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Forgiveness,Martin Luther King, Jr. dreams
don’t exist no more,
and I can’t compete with
my words clatter like broken
plates, and my dreams:
They are the world collapsing
into a maze of broken homes;
stark white horizon and billowing
smoke; pedophiles in elementary
schools; and looking back, a blend
of hope and nowhere to run:
As a child: I whispered, home
but the keys were lost and we
waited in the cold until our fingers
turned a bloody, frozen red.
Dad came home from work—
angry, angry like our fingers,
and it was gone.
He told us he was sorry;
he didn’t do a good job.
It’s okay, it’s okay.
As an adult: I wanted freedom,
a revolution; but there,
under my bed, was a corpse.
Dad was in the living room,
how could he be in two places
He told us he screwed up.
It’s okay, it’s okay.
Hollowed, O-shaped mouths,
but Martin Luther King, Jr.,
he knew how to mean it;
and Ginsberg, he
I will come to beI will submerge myself in the body of the earth,
sink my teeth into its flesh.
I will rise, naked and proud, in my own skin:
Evolutionshe awaits the passing of seasons—for the debris
to heap up on the horizon of her frame: a chrysalis
constructed from decaying time. she will be reborn.
To believe in somethingi’m drowning on the pavement
and all the voices are repeating over and over and over again
words i can’t make out
i wanted to be something beautiful
but my cells can only perform mechanical operations
no stars supernovas oceans exist in me
and the moon is like a hard knot in the sky
bleeding ichor on his other side
the sun flashes hot cancerous light blinding
and i am blind nonexistent in the daylight
invisible refracting the world around me
repeating over and over and over again
hard drum beats and tangled roots that reach out
rhythmic dying in the cold winter sun
oh god, i wanted to believe in something
Lullabyborn from damp earth and oceansoul,
her sparrowbones sway in the wind
—too light to hold herself down: the unbearable
weightlessness of her own actions.
she digs her feet into the dirt,
hollowing out the pores, so her mother can breathe;
ash spews up from the earth’s core, shimmers
incandescent like stardust in the last rays of light.
oh, how mother mourns her empty womb:
everything dies, everything dies
in oil-spun fibers and oxygen-starved epithelium.
she holds herself down, presses her fingers into flesh
and curls inside herself, like a seed
and she welcomes it, the sleep that comes:
oh, how it sweeps over her like a deathblanket.
sweet whispers from her roots, how they dig
deep into the earth.
her veins grow stiff and brittle as they mature,
sloughing her dead cells in an effort to cleanse,
weathering away until spring.
it rains, it rains,
the museher moonbeam hair
falls around me
on my hand—
forsaken by athena,
after the harrowing
and armored glances.
want to hold her,
the thin sultry
[blind to her
she brings out
the poet in
with her low
slipping on her
i want to be
the day she
says too much
and she and i
oh, she and
i—; yes, i
will bring reality
when she returns
to the sea
but she was
never mine and
i cannot bring
myself to shed
with its malicious
she and i,
wakingi split myself in two in the face of my reflection:
sin, love. distressed and castrated in the wake
of your ministrations, your lips:
you handled me
so, so disjointedly. rickety, brittle air breaking
in my lungs.
get up! stomp this from my bones, forest
creature. breaking plates.
sprigs of new life
springing up between the spaces of shattered glass.
wild flowers will bloom here after this
i never intended to remain whole, my dear.
i will wake.
i will let this river carry me to the end of myself;
quiet and still in the palms of her current. she will
break me on the rocks
and i will seep into the pores of the earth, deep
into its core, mixing with brimstone
i will return, pale and firehearted. calm
with slow-moving hands and scorched earth.
the moon cannot see usthe moon cannot see us,
blindly lulling the waters to sleep
with her old hands,
like some marvelous god
& the earth sways—
gracefully turning everything to dust
—; the synapses of the universe,
alive with creation & the memories
of countless lost civilizations
& everything is ashes
but your hand is warm
we are submerged in life
the inferno of you in my hands
—is something beautiful
Another DayThe trains rattle past my bedroom window at 1:45 AM,
and again at 3, plowing deep into the earth
like some great mythological snake carrying the consumer
apocalypse on its back—
and my bed is empty of any would-be lovers coming or going,
pulling on their shoes, after-midnight whisperings,
“I’m sorry,” “It didn’t mean anything,” because you don’t
know me and I don’t want to know you:
intimacy is too terrifying for someone who can only put one
foot in front of the other, one second after another
until it’s done, but it never will be.
The End is just another marketing ploy
to prompt the martyrs and messiahs—they will come as men,
naked and armed with condemnation.
And everyone wants to know, “What’s it all for?”
but not even the ones who talk to angels know the answer
because the anti-psychotics cause static in the line, and
there’s white noise in my ears,
little men marching through my bloodstream t
carouselwe laughed like children high on m&ms,
danced like we were carousel horses,
and jump-roped our way through obstacle courses.
I saved our footsteps in mason jars,
in case we ever needed to follow yellow brick roads
to get home.
home was an illusion:
honesty without truth,
apologies without forgiveness,
I kept home sandwiched between
"never" and "have to."
caroline, they'd say. caroline,
stop being such a dreamer. stop taking
us for granted.
