Wonder at the gentle way that
we each perform magic,
as if it is nothing.
We take air into our lungs and
(only a moment late)
exhale something other.
we all live, bored and unthinking,
never quite recognizing
the beauty of our breathing.
even as those faded scholars
had sought to turn lead into gold,
they respired, achieving and uncaring,
too blinded by their seeking of Midas.
How wonderful the
play of light is on our skin,
how beautiful is our peaceful sleeping.
let the earth keep her shimmering metals.
We breathe and live.
That is too much magic, as it is.
Wonder at the gentle way that
We’ve been sad for too long to give a shit about feeling sad.
I’ve viewed myself through the lens of history and I’ve flinched
at those mad and desperate movements I made, long ago
as if I was a bird caged, as if I could find joy in that cold chaos.
As afraid as I was, six years ago, when I realized I’d forgotten
what it was like to desire and to hunger,
there was a certain painful relish of the
absolute wreckage that followed after.
I was an arsonist, one who burnt myself and the world
altogether, with my pulse pounding in my temples
and a grin on my baby face.
Not that I was happy, but the calmness of after was a
newness I recognized.
Gone is that first blush of darkness; I find no charm
in feeling the rise of the old adversary.
I no longer flutter and writhe in my cage;
I crumple with very little feeling.
I’ve done this breakdown before, so now I self-destruct
by rote. Nothing, not even this swell of feeling,
raises my heart.
I watch this depression rear up again, basilisk in a soft skin,
with the blank eyes of roman statues, whispering
“Oh, this again.”
Girls like me don’t dream at night.
Though I am wise and solemn,
never was I Solomon, never loved specially.
and you, wild and graceless heart,
please cease this morning from wandering.
whether you rest on the sand by his feet,
or on your own somewhere,
is up to you and the watching stars.
But please, little heart,
stop moving so in my chest.
I cannot sleep for all your traveling.
I wonder what you’ll tell the other girls about me?
(Or perhaps what you’ve already said?)
You gave me dismissive haikus of my predecessors,
A few adjectives, two winks and a faraway look.
These, your other birds of paradise, were taken from
glass cases and examined before being replaced on the shelf.
Now my own feathers are all but preserved,
and my blue eyes changed to glass staring beads.
What will you whisper to your next dove?
Will you tell her that, for a time, you refused to eat
blood oranges from anything but my hand? That we discovered
secret coves along the shore and sat in sticky silence together?
Pulpy fruit and salty kisses aren’t enough.
Tell her that I made you ache with loneliness unrecognized;
that I seduced you with poetry and with my lips and
the taste of fruit juice off my hands, citrusy and sweet.
Lastly, tell her you won me so fully that I
scattered 45 love notes around you bedroom,
(hidden in your shoes, under your soap, in your sheets)
so completely that I traveled miles, hours for a glimpse of you.
I was sure that I’d never feel more safe than when I was near your large frame.
Now, you’ll have reduced me to a passing sentence when she asks.
Now, my plumage is embalmed and dry.
And now, her hands are on you.
(and that makes me the very smallest of all.)
That which sings of solutions and hums with quiescent equations in its native tongue means “to make whole.”
Those that mended bones and those that subdued variables both lived under this name.
Breathing in the slightly smokey Arabic that you exhale, cigarette still clenched in between teeth, I wonder if you belong under that title too.
You kissed me wanderingly, as if lost in the alleys of Lebanon and not those of my palm.
The stitches of my ribs were explored at midnight, the way you had wandered Tehran in moonlight.
For all that exploration, of cities and of myself, I doubt you really saw either me or those dusty streets.
Your eyes looked through me cooly, as though I was some mathematical puzzle to solve.
(I was bad enough at calculations that I’d never do it alone)
If ever you answered my complex expression of variability and breathing,
you never told me the answer.
It rained the night you left me,
the night you caressed the bare linearity of my spine for the final time.
Even if you solved me, you failed
as both doctor and mathematician.
I preferred to be unsolved and broken to the false certainty of an equal sign.
