scratched into my skin

Dear Benny,

Tonight I feel you everywhere. Your caustic voice, your rippling laugh, your eyes on me – a secret joke – your rough scratched beard a promise ; your caretaking a memory. The lights glow with that familiar warmth, the chords sing with some ancient harmony // the cup-sized friendship still holds water – your absence is everywhere though , sitting on the couch ; I do not want to glower in this feeling of aliveness; it feels somehow wrong ; I remember the care you gave others, the resonance of your sincerity, your advice, clear like a knife, rich with experience ; I remember your stories ; your late night lettuce theiving ;; some joke you are always playing on the world / the impossibility of your absence, the firmness of your presence in all of us ; the way our hearts are all scarred ; the way our scars show faultlines — tectonic plated ; aching love that burns deep ; rivers that peel canyons into stone // leaves marks ;; like so many scratched prison tattoos you pressed into your own skin ; like so many handmade tattoos you tried to teach me how to make – on some summer night when the music flowed out onto the side patio and the warm night air flooded the LED lights you brought to bring light to our magic – and my own virgin skin, my precious lack of understanding, only conceiving in imagination the reality that you bore, the thick reality of piercing yourself with handmade instruments in the loneliest of places – in solitary confinement, ratcheting new dreams onto your skin as a prayer, as a promise, to one day give your light, your art, dreams, back to us, and me, in my fragile understanding, undeserving of this momentous gift – the love and understanding you bestowed, like a prayer, like a promise, and the good works I must follow to the edge of visible light, past hardships I cannot conceive of except in imagination – to spread the light, to keep the promise, like so many handmade prison tattoos scratched into my skin – be that honest. Be that giving.

More than your conception can imagine.

like a dream of a static universe

I am chasing this little pink flash across the sky , on this, what is almost certainly a winter sunset now ; I am tracing the outline of the bare branches in the reflection on the water and trying to find the places where I went wrong / where I cracked in the growing outwards of my branches / I’m trying to learn / I am gazing up at what is a quickly darkening haze of hues and trying to place myself inside of my own world / trying to reach towards how to know what it is I need to know at any given moment ; on my long confusing journey towards this endless horizon we can never reach ; that is always just dipping beyond the edge of visible sight ; that is always just meeting the night where the day ends , somehow effortlessly at a fixed point in our vision ; like a dream of a static universe we are never actually standing in ; in a dream, as if time is one small step in front of the other ; and not an endless circling ; and not an endless expansion ; as if the trees are not rooting in deeper and reaching out higher – always for more light, more strength – never a fixed point in the soil, but an endless connection of bones and bloodlines ; like vertebrae through the happenstance little bundle of cosmic rock we happened to bumble out of // Hello sky ; hello to the endless calling out to the sky ; waiting for it to circle back around again

edge of the forest path, 12 years old

How the years have pulled me like a sideways cloud; drifting penniless through the aching twirl of new autumns gone by; how, when I was 12, I pressed my fresh footed boots into this soil ; cut my heart on the sides of tree branches ; placed promises to what I would be into the mud ; how we walked, we laughed, we gasped at the feelings that arose in our body like new strangers come to rest inside of us ; How we prayed for love like tattoos on our flesh ; wondering how free we’d get to be when we were no longer 13 ; stuck in the middle of a flesh hurricane ; a puberty pressure pressing us into the sidewalk like daisy chains into cement / a love letter written with mascara on a pillar of marble / How many times I walked down this path pressing some name onto my lips like a ritual ; an obsession with setting myself away from the line of squares that lined up geometrically ; and when the bell rang. how I filled my pockets with acorns; or laid in the dirt under the stars and giggled until I knew how to giggle in a way that was socially appropriate ; how I learned to tuck my hair behind my ear ; pull a ribbon into it ; check my makeup in the mirror ; how I learned to girl, to woman, to grow and to shrink; how we best friended down the woodland path ; how our lives stretched out in 1,000 different directions: my friends, my friends ; and what I didn’t know ; what I didn’t know ; how to recognize the sound of the wind; the sound of my child’s laughter; the sound of my heart beating against the waves of some distant shore // When holy meant the edge of the forest path because the forest was unwalked; unknown; or if I had walked it – the small space it covered in this small town was a wild mystery large enough in itself to span several countries in the imagination ;; when sacred was the tiny comfort of being seen by two small eyes on a lonely big world not big enough for me yet

