and words come to rest on my shoulders. and fireflies come to dance in the darkness. and spine comes to keep me upright.
Instead of having dinner with my father, I went swimming. Capsized my ribcage into a small boat and let my insides float through the water. I kept hoping something resembling calm would begin to reside in them once more. I kept trying to breathe, hoping the world would breathe back a little softer/a little sweeter. My body felt lighter in the water – just a piece of a current. Just a currently floating egg in a world doused in gravity. I kept swimming; the light kept dying. I felt summer curl its hands around my throat like a promise. I felt summer come swarming in like a fire. I kept swimming; the light kept dying. The sunset hurled its hands towards the stars – the fireflies shook out their dancing legs and wandered me alive.
You brought up brother Richard, I saw you choke a little on your intake of breath. I feigned disinterest/I said I hadn’t heard from him – it was true. The look in your eyes said the same. I wish I knew how to help you brother, I wish I knew where you were. I wish I knew how to bleed out our family blood. I wish I knew how to feel whole again. I wish a family was a pair of strong hands on your back.
I think about the swell of the summer singing towards me. I think about endings. I think about beginnings. I think about the reason I broke up with you. I think about honoring that reason. Holding it to the light and being loyal to it. I think about loyalty. I think about finality, the fierceness of the heart, the windchime of the rain. I think about running back to the forest, folding myself up in the trees, covering myself back up in bark. I think about writing, getting myself back into the flow. I think about all the things I need to write. I think about honesty. And fear. And how to fight bravely for fearlessness. How to walk towards honesty. How to be brave.
and words come to rest on my shoulders. and fireflies come to dance in the darkness. and heart comes to keep me fearless.
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start…And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
warm cotton heart, tucked inside my chest – i feed it well, keep it fearless and folded/a turn style/a watering can. the light – a presence; a singing bell of summer starting to chime. the way the dashes and hyphens of the branches keep tapping morse code to me. calling me out, calling me out, get out of your skin. carry your fear to the center of the forest and leave it there. bury it well, in desert ash and worm soil. let it go, let it go. the weight of worry that hums with you on a tuesday afternoon. let it go, let it always go drifting into this bask of light. this swelter of sunlight leaves. this canopy of harmony and hallowed wind. sacred is the day/sacred too – my heart. our little hearts that light the way like fireflies come out to dance in the darkness. our little hearts that light the way.
follow them. let them go. let them be. let them sing. let them swarm into the light. moths we are, little winged ephemerals. little things we are, just bursts of light. little hearts aflame in the dark. lighting the way are we, always lighting the way are we. always fighting the fear are we, always fighting the fear.
and winning, we are.
goldenfire hot rod light – pummel me, little photons. courage me out of my skin and let us glow, let us glow around this theatre – hunger voices parading about the stage, let my ribs catch the hollow echo of my own voice. let us wade deep into the light – let us wash clean the ghost voices that sit in the bricks. let us make our bones into magicians – little word wizards for an hour or two. hungry my heart, hungry my words/fire my cavern of a chest that cripples itself with ribs and cages – burned ash and tenderness. i keep loving the world, i keep loving the walls of a theatre, i keep loving the spin of a spiral staircase in a satin dress, i keep loving the swell of the sea that hunts me across a stage. the world is touching between my heart and the air i still have yet to breathe. the world is watching, i am waiting. waiting to explode again. i love breath, i love light, i love catching fire in my skin and racing it around in circles until the audience claps. i love this fire and i’m not ready for it to go out. even the embers, i think, will still keep my skin aglow. so let it burn, let it burn.
june bugs come swimming into my spine/summer blood comes pumping into my veins/heat stroke comes filling behind my eyelids – i am aswelter with ferocity and love. grace and grass stains. bug-bitten and love bidden. the season somes swimming towards me – teeth bared, firefly singing, sweat-faced flying. curled up little mountain roads – sighing up catskill corners, floating into upstate new york. up, up, you can see the horizon dipping over new paltz, you can watch the little lights glow on the hillside at dusk. you can feel the stars pulling themselves out of bed – peering through the blanket of the sky – curious, wondering, wandering – stretching their bones, curling their hair. ready, ready, are you ready stars? are you ready for another season of junebug magic and ferris wheels?
stage lights – are you ready? are you filled with cataclysm? with the echoes of voices ready to catch – to reverberate – to sing back to a hollow chest pumping summer blood, firesweat – wilderness heart? do we have the heart – are the hearts still beating?
follow that rhythm. it will follow you back. second star to the right and straight on till morning.
