, , , , , , , , ,

Nerve damage

Thick, braided scar

A Breast bone cracked in two

In an operating room

Like a wish for you –

Phantom pains that flash across my chest like wildfire

The flowers I always brought for you expired in the heat:

Like my love for you and your faith in me.

My wrists are bound in pink:

Like orchids, like lips.

There is a scattering on the wind 

Of the people that I used to be 

and the places I have been.

Orchids and Poppies


, , , , , ,

When I close my eyes I see landscapes and seascapes

I can recall with a vividness past anything the feeling of being young

And of all of the forks and their crossings, each decision laid out before me

Like a decision tree or matrix

The backs of my hands are lined in pink and shine in the sun,

Scarred from the claws of a cat a love of mine took home

Too soon, before I was ready to say goodbye, like you.

I remember you barefoot in the kitchen

In your sundress, brilliant hair

Honed to a shade just this

Side of cinnamon, standing before

The window in the sun, illuminating

Everything – my arms, wide.

You would always smile and look at your feet 

When you were embarrassed. You hated

Pictures. But you could hold a stage.

Draped in a sweater or a gown,

You could break hearts.

I can remember

Many things –

The tenor of your voice

When last we spoke,

Orchids and poppies on your arms in Central Park.


You brighten my life:

Brief little snatches and snapshots

Of you, hair curled and colored

And (long, but not too long)

To your shoulders, skin

Porcelain and inviting;

I see you in small dreams

During the day, in stray, passing

Fantasies that fly into the night

Like balloons into the sky;

Yours is the voice I want to

Call me over when it’s time to go inside,

Your teeth are the ones I want to 

Bump mine accidentally against

In the dark, on the corner of an

Empty street.

I want you, Cartoons

And all, fingers in your

Mouth or out, by my side,

Your laugh, your smiles,

In synch with mine,

Just us, and time.



, , , , , , ,

Stop bringing ghosts and dead girls

and friends into your poetry

like you have nothing else going on

Talk instead of your tarry stools and alcohol dependence

and occasional heroin addiction.

Talk about your addiction to love and sex

and people and while, to not being alone,

also to loneliness.

Tell the truth:

be someone who can look into a mirror

and see the truth

instead of the reflection

of just another ghost.



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.


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:


Cherry coke

And catfish

sad rap

and immortality.

Society Electric


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.



, , ,

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)


, , , , , , , , ,

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.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 617 other followers