she was a garbled transmission being spit out
into an indifferent sky. she blinked out morse
code but everyone was always looking the wrong
way. faces turned like satellites to false moons.
the louder she talked, the more static produced
reverse effects were caused by the humming
electrical lines, her heart an interference. no one
could unscramble the thumping signals beating
out of her chest. his radio was turned off anyway.
random acts of love, like random acts of kindness,
usually have the best intentions but most often you’re
just left with a smear on your hand where there used
to be a phone number, an empty lighter and an std.
in an attempt to put a face to the faceless you went
blind. but it’s always been like that. since you can
remember, every attempt to hit resonance has failed.
it’s like how the singers of love songs know that always
is just a relative term–i’ll always love you–
and then the song ends and there is no applause.
disappointment like the stickiness below your feet
in so many bars. you stumble out into the street filmy
and tainted, invisible fingerprints on your skin. they will
reappear in the morning, purple and black. you will be
found dead with twilight skin. they will photograph the
evisceration of your soul. file you in a folder that says
just like everybody else.
the airplane’s going down and we’re breathing into each
other’s mouths, trace amounts of oxygen in exhalations.
i want to punch through to your heart, inject it, love like
epinephrine. you don’t like needles so i keep mine hidden
under my tongue. save the moment for something worth
saving, and this is, i whisper to you as the hydraulics fail.
your mind is a black box, indestructible, holding secrets
that they’ll only find after we die. we are flightless kiwis
who dream of the sky. cloud cover can try to hide desire,
but this free-fall will last forever and we’re bound to be
revealed eventually. kiss me again, i am dizzy with dropping
pressure and if this goes on long enough, we’ll be swimming
through the air inside the cabin, astronaut imitations, where
we can’t tell which is spinning, the world or us.
the reductionist view of love says that if you have
a heart in your hands you should eat it. he followed
directions and ate it raw, and i had a strange warm
sensation in my chest as i watched him swallow,
a consumption that felt oddly familiar, as if i’d been
through this before, as if my chest were a tree that
kept dropping off hearts to be eaten in a leisurely
manner. we remember ourselves through stories
of desire bitten and lost. i strike a match to burn
the orchard. you mix the ash with tears to make
fertilizer, he says. he shows me how to do it.
but even that will be forgotten. now i plant saplings
in the empty space in the cavity, pray for a good rain.
if it were only the machinations of sound tinkered with,
meant to form words riddled with cipher and code, the
sea might relent and lovingly rust salt-crusted syllables
instead of filling the engine with the watered oil of age.
there are never any guarantees that words murmured
in the dark reach the ears of the intended anyway.
we never say what we mean to say and if the ocean
splashing in through the window doesn’t wake us up,
then the suction of sand at the tide mark will. something
slow to speed us up, our bodies water-logged with the
threat of growing wrinkled before the dawn comes, of
granular hieroglyphics traced on our foreheads, racing
the darkness on slashed tires, already marked by the sea.