currents incur

she spun in a trance. slow and deliberate,
feeling where her body ended and the atmosphere began,
between feeling and the potential to.
the birth and death of everything in the arbitrary lines.
those crooked cursive scratches on the bathroom walls of time.
electric current coursing through the synapses,
the hot sticky air,
the torrents of breath,
the ensemble tale,
awash with the mist of evaporate both of sweat and drink.
the way she moved had once been described as apocryphal.
her heavy steps, looming and cataclysmic,
with a weight unlike anything physical,
like something wholly extra-biblical.
the intensity, birthed by deliberation,
hung heavier than any odorous perfume.
the intent, salvaged from desperation,
spoke louder than any preoccupied patron.

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olly olly oxen free, never meant a thing to me

I used to steal bikes when I was young. Ride circles around kids as they stood alone, pooling tears on their dirty shirts, reeling back every time I sparked my brother’s lighter before riding away on their tricycles.
I’m not going to tell you why.

In middle school, I told every boy I was gay to learn how to fight. Smirking, sucking blood from my missing tooth, faculty on my side, untouchable. The stench of white trash flooded behind the dumpsters, drenching me in their fathers’ unearned respect. Sharing stolen matches. Indian giving cowboy killers.

Crooked teeth in wire cages split skin, the only noise that cruel vacuum gasp when fist recoils from chest. Accordions on silent strings. Whisping torrents of breath flutter ghostly, haunting hollowed bodies. Each strike rattling a dull droning buzz up my bones. A toothless, horridly tuneless fork.

No father abate me. Only a mother to hold, and scold herself for the martyr and his acolytes she made take his place. Straining back the lawnmower cord, between the rattles and the clicks I learn her favorite word. From her favorite bottle, I pour a drink. She pours another, unfolding her every wilting detail until all her drops run dry.

I meet the girl I wish to abandon with my child one day between bells and an attendance sheet marked absent. She kisses me, blushlessly, hand on my zipper, feeling me twitch, smile wide as time. She said it was on a dare. She is a bad liar. A dial lock jut into my spine, the combination known, but not by me.

Cold spring lawn shops close under the dark spitting clouds. We steal then smash mirrors in the streets. Behind a shed not far from our destination, we find a new one.  Exposed foundation and cracked checkered tile makes an odd rendition of a glass house. We settled in together, soaking through our threads and slicking our skins.

Silver staring back at me, as raindrops fell, and made bubbles when dipped beneath the surface. The water bubbled, condensed, and dripped, pooling beneath the spiderweb cracks chiseled into the porcelain pot. Our once-sopping mops stiffened by the breeze. Irregular and dark, encrusted as sculpted stone busts.

She smiled at me then, eyes alight in that golden hour somewhere between memory and falsehood. Embellishments ripple static in their wake, crossing what is known, and becoming, rather, something understood. Experience, the inadequate brother of Parable, built his bones on half-lies masquerading as half-truths.

We squatted there in that tub, tangled up in that tepid basin. Ripples mocked our beating chests. The tops of our knees quaked above the liquid mirror, frightened to touch while numb to all feeling. Open only to the exuberance carried by the frigid winds we could not see and the bottomless potential behind our eyes that we could.

I have one hundred-ninety two years of bad luck left to live. Thirty-seven and a half mirrors until I claim my jubilee. Impossible now to look back. Hindsight shattered, shards embedded deeper than probing introspection aided by the oil brewing poisonous in my liver cares to dig free.

salt & ice

grasping at straws, the final fault your own undoing,
like a thread pulled slow enough to keep together while the rest frays.
the memories alive with a feeling long forgot,
the gullible future continuing to exist in vaporous fleet,
mercied not by the winds of change or time or guilt,
dispersed by a gust, spread to the arbitrary corners beyond the place less traveled.
freed by inclinations to be, take the last step into your first life apart,
now as one from the all, the last of the many,
the few of the rest of all of us, we tired and deceived.
the nonsensical whimsy that stems from gouging piercings lying
somewhere between your salivating acceptance of the unbelievable
and the germane remnants strewn threw the fingers
like a screen to mirrors previously unseen.
unseemly backlit daydrifts glitter
as perspiration on the mounds mounting higher
with each passing blade sparked at the slightest agitation
but never enough to light the way.
kindle be damned, gather the rest,
cup the ember before it groans, croaks, fades, and dies.
to your own lies be true.
to your own lies be always true.

