait
of a Texan, always
carrying books in a baseball mitt.
His mothers fingers
were weighted with turquoise
and she rapped her digits in
patterns of triplets
on counter tops at diners
I never knew her,
but I can smell the gin on her breath.
I wonder if that toy
looked at grandfather plainly,
and always plainly.
Innocent and lifeless,
I picked it up
and felt myself
returned to my skin.
Later that day
I was walking on the asphalt
in the rain,
my grip slipped on the toy
and I gave it to a grate
from the ground.
It fell slowly
and I cried,
for grandfather and turquoise,
for myself and barbie dolls
for Shiloh and birds in the winter
you can see it in the air,
in the emerald green carpets
and announcers writing invitations
in foundation hand,
all inked in crimson.
the slumped shoulders of
scientists and poets
in the bricks,
held in place with pumice and porous stone-
there’s that fine and coarse aggregate
refusing to crumble and weather.
that one is speaking Portuguese
to a lamp post,
telling it all that is known about
the heroic epics of the Donghu people.
Across the sidewalk
one is drunk,
stumbling and smelling of ***,
muttering obscenities at the gutter.
it’s always raining pamphlets,
and in the margins
they say to make sure
that you keep your windows closed.
you could explain
the philosophy of vacuum
through chattering teeth
and lips too numb to form labials.
whenever your face
began to freeze
I wanted to remind you
about occasionalism and
I wanted to tell you
how your eyes
could be heat and god.
If everything is political
I suppose I’ll distance myself
I’ll go back
to become rapt
with Eleusinian mystery,
and begin dancing among
pillars and fluted blocks
at the propylæa-
suitless and light.
The pattering of peoples steps
was the only music
I ever wanted to hear
that pharmacy could be
spitting small colorful seeds
down the throats of kids
that look at concrete too often-
with budding fruit
clipped and stuffed
into a sunrise-colored cylinder
by a man
dressed in a priestly white frock,
and I could be
inside the trunk,
to the wood above my head.
A.C Hume called injury his own;
he became the ambassador of
and died a pedant mending bone,
how many fell
before he entered abduction
and set his stern hands
on ailed elbows?
how many could tell you
what such an injury was called
before he laid claim
to the fruits of misfortune?
sometimes I think of
reading one of my poems
and saying “this is *******”
or an old psychiatrist telling me
that in mania,
all work is more meritorious
than it seems.
when I watch ****,
I can’t *** for similar reasons.
So I ask Bukowski,
that ugly ****,
If I can raise him from the dead,
and play puppeteer with his corpse.
In marble faces I found
a fluttering that pushed blood
into every cavity inside the you
that wishes to be not.
I threw prayers
into ceiling fans-
laying limp inside the gulf,
to know that dry wall peeling back
was all to greet me.
Just ashen fluff flying endlessly
and an inquiry turned to bird song,
something about windows
It’s all cliche-
it’s all cliche,
the dismissive reiteration
of a phrase that piques the you
begging to be not,
coiled in skin,
wishing to be a limping diagram
of human musculature.
it all grows dimmer
when you realize that
the horizontal is redundant,
a beguiling piece
of parchment filled
imparting nonsense to the eyes.
without bearings in the flatland,
untarnished and eager.
it was born in small hands
jabbing at polypropylene beauties
spinning on a mobile
above dampened eyes,
uniform and bright.
the spinning never ceased;
became resonant cavities.
stirred glaucous and ash into storm;
the sky became a clouded palette
of every shade between
stone and lightning.
what a fortune it was
to be carried away and found
again and again
in the endless above.
the wonders of tactility,
sweet sky as a stretcher...
carry me into tomorrow.
how melodious the voices of old were;
the way they poured glitter on mud.
the way they questioned the sky
as the land shifted all about them,
but their songs of love are alive;
beyond you, beyond mud,
buried under palimpsest memory.
basal links on a chain of refutation; palingenesis.
Is it artifice to call then into now?
I want to crush up Australia,
turn it to a pebble,
place it in my pocket and drop
the coastline in your palm,
all the coral
all the color.
All the dust;
voices so far away from us-
I’ll capture the sound,
the whimsy for our ears.
Do you see the water?
Flitting by the outlines of trees once alive-
the tired grey and the shimmering azure.