I packed every apology possible
into my breath, left runaway plans lingering
in the silence between family.
when I found you dancing in the street,
I listened for merry-go-round music.
I tried to take you with me, I'm sorry.
instead I left you breathless,
left you safe, left without you.
I took our footsteps, just in case I
ever needed a way back home.
sometimes, I wonder if I left you
without a safety net.
we landed in oklahoma
and drank cheap martinis in the terminal;
you carried my guitar and fell in love
with my voice but not my tongue,
not my hands.
there's a man with a garage
that looks like a plane because nothing
meant more to him. will you make a model
of that bar? will you make a model
of my red cheeks? or will you live in a townhome
with her and three children?
the problem was you're not gay.
the problem was there was feeling
but it wasn't for us. i had you but
it wasn't for us.
i'm not sure if i resent you,
but i remember that bar and every pockmark
on the stool you sat on while i played
the song that parted your lips;
you remember every pockmark in oklahoma
like they were ours.
Cloud in a Bottle 1Cloud in a Bottle 1
How is it your voice is a canyon which cuts
where you did not even speak, opening the rivers
of my lungs so they could cataract, could rage with breath
you breathed? That the rock swells of your ribs, washed
round and floating, met then barred the way with mine
so that my heart, turned to tides, could not slip by,
and beat against the walls, unanswered, ‘til it drowned?
And that I still don’t hate you, even now?
There’s all this nonsense of lips and bubbles, that’s fine;
still refuse drifts in one direction all the same, refusing—
shored up maybe by some reassuring echoes still unsung—
to sink, so like an opened blouse colored by brine, my hope
finds refuge at the highest point, and lays itself unlocked
on barren sand to fade, suffuse with light, the way all things
in the desert turn finally, achingly white.
Part-Time HookerI inhale smoke and dirty thoughts
(sleeping with a waste-of-calories
with no sex appeal. her heart
the volume of
smell increases as it's
getting hotter than a
I don't mind her
cold hands around my --
burned out lights form a
silhouette; film this on
screen like a dream
you can watch or hear.
but she doesn't scream;
her bones suffocate me
as she's wrapped around
my body -
she's stiff, cold, dry.
sleeping with a waste-of-calories
with no sex appeal. her heart
doesn't beat. )
Until I can't breathe.
crystallophonethere is a punchcard sin
like a queen of spades smoldering in an alley.
you hear how the gears churn,
singing faster than we did before
back when black magic dropped like a
pair of socks from the sky with supplies
taped to a note that said
(oh, look at you now)
such a beautiful brain:
runs on gasoline?
have a gallon
or we can call it a balloon,
and a new pair of glasses
for your tapered eyes
(you peel the bark back on the logs,
but you're not sure what you see),
and life says,
either nail jello to a tree,
or keep your
icicles hanging from the eaves,
caterpillars frolicking in the ashes,
your 'Sam, I still don't have your number,'
and your totaled passion:
someone to hang inside out with,
string you up like a steak with.
what the hunger
is trying to tell me
my brain churns like butter,
my insides aflare, my chakras combusting,
Apologies to LaoEach day is its own microstep--
since I woke from my mother's womb,
I longed to mimic new words, trammel
the sound until it blossomed
like a newborn, and oh how I birthed
stories--told them how I wanted
the author's sacrosanct title
once I've grown. But growing meant
learning the practice of citizens
and their due contribution: beast-slaying
nature of please, thank you,
an apology: sincere
or not. Then there is time--the first
breath of nine, exhalation
of five, the suffocating mandate
of overtime. You grow used to it:
the cyclical disappearance of parents,
pervasive need of sleep, a home-
cooked meal's gradual transmogrification
to a microwave's impatient beeps,
the drive-thru's static, monotoned voice
by a man who has already learned
what I am learning: to cherish
the alarm's morning hymn over my mother's--
now I'm rarely late for work--can navigate
those can-lined aisles, the cold-grey
of the warehouse with deep strides
until I lose track of every step within
my eight hours--my mind
A ParenthesisYou were (a parenthesis, that paused
the daily, mundane stuff
a bundled breath
of fresh joy,
and borne in the wonder
Gasping and grasping,
'til in quiet you laid
and I, my Child,
lie in quiet, still
And now, that is all you are,
and still so much more.
Escape VelocityF = G(m1m2)/r2
Black – true black – is the absence of light. Darkness is defined by what it is not, by the lack of something else. When we say a black hole, we truly mean that; black. Blacker than black. An absence of not only light, but of time, distance, anything.
The night was scary when I was little. I hated the dark, but couldn’t bear to sleep so long as the light was on, any light, burning on the other side of my eyelids. I used to have nightmares about dark things in dark corners, shadowy figures with shadowy fingers trailing along my spine. I always woke up cold and fumbling frantically for the lamp, but the aura of light just made the shadows deeper and I turned it off quickly.
Black holes are dead stars. Graves. Tombs that bury light, bury it so deep, swallow entire suns, planets, galaxies. Dead stars take all the light with them like rich men spending fortunes on alabaster monuments and marble headstones.
There are four unmarked graves
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