i am crawling back into
my head for the winter
or maybe for good
so far inside
that i won’t remember
or what doesn’t
not even the sounds
I walk to him, not knowing, but only walking, in the bewitchingly cruel way that children come upon flowers they deem pretty enough to rip out of the ground.
unless you’d like to see me
sink into the floor
or through the next two weeks
hoping maybe i’m not real,
please don’t touch
my hands unless you plan
to take them with you.
"you break it, you buy it"
(i am glass, stained glass)
i’m getting better at
sleeping with the lights off.
i can write my name in cursive
and it doesn’t taste like iron.
scientists say it takes fifteen days
to forget a phone number,
but it takes ten months
to convince yourself
that you’ve forgotten what she smells like
and some have said
with hard work,
by the third year,
when you say, ”i love you,”
it will sound more like a promise
and less like an
i’m writing about you
you’re in my skin
my ugly fingers
can’t pull out
with every step:
a sharp little motherfucker
leave a scar
oh i shouldn’t
no i shouldn’t
with blurry eyes
when your mind is burning
when your breath catches
when it doesn’t make
i want you
you almost don’t exist yet
i’m telling myself as your hands
teach me what it feels like to break the fourth wall.
the air is off and the lights are off. we can
yeah and not hate ourselves tomorrow.
we’ll turn blue
we’ll turn white
we’ll ask strangers if we’re pretty dancers.
i get nosebleeds when i don’t dream about you
folding laundry and standing in my driveway.
if the neighbors ask say you’re here to fix something.
it’s not lying if you bat your eyelashes.
it’s not eyelashes if you’re covered in paint.
i’m purple wait i’m green.
i’m the wisest man in the world but
i still don’t know what you taste like.
his voice no longer echoed
through her head
she was free
and she was
-Oh great, now I’ve gotta vacuum this up.
-Where’s the vacuum?
-Yeah, it’s upstairs.
-Okay. Where upstairs?
-Um… By the door in the bedroom, by the bed, you’ll see it.
I live here. I shouldn’t have to ask. And I shouldn’t have asked twice.
But I did, just to be careful, ya know? Before I went up there.
For all I know, it coulda been hidden somewhere, not out, like in the normal open, where normal people would keep stuff, but hidden, something that she’d do- like, in the bathroom, or the closet, or her parents’ room’s closet, or the room behind her parents’ room that you gotta walk through the other room to get to.
Dunno why the hell they’d build like that- but people, you know. America. People get to try things. So I go upstairs and I see it.
Takes me a second before I start making any noise. I hear the tension downstairs. The waiting. I bathe in it for a second. She doesn’t know. I almost don’t breathe, I wanna hear her down there, anxious.
And I hear her yell up,
-You found it?
Longest three seconds in the world- she probably grew at least five more grey hairs.
-Yeah, thanks, I yell and grumble back down at the same time, that perfect moment when your voice finally does exactly what you want it to. Thinking to myself, I’m a little pissed off inside, I could probably picture how she’s smiling about this.
-I knew it was there, her voice is loud, but sorta fades off. I hear her heading out the side door, and it closes.
-Yeah, you knew, I’m chuckling to myself, real deep-like.
Wonder why she went outside.
She knew? She didn’t know. I didn’t know. We were lucky. Nobody knows. You think you know though. But everything you think you know is just some little fabrication that you do your best to cling to- like a rope, and you’re in a pit- you get what I’m saying? Hoping that when you stretch your hand out, you can still find your socks, or your coffee mug. Hoping two plus two doesn’t equal five today.
Jesus, the vacuum cleaner is heavier than I remember. All these goddamn cords.
But, no, am I right? Tell me I’m right. Maybe some days you remember where you parked your car, or you can smile when you think your wife isn’t fucking someone else when you’re not home. You hope that when you reach out, your hand finds the rope. Tell me I’m wrong. That it’s not all you can do. Tell me I’m wrong.
Jesus- talk about what you can do, though, I’ll tell you what I can’t do- this. Jesus. Almost fall down the goddamn stairs trying to bring it back to her. Heavy as a dead horse. And all these goddamn cords getting in the fucking way, who makes shit like this? All clear plastic, colored plastic, and removable this, and that, all the ergonomic-hypotronic-energycentric- this isn’t a vacuum, this is a fuckin spaceship. I could fly to fuckin Pluto on this. All these little hole things on the side, people probably wanted to put fuel cells in here, make some sort of special, cordless fuel cell-solar-wind vacuum.
Janet probably woulda bought it, too. Probably woulda been five-thousand goddamn bucks, too, but I swear to god, if it came out, we woulda had one. Guarantee ya.
But I can see the government, whispering to the scientists, no, no, don’t put it on there, they’re not ready. Fuckin Feds. They’re probably vacuuming the White House with fuel cell-solar-wind vacuums, and I’m here in my own home that I paid for, dealing with this shit.
Back in the living room now,
-Janet, here, I got it. Why the hell is she still outside? Janet, goddamnit, that’s what I’m mumbling under my breath by now.
I’m a fuckin poet, or the next best thing. Making myself laugh even though I’m pissed off. That’s beauty.
This stupid thing is heavier than a dead cow. An ugly cow, too. Real ugly. Where the hell did she go? Jesus, I’ll just vacuum it up. These cords. Fuckin Christ.
You know, now that I think about it, I probably shoulda not said that on a Sunday. But, damn, I’ll be paying for it. You better believe me.
elope with my family
they would eat you alive
your wit and your fat and your insecurities
they would peel the tender skin from
your winters and your fears and your ignorance
they would salt your bones
and braid your hair
they would shave your face
and bead your eyes
all three thousand of them
would break your arms
with their wisdom teeth
and your tiny heart would burst
i realized the other day
i’m not going to see you
when you’re 90 and unromantically
lying in a hospital bed
(not that i hope that’s where you end up when you’re 90)
it dawned on me
that sooner than
we’re going to go our
to be the storm
in our living room removed from
you’d fold yourself into doctor zhivago
i used to roll my tongue over the russian
(bolshevik bolshevik bolshevik bolshevik)
until my teeth became ball bearings
floating in a mouth full of oil
was it wrong
to believe the words
somehow kept me closer
the blush you wake
spirals round the center
amidst ellipses dark like rapeseed
eddies gently blooming
kissing the heart of a
i know about men like you
and why samantha and i tumble
through the cracks in your display
and back into
our own daily life shit faster than
you can say jesus you’re too much to handle
we have so much faith
in your ability to still our
hearts with a quivering e string
or that we’ll find reykjavík
in your eyes or
something hopelessly miraculous like that
but there’s a freudian fault that keeps
our legs moving and our eyes searching
for a home we know isn’t
in your arms
it shoots arrows through the illusion that
we’re where we want to be