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And these things that we speak of shall be written on walls in our minds. Our graffiti. Terms that only we understand. For it is prophecy. A prediction of what is to come and a promise that it will be good. Good like revolution. And leaflets. And protest signs. Good like fires and flags. Good like anthems and marches. Good like songs on our palms. The sheet music on mine. The lyrics on yours. And music when they touch. So, shall we go? Hand in hand into the subway tunnels to the rest of this? We'll have the truth to keep us busy as we fumble for the next word and step. Awkward like children, dancing around fires. Foot before foot, until we match rhythm and run from it all. Because running away is as much my blood as poetry and red wine. And you are not only the journey but, sometimes, the destination as well. Listen to my hand on yours as I pray for peace while you sleep. The walls of the tunnel passing behind us as we forget who we are for what we will become. This will evolve. This will evolve.
Brother, in my dreams you have always just died.
I’ve never dreamt you are still talking to me
nor are you many years gone
your absence is always known, fresh, and painful
it feels like a skinned knee
stinging red and raw and with every movement
It reopens and spills out more and more pain.

Sometimes I am at your funeral
I’m talking through tears about the things you loved
listing off:
reading books
long conversations
a good beer
and I stop at me.
How much you loved me, how much we were alike
and our one difference-the size of our hearts.
Mine, a tiny fragile thing with room enough
only to house you and
you, who had a heart so big
your body couldn’t let it live.

It couldn't keep breathing without making your blood thinner
so that it could more easily pass through that
giant beating ***** of yours
such thin blood that kept you alive just long enough
for you to feel every bit of pain and every moment of sadness
that having such a big heart always brings
every sad thing I feel in my dreams.

Brother, I'll say to your corpse
remember that time you were drunk
so drunk that when I told you we were out of ice
you started sobbing
you sobbed on the ground and you screamed so loud,
and you said, “but where will the penguins live?”
I laughed at you, I picked you up off the floor
and I told you, “They can live with us and I’ll pay their part of the rent.”
Then I whisper to you, softly enough
So that the congregation won’t hear
I love you more than you loved everything
Even penguins.
The moment I saw you
it was if
I had never seen another woman in my life
like all the other women
I had known before
melted into one person
and quietly stepped out the backdoor of my memory
I was aware both by the amount of children in the world
and the amount of drinks being bought by other men at bars
that there were in fact other women
but not for me, the moment I saw you
they all became faded images in someone else’s head
and in mine there you were, and still are, clear as day
standing with drink in hand, mouth moving
and there I was, and still am, waiting for them to stop
just so I can kiss them
like I had, and have, never seen lips before
My mother has run away again, I find the note on the kitchen counter
next to an overflowing ashtray of butts covered in lipstick

My sister reads in and laughs, “The divorce thing again,”
she tosses it in the trash and says, “It’s pizza night.”

When my father gets home he knows she’s gone by the sound of a blaring radio
and unrestrained laughter in the kitchen

I have flour in my hair, my sister is wiping tomato sauce off her face
with the front of her shirt

He stands in the doorway without speaking, tilting sideways
his tired body leaning into the frame

Our eyes meet, and I think how handsome he still is
with so many losses inside

“It’ll be alright,” I say, but something in his face breaks
already parts of him falling away

We hold him in the doorway
his head resting between our shoulders

Just low enough so I can read my sister’s lips
when she mouths the word ***** and shakes her head

I imagine our mother in some air-conditioned hotel room
down by the river
ordering room service and cigarettes

Sprawled across the bed, sipping scotch
and watching her favorite  show
a half-smile at the edge of her mouth

knowing she’ll get her way
Gray-curving slopes
Wind-washed creek beds
Foxes bones, starched white under a cold sun

Shivers of grass
Smell of clay, pine

They stand together, nostrils flared

The spine of a dark morning
Stretching awake.
Place your hand upon my chest.
It reminds me how it feels when it's mended.
Then use it to cradle your head while you rest.
The worst of it, like the day, has ended.
Sometimes it just feels like what you thought was your purpose in this life has been buried under the weight of the expectations of others

or leftover guilt

or a series of catastrophically poor decisions.

And you look around and see it all:  

the beauty
and horror
the good
and the awful

and you hate yourself for taking advantage of your peace and safety and relative health, complaining instead that you're lonely and lost.

But sometimes, man,
sometimes you just don't want to get out of bed because you know that it all:

the beauty
and horror
the good
and awful
the loneliness
and questioning
the self-disgust

is going to be there until the end of time, and your body is gathering rust, it's so heavy, pinned under all of that weight
(stupid brain so concerned with the micro and macro)
so you roll over and try to black it all out.

I mean, you have to keep going.
You have to.
Other people do.
People suffer every day and keep going.

There is nothing special or urgent or interesting or even particularly DESERVED when it comes to your silly problems.

But it doesn't mean that they're not there.

The whole world is suffering, and we don't know where the band aids are.
You can get used to anything--merciless debt, infidelity, death--anything, the photojournalist thinks as he stares out his open hotel window to the beach where two boys lay covered with white sheets.

The bombs fell an hour earlier. Upon impact they didn't so much make a sound as absorb it, syphoning off laughter over mimosas in the first floor cafe, blurring the start-stop of traffic into a shapeless background hiss. He was out there when it happened, on the beach, walking his morning walk.

From one hundred yards he took in the flash, the upheaval of sand, reaching for heaven and then, all at once, subject to gravity's retreat. He knew there would be a second bomb, like when you're cutting a tomato, and you look at your finger then to the knife, and think, I'm going to cut myself, and a couple slices later fulfill the prophecy.

He didn't rush to the boys. He got his camera out of the bag, grabbed the lens, adjusted for distance, for the wane morning light. Boys screamed and ran. He wasn't sure how many, four, five. The second bomb hit. One boy, smaller than the others, rode the sand upwards and back down. The photojournalist thought he tried to get up, but he wasn't sure.

He knew better than to rush over. An unidentified person pointing a vague object at the children on a satellite feed would garner backlash. So he waited, surveying the slight waves break, the gulls continuing flight.

Parents, people he assumed to be parents, moaned in an unfamiliar language. Their sounds though, both guttural and sharp, said all. He approached. A man picked up the smallest boy, his lifeless limbs, doll-like and pierced with shrapnel, hung off to the side.

He took twenty-five shots from behind the lifeguard's post, using the telephoto zoom. He lowered the camera and made eye contact with the father.

Now, in his hotel room, there's an urgent knock at the door. A voice shouts. The email sends. He drops his laptop in the bag with the rest of the gear. A taxi pulls into the roundabout outside.

When he lands he's not sure if he's fractured his ankle or just sprained it. He limps to the door, climbs in, says, "Airport."

"Maa?" the driver says.

The photojournalist punches the seat. The father of the boy, along with three other men, approach.

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