These pills are small and delicate, helpless little orphans,
and my body is a temple. Ain’t nobody got it like
this little bottle of mine- white little capillaries
pills of death that pulse and keep me
One every four hours, do not exceed six.
I’m sixty nined from bars and dimes every minute so
I dose in doubles, puffing silver linings
on a rummy cloud. I am The Great Pretender,
forgetful historian, a series of bullet points
on what it means to be listless. I am the vague biographer,
caustic chronicler of the categorically insignficant.
But it’s not so bad. These woes whoa me no more
and dreams feel more real when I’m awake; I call it
lucid living. Though I’m still full of envy
a the bravery of corner vagrants, shouting crack-ed lungs
at pigeons in the park. But now he fades away, vague,
I don’t know where, like ripples in a pond. At least
he doesn’t linger in my mind and ruin me any more.
My heart no longer brags- no more
I am I am I am’s– it sighs.
But twice every four hours, my smile comes
easier, and I can see the faults in our starlit eyes
and badly thatched hearts. Stale highs eventually swing
violently low and I have to stop myself
from smashing something delicate. A bottle, or myself.
And I would, if only I could get a grip, but when
the night grows teeth and digs into the heart and
memories, what is there to do? Set the alarm
and try again tomorrow.
There is a distinction between being angry
at or with yourself, and I am full
of a gangrene envy I do not outgrow.
Resentment rooted too deep in the soil,
hate, too often, being something inherited.
Oh how I want to be let alone, but I am no good
for myself. To replant would be a practice
in redundancy, a gray and daily drone,
monotony of the routine- a lovers caress
I used to miss, known all too well
and (not) enjoyed.
Doctor, doctor, won’t you dose my heart
in drugs and soma? Dry my dreams and
wet my sight, glazed awake and comatose.
Excuse these vacant eyes, medicated,
euthanasia of the soul. Asleep and listless,
I am not human at the moment, but something feral.
This land is my land and it is rotted,
overrun, a sickness spread like smallpox
blankets of love, life, friends, and other
tragedies. Ash it all and start anew;
controlled fires, prescribed burns
on bridges I won’t ever use.
How best but flame to break a bond?
It is wood, the oldest metal; tinder,
common, precious, and little. Smoke
rising to settle, the deed done but
never finished. Fuming eyes, smoldered
heart left alone to wonder-
how will I get around myself?
I’ve lived, broke bread with kings and
slept in tubs and public with the
broken and Diogenes. Alms and dearly departed’s
to men slain, made high or even by the needle.
Men leaning on a parking meter on 149th Street,
neck limp on passage to methadone clinics
and Elysium. Cigarettes bought and passed along
from one to his dearly delirious brother; shared puffs,
solemn thanks thank you th-thank you papa,
mumbling vows as they put the filter to their lips, sacredly,
like a Eucharist; an overdose baptisms.
I’ve lived, I have beloved and been beloved,
honey-eyed and drunk off nothing but a feeling.
Soft Saturdays staring at the freckles of her forearm,
fingers wandering and reading the arches of her body
like her skin was braille. Doors locked, blinds wide open,
condemned couch confessions with kisses and a slight of hand
trying to figure out where one of us starts and the other ends.
Stuck in a snowstorm of Tennessee and ourselves,
trying to justify why together we felt so centered.
I’ve lived, needed, and learned to do without.
Nights fought against the sun, savage at a sunrise- circling
Columbus Circle hungover on Amsterdam, searching SoHo
solely for a pleasure. A fool letting the music confess things
so I didn’t need to, blowing a buzz and two hundred dollar tab
on a backless dress that was not worth it. Draft beers
and daft company homering in, the distinct reminder,
I am alone in a world of people.
I’ve lived, by God, I’ve lived, because my life has been my own.
And everything that has been is mine, and shall never be again.
Love is nothing but a well told lie,
comforts from a broken place bearing
gifts- from me to you, for me.
Dangerous, like a razor blade
under your tongue. A Touch
that needs more hands and kisses
with too many teeth. Emotional insurance,
unnecessary luxury, the promise
everything will be okay.
Even if it won’t.
And before getting better
making it worse. misery that bares no poetry
only regret and blood. Emotional miscarriages.
Desperate, needy, reaching for release,
like gasps of air while crying.
coming to terms with temporary
is an exercise in useless.
the glass can be half full or empty
but I’m smiling either way.
composure is, so often, mistaken
with ease. and some might be so foolish
enough to think my grin
is anything but a well dressed
Bed covers don’t cover much-
only cold feet and secrets two lovers share.
particulars wondered out of window sills,
hiding in plain sight from a stranger or husbands eye.
no heat or warmth this dire night,
only bodies and throw pillows
tainted in the thin evidence of s[k]in.
wrinkled, like my grandmother’s hands
before she died and showed me how to read a tarot.
come nightstand, by the record player
a deck of red cards already shuffled,
random, pristine, perfect and predestined.
queen of diamonds across the jack of spades
and I lost the king of hearts a long time ago.
the egg timers clicking, counting down,
a wet shade of grey across our shared living.
room quietly loud, like the gasp before a scream,
and the alarm clock ring sounds like a sigh.
and sunrise, and yawns, and brushed teeth and breakfast
and the roulette wheel of responsibility and love
spins again. my heart winces at the thought,
wondering, unable to determine where I stand,
how I fall. the days keep coming, back to back,
relentless. two people can’t keep a secret and
our winning streaks come to an end.
another hand dealt, we place sour bets.
diamonds over spades, tainted, quiet,
forced to look the other way-
aces high, aces high.