Many a thing

I have been many a thing,

The City still lives in my veins
lights atop buildings remain still in my
heart, border where my extremities end
and no-man’s land begins.

I have been many a thing,

Oceanic element, home to bottom
creatures and those who break
surface membrane.

I am still many a thing,

The July corn, immature but tall,
vibrant green stalk against a blue
horizon broken by a farm home and
idle, rusted plow (waiting for the marriage
of scythe and wet stalk.)

I am still many a thing,

And am reminded by western
dusk winds, if I were to open my arms I
would disappear into thin breath spoken
by field mice among wheat perfuming
August skies.

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ANATHEMA movement IV

ANATHEMA 
movement IV
draft 2
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The fire of day crawls first from
the chin of Avenues
cutting the city East/West
clawing upwards between buildings,
vaulting roofs.
Its lashing tongue burning out
street chandeliers and sacrificial flames
in the shadows of buttresses
holding up the night

In the crucible,
morning jackknifes the throat of night
stabbing through the fissures of dream state

In the morning light,
the sidewalks are a cobblestone
mausoleum
bleached by the morning flash,
towards the moat dug around
the shelter of my bed

Sheets heavy as lead shelter me
from sun’s fission
piercing through windows,
its mark seared into the backdrop
behind my eyes

In sleep I chase fugitive fragments of recollection
into an abyss of dreams,
away from nightmare visions of daytime.
Doors open to where vague memories reside,
before light radiated paranoia

Anathema

 

MOVEMENT I

I am
hallowed
by insignificance
among mortals
embracing invisibility
from vision of man

I abscond the wallen garden
of bedroom walls into the falling evening
away from muted unmovable air,
to the retreating noise of the city

Out here in the daytime
uncertainty is a stench,
brings their stare

Night falls to the horizon embracing
creeping hours inching forward as
tendrils of time stretch that other living plane,
audacious shadows grow

Out here
they only come at daybreak
when skin standing on end and
panicked pores spilling sweat
can be heard telegraphing the mute
scream in my chest 

 

MOVEMENT II

The machinery of night begins its
procession

A choir of buzzling power lines
above gabled roofs chatter,
buzzing otherwise drowned
in daytime’s traffic

Gossiping street chandeliers burn
tiny arsons of light unloading daily
grievances caught in their mouths,
they lift cleft palates and worries
come crawling pattering on pavement ,
eyeing me between movements
in roach jolted drive
obfuscated by the outskirts of midnight
etching seconds into concrete
counting out the night

Phone booths
lodge ever-watching spiders
gazing beyond webbed tapestry
of night with eyes open towards the
vast darkness,
observing trespasses upon this plain

Out here in the daytime
I unravel beneath ravenous eyes
while mute mannequins pale as morgues
master disguises in shop windows
remaining insignificant among masses

 

MOVEMENT III

From anemic gutters
I gather the broken,
their limbs amputated by daylight’s
false shrapnel intentions disguised as jade,
encrusted in jewels and gold

Beneath bridges
kings preside over architectural
monoliths  of underpass columns,
makeshift cathedrals welcome the
shattered to sepulcher,
while the humming blacktop above drones a
welcome prayer to the funeral pyre wreckage

The fire will be fed,
the names inscribed on walls
before daybreak shanks the nocturnal
splitting its flesh open pouring out secrets

 

MOVEMENT IV 

The fire of day crawls first from
the chin of Avenues
cutting the city East/West
clawing upwards between buildings,
vaulting roofs.
Its lashing tongue burning out
street chandeliers and sacrificial flames
in the shadows of buttresses
holding up the night

In the crucible,
morning jackknifes the throat of night
stabbing through the fissures of dream state

In the morning light,
the sidewalks are a cobblestone
mausoleum
bleached by the morning flash,
towards the moat dug around
the shelter of my bed

Sheets heavy as lead shelter me
from sun’s fission
piercing through windows,
its mark seared into the backdrop
behind my eyes

In sleep I chase fugitive fragments of recollection
into an abyss of dreams,
away from nightmare visions of daytime.

Doors open to where vague memories reside,
before light radiated paranoia

After the storm

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After the storm,
the sun came piercing through
the fissures of our atoms
the spaces between our fingers
the void between us as we stood
row on row on bridges and
market squares

barring witness to the
spectacle miracle of
radiating fission,
the furnace reaction
the violent miracle of daily birth.

No wonder
we once worshiped
the nuclear bomb,
the mighty blast in the desert
the entrails of earthly dust
playing sand castle in the sky
playing rain
playing sun.

The sacrament of the split atom,
it penetrated the atomical
and shone red through
fingernails, bones and eyelids.

We could not refuse to see it,
a vision and heat so indelible
the blanket to our conscious
mind and limbs

it demanded attention,
it spoke the dialogue
of light and flesh.

We were heat
we were light
no longer foreign to elements

Transcendence

I open my lungs to the moist dirt between
sidewalk cracks.

Atoms severed  from the whole transcend
previous existence, take flight and enter my

body evaporating through tunnels, sinus
storm-drains built beneath my bones.

Particles intertwine themselves around
rooted hair shafts, excite neurons

electrical synapses, the sinew of sense
and memory ingraining fleshy shores of

my brain with cartography not yet understood.

So I too one day amputate this existence, navigate
to the peel covering concrete entombed earth

becoming dust, mud levees holding back waters
swollen by the pull of moon, slow earth thrown

to the casket. The comital of broken deadfall
in winter buried in un-named forests turned

black earth, turned home to black shelled
scarabs, turned nest.

Let the earth do this turning lament for me
let me be food for hungry worm mouths

the secret held between the hands of mice
warm within their family den, to the beak of young

howls turned night hunters, let me feed their
wingspan, nourishing fascia, the miracle

consensus between hard muscle fiber and
soft feather wherein miracle of flight is born.

Let the earth kneed me into nucleus seed
from where its hands are born,

forms sinuses from hollowed trunks and
lines its bones with me

Colossi

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“The Ancient of Days” William Blake 1794

The sky descends into horizon

This eve souls pass through the
membrane of ticking time
thin as a needle
kneeded through
ancient quilt sewn by

Archimedes

Plato

Blake

Oratio

Isis

those colossi greasing universe’s eternal
clock, to that recital played
unseen beyond vision
impalpable to senses
not yet sharpened by ascendance

Faithless Summer

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Save me tonight city,
dark horses pull me toward
undertow currents

Faithless Summer has
forgotten me feathered away
between July and August

Tuck me into your alleyways
grappling with broken murder
bottle street fights,
name me street sweeper,
the callus at the tired corner,
fossor searching for
broken necked birds at daybreak,
keep me as a worn step outside the
church

Save me tonight city,
summer has left faithless
with its barren feet,
I have brought coldness
in my palms
into her heart

Words and Photography John Lopes C2017
Aug/15/2017

Cigana

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CIGANA (Gipsy woman)

Sing cigana sing
ghost love letters written at
the edge of foggy marshes,
history recounted by grandfather lips
passed from cigarette throats

Dance cigana dance
around the campfire
licking your curves,
blow embers over makeshift tents
drowned in smoke of one
thousand camps

Clap cigana clap
music between your hands
speak percussion with your heels
hard enough to raise the dead,
undulate your arms
crossed from ocean to ocean
and back again
over rolling lands

Spin cigana spin,
for the boys stoking the fire
glimpsing up your rising
chiming
skirt

Cry cigana cry
where have mother and father gone,
buried to songs of wail and howl,
trinkets and gold burnt to ashes
spread between continents and seas

Lie down cigana lie
return to your form,
earthen colored vessel
whispering a nightly dream song

©John Lopes c2017
06-25-2017 17:55

Ocean as lover

jean-philippe-piter

I did not want lovers,
only to lay silently in the ocean
pulling me forward, deeper into
the vacuum of depths,
to consume my body and kiss
breath away from my lungs in
wanton possession.

We would abscond home while
sun terraformed canyons between
cells of my cured brown skin,
the sway from the day’s currents
accompanied me to sleep nightly
leaving an indelible memory of
a dancer carrying me beyond the
storm breakers.

I did not want lovers,
only to lay silently spreading
whispers upon my consort
in the daytime, while salt
penetrated my bloodstream
shaping patience, morphing me
into ocean’s likeness,
its malleable form.

 

©John Lopes c2017
03-19-2017 12:17

**Photo Credit: Jean Philippe Piter

Lake Swimmers

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I often think of the swimming body,
arms unfurling the rough afternoon lake
into smooth planks while stretching
through the catch,
carving mosaic reflections into
shapes reflecting glimpses of the sun
before strewn onto the surface like
broken pearl necklaces.

It was in this practice I learned patience,
in the process of the crossing
and perfection of glide,
the conclave with the lake and flow of
language between body and water
the dialogue of the skimming, rotating torso,
forehead below surface line, chin down
consummation of movement.

The body suspended
above the muddy bottom,
stretching through the round shoulder,
the square shape of the hand
with fingers slightly apart coiffing
currents,
surging naked anatomy forward.

In Autumn, the buoy clangs louder
conversing through fog
of the changing season
to lake swimmers, row on row,
blinded at their bow
reminding them of the turn,
the edge of the precipice
before cavernous depths
pilfer reason,

those masters of rhythm
turn attention to stroke of arms
away from blackness beyond sight,
where creatures dwell.

Pivoting parallel to the lakefront,
elongated through the feet,
into the legs, along the chest,
barren breasts cutting waters
connecting one shore to the next,

before absolute zero of winter sets in
the vein splitting East-West coursing
between inlets, skirting islands
and birch skinned canoes
dancing atop foamy plumes,

It was in this practice I learned patience,
when all thoughts are flex of body,
the slight curve of torso
and abdominal reach toward shore unseen
through glistening sheets of
morning’s mosaic surface

 

**Photo credit DANIEL MARTIN “Swim in silence”

 

How to gut a fish #2

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Sharpen the knife by whetstone,
walk to the shore, hold the blade
perpendicular to the fat belly
blanketed with tiny mirrors glinting
sun into your eyes

Find the bridge decorated in promise locks
cast a net,
prime your tongue
squeeze air from your lungs into
gurgling words decorating her ears,
be impossible
be the everything
lock yourself inside as a habit
as the indispensable limb

Scrape scales with the cutting edge,
send them flying in the air
landing like lily-pads
breaking the surface of salt-water

Touch your roughest hand to the softest
palette of the face with knuckles
first tenderly like a mother
and then violate in flight,
land harshly
crush the rosy palette into a
cacophony of betrayal on the
cheek, corrupt the soft curve of the lip
decorate the chest in crimson,
cut out trust from deep inside her
womb  

Bathe the memory in a white tub
kissed by carmine, let it flow down the
hypnotizing hurricane drain
through hair-matted pipes.
His after-shave knuckle tenderness
will perfume the steam,
permeate your memories
make home deep inside capillaries

Wash the fish in the Atlantic – let it
kiss its forehead, puncture the gut
with the murder end, pull back,
let crimson blood and iron
perfume spill in globules onto emptying
tides washing out to sea

Dawn crab will come to the shallows,
eat the scraps with their pincers.
In the morning gulls recognize backs
hunched over by the water, swoop down

Pull out the curved hook from your cheek
dragging you in matrimony
drop the shredded robe of sinew and worth,
leave the tatters on the bathroom floor

Go to her in the evening
sew the pretty back together into a quilt,
stain it with bloody knuckles and
kiss her goodnight into resentment

Others will come into your life,
one will recognize the perpetual
circling in the epicentre,
swing prayers into your centrifuge of
consequence and
pull out the spears from
your chest, mend broken hopes
straighten the shattered
bones into a home indispensable to him
and show you simply, Love

As a Woman

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As a child did you know words could
fracture you as a woman, long after
jumping from the swing in the yard or
racing too hard on a bicycle feeling
impervious to pavement with pigtails
unfurled, streamers cutting the air

Did you know as a child you would have to
understand acceptance of lust and self after
your outline turned hourglass woman,
girlhood turned crimson, after your thighs
begun brushing together greeting summer sweat
and the shape of your hips was pushed apart in
birth because your body had so much love to bare,
it could no longer contain it

Did you as a child think you could have
forgiven, survived the selfishness of ma(e)n
for not knowing the gift of the seed, the
chisel of words, softness of stanza or weight
of his right hand

Did you envision a matriarch queen in quivering
reflections as you jumped from one puddle to
another after the rainfall, what of Isis when
the dress slipped from your shoulders to your
feet and you allowed him into the temple for the
first time

