WATER & LEMONS

A man in a large truck asked me directions to the name of a road I didn't recognize; "I'm visiting" I was saying. I said, I'm a visitor, and kept running.

my lungs are currently learning to tie their shoe laces, over and over,in and out and through the loop like the poem about the bunny to help you learn, I can feel it all.
If this isn't love I'm afraid of what is.
I say hello because this is the rising and what else can I do but greet it? Dip under its waves, like a dive but less graceful. You come upwardly and the world cracks open, with a voice smooth and languid, "the things life forgets to be" it's saying.  You're about to feel so good you'll confuse it with feeling nothing, this is a numbness like the afterlife.
This is a free-form fox trot in your rawboned, compact arms and  it's up to you, I'm stock-still and the clock in this building sounds like the end of the world so move my bones for me before I freeze.

If we're speaking technically only hell could rise; the heavens would just sink, like melting ice cream down the cone. If we're speaking technically heaven and hell could only meet in the middle and grab our hands unapologetically, they might say some things and you'll probably pretend you understand but I know it sounds like a whispering piano and if you said you spoke its language I'd know it was a lie.
We're not sure where we're heading but the sky is a dark singing blue.
We're not sure where were heading but the letters of your name are like blank white pages in a notebook and my hands feel like the pen pressing with the ink. 
Tell me you love me so much you'll turn me inside out. I said, this isn't about sex and you said the minute I said that it became about it, specifically.  I sink, i swim, you're right but you're wrong. I've made up my mind so many times it's become a bed you twisted and turned in all night, a mess of white sheets you slept in with nightmares you never thought you'd survive, i've made up my mind and what a tragedy, I've made up my mind and what a one man show.

letters from jamaica

when the time on the digital clock is three of the same numbers in a row it makes me nervous. remember that night i played "buckeye jim" by burl ives in your room over and over? i was laying in your bed looking up at the ceiling, it was probably looking back. what it was thinking i'll never know for sure  but  it probably thought that if songs could bruise this girl would leave them battered. and oh the things i have torn up and spit out, you could make a fountain, you could swim in it, or throw your pennies in it for wishes, i guess, or whatever. if i had a claw-foot bathtub i'd get in it right now with sunglasses on and let the bubbles do the talking, let the water do the writing. i'd look at my fingers and they'd be wrinkling slowly, indenting like the water was looking for ways past the skin -- "away we go" we say, like it's that easy. there is something big about this time of night but it's a secret so don't tell. i wonder if the sky cries cerulean when the sun starts to climb up inside of it, maybe every night it says "no" but ever so softly, how a night sky only could. the sun will never listen, not ever maybe, like a heart that won't slow down or  three bright red numbers in a military line glowing in a dark room. 

moss & high heels

we fall through time and space like lewis carrolls' alice chasing that rabbit with the pocket watch, down the hole. i always imagined it hot and muddy, sweaty soil with eight eyes like a spider watching our awkward human falls curiously and without blinking.  what could the rabbit be? metaphorically speaking. that thing you are chasing? the eluding constellation you follow and grab at, the songs in the back of your head. i am only just skin and bones, blood and indecision, i think, but when i write it out it i know it is a lie.
i remember you telling me about daddy long legs in our backyard in brooklyn when i was small, they're rare, you said. it is important not to hurt them you told me and i thought, but it's important not to hurt anything? this is what we know before we find out that humans are like fire, brains and hearts are flames for certain and the hurting is inevitable, the destruction grows with your arms and ears and before you know it you're long-legged on your fifth cup of coffee and there's 1-800 numbers calling all afternoon to tell you there is money to be paid, money owed. before you know it there is love owed too, and love to borrow, there is love to furrow in and die.

have a lovely evening

excuse me sir, i say, we talk and talk, the words sound like a knock-knock joke in my head. whose there? the things needing cold are kept in the refrigerator and the things needing cooking are put in the stove, so where do my hands go? and your heart? my shoes squeak on the floor but no one takes notice, or they do but don't show it, perhaps they are thinking of birds or of foxes or of the tiny buttons for the radio in their silver toyota. the mans mouth moves and only after i walk away do i wonder where i was looking on his face and where he was looking on mine, he had a silver ring and glasses pushed slightly too far down his nose, but it suited him. i laugh when i'm supposed to as opposed to when i'm not and when i walk away i do it casually, the nonchalance ringing in my ears like a fire alarm,  why are we in this room? it is nice when you touch my hands. why was she doing all the talking for her daughter? what does she dream of?  what makes her suffer? why are we pretending i'm a waitress and you're dining at this restaurant and the worlds not spinning at all and bloods not being shed and there's no such thing as love or fate, of crying or laughing so hard there's no way you could ever get a word to come from your belly and out of your mouth. it didn't matter to you and it still doesn't, i walked outside and the sky was making breathing noises so i closed my eyes and accepted my fate.

