He said he was afraid of the oceanSpring's splattering blood orange dustHe said he was afraid of the ocean by *archelyxs
on branches fallen into place and when I scratch
my skin open, it's because I want to see it bloom,
red and icosahedral. Our mosaical tome
of shifting tenses questions the swift
years dwelling behind my teeth. I offered you
handfuls of pink diamonds with green dirt
caught under my nails and I expected you
to tear my throat out of my neck,
but I can't come with the sound of the sea
rushing through the architecture,
your body keeping house for all your slender ghosts.
Here we're so electrified and warm,
the air pressure inside our lungs so low
that we could drown in breath
but I would rather
The birds are strung around the house-
a mobile. Set into motion, they drag Helios
skyward. I keep vigil- blackbirds
jackdaws crows starlings- They lift
a tornado of light, from some other
time or dimension. Eos watches
but the doves who follow, timid.
They spill from their windows- Release
their fragrance, a soft glow that sits heavily among
the feeble&young. Release
their rumbling, fat resonance- They narrate as
the building vomits
a whitewash of movement.
These are the wastelands.
End of his cloak trails upon
the sleeping. All that is left:
a dense light in the shadows.
DionysusI see how you are shaken
by a mad fever, Dionysus.
You tremble in the moonlight's
gleaming nectar as does a new,
loose-limbed fawn, heady
with a foreign ecstasy that runs heavily
through your veins.
Your dance is a bright and glowing
beast that rattles the world to its bones.
I can feel it: the stirring storm; the spark
scuttling just beneath the earth; the violent wind
that scrapes soil from its gaping mouth.
Oh! How the night
is a-quiver with wanting
when you sing. In the distance
a cricket scrapes together its wings; strikes a low hum
in its paper-thin breast as it wrings rivers
from the clustered bodies of grapes. The stars
O Dan Rot.Dan Rot, a man
of considerable comic timing
who came on rackety wings around the globe
in thirty days or so,
visiting once again with a night on his heels
copping feels on innocent ladies pillowed in bathtubs,
i was black like night
and i was ringed in rainfall
i was so glorious
a spiraling psyche led me to one thing
and this town never could have contained me
a spinning science to my insanity
bends in the system and curves of the power lines
a beauty to plywood and splinter breaks that cannot be defined
bends in the path, a northward slide
strand you in a parking lot
i was vicious and viscous
and i was perfect
as i die
On Recursive ThoughtsThis curve of bone no more than
a whitened hive. Inside,
legs, jointed. How these feet catch
and scratch and cling,
a claw in each synapse,
a voice for each and every touch.
A why and why again.
A gauze of wings, held up,
a gauze before my eyes, a misted world,
those stick-dry veins blurred and close.
Somewhere the scent of venom,
the sharpness caught behind my skull.
Each needle-sting a thought and thought again,
a layering up, another string of words,
another cascade of loosened thoughts, a buzz
of voices with their tired whys.
One day I may open this hive-mouth
and watch the exodus go by.
365things are capable of changing
ice to water to smoke
over the course of a year
my heart has unfolded
the way a garden worships
rebuilding itself from multiple
a winter that has
gone on far too long
I can’t think where my
demons have gotten to
perhaps swatted dead
like flies while I’ve
less than twelve months
to finally be able to awaken
into a dark blue that is
only deepening with
The Failed SketchesI draw you in pencil
by listening to your movements beneath fabric.
By peeling open pomegranates
and leaving them lying in different
phases of moon,
I drain your segments over each other
It's not long before
you are a gathering of toppled crescents,
a sphere breaking into sensations,
a door that is not open, not closed.
I sketch you with pebbles for cells,
umlauts for a voice,
a cursive vowel for each ear.
Days pass for your eyes.
Days pass like letters of the alphabet.
Animals die in all your spans.
An hour is a strand of hair,
a week is a warmth off the side of your neck.