Before the manifestation of burden, the wrinkles
of practised smiles, did you wish for the weight of
another man on your chest, did you envision forced
forgiveness

 

©John Lopes c2017
02-17-2017 14:24

How to gut a fish

Ichthyology

 

sharpen the knife by whetstone
walk to the shore, hold the blade

perpendicular to the fat belly
blanketed with tiny mirrors glinting

sun into your eyes, scrape scales with
the sharp end, send them flying painting

fireworks in the air landing like
lilypads breaking salt water resistance,

wash the fish in the Atlantic – let it
kiss its forehead, puncture the gut

pull back, let carmine blood and iron
perfume spill in globules onto draining

tides, wash it out to sea. Crab will come
at dawn, eat from your fingers with pincers

In the morning gulls recognise backs
hunched over by the water, swoop down

©John Lopes c2017
02-13-2017 11:49

White

STU_JENKS.jpg

I ask
“white living on borrowed time,
what is it like?”

to be fronted the cool months and deep
freeze of ice, to be the winter dress,
the thin sheet between atmosphere of air
and the adamantine iced lakes

//that watery world absconding circadian
//cycles, a winter mason-jar sealed against
//silent fall from lakeshore cedars

I have asked white,
the veil over the winter lake,
morning fog, the thin sheet of callous snow
“what is it like”

//to be loaned life after luring Autumn
//locking him into asphyxiation beneath
//pale skin of ice, falling in a tempered
//sway to bloat on the muddy bottom

What of the guilt of winter accomplice?
I have asked white, how to forgive oneself

 

 

©John Lopes c2017
02-13-2017 10:17

PHOTO CREDIT  ©STU JENKS “Boulder Mountain Snow, Utah” stujenks.typepad.com/stublog/snow/

Darling

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My darling
I come to you from nothing,
I have nothing save for this wet coat
and snow on my shoulders, a matchstick
to light up our heart cave

Come into my shoulder
rest your head,
take a deep breath my darling
before we disappear again­­

I have nothing darling save for this
wet coat, a matchstick, my shoulder
and you

Do you remember I was your rib once
and you a stream I drank from, do you
know that water song, my throat,
the cupped palm of my hand?

Take a deep breath darling,
do you remember this melody?

I have nothing darling, save a coat,
matchstick, my shoulder, your ribs
and a stream

Darling, do you know this melody?

©John Lopes c2017
02-11-2017 10:57

Drown

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I want to drown in you,
in every fibre

your very words dress
my insides, I live there

behind your chest in the bones
of your arms where words flow

and the space between your
ribs and fragile heart

I seek asylum within the
confines of us

 

©John Lopes c2017

Zero and Nil

I have been searching for
the space between zero and one
since birth, unravelling the
gossamer of nil

Measuring spaces separating streets,
trees, cracks in sidewalks and
such physical things

The volume of sand in my palms
buried in the seam of
life-lines,
crevasses separating grains

The immeasurable elements of life, carbon, sulphur
infinite equidistant expanding space
contracting with breath, the stretching of limbs
the rotation of architectural joints

//intertwining beings
//crafted of space,
//matter, energy in a vacuum where
//nothing
//is
//wasted

I search for nil
the space between us

 

©John Lopes c2017
02-07-2017 14:03

Toscana

toscana_bogdan_panait

In the late hours of night lifted by
rising tides in sleep,
I am carried to greet you
above the imaginary horizon of
dreams

In this place, you are a spilling cup of gentle
Tuscan summer breath, coursing between olive trees,
lifting sparrows over fields laden with green

What do you then bring to me with
outstretched arms?

Almonds for the smell of your skin
lavender for your hair,
olive oil for the softness of your hands,
ambrosia to remember your sweetness,
and salt of the Archipelago sea
for the taste of your summer thighs

I ascend into morning,
over sheets of distance
folded to shorten the night,
place these gifts into a library
beneath my bed, building an altar
to remember you by

©John Lopes c2017
02-04-2017 11:00am

*Photo Credit “Toscana” by © Bogdan Panait

Best days

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On my best of days I can see
what lays between spaces,

the vast distance between two dots
the dark vacuum between the constellations

of your skin, and I connect them,
form sentences from dead languages

decipher secrets, why stars gather
among their friends and seas swell

reaching up to our moon, why we cut
ourselves open searching for God

bury our dead in gardens looking up
to the stars, make memorials in museums

desperately trying not to forget ourselves,
or the space between us on a porch before

a kiss, the closeness when we are torn
from this life, emptied of words

buried looking up, sat among the void
to fill the spaces between constellations

 

©John Lopes c2017
02-01-2017 16:58

**Photo credit JAMES HOUSTON

Phantom Limb

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As presence of you returns,
the phantom-limb lingering
unknown in the gossamer of
my mind twinges with

the perception of your body
swathed over mine swelling
with breath

//we were once trees
//bowed in spring storms,
//softened,
//bent by gathered steam

In summer,
before the spark of sight,
visions of crocus and honeysuckle
entered our dreams;
I only knew the familiarity of
your weight between shoulder blades

//rubbing heartwood flesh raw
//revelling in precious erosion
//of auburn bark,
//birds pecked fruit from
//our branches while
//vines entangled us,
//creatures made homes from
//our bodies
//burrowed in shelter through
//the night

In Autumn,
we marked time by the motion of
creaking trunks dancing in
winds, blowing leafs from the canopy
laying beds beneath us dressed
in shades of us

Before the endowment of skin

//roots slept below
//a silent blanket
//set against blue
//above us,
//animals hibernated,
//a white fox
//played mice games with her young
//beneath our guard

I carry you still
in a familiar embrace,
though our limbs now
gush life coursing beneath
skin through warm bodies

//between shoulder blades,
//through lifetimes

©John Lopes c2017
02-01-2017 14:46

**Photo credit VADIM STEIN

Muse

large

Torn from sleep, fog rolls
away from shores of dreams

you come to me with
three AM precision,
the sharpness of fresh thought
coursing its way through the
circuit of my arteries
past naked dream chaos, the
broken chemistry in
the chambers of my mind

you land weightless on my
consciousness, and the words come:

I will write stanzas
on your shoulder blades
build you wings from ink,

plant beds of verses
between the valleys
of your spine
and travel between
your cool morning
mountainous hips
toward your burning center

we will swell with words,
breach the silent air of
our room with manifesto
stanzas, scroll these
beneath our bed

Be the crest on my pillow,
marry my words
speak them like a prayer

Tell me you have emptied yourself
to make room for me,
say “speak into my chest”
and I will fill you there,
say this will be a secret promise
we will keep

©John Lopes c2017
01-30-2017 04:45a

Summer braille

Before Winter,
before the feathering on the edge
of the season begun wooing Autumn

We turned each other inside/out
searching within

I made a home inside your
chest, took shelter beneath
your soft bottom lip

We whispered sign language,
you taught me to breathe in
braille, to be content
in silence

Outside,
cicadas spoke their own tongue,
sidewalks melted at the edge
crying drought

Our summer clothes draped
over the back of a chair,
wilted on the floor

Your tiny body clenched mine,
and watered me like a river

Troia

You emerge onto
sand dunes
undulated by lungfuls
of Mediterranean breath
swelling tides into
crests below gull wings

Horizon rests against the rounded back
of sight’s end where
fins slit the back of Troian turquoise
surface

Nothing stirs save for a mangy dog
matted in saline fur and sand
making eye contact,
she’s birthed a litter of hungry
mouths, milk hangs in her warm underbelly
//pauses
//before dragging a dead albatross
//slipping beyond sight through driftwood

Jellyfish spread across the peninsula
waiting to collect a nightly rain
of stars beneath pulsing umbrella
bodies

You root your hands into the sand
//know this place sees you
//saw you before you woke
//its branches bowed while you slept
//its breath drafts the direction of tides

Troia swells with slow patience


**Troia is a beach peninsula in Portugal I visited often as a child. This sketch is from a visit as an adult several years after immigrating away from the country, a memory that has stayed with me for many years until today.

***Beach mutts and sometimes feral cats are a common sight along the beach close to fishing or beach towns.

A letter

When I stopped dreaming of you

I dug a memory in the shape of your body
small enough to take on your form
the curved spine of your coast,
you, wet with oceanic breath

With the edge of my palms
peeled your edges into pages
dry parchment,
built margins from your
carved square corners
and wrote from you a letter

“My Colombia,
There are spaces between sheets
that will not be filled by our bodies,
yours split nightly at its length
to reveal hidden fire
warming us through cool sierra nights,
fertile with ripe fruit between hips
with darkness of midnight ocean
breathing beyond the horizon
hiding behind your dark eyes”

“My Colombia
I dug a memory in the shape of your
golden form,
between the sierras where sunlight
creeps playing games with dusk,
its back lying onto sleepy valleys
protecting a bed that will not be filled
by our bodies”

***This is the last entry into “Colombian Diaries”

Do not assume

Entry #2 of Californian diaries
Go here to read all entries: Link

 

Do not assume to know me
though you bore witness
to me entering the sea
standing in place turning sand
with my feet as to be planted,
unbowed, welcomed to my element
by ocean’s hounds,
those trotting
jumping watery rollers

Do not assume to know me
though you pulled me
from tar pits, my body slicked,
peering behind black fluid robbed
from earthly veins to fuel your
piston hate engine

Do not assume to know me
though in your dreams,
you pulled my thin arms
from the orchard to fuel locomotives ripping
through red skinned Californian Mountains
mutilated by dynamite kiss of yellow men

Do not assume to know me
though we touched, though you
had my flesh in feverish
dreams of dawn

CALIFORNIAN BREEZE

From “Californian Diaries” – entry 1
See this page for all entries: link

 

Time has stood still in this place
since the seasons left, taking with them rainfall
and the birdsong aftermath that brought order
to living things, some flying, some crawling among
fruit trees, others fetching rain dew from webs
threaded into corners tucked below
fingertips of shed roofs to quench
the thirst of tiny offspring bodies,
made from slow Californian breath

Time has stood still in this place,
the passing western breeze
thick with perpetual heat
is sown to the northern wind
by the seamstress needle of
branched tree fingers,
attached to the core of
lemon trees

Saline citrus notes comb hillside
forests reclined against the backs
of winding sierras, a chorus of
layered hours, days, decades
tumbling towards Santa Cruz

Matriarch

You left us in the season of rain
while your rose garden slept through a
Mediterranean winter and long tailed lizards
waited for summer egg filed nests in your trees

You left us while mud and rain coursed between hibernating
apricot shrubs, and bathing sparrows looked for you among them

The day your heart forgot to beat once more
for your garden those creatures fell silent,
winds took pause as to not disturb winged birds,
roses closed their eyes and shed red

Once your fingertips could no longer hold
bouquets and wind ceased in your veins

Cicadas awoke deep underground,
you were carried home beneath your fragile body
by multitudes of crawling creatures,
ants made peace with robins who flew
you home beneath bowing rose bushes,

In the season of rain
silkworms sent you home,
knitted a white dress
fit for a matriarch

***For my grandmother, master of beasts great and small, and roses. A one hour sketch, hope you enjoy it

Cali

 

CALI

Too long in our dreams had we spun webs
to cast into the sea, netting shards of
light from opal waters,
silently, as to not disturb their flow

Our mornings too were fragile,
lit by those poached aqueous mirrors
sending dancing light through
half closed eyelashes

Our ceiling iridescent with memories
of fiery Cali morning skies,
stolen orange flickers once laying on the
undulating hips of the Pacific

that silence
easily torn

Though flowered boulevards summoned to know our
voices, we hid beneath a tin roof
silently articulating the secret of
saline bodies

Only our skin, polished slick by shades of
Columbian sunrise broke silence
brushing together,
sending particles of ourselves
through our imaculate world

Beehive

I woke to the sound of the beehive in your
chest

We speak a night language, a humming
drone singing in the key of yellow
honeycomb against a palindrome rib-cage
dressed in white

There is a nightly dialogue translated
from your sleeping language
passed from insect to insect in a
slow procession of whispers
dripping in honey, fluttering
toward my ear against your back

in the secret language of dreams

Intertwined

In the moments we become namelessly intertwined

I rename you,
the magnetic pull between
atmosphere and elemental earth.

I call you
rising eastern dawn,
regarded with half-shut eyes through
open windows to nesting sparrows
sent from your chest
telegraphing wings into my dawn.

