Heat swelters outside
Breezes blow through trees
Children play in pools
A tear drops onto the floor.
Each tear steals a little of your life.
Trickling down your cheeks, running into your mouth
Dripping onto the floor.
You’re helpless now.
It seems your entire being is sucked out
You’re left drowning in midair.
And it’s summer
At that exact moment, mere feet from you
You’re staring at yourself through a portal of memory
And you realize you had it best then
Then it was a summer you could enjoy
And a single tear steals its way down your cheek.
He was everything.
And now he’s leaving you
Your daughter stays
But he’s gone now.
And it’s summer
June, July, August.
Months pass, years even and it is summer yet again
Heat beats down on your brow
Sweat mingles with blood
It’s not yours, but it covers you
The product of your own flesh and blood
She stares up at the sky
A drunken act, and she’s gone
Your tears come now
But they’re worse than before
Now they’re accompanied by screams
Screams at the sky
And it’s summer,
Free, beautiful summer
Now you sit
You’re in the sun
The doctors say it’s only a matter of time now
They say there’s nothing to be done
So you do
You call your sister
You talk until your words are gone
Then you cry until your eyes are dry
Then you hang up
And sit there
And then you stop staring.
Your eyes close
A breeze brushes your cheek
A bird sings your serenade
The smell of fresh-baked bread tickles your nostrils
And it’s summer.
in this bowl
only they know.
little gold nails
whites of eyes
will be cut
with no clothes.
Ponce de Leon sought the Fountain of Youth
upon the Isle of Bimini, but instead
he ran aground in Florida
and founded St. Augustine. Ever since then,
people have flocked south,
as if those waters bubble up from the Everglades,
or perhaps the dank recesses
of a central Floridian swamp – where cypress stand
a stoic watch, arms outstretched
and roots exposed like legs poised to dance
with demons driving men to drink
without fathoming their thirst for an impossible elixir,
or chemicals churning in an I.V. drip.
Such youth is stale. Like a cracker left out of the box.
Yet south they still go, as if word of this fountain
were only now trickling out
and gated retirement blocks:
promises clutched in gnarled fists,
orthopedic shoes shuffling to a doctor’s didactic chant.
But the aqua vitae they seek
could never be extracted from a marshy bed,
or by metaphorically delving
the depths of an ailing heart.
Instead, distill legend from bitter truth:
And to this essence apply alchemical flame;
close eyes, conjure Caribbean thoughts,
then sprinkle these ashes
upon a moistened tongue.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:”
The art of losing
Been losing for so long
Places and names
at a flustered turn
But with people
I’m the master
Because I’ve practiced
regardless of city
Though it’s never been hard
Born with talent
I’ve honed the skill
of never couching intention
with proper expression
If a scab forms
I pick it clean
Consistency is key
Never had to worry
about corpses thought buried
But the problem is
even though I’ve mastered
the art of losing
every time I put it into practice
it sure does feel
Smoke. Dissonance. The floor with a heartbeat.
No mountain peaks here. Only a single postcard
and girls with too much skin. I hid your love in
my backpack because you call it Pandora
or Diaspora or something Joseph Campbell once
underlined in a book. And you said:
God crawls in trees
and writes in sunset-colored leaves, so
you moved to Arizona so you could
burn your hands in the desert writing
[sad things] in the sand. But the fishhooks in my
door keep me from
following you, and that
backpack I left on a downtown sidewalk named me
[a terrorist], anyway. I heard it was a massacre.
Broken hearts painted all over the left turn lane on
Main Street. The organ, not the geometry. And
when Edgar Allen Poe sent a s o u n d-w a v e up
your arm, you said you understood why I could
always taste the color red. That’s when you started
painting monochromatic. When a stranger’s face
found herself staring out of your wall. The owner of
the heartbeat in the carpet. The breather of the
smoke in the air. They say you draw the curtains
when the sun rises so her eyes never dry out. I say
you always loved the blind more than the deaf.
Lovecraft believes monsters hide in caves. Clearly he
was all about the Craft.
I’m all about the way you say my name eight
states away under the stare of another woman’s face.
You sewed your pinkie to your ring finger and said you
couldn’t make any more promises. You never made
anything but [music] to begin with.
acoustic guitars and Vivaldi. You like sonic warfare and
things that bleed. But it was only when you said carving
love into trees was blasphemy when I finally realized, after
all of this, [we were never even meant to be].
spent walking beige corridors
in shoes without laces.
Eating soggy slices of pizza
after picking off the meat.
Six days of malice
only hand I was willing to hold.
A week of greeting cards.
I read “Get well soon.”
in twenty different handwritings
Twenty times absent of emotion;
Six days with an itchy blue hospital blanket
that made me scratch throughout the night.
Five visits from family,
but not my brother’s children.
They aren’t old enough to know
that sometimes I want to leave and not come back.
Seven separate times my mother was too afraid
to release my hand,
six instances of family
saying “it’ll get better” and to “just hang in there”
but do they really know?
Can they know?
A week of intensive therapy
the doctor scribbling down notes on a pad
that I will never get to see.
Then group therapy,
more groups, lunch.
Six days in a bird cage
they finally let me out.
With my wings clipped
and no song left for me to sing.
i grind teeth
in my sleep.
i say from
she says i
still need a
autumn settles in.
we drove for miles.
for a blue dress
the pastor preached promise
but i lied awake
& stared at the white ceiling
like i miss sitting in
bathtubs of peroxide
to treat a bloody foot.
like i miss fear
having a door open
& lights on.
life is short.
thought about running
to become stow away
that sleeps in dugouts,
travels the state &
comes back with stories to tell