Carry on into the streetlight, darlings.
Your beds are on fire and there’s dirt below your nails.
You’re buried in caskets you built for yourselves
You’re trying so hard you’re trying to fail
And fail and fail.
The forest doesn’t hum it growls,
It claws in fear and hate and it can smell
The stench of failure on you,
It can taste the oil on your clothes.
“Let’s go back”, the taillights fade as they speak,
The silence is golden, broken, and weak
And there’s miles to go before you sleep
Miles away from sleep.
You’re all violent and unkind,
Kissing windless days and self-satisfied
And someone I know died today,
Threw his hands up, quit,
Just walked away, his patience
Waned, his body wracked
With shit so heavy
He couldn’t look back and
There’s a million ways to die
But only one way to go.
I’m getting older, going somewhere
I’ve learned some rules
And broken most of them
I’m getting slower, but not much wiser
This chrome is burning,
The engine’s on fire
I’m getting older, But I’ll never sleep
The taillights fade, and so they speak
“I’ve got promises to keep”
I’m a lover, I’m a loser, I’m a thief.
The taillights fade and so they speak
“One whole year, you’re rid of me”
Three six five in one two three
I’m getting older, but Christ, I’m free.
• 13 August 2014 • 10 notes
You’re cooking in my shirt
And there are 90 degrees of
Hot hot hot in here
And it’s creeping down my back
Bit by bit
Until this shirt is soaked through
And through and you took me
And there are 23 reasons I’m here
And 23 reasons I’ve been.
You’re cooking in my shirt
And there’s a fly buzzing
Over your left shoulder and
I don’t think you even notice.
Your arm is kissing my fists
And you’re halfway done swallowing
When my legs collapse,
And you’re laid out like some sort
Of post-modern architect
Laboriously slaved over
Your blueprints for half her damn life
Before skipping the contractors
And building you
with her own two hands.
And you’re sleeping now
But I can’t help but think
That you’re really awake
Listening to me tell you how
Fucking good you taste,
How you burn so bright
I can barely see the flame,
if I can’t feel it
I can feel it like hell.
• 12 July 2014 • 14 notes
Sometimes you’re loud
And you dance like the goddamned wind
Is pushing you along.
If your chest broke open,
I like to imagine a thousand wires
All crisscrossing ribbons of muscle
Would spill out, and you’d smile
And remind me that we are not
I am a dog and you are a bleeding
Smile from where you bit your lip
In your sleep.
In a boozy stupor I danced with you,
And you shook me, your bones
Ground down to arrows, marrow
Against marrow, dust against dust.
Your hands are soft and they cut
Like a barber’s razor.
Your hands are
• 11 May 2014 • 23 notes
Nearing a year ago
I stopped killing myself
And started to take life
Slow, by the horns,
A commercial I saw
Told me to buy a truck
But I stopped buying
Lowercase coke instead.
Over a year ago I ended up
With tubes down my throat
And running up the vein
In my arm, you know the one,
The one you can see when
Your elbow is straight as an arrow
And your belt is looped
And your eyes are closing.
Now my belt is on my waist,
My arms are thin but god, I’m strong
And there are long locks
Of brown hair covering my pillow
And there is simplicity in this.
As of now I pledge quiet,
But bold serfdom to three:
-Cigarettes, which break my voice.
-Song, which I’m good at.
Christ, I’ve found peace.
No, not the kind of peace
That sings koombiyah in
A blasted haze, or the kind that
Blisters out of protest,
But the kind that is violent,
Still selfish and fucked up
And ever so goddamned bloody,
But is somehow still alright.
The kind where at the end of the day
you curl up with someone
Like you would with a book
You’ve read 100 times.
Nearly a year ago I blasted out
The last of my idiocy
With a 12-gauge shotgun
And a trigger I pulled with a string.
I’m still stupid,
(God knows I’m still stupid)
But I’m learning (for the first time)
How to walk again.
I’m holding my own hand
And she’s pushing me forward,
With a gentle palm,
Stained ink black from work.
I’m walking without a crutch.
