you had rough, selfish hands
but they were warm;
i felt them on my back,
and other places i rediscovered
in the grasp of better men,
thinking of you
when i wanted to forget.
are what brought us together;
with a stir of paint chips and skin,
we made clumsy love on the concrete
of a condemned factory,
moving in the shadows of machinery
that loomed like winter trees
or judgmental Gods
who still stopped to smell the alcohol
in our pores.
"will you pass me a cigarette
and along with that sign your lust
on the paper that will gray in a flicker,
bitter acrid and addictive
like the first high of tobacco—
a euphoric quiver
that lasted only a minute,
gone when you inhaled your second
seeking the same."
indiana is the land of crossroads,
where the wind blows
to find a better destination
and the tired rest in restless homes
with wheels that creak
beneath the hardened earth;
you said you were meant for something
better than a bible belt,
sought my eyes when you whispered
i paid for your bus tickets.
i wondered if love was letting go
or knowing that you never loved me
as more than a first.
Late Monet in a Boy's Bedroomyou have mourned for a childhood spent
siphoning color's touch from men with your eyes
unshut, begging at the heels of lovers who
wanted to know your shadows. you accepted them
into your bed, reminding yourself of such moments when
you lay back: powerless, aroused. his hands knew you
in wide spectrums they shouldn't have, but you lusted
and lust for another whose brush is careless, whose teeth
will paint your neck without praying to consequence,
who will have you jealously, selfishly: who will let you
call him by that paternal name that rots your liver, that
makes your tongue soft for affectations. he was a liar,
but a charming, intelligent man: an artist, blending his
we landed in oklahoma
and drank cheap martinis in the terminal;
you carried my guitar and fell in love
with my voice but not my tongue,
not my hands.
there's a man with a garage
that looks like a plane because nothing
meant more to him. will you make a model
of that bar? will you make a model
of my red cheeks? or will you live in a townhome
with her and three children?
the problem was you're not gay.
the problem was there was feeling
but it wasn't for us. i had you but
it wasn't for us.
i'm not sure if i resent you,
but i remember that bar and every pockmark
on the stool you sat on while i played
the song that parted your lips;
you remember every pockmark in oklahoma
like they were ours.
Why I Can't Love a PoetHe said you're beautiful like
black birds on a gray sky or
a tree that's recently died but
holds its last green leaves until
they wither and crack, swept away
by a northern wind bearing his name.
novemberthe sun is a dim pearl
beneath a blanket of gray
hung low from the heavens;
i'm your yellow tremor
paled by the cold, aching
for a proper sunrise.
To Him, With Loveintimacy is airing out
those facts you have held
allowing someone else
to draw his own conclusions about
your vain pursuits of existence.
Wadewhen i asked him why
he took his time with me—
why, when i was petulant
and often absent,
he bothered to teach me—
you will mourn your childhood;
perhaps you will hold a son,
a daughter—even a niece or
nephew, and you will understand;
when they say old soul,
they mean young scars and someday
you will understand."
a playroom in mississippihe is a skinny kid
who builds a simple fort
with six dining chairs,
poking holes in a nice black sheet;
his mother, weary, scolds him
but he says they needs stars!
next comes the dirt,
lugged in from the yard,
a red bucket of it with bits of sod
dumped on the floor.
he constructs lopsided hills,
digs shallow rivers and egg-shaped lakes,
fills them with tap water,
and places insects onto their fresh earth.
they scurry, settle,
lay tiny families and flourish;
he feeds them melon rinds and bread,
protecting their homes from centipedes,
spiders with angry eyes and legs.
he names them all, calls them children,
but mother calls him for supper,
finds him and yells to clean up the mess:
put the chairs where he found them,
throw away the sheet,
mop the floor until it shines,
return those dirty bugs
to where they came from.
the insects, clueless, are bundled into jars,
whispered prophecies of a return,
and forgotten on a dusty shelf
in his cluttered closet;
he has his favorite meal
IntimacyI asked to be slapped—
and your palm met my cheek
with constraint, cupped to lessen
the ensuing redness, the responsive tears
that welled but only in my left eye.
