the truth: a fragment

what i fear most is the day when i wake up
and the forsythia are only yellow
and the magnolias are only pink
and my blood is only red–
when i am only able to tell the truth,
but the worthless truth,
about the world.

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finding the source

the weeks pass and i become convinced that my headaches stem
from the quartz crystal i have not cleansed that sits by my
headboard. i run it beneath water, let it catch the sun’s light,
bathe it in the light of the full moon, blow sharply over it
while brushing the tip with my thumb. the headache persists.
i then begin to think that it is caused by those endless hours
spent squirming beneath florescent lights, where i writhe and
twist to try and avoid the giant pin is trying to come down
and stick me in my abdomen so i will stay in place. i throw
out all my needles and call in sick to work but the pressure
inside my head only seems to be getting worse. surely it
must be the humidity, surely it must be the dry air–i vacuum
seal my head in a plastic bag but there is no relief. these
days i can’t tell it the pollutants are coming from outside
where i dug around in the banks of the river or from inside
(which might be more poisonous) or from the radiant glow
coming from my refrigerator. my head is on the verge of
exploding. i think of all the built up rot in my head from
years of watching television and falling prey to a perpetual
game of telephone inside my throat that takes what i mean
and morphs it into something so awkward and alien i can’t
even gather up the guts to say it’s mine. the relentless
gush of memory never stops, i have called the plumber and
they have given me the wrench, i have called the doctors
and they have given me the pills, but nothing seems to work.
and now i’m getting desperate. i want these cycling images
of you to stop. i want to forget the hugs that were always
too tight. you gripped me as though i were something that
might try to get away. i should have told you that i wanted
nothing more than just to stay. now my headache is blinding,
i can’t see your eyes, the color i never could catch because
you never looked me straight in the eyes long enough, not once.
so i pull the chain, listen to the whirr–this won’t hurt a bit.

what do field engineers know about love

goddamn field engineers get me every time–

his cheekbones are chiseled and his eyes darker, but there is still
the point where i want to tear him open to see if you are hiding inside,
underneath all that tanned skin and weekend insobriety. i don’t even
know what a field engineer does–only that you go to topeka or omaha
or some other place i only know because a favorite musician is from
there, that you prefer girls with dark hair but that mine is too dark,
that you prefer short thin girls and i was never thin enough–my body
dragged over itself despite the apparently nimble way i could pick
up a dozen library books on the floor in a minute, the way you showed
me how you far up you could jump down from the nonfiction staircase,
the way you turned me with your bright green cat eyes and how i could
swear that when i would see you last november that your english was
less accented and that somehow made me sad. i slept in a cold room next
to yours on a mattress covered with cat’s hair and wished i could at
least see your breath in the air like we were in russia, or cold like
i think russia is all the time. i thought about your lean, hairless chest
while you prepared smoke in a jar for us to share, how we can never go
back there. when the new guy speaks to me i jump in the air, clinging
to the florescent lighting, convinced i have seen a ghost. but ghosts
don’t stick around unless love has been lost, and how can we lose what
we never had?

another failure: a fragment

feels like another failure–

a boy who is unable to love runs his fingers through a girl’s hair–
it feels forced and they both know it, the touch that is a little too
deliberate, a little too rushed–bodies that should be opened up like
gifts are instead shook until what’s inside breaks. but he is already
broken. and she is too tired to explain. they lie like empty wrappers
on the floor, already passed over for newer, shinier objects.

songs from suburbia, part 7

in the lilac morning you rise with your tree stump heart
and go get out the plank of wood to make crop circles on
the front lawn before the neighbors wake up. these days
you only get your kicks from watching the dribbling acid
rain eat away at the marble cherubs and lions, and wonder
why there are no lions eating cherubs. you would swear on
a bible that you owned no tarot cards, but unfortunately
there is a television remote permanently glued to your
right hand. you imagine heaven must be a place of infinite
carbohydrates, an endless supply of processed meats, gap
underwear, kids conveniently cut in half so you can have
your point five, beds draped in the interior leather of
foreign cars. knowing that dinner always tastes better
on its way back up, you put your head in the crock pot
and set it to steam.

songs about death, pt. 21

the wishing has gone to the bottom of the well
but the words come now like an ocean swell

at the edge of the world is a girl perplexed
she does not know if she should stay or flex

the wheat that is not wheat grows with the weeds
when you are dead you can no longer plant any seeds

change your name, change your face
soon you’ll be going to a different place

a place where the moon is always dark
but you hold in your cupped hand a spark

sometimes it can be more than just a trope,
this thing called hope.

the SS Forgo

we are touched with fire

you have cut the clock into seconds when you think you are okay
when you have torn the captain’s badge from your shirt
and now no one can hold you accountable
no one will know

we sing songs of madness and desire

in a cage hanging off the side of a hospital,
a girl will sit and write in her notebook [having been allowed a pen]
and will write HELP over and over again
until she runs out of paper and must write between the scars

we purge ourselves of fear

how many times must you cut yourself
until all the bad is gone
until all the guilt is gone
until you yourself are gone

the ship is sinking. but you are convinced no one will know.
you throw out the logs, smash the compass, wipe your finger
prints from the wheel, from the walls, from this position
you never wanted–you only wanted to see the sea, you only
wanted to be enveloped by white-tipped waves that tasted
so familiar to you, that tasted of your own tears. you thought
you had left that girl in the hospital behind. but now she
watches you with eyes from the curl of the last wave as the mast
breaks and the people scream and you begin to wash the deck
with a bucket of your own blood.

the music of zen and emptiness

i put off smoking a cigarette for this.
some mezzo forte conversation in my head
an echoing concert hall of unsurety
some things don’t shut up
and some things don’t stay dead
i was bleeding blue from my arm
cerulean droplets on cello strings
but kept pulling the bow across
to keep up with the rest
when i sleep i curl around the wood
body imagining it to be a curvaceous
woman even though i sometimes don’t
eat for days at a time and then my
elbows are sharp like notes
sometimes i’d rather be flat
turn sideways and disappear between
the curtains, a swish of heavy fabric
and i would be gone.
whole notes drip from my eyes
and you lick them away, your mouth
a recording device that will
stifle my sound with a kiss,
steal my song with a whisper.
the room is full of one-handed
applause and of course,
we all know what that sounds like.