I’m awake, I’m alive,
And the hole in my skull is just now
Filling back up.
• 11 May 2014 • 33 notes
We are all made of tattered flags,
oars and needle-point and Christ
we were taught of by old women,
in tall buildings with spires and spikes, and low places.
I built a little chest made of oak
cobbled together with nails
straight from warped woodwork,
stained by seven-seas,
barbed by my own damned bones.
Inside there’s a movement:
quartz, a thousand tiny gears,
wound to spin and gently rock away
90 or so revolutions
and there’s no telling, none at all,
if those gears would snap soon,
whisper away the quartz.
But you, you take that failing rhythm,
pull it into yourself, stake it,
cross it, hope to die.
And for the first time, I feel more
sidewalk vendor in Harlem,
less suited stiff in Nordstrom’s.
Somehow this all makes me feel
We are sails, clocks, pendulums,
cloaked choruses, written tides,
curving up fast off the starboard bow.
• 9 April 2014 • 9 notes
I have heard:
“It’s a pretty thing,
The other day we sat
On a white concrete slab
And crushed nature below our boots
While the sky burnt
In pastel, impressionist arcs across
The smudged lenses of my glasses.
We didn’t watch the sun set.
You stumbled on the steps,
And I quoted movies
You’ve never seen
When we left to walk back
Bridging white paint ladders
Across salt caked roads
That won’t be swept until next fall
To get back to your room.
You talked so much yesterday
That I thought your mouth
Would bleed, that you’d run out
Of words, yet
You spoke until you fell asleep,
Your tongue firmly
Locked against the white peaks
Of your plateau teeth.
Today I was faking my way
Through another transaction
When I heard your voice behind me
(I can’t remember what you said
Exactly, so don’t ask me)
And whatever bastard child
Was screaming at his fat mother
Whatever pressure pushed
At my already exhausted eyelids
Let up for just a second.
"Love is a pretty thing".
I’ve heard too many times,
I submit to you, reader, this:
Love is the backwoods.
Love is a word I hate saying
But can’t stop saying.
Love is the dark side of America,
The denim, leather, boots,
Hawaiian shirts, and switchblades.
Love is a girl in baywatch shorts
Making you dirt-cheap
tenement food, because she can.
Love is a lot more simple
Than anyone makes it out to be,
And also a lot better.
• 4 April 2014 • 38 notes
Response (After S.H.)
When you smile at me
you look like a kid who has something
to tell, and is just waiting for the right moment,
a break in the conversation.
Tonight you planted a million kisses on my jacket
and even through six layers of clothes
and one layer of skin
and one layer of muscle
I still felt them leaving little burnt parts
on my bones.
You shot a poem into the sky
and it came back down and hit me in the chest
and I think we all know where it’s going now,
and the hill is passed.
RE: that arrow tonight-
I’ve still got these legs,
and the streetlight is way back;
so, what does that say?
• 10 March 2014 • 16 notes
Sometimes I can’t fight the paranoia and there are black vans
with tinted windows and satellite dishes whirring
above their hoods outside of my house.
Sometimes there are cameras hidden in every part of me
sometimes there are people watching me through my webcam
sometimes the barking dog across the street is a warning
sometimes the shadows from my smoke hang for a bit too long
and they’re chasing away the light from my porch
with a widebrim hat pulled over their eyes.
Sometimes there are far too many footsteps,
or an echo too close to be my own, a voice unpunctuated
by inflection, breathing in raspy, coughing breaths.
Sometimes my veins lash out at me from my arms.
Sometimes my muscles lock in abject horror,
the creeping unknown tearing itself from my walls,
dark veils of plasma slipping in quiet dampness
over the clock, the nightstand, the dresser.
Sometimes you’re absent, your eyes dark,
sometimes you kiss my hands as if I were a king
and you were traveling a very long ways;
you take my arm in your grasp,
soft palm on my chest, a shattered pawprint
and canines clicking against mine
between my lips.
I can taste each and every camera,
or microphone, I can feel their sight
digging into the ruts in my spine,
but my breathing slows.
