taking in one breath too hard you fall forward, sputtering
embracing so thoroughly some cliché
a jest and trope so infinite as to be divine
breaking with every sweat an artifice built in cups of wine
and shaped by smoke held too long and pulled too deeply

in its breaking you catch yourself reflected and given time
enough to weigh and measure every organ
pressing filament and sinew as grave robbers might
intrepid and hushed in their exploration of the heart
seeking only to understand what they've come to betray

the same way every flake of gold spirals out from calamity
you feel certain that this terminating reflection has done nothing
but cease unbroken, welcoming good luck,
and that the autumn sun will eventually rise
on your grave unturned and a heart unbroken


Tied Down

Sometimes I get sentimental on the bike ride home. Passing underneath the dark boughs of the park makes me want to embrace their uncertainty and let my bike skip the pavement; topple me sideways and clumsy into the grass.

I imagine rubbing my face in it's cold sure palms, letting it poke between my eyelids or along my face; kissing my inner ear. I could just lay there a while and hope nobody found me, hope a snow plow could cover me, just for a while so it could be me and the tiny inexperienced fingers of the grass. All I ask is a season or two, until the frost thawed and poured from my caved chest like a tidal pool and the new flowers could spring up, coil and set me loose again.

Other times I find myself howling mad as I speed down towards the hill. Possessed I whisper to myself, "If not tonight, some other night to be certain." As though the speed or the flight sync the present me to the reflected me; the refracted me splayed up on some future wall where all the flowers have gone. I've always felt that some day I'd become quite insane, that eventually the bathwater would run two drops too low and consume me; tearing me from my body in a sucking gurgling whirlpool. "Keep fighting, but know that I'll win."

Is it truly so wicked to want to disappear, just for a while? To take a vacation from the self? On reflection it's not the uncertainty of twisted boughs I seek in those drunken maudlin minutes, but rather the certainty their shadows promise; their potential for oblivion. A sweet temporary rush of blood to and then away and a flash so hot and so bright that for seven seconds there'd be . However, wicked or not I'm still fighting-- or trying to fight and right now that seems a reasonable amount to do, just to hold the ebb high while when the moon's sliding lower. Hold the ebb high, just for a little while, if you can, I mean.


I Don't Get It

When trying to describe a scene I'm constantly losing the words for the simplest things; confusing crown molding for architectural trim, unsure whether a colander is a spoon or a strainer, mistaking auburn for red and red for blond. I've always assumed some large part of this to be the product of my upbringing. I honestly worry that I've been so privileged and spoiled that it never seemed pertinent for me to learn the names of things, their purpose or how they eventually fall into disrepair. My family were so doting that it was never really necessary for me to engage with life and learn the protocols for basic interaction with everyday objects.

My childhood left me unfamiliar with the way dust collects or how to handle a broom, the methods of replacing a screen in a window, what it meant to be on a lease, the sound of water boiling and how a french press is operated, how best to break an egg or steam vegetables, how to peel and chop garlic, and the other simple feats of maintenance that seem second nature to others. I find myself every day in situations that make me uncomfortable and confused that if articulated to my friends would instantly cause them to lose all respect for me as a human being.

My first time using a laundromat in the city I googled 'How to use a laundromat' five or six times, just to confirm for myself that I'd be physically prepared to wash my clothes when I got there.
I did not know how to make an omelet until the internet taught me how. I felt like an honest-to-god liar when I told my current employers I'd cleaned before in my day-to-day life.

I don't know what to tell you. This seemed like a compelling topic when I started it.


since last you asked

I learned
lights and city swell if you let them
look away long enough they'll bloom
and their buds flower
spewing cigarettes into the gutter
women under their arm laughing

ugly city flowers
sliding as close as they can to the sidewalk
wildflowers free in their cars
transplanted from some other sick city
with its own sick lights
in hibernation

look me in the eye and ask it again

don't worry, i'll tell you the truth this time
because poems don't come easy anymore
and for once i'm certain
this is not beauty.