They are still carving you up with their incisors
and knives, when you sleep or have turned your back
to face the sun- a blink, exhale,
and you’re wondering why there’s blood in your cuticles again,
yellow nicotine stains on your fingertips,
a taste of acid in the throat.
Inside-out or outside-in.
The ground that will ensconce you is indifferent.
You’re wondering which is quicker, not painless,
which leaves less remains for the rest to find
after your animative light has extinguished
after your body forfeits its longest fight.
There are some things I just can’t bear to confer-
cataclysmic entropy thrashing inside a shrinking headspace
illuminated by the flames peeling from the suppurations
of my brain, words like stitches unable to close
the rose-pearl chasm of open flesh. A greed
that will tear you ligament from limb
while scavengers lick your skin-stretched bones.
Darling, I can’t stand to imagine the miserable
shrivel of your eyes when you see what I’ve done again,
the crossed lines in a crossfire of psychomachia.
This sorrow’s not something you deserve,
and I’ll wrap myself in the lincel and velvet
before I let you look upon the vile
writhe of chimeric thoughts and memory.
Trembling hands fumbling with the paper and filter,
a clumsy cigarette taking shape between your fingers.
The lighter is in your pocket, your shoes are
splattered with mud and spit, your voice is the scrape
of gravel under your tread.
Where is the piano coming from, who has shot the streetlights,
why am I shivering on the concrete?
You’re sucking poison into your chest like it’ll burn
away your limnetic madness, like I’ll forget
what I asked before you fled to inhale your death.
You wanted a different question, one with an answer
you’re proud to own, and I can’t blame you for that.
We can burn the query if you promise to reconcile
with the honesty that remains, gleaming like a pistol
under the ashes, and I’ll wrap you in my coat,
I’ll walk you home under the smoke-smothered stars.