I add color with the pomegranate's wetnes
Ranworth BroadSometimes I remember Norfolk,
the wetlands stretching out to meet the sea,
and the sun on the rustling reeds,
and the swallowtails darting
like paper kites. And I remember
John, bird-man, nature-man,
hands steeped in soil,
who could have been my father
and instead taught me about
moles and goosegrass, steering
the boat through the narrow waterways,
and I remember listening for the cry
of the curlew.
ElsewhereNights like these I stay awake watching glass shards
shine in heaven-light, and my mother says that I should go, Elsewhere.
Rain doesn't stop for the little losts—underwater at one o'clock;
still the streetlights blaze like midnight suns, and whale song drifts
past parked cars.
Nights like these I am waterlogged, wandering, and I don't find
Atlantis just a sofa downtown where the whale lovesongs are raindrop-borne,
slipping through the window and dripping onto hands. I remind myself I am
only alone, though missing—the weight of my cat on my feet and my
sister's soft sleeping.
glass in the tidegradac, croatia; summer.
it is a town climbed up from the sea:
a salt hymn, an exhalation, a brightly calcified
spray. the houses here are overgrown
as wildflowers, paths like tiny winding veins
sprung alive between them. from my balcony i watch
the sun crest slowly into afternoon,
and mothers lead their children
down stone slopes, arterial pull
to the water. by the shore,
vendors sell bottles of olive oil, salt,
sage, gathering up anything with the taste
of what mystery inhabits the air—brimming over
the glass lips, a curving kind of joy,
the whole earth, a bowl of it.
at night, my uncle drinks beer
and i drink wine. he watches
in Asphodelwe met under the stairs,
under the stars made of bone.
you brought a book, there was
coffee in my hair, we shared
a drink. there were children who ran
together in a blur. the moon
was a face i had seen
the grandmother's house poemsi.
my first idol was gene kelly
i wanted to tip my hat to frilly women
creases in my trousers so sharp
they could be used as weapons
i would smell like cedar
dank alleyways where bruises are bestowed
and everyone has a second
stomach-down on an orange shag carpet
chin in hands
til my elbows were rubbed raw
watching a gender i could never perform
pressed into the seams of a slate-blue suit
my grandmother equates food and love
but won't try anything green
or bell peppers
or brown bread
but grandma, the waffles
the frozen cinnamon ones
you had to wait long excruciating moments for
lightspillingin dusk, the light greets the night.
the day spills into darkness,
a sublime fusing of fierce
contrast, shadowed lace
laid across the land
in delicate balance,
ink fingers stretching
to embrace the last, fading
of the sun.
i thought we might be like that.
a brilliant blend
of obverse elements.
it was more like
smoke swallowing the flame.
to my mother who speaks windwhat went through your mind when you left
that country of redembered sacrifice and
glorious golden farsi? mother, i love this
place here: louisiana. mother, i love how its
humidity vies for my attention and smothers me
lush as halfripened fruit. rolling the
sweat down the divide of my back like a nail
scratching one teasing line down the spine
of a book, coaxing it open. how did you
take the shadow man's hand and flee? i can't
imagine you took flight by a sagebundled night
(all wrapped up in its earthly mercy, waiting to
burn and settle the ruffled spirits). i
imagine you swaddled your immense dignity
in your youthful ancient hands
She tells him the child is not his.
The old women mutter and cluck
as they slap wet cloth against river stones.
He wraps his arms around his chest as though he fears
he will also sprout with child. "A dove,"
he quietly asks? She points to a blood spot
on her cheek. "He pecked me here." It still hurts
when she touches it. It always hurts.
He loves the child, the cuckold's hatchling. He loves his lying wife.
But he knows she lies. When the old men stumble
into the stable, beards matted, coarse as grain,
he simply mutters, "Drunks," bad wine, betrayal.
One afternoon as he saws cedar planks, sawdust thick as pollen,
an angel catches his
SteadfastIf you break your heart at me
I will catch the pieces, thread them,
spend them, melt-down coinage.
This is the spectre-fade, downgraded,
kissed and caressed in confidence -
rolls of fat, orchestrated,
bent along a slackening crest.
You are consumption, the hack
smothered with lavender. You are
the click of my back
when I stretch, and sleep in water.