and i’m wearing black lace underwear
with finger holes in them like peeping moons.
I swear I’ll wear your fingers on my skin
for a thousand years and then one more.
if I got only one tattoo it would be your palm print
but it would feel like a redundancy, wouldn’t it?
if only you had lingered on in my life
the way your touch clings to the air.
you told me that angels only live for a day,
created for just a score of hours,
and then dying with the sweet beauty of the sunrise.
butterflies live longer than these, their winged brethren,
though perhaps ephemeral seraphs live more in their
briefest of times, feel more joy, feel more wonder
than I do in my longer (yet still so short) lifetime.
I spend more time thinking about angels
than a self-respecting atheist should,
so I try and banish them from my head as their
creator banishes them from life and from earth.
even now, though I’ve outgrown these biblical husks,
when I watch the new dawn emerge,
I must confess an Old Testament sadness
washes over me
and I swear I can feel their wings dissolving
into the crisp, new air.
Every night I light a candle
and sit it on the window sill.
perhaps I burn an offering of a cigarette,
maybe sing an incantation of a band you hate.
I picture every face in the world
but your own.
all of this so I can sleep,
so that you know you cannot enter tonight
through my window
or through my dreams
in the soft honey light of morning,
the exposed underbelly scales of the koi
created a strange sensation in my stomach,
a weakness at the delicacy and translucency of the white flesh.
the tail was gone now, taken by someone,
and all that was left was the submerged head and unseeing eyes,
sleeping among the lily pads and moss.
and other koi, living ribbons in water,
softly ate the body of their companion,
all the young like coy moving shadows against their forefather’s skin.
unapologetically, they look at me and say,
"we must get all we can."
I do not begrudge them this meal
for I am as hungry as they are for my world,
and I would devour it whole, underbelly and all,
if I could manage it.
I’m aching with needing something,
soul bruised in a thick, sad way.
my hands are submerged in
dripping moonlight and my throat
is whispering lies and then closing.
I can’t find my way back to tears
anymore, though I can find the path
to the need of them.
I miss something, desperately.
but I can’t tell you what that something is.
was it you or the city that was burning?
your hungry eyes that were sleeping or the waves?
I cannot release you, though I should,
though my bones would then meet a fine decay.
darling, softly sing to the night
(not to my deaf and searching ears)
there is a burning that goes farther that
this yearning, which lives in my mouth.
is it better to burn than to last?
is it better to burn?
water clung to the fine spun web
like sleep clings to a young one’s eyes.
tender, already, is cool dawn but
emerging from the woods
like new shoots through march snows,
your small feet and bare head seem old.
the world waits, with bated breath,
for the sun to creep over the horizon.
you too, are stilled and quiet like a storm.
dear one, (deer one) how small are your
spindle honed legs, how tremulous your eyes.
almost as if they too were spun from a spider’s
dreaming, as if they to are paused on a silver line.
I’m worried that you’ll find out
that the girl you are in love with
is polluted with pills and pains.
I can’t make emotion on my own
and I don’t manage well even
with the help of orange bottles.
if our minds are nothing but
neurotransmitters and chemicals
and if you love my mind,
then you love a creation
of a pharmaceutical company
in Washington, where rain
pounds the roof of the manufacturing
plant every goddamn day.
you’ll hold this body in sunshine,
and you might kiss this skin
but I’m not there.
Darling, I am not there.
the rushes by the river
can fade into a monotonous
while the wind presses through them.
each blade sings the song
that only it can make.
often I make the mistake of assuming
that a shared status as humans
means we share minds
as we share breath.
teach me how to be alone,
show me there is tenderness in space.
I’m not sure I can live
as grasses do,
a single voice in a fervor
of groaning sound.
I am sleeping without dreaming,
and the rhythm of my breath
is not real to my quiet mind.
I think I disappear into the sea of unbeing
in the darkest canyons of night.
I am a body, I am not a soul.
oh lovely one, I had thought I would be free of you by now,
that nothing but the moon might ache (after all this time).
I had hoped that the whirling dust might settle
when dampened by cold spring rains,
so that dawn would be clearer than before you.
cleaner air, emptier plains and a heart that sings
instead of murmuring “no.”
there is serenity in the void,
there is contentment in space.
But I am not granted the grace of lonely things.
this is devoured by sweet lips and gaping jaws,
and instead you remain gazing upon me like a burning orb,
omnipotent and omni-cruel.
my sweetheart in the dark, I am ready
to crawl back to you now.
if this is freedom, take it.
if this is love, free me.
She is a lake beneath language,
is a sleep talker’s promise.
She is honey in heavy water,
is not my shadow but the moon’s.
Her breaths are sleeping whispers of summer,
the promise of a sunlit form.
And by her command, I urge
tiny, rusted tin ships
to the rocks in a spring squall
with no protest at all
this is such a sweet message. like, such a lovely message. Thank you so much.
I am god on the Sistine ceiling
reaching out to touch a far reaching star,
so I seek that sharp cheek
so I search that sylvan eye.
and the tragedy of adam and his father
(who will never meet, imprisoned in paint)
seems sharper here,
where I cannot feel your loved face