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.

Extinguish

Here in the damp heart of morning,
the dregs and apple core, sullen
cathedral bells over a groggy town.
Pull the sheets over your face
and pretend you can’t wake up.
Better yet, draw a curtain
over the sky. Smother the sunlight
and seconds and all trace
of wakeful yawns, coffee stains, the
quotidien bonjour, tell the world
Sorry, but we’ve made an
offering of Aurora“, tell the sun,
Sorry, try again tomorrow…

Reverence

There is a palimpsest 
of crystalline promises
waiting on the highest shelf,

dust-cloaked mezzanine
built upon volumes
of tender letter and verse.

You are not
their beloved essence,
the exquisite chime and call
heard in each
remembered word.

You never held them
in your hands like I do,
their slender curve and warmth
pulsating on your skin

But I have saved them all,
the hopeful sketch and gleam

in the pristine gallery of indelible memory,
running my finger down
the weary leather spine

slips of future vision
twined with thread and stem

and threading myself
through a thousand hours
preserved in loose pages
and re-lived within a breath-

 

Psychomachia

There’s no cigarette or masochistic bromide
that can deflect the present’s grotesque poison,
the festered spite and bitter
that rots my long-cherished proclivity
towards tenderness.
My fragmented rectitude
is shrapnel in the hands of anyone
blind enough to come close.
My tongue is out to kill
and I’m brandishing knives
with demonic finesse,
and there’s no valor
or beacon of righteousness 
to disarm me.
I’m making offers on the altar
of solipsistic nihilism
with a velocity that
would have terrified my conscience
before the passionless intoxicant
infiltrated every last capillary.
Mental hemisphere frozen
in full solar eclipse.
Glacial indifference as frostbite
discolors my skin and soul and
closes in on my heart.
I’m beating these impotent fists
against the last wall standing,
begging whatever dismantled trace still breathes
to succumb to anything
but apathy.

Espérance

When the gasp of tears
gets the best of you
and you’re rocked by the
impending loss and chasm,
when you’re undone in the parts
where it counts and torn
at the knees and throat,
bleeding into the folded
corners of roadmaps and photographs,
my love, I promise you’re
still heard. It’s not alright,
and I won’t tell you it is,
but here in this moment
where our hands collapse
together, and the prodigal
sunlight settles in your hair,
palms outstretched
to pull you up from the gravel,

breathe in;

You’ll make it that much farther
and just a few steps more-


 

To the one who needs to hear it most. Hang in there, dear one.

 

Into light

There is a darkness
that our tremulous adoration
cannot rescind or slay.

There is something in us
that skulks in the grotesque
headspace between
our diasporic minds,
rejoices in the valley
of our worst grief and folly.

Tell me its name,
how it calls in every
adumbral doorframe
and vesperal void,
the surreptitious face
of our monstrosity.

Speak out loud
that which only
your fear has known.

Tell me you’ll hold my hand as
I confess the nightmares and
draw you a map of graves,
shallow rivers running over bones.

The quiet is scaring me, love
so stay beside me until we find
the words to hearken dawn.

Reticence

the poem I should have sent you is the
 one I whisper into my coffee and sing
 to my shadow when I’m alone on the sidewalk;
 the poem I should have sent you is love
 papered with scraps of futile grief, ransomed
 with blood and skin shed in locked white rooms;
 the poem I should have sent you sounds like
 what you mumble in your sleep when you’re
 dreaming next to someone you adore, lithe limbs
 over her waist and her fingers gentle in your hair;
 the poem I should have sent you is the tender
 braille on my hips that your fingers read in the dark,
 secret topography of knives and healing;
 the poem I should have sent you is a hand-carved
 confession of my sedulous monstrosity, bares its
 wicked fang discolored with the rotting entrail of a devoured lover;
 the poem I should have sent you prays to the
 ancestors of every word that comprises its reticent
 lyric and verses not above a whisper,
 and here I am writing in pen a poem I'll never send,
 etched over the pencil strokes of foregone truth.

At your table

Here we are in the red
room where the table
gleams with
epicurean temptation
and you
fumble with your
napkin, your knife
a silver clatter
on your plate

fingers stained
before you’ve
raised the fork to
your teeth. My
eyes, persephone
seeds in a grisly skull
painted with crimson
and black, looking at
you in the hungry way
you say
you adore. Hands folded
in holy invocation.

Violins burn like empty
coffins in the fireplace.
All of our sins and hope,
laid before our mouths
in a banquet of
rescinded wisdom and
gluttonous tongues.
A divine immolation
in reach of our
quivering bodies,

and the hour is now
to swallow down
our valor
and taste the sordid
delight, roasted hearts
and words simmering
with asinine love
and nothing.

A cornucopian
glory to spit into the sink
and throw out
with the ashtrays,
to rot in the river
by morning.

Return to sender

Please place today
in an envelope unaddressed,
and tuck it softly in
a solitary wooden drawer
within tomorrow’s dark.

I want to finger the pages
of winding hours,
slats of light turning
your eyelashes into
a thousand golden filaments,
the mountains like earth-hewn pearls
in the misted afternoon.

And when I’ve memorized each
ephemeral glow and wonder,
we may write the date
coordinates to a kinder place
in the folded corner
Seal its thin lip between
forefinger and thumb.

And I will send the hours forth
to meet you where you are,
in the desert of forgetfulness
in the midst of your coldest need.