Saturday, March 21, 2009

Siesta - James

You used to sit feline
the undulation of muscle
linking inexorably
into the darkness.
You would wait
by watering holes,
in malignant homes
and lace yourself between strangers
You tend to land on lips
that are no more reluctant
than runways.
It's just that you didn't come here
expecting the welcome of a stranger.

For you,
dimly lit corridors
are ground zero,
laid waiting in the shade
of mazes
for straight girls
to apply themselves--
to jigsaw the sexuality,
and after the fifth drink
they chased every sentence
with confession.

You've felt the lips
and promises
of too many retreats
wrapping themselves in you
like tapestries of love letters
written on white flags.
These surrenders
were just as much yours
as every other girl's.
You never applied
for this missionary work.

You once found yourself
in war-zoned ballrooms
compositionally based
in closets;
morse coding
the numeric equivalent
of sin
on doorknobs
with the subtle drop
of fingerfall--
but then subtle
was short for stealthy
and stealthy,
short for lying.
And I'd be lying
by omission
to not acknowledge
that you could sit instead 
like tack hammer.
'You don't need to be vague,
charming, sneaky, or untrue.'
she'd say, while
the curvature of your palms
the unclasped bra strap,
and then ask what you mean
when you say your prayers
into her throat.

And I'd be lying too,
to say that the mechanics
of curtains and closet doors
don't smother
or box you in at times.

Do the orchestrations of
war crimes
sometimes sound like 
Do the parallel lines
you've plowed into scalp
never grow to anything
but frustration
and excuse?
Does your marrow sometimes
feel like spolied honey
when you consider the boys
you've shared
through the transient property of
finger the holes in our bones?

Because it puts holes
through me
to watch woman after woman
fall into you
after having
boy after boy
fall out of them
because holding you
is as close to self-love
that will ever seem feasible.

There is a rumble 
in your eardrums--
it is rocket fuel.
There is something radiating
in your stomach:
it is Stalingrad,
and Chernobyl is on your heels.
Your heartbeat is a Geiger count,
and flash photography allows
every broken bone
to develop,
reveals the cities you are
carrying with you,
along with the graveyard arrangement
of forget-me-nots
hung on every vertebrae in you.
It is a haunting silhouette.

You are not a predator.

It's just that some
cannot help but be prey.

And it is always you
who loses sleep,
as each of them
that it's your melody
that is fever-dream harmonizing

Friday, February 27, 2009


To Kenny

you are born wrapped in a caul
confusion and medication. your mother lays on her
back for an entire 9 months
capped off by
18 hours
of pushing
and sucking
and wishing
that maybe things had gone a little differently
with you.

your mother is hoping to take you back
your father is down at the gift shop
and your big sis is at home with a bulimic nanny who likes to bite.

you see, the world is what you make of it
and your efforts will be rewarded if you put them forward
and everyone will value your opinion if you actually have one and-

your mother, she’s going to try to force you back.
she’s not going to physically force you back into her womb,
no. she’s going to unconcieve of you. she’s going to take her brain and wash it with windex and you, you’re not even going to be a smudge.
birds will pelt off her glass thinking they are actually flying into her
conscious thought.
she’s a killer, learn it now. you’re better off knowing.
she’s gonna need some help with all of her brainwashing, 18 hours is hard to forget and 9 months is even more of a challenge so…
she’s gonna suck in some snow through her nose
and she’s gonna push some glass into her veins

and you, you’re gonna be fine. You just have to try harder, pal.

live your life to the fullest and try hard,
you’ll get somewhere, you’ll see.
or if you don’t…well i guess it was everyone’s fault except your own.

stay away from cigarettes and pot and booze
stay away from women who say they love you
stay away from fast cars and credit cards.

remember what your sis
tried to whisper in your newborn ears-
remember what she said as she helped
wipe the fluids and casings of home off of you-
you are not a carbon copy of that woman on her back
you will not be responsible for picking her up off the floor
or doing the dirty dishes she will leave in the sink.
don’t block the punches that she receives
or take the hits that are passed her way.

you’ll wreak of cigarettes
you’ll go to school with fleas
you’ll be hungry all the time
and you’ll learn that water can be told to taste like anything you tell it to.
you’ll learn how to swim without help
how to be black and blue
you’ll learn to muffle coughs and sneezes out of a fear of being heard
you’ll learn to swear and cuss with the best of them.
you’ll learn how to jump off of a two story roof and run to the neighbor’s for help.
you’ll learn to sleep with a gun underneath a tiny twin bed.

your sis though,
she’s going to invent motherhood for
the both of you.
she’s going to tuck you into this world and
she’s going to bring you back to life.

Monday, February 16, 2009

my tolerance has increased.

i've got this theory that you're the reason hot water doesn't seem quite so hot anymore and oxygen doesn't seem quite so...what's the word, pure?
you've made me think that it's time for an embargo. i've been turning the handle so hard, it's coming off the wall.
scrubbed raw in lukewarm water leaves the most important muscles exposed to viral infections and bacterial defection consider this as you change the sheets of your bed tomorrow.

2:05 A.M. Ode to a Metaphor

in the light of my kitchen you look like a relic. something to worship on the tips of unwashed, torn toes. let’s dance on the linoleum and forget that our shoes are filled with cement and our hearts seem to belong to everyone except each other.
sometimes i imagine you as inanimate objects- how you would engender the bends of a mahogany table leg or the sleek shiny handle on a avocado colored 1950s style refrigerator door. and sometimes you metastasize from simple pictorial representations such as these to the inevitable and unstoppable metaphor. you’re sand pouring through the gaps in my fingers, phases of the moon passing without my permission and my personal favorite- the closed black door at the end of a hallway lit only by light leaking through the gaps in your casing. so let’s approach it in that Freudian way, you know, the stuff of dreams. let’s talk in similes and circles and avoid any sentence structure of meaning. you’re a door, you’re a door, you’re a door, you’re a door that leads to-
well maybe the metaphor is not that thought out or maybe you keep me in check with your schizophrenic attentions and your fleeting affections and defy me to devise any meaning from your gazes and phrases of interest. that’s all true but i call you a door rather than a window or piece of roofing or a box in my cellar because i know how you’d love it to have your handle turned and to meet a girl who would finally go through you.
I’d love to be ending this in the form of a romantic Shakespearean couplet dripping with irony and wit but instead, i’d like to let you know, you’re a door, leading to where i am entirely unsure.