Sunflowers

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He left you for a tall blonde

with legs, long

Whose breasts weren’t scarred

like withered sunflowers

or scared,

rent flesh becoming lines

of yellow, pink.

And I left you for another

inside me, some beastly thing that’s taken root

cracks showing in the foundation. I left you

for Autumn, Winter and snow, to be alone,

To waste away into nothing before mirrors,

To disappear into the drink.

And I did appear to be someone and

something else, completely.

 

I showed you eyes that can see,

A great red heart that beats and bleeds

and pain.

Seventeen Again

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If you want to know what it’s like to be seventeen again,

Here is what you do:

Look at yourself in the mirror;

Try to see past the lines, the scars, the sag

Plow through the heartbreak,

The moments of despair, the broken resolutions

The promises of – and potential – wasted.

 

Cut through seven years of wrenching disillusionment

and so many moments spent

in wanting of, hoping for, hurting of – yourself, others.

Go deeper still.

Turn right at your demons, vices, dragons yet-to-be-slain.

You’ll pass through a gallery of faces,

Filled with those of the ones you loved – and still love – madly,

But hurt – deeply – running away, as always,

from yourself, your decisions, your addictions.

 

Remember their faces, their sorrow, and their despair

upon discovering the sickness inside of you:

the Dragon that you didn’t have the courage to slay then,

the Dragon you might never put to rest.

 

 

Remember her, especially.

Remember her tears and the years

It took to move past it all.

Hold your regret in your arms.

Nurture it as you would a child.

 

Go further, through the twists and turns

of a life you only dimly recall,

Until you reach an ill-lit room and find

a small child that was you and is you.

 

 

You find that seventeen again was you running.

Running away from that small, weak and frightened boy

You were afraid that you were and would always be.

 

You count all the girls, the women

you were always seventeen with

and you realize you sometimes

still think of yourself in that way –

seventeen, alone, lonely and frightened.

Former Dreamboy (Underworld)

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There’s an empty seat
At my kitchen table,
Set for one.
Cold mornings, now.
No use in making coffee
For one:
Drinking cup after cup
To only pace these dusty floors
And run my fingers along the sole
Dress you left in your rush.
I hold court at your wake
Running two fingertips
Along the hem,
Licking dry lips
On my hunt for lace.
What good now 
Will six or twenty months be –
I’ve buried more years than
I have left in this place.
Our letters now are 
All the echo
That remains –
And they must be
enough for Orpheus
and his Eurydice.

just this side of cinnamon


Glassy-eyed, I smell

Of time and pain 

And anguish.

I am sleeping for two
Everyone looks familiar
Like I know this face I’ve seen before
Burn these flowers
Like an effigy of my ghost
Phones that ring
And phones that don’t
But always waiting:
Waiting for
the other shoe to drop
These days are not worth 
Much of anything
Anymore
Crying, in public
And I Am ashamed.
Hold my head under water
So I don’t have to hold it up again.
I am counting half-lives on the clock
Bury me in nucleotides
And leave me in the ground for 100 years
Until it’s safe to go forth, 
to make this salted earth

Verdant once more.

girl with curious tears

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There is a girl inside
in the backseat
and she is small, she is timid and she is weak

Hands pressing herself into place
against steel angles clothed in leather or lace
the car cutting corners,     passing traffic
and it swerves to narrowly miss
a hidden man selling roses by the freeway exit
his terror
and clenched fists.

Her daddy is a lawyer
up north in Bethlehem
and her mama’s a nurse
out in some foreign land
fighting the spirits of old men
grown now crippled and gnarled
in the absence of our beloved Christ

The girl has a name
and she has an address
and she has a homeroom teacher
who points at dots on a map
Dots that stand for sharp, jagged lines drawn in that sand
that draw blood so often
that they become landmarks
across the cool, desert dark;
her name is somewhere in a wallet
left behind in some coat
that is too big for her, she knows
but was too see-through to let go.

