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.

Inexorable (I-III.)

I.
They are still carving you up with their incisors
and knives, when you sleep or have turned your back
to face the sun- a blink, exhale,
and you’re wondering why there’s blood in your cuticles again,
yellow nicotine stains on your fingertips,
a taste of acid in the throat.

Inside-out or outside-in.
The ground that will ensconce you is indifferent.

You’re wondering which is quicker, not painless,
which leaves less remains for the rest to find
after your animative light has extinguished
after your body forfeits its longest fight.

II.
There are some things I just can’t bear to confer-
cataclysmic entropy thrashing inside a shrinking headspace
illuminated by the flames peeling from the suppurations
of my brain, words like stitches unable to close
the rose-pearl chasm of open flesh. A greed
that will tear you ligament from limb
while scavengers lick your skin-stretched bones.

Darling, I can’t stand to imagine the miserable
shrivel of your eyes when you see what I’ve done again,
the crossed lines in a crossfire of psychomachia.
This sorrow’s not something you deserve,
and I’ll wrap myself in the lincel and velvet
before I let you look upon the vile
writhe of chimeric
thoughts and memory.

III.
Trembling hands fumbling with the paper and filter,
a clumsy cigarette taking shape between your fingers.
The lighter is in your pocket, your shoes are
splattered with mud and spit, your voice is the scrape
of gravel under your tread.

Where is the piano coming from, who has shot the streetlights,
why am I shivering on the concrete?

You’re sucking poison into your chest like it’ll burn
away your limnetic madness, like I’ll forget
what I asked before you fled to inhale your death.
You wanted a different question, one with an answer
you’re proud to own, and I can’t blame you for that.
We can burn the query if you promise to reconcile
with the honesty that remains, gleaming like a pistol
under the ashes, and I’ll wrap you in my coat,
I’ll walk you home under the smoke-smothered stars.

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.

Je est une autre

I think such
preposterous things.

Yellow poppy
seeds burst

five-July in my head
squeeze eyes tight.

I can fly
on paper wings

and dress myself
in petal skirts;

breathe like rustled
leaves quivering

green mirrors
falling in the summer.

I must be
a million
others.

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.

Unadulterated Bitter

You dress your diatribes like sonnets
and drop them on my tongue so I sputter
on the sickly sweet adjectives
and I’m still choking by the time
the bitter nouns slide down my hacking throat.
In different veins of thought we believe
it will always
be this way: malnourished, malevolent
the unkindness of ravens in your head picking at my scalp.

You sing in slick twists of syllabic melody
and never once have I asked for a different song.
And all along you swear the truth in your arduous
declarations and swear the rest is arbitrary.
What you are saying now in this whole-beat time
is the veracity
so will I please have the rationality
to disregard all of your indecencies?
They were spoken yesterday,
after all.

And suddenly this morning
as well, and crimson life is coursing
out my side, down my legs
too feeble to run, the damning words
in my bloodstream now, poison spreading
with vitriolic haste and hellish intent, and you

you offer me vinegar dripping from a sponge
and I am thinking,

finally, no pretense- your bitterness is the first on my tongue.

2/2/15.

postscript-
I promise happier poems are coming. 🙂