You And Me And The Devil Makes Three (aka I Want To Hold You In Contempt)

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, and 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.

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Get Over Your Self(ie)

Did you think of us as intimate? Do you think yourself as special?
Don’t you know my skin is Catholic, letting every-body-in?
No, my mild Molotov, you are not the one who got away.
You’ve not the eyes or touch worth mentioning
and idolized in poetry. I’m sorry, my sweet minutiae,
but yours is not a love requiring sonnets
or sorry glances at the moon.

What you are is good morning on a Monday at work,
a bowl of mints on an office desk,
an umbrella for if it rains because it’s cloudy
(but then it doesn’t.) You are a nickel I found in my back pocket
when I was 10 cents short, a pencil in arms reach
when I’m on the phone and need a pen.
You are the first 15 seconds of every video on YouTube,
losing a set of keys when somebody else is home,
footprints on the beach near a rising tide,
a song I heard and I think I kind of liked
but will never download. You are the vague space
between laying in bed and falling asleep,
the 4th, 7th, and 13th  time I had sex.

Necessary but pointless, momentous but irrelevant;
you will not be remembered nor entirely forgotten.
No song or place or prose will resign me with nostalgia,
because you are not a love requiring sonnets.

You are just another thing that happened.

There’s No Street Cleaning In Providence

Father-

Your days weigh more than the family around your neck.
Nine months and nine pounds without your voice or hand,
my mother called, and you said: “Give Him My Name, Noel.”
And she abided, faithfully, by the promises made
that warm May night. But years proved these words,
like so many other parts of you,
were broken, and so I am yours
in name only.

I haven’t your dark eyes, fair skin or welcome wiles.
That cooing air of arrogance
in your smile, or the graceful way your beard
rises and settles into a dignified chin.
Your daughters are your spitting image,
shorter and effeminate, but telling tales
of their ancestry by the nines
of their soft and thoughtfully thin
eyes, a wild nose above cupid bow lips.

I am not like them;
every camera and mirror whispers,
how my genes have aborted you.
And yet strangers say the strangest things-
like that I am most your son when I look most annoyed.
Something in the nothing of demeanor
makes me summon your image to men and women
that have known you. The passive opening and closing of a fist.
In a folded leg, an unconsciously tapping foot,
staring into the distance with a cigarette dangling from my lip.
All of these acts I thought my self are borrowed,
are not my own, are ghostly references to a man
this man
who grew up growing you
says are bestowed;
are reflections of the seed
being strong.

But…how?

My first razor was from the deli man,
his eyes lost when I asked him how to do it,
until he could understand that I was young and
that I needed. My first day of school was Johanna
ironing clothes, running me over with a lint brush,
combing my hair and reminding me
no girl likes a boy who sucks his thumbs.
Sex came from a box, a secret, a word of mouth
passed along the boys and bus rides.
Shared and studied in the dim blue tint of monitors
and television screens when nobody could see us
in our vile innocence. YouTube learned me
with tutorials, my first suit from my first check
a baggy thing. Green shirt, black tie, but
from your few visits I’d already known
how to make a knot
having been left in one.

Yet I am most your son when I look most annoyed.
The passive opening and closing of a fist. A folded leg.
An unconsciously tapping foot. Staring into the distance
with a cigarette dangling from my lip.

And I wonder, can character carry in a vein?
Have I shed and denied your look but not your scowl?
Am I as doomed as you are, to the rum on my breath
and vagabonding with the boys on Tuesday night’s
rather than with my family home? Father,
our days are numbered like the calendar
and when I’m fugitive to a feeling;
waxing gibbons and poetics at the moon,
I’m tempted to think my temperament is nothing
more than an heirloom. Is a remnant of you
in the recesses of my blood,
and I’m tempted to take a razor and gut you out.

But there is no salvation in suffering your self;
it’s best to leave that to the masochist.

Instead I’ll wear your name proudly,
but like a cautionary tale.
Instead I’ll learn to love
better than how you’ve taught me.

Well.

It Takes Two To Tango (So If The Sex Was Lousy That’s Also Your Fault)

I was born once but have died many times, a suicides cacophony,
dressed down to the 9’s in dismantled almost and
New York is covered in my gravestones.
145th and Park, drowned in taco flavored kisses
and horchata. Time of death: when her lips met mine (1:59AM)

Lost count how many lives lost down Amsterdam,
Jakes dilemma like mine: Do or Don’t,
a simple answer when you’re young
Yet it all went south with Chris on West 4th,
stuttering on words said, choking on courage
and the empty soliloquy. .

Singing up Lexington, laughter loud in our lungs,
wild and bewildering, the way love should.
He had on ripped jeans and the fountains were pink,
moonlight dazzling, surrounding me, pale eyes
drenched in passion. Kisses hidden by the scaffolding,
59th Street and Madison, rusted love to stir the stale blood.

A deathless death in inches, physical symphony
and reawakening from the tomb of myself.
The bedroom is covered in rebirth, amniotic evidence,
Past Dyre Avenue where God waits in open arms,
and heaven can come twice, with patience.