like the backs of orcas,
like aqueducts bursting with blue living water to spill and to share
my fingers tremble, heartbeaten,
as I touch over and over the round swell
that stands out over my tendons
as the tone of a bell over trees
They tell you war is hell.
They tell you that all the devils are here on earth.
It’s not a coincidence.
When you spend long enough in hell,
one day you look in the mirror and wonder
when the horns stopped looking new.
Oh, my heart aches for the child you once were.
You should have lain on the grass, laughing—
should have eaten cinnamon bungs in the afternoon—
now you have everything a child could want
and you run off to die for one last taste of death.
She’s gone, and killing won’t bring her back.
Dying won’t bring her back.
Your heart takes chunks out of itself
as everyone you love disappears,
not as heroes, but victims.
Did you even have time to scream?
It used to be golden to keep one’s face
on a canvas fixed unblinking
long after the meat the bones the fatty organs
had rotted away
Now it is nearly impossible to do otherwise
We slather images of ourselves onto the very electrons
and identify humans not by humanity but by image
When did it become so important to know what a person looks like?
My cherished secret hope is to become one of those ghosts
those unquiet with blurred faces
who will never be known again
In an age of words and images to be nothing more than memory
and when nobody is left to remember
to be as dead as the billions before
I’ve long known that love based on need will only hurt. Worse, it rots like a gangrenous wound, poisoning the body till it reaches the figurative heart. This may be poetic interpretation but I know that it’s true— it hurts to be needed ’cause it’s a chain that any decent person won’t pull too hard. You’re confined like a dog to the yard and unable to distinguish your pain from the pain of needing you and fearing that someday you’ll rise, and turn your face toward the sunset with the dawn in your eyes.
I’ve seen too many cases of need, of greed that makes another person one’s own. I’ve been that person possessed and I’ve felt the unrest that made me test that chain. I’ve seen the crater it leaves when you scoop yourself out of another person to stand on your two feet again, and I’ve seen that when you stand to look down you watch your keeper cry in the dirt, who sees you as a haloed crown over a guillotine. Don’t cut me off, don’t sever the umbilical cord, anything but leave me with my own soul and the knowledge I’m not whole, I might never be whole.
Yes, it hurts, but turn your face to the sun and find someone who loves you as you. Not as a distant star but as a body, not half a binary system that will consume all the planets around you when it implodes like you know it will. Not needed, but wanted. Not vaunted, but known for the twisted hilarious sparking wildfire you are. If need is a cold dusty moon, let your longing be the stellar fire. Let your life be full of burning stars that altogether, not each individually, light it up blue as truth, as blindness, as a mercy kill.
Don’t let yourself be taken for granted, and held for granted for years and years. You don’t fear it yet, but you will. That hold is warmer by far than sitting lonely on a stoop, but don’t stoop to that once you know you’re drowning by owning. Use the song that lives inside you to tell them they’re wrong to hide you under layers and layers of frantic tissue paper love, thinking you won’t be able to sit up.
Sit up. Find your sun, and leave the deep lake where the water whispers, things will be better someday.
So close your eyes are mountain ranges
chains of radial radiant muscles so delicate.
I want to pull out your eyelashes
gather them carefully into a revolting heap
and burn them somewhere far away.
I tell you this as my skin begins to crawl.
You roll your eyes;
you do not understand. You are covered with your skin
I am covered with your skin.
I want to push my face into your hot neck but that too
is flaking slowly away, and it is held together by grease and sick warmth.
You’re meat I mutter,
not shuddering as I drag my chewed-up thumb cautiously over your jaw.
So are you you point out.
You smile and try to kiss me,
and I moan
in panic, disappointment, frustration.
I try to explain with a tongue like a swelling tumor:
You’re too good for meat. You’re not disgusting
but all of this is.
I pass my hand over all your body
with tremulous brittle-winged fingers.
You push into my touch (I hate it)
(thank you thankyou)
and murmur in a stream of warm breath:
I am my body I am
a complex system of fluids and electrics I
am not a brain alone but a biome.
You know that kind of talk gets me hot and bothered
—in a different way from before—
that’s why you do it. You want
to leave philosophy for a little while but I
I’m not exactly like that.
I inhabit my body uneasily, never sure
just what it is trying to communicate
or whether at any moment it will disintegrate into wet chunks.
That you are your body is one of the reasons I love you
even though it means I cannot separate what I love from what I hate.
Think of it as exposure therapy.
To inure yourself to me.
I hope I am never inured to you
I say fervently.
I marshal the forces of chemical insistence
and start looking for places to put my hands.
The stagnant chill of windowless grey room cannot
be favorably compared to the keen ice of night.
The while we sit the days grow stale and pass us by
and glutinous clouds drip down from a wet rotting sky.
We ask, what could I do, could I have ever done
to dodge away from their putrescent touch and fly?
We ask, is there a palace somewhere in the air
where one can drink the burnt-out stars from a dark pool
and gain what they have lost, know oneself not a fool?
The breathless claustrophobic room answers us there:
if we expect the bone-white angels to descend
and give prescience, burning blood, a new white sun,
we must acknowledge what pretense ’tis to pretend,
to say that this has never really been our end,
to tell ourselves that we are not afraid to drown.
Does burning blood coagulate, or does it run?
We wish for such an angel to come spiral down—
the while shed scintillating sun-soaked scraps of down—
to sweep across the dying grass upon the down—
and elevate us with an imaginary crown.
But when we dream this we may hear the angels cry,
discover they are naught but birds, fall down, and die.
There is a problem we have set ourselves, which goes:
how can we disprove the existence of white crows?
Although no-one has seen one we can never know
whether it has just flown too swiftly for the eye.
And so we dream of flying on an unseen wing
not knowing pestilence and wanting but to sing.
Alas, the crow’s voice isn’t commonly considered
as sweet as others of its kind—is it embittered?
Like a soft scrap of shadow, dark against the light;
although, like other birds, to those below it seems
untroubled as the turning clouds, or as in dreams,
the crow despite its wings is still held by the gale
that shields our Terra from the cold, dark, vasty night.
The crow despite its wings is always subject to
the laws of earth, the ache of burning muscles where
it lifted itself from the ground, escaped the pale
of festering malignant ignorance for air.
Its dark heart aches for such a high blistering blue.
At last we ask what we’ve been thinking all the while:
why our so-happy crow’s beak was not made to smile.
A Binary Rhyme
A speck of dust in H-less night
On black satin flecked with light
See by clouding unimpaired
Watch electrons jump downstairs
Tiny bitwise speck of know
Add to others, watch it grow
Find the whole of whole within
Electron fjord inside a pin
Fugue in Silence
the blinking eye makes a quiet, moist clicking
noise is nonintuitive and unexpected
when you sit each day all day in a soft numbing humming
stultifyingly and warmly arrhythmic, atmospheric
if only in the sense that it replaces air
or would you rather inhale arpeggios that throw themselves into the walls
draw into your lungs an étudinous glutiny of chords
of your ears in being told to breathe
how much of a chord will diffuse through the skin
muffled cacophony created by the vibrational harmonics of each dying cell
like ripples smashing at high speed into circles and circles of themselves
in silence, over and over
repeating distorting until it runs back over itself
fugue in silence