After the post office
Her pawpaw hummed a song
that he had learned in the war
about men fighting demons
about our souls before
we came to this country
this land of tar and salt
these fields of sickness
sorrow and, our hearts, distraught,
this land of misery
and daughters without fathers
this land of broken promises
of freedom no longer.

There is a girl inside
in the backseat
and she is small and she is drunk
and she is strong.
There is a girl
and inside
she is someone
and something
to behold.

Past Lives

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I saw through your disguises

back then, in the city,

as we stalked dark streets

in shoes too big for us to run in

in heels too small to make a sound;

All of my dreams are promises from another me

and I can see a different world in each one;

Our tongues were dry and lisping

and our throats were cut, and rasped with each word.

 

You drew poetry with your fingertips

on my bra line, tracing out the tattoos

you wanted on my body, capturing each syllable

on skin the color of pale milk tea.

 

I used to watch you in the early mornings

when sleep was hard to come by,

for the light had been climbing up the walls

and plotting its attack all day.

I crack your knuckles for you, bending each finger

in my palm and pressing down, as if spelling

out sign language for the dead,

as if a body’s sense of itself was fuzzy,

the reception infirm, signal weak.

 

I think this city will outlive the both of us

because we are blue eyes and hazel

and we can’t see clearly anymore.

untitled (k)

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it used to be like this
that we could dip into a shared stream
and see ourselves as in between
two mentions of a moth to flame
our lives in parallel
cinnamon rouged lips to
tasting of our bed
the way you taste below
and on stairs, recline
i like your dress
the way you walk
how you talk
i like your face
and the way you taste
i like how our hands fit together
and our hips
our lips the way they open and shut
mouth wide again with each thrust
i love how you come
i love how you touch you
when i close your mouth with my hand
spread wide your thighs and reach inside
your heart and I pull out with my self your soul
and the little pieces in between here and venice beach
our city our soul leaks
like cinnamon on wet cheeks
i strike deep vast depths
and i know inside I am the last
who will ever know what it is to be this
to see this shadow without a name
to walk, to salt this earth
with bare feet and lisped, limpid sounds
i make your absence into a weapon
and i drive it home when you’re away
i take on a new type of demon bubbling up unto the surface
and i let it boil and become named

Hands

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Hands –

my hands, a soft scent of you preceding them,

filled with fears that I hope you will know what to do with,

moving through hair – your hair – mussing up lines, caressing and cascading locks

rearranging chaos out of order, mixing feelings up together with premonitions

hopes, and fevered dreams that reach through time,

and spill out into the night.

 

Hands –

small hands – your hand clasped in mine, held tight –

a ward against some dark absence that pervades this waking life of

Your skin, your hair, your eyes

Echo (unedited)

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Echoes of an echo

of words and of letters

sent through turns of sun and moon.

Through seasons and leaves, I left

you be, until the rhythm of you returned to me.

 

Time, it was,

to begin anew

and return once more

in the search for you.

 

I left you once in a crowded room

and once more ‘neath a waning moon.

I closed my eyes and let you pass –

visage of a ghost, visions that last.

 

I recall that night

midst waves that crashed:

a beach, a moon, your face, your laugh.

 

echo of an echo

ghost of a ghost

memory of a memory

you have become

and will, I fear, remain.

Ashes


I remember the flash of joy,

the spark of excitement

that gave rise to flame –

sudden and new –

that caught kindling and grew

into a bonfire that has kept me warm

even all of these months later –

when my hand sought yours in secret –

the first night our lips met,

and we kissed

behind a home we shared, but did not own.

I didn’t know then (for how could I have know?)

that from that kiss

would rise a fire – and desire –

unlike any I’ve felt for another.

For I could see your face

and taste your lips

every single day

for the rest of my life

and still I would never have enough.

that every time we kiss, when my fingers brush up against your skin

that every time we talk, that every time I see your face before my eyes

my heart skips a beat

and

comes the simple feeling,

the feeling  that I am going home.

I remember that night

when my hand found yours under a blanket

and your love found its way into my heart.

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