novemberthe sun is a dim pearlbeneath a blanket of grayhung low from the heavens;i'm your yellow tremorpaled by the cold, achingfor a proper sunrise.
a streetcar to nowherei.he must crackwhen his hands are tulle:paling dry,rough and tearing,bought by the yardor cent-marked minute,spin a skirtthat won't last a winter,shed bohemiaand snort ballerinas,hope he's flexiblelike tulle:thin and shimmering,don't stay another minute,clear the aisles to sayhalloween's over,so he must crackwhen his hands are tulle:quiveringwind-burnt dancers,caught aflameby a craving sparklike tulle:crisp and burning,thin black ashii."name,like your real name orjust something i can call you,something that won't make mefeel like i'm talking downto you. not becausei respect you, i never—no i don't think irespect you, butsomething soft like i canpretend i'm decent,or normal maybe, don'tlook at me, i didn't pay to—where are you going after this?tell meand maybe i won't laugh."iii.swept.
Bildungsroman"you fell firstand i followed,tumbled like bricksin the wake of youradmiration,"is the story i told,and you agreed,not rememberingthe night i've triedto dissolve: when ilay on your bed,dampened sheets,counted perfections,cut my sleeve,and realizedadmirationwas my muriatic acidwhen you hardlyknew my foundation:i collapsed like bricksalready unstable.
HistoryIt's easier to generalize a century than it is to generalize a day.
VineyardLike a grape,I squeezed untilyou popped;trodden at heart,I smeared you on my lipsbefore tossing your skin aside,warpaint glistening—Your tendernesshooked me and I fought;your sweetnessroughed my palms,begged for vengeance,made me callous—Niceis a wordI can't mold around my tongue,but you drew the summer winefrom our union:you the sugar,I the alcohol—This love-hateisn't what they said it should be—it won't sweeten with time;the bite of vinegarbitters everything.
love's austere and lonely officesi.ronnie picks rose petalsand eats them, chews the pink to yellowin his cigarette teeth. his sister, peggy,asks how they taste, and he says, "good,like whimsy and perfume," and picks three petalsfat with pigment and water; she tastes the firstand likes the second and the third is the sweet on her tonguewhen ronnie dies of liver failure. she eats the reddestblooms on his casket.ii.if tommy were a girl and jenny a boy,the children would be perfect:tommy with impish nose and nymph hands,jenny rumbling with the rooneys from new city,and mother frets for both their blond[e] heads.peggy buys the twins paletasbut ronnie spends most days with grandpa.he comes home and tells jenny they're blackfoot:she could have been a warrior woman,tommy a medicine man,and mother wouldn't fret when tommy kisses jason.ronnie is sixteen and thin.iii.willy is the youngest boy and clings to skirts,plays with dolls because eva smothered him. tommypushes him down the stairs because jenny w
gardeneri need to love youbut love's like ivy grown to choke a house,to strangle the poppies and tulips andleave the trees in desert soil,to frame the windows and smother glassbroken by the strength of roots grippingat sand once loose on a beach whoknows your footprints,and when i have torn up vines by the root,drenched the green in caustic vile,burned the furniture wrought with seedsand thrown away the trowel,i was never more unhappy;i need to love you,to groom the thickening leavesand dense forests in our living room,let my hair grow long and my eyes accustomedto the arid night because you made promisesof rain, and the rain cannot come without clouds,without blindness and frightand it will drizzle but somedaythe storm will be torrential and the lightningwill dazzle my fear, my need to flee,to take the dusty gloves you use to cultivate,stem the urge to quell germinationi need to love you,and trust will follow like the patter of a summer shower.
The Writer meets the StripperNarcissists will panderto the one-way mirror,sycophants fall in love.
Marcelothe sting of something cheapswiftly followed by the bittersweetacidic kiss of a sugared lime:He says to me, he says it again and again—I'm not leaving you, I'm making a path for you to follow—He says it on a tongue like syrup sticking to the zest of his lips, another dry-mouthed confession leaving sweet thick saliva on the corners of his mouth. His face is etched with the shadows of a late summer afternoon, who molasses-crawl with passing clouds and place their sleepy passion onto him—heavy-lidded lethargypockmarked by staccato letters;siempre pasas por mi mente,Hermanito—He trips over his consonants and slurs his vowels into one indecipherable sound—He touches the shoreline of my collar where sweat has pooled in the sweltering room, where the windows and shades slant shaking honey sunlight—and I take another shot. His hand is roughwarm like the lime I squeeze and set aside,like sand on white beacheshe will miss or won't remember;the crack of plastic andA third
relapsethis, I think,is the way that empiresfall.there are sometimescatastrophesVesuvius, Alexandriabut I will not go outin such an explosive fashionthis time.my second deathis preceded by decline,slow and inglorious;erosion working itsweary charmupon my architecture.the difference is this:disaster is unprecedented.it is a noble sort of way to fall,at the hands of that whichyou could not control.but I am allowing myselfto crumble to dust.the forces of entropyhave not strengthened:I have simply stopped cobbling myselfback together.someday, archaeologistswill discover my ruinsand sigh.
