clean

uncover the sick parts of me
and pretend that they’re gold.
bathe me in the firelight
but please don’t heat the water;
reach between my thighs
and scrub until it’s done.
i don’t want to remember anything
from before
anymore.

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4 days off meds

i like to do my crying in hot bathwater,
to fill the tub with glassy blues and greens,
then me,
all questions and itches and bloodrush fantasies.

like when i see people,
i’m obsessed with what they think of me:
my legs and my broken arm and my humor,
those flailing comments in recitation,

why i like glasses and hate skirts,
why i have a ‘pager’ on my belt,
why i don’t wear makeup,
why i like girls but not boys,
why i got with her,
why i broke up with her,
why i got with the next one,
why i started smoking,
why i stopped,
why i take medicine to numb up,
why it kinda makes sense that i avoid people these days.

does everyone think i’m an asshole?
my roommate tells me he does.
i’m insecure but i’m trying.
does anyone see that?
i’m dying to know.

like sometimes i think i know what
death in a plane crash feels like.
the crush of bodies and bones and seatbelts,
an even flare of warmth,
dull-deaf roaring,
then snap-dissolve to white.
but those are just dreams, i think.

i’d rather die in this bath anyway, so
i shave and try not to cut myself,
though a nick here and another there
have me bleeding into the wet.

i wonder if i’m fucking insane
or just another narcissist.
maybe not. maybe both.

triangle

your red dotted sandals
were on the grass
(i saw them before i saw you)
and i smiled because that
bright childish pattern is exactly  my type

i settled down a few yards away
(spread books and papers around me
to convince myself of worth)
then i looked up
and that
is when i saw you,

all square jaw and big eyes and
i haven’t seen you in three months
(but maybe you’ve seen me?
i’m not sure)

I try not to look, to play it cool,
but i can’t help to watch you laughing,
braiding your hair, shimmering confidence
in the hot sun

i imagine you kissing her lips
knotting your fingers in her hair
and i feel sad
but that’s okay
it won’t happen anymore

but i still want to forget
so i lock in on work
(prostitution in india, one hell of a bore)

and then i see feet.
i look up and it’s you

i’ve never heard your voice before now
and the tone sounds different than i imagined
a little lower and pitchy

you ask me to dinner
you have some things you need to say

i’m shocked and nervous
is this reconciliation?
perhaps.

so i say yes
tell you i hold no ill will
that it was brave for you to come over

you nod your head
(the braids move forward and back)
and blink at me with those wide eyes

you seem confused, teetering on some edge
looking back now,
i think you were seething

and
i’m not so sure i want to go to dinner anymore.

 

almost ready

i dug myself a well
just to be alone down here
at the bottom.

ignoring light and sound
i sit, knees tucked,
on the damp leaves and crumpled cigarettes,
the dirt and the vine.

i will not look for answers.
i will not metabolize,
and i will not consume.

she calls for me above,
up there in the blue forever,
but i take a drag
and pull my legs closer to my chest.
i rest my forehead on
the cool, wet stone.

i know i need to leave this place,
but right now
i can’t handle anything,
anything at all,
so i smoke and smoke till
haze descends
and i forget, fall asleep.

pear

it’s hot
yellowing sheets from sweat
the outline of your body a flippant pear
how long till the screens bore holes in your eyes?

please just leave your room.

you used to have a square jaw but
you swelled from
binges
and lack of movement.

if only your shins didn’t splint, you say. it’d have been so different.

maybe it’s just inertia,
this island you’ve swum to,
alone, burnt, insides aching.
but once you’re there,
by god,
you can’t stop.

all of the hours

i miss you
like i miss blackberry vines on fences.
the pull and pluck and sting of thorn,
pink-black juice and blood.

i miss you
like i miss fish tanks.
the swirl of water and flipwink of fins,
how their tiny ‘oh’ mouths open and shut, open and shut

i miss you
like i miss the mountains in summer.
cool mornings, fog drifts,
dove song, and the smell of hot leaves.

i miss you
like i miss the Bahamas.
you and me and white linen curtains.
coffee in rocking chairs, gently kissing in the dark.

i miss you
like i miss unbroken bones.
no ache, no discomfort, no shame, no aloneness:
a body righteous, repaired.

i miss you
like this, like that, like all the above.
this distance rends me in ways I can barely understand.
it hurts, and i hate it.

will you come back, my love,
and be as kind and careful as the day we first met?
will you bring passion and stories and fire in your hands?

i know that you will, and i’ll do the same:
that way we’ll fuse our lives together again.