A Squeak in the Din

June 28, 2014

Humidity settles us down into the languid Texas summer

heavy, purposeful,

with the nauseating intoxication of introversion.

(I’m saving my breath.

For what?)

A hyponatremic fatigue oozes through the map of our flooded vasculature-

catching in its sludge the mediocre day-dreams of the future

(that’s it, kid?),

the pathetic souvenirs from a past on a pedestal:

a dizzy ballerina snowglobe, cigarette cellophane and otterpop wrappers, more than one chipped shoulder.

The edges of our wounded identities are macerating

while we bury potato chip petals underneath the bald oak

in that field where jumbo sunflowers bow their prophetic heads at midnight.

Freezer Beans

October 11, 2013

We are losing our song

with a slow, unconscious grinding of tired teeth,

a deliberate sanding down of the tree from whose roots we were born

(among whose roots we met again after years of stammering sleep).

In this life, we made mansions of shoeboxes,

left giggling toeprints on the ivory walls behind the screen door.

We stamped dreamcatchers inside our eyelids and fell asleep in a cloud of azure whispers.

Then came the years crawling backwards towards winter:

the age of agonizing apathy,

ripping rain from pores

and prints from fingertips.

Being naked never bothered me,

but undressing broke my heart.

June 1, 2013

Fehmi swears it’s good luck to swallow spiders in your sleep.

His ex-wife once made a tree house out of fallen eyelashes

adhering them-end to tiny, nomadic end-

with the sap of summer strolls through the sleepy Florida swamps,

trading her haggard, fleshy limbs of veins made violent through vulnerability

for the stoic scratch of beetles and bark.

As Fehmi’s scleras ossified at the dining room table,

she flung trains of sleep into the air, plummeting backwards into herself

(She didn’t care to live, but knew she wouldn’t die).  

Wrapped securely inside an impossible, humming geometry, she tried to remember the taste of sunflowers-behind-ears love,

driving-just-to-be-alone love,

of naked-in-the-backyard, grasshoppers-between-toes love!

As she traded her blood for the moon’s,

Fehmi collapsed into a desperate silence

like the hollow hills of western Pennsylvania.

The night settles heavily into the empty kitchen-

its scent collecting around dull plastic bags of hardened brown sugar,

seeping into the rusting spout of your kettle aching on the back burner,

collecting dust with the dried pepper’s from last year’s vacation

above the parched stainless steel.

You sleep under flannel comforters in the thick summer air

as if old black and white portraits were questions

and curious ancestors only myths.

The trees bleed answers into our dreams

and build liars out of our waking beliefs.

Then, as the linoleum nocturne ceases,

our bare-footed truths collapse into the silent hilltops of western Pennsylvania,

where we painstakingly unlearn the grass-stained language of our childhood.

Pigtails and Pearls

March 21, 2013

It aches like a sleeping sneeze

how far from you my dreams have led me.

A dull itch in my sinuses in the 3am humidity, your ghost,

he’s given up on me.

 

No longer waking me from the nightmares we shared-

a marriage more innocent than braided pigtails and pearls,

a dissolution more helpless than a favorite shirt left behind.

 

I now sigh through my progress,

drinking and driving through chutes of impossible desert blooms

away from the way of away from,

where grays look like browns and those browns look like tired flowers

who used to pour purple into our incandescent past.

 

Every hair that has grown on every tired body crying

in every downtown bathroom just to have the right to bleed into the air

asks me why I’ve forgotten to give back to the world

at least a portion of what I have taken from it,

asks me why I haven’t inquired into your mother’s health

(I know she gets allergic in the drowsy April air).

 

And all I can say is my eyes hurt

and my lungs are too tired.

My scarf is too tight

and my shoes, dear,

have always been loose and untied.

January 8, 2013

 

IMG_6186

I can only remember your green wool scarf

as I tiptoe past the state hospital cemetery

in the 4 am December darkness.

The lot is mostly empty-

10 tortured tombstones at most.

What are they all waiting for anyways?

What happened to the rest?

 

That green wool scarf

frozen to your fearless red face on the hill behind the haunted church.

It smelled like cigarette ash and marshmallows.

I still bleed hot cocoa and whiskey when it snows where you fall asleep each night

3,000 miles ago.

 

3,000 miles ago, where goddammit we loved each other!

And the creek only froze one day that year in late January,

rapids briefly paralyzed, relieved for their frigid moment’s rest.

That was the same day Walter died

and you blew your nose into that green wool scarf for centuries

until we both woke up beside him,

tangled in a web of scratchy moss and muted emerald,

thawed and drifting inside the swollen carcass of the earth.

October 22, 2012

Good morning, love. 

I’ve been awaiting your arrival since the corners of my eyelids became a test-run for the clumsy universe much earlier this morning.  

Let’s call in sick today and steal the rain from those earthworms in the driveway. 

Do you imagine that mailboxes weep in languid yearning for the summer?

Do you think that they prefer the taste of ink to the freedom of the dirt?

Do you remember that tire swing from my dreams-

collecting the secrets of the clouds into rusty puddles?

I’m not sure you could love me in the November snow.

The Benevolent Assassins

September 22, 2012

She cautiously stalks the lonely stars in her dreams, 

begging the impulsive gods to shake them loose

like teeth 

from the somber sky.

She will laugh as they drop into her hands, 

storing them in the slippers of her great-grandmother until the prophesied day arrives for her to use them as ammunition.

Waiting patiently,

they rejoice in the far corner of her closet, 

shining with gratitude and anxious puppy-love.

Every Tuesday, she prays to her ancestors with a fierce hope in her veins.

They sing regret into her mid-life quotidien from Icelandic farms and dusty alleyways of Sicily.

One day, as an old woman, she will tip-toe through the desert of inevitability 

and await the child she is soon to be.

Not the child she once was

(with its splintered toenails and rusty swing sets),

but the child she has ached through her life becoming

(with its floating pillow cases and gin-drenched confessionals).

When that day arrives on the tails of her captured stars:

she will undress with silent poise,

place her great-grandmother’s slippers on her wrinkled feet, and-

with the last blink of her translucent eyelids-

she will bleed with the joyful fury of finally knowing what it is to be alive.

 

Ecce Homo

September 1, 2012

On this last day of August, I make a humble vow:

To devote my life attempting to give back some of the beauty I’ve taken from this world.

RIP Donnie

August 15, 2012

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