Reprise (A mind you can recognize)

…and baby this cigarette’s
not getting me any closer
to you or anything that
resembles your weathered memory,

this mortal tribute to every
nihilism you worshiped
with a seductive glance and
cold irreverence,

this relic of a time
when your tender presence
could obliterate
the malevolent empiricism

of all the demons
wreaking havoc
on my psychological infrastructure.

The enchantment never outlasts
the portentous gleam of ember,
but I can’t stop thinking I can
conjure another sequence,
another verse,

a perfect bridge of
perfect words,
a connection that outstrips
the cold geometry
of conscripted circumstance,

the witless strife,
the final try
of everything
I ever built, ever wrote,
ever dreamed for us

reduced to a smoldering filter
smothered under my bare feet.

…and lately I’ve been coughing up more than just the acrid phlegm of our mutual disease, the blackened sickness of festered agony, you can’t hear the broken mechanism of my heavy breathing, but take my word for it that the amoxicillin’s not killing the cancerous remnants of what you’ve done to me, the dissociative quotidian of unrealized odysseys and everything we’ll never be,
you never wanted anything but a body haunted by a mind you could recognize, and honey the infection seeping into my chest is just my displaced adoration manifest, a culmination of antipathic disregard for everything I am, I detest these apathetic wastes of poisoned breaths, the nihilistic one-man debauchery of loving you alone, but I’ll cherish to the end the chance

to be the kind of person who will sit outside with your shadow
and make sure that the heady flames between our lips don’t ever die alone-

Mightier than (Fallible Excalibur)

This utensil I’m cowering behind
is a poor man’s tourniquet.
Its black effluence blights my courage
in a scribbled cacophony of ricochet
and unforecasted consequence,

and though these words should be
an airborne intoxicant of visceral pathogen
spewing from dauntless lips with no
ink-sketched mask or artistic trepidation,
an extemporaneous weapon to eviscerate
and devastate your impassive
vacuous headspace,

they’re no more than a colony
of fire ants injecting subversive venom
into an immunized body of pulp and dye,
a wooden sword dulled to impotent pine
swung by enfeebled arms as it passes
through your fading shadow.

Fuck all of these
inconsequential tropes
and hopes that these words
would find their way home,

this pen was my last
conduit to touch you
and it’s as good as Excalibur
welded in stone.

Sous la pluie

Look through the rain-laced window

as the road unfurls over the strange

eastern rivulets of cold terrain, or

wander through the bleak angevine

rain, sempiternal mist within

the odd fragment of western valley

a ghost brushing their lips on your skin.

Remember how the absence of tint

and feathered light used to be

a strike to your quivering, solitary heart

floating among the crows and drifts

of silvered curtain. Lift yourself

a bit higher, and you could be

footsteps from her window,

a waver and pause before you raise

your knuckles to heaven’s weeping door,

you could be an arm’s length from her

matted hair entangled by wind and

laced with smoke, fold yourself into

this hour’s perfect canvas and don’t

look down now, you’re just one

blithe revery from home-

recitations

and darling, isn’t this
(my highest sincerity)
everything you’ve ever dreamed,
lift the glass veil (a universe
between your hand and my skin)
between sleeping beloveds,
the space of infinitesimal
décalage, and you
may as well be folded in the same
corner of wild earth (seething
desires of my dismantled heart)
the cool in-between
dispersed by his slow breath
and the brush of callous on your cheek
sing the old litany of words,
those that are yours (is that
me in your poem?) and verses
torn from dogeared leaves of prayer
(not really soothing, but soothing
nonetheless), the fractured
dreamscape of his face obscured
by the blurred reflection of your
slow-moving lips (I died for
Beauty but was scarce-)
side by side along the water,
too weary to reach out an arm
(all my wits to you)
and swim
across-

6/11/16.


Poems noted:

a universe between your hand and my skin“- mad/ness by Holden Lyric.
not really soothing, but soothing nonetheless“- The Torn Up Road by Richard Siken.
“I died for Beauty but was scarce-“ by Emily Dickinson.

Stitches

And at last the weary thread of patience
     slips through the elusive silver eye,
a line of blanket stitches through
     the sheets I pull over our dust-cloud mouths.

And I am learning to reconcile with
     the tilted magnitude of memory:
A grand arc of aurulent miracle
     In my reverent, covetous hands,

Or perhaps to you,
     An ephemeral dart and glance of fate
             As you make your way towards the hall.

Leave the light on when you go, love.
     The thimble is heavy on my fingertips,
I am forgetting how to weave us in
     To the tapestry of sorest hope.

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.

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.

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.