Dreamscapes (I-V.)

I.
Undefinable,
though you will ask for some
careful and cogent precision
regardless.

Should I tell you
through the odd tilt of hours and pixel,
or incise the leather and pulp
with some new miracle of acumen?

When you are no longer
flattened to a laughing hologram
frigid to touch and sad to hold,

or the moment when we need
to hear and say it most?

II.
A girl on a fishing dock
looks east and whispers
to the bodies sleeping underwater.
Schools of silver flick
and twirl in cavernous skulls
masked in feathered green,
in the white cages dissolved
of any lasting substance.

Do you see them too ? she asks,
looking to the mob of tooth and claw
slinking along the foothills.
Call out to them, hold out
your palm and whistle soft.
They can’t hurt you anymore.

I like to picture her in white,
a modern Emily Dickinson with
a pocket of scrap and petal
sewn above her thigh.

III.
A thousand origami hearts
hung from heaven by thread
and twine, celestial ramparts
athrum with the creased thud
of our boundless epicenter.

Yours is quiver and sigh,
weak tremor of
ventricle and pulse.

I cannot snare the rhythm,
though I claimed to know it well.

IV.
When I was a child I often drew
the optical illusion of two faces
fading as a vase as twin
silhouettes as a black candlestick,
an hourglass, and so on.

A sly indentation, and there
a nose, ornate
metalwork, a bulge of lip
or porcelain, it always
depends on what you want to see.

V.
You, in the cold western
valley, slumped at your
writing desk while I read
to your dreams endless
verses, poetry and the stars:

here is my formal redress,
left where I believe you’ll find it.

ghosthouse

On the cusp of your beloved threshold I saw you, your sturdy ankles and tremulous steps into the derelict edifice, cobwebbed balustrade gleaming like ebony water under your bone-white hand,
carpet of dust and crumpled photographs like your own sacred altar.

I saw you kneeling, and your hands amassed the grave irretrievable.
I watched you cradle your forlorn vignettes; a pillowcase with crude seams and thimblepricks of blood, an old sneaker with no laces, pastel candlesticks burned to wicker stubs.

I followed your tread towards the broken mantle of our stony youth, where someone has burned shriveled letters, our voices risen in a grey plume of ash.

I heard you speak to the kind-faced phantoms seated at your kitchen table. Their gentle answers like smoke while you nod and understand, now and forever, that the arthritic floorboards and spiderlace walls are forsaken aches with no absolution.

The ghosts and I watched sadly as you gathered strips of wallpaper and upholstery like a child picking wildflowers, tearing iridescent growth from Terra’s groaning breast.

“None of us are going back.” You tell me this over and again while we gather our dead and leave our fingerprints on every window of this brick and mortar mausoleum.

I hear you singing hymns and christmas carols, and then the stark echo, the house key’s last turn, hear your holy words as you carve our names into the ceiling and drop breadcrumbs down the hall.

Simple Graces

They weave blue ribbons into my hair
whisper in notes of amber
and I shine with beauty from
outward adornments

all the transient radiance
proverbial vanity of an inner kind.

Amidst their whispers I ask the quietest
mouth,
But what of it all?
I dream of smooth exhales and easy minds.
I dream of replete hearts and an overcome of love.
Eyelashes of sun drifting in millionary wishes.
The simple grace of folded hands.

My fingers untangle the braided thicket
hair undulating in blue-tinted locks
mind cleaves open
spilling spectrum dreams.

Elevation

Roller coasters on the Fourth of July
swooped into a tufty sky.
Your child’s cries
from a middle-aged throat
mingled with my tiny squeals.
Your grown-up hand
encased my little star

Vertigo heights
that made my lungs swell
and bruised my chest
and stained my face yellow-green-
I weathered them because
your eyes glittered,
and I wanted to be why.

The encroaching night
blinded silvery eyes.
But the coaster roared on
thundered into blackness
I stretched thin,
blurred by foggy consciousness.

Rickety tracks
that rattled my skull
and churned my stomach
and trembled my bones-
I rode them because
you still clasped my hand,
and I prayed you wouldn’t let go.

I tugged at your sleeve
weathered by violent winds
and pleaded to go,
but
a new manic gleam
sparked in your eyes.

Vertigo heights
that made my lungs swell
and burst my heart
and sprained my diaphragm-
I rose and fell like a tidal wave
you,
the rattling earth.

At the stop,
cobwebbed rails harbored
no new passengers.
And you wanted eternal thrill,
But in my sickness
I stumbled
off to follow the fled.

I sat in the winter-dry grass
and watched you flying.
I wished my wings had not tired,
But eternal migration is too far
for a fledgling
with eggshell still in her down.

Yanking gravity
that urged you down
and pleaded reason
and harbored your little star.
You defied it because
you sought your riches
among the night’s jewels.

I trudged away from your nocturnal cries
for I knew my home was not in feeble gusts
You did not follow me.
You chased a fleeing life.
You chased the sideways eight
shrieking Glory
and inhaling the hand-me-down air.

Hook, Line, and Sinker (You and I)

There’s a place for you and I
somewhere in the depth
beneath
our miraculous floating feet

just as soon as we drop
the anchor of good faith

Maybe if we fashion a raft
of words and fallacies
tied down
with knotted desperation
we’ll make it

or at least drift a few days more.

Reciprocated guesses
and salt-dried kisses
as we cling and breathe in

and choke on wild sprays
of inevitability.

We’re keen swimmers
but not quite broad
enough
to sustain the magnified rivulets

And it’s common knowledge
that if we try to float
with our bodies
in inverted synergy

we will both
sink

So let us drift
to oceanic echelons

and our flash-scaled neighbors
will dream in our place.

Teacups

I am like fine china
under the trembling lips of wilting ladies
I hear their heavy secrets as they raise me
to their open mouths
They leave kisses on my edges
staining me crimson
I fill up and over with their thirsts
their desert mouths.

Sugar-white and hand-polished
by the callous hands of ruddy maids
They trace the cracks that curve
along my surface like an eyelash
“Make a wish”
one says

But I am full of wishes.
Wishes and heartache and the rain
that traverse a lace tablecloth
fringed by smiling ladies
In the summertime their lips bead with sweat
and I taste their manic salt
Still and silent
while they whisper behind lace fans
that beat like butterfly wings.

The Least of These

I want to take you in my hands
and whisper prayers
into your hair. Little one,
hush and hide yourself

in my cornered room.
I will keep him away

and you can watch the butterflies
dance above our heads
below the ceiling
and while you sleep

under the iridescent colony
I will cast a warmth

and remind you
that nothing lasts forever, save
for Atlas and his weary treasure

and the fluttering, fearless,
final oaths
of chiaroscuro cocoons.