i wish you had a small heart.
one which i could keep
in the unopened bud of a flower,
and cup between my hands.
not something so big and so fragile,
which i could break so easily
and never be able to apologise for.
please come home. i am waiting
with your heart and mine
in wineglasses, so i can tell you
these are both yours.
i am ready to love you now.
snow settling on the hudson;
it is twenty minutes to dawn, & we are
listening to christmas carols.
the sense of new desires;
slowly ascending spiral staircases
while considering suicide.
you are smoking on the fire escape.
i come home & smell acid & i think
you can’t surprise me anymore.
i lean on the doorframe,
& you look up, gasping for air.
you seem so afraid now.
i was wrong about everything.
the blind man downstairs needs god,
& i only need you.
this is the paradise
sparrows sing for; your body is holy,
& i am trembling against it:
the most human of landscapes.
white gulls rest quiet
beneath their wings, & below them
i am dancing to alt-rock
in suspense on the boardwalk.
so it has not been easier here,
although it is warmer & i am wearing
nothing but a shift dress
& the smell of salt.
did it hurt to dream of you
as you were, body in elmwood — ?
& they had the lid down
on the piano.
even by the sea,
i feel surrounded by death,
lilies that have not bloomed in years,
though the waves beat on,
a restless, unceasing rhythm,
the heartbeat of the aching world.
what is it about fear
that makes the leaves fall so drily?
it is autumn, and your roses
are dying in the vase by handfuls.
the night comes in droves,
with less star than summer —
this is the way of cedars,
a feeling of cold like streetlights.
grey and violet, settling in the bay
like black sands are only a memory.
and rain floods america
from vegas to the brooklyn bridge.
even not speaking of love
gives me the sense that your body
is so close i could touch it;
i fist london air and kiss my knuckles,
and this is the nearest
to springtime i can walk.
so here, where homegrown terrorists
dress up like dying men
to stop trains,
i lay down and let sleep approach.
pushing ninety on the turnpike;
listening to soft grunge: so american,
white lies and white supremacy.
youth – beauty – adrenaline –
clinging to these childhood fantasies,
desperate to turn body to hard cash.
and this is summer in the city,
writing love songs in funeral homes,
pretending life is like art
when the blind truth is
cold coffee in an empty car park –
sun city with its windows
all smashed in, blue glass
on concrete, and imagining life
in a one-light small town
with nothing to remind us
of warm days on the east coast.
someone saying in a voice
like a sunrise: one day, a window
closes on the sound of blues music,
that could be new orleans.
these quiet nights,
speaking in line breaks to sleep
and turning sun to shadow.
Predicting One’s Death
I've always known my father as a noble man. He wasn't violent or full of rage, and everyone that met him would never think of doing him harm. Now that I'm old enough, I know that life loves to fuck with your emotions.
I remember being in a dream about flying through the clouds when I was jolted from my sleep. I can still hear my thoughts like they were moments ago; My dad is so mad. I stared wide-eyed at him, and his sweat dripped down his pale face. I can feel the worry creep into my bones as questions ran through my mind. He just woke me up, and he said "I got a bad feeling about my life." His voice cracked as I looked up at him, fear choking his throat like a noose on a convict's neck.
"Dad, everything is fine," I get out of my bed slowly and began to dress myself. "How bout we take you to the hospital and see if we can figure out what's wrong?" I tried to be brave like the doctors told me, but when he picked up and chucked my lava lamp across the room shattering the glass, I lost any sense of calm.
The visual fear in his face grew, like a roaring thunder it burst from him as he wailed and screamed. "You don't give a damn about me! You've always hated me, you little prick!" His fear transformed into something I hadn't seen from my father before, and for a moment the man standing in front of me no longer resembled the man I called Dad. The phone on my nightstand was inches from my fingers as I raised my other hand between him and I.
"You need to take your pills Dad, they'll help you calm down," I was absolutely terrified at this point, and I couldn't do anything about it. Not yet anyway. My hand had slipped around the phone and was now slowly pressing the numbers deliberately. My father realized the tone of each button and looked at me with pain, like he had been betrayed.
"9-1-1? Really?" The next few seconds happened slowly than any other moment in my life. The operator had begun her rehearsed line, the same one that gets said every time I had to call. This time I never got a chance to respond. The man in front of me that had once been my father was drawing a gun from behind his back, tucked away in his waistband in case he ever needed it. My breath caught in my throat as I looked into the barrel. I could have sworn I saw the bullet leave the chamber and pierce my body, but how could I have? By the time I hit the ground, I was unconscious.
The operator was screaming into the phone, trying to get a response, but a second shot went off. My father's lifeless body slumped against the wall, his brains decorating the walls. That was the last time my dad complained about his life, and the one time he ruined mine.