In the unkindness of the mirror, I think I want to kill myself but instead decide to dye my hair

Because our hearts weren’t
big enough to be wombs, we worked
on making them hard
enough to be fists : weapons
to strangle our ghosts,

the ones we thought
we had left in the last life,
or at the bar, or sunk
straightjacketed
brick-to-pedal
in the bed of the James.

but we didn’t leave them :
we carried them; being
ghosts, they weighed
so little we could pretend
we didn’t mind. and maybe

we didn’t– because maybe
we half wished
to become ghosts ourselves,
see the air squeeze
from our bodies, live
a little too close to the edge;

feel the rush, then the plunge,
then the dark // but we didn’t.
we stepped back, took up
our day jobs, ran fingertips
over the callus of our hearts and settled

back into the hum, feeling
for the next cut to spread
ourselves open
& up to the light, seeking
applause for our brokenness,
a new way in, a new outlook, our next ghost.

 

Relativity

Academic vigours
lose their science
when it comes to art.
An array of space-point-time
lines foretelling
the devil’s future
in tingled palms,
they predict
useless fiscal gymnastics
in a landscape devoid
of tumbling mats. And
the earth? Upstream
folly commanding clocks
to run backward. We’re
left iceboxing in a desert
on the centennial eve of never-had-
existed. Avenue upon
avenue of comatose
dreamers, smiling at
the sun. I burn, therefore I am.

ember & ash

now the city’s once-poets,
rock-chained and rail-thin,
spout river rust
and rain-washed chalk
plans for overtight epics,
kick
back with
dinnertime gigs
and dimestore glories picking the dead
bits off mediocrity-ridden skin,
become suburban and
enamored
of cheap tequila
Tuesdays that can’t quite erase
the foregone diagnosis
of cancer where
it
hurts the
most. hearthfire
wasn’t sacred
before it existed;
where is your
Prometheus
now?