I suppose there must be something in them,
those tiresome weights, slung heavy as a promise
over her back, to make them a treasure so inseparable.
Tender past kept hidden in her pocket or pantomime heart
nestled snugly in her sleeve. I wondered,
what proof-less secrets lied in its cavernous cradle,
what passioned morning, woeful night, lay lurking
under yellow suntan dresses and laced summer sandals.
Ghosts, probably. Cloaked in bed sheets, memories for eyes,
ghoulish howls softly whispering reminders of I-love-you’s.
I’ll never know, never nerve to hear the wails
that come from unzipping a lockbox
so full and brimming with yesterday.
I need help, she had said.
Defeated, hint of disappointment
muddled with sheer fatigue.
She knows the world doesn’t care.
Did no one see you lugging such a mammoth bag of anesthesia?
Numb today, number tomorrow. What low, that high.
They probably laughed,
the brutes, pointing fingers that have never held a dream.
What mountains did you move? What oceans did you part?
What narrow arms aimed to embrace did you neglect
to come so far? I glance behind her shoulder but saw no craters,
only footprints, and marveled.
Her kiss is a relapse, misfortune,
worsening of my worst impulses;
an awful influence full of irresistible.
Her words are drugs and drugs are a clutch,
til highs do us part and lows make us
whole again. Bags of heavy yesterdays
weigh down, and I don’t know what to do with myself.
Taken hands, hushed words, rushed stalls-
what a waste to not grab waist and do
a four letter word (love). Plans to keep
and make her a home, 5PM lockdown, rush hour,
crowded public when doubts double and my mouth
taste like cinders. Slipping into a thought of her
like a favorite pair of jeans. Snug, familiar,
warm; she fits well. Run my thumb along the holes
and coffee stains, wonder what memory or feeling
the moment will settle as, when the honeys and the moons
fade. If my name will be a sigh, wistful as a cloud,
or vague as rain humming to what the radio plays.
A feeling haunting me in the distance, a reminder
that you are in tangles and I am tangelsome.
Still I pray for relapse and disaster,
addiction and her sex to once again step into me,
far from fog and drizzled Sundays, so I might tug
on her thoughts like a shoelace. I am undone again.
Coming to terms with the temporary
is an exercise in futility. The glass can be
full or empty, but I’m smiling either way.
Composure is so often mistaken with ease,
and some might be fool enough to think
my grin is anything
what a man will stand for,
yell, hoot, holller,
and stomp his foot
is always personal.
Vendetta disguises well
subway door dings, headphones sing muffled songs,
a cough a sniff and shuffle of feet. shuffle
of coats, fumbling hands, a newspaper is turned and
a girl laughs at something that isn’t funny.
14th street escalator rising, humming stairs rising
again and again and again and an
endless loop. car tires sliding,
honking, footsteps everywhere, honking rising.
two men argue over stepped shoes and a boy
cries at something that isn’t sad.
ears cannot be shut and listening is a prison,
the most molesting of the senses