Your Dead Cease To Love

Her inverted whispers stand in the rain
like a dog, waiting to come in to the hollow house, tail
motionless and cold. Then she fell asleep, yellow
cotton sundress melting down her chest and arms,
her legs, sap on papery bark, constellations forming
across her face and a newborn sun crying,
crying over her brow, light spilling into her closed eyes
and the resonating room, slowly stilling. She
slept while the sky wept tears of compassion
upon her cheeks, her hands, her thighs. And clouds
disfigure their faces with black paint, while day
with night, fingers woven like ancient baskets,
walk to the bed and lie down, covers unfolding
blooms of butterfly and hibiscus, opening
and fluttering away.

Her hair grows long in sleep, a Rapunzel seated tenuously
at her tower window. In sleep her hair grows long,
too long to be seen or heard, like watching your parents
walk through the sliding doors and into the airport,
while you, alone, open the car door and sit down,
waiting to hear the click of another door, before driving away.



In florescent dreams the moon spills
over Jupiter into the Atlantic
undulations of my breathing. Once
every 14 years the bell rings, calling me
home for dinner without exaggeration.

On Saturdays the moon sleeps until
noon, opening the door for strangers
only, like childhood memories of dancing
around my friend's living room:
we didn't start the fire

we would yell as perfumed fists,
like cotton candy, painted our faces
red, black and blue. We could have been
patriots. We could have walked,
the streets turning like peaches in season,
for hours, midnight disappearing
over the horizon as we approached, each step
a minutely proportionate arrow,

finding unseen targets for the first time.
Her eyes closed in me, hands like marionettes
tangled in their own strings, and she
would cry, tears in her hollow eyes that hung
from the eaves of her second-floor room.

Wait for me until the morning, she would often say,
falling madly in love with reflections
of a former life in a distant land, undiluted
mistresses clinging insatiably to walls
of glass and unscented smoke. Together we breathed,
the air long enough to touch, and carved
masterpieces upon each other's skin, blankets,
the bible in our comfortable routine, draping
us in effigy. Together we breathed
and together we burned, ashes of orange sunsets
smothering affection from within, like the time

when I was a child and I fell from the weeping
tree, tears like symbols crashing around me,
into unconsciousness and delight: her breath
resting on my fashioned lapels, pink and worn.
Opening my eyes - two or four I forget -
they, the silent, encircled me, arms of plastic
calmly caressing, tenderly tugging at my clothes

until I rest naked on my front lawn, the night
spitting insults at my undeveloped body,
warm and enticing. A tree spreads
its branches within me, budding, flowering,
fruiting, its roots penetrating and strong,
holding me to the Earth and rising, downward,
like arms and moss.


The Anatomy of Waiting

Without feathers, he stood akimbo
at the watering hole, parallel features
on two faces paddling like the ante-diluvial
sun over mountains, unseen
through pages of fog, toward him. Hair lifted, carried
by some fortune, whether good or ill,
from his forehead and eyes, watering

and blue. Like sunflowers at noon stare,
unblinking as gargoyles atop cathedrals
majestic and dark, the faces on the water
sink, a diminuendo into a winter's morning,
before collapsing into shards of cloud,
milk tinged with wildflower honey.

Yet eyes, like mallow in the sand, look to heaven
without guile and spring forth, the taste
of salt on their parched lips, waiting for those
with wings to carry him away to the tundras
of immortality, words unremembered
since the first day of rain anno domini, dancing
like a bee for the flower, naked and indehiscent.


In Vivo

Whether or not she stepped out of the shadows,
he said, eyes spilling to soil, mixing for breath,
I will never see the light again on her face,
calmly, palely, unuttered. Then
the ghost came, whistling, coming
through the valley and she
came, a smile nailed to both of her hands,
without a face so clear, so subtle.

Four years ago they sat together,
plastic looking almost mahogany
in the evening lecture. Like bumble
bees they climbed into flowers,
rolling and twisting, almost
writhing, but coreographed, until
the hope of life wrapped around
their legs and limbs. They licked
petals from their eyes, unblinking.

A momentary breath caught her thinking,
caused her to breathe, as he looked
into the mirror, walking slowly to the wall,
then to heaven. Without a whisper
he could never understand, turning and turning
in a bowl filled slowly, gently, with little
slips of paper, the lid unclasped, leaning closed.

Like a child grasping a pencil tightly,
writing d'nealian on widely spaced paper,
repeating pictures, slowly and carefully,
daringly, he touched her and she withered,
opening, her words flowing and revealing
tomorrow's first child, resting
in a basket without tears.


