Tag Archives: thoughts

// feed the beast //

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Poetry is not dead but it’s not leather candy bodices laced with perfume either. This is what seems to be so hard for regular people to understand. That if left to our own devices, we crave the things we seek to destroy.

The way your fingers pressure the small of my back is the frothing of words I cannot find. Somewhere in the soft haze between sleeping and wake, I confuse the hum of your body in the dark with your desire to fill me, and we become a puzzle I can’t make fit. It’s the cruelest kind of poetry, the kind you mouth the words to in daydreams as you watch your own reflection splitting across train car windows but cannot force into existence.

Slow motion tears peel down your face, a fist comes through the bulletproof glass of my breaking heart.

Is it still poetry if I spell it out with paper straws in a language you didn’t study close enough? How can I help it. When love is the last word on the walls of a house that’s crumbling it sounds like renovation but out in the world no one seems to agree what it means. I’m only satisfied when the rain moves in and I wish you didn’t have to understand that when I tell my story I’m trying to give myself to you and spare you the weight of me at the same time.

The temptation is the trap; new lovers naked at the tip of a thousand knives.

You seduce strangers without losing sleep and still walk me home, chain-smoking cigarettes, talking about the way you used to make love to other women you thought would have been more tender at it. The ones you see in me when I curl up and threaten to leave. No one wants to believe that part of staying on the upswing of this pendulum life is to fall for the way it knocks the wind out of you when it slams you down. I avoid the fire the same way I walk into it, by shutting my eyelids over my feet. In the wake of the words I am the casual turning of corners, trust is a maze kept secret from me.

Words are to anguish as they are to ecstasy, a race without legs toward a freedom you’re never quite sure if you deserve. We are lions caught in butterfly nets, admiring our paws, licking our bloodstained teeth. All we want is to get close enough to abandon ourselves, to give everything away so we don’t have to eat what we’re worth.

I hand you my skin and ask with my bones if it is love. You hold tight, tell me it is warm whiskey charm, and don’t answer the rest.

In the vacancy of night, the moon washes over me a pale blue angelic light and I remember the way your beautiful jaw fits in my hands, the way the motionless bending flowers on the bookshelf mean someone’s in love in a vase, alone. When the soft creep of morning comes I’ll spend it sunk low in the hot soak of a pink salt bath, trying to be too many things. Cold cream: every face I try on feels closer to who I think I’m supposed to be, so I wear all of them at once.

No wonder it’s so hard to read me.

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// come away with me //

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I don’t need to touch you, flesh and bone too often hide the voice I would die for if you would just speak. The world is a crumbling crystal mountain range falling into midnight, the sharp plunge of a deep-sea grave, but the life we scream for at birth is infinite. There will be cold footsteps under the glow of a harvest moon, glimpses of freedom in a purple dawn, wrought iron staircases into heavy clouds as they weep, raspberry lipstick mouths and the way you prick hot wax on the beg of my pale skin.

We are the strange and magical ones who sense the coming storms by the taste of static wind on our tongues. I am alone as you turn to leave, they have told you that the only way to see me is to close your eyes. I want to reach through you to the other side, take my ribs and spread you wider than planets that orbit the sky until you become thin as the healing breath on the lonely limbs of those neglected, a shelter for the abandoned, a hand written letter inside glass bottles that contain clippings of the salt of the ocean.

All you ever asked for was a taste but I know you seek the flood, for every word you catch in your palms as it drips from the silken lips of my aching desire becomes your blood. There is no other way. This is the love of the beating hearts of every creature who ever walked the earth, man, woman, child, beast, criminal, angel, thief, opening you like a gaping cavern hollow enough to receive. Tell me how to build a room grand enough. I need not keep you, lover, to call you mine, nor hold you to sweep your amber beauty across my alien evening mind. This is a love that has outrun time.

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// the trouble with heaven //

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I’m too much of a dreamer, so the story goes, but the truth is that what they call reality often turns my stomach in ways that are hard to describe. People want straight lines and I want the way pink stained glass bends images into cigarette smoke curling foreign tongues down your throat. As everyone else joins hands and I fall farther and farther away from the circle, I tuck myself inside a faith in the broken shards, the holes in the floors, all the crooked sides of my comical cosmic existence, and attempt to pour forth a drench of words that flood the earth until we all worship at the single altar of mad love instead of sadistic runaway greed.

What is the harm? What is this fear no one can seem to define, yet lives within all of us roaming freely, assembling crucifixions like clues on a board game. Is it blindness or hope that gathers us together, vulgarizes us, vilifies us, heals us, gently carries us toward a distant red sun that delivers us to the promised land of how brief we are, how inconvenient, how troubled, how beautiful.

Will they release or neglect me, these graphic phantom fantasies I press my head against in the quiet of night? Perhaps too many times already, the vacant songs of the things I’ve loved and lost could have remained my veins, my daily ritual black, but somehow I’m the dream coming true in spite of itself. Magic is a fragile flower welcoming the sweet assault of the rain. My obedience arouses you, something in your disarming movement touches me with invisible hands, holds my fickle attention. I want only for you to descend with me and escape, love is the danger of infinite folds, a sapphire ribbon of milk skin; resurrection is your hunger for my sacrificial bones.

Bodies on the pavement, serpents in the sky, and I am undone by the slightest trigger in your eyes. Grace is stillness swallowing hurricanes as an exotic universe creates and destroys itself just to please you. Your teeth against my pulsing wrist startles a flock tiny ancient birds: thin flutters thrusting violent wings in my chest, a dead world ecstatically disturbed. Your mouth on my breast is baptism, the way you collect me breaks us down by fire, fingertips for flames, the gravity between us absorbs the cries of a helpless world, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Sometimes, angel, pain is freedom and the prophets reach for heaven in reverse.

