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“Odd Perfume”

this body feels combustible
soaked in un-lived lives

lazy fury, eau de etiquette

--match seeks coarse surface
  lighter fluid seeks pyro
can you smell a fire before it burns
what an odd perfume
packaged in such fragile bottle




Dueling Sisters

Sharing surname: /Choice

To have the/

To be the/



being/ morphs to burden

Predator becomes Parasite, and reverse

And really which is which?

Yet Choosing looks scant

Termite hunger in a glass house



What today?

Give the container

Authority over your shape/ or

/choose your container



The tension

(measure twice, cut once)

Is power when you have the choice or

Are the choice?





All the Same

Greens: army and emerald

War and Luxury

Like the distance between Death and Caviar

Labeled all the same

Mutually guaranteed destruction

Mutually guaranteed loneliness




Yellows:  sunshine and pus

happiness and sickness

But isn’t happiness a sort of sickness

Jaundice joy

Canary in a coal mine

black gold silence

Warning you are

Death-adjacent

God-adjacent

All the same







Obvious

 

This sadness was

ripe within me.

Juicy, fragrant, soft sadness

 

Animals could smell me a decade away

Dreaming of sinking teeth through my skin

 

The weather patterns and soil acidity

Proved ideal— the gardener said

He’s never seen such despair,

“The texture and size and color could

Win competitions; I’ve only been to one.”

 

So the question was obvious.

 

What to make of me

 

Cubed and baked

Into a family recipe

 

Mulled in the bottom

Of a whiskey cocktail

 

Left to rot

Forgotten on a street corner

 

Before I could finish

Contingency plans

 

I fell—

 

My body hit the ground

and split open

Revealing rows of seeds

—Orderly harbingers of potential

 

So the question is obvious.

 

What will come from me

 


 

Of Whales & Thumbtacks

 

In this world of whales

--and thumbtacks

 

I realized how big I was

by the volume of sadness

I displaced

 

Like sliding into a bathtub

--it spilled over

 

I collected tears from the tiles

Tacked them to the Wall

 

Like a catalog of moth wings

They weren’t only unique

By shape

but by the time they began to follow

gravity’s orders

More textured the later the hour

 

Perhaps I should consider myself marine life--

Or a giant hive of bees

 

I’m too small to be a whale

But cumbersome enough for both

 

I diverged forty million years

Ago--a new species

 

Identity dysmorphic

 

Tacked to the Wall with

--My progeny

 


 

Psalm XXIII: A Psalm of Stasis

 

As the shadows yawn and stretch across the desert dust,

You taste holy.

In this reservoir of sadness,

You taste holy.

In all brevity of existence, Now is fleeting, Next has cancer,

You taste holy.

When we have neither immortality or warranty,

You taste holy.

In this burning fury dressed in lace,

You taste holy.

In the favor of forgetting,

You taste holy.

 


 

Cheers to Sin


"It's good you exist."
They kissed
A Black Cat tryst
Still it persists
"It's good you exist."
Lips to wrist
No skin missed
The walls resist
"It's good you exist."
Vice list
High risk
"It's good you exist."
Cheers to sin,
I enlist.

 


Our Lady of Petrol

Hand-painted Virgin Mary on a gas station wall

--Fill her up, kid.

Next to bad graffiti

--Unleaded, please.

Immaculate Transcription

--Just heading to Vegas.

Looks like she is blessing the junkie asleep at her blessed feet

--Visiting my mom.

"May your next fix make you whole," she manages without touching him

--Not quite full, but should be enough to take me home.





Complicated Waters


Pesky pleats fold again

Between your brows

I’ll keep smoothing out the sorrow



Cradling your face with one hand

While the other irons skin



Trying to help you understand

Its an honor to polish these jagged edges

Others have hammered off your whole

Holy labor



Take the meaningless in stride

A little drunk and a little high

Drink deeply my touch

Breathe sober these words



There’s no cure for existence

But I’ll be a balm

As you’ll be mine



Complicated waters, they say

How lawless could hydrogen

And oxygen be?





 

This Today

 

We two finites,

Reacting infinitely

Today, and today, and today

 

Cavernous hallways

We hunt the other’s sorrow

Exhuming what consumes

Today, and today, and today

 

Each a beggar

Calling out the baker’s window

The feast of being seen

Today, and today, and today

 

Where we’ve gone and where we go

I forget your father’s house

This Today, enamored all the same with

How your bones occupy this door frame.

 


 

Oh sweet sleep walk,

Around the promenade once more

Careful of that crack

You’ll break your mother’s back

What will your father do

And where did he go

Everyone’s trouble are just like your’s

Congratulations you’re a winner

Grand Prize, you lucky sinner

Just enter your number here

A few more steps, my dear

One sheep, two sheep, red pill, yellow pill

It’s a prescription, have your fill

Is that a shoelace I’m falling over?

Those bunny ears-- they never stay

Lay, lay, lay-- everything’s okay, okay, okay

Back to bed, a loud night left ahead

Now I lay me down to sleep

Mother Mary, Son, and Father, there’s

Nothing left for you to keep.