There are things like tealights
and dinners after midnight that we agree
to be romantic: that we consume
through antique filters, lace
between our fingers, but your palms
sweat when we hold hands
and I've never liked skin webbing,
nor the catch of calluses—
So, I propose to rewrite
a definition: mostly for my sake,
but also for the sakes of others
who have found themselves wondering
if they might be a-something
because they don't like to be touched
softly on the skin
or loathe surprises of any sort,
who would like to make love
then smoke a cigarette,
go for a jog without meaning insult
to the man in their bed—
Because when I asked you to slap me—
I meant to say I trust you,
stomachedyou blush and bruise
with sidewalks, stones,
the quiet doorways in your thighs
and the weight of your purple
tongue against mine
(a carnival of teeth)
if you swallowed the moon
with your agate jaws,
you could not be more nacreous
O FevraleWitching hour, welcomed with a sigh,
bare-breasted and ink-stained in the night.
Half in love in this half-life half-light;
pisat O Fevrale navsnryd, dreaming
of the gods. Wanderer, today I died and
died again, and whispered prayers
to clasped hands… until the nestled
droplets fell away like sunrays at dusk;
and when moonrise came, I sang again.
Starving sleep and apologies.My sleep is starving.
It is shivering sweat like snow
across my shoulders as I sob scream
after scream against your skin;
"sorry, I'm so sorry,
go back to sleep."
I am sad
and struggling to stay
together but you slump
against my sickness
and hold me
Six lessons on love.One. Sometimes love will move so slowly
you will stop waiting for its arrival. You will become an
open bar and you will be drained and drained until one
day you open the door to let last night out and love has
left a calling card on the doormat.
Be patient. Let love come to you piece by piece
until you are full to the brim with it.
Two. Some days it will feel
like love has come for you with a wildfire
at its heels. Let it come; you were
meant to burn brighter than any sun or
star we care to name.
Three. Growing back after burning down
is a sign to leave old loves behind. Let them
go kindly. Wrap them up in tissue paper and
ribbon and give them a kiss goodbye. Be gentle but
Do not use maybe. Do not look back.
Four. Love can hurt and you will let it
because you are in love. It will spit venom and
throw fists until you stand up and throw
Be strong, letting love go is not
Five. Love will sometimes be too much.
It will let y
The art of self-destruction.I have spent
my whole life perfecting
how to separate my
insides from the
outsides without a
scar to show.
My arms have been
weapons instead of shields
and I have built no other
walls to defend me.
I grew up in
this house of flesh
and instead of tending
to its needs I have
been letting people
set it on fire instead
of loving me.
Redthis is the way we are set loose:
like bulls released from their pens -
all anger and bucking fear,
unaware that we have thrown away
the most harmless annoyance
& quivering, we await
the wrath of realized
mistakes - the end
of the fray.
Be gentle, love.Be gentle,
my body is too heavy
hollowed out and
filled back up
Be gentle, love.
Be gentle and
let me lay here,
still and silent,
until my emptiness
(c)loves and (c)loversi am no artist's muse,
i am no ship's harbor
i am no hero's weaker heel,
i am no good earth's flower
i have never been your lover
nor have i ever kissed you,
- not even once
though i dream of you (c)love-scented,
with lips shaped like a lucky (c)lover's-
kissing you and to be kissed by you
i can never profess,
not even confess
even to myself
i stay standing, (b)raving the cold nights,
pretty much batty and bootless
the absence of you weighs metric tons on my
shivering nape, and
you dam(n) me with
you are my river's boulder,
and undefined border
You lo(i)ved inside my chest.We made love
(once, twice, and
I stopped counting the
in the middle of winter
and pretended neither of us were
casualties when we collided,
a heart-on collision,
I keep the room you rented
from me empty,
I don't think about you anymore,
but I don't think about you
Lovebirds' Sorrowshe was the girl with cat
eyes: broad and judging and
carnal; he was the doe
with a broken collarbone,
yet she found herself lost in
the warmth of his sighs and
asked simply for a set
of sweeter lies
[because it's only after you
sell yourself to the earth that
you learn love is not a
chemical reaction anticipating
every ignited glance and soured
word; no, it is a thing
of obligation that sleeps upon
your doorstep, knowing you
will always come back,
knowing you could never forget
he called to her on hollow
nights, and she found his
voice when she had nowhere
left to go
he was the cereal box savior;
she only needed a place
to bury her bones
[it was never sparks but
instead a dull roar that
filled their ears until
life was a blur of static
when she whispered I love
you, he really believed it.