For all your brilliance, you never deserved me
nor the water-soaked beauty of a crying Cairo.
you’ve often thought that her hurried
and nervous movements were like a bird,
puffing up its speckled feathers, against the cold.
she keeps pictures of the sky in a locket
over her breastbone.
no one will ever hold that heart, too wild
and too in love with the wastes of the clouds.
You could not help but notice that you knew
no more about her now than you did the
starling that perched out by the window every morning
as she sipped your coffee that you held in your hand,
pensively hiding her face even as she took from you.
had you but known better, you’d have expected that
one day (quite soon) you will come home to an empty nest,
with only the lipstick on the rim of the mug by the sink
to tell you that she was real.
had you studied her with the care required,
you would have known that migration came with winter,
and that she had flown away
The wind wants worship
by a cool blue ache of sleep
You are a maelstrom, you
who returned me to
these delirious lakes as they waxed over
not as honey beneath the languid mist
but as rain above a soaring sea
(but worship you I cannot)
I’ve so often worried that the world existed only
within the boundaries of my
(stark, lonely, windswept)
mind; so, naturally, your entrance into my life
felt the most unreal of all, a rare
and seething thing, a lightness made visible.
still, even my vanity isn’t enough to believe I could dream you,
that I could think you into existence as Zeus did Athena.
imagine the irony now, that you’ve made me the least real of all.
All I am now is a vague suggestion of
psychosomatic sleepiness, that drifts in and out
with my recognition of your seeping absence.
now it is you who is the world, and me who is the creation.
your gifts to me were a shattering of my will
and a rampant inability to get full breath of air.
Deep in nighttime,
I’ve washed up on the shore.
In from the sea, I’ve wandered,
lonely and unmoored.
I’ve become a driftwood kind of sadness,
which is a sort of sad that aches and sits and waits.
now is the time for slow, dark waters
moving and writhing across an ancient shoreline
a black sky above tells me I’m not wrong to wait for you,
though it is long past the hour of your return.
A sea captain’s wife, I look for you, beyond the prison
of a quickly fading sun.
you have seen more years than I have, breathed in more breath
and dreamed more dreams.
your sweetness has been all but lost and you know,
as I do not know, though I spend my time learning and lying in time.
still, you don’t hold me much,
(as long as you don’t see me waiting for you).
I hope it burns you, when you look through your spyglass
and see an empty beach, an empty shore.
I know I always write this, but this has been the longest uninspired period of my writing. I’m not a terribly serious writer or anything but it used to be something I sort of felt compelled to do? I can’t write anymore, mostly because I’m so fucking tired of the same things I always talk about. like I talk about:
- the moon
- the ocean
- deer/animals/but 4 reel mostly deer/also birds like ugh
- art (michelangelo, or whatevs)
- mythological characters
- space and shit
- gardens ‘n green shit
I’m so tired of myself, and I don’t even want to write these tired poems anymore. They’re always addressed to someone, usually whatever stupid boy I’m pining over, (“oh sweetheart, tell me you know the tides the way you know the folds of my skin” VOM)
you are icarus in the morning,
a vast and velveteen creature
shot through with sticks and feathers.
fallen in early dawn light, you are gold
and growing cold, the gilt of new day
making dust grow upon your brow.
those hunters, with those fierce cries,
have wounded you now, sweetheart.
though you are full of arrows,
you have also swallowed sunlight,
which now shines through you,
and goes into me.
shed those heavy antlers,
finely wrought though they are.
die with the taste of new day in your mouth,
with the fresh scent of spring and of berries
on your lifeless tongue.
"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world."
the ocean confuses me now,
for it is all dark lines of waves upon the sand,
each fresh line an archaic and lost language to me.
you were a shell I held to myself,
that whispered me the secrets of the sea.
Now, you’ve left little besides surf and dulled glass.
Only your breathing lingers on,
in the depths of a conch,
where the song of the tides was sung
until it was replaced with something more profound.
use your map of the currents to come home to me.
elsewise, could you extinguish the melody of your lungs?
it lives loudly in the quiet of my room.
I haven’t been able to write a single thing for months. No poems or anything else. This is my longest period of silence and I’m not sure what’s going on with me. I even have these two or three amorphous ideas in my head about potential poems but I can’t do anything with them; I’ve tried but I just can’t. I’m confused by this…????