Our home is burning.
Moths and lilies are breaking the woodwork.
They are fluttering closer to our fumbling feet.
Your grandmother’s wallpaper has never looked so beautiful.
I used to spend my nights in the silence between the sofa cushions,
Trying to organize the history of anarchism,
Wondering why the persimmons had been bitter to us,
And why you could not distinguish stones from bread.
On the day God decided to forsake virgins,
I went off to the market, closing the door behind me softly.
Our foundation disappeared behind me.
Somewhere, I believe, you are still dancing.
When they came to bury us there was nothing left.
The raspberries were not in season.
(It was November, after all)
I emptied my body for you.
Preparing for the monsoons,
I let you fill me with sand,
Up the toe, ankle, calf, knee--
I stood guard against the waves,
And protected the house you took her into.
Editing past drafts and combining lines
You are there in my morning coffee,
I can’t keep it down.
You may not know my name,
But I was the witness on the ballot.
When he’s standing in your doorway
Recognize that once he was
Scouring the cracks in the blacktop,
Picking pansies with the weeds
And clumping them together to declare
The love letters he had written along the sidewalks,
Blue chalk sprawling beside her walk home.
And one day he was standing before her desk,
A medley of a bouquet lodged under his fingernails,
That he took to be the most beautiful piece of art.
Lips slightly chapped, chest rising quickly,
In a moment of unadulterated courage he ****** his arms forward
To present the best offering he could.
And all she saw was the dirt.
I. The Beginning
In September she gave you a name
That came with weights and burdens
To break into.
Straightforwardly, you marched them.
As if it were the only thing to do.
II. The Middle
Four miles beyond the confines,
You left in the morning to gather the water.
I was told somewhere along the way you
Fell in love with the aftermath of a line,
And began a new life in its crooked symmetry.
III. The End
I don’t know if she hoped for a life of grace,
or love, mercy, or passion.
Regardless, it is all ok somehow.
There is something to knowing that, when it is over, we may go forward
And start afresh in the broken ranks.
I led a loveless life for three days,
Found the edge of a shoe
That I took to be God
Turned towards it
And under the sole I returned.
Back in January seeds started flowing
From the balcony.
On Sunday we read
The poems of the deaf and
Watched the matches stumble
Drunkenly through the darkness.
In March my hips began to
Fill out like my mother’s.
A monsoon of bullet ants
Waged war along the perimeter of the bath.
I squashed three under my thumb.
Hide, I told them. I have dropped mercy off the edge of the hanging bridge.
In May the stars were soft,
The ants came back to bite me in my sleep.
I tried to clasp your nose to keep you warm
But all the heat had flown from our bodies.
Sacrifices were made along the way.
The ants, admittedly, least among them.
Darling, you should know
that I have more self-love in my
left pinky finger than to be
somebody's second choice.
When I was enough
I caught the downbeat
Broke it right,
Knew how to run it
Just a little bit harder--
Caught it on the upswing,
Watched it lose itself,
Let it go.
What’s the difference between *** & making love?
& can you make love to strangers?
And make it so beautiful that it
Still wakes them up at night sixty years later?
Even if you didn’t know her first name?
A Nigerian told me I need to have more ***,
Tap tap wedding ring on a
Where is your final town, your resting place?
And is Gene Davis there as well, and
Does he take his coffee strong?
As the days roll by
Do you try to fill the silence
Reminiscing of moments when pastels bled together?
Or is it mostly regret
That boysenberry and maroon never played
As well as they should have?
That you couldn’t fall in love
With the way the iris of a forget me not
Brushes up against the strength of an evergreen--
Overlooked her soul, Gene
Never caught the undertones in the light--
Only found beauty at the end.
The last time she shook
There was movement in the white,
And smoothness in the bronze of the church bells.
Baby, this will make us look be-a-u-ti-ful.
The difference between rich and poor
Has and always will be good lighting,
Marching orders-- no interrogations,
Hang the **** string lights,
Swivel the sconces to the left a hair,
Light me up baby, yes. Be-a-u-ti-ful.
They’re going to see us,
All the way from space think man,
Those ******* sure do have it all,
They must have every last Eaton, Osram
Can you imagine the bill?
Must blow the energy company’s ******* mind.
Yes, baby, yes. More filaments.
Throw some Chicago on the record player while you’re at it,
We’re going to throw the swankiest party this town’s ever seen--
Rich stuff, baby, classy.
Life is easy, really.
Poetry should be as straightforward
As the click of a 9-5 timecard approval.
Harry had a real tough week--
Fell in love with an exhibitionist, poor *******.
One minute you’re dancing bachata
To the full eight count,
Trying to ****** a woman in Chinese--
Waking up to a cold ******* shower
In God knows where Brisbane.
And then in the blink of an eye. Click.
Mary Sou had a hemorrhage and you swear
Eileen just flew the bird in cahoots
With Ida. East, West, trump four of hearts,
Roll me back pronto, Heidi.
I don’t surround myself with cheaters.
— The End —