are you living for nothing now?
hope you’re keeping some kind of record
Remember the summer
we cried all the time? It’s this
summer, I just wish
it was over, that’s what I mean
by remember. Remember the morning
I couldn’t find anything, neither keys
nor car? It might have meant I wasn’t
leaving, or that nothing
was lost. Regarding the stripper
you’re fucking, you tell me: Now I’m not the one
who can dance. Suddenly the city
is all poles. I’m not sure
where I’ll go, the postcards just say
NOT HOME, say WISH
YOU WERE HERE. I’ve emptied
all the bottles. No genies. Just
worms. I’d wish to burn
your name from the tip
of my tongue, where it’s lived
for years now, the word
I can’t quite conjure, or
there isn’t one. Or else
you were only my first
wish, which would mean
I’ve still got two left, and I know
what I want this time: to remember
to have everything back.
Either everything’s a valley, a jelly donut
dimpled down the middle, or else everything’s
a collision of plates, crustal thickening on its way
toward muscled mountains. Either everything’s way,
way, beyond mid-gallop or a rundown shack haystack-
still, a dog-patch immobilizing glory, gumption, get up
and go. Either everything’s a sandy path leading
to a dune-saving fence or nothing’s guarded, out of reach.
Which is worse: too many walls or not enough,
the laciness of shams or an endless hallway of bare
jalousies, dead fly lounging on each lone pane?
Everything’s a spider, filling up on gnats, building/
breaking its web; that is, unless nothing’s a spider,
including the spider whose web is a map. Either
everything is happening or it’s quieter than a feeder
bereft of its pecking/twirling flicker. Either everyone
is needing something, a jump or a stroke, or else
it’s a mojito in the lotus position, cancer punching
its melanomic clock. Neuron for neuron, fly brains
outclass the ones loaded down with game change,
watershed moment, tipping point. Also, haven’t yet
figured out how to navigate by the stars.
don’t send me no postcards
You firestar. Pool of moonburst.
You turned my skin to dust. Rawblade glasstooth girl.
With your hot rage and bus ticket anywhere.
Never saw a woman run so many directions at once.
One night, you shined so bright the police came to watch.
Your bruises and shirt-shreds. How we all just stood there,
watching you shimmer. Afraid to flinch, for a faceful of claw.
You are some kind of firework. Flipswitch blues.
Broken Sundays spent towing the boulders out of you.
The Brooklyn 3am’s, frenzied as an upturned autobahn.
Your porchlamp laughter. The clack and sweep and throb.
The buttered slick of you. Your sweat-bead banshee pitch.
Mother warned me. Said your sugar was a ruse. Bait.
(As if madness is calculated.) I am the cruelest kind of lover.
A coward. Afraid of the thing most dazzling.
I wished the bleak into my own blood. Prayed a flock of rotten notes.
Some afternoons, I wander through your photographs. Letters.
Wonder if the river won your war.