when the sun comes back around

And now the first hardness forms; the crinkle paper tissue firmament on the water – The cracking of the first ice cooling together at the end of this autumn / the slashes in the shapes that form like broken stars ebbing towards one another / and here the leaves still hold their gold : the sun still flecks through the quickly chilling air ; but my hands quiver and my foolish heart knows not one ray of light from the other ; but still hunts for endless summer, still begs for the day to rise longer, truer ;; this growth is like an up-ended backbend ; it doesn’t feel like growth at all ; feels like cutting off limbs and letting them sink into the ice tipped water / strength is something I am told to have / love is something I will never not feel in every cell of my body like some endless curse I am always walking in / the ground is covered in gold too – now the fallen just resting in puddles – everything that was created this year resting now silently on the ground – about to molt together into one another in the icy blush of burrowing away into the old soil and the new; to be reborn again when the sun comes back around ; when the sun comes back around ;;

and me I twist my soul to the sky – try to air it out – try to let it fly again ; and me I resemble this soft pale November cloud ; I float, grazing the atmosphere, touching blue, I do not belong in this sky / and here just the crunchy tips of the water fold their hands together, Make solid what was once liquid ; but still, it is liquid just underneath the fine filament of hardness that is crusting on the top – the hardness that is making star shapes splinter across what used to flow in the wind; and remains now still ;  silent ;

not enough frenzy

Thunderclap and lightning vow; the final bow of the faded glory season; sings its silent leaf falling song; fills up the still water with reflections of leaves gone by; now gathering like apples bobbing, gathering in clumps; entropy and wishbone cloud formations; fumbling together like friends at the top of the water; like a rainbow of lily pads leaning towards the russet hues; and here the hollows – The ghosts are nothing more than laughs on the ripples; we sit watching the season grasp towards the light; we cackle towards the horror; the perversion of what is so obviously benign and beautiful; the forest displayed in hungry colors; not a death march, but a celebration of release / This cacophony of creation at its final interpretation; nothing scary about it , this world of branches and brambles and the way fog floats through the forest under the October moon ; nothing scary about it , the way we hold our hearts like half-remembered song lines; drilled out of the earth; like so many pipelines fracking for something real; for the freedom to pipe our fresh songlines back into our lungs ; so many ancestors forgotten ; like so many traditions pushed down the river in a basket , dumping out to the polluted Hudson , fumbling towards the endless plastics of the ocean / bones rattle in the branches ; old ancestor disappointment – at how we forget everything, fear everything, pervade our corrosion of disconnection into a paradigm of gore and gush;

This family of ducks weaves their way between the new terrain; the freshly assembled families of leaves in their water; as more fall around them gently, gently, gracefully, gracefully

I will never stop being disappointed in our society; in how we peel away from the precious; how we skitter away from the sacred; and coerce every sleeping promise of connection towards the hacked up reverie of some feverish frenzy towards the frantic ferocity of fear;; too much fear, not enough frenzy

fuzzy starlight

rough-bellied open wound, sore casket ;; when the Band-Aid comes off the blood better be ready to rush / your head in my hands, a scraggle faced prayer , something I have grown into , a rush I never knew would mean this much to me ; a head I never imagined would fit my hand so elegantly / no one knows where the end of the thread is / and when it hurts it hurts like hell

well that’s the thing about people ;; there’s never gonna be another you / there’s never gonna be anyone who holds their back up exactly the way that you do ,  anyone who makes me laugh just the way that you do , and you can’t write the list down , of the qualities and conditions , you can’t quantify it // you can hardly hold it in your fingers for long enough before it flashes off again / you made me feel like a thousand dizzy dreams / you looked at me like you could see the stardust inside of me / I can only hope to make someone feel as magical as you make me feel

and still somehow again the ocean feels so wide; so deep to swim and still somehow again I wish I could place the fuzzy starlight back into your eyes ;; I wish i could plunge the fairy dust into your throat again ; pearl the silent memories through your hair / I wish autumn would come with no change ;; the evergreen forest of this brief love, always green, always green // I wish Time would let me hold it in my hand ; and let me hold it as long as I need to , before the sun calls me again down that road , that dusty time clock peeling away in every direction ;; I wish my life did not look through ten thousand windows of possibilities , always framed , lacey curtains billowing in some almost life ; I wish my life was a solid path I could not walk off of ;; a thousand maybes falling off the branches of the trees ; i wish i could stand the thought of not being inside of in a thousand golden shimmering leaves twirling around me ;; I don’t want to get old / I don’t want to lose magic / I want to keep spinning out like a star full of baubles and bursts; steady in the clear stream of sapped air trapped staring // i wish i could live in between the light and what it hits; it between the light and what it makes perceivable;; in between the light and what percieves it – inside of the fuzzy starlight between us