I render your namesake Penumbra,
eclipse shadow cast between two celestial bodies
on the cusp of an eternal cycle.

I name you for the cornfield thick with summer yellow,
wide enough to span seasons
crossing sweltering summer into autumn at its widest
birth

I name you for the narrow spaces between metropolis
buildings, the nooks and crannies of the city, endless
sidewalks shouldering bridge walkways,
for the breathing river boardwalks,

Intertwined, I rename you whispered city names

Cold Season

She was born in the East
while houses slept through the winter
breathing wood stove gray into white
sky

Nestled between flannel sheets
to her mother’s bosom
her cry born in her throat
came long before her laugh
bouncing just as loudly in your
ears
screaming – I am beautiful
making you feel perhaps you can too
be beautiful

Laughter
warm like mother’s milk and
honey during cold season
planting seeds in the pit of your
stomach,
feeding you
while you hibernate
fattened on laughter
between sheets

In my bones

You buried yourself in my bones
the hollowed spaces I could feel in my sleep
where dreams poured from nightly


Te enterraste en mis huesos
Los espacios huecos que podía sentir mientras dormía
Donde los sueños salían de las noches

Dark eyes

Your dark eyes are the heart of Columbia
reflecting sky
rooms with disheveled beds
tossed about by lovers

the light through windows
sunlight sawing the back of Sierra Santa in the morning
you are the eyes of silent canyons
whispering secrets to still plows
rusting on fields

Whispers loud enough
to keep me awake

You are Columbia cupping secrets
between your tiny hands
holding the murmurs of bones resting beneath shadows of mountains
asking to be rebuilt into staircases to Amazonian vistas

——————-

Sus ojos oscuros son el corazón de Columbia
Reflejando el cielo
Habitaciones con camas mal hechas
Arrojado por los amantes
La luz a través de las ventanas
La luz del sol aserrando la parte posterior de la Sierra Santa en la mañana

Ustedes son los ojos de los cañones silenciosos
Susurrando secretos a los arados
Oxidando en los campos

Susurros lo suficientemente alto
Para mantenerme despierto

Usted es Columbia cupping secretos
Entre tus diminutas manos
Sosteniendo los murmullos de huesos descansando bajo las sombras de las montañas
Pidiendo ser reconstruido en escaleras a vistas amazónicas

Smell

You smell of grass
yellow corn bourbon
barnyard green and yellow
Sunday mass hats

Your feet are
black shoes worn down in the basement
from foot stomping Jesus hymn blues…
or even city boots balanced on bar footrests
waiting
so coy

You smell of single malt expectations
warm breath playing hooligan
at the back of an earlobe

Conduit

Stop taking credit for your words,
you are the conduit for something divine
speaking through your wrist onto paper

Your name in bold letters
anchors a page like highway signs
between stanzas

Stop taking credit for words you do not own

Stop naming poems,
they’re children you have set free to play in ears

Some things

Some things can be loved in the open
while others must be loved in secret
to feed the inner urge to
dissent
disarm reason
create chaos

To simply want again
something out of reach

Some things are meant to be loved
from afar
in secret
between shadows

——————-

Algunas cosas pueden ser amadas al aire libre
Mientras que otros deben ser amados en secreto
Alimentar el deseo interior de
disentimiento
Desarmar la razón
Crear caos

Simplemente quiero de nuevo
Algo fuera del alcance

Algunas cosas están destinadas a ser amadas
desde lejos
en secreto

Entre sombras

Impermanence

 

We are born with impermanence implanted
into the spine between neck and coccyx

There is a daily procession of habits seeded
into our backs
the daily dedications to ourselves planted
beneath our skin like underground plantations

        The procession of ritual,
        inspection of flesh against a mirror
        the discovery of another day
        imprinted on the body born to age

The daily procession of experience between chasms
of wrinkles sprouting from laughter lines like
chords waiting to be formed, followed back
to the day of birth
discovered
navigated

There is a daily procession of habit
the scrubbing and scaling of skin shed daily
with the snake in the yard

The fallen hair from the scalp
the shaven pubis
the collection of cells left behind, the
evidence of animal existence

There is a daily procession of habit implanted
into the spine between neck and black soil
pointing downwards towards black earth,
ultimate evanescence

We woke to a dream

 

We woke to a dream,
disappearing under each other’s skin
absorbed by flesh of night
dissolved beneath one another
resting against the headboard of night
tugged at our ankles by wind to the
chorus song of green tree tops

We woke to a dream
falling with the sharp song of starlings
diving, spiralling
over meadows of blankets
nesting beneath sierras of pillows
ridding the ebbing draft between fleshy
hips of cotton field valleys

We woke to a dream
where a river flowed outside our window,
dripping from the mouth of ceilingless skies
where we wadded our feet before swimming
with bare bodies under the warmth of daylight

    diving into the deep
    towards starry skies
    pulled under by constellations weeded
    around soft human dream bodies fed
    warmed, breathed
    dreamed in vertigo

Bounden

 

I carry you inside my bones,
through lifetimes walking
avenues, vaulting from roof
to roof

                to the blackened earth where wet
                leafs wrap the small of my back
                telegraphing coolness of morning to my
                warm lungs resting against the living
                ground

                where

                I plant a rib beneath the belly of trees between roots,
                inside arteries enveloping the heart of hardwood maples
                nourishing branches feeding leafy hands crying colours of you
                in autumn onto sidewalks

I pose vertebrae inside barky skin of firs
in a northern shivering forest of leafless
phantom limb winter-fall, blanketed by snow
comforting inert creatures burrowed in silent
fields dressed in white, between layered
sheets of season’s cold tendrils

I carry you inside my bones below silent gaze
of clouds speaking the soliloquy of Love’s anatomy
in rain and snow, one word for every limb,
an exclamation point in place of missing ribs binding
the cage of my chest, a period catapulting the gaps
between my spine

I drag hand patterns on fog licking sunrise by tongue tip,
I disassemble fingers, dissect arteries to pour you out,
scattered into meridiem memory

Scarecrow

 

Foreword

Parts of this piece have been swirling about in my head since 1992, this was when I first heard of Robert Pickton and the gruesome finds on his pig farm in British Columbia (Canada).

The facts surrounding the case are disturbing enough, but the fact so many women (49) were simply disposed of, erased off the face of the earth without a trace is what haunts me.

This piece is loosely based on those events, it is not meant as an essay or exploration of the case, only an exploration of my nightmares since.

 

SCARECROW

What hills are guarded by ragged idle straw hands,
whilst wormwood rots underfoot a scarecrow woman
adorned by gossiping birds nesting in her chest,
between shoulder blades

On what hills is earth severed in the daylight by
callused hands, forced agape by speculum plough
pulled by the force of whipped red oxen stained with
gray matter of sun scorched earth, permanent stench
of branding smoke on ribs

What hills are shrouded by the hum of descending
fog, of nightfall illuminated by singing cicadas,
the splitting light beams of the country house gas lamp
and gleaming pickaxes leashed to the wrists of
backyard moonshine men penetrating earth, toiling a
clearing beyond the eyes of the passing railroad, the
festering cattle bones glowing gray in the averted
gaze of moonlight staring between spread fingers
at a feast of men dressed in slaughter house red

On what hills do barn sparrows whisper the secrets
of hills beyond the coat button eyes of a woman scarecrow
into her ears, secrets of festering flesh and broken bones,
hanging ears hanging listening to the weeping of willows
drowning in crying shame, of lungs filled with dirt, the song
of contorted limbs embracing a casket of warm soil for one
hundred years, wishing for one hundred years of warm
children never borne from their sledge shattered pelvis

What hills guarded by a woman scarecrow in the
shrouded hum of night does a gas lit window stream
screaming carved bones, flesh severed agape by cutting steel
of backyard moonshine men with the breath of copper
mine throats burnt by the taste of flesh, of skull hammer
intentions

What good can come of these hungry machete nights,
what crop will grow on these blood soaked hills,
what will be born in the harvest season of hell
between scorched thighs of forgotten women,
beneath the gaze of barnyard sparrow nights

Lisbon is sinking

 

Lisbon is sinking into the muddy riverbed of Tagus
with the weight of cobblestones,
one for every soul and church
adorning its avenues under guard of stone Kings

Bloodied tears
drip from iron hilltop castle cannons through
mazes of terracotta roofs and chalk-white
walls toward the cup of central Baixa drowning
gipsy panhandlers and romance busker songs
masking the hungry cries of colonial hunger
fattened up with Bibles that could not be eaten
by black Africa, no matter how hungry the children
hiding in the reeds were

Lisbon is sinking,
the weight of Liberty Avenue embanked on its
left and right elbows by stone monoliths strong enough
to protect men back from one thousand conquistador hells,
to shade the eyes of trotting red and green flag horse
parades, for ghosts returning home from war with
madness in their eyes, fists full of Angolan dirt to bury
the Republic and feed the gold lined mouths of bishops

Alfama still cries,
still sings its blues from basement tavern dimmed stages,
its throat still wails black clad widow limericks to
twelve string guitar tears in tune to screams of fishermen
wrapped in blanket nets warming them at the bottom
of the Atlantic, still mourns its children dangling from
the precipice of the world by one hand, the other holding
a whip for every colony told to stay hungry thin to pass
through the needle eye of heaven

Lisbon is sinking,
under the weight of every soul and castle
every black and white cobblestone adorning its
wide avenues to celebrate the kingdom
the kingdom
the kingdom
drowning in tears
drowning beneath black mud

Selmer

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I remember you practicing modal
scales across a golden tenor horn,
your impossibly long bronzed hands
playing hopscotch finger sketches
shaking our apartment floors
prying apart cracks in our walls,
the deep Selmer voice rearranging
the chambers of my heart and treble cry
bouncing inside my ears

The day after the nurse covered your deflated body
in a white sheet I put your bamboo reed in my mouth
the way you used to before practice, I smelled the inside
of your velvet lined instrument case to fill my chest with
your last exhale through that brassy temple of music

Though your saxophone rested grieving silently,
you were still there reclined in the engraved bell
where your lungs ran out of air

        Your ears still listening to the silence between notes
        between treble strokes of hammers cracking coffin nails,
        between the thumping bass of dirt crashing on pine
        between shovels full of cracked wall hymns

        Your fingers still catapulting between round keys playing
        tag games with breath to syncopated drum brushes
        swishing patterns, caressing your pine casket goodbye

The night the nurse covered your body
in a white sheet, my mother held her breath so I
wouldn’t hear the sobbing, and I dreamed you held
yours waiting for the exhale of that engraved Selmer

And though my lungs are not adorned in quarter notes
hung from staff lines, the chambers of my heart still
echo with your tenor growl, and I am still breathing
enough for the three of us

Peninsula

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I stared at the hip of Iberia over the
hunched back of a northern moving fog
blown from the dark lips of Gibraltar
towards a terra-cotta mirage

Fog pushed down by the thumb of God
rested over the mosaic of a slick seashore
where star shaped creatures rested,
crying their ages to counterparts above
pulling them towards black expanse by
trailing fiery tails, scorching the surface skin
of atmosphere

The ebbing tidal blanket had been
pulled back by giant sea turtles
swimming westward to bed
offspring under the cold Atlantic
exposing a gaping oceanic mouth,
the wet tongued bed of a sandy
bottomed ocean kissing the wrists of
yellow curled anemones, licking the
salty navels of manta rays

I regarded the soft hip of the continent eradiated
by the passing gaze of a lighthouse poised on my
right shoulder above a town at the lip of the
estuary spewing foamy wash to the expanse

I regarded this, the nightly accrual of miracle matter
from interior lands where prayers are irrigated,
scooped and put to sleep in the passing stream
watering green pastures
whispering to cattle in the sierras

The insatiable cycle dripping towards
the peninsular cup of creation

Speaking in tongues

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The roof of my mouth has caved in
from speaking in tongues

My throat scraped by pitchfork words
crawling upwards to my lips from xylophone
vocal chords searching for your reply

Kingdoms turned to mud
waiting for the miracle of
your voice I once inhaled

        occupied the space between
        my temples
        the caverns behind my
        eyes

        exhaled through my body
        between skin and flesh

        filled the gaps in the
        marrow of my bones

        grew roots through my
        legs, slumbered behind
        the whites of my nails

The roof of my mouth has caved in,
from speaking in tongues through empty air
to your despondent flesh, dejecting ears