Sometimes I think,
You’re the only thing I trust.
• 9 March 2014 • 14 notes
There is an ocean that sways beneath me,
it’s waters pushing up steadily until they’re above my head.
They smell like stale cigarettes, and booze, and burning skin, and salt.
Sometimes they drown me, but I never choke.
Sometimes they choke me, but I never drown.
There is a boat, and the captain is cursing, her cursive
and block letters slipping their way through the sails,
and the wind carries them to my throat and I sing them,
voice scratching, stretching in the feedback loops.
The ink fills me; whiskey in a backwater still.
And it breathes through me, breeds with my blood,
clutches my rattling bones, shades my eyes from the sun,
shutters them from the sleet, and the rain.
You are standing over me and lifting me,
the weather as cold as ever, but behind me.
You are mist, kissing my forehead in the morning.
You are sand, covering my clothes when I go home.
I say I’m afraid of your searchlight dimming,
of my match being nothing compared to your lantern,
but last time I checked, I’m still blinded by your eyes
on me, and with your hands on me I feel every ray.
Once, you said, “You’re my best friend”.
And I’ve thought about that for as long ago as you said it.
“You” meaning me, contraction, “re” as in are, as in exist.
I shy away from using one word in poems like these,
and for good reasons (over-used, cliched, unpleasant sounding),
so in it’s place, I’ll say:
You’re a lighthouse with a beam that doesn’t swing away.
A ship with a fixed sail.
A lantern, dragging its light across my skin.
• 4 March 2014 • 14 notes
There’s a wave coming up over the horizon
and I can’t help but feel like it’s headed straight for me
a plastic collision course, lapping blood from my wounds.
You took me by surprise right off the bat,
last inning’s worth of bases tied, runners in,
and 180 (give or take) baseballs in ruts on the pavement.
I struck out in two minutes.
You kiss my skin with salt on your lips,
and I’m sore from the cuts, disinfected,
cracking skin from the 4 months of cold we’ve had.
My only hope is that when it warms,
when the ice recedes, you will too.
Because I can’t help but feel that with every stroke,
every paddle I dip into this sea, you push me back to shore.
Your hands are as soft as seaweed, silent as movements
beneath your waves. You held me aloft and sunk me.
You sleep beneath the ocean; your hands are tied,
and whenever you write it feels like the ink is seeping,
quiet and strong, underneath my skin.
You’re right at the horizon, two masts tall,
and knots well up in me to look,
but nothing saves a drowning crew,
nothing keeps me safe, or upright, or new.
I can’t help but feel like old news, to you.
Nothing I say, nothing I do.
Is your anchor lifted? Are the questions loaded?
Stay ashore. Stray ashore. Stray off course.
I am nothing, if not a crime.
Just let me know it’s alright to sink the way I am.
And then again:
maybe I’ve got it all mixed up. Maybe it’s in my head.
This ocean is a puddle, this boat, a leaf,
this body, a pebble.
But I do miss your waves over me,
your chest heaving with every breath you take from the shallows,
a fire off the starboard bow, below my stomach.
I miss the way your searchlight spots me,
but I still see glimmers of it, in the distance, teasing me with safety.
Sometimes I think that you’re too bright for me.
That I’m too dull, a match versus a flare.
Just tell me if I’m right
(I’m not often)
And I hope I’m not (I’d like to be).
• 4 March 2014 • 12 notes
There is a tug at the base of my skull
and I fell into it,
my back arched in gold, acred and ancient
some vengeful track, burnt across my flesh.
There is a chrome, painted matte black, end note,
cut into my pelvic bone,
as her mouth swallows me,
praying for a perfect storm.
I am communion wine at a funeral,
I am the screech of feedback, the whine of the stereo,
playing the oldest song we’ve ever heard.
• 4 March 2014 • 21 notes
Fuck Your Art
"Fuck your art."
That’s his purchase? His lot?
I’ll tie myself up in the trunk of someone else’s car
slit my throat and watch myself bleed numbers onto the tire iron.
