because while some truths lend themselves to equations, others are best described in verse

photography

Don’t apologize.

angel, Hollywood

Sorry is not a poem
you post on your wall,

framed in flimsy black plastic
that wouldn’t hold a body.

Sorry looks at you,
dead straight, only

when the war is over.
Then it unfriends you on Facebook.

Sorry has no metaphors.
No spindly pale analogies.

It smells like your future
ex running late on a Thursday,

face scrubbed
with a stale washcloth.

Sorry tastes
like what i imagine

funeral flowers taste like,
broiled. Sorry is the sound

of a silence two
seconds too long;

is the difference
between stalking

and lingering, between
dancing and dithering,

between a kiss
and being caught.

Sorry is always caught.
But is hardly ever contrite.


this is what goes on the last page

 

we fall, as the year
into december, so
wetly longed-for.

the rush
that calls our quiet
is the absence

of sirens.
the rails we walked
for so long

now blink
into forever,
a smoke-curl

on january’s horizon.
your left hook
is useless

against the coming
cold.
that kind

of hardness
can only melt
or burn.


anaesthesia

vagabond
winds with
fingers dipped
in newsprint and nerve-
endings massage
sunlight into
skin and cortex, injecting
overdrive analgesic
with an 18-gauge
straight through
hippocampal
hang-ups
to the core of
my soul,
a morphine drip
of wireless silence
leaving
me with the
sweet-ish
feel of
a spring
morning’s
blissful nothings
unplugged from
the lower back
pain
of a world
on its edge.


a break in the lightning

fucking inadequate
the soles of my shoes
in the summer on a pavement too
hot to run barefoot,
the temperature control
in my soul out of sorts
with the weather, incongruous thunder
in flattened veins,
fattened sluggish blood
refusing to pound
for me the chaff of nightmares,
a dirty sunrise
uncovered each morning like
the scratchy wool tapestry they wrapped
me in to get rid of the fever, saying
i had to sweat it out.


hubris

a word for heroes and tragedies,
life-breadths hanging by the thread of
destiny’s blade, epic history
and the plight of demi-gods.
but also a word for mice, 2 maybe
3 days old, still blind to the world’s beauty,
eyes squeezed shut
even though they don’t know, they
can’t know i won’t let them know
that they will never see a sunrise, a single
blade of grass.
each death a grain of sand
weighing against me in a mirrored hourglass
on the nights when i cannot sleep;
each death a wave that breaks,
and is gone.


the secrets kept by heavy waters

taking deep ocean-steps
in the direction of you,
i breathe quietly
through the pores of my tongue
so as not to startle you
with my boldness;
hush of moss-draped oaks
and their crushing silences
keep vigil against me;
limbs are heavy and sodden
with my best treacherous intentions,
skin drinking the wet
from the air, drowning in the coming thunder;
for you i would dare
even the lightning.


unsounded lyric

Irrevocable
the sound of something dying deep inside me;
a dark rhythm, insistent
pounding of silence
that reads
lasciate ogne speranza,
one language not enough
to assuage
the piece of me
that now lies quiet
on a crag of sunburnt earth
close to the divine.

What remains
rages, essence and flame
spiraled higher because
I still breathe,
hardly knowing how but
I dance
barefoot
over mirror-shards
of who I have been,
defy you
to define me,
pick out the parts of my
blood,
the promise and power I alone
hold
for as long as I restrain
my doubt, refrain
from turning my head and
tripping
over might-have-beens.


bitter theology

kicked out of bed
by a god i
don’t even believe in;
there was no room left
at the inn
between you and your righteousness

you unwound the warmth from your legs
and gave me your back,
tacitly damning me to hell
for refusing your blessings,
for denying i had anything to confess,

so instead i wrapped myself
in a blanket and the moonlight
poured in by the window
insistingly left open,
curled into a ball
of affronted atheism
on the couch.

[3 hours later,
when i was still awake
and you were waking,
dressing yourself in armor
for the day's assaults,
you picked up your keys without turning the lights on,
you left without goodbye
but with me wounded,
eyes screwed up
against a truth that
such a little thing
as God
could come so far between us.]


imaging melancholy (bagnato niente)

on a cold day in april,
green-filtered sunlight
seeps fire into chilled fingers,
mudpuddles drip with
quiet despair and taunting
rags of cloud break
silence,
flitting patch-wise across
minds otherwise
deserted.

on a green day in april,
watered-down sunshine
makes its appearance
in my bones,
creeps skyward
from the humidity of
clay-drenched feet,
spreads warmth
into a ragged soul,
breaks open the shell of my
longing

like gulls against a cliff
some parching day in august
break open clamshells,
bringing wet inchoate life
to a new silence
or the fragile blue
of the robin’s egg
fallen
under taunting clouds
as they flit,
heedless, across
another cold day in april.


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