I wait the age of trees for
the shades of color between
your words, stumbled onto
themselves

        the echo of your staccato
        encore of plosive and sibilance

Cadent measure of carefully coloured air
squeezed by the grip of your lungs
injected into me,
by the miracle mechanism of speech

New York

 

Your avenues sweat subterranean blues,
tenor men dressed in Friday night’s best
tweed jazz ensemble hues blow worship
notes repeated in study
behind closed Bronx doors

New York, your stray cats crawl iron fire escapes
catching modal staircase saxophone stunts
trapeze from window sills towards dancing roofs,
dropping staff lines from their edges
pulling us up before orange sunrise,
before yellow cab Manhattan madness
the rush hour stomping hordes
rush hour bone crushing metro

Gather Central Park sparrows,
Little Italy gumption,
bronze skin Little India,
your Chelsea boys,
Harlem survivors,
crush them into powered pigment
into the pestle and mortar crown of Lady Liberty,
and paint your Hudson a new flag color for every
immigrant song tied around her ring finger

New York, split the levee of the East River
with the jaw breaking fist of broad chested
skyscraper building union men,
patch the gushing lip with azure blue
from above the shining empire state

Swath in Irish green the rusted shivering beams
of your Brooklyn bridge to the edge of Blue-Note
Manhattan, where saints once cried in brassy tenor
and fingers bled on white and black ivory keys

Your Broadway artery sweats subterranean blues
to the foot of Potter Fields and whispers the names
of voiceless cadavers who can only speak in dandelions
amongst unmarked graves

New York, my fingers are raw from climbing
your spine to study you from dawn rooftops

My eyes sting from your bright colors

My ears ring from your tenor jazz hues

Undertow

Californian diary, entry #3

I was pulled by an undertow of thoughts and
the hammer of sudden perception away
from your loaded bed, rolled under screams
of pouring skies

Be not afraid when you wake to my empty pillow
California, I was but a disappointing insomniac
dream between sunrises pushed into the creases
of your sheets

Leave me be in this night monsoon to sew closed the
chest I opened to you, to make sense of the madness
that drove me to your shores
leave me be the mirage impression I left on
your sands

I was the flash of light you would not accept
in the corner of your dark circus filled with
straight razor neon gas-station smiles,
the cocked gun Russian-roulette act hiding
between meth kitchen suburbia nightmare
houses

California you welcomed my brown skin laid
against gold leaf promises of love, though you
did not show me your needle scarred femoral vein
mad-hatters, the broken veterans swept
under the pavement carpet of quaint
tourist streets, the millionaire street sweeper
gentrification

Forget this disappointing anchor once dropped
from afar to counterbalance your swinging
trapeze mind California, we were but
disappointing insomniac dreams between
sunrises that never quite met in the centre

Do not assume

Californian diary, entry 2

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Do not assume to know me
though you bore witness
to me entering the sea
standing in place turning sand
with my feet as to be planted,
unbowed, welcomed to my element
by ocean’s hounds,
those trotting
jumping watery rollers

Do not assume to know me
though you pulled me
from tar pits, my body slicked,
peering behind black fluid robbed
from earthly veins to fuel your
piston hate engine

Do not assume to know me
though in your dreams,
you pulled my thin arms
from the orchard to fuel locomotives ripping
through red skinned Californian Mountains
mutilated by dynamite kiss of yellow men

Do not assume to know me
though we touched, though you
had my flesh in feverish
dreams of dawn

Californian breeze

Californian diary, entry 1

 

Time has stood still in this place
since the seasons left, taking with them rainfall
and the birdsong aftermath that brought order
to living things, some flying, some crawling among
fruit trees, others fetching rain dew from webs
threaded into corners tucked below
fingertips of shed roofs to quench
the thirst of tiny offspring bodies,
made from slow Californian breath

Time has stood still in this place,
the passing western breeze
thick with perpetual heat
is sown to the northern wind
by the seamstress needle of
branched tree fingers,
attached to the core of
lemon trees

Saline citrus notes comb hillside
forests reclined against the backs
of winding sierras, a chorus of
layered hours, days, decades
tumbling towards Santa Cruz

In study and lust

This used the piece “Cliché” as a starting point

 

I regarded you like the sex
I had not smelled in lifetimes

I observed your silent promise dangling
from a hanging hip like junkie spike-play
in alleyway heavens, needle tunnels
of sweet forgiving femoral artery fix

I watched you in study and lust,
the space between your knees measured and
inhabited by mineral spirits diluting cobalt blues,
cadmium reds, still settling on the ceiling
of the Sistine chapel, and Michelangelo’s words
only speaking in bone dust after centuries

Before the monstrous birthing grunt
of diesel powered pistons,
the electrical song of a third rail,
train stations dressed in black suits
steam powered engines glanced
at your wide brim hat
concealing Judy Garland lips

Navy ports once dawned sailor whites,
New York Gene Kelly smiles
flashing between “welcome home” confetti
searching for your pencil skirt
seamed stockings leading all the way up,
towards Times Square kisses

I regarded you like the sex
I had not smelled in lifetimes
searched for between the chasms of my sheets

Cliche

I regarded you like the sex
I had not smelled in lifetimes

I would not say something cliched such as
“the space between your legs is a temple” but it is

the brim of a big hat on a woman

the silent promise dangling from her hanging hips

the hem of her pencil skirt, the inner thigh leading all
the way…up

I would not say something cliched such as
“you exhale salvation” but,

the slow drip of your breath is benzedrine
for an old junkie looking for heaven in alleyways
studying the cracks between bricks,
searching for an hieroglyphic map home to eternal bliss,
to crawl into the tunnel of sweet forgiving
femoral artery nightcap fix

Your breath,

the ghost of mineral spirits still settling
to marble floors in the Sistine Chapel,
after centuries of diluting cadmium blue oils
and Michelangelo’s words only spoke in dust

I search the chasm between our sheets,
my heavenly legged cliche primed for a fix

Orion’s Succubus

 

An APEX view of star formation in the Orion Nebula

 

This troubled mind awoke
in the middle of the night,
my sleep stirred by the sound of
the slow crawling zipper
held by a Succubus demigoddess
extracting my seed to fill a vessel
of apocalyptical child armies

Meat for Nordic ships of conquest with warrior filled hulls,
sails set, bows pointed at undiscovered lands beyond our stars
ripping full tilt through sheets of nightly skies

This troubled mind awoke
in the middle of the night,
stirred by the sound of shields colliding
under Orion’s commanding watch
spilling ungodly carnage,
quenching killing fields of night

 

 

Villainous

Catacombs

At the corner of pity and empathy
what tangled web you weave with
those strands of villainous intentions,
trails of false sadness for unsuspecting men,
a scream for salvation from a nest built of
bones sucked dry of marrow by gaslight

You thief, broken copy of an oceanic queen,
my seas would spit out your plagued body
return it to whichever plain it came from

No desert would accept your bones or
be wide enough to soak your poison,
filter out whatever sweet honesty
you may of once had to deliver you
to the hands of redeeming angels

And I am no angel

It is not redemption or happiness you seek
nor quietness of trust between kindred souls,
but the symphony of crumbling at your feet,
lustful attention, the shrapnel of consequence

I have long ago dissected my arms
to see my humanity pouring from me,
to see my heart beat,
what humanity have you?

Where is the self-attrition for your sins,
for driving sweet men to madness?
For soiling good intentions
with un-invited innuendo

Consider this the final cut on my flesh,
not in attrition but in surgical removal
of your cancerous thread,
know your poison did not settle
between my ribs and spine,
just enough was allowed to enter
to build immunity against your kin

Know my words were never yours, only pity
for a dead heart without hallowed
burial ground of forgiving earth, or cleansing
pounding sea commanded by these hands,
these hands will never be yours

Penance

tools

On the first night of spring I made a slaughterhouse of my body,
assembled my flesh into parcels wrapped in pretty orange ribbon
sealed with a red wax initial, to be delivered as offerings

Save your sharp words
dagger of silence

There are swords in this house for bisecting,
paring knives to split skin open,
hooks inside my chest hanging at attention with hungry
tips waiting to be fed

I am my own butcher
slicing a pound of flesh
for every inadvertent sin

I’ve peeled my brown skin raw
primed my nerve endings, so that whenever the cool air
of the first night touches bare flesh I will be reminded
of my penance

Hate machine

 

Men suck from the tip of your
fingernails the fluid of lives
you tore with your hands,
stomped on with a battlefield
horse dipped in flames and cut
through by a vengeful God’s
iron tools

You are a machine, a bag of organs,
muscle fuelled by acrid fumes
bestowing those lucky ones
bowing before the cold copper toe
of your boot with jaw shattering blows

A reminder of what was once clean
the squandered talents of mankind,
our saint amplifies the human heart
waters her steed at the river of envy
sharpening her sword on malicious
words of gossip to poison everything
in her path

She is a pretty hate machine

Tennessee Dream

 

 

My body dressed in burial black raised from
the round belly of a green field among
saffron yellow reeds

An intense Tennessee afternoon horizon
bright with chirping cicadas welcomed
me, the scent of musky hearth filled
the space behind my eyes,
long grass combed by the fingers
of a meandering breeze wrapped
around my bare feet, like a lion’s beard
a horse’s mane

Swaying willows caught soupy
warm air like canvas sails pulling
this vision beneath clouds,
past the breath of flying blue herons
nesting downstream from seductive
white linen-clad sirens washing their hair

Snickering wind-chime songs floated from
the white field house porch playing
hide-and-go-seek with children in their
Sunday best, they would cunningly hide
in a dry well where stars sought a shelter
from city lights at night, conspiring with glow-bugs
telegraphing God on the other side of the valley

A dusty black carriage procession snaked
the driveway, flies played tag with
braided horse tails whilst gravel crushed
underfoot kept time to the trotting
past a closing wooden gate

I laid my head against a bowing willow,
slept to the scent of musky hearth
behind my eyes, the playful voice of
wind-chime laughter

Gaze

 

LA_at_dawn

 

Your evening gaze penetrated my skin
between fractured light of city dusk,
witnessed fluorescent lights of taxis
hurtled down the avenue with
long bearded howling madmen cabbies
at the wheel, mouths agape
screaming the scream of horns
speaking in tongues promising rides
to Mecca

Your gaze penetrated my flesh
meandered the highways of my veins,
navigated the city lights of my synapses
racing empty hairpin turns scrubbed clean before
sunrise of blood spilled by knife fights between
my two halves in the midst of night,
the drunk broken artery splitting beer
bottle shards, swept clean before morning
work rush hour

Your gaze crawled East Side trench warfare ditches
to the hilltop to view that city from above,
street lights filtered through opaque fog of tear gas
smell, the scent of artillery rounds fired at my chest
by my own hand

Your gaze balanced and composed between my
two halves planting itself amidst my bones,
grew immense forests there, built tree houses for
school-children, swings of suburban sunrise peace,
brought scent of Autumn fireplaces
down empty foggy streets fracturing the light of dawn

EMBRACED

Photo by Dan Newton
Photo by Dan Newton – http://www.dannewton.com

 

 

Rocks skipped across the night sky sinking
in a streaking flash towards atmosphere,
a grand finale I wanted to freeze in midair,
wish on forever

Your body rained down the next evening
from a celestial pedestal of wishes,
embraced me in a wet blanket sent down
from gluttonous clouds

I smelled you on vapor rising from warm
sweet grass bearing fields, where winds
would not dare disturb that whisper

I could hear your voice reverberating
from shanty tin roofs tapped by the
fingertips of raindrops, taste you
on the tip of my tongue

I learned to breathe underwater,
to walk the seabed, sink beneath
surf dotted with your pointe dance
on its surface, and filled my lungs
with the glorious wish of you

Sparrow (3rd draft)

As I have not released any new material in the last few days I’ve decided to post a third draft of one of my favourite pieces. For what I hope is your reading pleasure, “sparrow”

 

Ever since I was little there was
something
about broken things that made me
want to fix them,
something
about knots that made me
want to undo them

I followed the narrative
of your skin,
there was a caged bird on your left
forearm, your sternum armored
by black ink under dermis,
protected by
the occasional swipe of a left hand

If I touched your tattooed knuckles
would you curl them at me?
Would you unfurl your fingers, grab
the dagger inked on your body,
peel skin back to let sparrows free?

