i carried you in my blood like a disease. you swept through
vessel and seeped into capillary, and i was almost, almost
unaware, as i lifted my hand to be brushed by your mouth
and i felt your teeth in my bone, felt you rasp at my skin
with a mouth shaped like infinity, and for you, the dogwoods
flowered and the rabid raccoons did drunken boxing, and
their infected mouths spit rubber and roses, and my heart
becomes a seething mass of muscle and of sickness,
sickness for the trees and sickness for your sweet bloody
mouth, and who can quarantine this pathogen called love.
pirouette on a brain cell, there’s a landmine inside my head
there’s a memory that drifts like an iceberg and sinks like
a ship. there’s water just about to spill over the edge of
the table but everyone’s too busy talking to notice, there’s
an acid lake where the children are going swimming behind
my eyes. there’s love and there’s the inability to let go.
there’s a tightrope horizon and a fragile glass ego with peat-
moss fingers, and eyes the color of krishna underwater.
there’s the river under moonlight and the bridge you have
never crossed. there are doctors and there are healers,
and yes, there is a difference. there are people who spend
their lives in hospitals and there are people who feel like
they’ve never really left. there’s a flash of lucidity and then
it’s gone. there are watches that never have the right time,
and there are people who make you think it’s never the right
time. there are fish upturned and you think this must be how
your dreams feel. there’s seeking and then there are things
that you’re never going to find because they’ve been buried
too deep and too long. there’s prozac and there’s lithium
and there’s god. there are some things you just can’t forget,
and some things that you will never, ever forgive. there’s me
and you and there’s a map drawn on my heart and the edges
are starting to burn.
toss gasoline on bedroom pyre. collect the ash from our hair
and divine our future in the peppered remains. we see with
limpid eyes still touched with the shine of madness and of hate,
bite marks in our knuckles and slivered light stuck in our palms.
we throw brass down the well though there is gold in our veins.
we raise splintered fingers in the air to test the patterns of wind
and of words. headway made when we forgo cardinal directions
and leave the decisions up to the atmosphere. the sky will sweep
the flames clean and even these wishful vagaries will settle like
our teeth, rootless and bloody, to the ground.
you are as incomprehensible as an anorexic is to a starving man.
i eat and i eat the dirt, i shovel it into my mouth and it tumbles
down my throat like a body thrown into the well and still i eat.
i lay down and you put one foot on my bloat and claim this new
earth in the name of all that is subterranean, but nothing ever
takes root. the blood-bone of the ground swallows you up and you
become a half-buried monument without hands or eyes. such
threadbare mortality you must stomach. my hands are crusted
with clods of minerals, see how they refract in the weak light.
do not look so downtrodden; the worms will remember you forever.
sea stars bleed from my navel, i peel them from
my body, they leave imprints like tattoos
i drowned a plaster-cast of my shadow in the
ocean but i didn’t tell anyone
something inside me flutters like trash across sand
you make me feel like a sea bird just before it gets hit by a car
press your ear up to my heart like a conch
don’t tell me what you hear
when did my skin get so porous,
when will i stop tasting salt
i tried to bend the line between sea and sky but
the horizon is not a spoon
make sure my mascara is waterproof
be sure to prick every bubble my screaming makes.
the sky wakes us with rain that pits the pavement outside.
quaff acid, speak now with a ruined throat that sounds like
windchimes to my ears. the crystal clink of falsities and
micro-delusions that occur everytime you blink. what if
there were no mirrors, no reflecting lakes, and you only
knew what your face looked like by what people told you,
that you had blue eyes on tuesdays and brown eyes the
rest of the week and that both colors blur in my dreams
and i have to take a pill just to be able to fall back to sleep.
the rain will eat away at my memory and i will dowse for
where it collects behind your ears and in the small of your
back just to watch it sizzle in this chemical aftermath.
and so at last, you sleep, in the circle of my arms
i could always outlast you dreaming, and though
the last night we slept together was a time that
wanted to be blasted from my quartz-clear memory,
the experience outlasted the night and the dawn too.
at last we had some peace, finally we had some quiet
i say it as though it had some lasting effect,
the last chance we had to pull it together
and make something lasting as crystal we found
blasting through the quarries of the heart–
i always lagged behind, the last person out right
before detonation, like i could outlast even this,
and in this last-ditch effort i try to shake you awake,
and wonder who’s at last making the bigger mistake.