A Man I Never Knew, Never Knew A Man

His gentle soaks into my fearful and crushes chaos

His thoughtful sneaks up on my distraction and our minds’ align to obliterate a dreaded cold fate

Kindness seeps from his skin

Our happiness improvises lines from nighttime sighs where I’m his sweetheart and he’s my man.

His hands are a house and his breath is a car

His grip on my hip
Is a quiet Sunday street, empty sidewalk baking in the sun
I’m not scared
Of being here with him
Those old fears were crushing
Love ushered away on another summer day, blue and red lights flashing
But today is new
The heat settles in and swallows my scarred
My evil ugly worried tail
And I feel human

This budding, emerging man beside me
Pushes up through the concrete
Hungry for water and light
I sit down now and
Nurturing pours from my fingertips

I want to knead any hard parts with my knuckles until his skin turns pink
And we sigh together
Softened again.

My Heart Is A Mosaic

Aside

You focus on picking up the pieces of your life
Pasting them on a blank canvas
Colorful collage of self and solitude
You sing a story with snapshots that can only be found in travel magazines and books left at bus stops
You deliberately slice each page in two
Take the half you need and leave the rest
Piece after piece, surgery after surgery
You’re crafting a world by tearing apart what once was whole
You took my right arm
My knee
My nipple
But I still have a heart
And I never told you this secret
I never let you know my heart is a mosaic
Made from the rubble of a million glass houses
Formed by the sun playing on the lake in late August
Hold it up to the light and you’ll see something new each day
Its beauty is best viewed dancing under a canopy of trees beside a fire
A few hours before dawn
Hair filled with smoke, body pumping life
And it’s true
This glass ball can break too
It’s been smashed apart like yours
But the pieces are continuously, meticulously glued back together
I take what is already broken and rebuild
No cutting
No blank canvas
Just a collection of tiny parts that pressed together transform
Into a billion brilliant moments traipsing across the water.

When Day Broke Us

Day broke
And death
Streamed through a wooden window frame
Shadows danced on the brittle wall
And I saw you for the first time
Delicate hair on end, lit up
Red eyes hopeless, wild
Veins shouting from the corners of your nostrils
Heart on the floor
Love rose up in my throat and poured
Into the sink
Yellow stains hung around the edge of the sturdy vanity
That held up rotting walls and a sagging ceiling 
Imperfect walnut sanded smooth by hands
Now forever folded and cold.
 
From that day forward
The light never wavered
It was there in the morning
As each dark night clung to us, vying for our minds
It broke in, smashed its fist through the fragile pane
To illuminate my pale cheeks
Dead eyes
Your tired mouth
Our despair.

It shined on our cold fate
Not to warm
But to illuminate the hell before us.
 

Kablam, I Love You

Her heart suddenly exploded today
Sitting upright in a hard black office chair while
Updating spreadsheets
Numbers ricocheted off spongy grey matter
Enter and delete
Data
Motion, quash, errata

But at once a dripping noise burrowed into her brain
D-d-drip-sssplash
Blue splattered across a grey landscape
D-d-drip-sssplash
Red burst on the scene
Breaths came in short, pained pulls
Primary visual instinctual reactions
Colorful coronary dysfunction
Love
Anger
Sssplash
Longing
Despair
Sssplat
Her heart burst
Kablam

Reality is more than numbers
More than grey matter and black chairs and spreadsheets
Seal it off seal it off seal it
Keep it dry
Try all you want and one day
Riding the bus or tying your shoes
There will be a splat
And with that
Your heart with explode and you’ll know, but won’t live to tell.

The L Train Blues

The train gave her déjà vu that night,
flashbacks rumbling over tracks.

Men had pulled into her station,
loud screams of metal brakes grinding against metal
aching to slow down
while bracing to take off.

The sway of the train rocked her to sleep as she dreamed of their faces.

All of them gone now down that same, black tunnel.

Cold Air Companion

The cold air is his companion now
Brightly–colored leaves kiss his neck
The sharp scent of dying matter
Hugs him close at night
And he sighs in its embrace.

I ricochet down sunny sidewalks.

Mothers and children and mothers and children
Off to run errands or clean the house
Smiles that shatter my calm
With rebellious joy.

He closes his eyes and soaks in the warmth.

I do the same
Imagining him here as I cross the street.

Missing is the wrong word, we struggle to define this
This ache, this happy, throbbing wound
This hope
Without which
We would dry up and float away.

33

Relearning Thought/Being

I asked you how to live
w/ the shadow of death
cast over a heart
massive as a mountain
morning on the fairy tale
west coast
but you’ve never been there,
or even dreamed of it.

Do you swallow death like a pill each morning with breakfast?

Does it sit next to you on the train and nod off, bumping your shoulder with its head, reminding you it’s still by your side, even here?

Does it call, panicked, in tears at night devoid of hope or even reason?

Do you try to love it away?

Or fall to the ground consumed with

[fear for the living]

[pale ghost, terrified to look back at what once was, the sharp glass shards of abandonment ground into bare feet]

How to bring a ghost to life

love can’t

it has no mouth
or hands
it can’t reveal you as one of the living as you stare into the mirror, filled with anger.

It only sits in my heart and
spills from my lips
and it is
and it heals me
and I am one, small part
of this whole.

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It’s summer: I’m sentimental and sleepy

There once lived a natural sentiment
confined to a one-room loft
in the city
in a heart
longing to
break free from its container
hoping it would one day
materialize as
hand clasped in hand
soft breath on bare back as hair tumbles down
and two souls
rise
then
fall
as one

please dear shed the fear that confines
that lonely sentiment
to a dark one room loft
in the city
in the summer
with just one window
as it stares out at the garden
yearning to lie in the grass beneath the sun waiting for a brief cool wave of air
to free it
so rare
the heat is heavy
but a breeze will at once break the stillness and brush its hand across your cheek.