I wanted to be the cigarette in your
mouth, and fill your body with
something other than smoke

To grab your shaking fists
point them downfield
from our door stoop
through the fog of war,
and command you to fight,
demons
dragons

I could tell you choke when
you cry, I should have told you those
are smouldering doves in your stomach
trying to fly out

Sobs are pianos hauled
up your throat spiral staircase,
waiting to be lodged
into vocal chords, to be
pounded, torn out,
set afire, dragged down
the avenue by their strings

I should have put a blanket over
your shoulders,
pulled your head into the nook of
my forearms, bent them tight
like I had just sent you home
tucked into the space under your
father’s chin,
to the roundness of your mother’s
belly before you tore
screaming into this world

I should have told you, sometimes
the difference between light and dark
is only a light switch away

A Burroughs nightmare

I’ve punched in for my shift at the insomnia factory,
maybe Burroughs will visit tonight with his
declarations to lovers and whores
maniacal constructs of benzedrine nightmares
all shaken, stirred
from his cocktails mess corpse
in tighty whities, panama hat
hunched over his typewriter,

thump

thump

thumping

spewing hymns
to the needle


Yes, very different from what I usually write.

I’ve obviously been reading a lot of Burroughs lately and he has been transporting me to a pretty dark world in my mind; it’s a nice place to visit sometimes.

Bridge

Photographer: Jeff Vier licensed under Creative Commons
Photographer: Jeff Vier – work licensed under Creative Commons

 

I made an altar for you of trinkets
discarded novels,
somewhere to sit your memory at
when I recall our last night together
under a San Francisco bridge

We warmed our hands in each other’s
pockets
amongst the bay’s salt lip stained breeze,
bringing fog on its shoulders
and ghostly horns of tug boats
dragging prickly noosed ropes behind
like wayward hangmen

Leaned with the slight sway of the
long sleepy red structure
dancing with shifting winds,
watched waves and Alcatraz
white shark tides court its
foundations

Listened to the wheel hum of
steel carriages
running its platform echoing
the city’s mantra,
dragging red lightning
bolts of brake lights behind,
whilst we made wishes on those
shooting stars

Pangaea

il_570xN.631110652_j8l6 (2)

Hang my lungs from your neck
whilst I roll into the deep,
crushed by the pressure of
turquoise embrace

I will take my breath from the
mouths of sub-water angels
gliding above undulating
sandy ocean bottom
deserts

Send your love notes to me whispered
onto tattered pieces of parchment,
collected by undercurrents,
couriered by whale giants singing
ancient lullabies to their calf children

They will remember them, alongside
dark nightly skies from the ancient world
only interrupted by punched
eyelets for Gawds, long before
they polluted the orchard with Adam,
the seas with cutting tools of man

Hang my lungs from your neck,
empty my last breath from them
one day at a time
to recall my last words before I sunk,
pulled down to the place whence
I came,
falling towards songs of Pangaea

Shoreline

 

When you walk to the sea
does it see you, or do you see it first?

Did it call for you, as you find yourself
standing at its shoreline in response to
beacons of underwater Californian
lighthouses calling to pilgrims,
saline blooded souls with hearts in
synch to each other in metronomic
time of whale choir songs

Did it call you to replenish its
hungry currents, armies of lost
seaman ghosts of drowned
lovers

Did it whisper in your dreamy ears
songs of promising cleansing as you
tumbled yet another day away
from your mother’s water filled
womb

We are the footnote at the ocean’s
shore, the plaything at its foaming
shallows and warm embrace of
undertow

Diner

Mel's place

Diner

Sitting at the laminate counter-top
admiring the wood panelling
over a wheezing cough,
filthy melted snow drips onto
mass produced one inch squared
tiled flooring

I notice the counter edge pressing
against my chest, worn down from
years of elbow polishing
by men waiting around
for the next piece of apple pie
with bad coffee,
or the cheap sickly pink
cherry malt milkshake back in
the day of sock hops
white Marlon Brando sleeves rolled up
with stale packs of Chesterfields tucked inside

There is no magic here anymore,
only memories I observed in
films, fairy tale stories of high school
sweethearts with slicked pomade
switchblade combed hair, too tight
pants wrapped around bony nineteen-50’s
Olivia Newton-John female greaser hips,
begging to have a cheap tin-ring
hanging from their necks

No one will come to fix the tares in
these booths,
roller skate girls have been replaced by
failed actresses who will not lull you in
drooping tits of three childbirth deep
warmth,
hot coffee
one-AM apple pie

These pleather covered museums
littering suburbia mazes,
meth cook desert highways,
long arteries of back road America

There will be no finding magic
between the knobby knees of a
porcelain skinned high-school
sweetheart on her fifteen minute break, while
pink roller skates scratch your mint dash
in your chopped, flame retching matte black
nineteen-forty-nine Mercury coupe

There is no magic left,
save for flies head-banging the glass
window, praying to red neon light gawds
with a droning indiscernible buzzing tone of
”Always Open”

Strings

 


“Drone in D” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) – Lic Creative Commons

 

I want to be inside you
know you like a nightly prayer,
read from string theories
tied around your body

          Unravel your rolled parchment
          paper arms,
          navigation charts to bridges
          spanning connected dreams across
          stars

                    which I was too heavy
                    to cross once you breathed
                    the knowledge of gravity
                    into my ear

And so
I sever pieces from myself
to lighten this flesh,
feed my toll to the sky,
claim part of that scape
spuming dark matter which
I do not understand,
but regardless become;

                    …The too long slit up a waitress’s skirt,
                    her mother’s pearls

                    …Light cutting through curtains
                    on a Sunday morning

                    …Fallen needles in a pine forest, or in a
                    grandmother’s sewing room

                    …The slipping outer wedding ring of
                    Saturn, with its ulterior motive
                    towards Venus

Inside you…
white knuckled
headboard gripping nightly prayer,
I am your apt pupil

Iowa

Credit: Google Images
Credit: Google Images

 
/Edit…I just really felt like writing about Iowa this morning and did this quick sketch, as a side note, I can’t pronounce the word (no really, I can’t)
 
IOWA
 
I have never been there,
but I love Iowa

Iowa sounds like…
fields of dreams
textured with sun-kissed corn ears
pretty cheerleaders
their quarterback boyfriends in crew-cuts

Manicured lawns
warm apple pie with
fresh milk

Horseback cowgirls
with dirt under their fingernails
manicured hair

Mothers calling their sons
and men in,
from sun baked barns
for supper time

Dogs chasing cars
down the main avenue to
the sound of
Sunday church bells

…If anything,
…just for the way the name sounds

 
 

Nightly Prayer

I want to be inside you
know you like a nightly prayer
read from your braille bible skin

Edit: This was expanded on and a new piece was posted on January 27, 2015, please read if so inclined “Strings”

Journal and new pieces

The journal has been updated, and I’ve added three new pieces.

Be good to yourself

Journal Link

Our time here is too short to not swallow life
To not tare through this world like it’s our last day
To not love like it’s your last time

Silhouette

Unknown Photographer

I woke to a silhouette
framed by darkness
flooding my room,
resting on my mattress

The infinite space
between
this man’s hand,
and shadowed contour,
of chasm between
breasts, inner thighs,
canyon walls

I endeavoured to hold
on to silence
quiescent gaze
dormant rest

Arrest time,
movement of cogs,
persistent springs
of clock towers

Before deafening strike
of dawn bells
sent that darling penumbra vision
into flight,
a shadow momentarily
passing through
arteries of city night

…tickling eaves-troughs
   on suicide edges of black roofs,

To become flashes of exploding
electric sparks
on dangling streetcar wires
lighting frosted second floor
windows

        Rooms for lovers
        hanging from the edge of
        mattresses, touching
        floors,
        lips…in the fleeting shape of “O”

To become a departed
…memory

Salvation

Clive Barker's tortured souls

 

My darling cruel Gods,
I opened a hole
at the center of
my chest

      So your breath could
      pass through me,
      save those I
      left behind

Forgive my requests for salvation
against your vicious syllabus,
comedic life play

      For having forgotten
      your names,
      faceless apparitions,
      voices from whence I
      was born
      before gasping sterile
      birth room air,
      howling at guillotine knife
      caress of the umbilical

Though these are not virgin
prayer words,
sometimes sharp as swords

      I would bleed my neck from
      suspended bridges,
      decorate seas with
      crimson colored life,
      pollute deltas, peninsulas
      with fruit of my wasted life,
      iron stench,
      melt white sands to
      indiscernible colored glass

      Should you save those,
…..…more worthy than me 

Acceptance

 

 

The first time my ex-wife said
“I can’t handle you when you’re like this”

My reflex response was
“Forgive me, I will try to be better”

What I should have said was:

Forgive me, the noise in my head is a nonsensical flow from a tap that I’ve lost the handle to, of words and irrational thoughts for which I have no clue of the source.

Sometimes my senses are so sharp I can feel the sting of your rejection long before you enter the room in a thong. You see darling, I have deluded myself into believing this is a super-power: being able to feel every single one of my pores contract, sending hair on-end spewing out sweat when panic comes to a sharp point, as the involuntary tone of my voice barrels into a one sided shouting match over the deafening sound of my chest, whilst giving directions on a subway platform, or ordering a coffee…is a superpower, or a punch line at a bar.

Forgive me, my smile is sometimes a lie; I grit my teeth to powder behind these lips as a reflex action, so that I protect you from what you do not understand.  I crush my hands into fists to remind me I am real, I have not yet disappeared.  I hold my body up against spine crushing gravity on days when all I wish for are blankets, or the space underneath our bed.

Forgive me, I have deluded myself; absolute silence, unexplainable absence of emotions for days at a time, are not a product of enlightenment, neither is sitting on a stool waiting for any kind of spark to prevail over the void, wishing yesterday’s noise would come back even if uncontrollable, even if emotions were impossibly unmanageable.

Forgive me, I should have walked away the first time you turned smiling and said “get over it”

Forgive me, for settling for the prom queen

Forgive me, I have accepted my shortcomings

Forgive me, for believing the lie was all I was

Forgive me, I must forgive myself

Forgive me, I must forgive myself

Forgive me, I must forgive myself

Joan

 


post_header_curl_SET

My darling poetess

pilot of waves

No simpleton man
could bleed you dry
by steel knives,
permanently
break your
bones,
saline dipped skin

You are the oceanic Joan
commander of  levee breaking tides
mother to night tentacle creatures
lighting the sky
for stars to find their way home

What ocean
would allow full dominion
by a man
over your destiny

For your life
to expire,
if not by
its own hand

It was not your time
to be carried on the backs of
weeping whale giants,
on the shoulders of prayer tides
towards mirrored horizon

So rest easy of your night terrors,
your sleep cradle is disturbed
only because

You are not yet home
amongst your gentle giants
resting between
sheets of surf

Your lungs are not yet
emptied of words

Your body, still lite
as air

Altar

After several months, I was able to complete this piece, enjoy.

010115_1923_1.jpg

I wrote on your knees
so you would recall my
words

When you held communion
in flop-house confessionals
between the pillars of your legs where,
music is played with your trembling
insides, vibrating like violin
strings

Chiselled your hips with script
hand holders for devotees
spinning them like a prayer wheel
to the metronome of clapping riots,
tongue howling snake charmers
in makeshift tent faith revivals

Where adorers come to
dispose of wedding confetti
gold rings
lay white dresses
at your feet

I’ll be the hanging icon above your altar
blessing your communion with
swaying forgiveness
wound up clock heart
counting time

As you look down
holding ropes of guillotine
pendulums,
cutting spines,
whispering, “more”
through pursed lips
while you trace verses
by fingertip

 

The photograph is licensed under “Wikicommons”, Photographer: Russell Lee, 15 September 1946:
Healing “en:laying on of hands” ceremony in the en:Pentecostal Church of God. Lejunior, en:Harlan County, Kentucky. , 09/15/1946 – hotlinking disabled as per Wiki common courtesy.

Altar

After nearly four months, several revisions and incarnations, this is finally ready to be released. Like most of what I write, this all started with an opening line; in this case “To write on your knees”.

