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Sophia Jan 2013
everyone's always walking around
with their own Big
Sad (and we're so young)                                                        and everyone's
Sad                                                                                      is bigger
than everyone else's: she's got her
Blood Sad
and she's got her Sister Sad
and he's got his Drunk Sad  
and they're all tangled up in their own so much
they don't even have
Sad Eyes for each other, anymore.

i'm still tangled in you--
but just down by my ankles-- stepping on Sad,
that little resilient ant
hiding in the treads                                                                   in my shoes
to survive.  that"s my own personal
Sad, and he's not Big,
just Powerful:
i don't think i could lift
even my own weight,
Sophia Jan 2013
i like you
-r bed, she said.  he smiled (she turned red).  i like you
-r lips, he said, you
-r ****, he laughed, you
-r ***.  they kissed.  he sighed.  she gasped.
Sophia Jan 2013
stimulant jitters
again:  another
cigarette , why not
coffee, why bother
to eat

if infinity exists i’m sure to get there
quicker; if god
is real i’m not going to meet him
in my sleep.  i promised you
to not stop writing;  now I can’t.  
this is the only high
i’m used to, anymore.

have been introduced, finally,
to the mirthless dementias
of awakeness,
and the men who strap them down,
to stretchers, and to            sleep,
and they don’t wear white coats but axes,
and the axis turns too
for biblical words
to anymore impact us:
                                               the heels click,
the sidewalk cracks              minutely,
the hungry
[ i
  the heels click
  minutely ]
Sophia Jan 2013
let's put it to january,
he says, by way of explaining
some unfinished thoughts.
and it has been a month
of unchecked cold,
of isolation, icicles, and heavy, broken
bones.  it's been hard to even lift
a pen, let alone
put it to paper.  

last year, we knew how to talk
to each other.  he wasn't sad yet and i
was still defiant, and our shared glances
were not furtive, but warm.  we knew how
not to talk to each other,
sitting side by side and breathing in
companionship and breathing out the cold.  
i knew how
to be read to, and he knew how
to read, his voice melting
the passages down so i could drink them,
digest them,
and sleep.

lately, though, we're afraid to be alone.  somehow
we are no longer breathing each other in
but are breathing next to each other instead,
hands in our pockets for fear of what they'd otherwise
do.  we are sufferers of curiosity but not quite
longing, and the silence between us now is not intimate
but tense and weighted, a measure
of time and distance crossing axes
at some invisible point.

so we sit across a wobbling table
from one another, helpless in the face
of conversation.  he politely shifts a chair for me
and in the process spills my scotch.  
january, he says again, and shakes his head
and looks down into his half-drunk
dollar beer, avoiding
my half-awake eyes.
Sophia Oct 2011
if brecht thought los angeles was hell, he should have tried being a teacher
in new york.
Sophia Apr 2011
friday comes in with the crickets,

then the birds.  the noise (not even

songs) of both

are sad.

august this year is cool and damp,

a tragedy,   its own

opposite.  the trees are already beginning

to die.  sleep has begun to scare me

again and so i wait it out,

watching my ashtray fill and the light change clear,

until it pushes into me,

quiet and strong,


when winter comes again,

and snow,

i can get used to sadness

and to sleep.

for now though the weather stubbornly

ignores its season,

stays stuck

and stagnant

and still.
Sophia Nov 2010
a tree did grow
in Brooklyn.        it was June--
our third-- and the summer weather
hadn't turned yet:
school was just out, Prospect Park was never full, and the nights
were still              cool.

it was summer in the city before it comes unglued.
i had yet to resent the F train terminal
or its crowds
or its sweat.  i hadn't grown bored
of 23rd St. on one end of the day
and Church Avenue on another,
or of the cost of cigarettes
or coffee or of the FOODTOWN sign
at the top of the subway steps.
it was a beautiful month
because it was doomed barely to last
its 30 days.

and there were too so many long hours,
sitting                  barely shaded
on your stoop,
fending off the landlord's sister and the bugs and waiting
for the fall.
each time i've gone back
since then i've sat
on those slow steps;
that summer it was no different:  three months to crown three
moving                  so timelessly

that next month the heat bore down,
not the heat only of the sun and the air but the wet,
***** heat of the city,
steam forever rising from underground, the oil spills
in the gutters         beginning to boil.

but still it was New York
and summer.  the roaches and rats hadn't yet
eaten                     all the fireflies.  
i grew to love routine
disquiet:  the long car rides to Queens,
the Mets games and their pretzel smell and riding back,
inevitably discouraged,
my homemade tank top leaking Magic marker onto my chest;
the trips to the beach at Rockaway, sullen and determined, and their return
to Manhattan, tasting like salt (and you, once,
like blood) and my hair stiff
with brine and feeling the sand in our shoes grit
against the ***** sidewalks;
those quick walks
from Smith&9th Streets,
sipping Mexican Cokes and rationing our time
by cigarettes:  
all of July was exhausting,
but familiar by then.

in August the tornado came,
first Brooklyn'd seen in 30 years.  we two
slept blissfully through it, woke only
for the aftermath.
we went outside almost giddy, certainly
holding hands.
and the tree
which had stood outside so
was uprooted,
having missed the bedroom window
by only a few feet.

[it was June--
barely shaded
so timelessly
beginning to boil
all the fireflies.]
copyright SophiaBurris

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