Do you see how it always hugs the land?
I’ll shower it,
I’ll trace the taproots,
down to every underground
that’s ever existed in imagination,
up to every cloud.
Innocent markings, innocent prints.
(Intaglio, not relief)
Can you tell them this,
can you tell everyone about this?
Please, play the bugle. Sound the horn.
I thought I painted well,
but they all look the same!
in the frame I’ll find variance,
it’s the border that distinguishes
me and my tilted thoughts,
resting aslant upon your wall.
the architect of bone,
this lively puppeteer,
whirling in hot sand-
becoming crystalline unbroken.
Giving order, lack,
carrying all on great tides.
The moon gently pulling jetsam,
the cadavers of children
wading into granules of rock.
mixtures of life in vegetation,
that verdant undergrowth on the
the rakish laughter on the shore,
sweet echoes, fixed echoes,
the murderous innocence of the sea.
those thighs and hair
peeling my eyelids back to witness
water kissed beginnings,
an unfurling flower,
a pathway into you
this normal force and neglect
how it could be spring and candles...
Limp and bloodless formality.
Cotton, cotton once picked by slave hands.
Shoes still made by slave hands.
My feet are not afraid of cuts, and
my back adores the sun.
“my thread... my thread is worth more”
yet I hear a gurgled plea
from a withered larynx.
Sweet unbirthing of apples sweat-
The air does not permit condensation
in such places. Yet the windows...
how grateful we are that they allow light,
whether we acknowledge it or not.
Everyone settled into that teacher with autumn in her hair,
into the voice that matched the correlations of warmth in newtonian discs of color,
always coming to realign.
Together we traded gazes,
and I wondered if I should steal skin
or call a third party.
There were chemicals in your blood,
and your bones had just been reintroduced to fat.
You dragged them through drab carpentry to find fixture in a seat alongside elephantine calves;
in the circled group of offset minds,
I wondered only what tipped you.
on the schoolyard I saw children fall and soon learnt that I would always fetch a bandaid without hesitation.
I thought mother must’ve skinned her knee too.
Why else could she be crying?
And father, oh father,
he cried because his dad had died.
Was it finance?
Was it finance?
Was it really finance?
so soft upon conditioning.
The fissure in both of you;
I inhabit the crack,
and before I knew what fiber was
I was shouting for a rope.
Loveless not, mother and father,
they tell me this was how it is.
yet the knowledge of a wholeness
I will never know is inside me.
Release! I begged for release.
and when I found it I gave my scorn to what?
The combatants had retreated long ago.
this one carries depths
a lone showman amidst a crowd
stands raised on a pedestal;
he wears a hat,
its brim is lined with bells,
and on the top rests a newly bursting lily-fibrous stalks of nescient life
intertwining with felt and chime alike.
raising high his flowered cap
he remorsefully disclaims
“you once ate the sun!”
but these words are ignored.
the crude ringing of the chimes
is the only sound that brings applause.
you leaned on the balustrade
colored brightly on a balcony,
fiddling endlessly with your hair as it
bickered with the wind,
playing with needles and slumping on the cold stone,
creating lanugo all over again,
You couldn't have fallen from that height... no,
walking was the only option.
Was it flecks of rain that woke you,
or was it the sound of the sky crying?
It must've been slow,
trudging down those steps;
after breathing all that loose air
the ground has to have felt peculiarly dense...
(this projection is nothing more
than matter reflective of itself
yet these intangibles
nullify the anguish
and enliven joy)
it is in that endlessly cascading awe,
with mouth ajar,
and the soft spot behind the knee
that desolation runs to hide
like a shrew,
in a meadow too dense to show its skeleton
these jests, flying through the hollows,
molded by tongue and tooth,
varying in sound in structure
through placement and growth,
tip horizons askew
do you hear me?
you are destined only
to drift towards what illumines
the very room I lay in...
many say this is not your home-
they are wrong.
the harmless introduction,
of a new figure
a knot stuck deep inside a dip (sulcus)
amused perplexity and
a face filled with
of ochre and wood
an ache to make a medley...
you are characters
top hats and all,
with gauche mustaches
wading through the falsity of a present
with flesh as old as all
that is ostensibly new
as old as dust, distraction,
so busy now,
with displacing reference,
busy enough to forget about eyes
rock and skin