Dreamscape

I wonder aloud
about a backpack
that I left back
in an old lover’s
room,
filled with dreams
of our
future
even as
her heart
cracked
as
she emptied hers
out for the things
she felt I
lacked.

I am no
Saint—
in fact,
I am just a
Sinner,
but I’ve always
known that—
and my heart’s
no thinner
for giving myself
the right
to let my
Love
shimmer
like broken
bottle caps or
sea glass
on the beach
in
Winter.

I have
emerged from
the chrysalis,
but no one knows
like me
where the
missile is
that I
hid as a child
from the eyes
of the nosy
kind of god
my brother
was;
thistle is
a kind of
hiding place
where a child
can go
to think;
this ill is
the kind
that finds its
own cure.

If I could be
anything
small,
I’d choose to be
a moment
in a poem
where the
reader whispers,
‘Wow,’
but then forgets
to stall
long enough
to mark the page
at all;
I’ll be here
when you come looking
for me
again
after he breaks
your heart
next Fall.

The quieter we are,
the easier it goes,
but I am full of
colors—brimming
at the nose—
and when I speak
of flowers,
the word flows
like Lethe toward
unutterable Hades,
where he shows
Orpheus
that Hell
is a place
behind and
inside him
waiting simply
for
his eyes
to un.close.

Ovid
ought to have
left Orpheus
with the rocks;
I know that I think of
him when I
stare at clocks
(with my ears
mostly),
and think of 
Shakespeare’s
‘thousand natural shocks’
and how I got
to be so shabby
and tattered;
so
practiced at being
sanguine
compared to
my
pristine
condition
when I came
‘out of
the box’.

What were the ways
in which
Ancients
held
hands?
(I toss up a question,
but don’t wait to
see where it lands.)
You see, I ask
because I have
plans
to shout the moon
down from the sky
and make of
her demands.
(I only hope
she
understands.)

The Strain Before the Sound

I like to write a thing that
no one else will claim;
like maybe it’s too
ordinary
or like
a poem
or a moment
slipped by
quicker
than you were
able to
determine
whether
it was
noteworthy
or not;

That’s what loving you
is like:

the noteworthy
moments
taste
just like
the others
at first,
but the
sweetness
creeps in
the back door
when
no one’s
looking
and blooms
on your
tongue
in rememberance
like askew smiles
of diffidence.

Recall the
feeling you get
when you see a
bow being pulled
across strings;
just before
striking
sparks
from them,
you can see
the tendons
rippling against
the skin–
the antepenultimate
breath of
nightingales’
melodious
Lydian
songs;

And what
I am
struggling
to say
is:

That’s what
touching you
is like:

the strain
before
the sound.

Give me
a shaded
grove
o’ercrowded
with hanging trees
and a lament
and I will
weave a flower
in the air
for you:

lilacs
like I imagine
you
to be.

Lilacs, though,
in the fragility
of youth,
vapors
preceding
the first
opening of their
star-blooms:

the strain
before
the sound.

A March Return to Winter

Nothing ever falls
beautifully
like they say it
will.

Limp-wristed lilies
leapt from my crooked
fingers
and
.th.lepped.
uselessly
on a dirt
floor.

I am in
a place
where
quiet things
never happen;
like heel-crushed
lily fragrance rising
to six-year old
nostrils with
swirl soft
inhales;
like hands
warmed by
tea
in old,
worn out
cups;
like eye laughter
or toes curling
in shoes;
like betrayal;
like finding God
or losing him.

Flourish-stroked
graffiti walls
match the tufts
of my hair
and no one
notices
my guilt.

I loved all things
equally
until I chose one
and then I loved
her
less
for the
choosing.

Nothing ever falls
_____bea.
________u
______ti
_______ful
_________ly
like they say
it
should.

Fears

I have a fear of falling through the ocean and landing in the sea,
Or of how she says airplanes make her feel romantic–shooting impossibly through
Whipped fields of luminescence. One day I’ll tell her how it is with me.

I feel as though I sneak into unlikely slipstreams
When she slides past me and furtively drops a glance on my ragged cheekbones;
I am constantly defeated by tree breath whispers that grip me,
And I like the way her silence sings with mine in subtle tones.

I am not made up of stardust, anymore.

It’s frightening how romanticism decays into pragmatism
And how natural and unhurried it makes you feel at the edge of a Tuesday evening.
I recall my wonder at the red candles lain out for catechism,
And I understand at last the way flame illumines even as it destroys everything.

I have a fear of falling through the ocean and landing in the sea,
It always starts with confusing the night sky with its face on the sliding black waters;
I have a fear of falling through myself and landing without me.

Tattered, Secondhand Apologies

I heard something,
but not from
you–
never from you
in
all
this
time.

We’ve both
left
the state
where our love
boiled over
those
four long
years
ago.

We ended up
in different states
from there,
and, again,
different from
one another.

I know someone where you are,
and she somehow knows
someone
who knows you.

She said that the
girl who knows you
has heard of me.

That,
sometimes,
when you’re blind drunk,
you talk about me
and how
you fucked it all
up
to people
who have never
even
met me.

You.