Unintended Morphology

everybody knows if you don't mind
your mothers words, they sneak up behind
and lick the wounds from yesteryears
and former lifetimes, distanced by you
and a momentary pause as I
look into your eyes. you only smile
on tuesdays and I can see life

in you. I mirror myself, emulations
upon canyon walls painted orange for autumn,
staying here, playing here, on the shelf

across from pianos sprung brightly.

time has come to open the envelope,
a silver lake across the open sands
sprinkling rain like flames rising
from your grandfather's pipe, fresh
lit. each breath coughs smoke

into eyes watering. fading smiles with eraser strokes
across the mountain's feet, a winter
deep underground, moss and fabrication. hold me now
or hold me once and for all, an ultimatum worth

repeating. no,

she won't bring back the days filled with maple
and powdered sugar. Filed away in some cabinet, miles
and miles
from the beginning of nowhere, the edge of serenity's
infertile sanity. We'll sing and we'll shout
until the aah's and oo's
crack into little boy, little boy lost

listening to a mother or a stranger. she'll run
on, alone between his knees,
naming the children with each breath, measuring each step:
one alligator two. In time
to the opening of another window
at summer's precipice. joy and a girl catalog
stories untold, secrets hidden
behind guitar chords, wearing a dress.

The King

He wears his passion like a thorned
crown, tears blending with blue
tears on his cheeks on her cheeks
on his cheeks on hers. The once-king
cries as promises slip with her robe

down her arm revealing the hidden
skin: her forbidden skin. The night
quickens to his touch. Dark and dark
and dark. She smiles, eyes light, floating
from the thought of a husband

off to war like a candled prayer across
the water. Skin blends with pale
skin in the moonlight. Hair on hair
on hair. Eyes close. Blood dries
on his robes on his hands on his

lips as he stands with her on the roof.
Hand blends with bloody hand.
Lip touches bloody lip. Robes fall
with bloody robes. His crown
of passion thorned.


exiled, we penitent come

she spoke through the switch
grass and looked up
at me. words like yesterday
pass and sing and scratch
at the back door, whining,

wanting the door to open but not
wanting to come in.

she came in and i didn't hear
the glass break on the table
or her nails across my back,

feeling the chalk on the blackboard,
and my tired eyes, wiping away the dust.
she forgot to whisper, like the time

two years ago in the cathedral
we sat as the father stretched
his eyes toward adam and our lord
and the stained glass-

a virgin dressed in shades
of red, and her mouth pale,
waiting for a kiss, and wanting-

she wouldn't look,
not at me, not in the eyes
but then it's funny, isn't it?
the way eyes can turn a man
to stone. can turn a man.
her hymnal rested red in her lap, almost black
and unravelling.

the words never changed
so fast or so empty
as when she spoke,
penitent and unforgiving,
into the palm of my hand

we cry, poor, banished,
children of eve.

the father raised his eyes
from the heavens
to her

i raised my eyes from her
lap and the hymnal, the words
a stagnant pool, and my arm
floated to her cheek
and the tear, black
on white.

white dust fell, not like snow
in the middle of december that winter,
dark with streetlights.

my hands were dirty then
and now as i wipe the dust
on the leg of my pants. she came in
when she didn't want to,
she only wanted an open door
and the smell of clean sheets.

Sound and Fury

Curtained rooms open
to dusty eyes
feeling the Earth go
(ing) through my clothes until
the sun emerges
from its quiet tomb. Clouds
burst, the rasping
of crickets, a substance
felt on the flesh: flour
on hands kneading
kneading kneading
to remember
then forget
when I last breathed.

To Me

There I sit, unpardoned
of former crimes against myself,

and I blink between words
on the page. Come
to me again, she would always say.
Come to me
again. Again and again

I failed
to leave the cave
which bound me, the shadows
playing silently
on the wall, reflecting
in my blue eyes. Tomorrow
I'll stay again. And again. And
still she'll call, come
to me again. Again,
come. To me.

I close my eyes and leave for her.


My Face Is My Mask

without any hat
water makes me sick
and Lorraine
if you had wings
you could fly to heaven

if you just had a quarter

instead you toil up
the steps shapeless
a painful
and terrific
a soundless arpeggio

my eyes hold their breath
meaningless and sustained
the sacred tree tick-tocking
solemn and profound

and she says in her single soprano
yes Jesus! the dry pulse
of her decaying house as two tears
slide down her fallen cheeks

I see the light and I see
the word
just sound

sometime maybe
she'll hold him at the nightfall
whilst the angels singing him to sleep

He Saw A Woman Washing

Glass shatters as her tea sifts between
her toes like the sand on the beach last June,
salt drying anklets
on blushing skin. The sun was setting
just right then, like a memory
cleaned and recleaned with time,
where only pure curves and tinkling bells
exist: the horizon, a wakefulness swimming
deeper into black. Come morning
she forgets that she even existed,

even if for just a moment, once,
long before the genesis, before
the trees greyed with age and cast shadows
on soils unafraid. From her the flowers
go, petals like kisses from her
mother's eyelashes, gentle on her
cheeks. But now, laughter carries a cane
as he slowly steps,
hunched, down
the hall. Salt stinging, eyes
open to the blue, divinely-hung triptych.

Among women, blessed art thou, she said.
For I alone wander.