You tip my chin up to the sky, bend me just too far before letting go, I am aware my limits are merely physical. A matchstick glides backwards across the splintered catches in my mind. And as the clouds eclipse the windowless room we inhabit underground, deep beneath the time the gods play roulette with and wider than the desperate gaps between our staggered breathing, our union may be distorted but it is certain. Let the hoards of humanity speak, lifetimes of faces become one face and I’ve lost my lust for listening.

Lovers on the edge have the unfortunate habit of spilling dark secrets when their backs are naked against the wall, but I hold on to mine: silence is my only vision, a castle built upon the rugged journey of your voice as it calls me home, even after all this wasted time.

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// lady in waiting //

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I sit down to write but the only thing that comes to me is everything I’d rather not say. Writing is just like anything else, the hardest part is finding a way in. Shadowy advances, wet wide eyes, shattered hearts, lovers stalking alley ways, all come in jars they hope you can’t see, but writing is tougher to open even on a good day. A drink and a half later, I’m undressing in the doorway, watching you as you absorb the fading evening light that drapes itself around my body. I wish you thought of me as a temple, intricate tunnels adorned in golden dragons with emerald eyes, ferocious winged mystical things, but delusions like these are just a way of shadowboxing with the truth. Even in this heady haze I know what we want to be and what we are is split by glass of a thick and distorted kind. You ask me to spread myself over you and my skin is hot pricks head to toe, the way you barely touch me makes the beginning taste like spiced flecks of the afterglow, just the way I like it.

Under your command I am a dove, an alien, a robbery, a beast because I have learned to stay awake even in my sleep. Once you become aware of the ground beneath you in dreams, the rest is simply sleight of hand. We try to shift ourselves wide enough to take more than we ever thought possible but it’s hard when you’re certain there’s a message tucked behind the eyelids of everything, and you’d swear on your headstone that the rain smells of swollen lips and secrets you thought were buried inside someone else. Seven minutes in heaven, spin the bottle, the time you skinned your knees on ice, slammed back to life by the sting. Your first kiss stabs me in the back, spills blood across the time before all the times you can’t stop sifting through now.

Be patient with me, angel, even in expert hands like yours this doesn’t get any easier. Winter seems to follow winter, all the seasons of dying and frost take place at once like a crystalline nest of frozen trees that crush your tender throat. Time is a gift and a thief and a scream and I promise to collapse the minute you leave. You wrap my hair in braids tight around your strongest arm, the pain is just enough to catch my breath on a single hook. This bizarre strain of release, a decadent thorn. There will be rug burns and bathtubs but my mind is walking on the street counting black birds on a wire over the railroads tracks I was framing for photos; five, six, seven of them in a crooked row and one far off, alone. This doesn’t mean anything, of course, except that I am not in the world the way I’m supposed to be; I’m in the one I resurrected from cut-out dolls, cardboard panoramic scenes, living in the cream-colored curl of imaginary pages.

Pain comes to me daily but I trust it, I let it lead if it wants to, it teaches me not to hide as much. The way you slide into me is a forked tongue, one side torture, the other ecstasy; I have to take them both or deprivation. As night takes over the moon, the salt in my veins sparks and flashes all around us like colors from the dark side of rainbows. You need not cry for this strange love, I like to watch the pieces of me fall, it’s the only way they catch the light. I’m stronger now. And even though generations of misguided wars rupture themselves through me before you can even say my name, it’s beautiful madness to hear you try.

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// phantom //

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And some day, maybe today, someone will read your words and they will not click the like button, and they will not leave a comment. They will not follow you or praise you or reach out to you.

And you will not ever know that they were here.

But they will have been changed by you. They will have been deeply caressed and loved through your words, and they will nestle into them, collapse into them, fold into them, keep them tucked inside the beating of their fragile heart all day, all night.

They will not say a word or leave a mark, for in the reading of your words they will be left temporarily unable to find their own.

Some words are born so that others may feel safe to die.

And all of this you will not know, for there will be no outward sign of the crossing of your hairline paths.

But your soul bears eternal fruit by the nourishment of this brief, secret encounter, for it knows of your having touched this phantom figure in the shadows. Your soul can see what you cannot; it knows what you cannot. It has always known.

This is the knowing you sense in the pressing whisper of your inspiration, calling you to begin, again and again and again.

Asking you to write for the invisible ones, that they may see.

These are the wings of things we seek to create for and don’t know why. There is a reason, though it is cloaked and shrouded in mystery and legend.

There are souls who come just to take a peek. Let them come, let them, let them, let them.

And on days when you feel you have nothing to be grateful for, that you are failing in faith and footing and love, you may be grateful for the ones who came to pass without a trace.

And remember again the greatness and strangeness, the vastness and beauty, the certainty of God.

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How to Make Love Out Loud

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I’m not asking you to disassemble your life.

I’m not asking you to live on the street or give your last dime to charity or replace your dark roast coffee with decaf (in fact, if decaf coffee is ever mentioned on this blog again: someone else is writing this blog).

I’m not asking you to somehow figure out a way to make up for what you didn’t do or could have done or should have done or should be doing now.

I’m not asking you to change houses or partners or jobs or religions or toothpaste.

But I am asking you.

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The Simple Secret to Killer Creative Confidence

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There’s something you’re dying to try but people like you don’t do stuff like that.

You’d love to explore a sensual, strange side of yourself but it’s been mysteriously roped off. (For your safety and the safety of the other patrons, you are asked to stay behind the partition.)

You want to touch something that’s just out of reach but, my god, you swear you can taste it.

You can’t see it, though, because it’s plastered in signs that push you away: DO NOT TOUCH.

It’s forbidden because of who you believe you are.

It’s forbidden because of who you think they think you are.

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