starsi pray that someday soon, in a lonesome winter, your bones will cease to ache.
regrets will no longer break your morals like glass figurines,
you will not ask God to pardon your sins.
you will forgive yourself.
i hope, for your sake, that your butterfly-flutter eyes
will only be dampened with tears worthy of shedding.
your glory will shine out of those 2 crystal windows
and you will finally know what freedom feels like.
one day, in the midst of a dreary december, i wish for your wings to open wide
and carry you to heights far past any you have ever experienced.
your lungs will become blooming forests
with snippets of poetry carved into the tree trunks.
you will no longer be broken, but instead, crack into miniscule pieces
of yourself until all of the grace & goodness
buried deep within the crevices of your flesh
is soaked up by the atmosphere.
i am awaiting the day that i can finally lay next to someone i call lover
and point up at the stars to show him
fragments of you scatte
Remnant of a RequiemI. I don’t want to dream anymore.
II. There’s the distortion of stardust and twilight spreading inside downtrodden lungs.
Somehow, the sky had learned my secrets, and it has forced me to bury its body in my system like a funeral despite the fact that these hands have scratched its constellations back when they were bare remnants of dust and gods and ice.
But all these brittle bird bones could do was nothing but fracture an expanse of glass and grind the fragments through broken teeth
[and I couldn’t weep openly.]
Who knew I could drown in my own ocean?
IV. Maybe I’m still sober, or maybe I’ve learned how to remember too much it hurts. The door ways through my chest have refused to open for me, and I realized how much I could starve from trying to forget.
All I could ever wish for was rain.
(the pitter-patter of petrichor,
a rhapsody billowing with every note,
the taste of autumn in my mouth...)
V. And it started to unfold like th
calamity.the poor boy got a lecture from deaths secretary
"deaths busy enough as it is without walk ins"
"but it was urgent," he stutters.
"it couldn't wait, it was now or never"
he was simply told
"take a number, and wait over there with the rest
who 'couldn't wait' "
suffocatesea moved her arms in and out of the light like a bird caught in air
and gave up with the ocean's pull that stayed and stayed
i found nothing to be more
than the sea and its lover
night it brings holding the
blue as the moon seemed
to fall into our eyes nestled
in the thick of stars only to cry
thrashing waves for land
to kiss it another more.
the sheets of salt fill my lungs
and ripped my heart open to the
such swelling waves.
systemhe said that one day I,
who have grown accustomed
to accumulating moons,
drawn like moths
to my Venus-brightness,
would meet my match.
he told me I would be
captured by the brilliance
of a star,
a Betelgeuse, a behemoth:
supergiant turned supernova turned
supermassive black hole.
he informed me, peeking out
from under my gravity,
his erratic elliptical orbit,
that one day I would be
and that it would be poetic justice.
ily2i wrote a poem for you because
you make me believe in happily ever afters,
romantic suicides and the fact that one day
i might not break everything i touch.
i don’t know what i’m going to do in four years
because i can’t comprehend a life without you.
and i hate you for it.
you’re just so—
you adjust my skirt and give me a pair of jeans
and say, “don’t let society make you .”
you stay up late with me to watch the sun set
only to wake me up early to see it rise.
you guide me out of the way of
already-broken leaves and
piggy-back me straight into puddles and snowdrifts.
you steal pieces from every one of my jigsaw
puzzles and call it a metaphor.
you’re beautiful and amazing and
if anyone ever tries to tell you differently,
it’s because they’ve never seen you
laugh at two o’clock in the morning
or spend days trying to figure out how to knit
a scarf for your step-sister’s birthday.
they’ve never seen you ba