nope

something is off.


where is it not the truth?
we talk over each other
i cried that night
don't tell anyone
tell everyone.
i cried that day, too
because he meant it and so did i - always.
& everyone laughed because i don't think anyone knows what to do with beauty anymore and there was a nervous sound in the laughter like a heroin addict joking with his dealer when all he cares about is that next hit. just get this over with, he's thinking. just give the world to me hard, give the world to me unequivocally and with that numb lusting vigor and if afterwords i'm brave enough to find a way to get you in my head i'll spin you a story so bruised you'll think you're in love, it's a story so love-hungry it wraps its arms around you and never lets you go.

fast-fast

there's thirty nine minutes left so the words are swift and sweaty, we're running and can't tell time on purpose. tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, yeah tomorrow, was my lullaby;  never was my reality. 

i wish you'd pick me up, i wish tonight you said, kerry i know you know art, you won't have to say you're an artist because I'll say you're an artist. the woman at the bar said paintings weren't functional art, explaining how function had to do with food and glasses and the things we need to survive and everyday workings & all i could think about were the bed-headed men and women in their cabins or their city lofts, typewriters or canvases & three day old cups of coffee stained crumpled pieces of paper on floors and the fresh ones with prayers not to god, but to people, their dreams like keyboards clicking. i told her real art is eaten just like food and drunk just like water but she wasn't from my world and somehow no one is so sip your drink and tell your stories but when the colors crash i hope you're not one of them, when the soil sings i know you won't be part of any of it.

i am writing this by candlelight not because it's poetic but because this is where life has brought me, band-aids and bruises and loves i could never, ever explain. when my heart beats it sings and no matter what you or i say this could never be untrue, not after one beer or two, not after your chair makes that awkward sound, not after your hands have been on my hips, not after i'm alone in my bed. that's the thing, that's the thing, i wanted to say. you have no idea what you're talking about, people rarely do . it's the ones that stay quiet that know, i think. it's the wax that stays thick, the smell like something you swallow that sticks to your skin, one day love will be just like this, i tell the children in my bones, someday.
i was born here, but i can't find home. 
 
you see, he didn't mind chewing the pills because they tasted like what was coming and what was coming was nothing at all, all the nothings chiming, all the lovers coinciding. i pushed you down because you belonged there and the world can't move if we're standing still so tell me i'm beautiful cause god knows i won't believe you unless you drill it into my skin. unless you can get me so clean i won't be twelve years old scrubbing my knees in the shower like there's dirt there unseen.

Dearling

i write because there's a feeling in my belly like air that's done too many drugs, air but with letters, a and b and e f g's not chords like guitars but chords like heart tendons and if you don't find a way to make this into words the breaths of your lungs dissipate, the lives in your life evaporate.  you were never singing, you were never loved, your fingers never made a sound. let's try this one more time. if i said i hated you its because i have no off button, if i said i hated you it's because the sand in my hourglass-heart called out our names, bravery it yells and i don't care, i don't care how loud the world wants to say it i don't have the right color blood, the timing is off. i wrote you a letter and put it in the mailbox, it said have you ever read by candlelight? it said, do you, can you read my candleslights? i wrote dear you: if i was made of fire could you keep me lit? everyday the mailman looks at me and his eyes say "nothing yet" his eyes were the rejection letters from colleges i would've been too afraid to go to. this is how i love you.

hey, i have stories.

it doesn't matter that it's 6pm and i've got a caffeine buzz and bob dylan has been shaking the walls of my room for an hour.  it doesn't matter that it's so hot and not the kind that makes you sweat but the kind that sits under skin like an extra layer of hate or lust or guilt and tugs at your senses like a kid that wants a lollipop.

three days ago i used the word reprieve in a car service talking to the driver about the heat. "there's just no," and three dots past, "reprieve," i said.  he paused and made a noise like a backwards explanation point and said that it was the perfect word to use and i think he was surprised to hear it, the word, for some reason and i can't stop thinking about it, those three minutes out of a twenty four hour day, three days later.

three days ago i saw a segment on the news about wild wolves. there were warnings, the word dangerous was used more than once but residents of the area were asked not to shoot the animal themselves but rather to call the authorities to do it for them. the female newscasters voice was like a headache on it's way, like a warning about war. please, i thought. the wolves. bon iver sings "solace my game - it stars you" and i think the wild things are a threat because they reminds you specifically of love.