Sometimes I have dreams where I’m drowning in spoonfuls of melted plasma
where my chest is collapsing from all the pinpricks
where I tear my extra rib out of my body and I shatter.
There is nothing here but silence
There is nothing here but.
I am trying so hard to reconcile what I was with who I am.
I am kissing my own scars after you kiss them
just to taste your lips.
I am kissing every ring I find
every ass I know
just to end up a debtor, a revenant,
smiling through sleet.
It took so much work to open up
and I’m scared of being like that,
because it’s easier to be vacant than to be too full;
full of bullshit, full of pressure, full of quiet and low battery.
I’m afraid of my own shadow
because I saw it from the back for so long
while I cowered behind a specter,
a little kid hiding behind long curtains
without a doubt in the world that his hiding place
is by and by, far more superior,
even as the seeker spies his mismatched socks
over big feet sticking out from behind the cloth.
I am a tapestry
and I’m woven from the shreds of what my parents couldn’t be
and what they don’t see is it’s all shit I can’t be.
Or shouldn’t be.
Or don’t fucking want to be.
I’ll tear off her clothes and I’ll wrap my hand around her throat.
I’ll spread her open and have my way with her until she’s beaten,
sore, crying in her own filth. I’ll violate her, write on her skin with
razorblades, shred her apart, tie her down, hit her, scream in her fucking face.
I’ll destroy her until she’s nothing but a shell, and I’ll crawl inside,
My bones cracking, breaking, my body spiraling until I’m just a soft, fragile thing,
Hiding behind the one bit I swore to protect.
After all I had done, she would bring me in, keep me safe.
I’ll sit within her, weak, tired, buried in sand, pushed further up the beach,
until a tall girl with long brown hair and a laugh that sounds like unfurling sails
will pick us up in soft hands, with nails that feel like summer;
She’ll put us to her ear and she will hear the sea.
• 1 March 2014 • 16 notes
Yo I wrote a poem/song while on the bus:
The first half is just a poem, standalone. The second half are lyrics to a new song. Which will come out soon. Ish. I live by no schedule. They are technically one piece though. Anyways, here you go:
I broke out of my cell
And the dams rolled in
Their subtle truth,
Down blankets and rocks and land:
My heavy heart hasn’t lost weight
But it sure is ringing.
And with each line
Each line crossed
I take a brick out
Of my wall, down a ways
And for every bell
I tie to my waist
You’d be surprised
For half your life you’ve been fighting
With ten thousand keys
Clenched in your palms
And I’m not asking you
To bid a farewell to arms
But to let me wear them a while
In dark parking lots
Where kisses sound like gunshots
On whiskey breath, butterflies and stomach knots.
So this I know:
My chest is heavy,
My ribs miscounted,
And they would all break for you
They’d break like the bars
Of the cage I was made
The cage where I found release
Like the waves over pipes
On a beach so hot
Nothing made sense to me
Like a bulldozer through
The places I was shamed
Id break like glass for you.
There’s plenty of space
For the both of us
Room enough to last
You don’t drink coffee
But if you did
You’d never take it black
There’s nothing but space
A god without grace
Face to the burning truth
I threw stones at the stars
And the sky fell down
Way down into you.
My heart is a ladder
With each rung remember
I’m dazed and black and blue
My hand is a hammer
That mostly just shatters
But sometimes fixes shit too
• 4 January 2014 • 27 notes
I overthink everything, you know?
I overshadow everything
and overover everything
because I’m so fucking scared
that people will get over me.
• 23 December 2013 • 22 notes
I don’t know everything,
I don’t know everything,
I don’t know everything,
but I know some things,
I know that snow is pretty sometimes.
I know that you roll your eyes at me.
I know that sometimes your left leg kicks
while you’re asleep.
I know all your favorite songs by heart.
I know you look at me in the morning
when you wake up and smile.
I know the (offbeat) tempo of your heartbeat.
I know I’m wrong.
I know I don’t know everything
I don’t know everything.
But I hope I know enough.
• 21 December 2013 • 18 notes