December 11, 2013 at 10:42pm
I have this considerable tugging that tells me you spend your nights imagining how the contractors who built your house managed to scrape on the rugged ceiling plaster and
I’ve never written such syrupy content before so I’d like you to tuck my brain into the crease of your arm and hustle it down yard lines until we reach what I’m looking for
which is either a crowd’s applause for holding it together for so long or
the opportunity to finally go home.
I spend more minutes calculating methods of how I’ll force myself out of bed in the morning rather than reasonably passing out before two am
which says more about my life than I think I’d like it to.
I’d like to sit in a cabin in grey, maine with boys
I’d pretended to know better
in the middle of the woods with dried leaves and murky lake water that would drive me just far enough to the taste of stagnancy but not far enough to allow myself to decay.
I think it’s defined as being a
witness with distance
which I have such fervency for.
I like to pretend we’ve known each other for exactly two decades
the first dedicated to my spending every waking moment waiting to witness the final rise and fall of your chest before you fall asleep
and the second to every baited breath I’ve held before you wake up.
on quiet days I listen to the rawest version of roslyn
and I can feel the vibration of every strum dance from my right atrium to my left ventricle and back
until I feel most settled,
when every hovering word you’ve said finally drifts down to warm my core.
the day has yet to return when I truly feel as though I’m plummeting to earth,
though I expect it’s arrival soon,
and I expect to remember what the taste of sudden gravity feels like.
my entire existence is similar to that of a child clutching a sparkler in july
from a measured distance the fission of light and sound is mesmerizing against a backdrop of darkness
yet each release of pressurized energy and heat finds the most sensitive valley of skin and burns it.
I only now know what it feels like to have buoyancy in the current
and instead of searching frantically for a ridge to grab ahold of
I have your hand.
December 1, 2013 at 12:56am
I only want to know what happened
to the nights spent curled up
on the unforgiving leather of a cold couch
or the whispering chill of the draft that
snuck its way through the crack in the window sill.
it refused to shut.
it’s all too familiar
the mornings came quietly but I awoke to them without protest because I knew
regardless of what was done prior to that moment
you couldn’t fill glass jars with the air that passed between our teeth
and expect to see anything.
my chest cavity was shattered long before
we tried to paste the pieces back together but
your hands kept cramping and I ended up hauling most of the work.
I convinced myself I was okay with that.
these days it stands as a pathetic display of what it used to be.
sometimes I still can’t listen to that song I played for you on that summer day when you grimaced
but reasoned it to be the soundtrack of the four months we spent in confusion.
I kept as quiet as a bull in church
or is it called a china shop?
regardless it’s that place that everyone goes to awe at the pretty trinkets,
buying into the notion that whatever’s presented to them is essential to possess as they go home and, god forbid, display it somewhere, before they step back and think
what the hell am I supposed to do with this.
which, I suppose,
could pertain to either one.
I don’t think you possess anything except a lust for martyrdom
I think you’d be just as pleased to be paraded around town
nailed to your own cruciate post and while the lost boys hide your face in their wallets and glove boxes of cars;
I’d only want you to know of my shelf filled with empty glass jars.
November 30, 2013 at 8:01pm
we are idly sitting in our grandmother’s house
domed in a flurry of hanging school pictures and posed sibling portraits from
1971 rusting with age, cringing as we see our own toothless bashful smiles
glaring in the mix.
prior to this moment we quietly listened through the yellowing
walls to the murmur of our mothers’ voices
debating on whether or not to purchase a gift this year
for the young girl that occasionally accompanies their brother
and is referred to as his daughter.
we understand the concept of blood relation and know
that in this case one isn’t present,
so in our fondness of incivility
we’ll refuse to recognize her and her pill-popping birth mother as family.
but solely because we refuse to acknowledge him, as well.
the immortal remark every holiday season is that if we each had a dime
for every birthday he’d missed,
we could have chipped in for rehab when he needed it.
you make a comment about christopher.
at the mere register of the name alone,
I struggle to recount the details of his face.
all I can remember is a flash of orange hair at the 90th birthday party
for our great-grandmother,
who has now lived for one century.
I ask about school, typical discussion point to segway into other surface topics.
you shake your head.
"I’ll finish out my two years and transfer to another state school. I’m thinking UNH."
you’re thinking new hampshire because she’s thinking new hampshire
and I can’t help but see that as a fatal mistake.
you sat forward with your hands clasped together and stared so intensely at the ground below your knees
and I knew immediately what would follow out of your mouth.
"I’ve been to two funerals in the past six weeks."
I don’t answer.
"I’ve watched two people with their eyes closed voluntarily be lowered into the ground."
I open my mouth.
"Voluntarily?" I spit.
I sit back in disgust.
"You’re telling me Paul didn’t consciously make that choice that night?"
I won’t answer because you’re not supposed to mention their names after the fact.
Instead I’ll be thinking of the classes you dropped out of
and the way your brother gets beat up in school and
our southern uncle who cheated on the aunt we never liked
and do we still call her our aunt? what about our cousins and
how she’s getting married and the whole family will be in attendance
and you’ll smoke a joint in the hotel bathroom before
we leave and offer some to me and
I’ll refuse because I’m stronger than you right
and the world will keep spinning and we’ll keep putting
bodies underground and married lips will always stray
and because the young girl’s having flashbacks we need to take down
all the pictures of christopher and if I had the decency and
the disrespect I would show up to every home I’m unwelcome
in and instead of crying about hypocrisy and bitterness and how
sometimes I see the earth as a revolving black ball of soot solely
because of its inhabitants I would ask
what’s for dessert.
