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renoir Mar 2014
when they ask him what he cares about
he’s not sure how to answer
because there are galaxies that spin freely in their own time
and time that runs in place
and places that contour in untrenched freeways
and ways not so free, stuck in trembles, that run down a boy’s spine when he isn’t sure
how to answer a question
and by jove, there were questions
honest and truly
that he wanted to ask a strange man in tattered clothes
and a young lad rubbing mud from under his nails
and a woman poking a stick under her dress
and the other men who huddled near an ember storm
but the tat of their shirts spoke plenty
and he shouldered away then
just as he does now for what should be easily asked
and easily answered
--he does not feel as clean as he is--
and he does not know where the middle ground is
or why this pause is curling black
or how to say i do not know what i want
and maybe words matter to him because once tied, he begs for a slip of tongue to resolve  
what he could not say with pauses  
and maybe pauses matter because once his words slip too far in between
he caresses every second that allows a reel backwards
and maybe he is backwards
and will never answer the question the way
he feels he should
so when they ask him again what he cares about
he pauses and pleads his brain
before he can say, *i wish to ask the questions
that will tell me i care enough.
renoir Mar 2014

we come across a building that’s as big as it is empty
and toss pebbles with our feet because that’s easier than speaking
and i swear we’ve had this hush before

you’ve never been one for a hush
that lasts longer than the last time i made eye contact
so when i ask you what to do
as the empty building looms over us,
you only say “i don’t know where to go.”

we settle for sitting on the steps
of the deserted building
and counting  how many people rush by
with their hoods pulled up
and pull our own hoods up in response
because that’s what strangers do

you tell me again that you don’t know where to go
and i just kick up dust and revel in it
because this is our breakup ritual
i could not tell you where to go
renoir Mar 2014
The first line is crucial and with a shaking hand, he pretends it’s permanent
--a tattoo among paper dolls that must be majestic, must be fit for a queen.
Careful now, for it mustn’t smudge, and it mustn’t crack
this is not ink nor stain
and this will not be a temporary funeral, just a temporary death
and the grandeur feeling of perpetuating desire.
He only knows what he wants, and it is to paint
So there are the lips now, precariously shaded red
With hair--oh her hair--so sporadic and displayed like a forest of electricity.
oh but this art is nothing but fragile
and for this moment, he is an artist of persona
and it's okay if he's broken after when the paint dries
and a hand must wash it away
Yes, for at this moment he can be permanent, a tattoo among paper dolls.
and he will not crack, and will not smudge
“Just remain in one piece,” he says.
“You would’ve made a beautiful girl.”

— The End —