 

ALTAR

I wrote
on your knees
so you would recall my
words

When you held communion
in flop-house confessionals
between the pillars of your legs
        where,
        music is played with your trembling
        insides,
        vibrating like violin
        strings

Chiseled your hips with script
hand holders for devotees
        spinning them like a prayer wheel
        to the metronome of clapping riots,
        tongue howling snake charmers
        in makeshift tent faith revivals

        where adorers come to
        dispose of wedding confetti
        gold rings
        lay white dresses
        at your feet

I’ll be the hanging icon above your altar
blessing your communion with
swaying forgiveness
wound up clock heart
counting time

        as you look down
        holding ropes of guillotine
        pendulums,
        cutting spines,
        whispering, “more”
        through pursed lips
        while you trace verses
        by fingertip

 

The photograph is licensed under “Wikicommons”, Photographer: Russell Lee, 15 September 1946:
Healing “en:laying on of hands” ceremony in the en:Pentecostal Church of God. Lejunior, en:Harlan County, Kentucky. , 09/15/1946 – hotlinking disabled as per Wiki common courtesy.

Men of war


MEN OF WAR

Come
men of war
the strong and meek,
broken men,
orphaned fathers
with vacant arms
where offspring were torn from
like spoils of war

Come
kind misunderstood men
with one shoulder of gold
and another of cruelty,
wrongly convicted in life
in courtroom
forgotten in institutional boxes
of convenient love,
with hearts guarded by prison shank
hidden between fingers in the yard

Come
makeshift
field-medics in gas masks
soldiers in face scarves
with molotov-cocktail
handshakes

Come when
black clad armored lovers
in bone dust stained boots
march
bearing gift wrapped
brass knuckles
beating their shields

With their
loving tear gas
drawing top cusps of hearts
against fog of war colored skies

My good men
cradle falling canisters
into the trough of your chests
lull them in your arms
like bouquets of flowers
pressed into your ribs

Let them advance
impale us with sharp tongues
of unraveling words
jaw breaking
baton kisses

Know we are men,
descendants
of fathers
drinkers
gamblers
soldiers and saints,
lovers of broken women
flawed to perfection

We are better
for having breached open
a trench in our chests
to let weakness show

Know there is principle in
bleeding ourselves dry
for our children
but none in a prison of convenience

You do not stand alone
in napalm battlefields
amongst
horseback women
in armored chests,
swinging six foot hammers
dealing death card
horror shows
guilt
voluntary murder of self

Cyanide

 

CYANIDE

Somewhere 
fallen from 
            trees

Apples embellished in
slow dripping sugar stains,
coaxed outwards by an orange sun,
fondled by tongue tips of ants, 
adorned in gold bees 
wafting heat, making music 
with their bodies 

Somewhere 
wind is tearing at husks 
spinning soil into 
little riots, 
pulling upwards into 
falling skies of dawn 

Its breath rapping 
at farm dust 
clinging to barns 
with doors the shape 
of open mouths
waiting ,
to receive a 
harvest

Bring us your nightfall 
with cool of night 
ants portaging forth 
apple cores with 
tempting fragile bruised skin

Crawling keepers of dirt 
bearers of tiny wings 
assemble the harvest of daylight
mound of heavy and light
In that place

Birth from fruit
boisterous life 
intrepid passion,
skin, bone
hair and nails
pulsing blood
and lifeline

Lay ear to that chest
split it in half
by tip of finger
sharp tongue,
find
seeds within

Breathe in its ear
knowledge of
sweetness and poison

“You are apples sweet on the branch
rotted,
fermented vessel of honey
     when fallen,
with cyanide in the seed
of your heart

     This, is the design of man”

Incendiary

 



Audio Version


 
You walk in…
a euphemism
for an arsonist

Your
dirty blonde tips
brown roots
dark sooth fingertips

You smelled like
diesel
kerosene
xxxxxxxsulfur

Just enough dirt
under your nails
to look beautifully
xxxxxxximperfect

There was a sense
the space between us would ignite
connected by
burning molecules of
xxxxxxxxxxinvisible air
xxxxxxxxxxmade to glow by
xxxxxxxxxxbad habits

You with your matchsticks
and I
with a bourbon
xxxxxxx…….and a bourbon

I wanted to burn down that place
entire civilizations
dedicate incendiary blocks to us
send embers dancing towards extinction
in your name

A moment of
xxxxxxxxxxhonesty
xxxxxxxxxXXXXXXxintangible
xxxxxxxxxxXXXXXXas fire

Build Things

 

Circa 1950 – “Freedom bridge” over Tagus in Lisbon, pre construction of decks. My Father, a “Tool & Die” maker, left his mark here

 

Build things

Dig down to erect massive structures
build giants by hand and chisel,
sever concrete with steel beams
and bones of rebar
for the sake of scraping sky,
and taste candied clouds on our tongues

xxxxxxxxxxBuild rooftops
xxxxxxxxxxwhere we lay on chairs
xxxxxxxxxx…kiss
xxxxxxxxxx…fuck
xxxxxxxxxxmeasure the space between stars
xxxxxxxxxxby fingertip,
xxxxxxxxxxand lose time

We toil,
our sweat
connects Manhattan and Brooklyn
spans into the western shore
drips into the east river

xxxxxxxxxxWe are survived by structures
xxxxxxxxxxbridges spanning lakes
xxxxxxxxxxlike tendons pairing a thumb
xxxxxxxxxxto a wrist

Even now, there is a bridge over Tagus
with its own heartbeat
whose hip is anchored to Lisbon
by my late father’s own design,
suspended by cables curved like buttresses
inside our arteries

xxxxxxxxxxWe build things
xxxxxxxxxxdo not sit idle
xxxxxxxxxxdig, toil
xxxxxxxxxxbe survived

Wishes

 

Study of clasped Hands - Ford Madox Brown - circa 1846
Study of clasped Hands – Ford Madox Brown – circa 1846

Spoken Version

 

Folded, I am small enough
to fit the space between
your hands
clasped when they pray
to bedside floorboards

Write precious notes, cover me
in scribbled secrets
my mouth less body will keep

Walk me past congregations in
city squares, streets,
hide me inside the crack of
a walled garden
where fresh Love goes to kiss
under white lilac,
forget me there,
rain will feed me to mud
to the rhythm of Sunday bells
from the mouth of church
campaniles

I am bone colored paper
creased into myself,
shaped into a sleeping crane
on the edge of your fingernail,
whisper into me and leave me be
on a wooden table,
to be collected by wind, or the
hand of someone you just missed
from the corner of your eyes
years before

I am a shroud covering you
on the funeral pyre
write wishes on my body,
everything you wanted
everything you became

We are ashes floating in air
sinking down to feed a garden
we are floating tatters of black
pushed through winds,
we are speck on a field
the smile on a mountain
fresh Love

Strange that my body,
folded onto itself, thin as a blade would fit
wishes for round bellies
fertile with children, requests
for clemency, lovers

Strange,
my body,
smaller than arms
fits so much more

Train Tracks

Photograph courtesy of Mike Robbins,
view his work
on Flickr: Link

Copyright Mike Robbins 2012 - American Freedom Train steam locomotive # 4449
Copyright Mike Robbins 2012 – American Freedom Train steam locomotive # 4449

Spoken Version

In the midst of foggy stations
I put my ear to cold train tracks
parallel tendons
coursing through limbs
of this country,
listen for the pulse
of giants

I jump hobo trains
into open carts to find
a remote memory,
heartbeat recalled by the
metronomic thumping
of irregularly shaped wheels
as I lay to sleep in boxcars,
behind open sliding doors
to expanses of land

Eyes prodding through leathery skin
skimming blistering winds
traversing deserts, tunnels
through the bellies of colossal mountains
I study red masses of sleek stone,
precariously dangled on edge
by nail tip
as if buttresses holding sky

In the arid heartland of dreams,
I long for the thumping of your chest,
where I laid my ear
the space between rail ties

Sparrow



Audio inserted 5/6/14
Audio updated 5/15/14 due to low volume


This is very different from what I’ve been writing lately
but I do hope you all enjoy it

Unknown artist
Unknown artist

 

Ever since I was little there was
something
about broken things that made me
want to fix them
something
about knots that made me want
to undo them

It’s the way I helplessly watched
my shattered mother carry a
dying lover,
the inability
to protect her from those maladies,
the feeling of knots inside my throat
too thick to let through requests for
clemency

One look,
and I knew you were fucked up
six ways from Sunday

I followed the narrative
of your skin,
there was a caged bird on your left
forearm, your sternum armored
by black ink under dermis,
protected by
the occasional swipe of a left hand

If I touched your tattooed knuckles
would you curl them at me?
Would you unfurl your fingers, grab
the dagger inked on your body,
peel skin back to let sparrows free?

I wanted to be the cigarette in your
mouth, and fill your body with
something other than smoke

To grab your shaking fists
point them downfield
from our door stoop
through the fog of war,
and command you to fight,
demons
dragons

I could tell you choke when
you cry, I should have told you those
are smouldering doves in your stomach
trying to fly
out

Sobs are pianos hauled
up a spiral staircase that is your throat,
waiting to be lodged
into vocal chords, to be
pounded, torn out,
set afire, dragged down
the avenue by their strings

I should have put a blanket over
your shoulders,
pulled your head into the nook of
my forearms,
bent them tight,
like I had just sent you home
tucked into the space under your
father’s chin,
to the roundness of your mother’s
stomach before you tore
screaming into this world,

I should have told you sometimes,
the difference between light and
dark
is only a light switch away

Cruelty


The last in a series of three, which I wrote during my short hiatus

Judith II (Salome) 1909 Gustav Klimt
Judith II (Salome) 1909
Gustav Klimt

 

CRUELTY

Where did you learn your cruelty,
to sew lips together
plant my throat with miss-meanings
and have them
grow into my lungs
pollute my breath and intentions

A craft learned
from threading closed the mouths of
the unsuspecting,
their trophy heads plunked on your skirt
with mouth agape
eye lids removed as to regard your form
whilst a needle hovered above

A practiced cross-stitch
meticulously threaded through holes,
pinpricks, dark and miniscule
as your pupils were
the day I observed them,
scratched by sunlight sliced through
my window as to throw light into you

Heart-Work

 

Art credit: Frank Tjepkema
Art credit: Frank Tjepkema

 

 

Heart-Work

We, at one time
were a two part fleshy clock
ringing at all hours of the night,
where dreams melded into awake flesh
intertwined limbs trading in
human currency

We gathered stars
trawled minuscule lights
onto our shore
from my net cast
at the edge of dreams,
into a chasm
filled with the pause between
the breaths of stars,
to be observed like fireflies
underneath blankets

It was there I plucked rings from blue Neptune,
molded them to your heart-work
so that stellar bodies would orbit there
seed clouds
atmosphere
oceans, under your breastplate
until such day our world fell onto itself

And yours,
remained arranged by my hand
carried behind your delicate skin
through fleshy streams of arteries
rooted,
through the universe that is you
the dark space that is filled
with the pauses
between your breaths

Gluttony

This is the first of three pieces I will be posting over three days, I’ve picked the order at random. I’ve decided to stop indenting lines as WordPress has issues translating these properly to the screen; I’ve also found the HTML tags get wrecked when the post is viewed on a iPhone. Unfortunately this means I lose some of the visual effect and forced pauses, I may try to print and scan as explained by one of my readers (thank you Frank.)

