Holy


Pretentious

and boring

and thin but not as thin as you were

before I knew you in the early mornings

of which we knew none.

I bleed easily these days

with knots inside my arms attached

somehow to the bruises that adorn yours,

and I speak in tongues over telephones

in language that is thin and frightened and weak.

Holy.

Ninety-six in the shade


Ninety-six in the shade

I dreamt of cartoons

And your tattoos on my hands

 in the night, most nights now.

I pulled needles out of my throat like cactus spines so carefully arranged in the you-shaped spot my bed will always be.

My head, my heart between your legs on Yom Kippur

the way you taste on fingertips

your soft skin in the morning and at night:

forever, please.

The way you will always taste to me – even when you are old:

Like

Cherry coke

And catfish

sad rap

and immortality.

Society Electric

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You are beneath blue eyes

and windows that open out into the night

unidentified lights aloft and flowing

through the dark parts of your mind I’m knowing

I want to know – do you go

to bed with random lovers like me, often,

or is this yet another sighting of a comet

bound for Venus that we’ll never see again?

You are my Lincoln and I am your Rose.

Across the city we lie tangled like lovers

and our cars or hearts are thrusting through

intersections, rusting, a blood-ly and lovely cast,

cast out into this place that is the view and mountains Rising.

Dark-hearted and minds, guarded, by twin angels

brandishing swords aloft and, shining, this eden that I bleed in

is all around: was that Sunset, forever ago? are we dreaming?

Before I knew you as you, I had hospital rooms

and the walls of what I thought my tomb, this society electric.

My nails were long and collected the skin from my head

and my sins, they were all stacked the same way

like boxes full of furs and coats, or ghosts.

I chose oil and I chose tar, rarely went to bars, 

flew through the stations of the cross, the star — even the moon, too soon

before I found the aperture of entry to an Other that was 

and will forever be, You.

Cyanosis

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To wake up choking on bile

heaving up lungfuls of acid

a remembrance of late meals

and things past, to a shining tower

of medical pillows and wedges

and sleeping nearly upright for 

almost four years, to the lies

and to the time that you have

slowly lost track of, to raised flesh

and splotches of purplish red, to

scars that run down along your stomach:

to your knees, pale pink and fading,

to feet that don’t bend right

and toes that are crooked, to freckles, to the 

acne and the tears, to our legs tangled up in motel sheets,

and to the time a hospital

was home, I smile.

are you clean or are you dead,

or are you the scent of almonds on flushed skin?

Abstractions (For Robert Long)

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Abstractions
For Robert Long


Death is a funny thing

Not funny ‘ha’

But funny what it can do to you

How it can change a place entirely

How a chair, a table and, a hammer, alone can be a shrine;

That your funeral has little to do with you

But instead who you left behind

And the little bits of yourself

You left for those people:

On the counter in the bathroom;

The hair upon the sink;

Your whispers in certain moments 

Of doubt;

The way you smell trapped forever in my family –

In your friends.

Faith in anything is hard, these days,

But I can believe in you.

Attention to Detail 

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You have two scars running parallel on your left arm
perpendicular to the one on your heart 

and matching the one etched into my chest.

You have railroad tracks of pink and white all down the length and breadth of your thighs, pale and ivory,

And I saw them through the fog that was our shared showers when you took much longer than I

Because your life was undeveloped

And you had nowhere to be or go.
I took you in like a stray cat- thin and broken

Like the one we brought home from the pound, 

The one life I was able to save of two –

And i fed you, let you sleep in my bed

And hold me in lieu of someone else,

Because when you hit bottom 

There is nowhere left to go.
But you lied and I left,

Each of us tied to our pasts 

With knots like the ones

You could never work out of my jewelry,
And the silence and then the stillness, oh –

I feel it more each day.

I read it in the lines on your face

That you rub away in the mirror

And think about me the same way
As you know, I do, you.

Ecstatic vision

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How do you kill your hope?

Do you drown it, do you lose it?

Do you grab it by the throat?

You stuff her memory down a hole 

and paper over it 

With a smile.

But still then, 

How do you stop the dreams at night

The ones that never seem to end.

Or the demons. Or the shadows

That haunt your home.

I see her face sometimes

When I least expect it,

When I am weak –

When the layers of rust come off my heart in sheets

And some dark glimpse of iron and blood shows through.

How do you get close to a ghost?
Do you stammer, do you cry?

Do you shout?
I see his face on vivid screens 

Some of memory, others electric

And whispering. All the noise, the sounds

The cracks recorded in the stars and the

Shape of his hands as he waved goodbye.
We talked on telephones, we spoke 

and we walked city blocks.

He’s gone now and, two, three years later

I’m still writing, still picturing, still trying to 

make sense out of all this blood.
How do you say: “I’m not okay,” 

And make them all stop asking.

Scars

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My scars have faded now,

All the marks and gashes

Worked out in the days

And months since your passing.

Pathways and trade routes

Span the length and breadth of my body,

Wrists and thighs still kept in hiding.

Your face is still the first I see by light,

And the last: the flicker and fire of memory

Has been kind to us both. Here now, in this

Nowhere place, between past and further history,

I light a candle; I bring two fingertips to my lips

And watch as the river dries itself out

On the banks, in your shade.

Classifieds

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Classifieds

Hello, hoping to find.
Something.
Human with no discernible negative qualities
Person with characteristics and attributes
I am this many. I am taller than most but shorter than some certain trees.
I come in many colors and emotions.
Willing to settle.
You can tell (which one is me):
It’ll  be the man with the dark, sunken blue eyes – haunted.
The one who hasn’t slept in a long time.
The one still wearing his last lover’s socks and jacket (from months ago)
The one with clothes falling right off his bones who either
Can’t shop or eat, right.
The one so emotionally overavailable that his emotional availability equates to emotional unavailability. (Emotional overindulgence)
The one with doubts
Fresh out of dreams and hope
Has: Demons.
The one with a history.
High quality drama with an intensity and ingenuity that bespeaks madness or its brethren.
The one with baggage.
The one with shame.
Who smells of Jasmine and sadness, and time.
The one who can’t move on.
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