Sunday, January 29, 2017

out near the edge.

[all these days passed,
poor every year and housed by someone else
just got it figured out, just in time to come in from
being all out, all on the outskirts
i should have learned a more noble craft
more noble than the pen.]

in your living room we began to fight
the feelings that had us so confused.
we found we were fit to touch,
fit to taste, right
along the hem of your garment.
and we found our separate spaces,
and lamented the nights apart, but
how the grieving was so illogical
when we'd both be back soon enough.
the return of the prodigal daughters
and sons, round-tripping to the very brim of things,
cartwheeling along the edge without a faith to crutch on.

we never thought to say a prayer, or
call on the cross, or
do what we needed to do.
once we crossed the line
into this wild kingdom,
where there's no infirmary,
there's no yesterday,
and there's nothing any ghost,
holy or not, can do,
nothing they could have done
to bring us back.

maybe it wasn't just overnight,
but i had drunk of the blood
and i could not deny the taste.
i'd decided to leave the customs and gestures
and pageantry to the rest,
and let your delicate fingers lace up
these boots i'd rarely worn, dusted leather
shrouding the feet on which i'd march
to some haunting dirge,
the trilling of the battle drum,
and i'd let loose my cry of war -
let it slip right off the cuff.
we'd march together,
careening through the darkness,
driving through cold nights,
to choke the very life from the stars,
and inhale the dust,
to snuff the fire of the sun,
if any dared to pass between us.

what i held in my heart for so long,
i make no excuses for, and i dreamt and spoke of you
until we spoke and dreamed each other
under the covers, where we were bound to be,
after years of finding we were
bound by the secrets we kept from each other.

and so i severed this staccato prose,
and i tied it in a simple knot around my finger
lest i forget, lest i forget, lest i forget
and i severed all these strings of fate and serendipity,
and i tied it in a lover's knot around the neck of a beautiful girl

the devils not an excuse for the ways we'd let each other down.
but we won't be fooled by the ethereal, or just
modern art in deep disguise, we won't have been snared
by some other face - which one of you motherfuckers?

i tried to warn you
loving with hole in the side of your heart
i tried to warn you

loving is the whole of the law

and for years it was unrequited
but i'm quite glad it followed us
cartwheeling near the very edge of the abyss
and our eternity, if we'll just stay inside the lines,
we can plunge into the unfathomable together
i won't question the depths at all

Sunday, January 8, 2017


i knew it when i saw it,
when i saw your hair had been cut short
i knew it when i saw you,
and i knew i didn't fit the bill,
i'm not what anyone would expect.
but you grandfathered me in, anyway.
and i was contrite but
i'd never intended to change.

over all these years,
the only thing i'd ever felt constantly
was your absence.

all that time, i'd hide my eyes
in my bootlaces and
say, i'm only human, babe.
and i'd disappoint my appointments,
15 years of fucking around with these old ideas
and i'd lapse into solipsistic moments
and my phone wouldn't ring.

i'd watch my pencils shaking out lines
in this atlas,
needle shaking a finger at me,
when i had relationships to mend
but still north.
i knew the direction when i started,
not that i'd ever put any faith
in a scripted fate.
but i'd run away.
and i was repentant,
but i never thought i'd change.

i knew it when i checked back in
on all my setbacks, and i looked for new
outcomes, that you wouldn't be home -
and i'd laugh at myself like i was your home.
and i'd lapse into a new existential crisis
and my phone wouldn't ring.

you were gone so long,
and i never learned,
you were gone every time i checked in.

as if i needed a reminder.

you can open your eyes now, girl
we're home.

and i only want what you want,
i only want to rest assured,
i only want to rest with you -

and live
        like we are the last two
            until it's all faded
              and all the waters we thought were drowning us
                 have evaporated

Thursday, December 8, 2016


[show me the bent future in that prism.
curve my body and capture me,
spin me upside down in your lens.
show me that power, girl.
'cause i can't just stay the course,
i can't distinguish
who's driving and
if they're driving me

i'm bent in the back from gathering
artifacts and all these artless facts
on the gravel road that runs right away from
the home i left to eat fire, to spit fire
to build new, and to burn.
and out on the asphalt and broken glass,
under the stagnant sky of night,
the cheap and ephemeral twinkle of starlight,
there's no guiding wavelength,
no resonance, no waves, no magnetism
in any direction
as far as the eye can see
only this,
this monumental emptiness.
all the things we thought were left across state lines
they've followed me, followed us home.
and the polaroid develops from fleshy silhouettes to
smiling faces, to pause and record a moment in time
on cheap plasticky paper, and our voices are melted
into wax and pressed, and played on and on and over,
with no end in sight.
and the needle bends as the record spins,
hard enough to start a fire,
to build a roadside camp
on a highway scratched like a razor line
through the desert in this atlas.
and the sounds and the pictures draw out
happier times,
and not many months ago
happiness was just a stupid dream.