Photo credit Peter Lippmann "Nobel Rot"
Photo credit Peter Lippmann
“Nobel Rot”

 


 
GLUTTONY

There was a time
when in the morning you brought
platters of miracles
broke bread with me
and ate from the soft part
one bite at a time

Wrapped leftovers in linen,
hid them in a kitchen drawer

The next day
shook off the ants
rubbed green away and
brought me crumb in bed

Your cohort, codependency
masked as grapes, figs
seeds of pomegranate
carried on platters to my pillow
whereupon I rubbed dreary eyes
and in a stupor ate from your hands
gladly licked sticky fingertips
manicured talons

There was a time

I was a figment of your intellect
repurposed flesh
obese subject of your manufactured affection
a glutton of your sycophants
who ate gloriously

Clockwork

Clockwork

I have a cardboard box
where I keep all the pretty
broken things
that cascade into my life

Trying to hold on to time
in desperation that I will
forget
like I have my father’s voice

An insult to the natural law
of change
we contravene an inner
clock,
one sitting in a chapel
that is the universe’s pew

How daring
that one would attempt to hold on
to that which passes invisibly,
which controls us so expertly
in this machine we vainly believe
to understand,
and ignorantly attempt to reverse

We hold on
with ropes pulled by guided horses
commanded
by whip bearing men

Grinding against this clockwork,
toiling, falsely believing
one can hold off
age, loss,
when there is
but change

To write Love

 


Audio

TO WRITE LOVE

Last night I realized
that I was like you
our insides and minds
walking minefields
through which we stumble

Myself
living and speaking too much from
xxxxxxxxxxthe left side of the heart
xxxxxxxxxxand you from the right

Know that we are too big
for our bodies
that we foolishly
turn ourselves inside out
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxtoo much
Into a cornucopia
flourish of feeling
half the time speaking hell
the other time speaking
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxLove
too much for even ourselves
to understand

We always say the wrong thing
to somebody
xxxxxxbecause our throats are loaded with the
weight of lead, that we just can’t cough enough
to spew onto the floor

We poke, prod
the inside of our skull
so hard, to get out

You
lay on the floor of kitchens
with the weight of a thousand
pointy knifes on your chest
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxcarving skin
so that whatever ghosts hunt you
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxcan escape
to be slayed like dragons
or be embraced like a lover

Let’s throw away knives
leave markers behind
so that you can write Love
xxxxxxxon your forearms

Let’s paint your kitchen floor
black
so that you scribble in chalk
instead of bleeding red
onto white at night

I Wish…

I wish I could have dug below
your chest bone
for your heart
xxxxxxxxxxand see what lain within

But this I could not do
instead I opened mine
held it for you in my hands
offered it between my palms

From within a
closeted wordsmith
xxxxxxxxxxtinkerer of words
xxxxxxxxxxmaster of star fields outside this universe
xxxxxxxxxxdescribed for you on cotton paper

Mastered impossible alchemy
carefully plucked words from those I could find
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxarranged them
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxas to replace shinny trinkets

But still
I now feel
it was not enough

My words
xxxxxxxxtoo often out of form
My memory
xxxxxxxxtoo weak from medicine

But still…know this
xxxxI will find a place in you
xxxxbetween your bones and soft flesh
xxxxbuild a room so narrow our hands will touch both walls
xxxxa place without a roof
xxxxso that we would pluck out stars in the dark
xxxxwith an unmade bed in the centre we will call home

Arm’s length

 

I will keep you
at arm’s length
in the hope that I can
    someday
pull you in closer

I will sew a zipper
    into my lips
so that I hold back
    the wrong words
    floating confessions

And I will most certainly
bury my feet in cement
    so that I stay grounded
    float away no more
    until one day you pull me up
    through gravity

Some days

 

Some days
my hands feel as though
    they are made of loaded coffins
    that I carry about

My jaw heavy as concrete slabs
    weighing me down
    a reminder I am made of brick and
    mud
    that will someday build
    a home
    
    Slabs sometimes dragged behind
    plowing fields
    reaping that which I have sown

Some days
my head feels as though pushed through
    a funnel
    dripped out the other side
    a reminder I was conceived
    surrounded
    by water
    the element which calls me back

On occasion I am lite as air
    I tether myself down
    to uproot
    turning this earth upside-right
    dragging out that which was once
    great, but now forgotten,
    mothers, and lovers lost holding us tight
    squeezing out our breath and filling us
    with enough to forget
    some days we are mud
    we are stone
    heavy as plows

Helix

Spun on an axis
gyrated about in orbit
cheek pressed to neck
nape of back pulled in by a hand

Connected by skin and warmth of
blood coursing through veins
dating back to ghosts of
Argentinian lovers
who once wore hats
black shirts, dresses
dancing in parks
accompanied by men
playing concertinas and violins

An helix, spun about
held together
by hands and arms
a reconstruction of the dance
between the cracks of our skin
a tango of
building blocks
helixes, maps of our being

An elegant dance
forever spinning on wood floors
dusty grounds of parks
the spaces within ourselves

Whisper

I’ve made myself smaller
as of late
So that I can better fit in your arms
be carried inside of you

To climb your ribs
so I can whisper in your ear
whatever secrets  I hold

Journal entry

Today I am thankful for:

-Another day on earth
-My health
-Knowing that I have the conviction to do the right thing

And I ask for:

-Another day, that my words come back and I am able to write again
-Solace

Axis

In my world,
my heart doesn’t beat
it is spun on an axis by elephants
walking across it with their newborn
migrating
trotting from apex to bottom
in search of you
grinding gears together
pushing streams of life through pipework
under my skin powering these arms
my hands

I want a lifetime to explore your platitudes
commanding the ebb and flow of your presence
from head to bare feet
levitating your hips at command
        two opposite mountainous regions
        divided by a canyon floating towards me
        rising to the ceiling
    
Giants on my heart slow their metronomic thumping
as the day gives into night,
I lay you to sleep and breathe your form
diurnal lengths of skin
hair brushed back
    draped over pillows
    sown into the fabric of earth itself
    golden deserts
    expanses of black earth
    where soil is upturned,
    trees uprooted when you rustle

And I, dreaming of impossibilities
Love that can be touched like a river
pouring from my heart where elephants
             tread water
lands where there is no sky, but ocean mirrored above
where we are but pendulums crashing into one another
where I fold space to bring us together spite of
             distance
                 oceans
                 mountains

And though this may seem impossible alchemy,
these are the things that I control
inside the cosmos of our sleep

Scalpel

I woke to a scalpel at my side
where you lay your head

I sliced open a door, at the back of my neck,
it’s the place that stood when you breathed
                 on my wrist
                 my forearm
        
I opened that gate
palpated un-nameable anatomy
a spanning bridge suspended by veins
carrying thought over spinal tunnels

Searched what love may be,
the feeling of singularity lost
in the silence of our bed

     The moment when time appeared
     to stand still outside our window,
     but still flowed through us
     from one to another

Probed for
molecules darting my hair on end
when you exhaled through my entire body,
as I took my living breath from you

A tapestry of chemistry
Alchemy of synapse
Manipulation of time

Levitated

I was born too lite
with a propensity to be aloof
float away mindlessly
attracted by the moon
        pulled
        slowly levitated from the ground

Thus,
I wrapped chains round my feet
hammered them into the dessert

I remained undisturbed, levitated
stretched taut towards that celestial force
even as hordes of colossal elephants crossed in my vicinity
        regarding my suspended self with sunken eyes
        leaving hoof prints in their wake, that would become
        under sea chasms as sands receded
        rains mercilessly pounded from above

Arid plains flooded
transforming mountainous regions of sand into islands
bringing with it creatures of unknown name
some crawling on the ocean bottom
others,
    meandering in the current
    for me to pass time
    cataloguing names pulled from my imagination

I observed bellies of sea turtles
carrying on their backs seeds of civilizations
chasing continents
surfing currents

At night listened to choirs of colossal whales
    who taught their calves to dance in the dark
    breaking evening light from beyond a watery home
    with their vast bodies, as I anchored at point
    swung with magnetic force of waning moons
    observed in awe from bellow

Until such day, whether by design or force of currents
my counterpoint was shattered, and I
        carried past the surface
        of rough seas, floated
        past hissing stars
        above earth’s droning life stream
        onto arid dust of moon

To observe stars pushed to and fro by currents
         floating matter surfing invisible winds
        cosmic vacuums of force feasting on extinguished suns
        watery planets

Exile

PHOTO CREDIT: Lee Plaza Hotel, Detroit, photo by Bonnie Beechler
MAGPIE TALES Prompt 210

Based on the above photo posted on the MAGPIE TALES
project website

 

This,
a self-imposed exile
where I with raw fingers
     peel paint
in search of a manuscript
laid upon these walls
painted over long ago

    I search a thread
    connecting inked maps
    charts to stars observed at night

To trek oceans of vast darkness
space between dots of blinding light
and unknown space beyond
             these walls

I tare couches
lift floorboards
in a mission to discover
blueprints to a great ladder
whose vision descends in dreams

And whose steps I will
bed my foot on
climb its spiral skeleton above this room
and inch my way towards planets
             constellations

Swing from the tip of a crescent moon
as momentum
brings me past heaven’s ceiling
so that I may scrape its hues with raw fingertips

Shameless

 

Dance me on rush hour city streets
    sheltered by skyscrapers
    from blinding sun
in underground parking garages
    dimly lit by flickering lights

Come hide behind alleyways
I’ll hold your thighs to the wall until
our lookout claps his hands
flipping pigeons from roof tops
warning us
of imminent interruption

We will plant clandestine gardens
between poor tenements
decorate within their nooks and crannies
scribble mementoes in wet sidewalk cement

Fling heels from our third storey walk-up
onto suspended power lines
as celebration
of a third day in bed sweating through walls

Let’s forget our flesh pinned against headboards
uproot our insides so we are only thought
and let this room breathe us in

Let us be shamelessly in Love

Hallways

If my body was a house
my mind would be constructed of hallways
scarcely lit through blinded windows
dust intermittently dancing past slivers of light

I would fill the walls with expressions of my life
paintings composed in palettes of thought
frames of reference observed at night
when before shutting my eyes
searching for tangible proof
that at my epicenter
I did not allow bitterness to prevail

A record that some days
my insides did not feel
they had been created by the hand
of a holly architect
but by children at play with matches

Some days I wanted to burn this house down
some days I did

Crafted

xxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxx
Your heart

It lays cradled
bound in place
containing a ring box filled
with your mother’s best trinkets
xxxxxxxxxxxxxcarefully picked
xxxxxxxxxxxxxcollected
xxxxxxxxxxxxxsaved
xxxxxxxxxxxxxfor the occasion of conception

You were crafted by her hand
golden hair weaved by needle
and your heart
stitched shut by threads of
xxxxxxxxxxbrown twine
xxxxxxxxxxshinny copper

Your father
placed two ribs on your left side
crossed one over the other
the way you crossed your index fingers over your lips as a child
xxxxxxxxxxfused together as a promise to protect your heart
xxxxxxxxxxfloating above it
xxxxxxxxxxuntil your frame is turned to dust

Your backbone was carved
from a hardwood tree in a field
xxxxxxxxxxto give your hips shape
xxxxxxxxxxthe form of  your rounded back
xxxxxxxxxxso that a loving hand has a place
xxxxxxxxxxto craddle you

TETHER

Pour our languid
shapeless forms
from iron furnaces into moulds
bend our backs over anvils
hammer us
forge us into the image of you

Hurtle us into this world
as we
breathing for the first time
burn our throats
howling
after the tether is cut
the bridge to our mothers severed

Freed upon this place
to fall in and out of Love
smash our flesh into one another in a search
to find the connection we once had
before we became
            bankers
            harlots
            pedlars
                singular

Trying to hold fast
to memories
washed over our eyelids
as we close them in the night
        lulled into dreams
        before being pulled back
        to your iron furnace

FALLEN

FALLEN

Stillness remained
amongst the fallen cedars
after the fire
the crude saws

Hallowed ground
a call for satiation
and so from my body
I  remove a white shirt
boots
gloves

There is no stir
save for that of my bones
crude inner workings of flesh
organs contained within a bag of skin

I root my feet into the ground
xxxxxxxxxxso wind will not bend me

Whittle my fingers to the bone
xxxxxxxxxxso branches can grow from there

Drag my back on the riverbed
xxxxxxxxxxso my spine is exposed
xxxxxxxxxxand that seedlings can uproot, find a ladder, fight for sun

From my flesh make offerings
xxxxxxxxxxso that salamanders return to the creek

My leg bones prop surviving saplings
xxxxxxxxxxso they become stoic giants, shading muddy mushroom beds
xxxxxxxxxxfeeding colossal birds with their fruit

And, once my sparse frame has been consumed
trees bow to the wind
my ribs will be put to use, making a shelter for this ceilingless chapel

Corseted

I untied your corseted back
pulled laces from steel rings
and they ran down
the expanse of your body

Peeled apart that vertical space
between your shoulders and hips
pulled back a door guarded by your spine
and entered with you

We walked through
gated gardens
curtained secrets

Observed forgotten memories
made love in dark alleyways of thought
xxxxxxxxxxhowled through streets
xxxxxxxxxxwhere you once walked infatuated

We read unfinished manuscripts
devoured entire libraries
inside your mind
forgotten knowledge at the foot of a river
flowing back to long before you were
conceived
xxxxxxxxxxto its mouth where you and I
xxxxxxxxxxfloated from long ago
xxxxxxxxxxbefore we were ideas
xxxxxxxxxxlaced together

We are

 

We are singular
floating thoughts
we are secrets locked in boxes
stored at the back
of closets
behind the peacoat
and old photos