(originally written: 02.10.16)

she wears the shore

Worship me.
She whispered to the bellowing Wreck.
The planks succumbed, her salty lips
twist and brine and break his decks.
He shuddered, his only wish to splinter and sink,
collapse amid the flow, her swirling undertow.
Worship me, the boundless wet dark.
Do not forsake me, you splinters, you sticks,
I welcome all who fall to my depths.
The Wreck takes his last breath, unable to savor
before lights dip, hiss, and bubble their last gasp.

analog

The last note fell flat, warbled by the old crooked vinyl. The needle tracked in the narrow circle, clicked and began humming analog static. With a soft hand, he brushed her hair back. The freckles around her eyes were black spots in the moonlight. Little drops of rusty water leaking onto a sheet. The record made its round and clicked, its warm crackle like fingers tearing open a delicate package. Like the sea, only far away, as if in a shell and misremembered as if it had never been heard before. Something in the way her head rested on his chest, going up and down, like waves matched to the rhythm of the shiny black disk spinning as absently as his breath.
He caught it like a fish between his hands-there for an instant before swimming away back into the black twisting leaves of wet weeds-the memory of this moment transfixed in his mind’s eye as another far far away. He often shut his eyes for fear of blinking away such rare vivid recreations of his own recollection. This time he lost his gaze somewhere between her chin and her lips and the cool air she exhaled onto his arm. The dunegrass rustling in the breeze, he found her then, while wishing for nothing else but to not be found. Her toes gripped the sand, feeling for shiny polished pebbles to be flung into the foam. Little cross-hatches marred the surf where she had stood. He recounted her steps back as far as he could tell, but he knew her tendency to pace in circles, it started and ended the same. Like it always had.
The record clicked and the waves reset the sands, white, solemn, and lonely. She paced in her pattern, edging nearer and nearer to the briny waters. The whispy brown thistles parted at the whisper, the question, the worry carried by the weight of her name said aloud. He expected no call, or any answer, just a peace left in the brush to be washed away by the tides. Experience, not the explanation. He wanted the other, but deep down he knew he was wrong.
Her eyes matched the clouds strewn across the sky, thick as soot–freckled as the rest of her. Never taking her gaze from the edge of the world. Everything held in place as she stood in the center of the mirror. Both sides offering their boundaries with hands overflowing. She saw the clouds break in the surf, the salt falling on her from above. Her timid slender toes found a stone grit against another and flung it to where the water retreated, pulled by the moon herself. She took a step into the damp. Bemused or perplexed at how it held her weight, scratching salt polish against her nails as they crept down into the tidal pools.
Breath flooded into her lungs as the brine washed under her soles. She gasped as it were her first breath as the stray sands loosed now scrambled back on cold receding fingers. The shiver tore up her spine and the bellows blew back her hair. Hands outstretched feeling every prickle and bite with welcome. Her jubilant squeal twinged with an unexpressed longing was lost to him as the waves broke again on the sand. The cacophony embraced her as the tide rolled in, clutching at her with every step, curling its clear, wet fingers. She beckoned and bellowed and danced as the sea splashed up to her thigh.
She had told him once how fearful of the sea she was. The expanse of nothing, while even resting on solid ground, it frightened her enough to avert her eyes and pretend she was somewhere else entirely. She had never told him about the day she embraced it with open arms, clattering teeth, tossing rocks into the drink to test the depth where her feet would eventually follow. She never said how she saw the horizon cut the sky and how she had never seen anything as beautiful as the maw gaping, frothing, twirling, spinning, breaking before her. She had never said, but he had seen it. Now alight in memory, soon to be lost again as it had been for decades. But someday, he knew, she would remember too.

a rainy walk to work

Puddle muddled pills, bottle obscured beneath the grime.
Sewer grate mainlines off the mainland into the deep end.
Fishes in the drink beat the heat with a hearty dose, strained through the streets.
Wet stones, blocked paths, both slow, two in a row, three blinks;
where did the trees go?

Overhang clutching at the clouded streaks. It creaks.
This crippled corrugate canopy. It leaks.
Empty tank below, its threaded spines are showing.
Cross the way, past chain link and paint spray,
walls where there were none.

missing you, wolf eyes

passion projects onto walls the scatterbrain shock of refined attention.
definite despair, the disrepair, a life unfair, wages learned, faces turned
round and around suiting whomever’s found.
liver liquidation, pornographic pacification, sideways semantics, incestual suicide.
pipes aplenty. dreams be few. too far to see you.

-owed to the place now home.