Armistice

There are these oftentimes I cannot reach you.
A heavy fog over your laden heart,
curtains pulled over to evade the sun.

An oceanic trench of disbelief in all
the vehement hope I try to conjure.

There are these broken refrains
that sing flat and hollow.
I can never get the notes right anymore-
my voice always cracks on the crescendo.

And in the subsequent silence
I curse my tongue for its stumble,
the wreck of sound that cannot rebuild.

Sometimes I think it’s me that failed, dear one.
An arsenic-lipped lover with no antidote to offer,

a slaughterhouse mess of misguided intent.

I am told that it is neither of us,
that convalescence is a fortress
we cannot scale alone.

Please forgive, then,
the battering ram that tries
to shatter your iron door,
the stubborn want to reach

that which is beyond us both.

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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-

Letters (and other quiet perils)

Very soon these are the words I will be able to speak without the pen interposed, all these wonderings heard within the sweet proximity of you and me. And still I feel as though something innate and fearful binds my tongue, renders my ink-splotched hands nervous and fretful, like twin birds in impenetrable cages. That old nag, “Michaela, please put yourself away…” That old notion that all this feeling is something too heavy to hold.

And yet, there is so much left to tell that I imagine moments of confidence and conferred stories all of the time. It’s a ceaseless daydream of that evasive privilege, the chance to be understood by someone you love perhaps a touch too much. And it goes without saying that there are infinities left to know- crooked shadows that bare their teeth, gentle sublimities folded upon the highest shelf of memory, despised and desperate queries we dare never speak out loud, all of those invisible fingerprints and fossils pressed into your heart.

I think that it all comes down to a simple sentiment that I have nevertheless failed to translate- that I never wanted more from you; simply more of you. From, signifying an act of conference, an offering of word or deed; of, signifying essence, the very core of what and who you are. And even as I write that, my fingers recoil from the page. The enormity of such intimacy does not escape me, and you have always been at once ephemeral and indelible. It’s one of those things that comes with time I suppose, but isn’t that always what we lack?

There are at least a dozen letters like this one, scribbled on receipts and business cards, restaurant menus and the handsome pages of a fine leather notebook. Some are quite brief, merely a scrap of lines in scrambled languages, others more complete, but I keep them all in the secret hope that one of these days the paper will not feel so heavy, that not a single sentence will bear its weight alone.

M. Alden.

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-