but i'd dream of you;

beset on all sides by visions,
the visions reconnecting lost parts of me,
parts reacting violently,
fingers keying buttons with crippling carpal tunnel,
fingers clawing thoughts out through my hands and
my mouth, from this stunted imagination
and for the all words i'd like to think i could draw on,
i know i don't always have them for you.

and instead of drawing on what i once knew,
echoes of what i once was
instead of calling on some god
and drinking of the bitter sacrament,
and taking more and more
to curve and sharpen the words
because it helps to illustrate something otherwise
so intangible,
i'll pen this letter, these thoughts,
and abstain
because i know
there will be reproach
there will be no approaching it
there will be no redemption

i'm feeling unwitting,
i've got that feeling,
that burning feeling.

but we can get this spine aligned,
we can get these stars aligned,
we can make and take snapshots
and records,
we can archive old and make new.
we can burn, and we can build;

but you should know - at the other end of that
telephone line he's hanging from,
however disheveled,
however he be bedecked,
is a man in a dazzling fur-lined hat,
waiting only for you,
for your lips and your moves,
and any words they might make.
there's a man buried in artifacts , new and old
carrying art and artless facts, new and old
curled and crippled hands, gnarled into claws
clawing feverishly at thoughts
that can't quite break free,
to cross past teeth and jump lips.
on the other end of that letter, there's a man
reacting violently within, just to tell you that
you mean the world and the stars to him,
that the light you bring him makes the stars
look like tawdry street lights.
you should know you are the world,
end to end,
and you share a place in his heart with the
sun and the sky,
and the things he'd do for you
are virtually limitless.

see, that's me.
i'm feeling unwitting.
i got that feeling,
that burning feeling.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


Dusky hues are cast into
The purple latte froth of eventide ,
Twilight stars sparkle and shadows are thrown
Over where the flashes of night lights  can't reach
And he fishes in his pack to breathe smoke out just
Past the gutters , glistening with hoarfrost ;
And she lays her head in the golden , cooked
Crisp dead leaves of winter and it's a wonder
Her tears don't freeze before they reach the earth.
Together , they exhale frozen breaths and songs
Of absolute silence , every exhale a fan of frost
And forgetting ,
Together they occupy a narrow band of time and space,
A pocket of exile in the continuum , every bend of every
Wormhole funneling the prismatic starlight onto them,
And they drink in the moonbeams .

She jabs a finger into the crust of the earth and calls out
To no one in particular , her words and her breath freezing
And fading just feet from her face ,
She tosses short hair across her brow and sighs ,
Her bones howling for just a touch ,
Just a touch too much ,

In the distance , a wolf looses its lament ,
Howling a dirge into the atmosphere ,
Into the folds of
Around this pair , and
He calls up his pack ,
Bids them to strike up a dance ,

And he howls back , another ghost
Another nocturnal lullaby ,
Smoke and ice dripping from his lungs ,
He heaves a note into the sky ,
Aimless troubadour ,

And she's paralyzed , fingers raking the crust of
The only concrete evidence
Of any existence
For just
A single
Moment ,
In time
And in space
And the world seems to be getting smaller
Around them ,
The shadows pool in the alleys and the edges
And he lays down
With her
His arm and hers
His eyes in hers
Reflecting the night
Reflecting each other,
Drinking up the moonbeams .

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Saint Elise

[first to the fray, but frail
be cavalier,
don't disengage,
and time will tell,
time has told
this is real enough]

Some years ago, I saw you running with some friends,
You were so nonchalant,
you were well on your way,
On your war path, on your way into the night.

And I remember less than I might like,
So come on, let's chase some memories -
Last time, as I recall, we held up all our expectations.

Since seventeen,
I've had every curve and every line memorized;
Every turn, every shape of every surface,
but your face now, it's no surprise.
It's just as I expected.

It was no surprise to find you in all the time apart;
the time apart that stands to serve as a hard
reminder that , to no surprise of my own,
parts of you were unchanged, the only sights
are lights reflected from another camera's lens,
but behind pale skin, cast in sunlight,
in a kodak flash, beyond the freckled flesh
wrapping your bones, there's still something young,
there's still something burning in you,
curling the tips of my feathered wings.