now that the shadows have shifted

thick saturation ; This October world ; this golden sun dream beaming ; This orange rust brush, russet indigo golden stream of sapped honey – thick light This forest – paled in air just thick enough to feel – a mingled spoon twirled cup of cold and warm touching each other through a screen door ; this temperature of air – each fully formed particle both heaving away and clamming together all at the same time // walking through this air a wall of mixed temperatures caressing one another / an orgy of lost weathers knitting sweaters for the new day \ and here the red perched next to the yellow perched next to the green / The half-assed rainbow of the season waving its tinny flag // and the grass; the long grass, each spoked wheel of a spoken word speaking back — the way they catch the golden hour in their trilling hairs — the way they weave baskets of golden light on the ground — their own woven delicacies  ,, the heat has no sticking power;; flutters but cannot land ;; touches but does not settle , The way the slightest shadow of a tree cuts through the warmth firmly / as if this light were butter half melted // the way that summer fills completely every arched and laden walkway; this light is a character, touches only where it is seen, flees where it is hidden, stretches its webbed fingers only as far as they can reach, before it peels away, busy on its next adventure to infect some masterpiece ;; to trace a honey outline on some spiderweb ; to glaze the sublime on the side of a wall, and to follow you back along the path, now that the shadows have shifted

brief meditation on the life of maggie pollitt

this rose quartz chinadoll; this sunken chunk of flesh and sex; this four-poster bed draped in southern wind, the little traces of sunlight blinking through the lilywhite + cream curtains – the peak, the sneak, the garter belt, the rotation of heels and earrings ; the pearls; the diamonds cascading through fingertips still silken at the skin ,, still soaked in sin, still flashing tumbler whiskey dry , high time , high noon , Memphis heat boiling over the ice cube coldness – bitter fringe of society; the society we live in; the rolled up pant leg to expose / to expose; the exposition of timelessness;  of ankles broken, twisted, mangled words hulked on top of one another like a hawk-cries’ promise \\ It’s just a mechanical thing, this love ; or the magical disappearing act of it \ it’s just a mechanical thing, this heart or the wild feet I race back and forth in circles / This blue satin love, a sash around the waist, a dash of haste stealing around your chaste angled brow upwards,, the disdain, the rotating glass chiming clock chimes in the hallway, endless hours of saturated sun ; croquet balls flung mid moon air suspended ; never hitting the target through the delicate wire frame the ball is supposed to chime through ; the delicate wire frame ; the endless succession of words, the postponement of pleasure, of honesty, the bravery of standing on your own two feet, and barking into the moonlight

beautiful virus

The light turns buttery ; fringes through the branches ; curls light green at the edges ; the forest is sending postcards // today the stream is laughing awe-filled laughs;; each drop a silent memory released ;; the drip-drop humble hands, the tips of branches gone dry into the restless pool of water beneath it;; begs for something shallow , cool , irreverent ;; something to bathe itself in ; the coolness everywhere peels back the saturation , the vibrance , the funnel of summer colors that reach towards the endless blue ,, everything pulls away; pulls back in on itself; chlorophyll like a half remembered promise — passing through for today ; a cheat day today; the cheap linen cues cascading around the bushels of greenery like a half-assed acceptance / here and there the color windows / just here and there it seems it pulls back from the world / like a frozen lullaby , like a soft beautiful virus , metastasizing slowly , effortlessly [ with great ease ] no makeup, no care for presentation, just a bunch of old roots sending messages up the tree willy nilly – an optional RSVP at this point in the season,, a forged signature, a foraged bundle of new paints, a slow attempt at learning a new skill // fall never comes in the cascades of color pops that adorn some windows 97 screensaver;; it comes in oceanic waves, subtley, inconsistently – never quite fully satisfied or in cohesion across the forest, each little drummer beating its own autumn tune at its own pace — the natural drumbeat of release,, always somehow in tune with itself,, unplayable by me, far too many harmonies, this perfectly strung chord, impossible to replicate, just above sonically recognizable, but breaktaking to hear


radioactive love, this mountain of moving music // the miles from my eyes to yours ;; the stretched distance which becomes thin upon listening / the curvature of sound which never makes it from my lips to yours / the desperation of angled skin cells ; hunting for one another ; like a desolate skeleton of love once-discarded ; always buried ; never burned ; ashen in cruelty ; and firmly, fearlessly;; still alive