May gave us tall grass.
Clumsy hands pressed my clean hair into the cool mud.
It was a sturdy ship that I
went down in, and it felt like rebirth when I drowned and emerged from the tumbling surf to wring out my hair and tie a knot in my skirt. (I learned to breathe by nearly drowning.)
My words, defiant, deny me;
they speak in low voices on dark porches, lose me in strange cities; they forget the warmth of my mouth. Eyeing me suspiciously, smug with voweled virtue, they dismiss my attempts at reconciliation, saying only We don't even know who you are *anymore.
is not a kiss of measured bliss,
perfect in its timeliness; it's the one that leaves your heart undone, a far from perfect hit-and-run that isn't great until redone.
A gentle tempest stormed my lawn; it stood
me still and then was gone. Anchored, awestruck in my place by beauty and euphoric grace, I thought of Spinoza's God, infinity's precise design, the perfect math of Everything – our love, a quotient of Divine.
The wrong thing
seduces the heart into a quiet corner and the right thing kills it.
flicker-interference-frequency* (broadcast nightly)
static-soundbites-satellite (fading slightly) but nothing of the woman who chooses words with such precision to lead your eyes to only pretty frames; a portrayal of desire, sensuality, a provocative anomaly— who lights up every time you say her name.
finish it like I have fallen upon you a moonlit mercenary eyes bright in the dangerous night to find you sleeping, unguarded; like you opened your eyes to an almost kiss as I lowered myself for the ****; like I would sink, blade deep— close enough, finally; like I wouldn't love you still.
A poem falls short; I'd like, instead
to draw a single line from me to you and watch it curl into a word so beautiful it's still unsaid – or press paper to the window pane so that the day might saturate a note that brightly warms your hands, spills birdsong from imagined trees and buzzes like fat bumblebees, but I am bound by language, love; I can't.
we grew up poor together
and didn't really like each other, but when you have nothing, it's nice to have company, so we did what poor kids do; we stuck together, taking breaks from being poor in the afternoon woods, where nobody was dressed nicer than us and the creek didn't care that our shoes didn't fit. Anna, I love you because nobody knew how sad we were.
There was no battle cry
or first shot fired. The clip clip of doom's hooves was far away and I never felt its hot breath on my neck— I never felt its hot breath on my neck You weren't my enemy. I loved you but he thump thump of love's drum was far away and I had killed you with an arrow sweetly fletched— *I had killed you with an arrow sweetly fletched.
it's like a thousand let-loose
butterflies when he tells me my name whispers nice.
a distant dog barking
at three a.m. because the night is big and the chain is short and sometimes from another dark backyard another murky alley, lit by bare bulb from the end of another chain, tied to a different tree, a commiserating howl.
Though winter stripped the orchard boughs,
I still think of harvest kisses. I loved you then and maybe now; my first bite, my red delicious.
You are the outpost
which I explore from and return to.
We were warworn; you were weary with
my wild, wayward theories and as I worried, so it worsened. That's the way. You were waygone from your wanderings; I was waiting for you, always. You were wolfish, but I wanted you to stay.
Be reckless with your words to me;
incite, provoke, use words as lips and teeth and hands and silk restraints. Press them deep into my skin – leave marks, leave late, and come again.
Because my love cannot be the orchestra,
I have hidden it in the glissandos; do not listen for it when the music swells, but in the resonance of in betweens. Because my love cannot be the whole summer, I have strapped it to the legs of bees; do not look for it in flowered fields, but in the pollen stuck to window screens.
Before I was ghost,
I was real. Your hands brought pink to my skin, coaxed sighs billowed softly, heart surge, pulse and shiver, rise, fall and, later, laughter; chimed rhyme on my ribs. Now I am resigned to sad places— dark balconies, orchards brimming with moon and lightless bedrooms, clinging fast to strangers begging *make me real make me real.
Too late when you realized
we were dancing in quicksand – too late and too deep, and you caught unaware; you didn't know that my love was an ambush. You didn't know that my heart was a snare.
You told me that birds sit on power lines to keep their little feet warm.
I know it's not true, but thank you.
For Mr. Milardo.
I entered through your garden gate;
a summer hush no sign of us just the grove of words you grew for her. I returned home a silhouette, to tend my hothouse of regret.
This is how we love:
First with fire, then without. Who was tending the embers?