Before a flowered urn, you could ask me just to watch
from afar, you could ask me to see and sing and write along,
and ride along on the trick horse parade,
but never have asked me to explain -
But it's these new photos, these new memories,
binding us.
The new fruits of our lives that
we can harvest in the dark, and talk
just to the stars, waiting for their burning light
to untie us,
to unite us,
but first untie me for now,
 and let me in.
If not unraveled here, if not here,
just where do we belong?

Not in another's arms, not frozen in another night alone,
chasing the silver serpent in the crest of a tsunami,
seeking my reflection in the weathered waves,
seeking my reflection in the glass of your bedroom window,
and I'm tap, tap , tapping at the glass, shaking icicles loose,
shaking in my boots, and it's nothing but a little expression,
just please, open these windows and these doors

girl let me, let me, come on,
before it gets too cold, and all
the words on the air will just freeze and break.
Open all the doors and the windows, let this natural daylight,
nightlight,starlight in
and - Let me touch,
and trust
that I'll touch too much,
that I'll hold on too hard
wearing out all the bones in our arms,
     15 years apart
     and in one moment,
     lost in you,
and girl, believe me - I've had you on my mind,
and at times we floated too close for comfort,
and I watched you and your and friends ride on by,
and I watched all my chances come and go,
and I'd daydream, skip stones across silent ponds,
and I'd always catch my reflection,
and get the impression you were in it somewhere too.
and it's nothing but a little expression
I promise I won't live this life out
and miss another chance to hold you.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

new church.

[Give me your breath,
I can't hold everything above water.]

i think of all of our notes
and messages
and all the other instruments of love and hearts,
and i think
i need to be acknowledged by some touch
and that's the key to calm
and i'm alright the moon is
right across the sky in the canopy of old oaks
but my mind is out in the dusty plain
and you just stand there at the glass looking at me.

you trace my constellation in a sparkling chalk
outline, and wonder how our stars ever aligned
or if they'll cross us.

despite the overwhelming odds we still smile
and i watch the patches of pink bloom in your cheeks
watch the rose color merge with freckles
a collision of stars in the dark
and i don't mind watching from afar
i don't mind the cheap seats
in the mezzanine
and the nosebleeds

but together we move farther
leaning more toward where the spirits roam free,
saturn's outer rings and galactic dust,
bridging the monumental distance between us
and the next us like us

we move farther into the light of stars
that died long before we ever even knew
our names

and we take to the skies.

the pupils dilate
some believe we can
just lay down to sleep
and the eyes roll
and the eyes gaze up and fix

map these faces in your star charts
infinite stars dispelling broken prayers

infinite pupils of starlight gazing back

behold the progenitors of love,
behold the stars
gods of the new church.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


[A dozen hours into my day,
and I feel like I'm finally awake.
Twelve hours of sun-up,
and it's threatening to go down now,
but it's not concerned with me.
And I'm fine with that, I'm fine on my own.]

There's talk and chatter of death; consequently of a service I'll miss.
There's the tittering of old maids, the weeping of widows,
and the muted musings of mortality from the young; who for a day don't get to feel invincible.
There are men of no consequence, whispering through the steam of overpriced lattes, passing a carnival in the tar-slow procession and lording over stilted conversations in black and blue.

A silent body passes in a gloss black hearse, shining hubcaps rolling over oily asphalt, and I salute.
Whether by heart or bullet or fire, I can't tell,
but a flame of alarm rises in my chest and boils my lungs and my blood and my beliefs; and I can't
believe how I've gotten stuck in the halls between these walls, and I'm trapped, and I'm fading to black like the tinted windows that follow the silent tracks of the dead.
Eyes from this macabre parade gaze on, gaze out, gaze at me through windows,
and I gaze back from mine, knowing, but unwilling to climb out, even to pay respects.

Automobiles creak by, herded by the oscillating strobes of motorcycles, and within a hundred thousand turns of light, they are all gone and passed. In moments, they are shepherded forward and into some sacred dirt yard for their loved one, or friend, or boss, or loved one's loved one to be interred with the bones of a hundred others that pioneered the way for them to return straight to the earth.

There should have been a talk over a casket; a service I missed.
There's the eulogy I never spoke, never wrote, and there's the struggle of a hundred hearts to swim in a panicked wave of grief; but not me. The service is not for the friend I miss.
Funerals aren't truly for the dead, and maybe the service was beautiful,
a rite of passage,
but I almost always miss
because I'm not sure I'll come back.