three days ago you said "your eyes are hazel tonight" and i would be lying if i said it didn't break my heart that they weren't ever hazel for you before, or always. it's a pretty word, hazel. i looked it up and came across a question someone had posed, they wanted to know if hazel was a color, they were questioning it's existence, it's absoluteness.
the answer they were given i read over and over, sitting indian style, the heat under my skin still whispering. "hazel is like saying "rainbow" is a color. hazel's rainbow is of the color spectrum from light brown to green to yellow to blue and various shades of these colors in between."  this was a home run right through the everyday buzzes of my brain, a fly ball right from my heart.
i guess it hurt when you said it because this is how i want you to love me, from light brown to green to yellow to blue. i guess it hurt because kerry is like saying the sky is a person, like it has insides and can love and be loved in return.
three days ago the moon called me up on my cell phone, it vibrated like the end of the world and it asked me to call it sun not as in fathers but as in that light, i close my eyes. there are so many different kinds of light & everything shines, unless it is buried.
what i mean is just dig me up.

you weren't hearing it.

listen
 none of us exist
unless we are screaming.
i never, ever scream
i stay quiet and write poems.
hopefully they scream for me, hopefully the veins in their necks look like the guard rails on railroad tracks and buzz like them too, press your fingers here to see just how close we are.
i am not a philosopher and i'm not a scholar,
i am not a student of linguistics, or medicine
i write poems and then i fall asleep right after like writing them was running a marathon and sometimes i dream about the end of the world and wake up sweaty, sometimes bruised, like a twister picked me up in my slumber and threw me around.  i have hazel eyes that have been described as loaded but also soft and i don't know how it is possible to be both and when i was little i walked with my feet turned in instead of out. i will not tell you what i'm good at but i might want you to notice, regardless. i will not fit in because my pieces are broken and their veins show. "keep it together" i beg them.  how can pieces keep it together?
the answer is they can't, and they tell me, shaking their heads.
always with the shaking of the heads.

campari



listen, i swam to the bottom of it all
i found another world
it tasted like chlorine and it felt like maybe you and i could be ten years old
ten years old but wise
ten years old but there was electricity in our blood
our bodies said, yes, simultaneously
and it wasn't chlorine anymore but a warm light that we swam through
and called heaven, "wanting christening" i thought he said
 but now that's always how i hear it.

they weren't kidding when they said love is like a car crash
they weren't lying when they said love is like a flock of doves

i could say i was born to write that down but
the truth is i couldn't tell you why i was born at all
i just know when its coming
i think i said it
 "It's coming , " i said.
it's happening.

if we're being honest i don't care much for Robert Frost
i don't care much about his two diverged roads, and the one less taken
or how hard we were expected to analyze them in high school
i knew there was more
there were roads in my heart, thruways and highways
 and the narrow bumpy streets of Calcutta.
there were headlights in your eyes that i couldn't take my eyes off of.
they weren't kidding when they said love is like a car crash.

2:42am

when i was young i'd see how far down the street i could walk with my eyes closed, you know, without bumping into trees or tripping over.
lately i've been contemplating how much of love is really just hate, in a cape and mask, stirring in the blood stream & singing exceedingly slow songs.  lately i know in the end a sparks a spark and the river just a river.

when you look at me the world slides and hangs there. the sky falls over and lands on it's back, face up and holds its hands out but i can never grab them, i can't reach.

i ate it up when you said what you said, my heart did push-ups when you said the things you said until it's arms got so tired i couldn't feel or see or hear a thing.
i digress.

because the only things i remember from elementary school are how chlorophyll kept the greens green and that guerrilla warfare was always a surprise attack and i'm not sure what that means but i'm pretty sure it means something.

only if you want to, baby.

i assassinate love like a god damn professional
with her feet hanging through a stair-well smoking a cigarette and fancy boots.

we should start a club
it will be the i don't know what i'm talking about usually but the words come out like different flavored jelly beans, they make a sound when they land on the floor that reverberates in my brain and makes it hard to think straight club. we will have a secret hand shake and a series of tests for new applicants that we'll never let in.

i couldn't breathe when we drove by that cemetery , but i kept it to myself. i could tell you loved me because of the way you squeezed the steering wheel and the noise the leather made from your maybe sweaty hands.

you're the notes i slip into my pocket, you're a shrug of the shoulders

& this is a road with no stop signs.