We are habits
we are projected beliefs
reliving a moment in the past
as if trying to hold on
to something
                   anything
as if it would cement that which
we doubt
that we exist past our thoughts

We are
rhythm,
circular motion of
sun and moon,
that rotation of
earth and windmills,
waves crashing
somewhere we’re not

We are thought at tempo set by
a great metronome
Larghissimo
Lento
Andante

 

Secret

We are each other’s secret
mine to treasure
you are a room in my house
with stained glass windows
pointed inward
where light pours in

xxxxxxxxxxWe are a secret held between
xxxxxxxxxxour bodies
xxxxxxxxxxtold when our naked stomachs
xxxxxxxxxxtouch

In the curve of your shoulder
you are persuasion
invitation
to devour you whole
this room
this house
and entire worlds

xxxxxxxxxxAnd blow out from my mouth
xxxxxxxxxxeverything that will become of us
xxxxxxxxxxthe starting phrase we have yet to
xxxxxxxxxxformulate
xxxxxxxxxxas we have barely
xxxxxxxxxxput pen to paper

I want to revel in this room
covered in this secret
xxxxxxxxxxa blanket of
xxxxxxxxxxstars
xxxxxxxxxxplanets
xxxxxxxxxxwindy cities
xxxxxxxxxxand quiet desserts

Teacher

You are here
hiding in a corner
arms crossed
xxxxxxxxxxparalyzing
chilling my spine

Inviting me to lay down
xxxxxxxxxxin ashes
to sink down into the
depths of what I once
thought to be all there was

A gravitational pull
as I some days push away
the urge to sink into the
bottom of the very place
where as a boy I
xxxxxxxxsat at the back of the class
xxxxxxxxon a rickety wood chair

You cut my wrists and bled me dry
pushed me from a window and I
turned to dust in flight
xxxxxxxxto land
to cover white in gray
to be sunk down by rain
planted deep in the ground

From there I crawled silently
climbed for days
xxxxxxxxweeks
xxxxxxxxyears
xxxxxxxxdecades
past waiting rooms of
sterilized medical offices
xxxxxxxxleather couches
where I turned myself inside out
with organs and thoughts exposed
outside my thin skin
xxxxxxxxtranslated to notes
xxxxxxxxand diagnosis on paper pads
xxxxxxxxpast afternoons with blinds drawn shut
xxxxxxxxto close out crowds
xxxxxxxxeyes of strangers

You have always been there
a constant reminder of
painful red palms
xxxxxxxxclaustrophobic
dark locked closets where
in my nightmares
walls felt like they had grown
spikes to crush me
and blows so hard
xxxxxxxxthat shattered wood and blackboards
xxxxxxxxbruised the will to live
xxxxxxxxtaught me gestures of self-hatred
xxxxxxxxthe only thing you were kind enough to show me

Part of me
will always remain the boy you broke
though the man I have become has covered him
in a shelter made of photographs
scraps of paper scribbled with poems
held him with arms wrapped from behind
xxxxxxxxaround his ribs
xxxxxxxxcradled his head
xxxxxxxxbecame the teacher you never were

She was like water – circa Mar/Apr 2013

Something dating back to 2013

I like leafing through my journals back to around that time. Though my entries may seem somewhat negative, I would change nothing about those days; they were transforming and I’m glad I fell so hard, for if I hadn’t I would never have learned to get back up, I wouldn’t have exploded and have had to pickup the pieces to rebuild…me…I am now the ever-changing best version of myself.

Now I understand, that “one doesn’t fall, one simply lands” (thank you Anis Mojgani)

Journaled circa March-April /2013 – Never meant to live outside my Moleskine book

She was like water

Not in the sense that she was cleansing or adaptable
but in the sense that she would wear me down
pull limbs apart in the riptide
make me disapear into a vast mass of blue

She would raise
exalted with the moon
and lay putrified with the ebb of tides
and like water she too would selfishly take everything in her path
break it into manageable pieces and make it all hers
until tidal waves spat out the remains of me

Questions

This is the edit from “OCD Stream of consciousness” posted on Feb 1/2014
I may do an audio reading of this, I don’t know if there would be any interest

 

As a child there were questions that haunted me

How to calculate the number of sand grains on the beach where I spent my summers
camped three months at a time
in sweltering heat
eyes pointed to the sun
squinting through eyelashes
forming coloured prisms in my vision

Questions like “is the ocean alive”
it seemed to breathe
its pulsing sound
the current
pulling
inhaling
and the eventual crash of water
like the exhale of a lover in my adulthood

There was
an attraction to that watery element
engulfing me at first light
and sometimes at dawn
while I stood
at the edge of liquid matter
then subdued in the night

I recall as the sun descended
pilot lights on the bow of fishing trawlers
watching fishermen pull their nets onto shore
where just outside the brightness of gas lamps
crab gathered collecting scraps

There were questions that haunted me
there were stars above our tents
cicadas chirping in the pine forrest
and I often wondered about their finite number
while I listened
downwind through a netted window
to crashing waves

The night
sometimes cool when my parents and I walked the shore
in thick
prickly
wool sweaters
me in the centre
swinging from their hands

On one such night a man handed me a sea horse
still alive
curling its tail
pulsing its armour-like flesh

I placed it in a bucket that night as i couldn’t bare to kill it
then waking to the blinding gaze of sunlight
rapping at the cloth of our canvas tents
me rubbing my sleepy eyes
only to find it asphyxiated in the fresh water

There were questions that haunted me
and not until years later did I realize
the sea
was simply a mirror for the sky
the sand simply a terrestrial map
of the stars

And though I had not given words to such things
my child mind had found the wonder of
impossibility
symmetry
awe

Summer

Some quick lines, the winter is getting to me.        

I miss summer
in its slow
engulfing heat
its slowness
    like dripping honey
and tones
    of amber
    green

Flowing dresses
to knobby knees of girls
like in my childhood

Grassy parks
    and melting away
    into a slumber under trees

Running children
    the caress
    the kiss and
    laughter
of new Love
    imature and
    naive in its hopeful spring birth

I miss the
warmth on my face
    surrounding
    swallowing me whole
The
    blinding sun and
    slow heat
        like dripping honey

Imperfect

I want to tell you that you are perfect in your imperfection

Hips you call too wide
the curve of your back
curled toes and fingers
Skin and breasts stretched from birthing
xxxxxxxand the occasional chewed fingernails

In your morning skin
When your makeup was rubbed off
xxxxxxxfrom kissing
xxxxxxxand rubbing noses
xxxxxxxin a intimate embrace

You are perfect in  your imperfection
xxxxxxxthe mole at the base of your back
xxxxxxxhidden
xxxxxxxonly felt in the late evening
xxxxxxxwhen breath was exchanged between lovers
xxxxxxxby a hand supporting you
xxxxxxxpulling you closer still
xxxxxxxin that moment you were perfect

We are all perfect in our imperfection
xxxxxxxwe are perfect because this is the way the dust settled
xxxxxxxhow the universe conspired to piece us together
xxxxxxxhow it all came to be
xxxxxxxfrom particles
xxxxxxxcarbon
xxxxxxxpieces of stars

You are powerful water
xxxxxxxhumble mud
xxxxxxxsteel
xxxxxxxa part of everything that is
xxxxxxxand everything that will be
xxxxxxxlong after you are dust

At this very moment
xxxxxxxright now
You are exactly where you should be
xxxxxxxwho you should be
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxperfectly
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxximperfect

Remedy

My remedy for despair
is a memory of something
that never happened
of family
friends dead and living
and those dying to live
           unborn children
           my inner circle
           my outer ring of acquaintances
           past and future loves
all sitting at long wooden tables
in the night with salt in the air
and on our lips

Wooden tables
and circles of lovely human conundrums
contradicting personalities
each a discussion from birth until that starry night

My remedy
walks under dimmed bulbs stringed together by copper wire
lighting up the night
by a sea
sweating salt into the air
that stings our smiling lips
and coats hands holding hands

You too will be there at my table
held in place by my hand on your hips
and as you lean your mouth will whisper a secret into my ear
                                                              “you are my remedy”

Curls – Dreamed on January 26/2014

I dreamt of you last night
as I spiraled into my pillow
as I spiraled
into my sleep

I dreamt a dream
of spiraled endless curls of hair
and I carried you
weightless in my arms

You
nestled
breathing warm breath
into the nape of my neck
xxxxxxxxholding tightly
xxxxxxxxto the seconds
xxxxxxx minutes
xxxxxxx  to the passing hours

I am

Today
I took a razor blade
and cut a valley
at the nape of my left hand
and from there
from where a river flowed
I pulled veins
tendons white and blue
I stretched them taut
in the air
and plucked a song

I am tendons
veins like guitar strings
muscle
meat pulled back
I am hair
white nails
teeth

I am yours
with bare chest
dissected back to my heart
where a wood box sits
waiting
containing fragments
pieces
of what my life is
the comedy of what it was
and the promise
of what it will be

Whisper

Journal entry June 7/2013
God whispered
a secret into your ear
before you were an idea
an ioda of dust
of wondering floating speck
a lion
a lamb
water
        and stone


God whispered
locked tides
trees
crawling creatures
deserts and oceans
into your hands
stuffed them smiling
and you clasped them
                             round


God whispered a secret into your ear
before you were
an idea
and pressed his finger
                             to your lips






Island

Original journal entry June 5/2013


Amidst an ocean
lies an island                      
               fertile
                      weathered by battering winds
                      crashing waters
                      and forceful hands of
                      wrecked ships
It lays curled there
                      amongst waves
                      testing its will
                                     to persevere against
                      invaders
                      trespassers
                      wounded men in beards with
                      curled fingers holding lessons written in
                                                        anguish

Men who invade
             trample on
             march through
             taking with them spoils of
             conquest and return home healed
Amidst an ocean
              lies an island
                            fertile still





Some night

Some night
  You will lead me to your bed
  Where I will lay you down

                              weighing on your naked body
                              I will
                              kiss you bellow your ear

Friends

Original journal date JUNE 5/2013

I am grateful for friends
that stand in doorways
in the pouring rain 
pressed in a embrace
surrounded by puddles
sirens
blaring lights of yellow and orange cabs

I am grateful for hands holding faces
and exhales of
relief
for having found one another
amidst the rhythmic noise
of 
  life

Untitled

Original journal entry JUNE 4/2013

Words twist
meander
linger in the air
until caught
in your web
your ears
my faithful friend
adviser
opulent subject of
my affection

The space between us filled
with intrigue
curiosity
my attention and
study of
your form


PRESS

Original entry MAY 24/2013

PRESS

There she laid
Pressed
Into the musky earth
Amongst God's creatures
Crawling
Floating and fluttering

Shaded by trees reaching to heaven that break light
Streaming beams of warmth and color
Pausing on her naked white flesh

She
Collecting dew
Drops of water from leaves above
Abandoned by birds
Disregarded by a caterpillar
Dew slowed by unseen forces

She moves
Controls time
Her fingers attached to hand
That meander
Caress
Her own naked chest and hips

Thighs that rise with
The ebb and flow of
Sun and moon

Knees that press together
Into a line flowing downwards to a canyon
Of raw flesh
Throbbing now
Touched moments ago
To unleash elation
Onto the world outside this clockwork


Departed

Original journal date...Sometime in late 2013


On the rocks
    Facing East
    Rotting
    Pecked by buzzards
    Vibrating with the tremors of winged insects

Scent
Once of perfume
Now of earthly flesh
    A signal for flies to lay their unborn to hatch
    To carve out and return to the earth
    What it once possessed

In a ceremony
    In the heat and splendor of a rising sun
    Laying its embrace upon the rocky seawall
    Welcoming home
    The
        Departed


<Edited for content January 26/2014>

Skin and Bone

You

Made of skin

Bone

Flesh

Stretched and now vacant

In a place where children were made

Birthed

 

You Marked inside and out

A road map of your life

Leading to the water’s edge

Where you now find yourself

Feeling the coldness of ocean waves

on your toes

 

Aware that the chilling sensation

Will only last temporarily

Until you let in the warmth

As you dive and swim into the quiet

Uncharted waters of a new tide

symphony

My life fell apart in a symphony of feelings uncommunicated

tears held back

only released in the night time

where I craved

substance

warmth

the squeeze of limbs

across my back

extended downwards

to legs

pulled close to chest

rhythmically rising

and falling

until suddenly awake in the dead of night

by an invasion

of emptiness