His face is sandpaper, his hands a safe-house. he passes by and I fight the urge to put pen to paper then and there. Even if I did, his face shifts this way or the other, avoiding me, my gaze, unable to be captured by something so worldly as a ballpoint. He is a poem, his hands the second stanza- not the kind you’d hold so much as the kind you want on your shoulder, holding you back from harm and pushing you toward opportunity. He is a poem.
Another day passes outside the window of a plane
I cross dusk with 170 strangers who hold each other’s hands or thighs when the clouds quiver.
And I can’t stop thinking about your fingers running through my hair
or the way your eyes knocked into me that July.
You made me feel like feeling itself was cracking from my chest
and hurtling across the universe,
becoming every iron, nitrogen, oxygen, n’ sulfur soul that lost the sunset to the sunrise
in thoughts of “I want you”
Because your lips burn cosmic explosions into my skin:
a creation story.
Now, heads drape over the mountains
like the twinkle lights you hung out on the patio for Christmas–
You tried to play Claire de Lune on your harmonica
and remember that you loved me.
But you left 8 months later
on a Tuesday.
The pool lights stained your words teal
and smeared my eyeliner into a glimmering sort of heavy.
You said “late summer’s nostalgic,”
noticed the fireflies had all gone,
and I could hear crickets whimper to the sun,
And I never wanted another falling moon or set of sandpaper hands to hang onto.
You said I felt frail
like a dandelion you were keeping
from the wind.
And then you just let go.
That night, I woke up laughing,
as 1,000 tiny suns sprouted from my lips,
already dreaming of drifting.
Crossing through purple skies
like telephone wires
rushing to the seaside.
Paris stole my lipstick.
smeared it across cheeks
and hostel sheets and wine glasses, Merlot,
turned my teeth violet and my heart
a violent sort
of love you,
maddened by the beauty of it all.
Like I could chase train tracks
into the self I wanted
into Budapest, or Berlin.
A decrepit sort of art,
like you could tear
my heart into dusty fallen parts
and I’d just become more,
and faces and feet would flood through me, paint
bucket lists on my thighs and think of freedom.
I was never meant to be kept from the wind.
She didn’t move mountains–
Over and over again I gasped.
Maybe he was in my lungs
And that’s why I had such a hard time breathing,
But he wasn’t there-
I know because I’ve always had bad lungs.
Perhaps that’s the reason I haven’t caught him,
My lungs gave out
When he took his leave.
Which I’m okay with-
You can’t run very far without a spine.
With angles jagged, bits of ceramic protrusionsstarkly contrasting with the linoleum floor,
its remnants scattered confusedly about,
mingled with shards of shining glass
that reflect the sunlight as it glares
down, its golden force enough
to unsettle an immovable
object, for isn’t the sun
an irresistible force?
Having settled on
for years on end,
housing the flowers
that had woefully keeled
due to the harsh sun that refused
to reduce the passion with which it burned,
due to the sorry paucity of sustenance, of respite
from stifling days whose ardor never cooled, due to an
unfathomable weakness that had never existed before, did
the flowers drop from the pride of an incomparable beauty, to
the misery of loneliness, whose only comfort was the lone ceramic
vase whose cracks widened with each elapsing hour, courtesy of the
overwhelming heat, whose ardor never deigned to cool, whose rays
forced grace to stoop to inelegance, which compelled the formerly
vibrant stalks to yellow and crumble, also obliging the once purple
petals to wither, to droop sadly to the side, upsetting the precious,
the delicate balance of the plants, letting the vase tip one day,
precariously, to the right, sending it hurtling, streaking to the
linoleum floor, ending in a deafening shatter of ceramic
against the unyielding, beige flooring, then creating
absolute chaos from tranquility, unsightliness
from past beauty, violent pink fragments
from a united piece of ceramic craft,
whose denizens lay dispersed
amid the wreck of skill,
which was provoked
by the glowing sun
it was my second favorite skyentirely blue
sporadically placed clouds
I wanted to whisper into his soft ears
they painted the sky for you today
it’s funny how such a beautiful sky
could be a day when a goodbye is said
a permanent goodbye
when something leaves
that you know is never coming back
if there is some afterlife
or a heaven
I know that he’s there
he’s running faster than he ever did
I saw him running just yesterday
before the little spots of cancer
became not so little
I like to think that he fought until the end
that he put on a smile
despite everything going on in his head
but in the end he won
the woman in the white coat
let him go
she freed him
and now he is running
through the sky
I can see him through the clouds
that I once imagined
but now holds my best friend
the closest thing I ever had
to a little brother
so thanks for the last 11 years
of chasing each other through the sprinklers
while you tried not to get wet
for sneaking you bacon treats
and our walks through the neighborhood
I hope you never forget
all of the secrets I told you
the times when I sat with you
even when I said nothing at all
I’ll never forget you
and when I think I might
all I have to do
is look up at the sky
When the cold slips in,
I can feel my heart start ticking,
like a time bomb waiting to fracture.
And I wish the sound didn’t hurt you,
but by the looks of things, it already has.
And I wish my soul would scald a dove’s wing
because I am more empty than pure;
more fed up with forevermore.
Yet sleep is somehow comforting.
I revel in its sores
—still bruising, since yesterday’s summer.