May 3, 2019


just a photograph of me standing by the ocean
just your hands around the neck of a bottle
tight like kid-love
and the smears of grease on the page that still feels sticky in my hands-

i hear the song playing through the open window...
thinking of japan
that slow, rough voice making sense of a thousand cluttered days

have i seen that orange slice before?
or is this video the same one that's constantly playing
in the cinema of my mind.

i feel like we shouldn't be alone together because when we are i start talking
and things come out that i'll probably
want to take back.
it shouldn't feel so natural.
but it is.
maybe she's right...
maybe we're half in love with everyone we meet and maybe that's just how we've always been
and maybe it doesn't mean anything.

their anything.
our anything means something to me.

i'm sorry this always ends up feeling like a fever dream.
i used to have structured thoughts
patterned emotion
but everything is a stream of consciousness these days
a stream constantly flowing down to an ocean full of my thoughts, and even now i see the little swimmers getting stuck on the baggage i dropped without opening it.
don't worry about them.
the current of my love for you
will clear the water soon.

if this was a movie
we would've been in love by now
but i'd never let you, hand around my neck like it's as breakable as the bottle, and even though you're too big for me, my spirit is casting a shadow over you
that you'll never outrun.
you don't fall in love with your ghost.
you just let it follow you around
day after day
a face in every dream
even though you said you don't.

i remember standing in the desert in new mexico
and i remember the way the world looked when it fell away from my feet over the edge that i couldn't see, as hot and formless as an ocean painted persimmon gold, and i remember how every time the same raven would circle over my head it'd remind me of the way you'd find me
even if this life started over.
even if it was dark, and there was no way to speak, even if we were cold and lost, even if the whole world stood up between you and me...
there'd be a day where you knocked on my door
and found a way to choke out the words
that held my name.

people always ask if i'm in love but at this point
i eat too much of it to be in it.
and i wish it was easier to kiss you
than it is for me to do all these other things i do
with my eyes closed.

because you know i'm untouchable.
not in the sense that you couldn't have me
but when you did
your fingertips, stone and steady,
would bruise this translucent skin that only knows how to leave.

and you would hate me.

i don't want to do the apocalypse over, though i survived the first three times,
but i'd rather do that again
than forget you.


April 16, 2019

telling me where to go

the wind comes up again
soothing as an arm around tight muscles
and me...
me, next to nothing against the back-splash of this day,
fingers full of new stalks that came up yesterday
that i picked carelessly while the sun rolled away as fast as we used to pitch to each other in the yard.

i wonder if other people
think about dying this much?

not for myself
if that's what you're asking with your eyes.
but even now, with our arms full of life, my neck breaking against your shoulder...
am i going to have to watch you die?
the word as long as the infinite scream
at the back of my mind, and oh it's funny now
how often i think of you.
but after the last day...

dog day in an eternal summer,
i lean out as far as i can to catch the smell of the warm grass growing, fingers apart
conscience of how fast all seasons go, each like the other
mottled skin beneath the blinding snow and our feet in the dirt once it's warm enough to stand.

"do you think it's possible to lose a soulmate?"

she sees him even when she's not looking,
and i run my fingers down your arm like you can give me some power, or at least enough static to block out the song i don't want to hear -

"i don't see why not."

please remember me.

i think about it every day
and the way you looked when i hung upside down off the couch, blood rushing into my ears until
not even the way we rumbled in my childhood, feet against pavement,
not even the way he looked at me across the table
not even a thousand vague memories of people i don't know anymore
could hold how much
i felt.

i've spent my whole life running away from how much i feel about things.

and if someday i have to listen to the other voice talking about how you went peacefully
how you looked in the last moments before your spirit finally gave up
how strong you were...
i'll already have hung up the phone.
and i will be out in the sun, watching it trickle into the barn windows like honey down the walls,
unwilling to breathe but feeling your hands on my shoulders
telling me where to go.

i think about it every day.
sometimes i wonder if it thinks about us.

who can blame it?

i love thinking about you too.

please remember me,
and my misery,
standing beside you under a field full of stars ready to be harvested if only i'd had the courage to take one down
before i realized you were gone.

but nobody can see forever.

i wipe my forehead and dangle two broken legs over the side of the trailer, skin glistening
under a tangerine sky littered with clouds that i hope are empty,
and when i accidentally think about you
i feel that smile unfold over me.

you have no idea how hard it is
to know i can never love you.


sometimes people write poems about people you wouldn't expect


HEY i posted another song here! it's sad. ew. but isn't all of this.