 


 

 

when I woke up in the night-

 

standing on the moon

sensing some sedate expansion

and soon

I'm small

hewn to several simple notes in some old tune. "can we stay in?"

I'll not share you

 

we orbit, eyes locked seeming still

in motion,

sweeping round silent sheets

of speckled light on dark

and when I feel I may spin off and float away

subtle comes your pull

"stay," you say

back I sway

I think somehow I'll be ok

 

speckled light on dark

a spark

a crack in the glass

my fractured lack

I spin to hide

 

but with a kiss

lips to glass

and hesitation-- grasp

and second contact

 

I'll spend my life in that hesitation

the half-second

half-breath

between lips

kiss, breath, kiss

two acts orbit, slow dance to some old tune

"I'll stay," I say

and I am expanding

and I am standing

baptized, now a prize

endless orbit

sleepy eyes on sleepy eyes

 


 

 

Welcome, Woe

 

Weary, but awake

She wandered through the willow leaves.

A winnowing path

Widened before her.

 

'Welcome, Woe.'

'Have you been waiting long?' she whispered.

'Well, weeks wear worse

When the weather withers so.'

 

'Will I always wilt?'

'We can only walk aware

And wonder where the winds have blown.'

 


 


The Disappearing Act

 

Quiet.

Listen. Can you hear me disappearing?

I let the fear in.

A pallid pair of eyes leering.

I must have missed me in the mirror.

Clearer?

Come nearer,

I’m right here.

Fog in tow, off I go.

Bone by bone.

Slow fade.

Just an echo off of stone.

 


 

 

Ol’ blue eyes,

I like your playful soul.

The way your head leans just so

As hair falls low,

Hiding the glance I stole.

 

Ol’ blue eyes,

I’ll keep chasing that hue.

Pocket some for when you’re gone,

Aqua cure if I’m feeling blue.

 




Ring around the rose—

See, these pockets full

Of holes—

Knees— Bashes, Clashes—

We’ll all stay down.






A tiny green insect walks over

The wrinkled page of my book.

Steps over “pain” like its nothing.

Sauntering passed “collapse.”

And I can’t be sure but it seemed as though

A hopscotch over “death.”

My six-legged hero.








The clock ticks metallically while the old men play chess below
Queen to rook 5
—“These females, man, they crazy”
Specified boxes in specified motion towards a specified goal
—“yea she stacked though”
High the pawns pile on each other beside board purgatory








A Brief History of Beginnings and Endings--


In the beginning, there was a vast nothingness. If you looked closely, someone lit a cigarette behind cupped hands-- and that was less than nothing.

When does a beginning cease to be a beginning, and when does an end pass over into ending?



This inbetween, there is a moment-- where it is neither.

The space between the spark and lit match.




 


 

I dreamt of a two-story handsome old house, warmly decorated with billowing white sheets hung outside on a line waving at me to come and see; I dash in and out of the folds of fabric playing hide-and-seek with the sun, letting my hands run along its soft fibers. I lived in a second floor small beige one-bedroom apartment with my mom; beige walls, on beige linoleum tile, on stained beige carpets. Beige on beige on beige. I walked around the perimeter of the apartment complex imagining a prison and ran my fingers along the rusted bars of the stairwell. I dreamt of laying in a tall grass field, my back against the cool earth with a clean blue-striped dress spiraling around me as I stare up at a blue sky; squinting one eye and then the other, creating fluffy woodland creatures out of fluffy white clouds. But I laid stomach-down, face hanging off the edge of the couch, squinting one eye and then the other, making different fathers out of darker beige stains on lighter beige carpet.

 

I dreamt of queens and elves and emeralds and kind fathers. I had neighbors with missing teeth and varying size roaches and marbles and angry Kings.

 

I dreamt of all my mother had stopped dreaming.

 


 

I’m out of sponges, so I’ll need to pick those up, and coffee—whole beans if I can find them. I’m on my last pair of underwear, so laundry is a must, and I need to feed the neighbors’ cats. Also I wonder if I’ll regret never having children, and whether this overly-caffeinated pawing of guilt over past sins is a permanent mental echo—would be nice if it could soak up and be wrung out. I have a weird intermittent pressure in my ear—almost as if it’s on a spin cycle—accompanied by a ringing in a note, that if I had perfect pitch I could name. It will remain nameless. Why are they always out of whole beans?






I wake earlier than usual. It is a day for the restless. I open all the windows and let the curtains rise and fall as the house breathes, exchanging stale night air for bright morning currents; I try and fail to match its breath. My god, she is beautiful; just laying there, light snuggling sleepily around her ankles. Opening the windows I’m afraid she will change states; from the solid, small organized tangle of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen to disperse suddenly into mist and swim through the gauze curtains to freedom. Or that others will see the light that bends around her and come to haunt us.  





The light flooding through the small, arched window highlighting the commode could only be categorized as “renaissance,” making it almost believable that Jesus himself threw up in this very toilet after one too many. To the left I saw in illuminated sharpie “ass fuckin is for pussys,” and I felt the American education system breathe its last nicotine and tar breath in that moment. Then again, I was in Alabama.