Bad Mouth Habitsi.I carry God around in my lip like he's chew,spitting his name out in poems like potholes,I make everything a similefor the hold he has on me.ii.When it comes to men,I've the appetite of a Roman housewife,I take, I taste, I tear,swallow and then then toss upfor the next course.iii.I don't kiss anyone so dearlyas the glass pipe bridged between lipsand fist.iv.Jameson, you're an Irish Lad,a young ram of bucking proportions,I let you rattle around my mouthtil I herd you inand down.v.Sometimes there's nothing so sweetas the jack-hammer of angry wordsor the steel trap clamp of silence.I exercise my oral rights inblaring pendulums.
1,001 NightsIn a land ofdreams and dust:the curve ofa half-hazed sun,devoured.
dead1.i hear these wordsand something happensin the yard;it doesn't fita poemor planet.i see it squeezeinto the slitsbeneath your shirt.i feel it fly the smoothof youfrom off your back. it turnsand hides behind the acres,stock frontiersof jagged rooftops,kept far and safeand freeof me.2.the squirrelhas left the limbas light would leavea photograph.i’m staring into its absenceand some new kind of animal is made;one whereonlyits reversal is alive.it doesn't move or breathe.the park is wintered over, and i don’t go.the poppiesare all gone.and when they do come back, they never changefrom birth to birth,a clan of inbredsisterhoodswith felt umbrellaclotsof karmathat don’t rememberwho i was.3.one last thought of your last thoughtand all the rest become their graves.nothing i remember, nowwill reach the earth. i have no bottom ground,beneath.the narrow knots of woodthat span and hoard and cup my selfare laughing into holes;the
MyiagrosYou went quietlyLike granite with finesseDays and nightsThe come down monsterI had a drinkSix, seven, eight moreAlways and sometimesCompletely nothingThe weeks of illnessBefore it pulled your eyes shutNo small talkJust plain, empty timeI walked to the store for smokesStruggled not to howlThere was fly paper nailed to the registerLegs still movingAnd I knew what they were buzzing forHell had found you first
Why Poets DrinkChrist,there is a reason poets drink.Abstention feels bad -infertile and stuffed, swollen.It does not sell booksor win those brassangels on ribbons.Tonight my lover is bourbon,distilled in some soulsouth of Carolina.It plays tricks with colorsand the sounds on my tongue.It grows words wherenone have loitered for weeksand handfasts me tothe rest of the world.It is ransom -a jest of seasonsand my bone idle brainawakes.
PositiveLeft to me, your worst historian,to pick up, in a daze, some depth of dictionI never found while you had livedand I can only now pretend that words are capsulesof sanguinity, that they’ll unmask the symbologiesof sound that bore your binaries to their realmslike sacred dreams of Hypnos. Regret’s a simple word.I always thought of "A Separate Peace", and in those scenesyou were this Mozart in the rough, a perfect chord, onewhich I would meekly channel through cracks of lightshown through the fist of my own interference,steady indifference. Why this wisdom, now?The cosmic clown who wrote this songdoes not annotate our endings with an epilogue.I do not see the irony in celebratingyour new found space. There is no iconicity,no special shapethat serves the worldas you did serve,to bend and writhe the streetsinto a wellspring, a circuitr
scar-crossed(my fingers are colder than the solemn blueburied in her eyes. so much dead beauty,like an ocean without waves).she is fading and i cling to her,and in this tiny little momentbetween breathswe barely even exist.
SadnessSadness had always been an active resident in the places I had lived.It swelled and breathed and scented the breeze like the dying petals of spring,floating through open windowpanes and settling like dust on the empty shelves.Sometimes it just appeared without visible entry like the cobwebs that roost in those corners you had thought so clean just a day ago. Or it unraveled in the morning dew and graced the cold spring skies, scattered like hundreds of wandering stars only visible in the light of a window.It would melt into my morning tea, cooling the little tornadoes of cream and sugar that spun around my spoon and it would pass behind my pupils as I stood before the bathroom mirror.I could hear it at night like an insect, clicking across my skull, etching tallies in the walls like a prisoner counting the days without the sun.Sadness swelled and breathed and surrounded me until I was certain that it was simply a part of my being; the part as close to myself as my skin and my bon
Bone-danceMy skeleton is nightand solace,ever the drifterin powdered skies andhollowed sight.These red riversstir and breathein bone-dance:temptation’s lullabyfor a width and stretch of slumber.Kisses give soul togranite marble;and my bones,(oh, what dreaming bones): they dance no more.
into the deepAudio version over thisaway.and the world will crumble, darling, but we will watch the stars--watch the coasts curl up at the edges and the foam-slick sea drag them underand history will bloom in brass and copper nebulas,untainted by the tortured earth and its pleadingflecks of ash below.but we will watch the starswatch the galaxy unwind, spirals stringing outthe taste of ozone and plasticities.the heaving sea will recede--the glacierspour their hearts outthe dunes rise up to the sated horizon.wewill watch the stars.and the hungering infernos hold no sympathy.
moralistI want to curl my handaround your heart,squeeze death from youlike overripe fruit.
spectresred unfurlslike silk scarvesunderwater:adrenaline,steady fingers,mute fascination:curious and sharp,glinting in flickers,unfurled.