never nothing always / calls me from my skin
rings me round my rosie – a pocket full of
folded napkins / wishes / tissues;
pat-a-cake corners and creases
goldrenrod afternoon and i am a curled toe on a blade of grass. june wanders in like a warm lagoon-fellow, i am a suitor. the summer sizes me up, asks me whether i am gentle enough to know it. i bask in the rays of something ponderous and hazy – gold-flecked and sun-beam twirled. there is light coming through the leaves – haven’t you heard? haven’t you seen their electricity on chlorophyll? haven’t you seen the tongues of roots – pulling towards – the sun, or the haze, or the courage of june to exist. like a small thumping heart under the ground – pulsing green fire into the sky. everything reaches – higher, hazier, dipped in fresh goldleaf. the meadow, walking towards me, knows nearly everything i do not know.
the fallen sun, hungering towards sleep, rests its solid colors on the horizon like a pillow, turns to tuck itself in, rolls about in its cotton sheets; its violet, pink and rose; its sunset wool grasping towards the evening like a lullaby in the sky. i sing heavy eyes – wild eyes – gold is gasping in my hair. sunset eyes now – dappled vision – song of bravery through the trees now. turning now, towards the approach of summer moonsong. it’s coming, it’s coming. summer moon is rising.
The autumn I learned how to paint, I was 17 and dazzled with discovery. I would thrill myself with the finality of the paintbrush – the still of the art room – the metallic stench of acrylics. I would rush home, dazed from hours of paint fumes and lay under the leaves, close my eyes and imagine painting the canopy above me. I was consumed to my bones with the delight of discovery. I could not get enough. I painted everything I could find. I knew I wasn’t a master – but I had an appetite. I had joy. I had a love affair with the discovery of a new art. I painted chairs, I painted pieces of wood I found. I delighted in watching colors talk to one another. Jangle next to each other, blend, mend, become one. Become something wholly new. Entropy. Ecstasy. I felt wild in my own skin.
Above all things, I wish for that – I wish for that for all people. The thrill of satisfaction. Discovery, joy, empowerment, creation, wonder, fascination, passion. An affair with creativity. With what you can create with your strange body and your magnificent mind and the things around you. That is wildly attractive to me.
And if I’m being completely honest, I’ve still got love stories stuck in my veins – like a chronic illness, I can’t seem to beat it.
I’ve gotten better at reclaiming my own life though. My own time. My own architecture. The rhythm of my story and the sound of my own narrative. My life as a creator, that will always fulfill me. Profoundly – if I am thrilled with discovery. More than any other type of classical “success” (which is all bullshit, honestly) – I seek only that lustful discovery. That lust for life. That thrill in discovery, in fulfillment, in creation. And a creative partner, then. Someone who sees, recognizes. Walks towards the strangeness with me with consciousness, wonder and a lust for life. And a sense of their own story. Of the beauty of a narrative unfolding. And the way two stories clink together like music.
Your mind ratchets like a sprocket
changing gears, ripping seams,
suddenly your mind sees with different ears
Maybe your body too,
feels it – the snap of sinews,
the stretch of musculature,
your chest when my head burrows, neatly into tendon and courage, tucked into your lungs, and the space between your ribcage amd your heart – cells like anything else, atoms like anything else, raging like anything else – a marching band like anything else, like everything else is only a slave to this wizard – this heart creature, swollen and incorrigible
My string of dandelion vertebrae corrode into honey and jam, marmalade words ringed like opals in your eyes
i supple, watering can, grow mountains/ i shed tectonic plates/ i am walking rose bush, fluttered silk/ i am musculature on fire/ i am waterboned and rivergasping
Thank you for this poem of a day, and the way it leaned on me
Hot blooded orchestra feet and a temperament for meat/ rich, waddling, grass-leaved eyes
The answer is I figured out how to unstopper the valve in my head
We live in the literary dreaming
Circumstantial words, or
coal in reverse – carbonizing back to plantlife –
keep it in the ground, it will form a circle.
A circumstance of stances not taken yet;
dances still flirting in dis-repose/
I said – to me, you are the alwaysman,
You said I cannot remember the shape of your hand, or
why you think mine should fit in yours
Heavy metals, though, they need supernovae to form/
We can manage it –
large hadron collider and such,
but the time
it will take
to match gravity
to your memory/
quizzical destiny looking itself up in the dictionary;
like two timelines clinking champagne glasses –
a salute to our cellular happenstance
and the fate-magma bubbling inside
(i told you i don’t believe in fate – you said,
but i do)
the golden concoction of feelings on the water;
the seven pm Spring light:
I am that and
I am that too –
the willful ignorant rage of the shadows creeping
something about a day beginning or
something about a day ending or
can I manufacture something like emotion
something like Love –
can I turn it on;
like a weapon
Can I graze it against my face;
a finality; a river
Escalations of bone; I am broth; I am hunter
you press me; flower ribcage into your book –
a field guide gatherer, a fumbled heart forager;
a finder of lost lingerings
I, a postcard,
I, a lock of hair still
Is it a lock then – or a key – or a strand?