November 27, 2013 at 12:48pm
everywhere I go
there is an overhead plane
towing an aerial banner that reads
“it was not enough”
I just want boys to give me their sweaters so i can smell like them and they can freeze and die in the harsh, unforgiving winter and I can emerge in the spring victorious
I want the scars on my back to be one of picasso’s lopsided portraits that not a single person can decipher
I want to not feel the temptation of the thread as I lace up my shoes in the morning to thrust myself into another lung-collapsing sprint and
my friends wonder why I don’t smoke.
I only notice I’m holding your hand too tight when your shattered knuckles puncture through.
every night at ten o’clock when I’m frozen and wide-eyed in stiff sheets she
melts under the molten in a claw foot tub the tendrils of her hair curling against the
humid scrutiny just at the curve of her temples and bites her lip
until it’s bloodstained and lovely
to maintain color in her face.
seems a little brash but
I’m selfish enough to sap everything out of you that makes life rush through my body and slice open every crease in my palms trying to piece together the glass cavity you’ve drilled in my chest,
and even as the puddle of everything I’ve never said and the pool of everything I’ve never felt drains out of me and onto the floor between us
I’ll make sure we float.
October 25, 2013 at 10:43pm
hey, uh, god, it’s me again.
allow me to now turn it back to you
and express my deepest concerns
regarding your whereabouts.
you see ‘cause tonight you seem particularly elusive
(and if you were to ask anyone with a similar switchblade cutting through their aorta I’m sure they’d agree)
and twenty five years ago
you were still nowhere to be found.
there’s something overrated about divine intervention
(my uncle calls it a sack of horse shit and I’m sure he’s repeating that over and over in his head as he sits in his quiet house in his ragged armchair straining his ears to hear the murmuring reminder of each of his boys’ vitality trying not to feel what he felt twenty five years ago)
it doesn’t exist.
did you decide this twenty eight years ago to the day?
even after you let his imagination fray
conjuring the possibilities of just how smoldering the hood of the car must have felt,
the rising hiss of the smoke and
the structure wrapping into a pretzel around the base of a tree
with his father still inside.
how quiet it must have been in the cab.
how do you justify that to the midday worker on the 5pm commute back home?
finally clearing the damn traffic light and beating the black volvo that’s been cruising seven miles under
glancing at the radio clock to check
if dinner had started without him.
you must have a fetish for the sound of popping glass
just as the black volvo swerves to the right and he makes impact
with a grey malibu and the driver’s lead foot
blowing through the red light at 63 miles and
seeing double but hearing the
responding officer cough out
“influence. under the influence”
and before he could check the time out of force of habit
he’d killed a man.
what compels you, god, to rip the soul out of someone who’s yet to breathe three decades?
what compelled him to get behind the wheel and close his eyes
just like his father did.
lowell at 3am is a quiet town
and it’s even quieter anywhere else.
we will bury him with his father.
every fall they will return to brush disintegrated leaves off his name and plant something that can bloom in the rain in the springtime while
shudders into her winter jacket and silently counts the number of her committed sins
that would ever make you assert
that she deserved such a fate.
it took you twenty five years to repeat your chosen history
and the night had never felt colder.
October 12, 2013 at 7:12pm
you have to realize that one day
as you’re punching away at the keyboard in the office you said you’d never be in
or as the slick burn of something a little stronger than what you would have had at breakfast chases down the bile rising from your overall disgust
you will receive a phone call.
and on the other line you will process words that, until that moment,
you’d never had the capacity to form yourself.
and you will have lost someone
and you will never see them again.
maybe school won’t be the right choice for you
and just another decision you make for someone else
who won’t even notice.
funny how that tends to happen.
your stomach will be swollen with the words you choke back and
dad will continue to tell you that the reason why you’re so fucked up is because god is missing in your life
when he’s done all
but pissed on the cross itself.
you will continue to be in search of a method of releasing every emotion that is coiled rigorously beneath the surface
rather than shattering silverware at the kitchen table and seeing
how many fucks you can throw out
before your grandmother visibly cringes at the sight of you.
you have nothing to be ashamed of (yet)
you have everything to be afraid of (now)
September 17, 2013 at 7:57pm
"get out the manual for me next time
so I can understand how to talk to you”
I need space like the earth needs distance from the sun or
else it’ll combust into flame and
melt like an ice cream cone in july
or rather like my neck when
you’ve been staring too long.
“did you check the mail”
“she was talking to you, hon”
“I asked if you checked the mail”
for twenty six years she has always remembered to lock the back door
place the fork on the left setting
keep the water anything but room temp
and check the mail.
"you need to let her be
we’ve been conversing this entire time and
you’ve yet to make an effort”
mitigate her like you would a wild horse
sudden movements could spook her into retreat for the next several days
so better to not move at all
for twenty six years he’d hoped for a christopher or a dominic or a luca
only to serve himself slivers of tension in the evening
ask about the mail.