& 4

if i stay up miracles might happen
isn't that how the angel came to mary
gabriel, she was
gabriel said, you're you and
everyone had to listen because
grace is something you always stop for.
i stop for you.
i stopped for you immediately
i wanted to change your life
if it felt like something cold i wanted
to bring wood for fires and show you warmth
and if it was hot,  ice cubes for your water
your skin is like a sweater i put on when i feel like
just one person
but now i'm two
now there's you my my.
if i stay up for miracles
if i keep my fingers clicking i might
fall into a hole
will you be there? i don't know
are we going inside?


there was a man with penny gold eyes
he told me, i'm not made of things
you can see or feel but 

touch me  anyway
 i said okay,
i said okay and i did
but i felt him
"i feel you"
"you feel nothing"

"define nothing"
our eyes stood there
he said
do you have a cigarette
i said
do you have a song
and he sang me one 

 i said i feel everything
you must have your nothings all mixed up.


i wonder how many times i've said
'if i play this song will you hear me'
you say nothing
the blanket is over your nose so i know
it must be late
but the smoke never hurt your eyes
and i wonder what it means 
till one day you'll wake up and you'll say
you hurt my eyes
and what then?
what will i do then
its christmas eve, i think, because its 3 am
on december 24th but
i didn't know
i said when i have babies i'll tambourine man them
and they'll have little moons for hands and songs for fingers.
last winter  i wrote like christmas was the end of a cigarette.
just like this.
this never happens.

last year i was bloody
blood on my hands, down my thighs
i had a song on no one knew but maybe heard in a nightmare,
if i sang it would you pretend you didn't know me? "building a still"
i wonder what i thought woods were when i was little
maybe like falling asleep
maybe like cold air
no, i had no idea.
if i am a poet i fell down a well and no one has found me
do we send down buckets on ropes? i never learned
where do we get our water
where do we get our air
i never loved anyone like the way your skin meets mine
but you're not here
my lamp has flowers on it but it's not fooling anyone
my heart is like that story of the sword in the stone
 but i wouldn't tell you unless you asked
 and you never ask me anything.


it is not 3:38 am. tomorrow but really today is not christmas eve, i am not writing poems drinking water listening to mr. tambourine man on repeat, your hand is not on my heart.

not done? not done

if you are picturing christmas lights strung up where the walls meet a ceiling, you are right on target. if you are picturing an "american beauty" poster half ripped off a mental-ward-white wall you're right on key. days back then were like poems you write out and then chuck, balled up papers around a garbage can. i'd sit on the window ledge of the 12th floor sky-rise, the window cracked as much as was permitted, a lit joint between my fingers, alive. the buildings across the street were so close, the space between a customer and a bartender, the lights in the windows like television screens. we existed then, mid-air, a moment in the crowded nuances of life that i still have in the palm of my hand, i still have it. i'd have spoonfuls of peanut butter for dinner and refill a glass of ice water repeatedly, i'd write poems all day and night, skip class and play joni mitchell. your hands i kept in a box on my desk in my head and whenever i felt sad i'd touch them.

you met me on the corner of 65th and 3rd and we greeted each other clumsily, tripping over hellos, a hug or no hug, we thought, and then kissed because our mouths were sure that was the right thing to do. we walked into a starbucks, i remember the way you held the door open for me, i remember the people sitting along the counter, i see them clearly still, a colorful cluster of humans.  i don't remember what we ordered but it was snowing, the hot drink in my gloved hands most definitely involved a little egg nog but the cinnamon i found in you.
in winter the city is an actor, it's a playwright, a newborn snowfall and lit up store windows slow dance and sometimes they play jazz, the cymbals crashing softly against your heart. "heaven is a snow globe" i remember thinking while we walked.  we stood in the elevator of my building, heated hearts, i leaned against the silvered shining wall and there were roses blooming from my lungs. i knew you knew, after all of the attempts at forgetting, and you knew i knew back. you climbed up the ladder to my loft bed, your face i had memorized and yet i still could not breathe. we were feathers and air, thats all. i know we were because this was the last time, after that the air sipped us like hot tea until there was nothing else. i can't remember what you look like.

Its bearings on Cair Paravel

-i can't stop thinking of that game we used to play.

-i was always all bruised up.

-i loved your bruises. little universes. 
they were the only way to tell that you were real.

-i'm not.
your eyes were so blue.
your eyes were a foggy ocean.

-they are no longer blue. without you i am no longer myself.
i am limbless, my vital organs are just cold air and the world fell asleep, shaking from the nightmares, a cold sweaty earth.

