February 11, 2019

chrysanthemum



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.

chrysanthemum
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
not?

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
trying
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.

x

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






January 24, 2019

her



i find it funny
how much you would hate the person i've become.

cut off a layer of old, soft skin, a hydra of flowers sprouts
from the corpse, and your horrified eyes in a million dreams
that are just dreams.
why does that haunt me?
why can i still remember the flavor of my own brain fluid 
the day you broke my skull by the exit sign.
green light, as gentle as a hand on the back of my neck.
she says it sounds vague?
that's because it's supposed to.
i wrote the real version
on the back of a receipt in los angeles.

and i lost it
on purpose.

that's the problem with us.
we think we have the right to everybody's truth, everybody's inner parts, because
we're so used to spilling our own like cheap prostitutes
paying somebody else to spend the night with our fears and our doubts
and our demons
because we hate to be alone.

but i've been alone.
maybe it wasn't good for man
but woman was determined to correct today
what would kill somebody else's happiness tomorrow.

i'm back in my old house with a fever now, thinking about days that have been long dead.
but memories don't die.
and i keep mine, both to torture and to teach,
elusive emotion between the cracks.

i find it funny, after all,
how much you would hate the person i've become.
i aggravate the wound now, cold hands on a back that's never gone outside,
a tourniquet that is too tight,
and every day, i've had to learn love all over again
like i woke up from a coma 
and forgot my own name.
after all this time, he smiles, edge of his eyes set hard like the lines around our mouths
and a hydra of emotion wells up inside of me. because i'm not too old
to change.

i love this girl.
because each death has been the genesis of somebody new.
bless her, Father.
she walks on fire sometimes. 

and i find it funny.
because you wouldn't like her.
only now
nobody would care.

x







November 25, 2018

emotional motionsickness




God, i wish that was me.
the tree standing next to you, roots
wrapped around your ankle to remind you
that you're not alone in a room full of people.
and maybe my leaves could read your thoughts
and maybe you'd let me touch your elbow when i'm
afraid.
i keep having these dreams about people i don't know.
like i'm stuck inside their skulls looking out.
and sometimes it's good, because i see his mom and feel this
peace settle like pulp in the bottom of my cup.
but sometimes i feel loneliness. not just mine
i feel yours too.

inside my brittle locust heart i feel a flame
a kerosene light that reminds me how hard
it is to kill something that isn't ready to die.
i want to hold your hand so badly
i want to touch your aching shoulders and i want
to look at you as long as i like without blinking away tears.
but all you hear is the wind against my body.
that rustle, my voice.
that creak, my bones.

the light turns red just long enough for us to
laugh about the arrogance of boys with eyes like the ocean.
and i feel like i'm stuck inside your skull looking up.
you are so lucky lucky lu-
luck has nothing to do with who is happy
and who is learning to be happy without a reason.
because scorpio didn't give you this soul
and taurus didn't tell me how many times i'd want to be selfish with you
and fail.

God, i wish that was me.
the ocean at your feet, washing the rough sand from your
callouses, easing your mind with my everchanging continuity.
i wish i was me
from a few months ago
asleep in a fever dream made of saltwater without flavor
walking the bones of a desert long baked
feeling like a small pebble at the feet of the universe.
i saw the Milky Way.
she was drying her hair across the cosmos because
she'd never cut it for a boy that broke her heart.
and i heard her whisper between gritted teeth-

why
why did You make them with only 
two eyes?

God, i'm glad that's not me
standing at the corner of the road without a reason to turn right.
but i almost wish i could tear up my roots to go with you
i wish that when you smiled at me
it wasn't so easy to see my reflection in your eyes.
you've got such beautiful eyes.
but i am the man at the gate
they named after your laughter.
my legs don't work and i'm begging you to please
not look back. because in my dreams i'm in my own skull 
looking at you.
i'm glad i'm not a cherubim.
with a thousand eyes, it'd be impossible not to
stare.

God.
in the upper room You break the bread and feel Your spine ache in
empathetic foreshadowing.
how do i give mine
to a Hunger that is never satisfied?
i'm glad i'm not a cherubim
with a thousand eyes, You'd see the tears for sure.
but tonight i take the tour bus to golgotha
where they're taking polaroids of the crucifix
and offer to hand You a bullet on a stick.
Your eyes find me across the crowd
and i feel like i'm walking on stained glass to get to You.
i touch Your feet, the ones that they've nailed with
metal from the offering bag.
i'm not afraid of God, he smiles, because He is too
busy running this hell to see me.
i'm glad he's not a cherubim.
because if his thousands of eyes locked onto Yours i think
he'd die
half in love and half out.

sometimes i'm in the skull of the betrayer looking out.
he has terrible nightmares.
but tonight i ease into the slow, steady stream of consciousness
where i think i can read Your thoughts.
like a tattoo across my knuckles so when i clench my fists
i see my real name before i fight somebody.
beloved
sounds like a doe-eyed girl that he'd skip class for. but it's my name.
it's mine and someday when they call it across the cafeteria in eternity
everybody will look at me and think
God, it's her.
finally.

finally.


x


















August 30, 2018

let me



and then my spirit cried out

how can i ever love you 
if you won't let me?

but you looked at me with hooded eyes
grease stained on your cracked hands
and you shook your head.

i don't think you will.
i don't think you're supposed to.

and though it shattered me,
though i fell to the ground with golden, clipped wings burning
as though you'd shot me from the sky.
i reached out for your hand.

but i already do.
i already do.
it’s the only thing i know how to do.

you held my hand for a couple of weeks,
grease stained smile and dusty footprints on the wooden floor.

and then you let go.

x