March 24, 2019


i tie my war stories across my back and head out again
crippling mistrust leaking from smiles that were supposed to feel familiar
and i wonder how long it's going to be
before i can sing with a
clear conscience.

you haven't had time to see the part of me i don't know how to remove.

say you love me.
you may be the only one.

and i don't know how to fix myself up enough to not stumble
into places i don't want to go.
once, when i was younger
i dressed myself and went where i wanted.
but now i stretch out my hands...

you threw me into a spiral that i couldn't pull out of.

but that's a little too much for the old chair in the corner of a coffee shop.
and i'm nervous on the third drink
but i learned a long time ago that fear
is the only thing quick enough to pull me from beneath the tires
leap from the roof
roll out of the way as you come crashing down from the sky.
i stay nervous, across mile markers that no longer mark miles
but places i thought i'd never come back to.

she's beautiful.
she has that easy voice and kaleidoscope perspective
and there's angelic light everywhere in this old town that seems older than the state.

thank you.

there's a song waiting for me.
i'll find it alone.

i burned all the maps in the house.
like always.
like always.
but they make me laugh, and i feel young again for a moment like the world is warm
and our ribs are glass.

for her sake
i forgive kansas.

about time i stole something back from the world
that only took from me.


February 11, 2019


she's counting down the days they have left
throwing orange peels to the floor
and picking the pulp from underneath her fingernails like a
bad memory.

half crushed and bloody
but why would you ever bother counting if you'd learned your lesson and done the math and found the average and knew ahead of time that the answer would always be

i remember the night we drove in the dark, your arms wrapped around my stomach,
and i remember the moon hanging like the heel of my shoe in the small of your back
and i remember so much that i tore out half of my own brain just trying
to claw away the memory of your eyes.

does that make me psychotic?
or was i always this way.

soon it'll be the anniversary of the day
they pulled me out of my blood and laid my corpse on the table.

and i've always thought that some part of me
the biggest part of me
has been trying to return to that day.
to that silver table in the middle of a hospital, and those bones that hadn't even tried to fuse together, and those violet lungs without anything in them except the last breath of my fair share...

i'm supposed to be dead.

and everything around me keeps reminding me of that.

the chrysanthemum stings, corners of my fingers already going red and puffy.
am i allergic?
am i allergic to the way you tried to tell me to slow down, pleading that i had time, pleading with your hands on my back in the parking lot i can't pass without seeing you there, pleading with those eyes i'd seen in the field full of dead grass where you couldn't tell me you loved me. and if only i could tell you how much they burned when you looked at me and asked

why can't you let go?

like we had clocks ticking in the back of our eyes
i screamed into your face
your beautiful face

you have
more time
than i do.

and i knew.
the moment i said it, i knew.
that i had set the timer on the box in the back of our minds. and we would never recover, because finally, finally, one of us had the balls
to do what pandora had always told us not to.

and the next time i heard your voice
you smiling
and you were leaving.

thank God.
He saw the end.
and He made it quick
and if that's not love?

i am on a rocket headed for the ground.
i am on a train with tracks off the edge of a cliff.
and you, with your beautiful brain and your horrible dreams, are going to get off long before that day comes, and i don't blame you.
not for the person i've become.
i blame you for pain, and misery, and happiness, but not for this.

if you hadn't jumped
i would've pushed you.
you, with your lit up face and your too-big heart.
i would've killed you on accident at some point
and i'm glad i never got the chance.

i've been dead since i was born, kid.

and running on borrowed time changes you even when you try to stop it. they always told me that. but i never believed them.
you have time to live a life, and to find out what's around that next turn.
but i'm on a one way road out.

and when i finally crash into the ground, burnt out, charred with memories and sunrises that ended way too fast,
i hope you'll know that i loved you.
and i hope you'll be proud of what i did.
and i hope you come to my funeral, sweetheart, chrysanthemum heart and all.
pay your respects
because you never gave me enough in this life.

i'll be resting in power
glad that death finally caught up.

because i hate being in debt.


the cynicism i'm bringing to my twenties, mingled with the hope i kept from the rest