lessons

i am tired of lessons
tired of the stillborn
tired of incurable young kids
tired of the smell of death
on the highway
where they haven’t moved
the corpse of an animal
for six days
and counting

i am told they are teaching souls,
the ones who die young.

what kind of lesson
am i supposed to learn
from a dead baby deer
on the side of the road
what kind of lesson
am i supposed to learn
from a baby blue with
an umbilical cord
wrapped around its neck

things that get the life taken from them
before they can even open their eyes

maybe it’s just my birthday
coming up in my throat
the palpable feeling of decay
that everyone walks around with
and tries to ignore

maybe it doesn’t mean anything.
maybe it’s trying to tell me
that i’m better off.

i’m not sure which is worse.

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the cycles of rebirth

my mind is a denizen of the sky–
when i try to inhabit my body i am
disgusted. my head is a reference
for my mind. when i inhabit my head
it splits open with thought, not being.
i am ungrounded yet still tethered,
my heart beats but does not make
a sound. i bury it in salt each night
to keep it intact. when the light comes,
i am under the sheets and shivering
a dead butterfly caught in my throat.
a spider tries to follow, and i swallow.
i would say to the stars, give me wisdom
or give me death, but they are already
dead, and their ghosts laugh as they
shine down on my emptiness.
some days i can’t keep my head atop
my shoulders, and let it roll off, into
the weed-choked ditch. it simmers
beneath the summer sun, and my
mouth is full of mud from which no
lotus will grow. i want the world to
take me from myself, and i want
my self to be taken back to the sky.
the clouded landscape will take my
pain, and i will be released as vapor,
to rain down on the earth again.

structure fire

if your heart is a votive, mine is a structure fire
how i yearn for that sweet incineration that burns
away all memory, blackening out all the dark hours
of loneliness until they turn to ash and blow away.
when we lose everything we are free, i am told,
but i am unable to cut these tendrils of feelings
attached to the cigarette embers that were there
for me when no one else was, or could be.
help me forget. i have experienced madness, love,
rage, and sorrow, and it is only late afternoon.

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.

rummaging

the inquiries into the physics of your body
softer than collision, softer than impact,
softer than all things i had grown to know
as being a part of myself, like this living
of everydayness in split light, one brighter
than the other, but i couldn’t quite say
which one was which. you picked through me,
didn’t rummage, and i loved you for that.
carefully you laid out my origins
a barren petri-dish, film cut into squares
a block of nostalgia from which i was formed
so that i missed what i didn’t even know i
was missing. and then it was too late.
as a sapling i dreamed in black and white
and maybe even sometimes an emerald green
so vivid it almost hurt to look at it.
my hands, as it would be, weathered first,
and then my face, which you found lying
on the ground among the oak leaves
and picked up and kissed. we would count
stars in the viridian sky and the light
and darkness soothed my eyes like poultices,
like the bunch of rag and lavender you held
to my gaping heart. you never rummaged,
only held me in your hands with love so
bright beneath the dark that could not,
would not, take me from you.