-but i have always tried to explain life to you in musical terms.
but i have always looked to you for words like foggy ocean.

-you were sitting in the middle of the street.
you left me, you were sitting in the middle of the street, alone.

-because the distance never mattered.
there was always a nagging and irresistible impulse to walk home.

-and home? home where?

-it's a plural. a morphing plural. you were a home, i swear you were.

- but you are a list of homes. i want a list of homes.

-everyones hands are a list of homes.
you look at yours, you press them to your face.
petting horses, their eyes open or closed.
dolphin sounds, honey kisses.

"i love you too"
tea steam, under covers.

keep going?
squeezing hands, touching eyes.
"i saw you standing in the corner
on the edge of a burning light."
an ice skating piano.
remember the smoke and the end of that movie? the snow?
remember the bar and that nirvana song, your notebook.
we will live in a house full of piles of lists of homes and then we will be free.


-the wind is blowing really hard. i never said i was a dream and i never claimed to be a dreamer, you said i could fly so i tried, i looked in foggy oceans, i always drowned. if it rains i'll think of you.

so this is what that feels like.

this winter:
otis redding, nick cave, tom waits, the magnetic fields, okkervil river,
neko case, joni mitchell, the velvet underground & the rolling stones.

“I will go directly to her home, ring the bell, and walk in. Here I am, take me-or stab me to death. Stab the heart, stab the brains, stab the lungs, the kidneys, the viscera, the eyes, the ears. If only one organ be left alive you are doomed-doomed to be mine, forever, in this world and the next and all the worlds to come. I’m a desperado of love, a scalper, a slayer. I’m insatiable. I eat hair, dirty wax, dry blood clots, anything and everything you call yours. Show me your father, with his kites, his race horses, his free passes for the opera: I will eat them all, swallow them alive. Where is the chair you sit in, where is your favorite comb, your toothbrush, your nail file? Trot them out that I may devour them at one gulp. You have a sister more beautiful than yourself, you say. Show her to me-I want to lick the flesh from her bones.”

September 3, in traffic, your cell phone.

cross-legged, i faced her.
the clock was too loud for the office.
we could very well have fallen into a remarkably quiet room 
from a scene in a very bad film.
or, i thought, it was placed there methodically;
it added a certain air of drama that i'm sure she got off on.

the room was filled with a myriad of different stacks of paper.
i said "you have a lot of piles" and immediately regretted it.
"piles make more piles and then you just have more piles am i right?"
she said really fast, her pen moving like an insect.
 i watched the ink dry. i said yes, you're right, yes. 
what else could i say?

"I want to make SURE you understand that this question is specifically asking if you ever feel these things when you are NOT yourself."
the room may or may not have been on fire.
"how do i know when i am not myself and when i am?"
i responded, hands in my lap. ("how-am-i-not-myself?")
she said, "when you are not yourself" 
& looked at me, eyes half open like an irritated parent.
i blinked and sighed, she waited.
i had nothing.

my leg was shaking.
she said, "you're a hummingbird."
i said "pretty." and then we sat there,
me the hummingbird and her, pen in hand, all those piles.
the clock still tap dancing,  the seconds slapping against the air
its minute hands on me, ticking.
i thought of people clapping but slowly, which was disturbing.

there was a painting on the wall of a balcony overlooking a beach.
i supposed it was there to make me feel calm.
she watched me and i watched her back.
i tried to imagine being there on that white wooden deck.
the air would be warm and a lot like a hug, probably.
i could only think of you.

December 1st

your glossy eyes are like the covers of magazines
light that teaches light that teaches light.
i fall into it, i'm waist deep, that sickly sweet and come out right here

today i would like to lie on my back in prospect park
but i will settle for your bed
you'll walk around in your t-shirt and i'll watch you like a film
your bed without you in it: a gutted goldmine.

i said reading you is equivalent to ripping all of your clothes off on a train. a loud naked silence, a foamy sea of mouths and eyes and you. as if i dropped the f bomb to a teacher, the word ticking in the air and the slippery smoke of the cymbals in your heart left swinging. with you there's this sky i found, there's a cloudless sky i live in.

tonight i would like to explain everything.

before it's over

last year i thought the month of december is always just like a sneeze. you feel it coming, the tickling up, snow falling in your brain, the buzz of nothing, a heart sighing upward & then it's out and it's over, the settle, and goodbye.  whispering "goodnight you." this year i think love is like the end of the world, always coming but never here. everyday is a day, everyday there's a day. i swing on branches, my palms cut up and sore from the cold tree life, our antler hands.

i want you to touch me
in exchange for winter love songs .