“I am still right here.”
she said, having taken off her shoes.
After a while, it seemed kind of obvious to him
that she wasn’t being wholly truthful.
It wasn’t on purpose.
“I mean,” he said, with a vernacular as meaningless
as his desire
to write poetry,
“I guess so.”
With that faltering look-
the one that he had grown to hate
for reasons he would never fully understand
she spoke, her voice humid and her mouth a trembling oblique,
He only hoped to be comforted by the warmth of her tears.
He hated the solitude, his own warmth.
His tears never pressed themselves deep into his shoulder,
never pushed hot breath into his sweater in frustrated shakes.
He began to think that his adolescence never meant anything,
that if it didn’t mean something right now, that it couldn’t at all.
and as he thought about tomorrow,
which hung over him like the rest of his mortality,
He instinctively wondered:
“Have I ever impacted somebody to the point that they’ll think of me fondly?”
In that thought, he stopped breathing for a couple of seconds,
and then went to bed.
This hole in my heart –
A tired emptiness that longs for those things that have never belonged together,
I read messages from loved ones.
I remember a short woman
25% of me or better
but when did those memories start?
The smell of morning beer
to-the-point in a way that spilled tenderness
down the hill, into the pond that probably used to be there
in a time I can’t conceptualize
My questions aren’t hers and won’t be answered
The church she loved will never see my Easter,
though it’s just a 9 hour drive.
I long for the place that I belonged
but does this longing forsake my now?
jelly-colored lights and sleeping ghosts
You were never awkward, though the situation begged it.
It was like I never left.
Where is the spine, now, of the family I never had?
The news mixed together and dried as a thin lacquer.
Lurching out from appreciation
yet stifled from longing, I thought:
“God, I want to play Euchre.”
You were like a proper Christmas –
Warm, full of love, joyful,
thoughtful and earnest,
and I’m going to miss you.
Some old monk,
dead now a long time
but immortal in prose
caused me to pause
You look the same.
The same, perhaps, as I had imagined
now that the sand on the beach has washed away
and been replaced by vaulted roofs, allergies, plum wine,
futons, a girl stifling the urge to skip, a carrot cake muffin.
You look the same in your wedding dress,
nonplussed or unsure how to smile-
fallen into an expression I don’t remember-
but which was probably there the whole time.
And as I sat
surrounded by warmth,
allegories in children’s language,
the inevitable decline of each individual,
the listless desire to feel needed,
I was happy for our death
and for our birth
and for the truth that lives now
and which scoffs at myopy-
a truth living in a silent, warm memory,
draped in the blowing wind on the pier
where my first regret was timidity.
Congratulations. I hope you are well.
As I build my golem,
its ambling praxis divided
like the cracked face
in an old painting
of a woman
too weary for the aching flush of love-
The fear of it never being useful,
never knowing purpose-
does not strike me so keenly
as your eyes set askance as I build.
A ghost lies still spilled on the floor
shining like I had imagined soft breathing-
a light enshrouded by my trembling regret,
pulling my chest to the floor.
Its smile is the imagined warmth
made heavier by truth,
made into purposelessness,
into awkward levity.
There is no promise,
as perhaps a promise requires some merciless constraint-
and things are just what they are,
and surely the nature of man is further want-
but man admonishes a night’s rain,
and flees from it.
and the solemnity I feel in a midnight downpour
doesn’t bring the light
of that poor ghost, spilled on the floor.
Blessed virgin, whose shapeless loathing
has caused striation in her forearms-
giving herself to the faceless lovers
who will live her story without her and within her
what touch is human that does not taste of salt?
what flower blooms without our notice?
the breath of kings which mingles with fresh-slain serfs
made more clear by the biting cold surrounding them
the smell of overbearing soap
the desire for friends at a train station
belonging without requirement
On the second tuesday of a boring september
the lady at the front counter
(the one who gave you your room key)
may have wondered how many of you there are
and how many won’t realize that they have always been you.
Run outside, you’re dying anyhow
tear your muscles from the back of the apparent hand
when you’re staring at the sun, it’s hard to flinch
Your dancing god will smite everything
and the jewels will cut your feet
as you stride across the floor
strewn with the blood of love and hate
strewn worse yet with the glance of apathy
Ouroboros of well-planned mediocrity
and look now, it’s midnight.