Papercuts

The pages hurt
too much to touch.
I can barely remember
the sound of you
laughing.

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Heavy things

Give me your bruises,
the nauseated stains of
your fingers too hard on my skin,
yeah I kind of like it that way
when you’re breathing (her) name
real quiet like you’re trying
to place her     between us,
isn’t it easy with the
whiskey on your lips

the green haze
swimming through the air
(we are just bodies now)
and sending our distinctions
of face and rhythm
to sleep-

Give me the passionless
thrust of flesh, just enough
to ignite the heat and     release;

with your hands tied up
in my hair like that, baby who
(the fuck?)
knows what touch or title
we’ll rub into our mottled
skin in the sober morning.

And we’re up all night again, cursing the torn-up road again,
we’re slipping under each other’s skin, and if there’s a lesson
shirking in the sheets it’s that kisses are real heavy things,
all your burdens and scars and scarlet grief clenched between your teeth-

Fallen

The point, above all
is to be out, to remember
which side of the word
to put the ,comma to thank God
that there’s a dependent clause
on this page and I must continue
on the next, or else I’d lose this
track, crash, forget-

and yeah,
I felt this coming
but I didn’t think I’d see it.

The sucking need of him,
a ballast of fallen avarice
the shrapnel of his silence
cutting up the couch pillows
or sticking from the carpet

and we’re not getting
our deposit back
because for Christ’s sake,
we got blood
all over the tile
and bleach didn’t do the trick.

No, I didn’t expect
to see him,
enormous and brooding,
face down again
and I have run
out of the magnanimity

to place the black sluice of pause
to piece together the scurried phrase

to pry him off the bed,
try and roll him over.

Home is a crooked word with no synomyms.

Under an afternoon splintered with gold and thorns, wind and clouds as fleeting as angels billowing above our hair, we pressed our hands into the new-churned earth on West Magnolia Road and claimed it as ours. The damp ground dried up and honored these birthmarks; to this moment, she still bears the hollow stars of our tiny hands, keeps our names engraved into her nethermost. This was our kingdom, epicurean cathedral of wild nights and firesides. The bougainvillea wove itself into verdant circles and we crowned ourselves emperor and queen, sacred groundskeepers and young scions of unbridled acres.

Under the star-washed violet sky, we sewed wings onto our sneakers and kicked off the ground. We believed in fantastic, impossible things: dragons and spies and imaginary friends that lived in the attic, we believed in forever and the infallibility of love. I do not believe we took it for granted. We loved the wet grind of concrete on our feet, spraying the garden hose in the driveway on summer afternoons, the cells of blackberry flesh bursting over our tongues, our shadows that always moved two-by-two. Above everything, we loved the dangerous flick of bonfires, their ravenous orange tongues, the shimmered dance of the trees seen through rippling grey air. What a luscious thrill, to beget the spark and flame, to coax it into scarlet rapture and delight in the midnight dance of mortal light, to smother it with cool streams as we licked the last embers from our fingers. In the morning I painted with the ashes. You raked the refuse strewn from the burnmark on the yard’s green face. We walked back inside together and slept soundly, the smoke in our lungs keeping us warm.

Sometimes I still dream of it, our own secret Manderley burning up while we watch from the road, windows coughing out heavy clouds of smoldered brick and pine.  Sometimes we still drive and sneak in through the broken back door, trace the letters of our names still stuck in the ground like we own something to be proud of. Once upon a time there was you and me cast in pure gold, wrapped in the deep blue walls of our newfound castle. Sound asleep while black harbingers swooped through the tremulous ramparts with malice in their wings. And just look at us now, Joshua, and isn’t she a sight for jaded eyes, forlorn grandeur draped in ivy. We’re waking  in outskirts of cold Magnolia, her petal scent and smoke lodged in our throat like swallowed lockets.

Impasse

The words will come when they’re ready,
but more often I find my desk steeped
in ash and vacant envelopes, white
paper tongues dry as corpses.
Shriveled leaves of absent thought
and passion. I had promised
to replenish their emaciated folds
with some new strain of spark,

but what can I do when
the hours sail by in perfect mimicry,
phantom passengers waving
their tattered flags to the bleached
skeletons leering from the shore.