I have tried to pick my way along the stony crags
on the shores of the human condition,
stumbling and unsteady, on feet twisted and broken.
I am no better, no more enlightened.
I have wept tears of iron, of salt, of blood
into the upturned hands of my absent God.
I love everyone
and no one loves me.
Another man lies next to me.
His quiet breath escapes from parted lips
set in a rugged, flushed face.
He is not you, or him,
or even himself, really.
He is an ideal.
A perfect portrait of my freedom,
a muted still life of my solitude.
He tells me he loves me in a voice that cracks
from whiskey and cigarettes.
Every reason he gives is valid.
He tumbles and strikes all the right chords on his way down.
When the tears fall, they are not fresh;
no, they have been saved for a lifetime.
And when my pulse slows along with time,
seconds ticking by like hours,
it is your gentle heart that lives in my chest.
I may not know you,
but no one knows me.
And all the men that claim to love me are fools.
I wish to live the rest of my days
pretending to be someone you could love,
but that would be a lie.
I am not worth loving.
Not in the typical sense.
Not just yet.
I am constantly moving.
Not because I appreciate motion, no –
rather because I am frightened of
the stillness that settles into my bones,
and the shadows that live underneath my skin
when I stop long enough to look.
The pattering of west coast rain against the roof
sings a Morse code song that only my heart understands.
The comfortable silence,
the damp breeze that rustles my hair through the window;
the sheets that cover the parts of me that
I bare only to you.
I twist inside of them, turning, reaching out
so that my fingers may grasp any part of you.
Instead they close upon wisps of smoke,
fragrant and thin, disappearing into the humidity.
I had hoped they would find the roughness of your skin,
the softness of your hair:
But it is only in my dreams that you come to me–
Hushed voices slip through our fingers,
slide across the sheets,
slink to the bottom of the ocean;
the first splash of warm rain on your upturned face.
the steady rhythm of droplets,
deep red, opaque against your milky flesh.
I created the storms that live inside of you,
and when I lay my hand against your neck
in the quiet hours of the night,
I feel the way they move through your veins.
the flatness of the clouds that loom
outside of my third story window
make the horizon a grey sheet of stationary,
on which the condensation from
the dirty outer screen is projected;
telling a better story in
the organic curves of its’ lines and rivulets
than I ever could on a page.
restless legs bunch up a collection
of blankets around me,
smothering the sluggish heartbeats that
slide through my chest like
maggots through something rotten
I am the grotesquely bruised fruit
sitting in the bowl on your empty
soft, sick-smelling flesh
languishing in the sweltering heat
under the violence of your
touch. squeezing precious,
from my splitting skin –
Sometimes she seemed like a woman without skin. She felt everything so intensely, had so little capacity to filter out pain that everyday events often seemed unbearable to her. Paradoxically it is also that skinlessness which makes a poet. One must have the gift of language, of course, but even a great gift is useless without the other curse: the eyes that see so sharply they often want to close. Her eyes were astoundingly blue and astoundingly sharp. Nothing escaped her. She saw everything, and since most of what there is to see in the world is painful, she often lived in pain.