I still feel you and all your heat
and light, incandescent wonder
of your face proximate to mine,
tender bed of your chest praying
life into my breast.
I gave you every flame and grace
and traced your limbs with my
lips because dear God I love you,
love you as heliotropes yearn in
a virid stretch toward
the efflorescent cynosure of their existence
love you, you, you as an affront to every
cynicism and doubt transposed
by elders and faith and time.
And beloved, as the last star
sputtered into a frozen mass
as midnight wrinkled twilight’s perfect tapestry
while your shoulders heaved with
two shares of grief
I kissed the remnant light
the pale strobe blessing
me with one more glance at
your silhouette fading
hushed-earth glow under your feet.
I had a book once
of translucent folios
inscribed with holy words
into chosen men
seized by kings
as an auspice of blood and favor
but I burned the prophets
the glass mouthpieces
humming with unforetold.
Up in smoke
while I screamed
an anguished jeremiad
to a hazy
“You don’t exist!”
At the ashen altar I wept
in grey waste.
Found only a perfect mirror
in thirty silver pieces.
and then you’re in his house,
improbable memory superimposed.
Teeth-white plates and
your million eyelids.
A hundred things
teem from the open door
a thousand minutes
with unholy instances
in their infinite.
Cut with a china tooth
drink the red sluice
because it washes that taste
from your tongue, and
till you remember where you are
and repeat after me:
I am mine.
I am mine.
I am mine.
i’m too old for imaginary
the phantasm companions
that play in corners.
but may as well
my head is full
of enchanted whimsy
and a warm blue haze.
In a flight of fancy I burned everything.
Gave up the ghost
in smoke and ready breaths.
Do you remember when we were sprites?
darting through afternoon-gold grass
husky evening nipping at our heels,
but never catching us
because we sailed on arts-and-crafts wings.
I knew each fold
that appears when you smile
and I could coax them out
with an orange laugh
with a lavender embrace
You were my dandelion summer
and the auburn warmth
that swaddled me during grey November.
Do you remember when we were idols?
finding gold in cupid bows
glittering with noontime laughter,
and never sickened by the
because we believed it wouldn’t come
I skipped around a bonfire
and threw paper flowers
into the rabid flames.
Smoke rings around the roses
And we slept soundly
under a navy quilt
under scorching-white stars
our supple skin
Do you remember
when the Fates called us by name?
You fold into all the dresses and robes
hung like old skins
gaze oozing from the cracks in the armoire.
All the skeletons playing post-mortem in imaginary worlds
hide-and-seek with curl-toed children shrinking into their sheets
listening to the bone clatter in the closet
while their weary-eyed mothers
promise it’s just a fear of the dark, nothing
behind the pearly wood of that upright coffin.
And when the door clicks, the panels shift,
wallpaper peels away like an old scab, and you
slither across the bedroom floor, one shadow
at a time till your tongue is in my ear
slimy whisper licking across my cortex
till my eyes roll back in my head
I am your paramour.
Best make room
underneath that sweat-soaked blanket.
We lay there with leaves drifting down
shriveled little curls of brown
whispering It’s our time as they fell
from autumn’s aureate canopy
golden veins in folded bodies
with some precious secret in the hollows.
I dreamed in rhyme
and of colder times merely hoped for
you and I among the greats
hand to hand
and eye to eye
for the second time in our life-
and he breathed in, sleeping leaves in his hair
eyes fantastic blue, and mused
you can’t change the past, y’know?
or if I forget
then the vacuity in my dreams reminds me
there’s no you in my past or present fall
or any future I can see
there’s no drifting, dazzling, sempiternal
will keep turning midair
sunset shining through our edges
caught in a persistent wind
a great skyward heave of clotted air
and spectrum-hued trees-
Hand-me-downs are better,
I think, than the stiff of new leather
or the cold crisp of a blouse hung primly.
I drape my body in the old wears
of my mother, the thin silk skirts discarded
at a thrift shop door
the stuffed-toe shoes from my aunt’s closet.
I am swaddled in their past and sometimes
their present if we agree to share.
Hands like tiny stars have clung to this sweater’s sleeves
a classroom of chalkboard imagination stitched into the yarn.
These shoes, shiny black, toes squeezed so they all point north
stomped across marble courthouse floors, making a case for justice
and mercy and the practicality of stiletto heels.
These earrings, drizzling chains of gold chiming
quietly in my hair
turned my grandmother’s ears into chandeliers and dazzled
all the men in nearby candlelight.
I am a living tapestry of beautiful women.
Their warmth hums in my seams.
A hopeless fixation with your cynical requiems
lamenting that poor bastard bleeding on the inside
praising the lifeblood ink, soaking the frayed page
just before he rasped
his last profundity:
cognac and syntax
are no substitute for living
and reality is a piss-poor second
to prosaic sobriety.