You who left me
heartbroken
in a ditch
and kicked mud
over my legs
for a quick
grave while you
made off
with
the faceless
misters
and hims
while
whistling
the
“Dies Irae.”

So this
friend of a friend,
who’s also friends with
you,
knows
of
me without
knowing
me.

She’s heard my
name
and knows
our
story.

I can’t
escape
an irony
like that.

I wasn’t even sure
if
you
still remembered
my name.

I should feel
relief,
but
instead I’m
just
tired.

It wasn’t
me
all along.

It turns out
that I was
worth a damn,
after all.

It turns out
that
I was
sufficient
and it was
you
who was
_missing_
something.

I should feel
relief,
but
instead I’m
just
tired.

I was right in
thinking
that you’d need
my forgiveness
one day
when
you looked
___b____a_____c______k.

(Remember
that I gave
you
a
_____________
l_.sealed.___l
l___________l
letter
forgiving you
if that day
ever came.

I kept a
copy of it
sealed up
with Holden’s
innocence
inside “The Catcher in the Rye”
if you
need it.)

I should feel
relief,
but
instead I’m
just
tired.

I cried
when I heard
that you told her
that you were
an asshole
for what you did
to me.

I had learned
to live
without your
explanation
or apology and
didn’t realize
what it’d
mean
to have one–
even tattered
and
secondhand like
this one
was.

I should feel
relief,
but
instead I’m
just
tired.

I was
surprised by tears
when she said
you hadn’t been
able
to date anyone
since me.

I wanted to feel
good
that your
life had been fucked up
by it all
like
mine was,
but I couldn’t
maintain it.

I didn’t want
that
for you;
I don’t.

I should feel
relief,
but
instead I’m
just
tired.

You whistle
the opening to
the “Dies Irae,”
and I’ll
remind you
how
the ending
goes:

Lacrimosa dies illa,
qua resurget ex favilla
judicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus,
pie Jesu Domine,
dona eis requiem.

Amen.

on sharing a jail cell with a stranger

Seven hours
and
we never
even
looked at
each
other.

Through my
periphery,
I memorized
the waffle-fabriced
plaid
shirt
he was
wearing
with its
cream
being
interposed by
maroon and
mint green
streets.

I noticed
the way
he preferred to
hold or
stretch
his legs,
and I marked
only 3
sighs.

We each
stared ahead
at our
_blank_
stretches of
wall,
and our
cryptic
kaleid.osc.ope
(ey)(es)
projected
onto those
walls
{hazy} scenes of
stars
being framed by
nothing.

Cinder block
serenades
were vibrating
all around
us,
and keys
chimed and
bars whirred
and the cacophony
of
solitude
crept up my
neck
and pressed its
silvered
speech up
against
my eardrums.

My once
cr.is.p
tongue
felt hollow
and unheeded,
and my heart felt
like
a hurricane.

There were
birds
outside
singing–there had
to be.

Heartbeat silence
pounded
on;

I just knew
there had
to be
singing
somewhere else
outside of
this
place.

Regret

Sometimes
I would like
to
smash the ocean
with my fists
until
it resembles
something
less
star-woven:
___flat___
like
I am.

The sky
is
bleeding
into
the sea
as wisps
of you
are
receding
from
me.

I’ve been here
before—
on nights
crack.ling;
crack.ed wide
like
bread crusts
or thunder.

Spread out
against
a backdrop
of skies
broken up
by leaves,
an ethereal
symphony
indeterminately
weaves.

___

(I recalled
the rhythms of
you
and the
sync.o.p.ations
of us
and how
silent smiles
popped
as your lips
parted—
until
they just
didn’t,
anymore.

I came
looking
for you,
once.

I thought that
in
your stardust
footfalls,
I
could discover
you,
again.

I wanted to find
the exact place
where
green
met
blue;
I had this
feeling
that
that’s
where I’d
find
you.)

Notebook Poet

I am
a college-ruled
notebook
poet,
and that
means
desperation.

There’s nothing
sexy about
it.

There are no
turtlenecks;
no click.ity.
cl.ack.
snap.s
in wine bars;
no exposed brick
cigarette-leashed
smokers;
no whoops and cheers
or laughs
or jeers;
no dressed up
double-breasted
suits;
in fact,
no breasts
at
all.

My audience is
a silent swirl
of bourbon,
the vapors
eminently sweet;
the cars outside
sighing
by;
the pipes
whispering
in the walls
as water–
even
against gravity–
leaves me
too.

I hate you
more than
I love you
tonight.

Blankets

I want to make
a distinction.

I have these
knit
sheets,
and they’re
woven out
of
the universe,
and they _stretch_
just as wide.

They’re as soft as you
like,
but they have
an
otherness
to them—
like maybe
if you start
to believe in them
they might
suffocate you.

Anyhow,
I don’t use them
for much
except
to try
and keep
undercover.

Then there’s this
quilted
heavy sonuvabitch
and it sits
on its haunches
as.
.ke.
w.
like your smile,
and that’s the
ocean,
this quilt of
mine;
it has that
weightiness
that even
the universe
can’t compete
with.

And I know,
you will say
well, the
universe
contains the ocean
after all,
but
maybe
I might
take issue
with
that.

It takes a lifetime
to fall in love
and
no
time
at all.