I know— I'll write a poem about another love, one of those boys from one of those poems that I wrote before you, and in doing so I will ease this ache, I will appease the part of me that just wants to be wanted, you know? But, no— I couldn't conjure their kisses, nor did I want to. They were just boys from those poems that I wrote before you.
Unassuming, at best– no
tempting minx, I confess, but this I would bet (speaking humbly): give me paper and ink, half an hour to think– I might just convince you to love me.
I'm not beautiful—
no scandalous, empyrean beauty; not the beauty of long legs and sleepless nights, not transcendental, not diaphanous; no ambrosia, no absinthe; no earthly Aphrodite to crush your heart with slender hands. No, not the kind of beauty that makes disciple out of man; but our secrets, they rhyme darkly and your heart is beating sharply, and tonight I'll make you love me while I can.
Fresh cherries, just washed—
beads of ruby strewn across white bowl's shiny gloss— dainty stems crisscrossed.
if you asked,
I'd slide your shirt down your shoulders; I'd hold you. I'd heal you. Christie, I feel you. I know you – your nature, the real you. I'd kneel here. I'd shield you. Christie, I need you.
A word game I played with myself. Sometimes, I just want to make something pretty.
Tonight, I'll bake bread
because I need good smells and warm hands and a sense of purpose.
The pianist, realizing he will never have me,
plays the last few notes of Chanson Triste. Go, he says, *and take that with you.
The last time I saw
you was in a parking lot in January. You were in town for your father's funeral; my oranges had tumbled out of the cart and into the snow and it was really very pretty.
I want you to miss me so much
that when we kiss I find our last kiss still melting slowly on your tongue.
On thirsty days
I curse the sun, kick up dirt and beat my drums and call the rain (it always comes.)
From wind and stone, sand.
From faith and prophets, temple. From beast and hunter, blood. From my heart and your heart, monsoon.
If an easy rain
would make the rocks slippery, he would hold my hand.
Evening swells and spills
across his back and farther. I collect handfuls.
We brought breakfast.
You fed us; we let you. We sighed and we said that we'd never forget you; we get you. We licked our spoons and we left you.
The cold crouches.
Perched, ankles numb, I quake with joy— thorny with cold, slow but hopeful. On white horizon, fire licks sky. It comes like comets, like horsemen. I knew it would.
Don't trust charming thieves, love;
don't trust girls like me. Girls like me, we leave, love; we steal your heart and leave. Girls like me, we know, love, when it's time to go. We're prettier as ghosts, love; we flicker out, then go.
I caught my mother crying once,
at the kitchen table, face in one hand dishtowel in the other, real crying, out loud crying; I wanted to be anywhere else, and would have run had she not heard me, had she not pressed the dishtowel to her eyes and said “I'm just so tired of walking on eggshells.” like an eight year old would understand, but I did, kind of.
What I wouldn't give
to know the comet tails of thought obscured by your ellipses …
My errant fingers
create two new words; gentlenab I find strangely ******, wrotten I find strangely appropriate.
I love how we
sound together – your crackle of laughter up the chimes of my spine, and the hush hush hush of my satisfied mind.
June evening, mid-sigh,
she holds a finger to her lips, then to the sky; pools of sundown flood the fields. She trusts the breeze to find him.
The sheets yet to cool and the sun yet
to rise, I've already practiced an easy goodbye– but seeing you wreathed in sheets, sleepy, pleased, feels unkind when you're just a dream I have sometimes.
I existed for you, mister;
I extolled your complex nature. I was intoxicated, briefly; you were good. You excelled at smart seduction; you outfoxed me with your hoaxes. I didn't watch my heart the way I should; but by the flux of your affections, it meant approximately nothing. Any buxom minx could have you if she tried. It was a lonely anticlimax, but I kicked my sad fixation and nixed your plans to decimate my pride.
You used to live in the lush
shallow dip of my lips and set sail nightly down the moon bright bayous of my body, determined explorer slipping through latitudes of longing. Celestial navigation— no North Star but constellations of temptations. You wanted to know the shape of my world.
can't, I say won't, and that's fine, love. That's fine. To your try, I say don't, and that's fine, love. That's fine. To each failed attempt, I say wasted ambition. To your look of confusion, I say you wouldn't listen. To your heartfelt regret, I say no need, it's fine. I felt loved for a while and that's mine, love. That's mine.