Memorial Day

The same specks of dirt
Reappear
Roughly every six months.
I strain to erase them
Burnishing tiles, baseboards, cobwebbed ceiling corners
With bleaches, acids, soaps
But mostly warm tap water,
A fizzing, monotonous stream of white noise
Underlying the meditation of quietly frustrated scrubbing.
This is just another silent dialogue with the world
That we forget or elude,
Eliding the syllabic syntax of memory
Against the grains of striated paint,
Where brushes once effaced some other strain
Of inattentive life,
Dwelling sweetly welcomed
Despite itself
On the calm of endless days.

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Retraining

Those who remain in motion
Will enjoy the benediction of abiding pain:
The blessing of aches in thighs, joints, shoulders,
The lingering strain of an incessant smile
Over joyous company,
Or the thread burn of sheets on knees and elbows
After an afternoon of lovemaking.
Some piece of these moments of flight
Twines into the thatch of our bodies,
Bird nest walls
Where lie accreted meals, sleep, sweat,
And the lacquer of our eyes' desires.

Even the runner's legs cry out in shin splints
Just pacing the streets of Manhattan or Madrid,
Until you wonder if you will ever move again.
But the patience of domesticity dwindles away
Like sunlight under the skies of home,
Those same skies that reappear above you
No matter where you go on the grid.
It is a patchwork of sinful restlessness,
This paper trail of tickets and boarding passes,
Visas and receipts, collected alongside
Snapshots of sunsets and exotic city vistas
Of rooftop, storefront, and the blank stare of locals.

You have only what you are.  
If the voices in your telephone 
Are the trust of mother and child, 
If lightfall is a prayer,
Then nowhere passes as home,
And everywhere is forgiveness.

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Sun Venom

Like the snakes you abhor,
I am losing myself beneath successive full moons
As my sun-scorched skin
Molts away.
I stand naked in the languor of the ritual
And peel back small strips of the blank parchment.
The body is wordless:
The pages it wears bear no message,
No meaning,
No trace of who we once were,
Nor contract of who we will be.
Stripped away, they resemble nothing so much
As the dust motes
That the earth mixes with bloody water
To make the clay of our frames and our forms.

Be glad I am not your lover,
Or I would spring ferociously sweet to your neck,
Licking the scent of you with my forked
Tongue,
Absorbing the music of you
In the unending writhe of my serpentine form,
And then lie in your arms,
Leaving flecks of my sweat and my scales
On your edenic human skin:
Flesh of my flesh,
Taste of sun venom seeping between us,
Lithe in the adderís hypnotic grasp
And asleep in the bite
Of your love.

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No Rules

We lose no path to trace
These lines of concentration
In the otherís hands or face,
The life lines on our palms or
In the words we give each other.
They taste of salt like earth-rich oceans
Which forbear the psalms of desiccation;
They swell full with the sweetness
Of forgiveness left unsaid.
For grieving dredged in morning pools
Of dark and graceful water,
The even autumn nighttime brings
Its fullness to my chest.
I can breathe it like a field of uncut
Grasses, blowing reeds, or I can
Follow it to empty acres,
Past wooden railroad spans.
Below there is a stream and in my memory
It is heaven,
But I only trust the beauty 
That I know my hands can hold.


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And of These Great Three


Soul drink, incarnate will
In silken lace cloud river gown,
His sadly cracked rictus 
Or virgin eyes: marriage.
Trailing the mortal pounding
And the quickening torrential fear
Of breath and the bodyís thousand tributaries
Trickling everywhere, unrestrained,
Tide licking deep into the volcano,
Desire transforming into fear and fading like
Faith-tattered prayer flags,
Perpetually far for each successive Jerusalem
That flows from Picassoís crimson line
Into the liquid sin of nostalgia, interminable time,
Or just the tainting of every thought with hope.

And tan Asian backs through indigo straps,
Flex of shoulder blades, ripple of skin
Amidst mothers
Whose sensuality has overcome their eyes
In intensity of languor,
Wrapped them in the rich caress of flesh with
Black velvet in saturnine hues,
But no men.
Only groomsmen, crisp profiles and
Pressed black-to-white spectrum
Blurring in the burn of alcohol.
What friends do you surrender here?
There is more departure now
Than just the honeymoon, family goodbyes,

And the journey into
Duty, ritual, honor, courage,
These abstractions buttressing the ultimate abstraction,
For what two bodily souls most crave
Is the self-perpetuation of their flame:
Amor, which, the monsignor intones, you may carry forth 
As your only arm.
This may be as much of it
As you will ever make.
In the haze of obligation and ritual,
You two stood together
And broke laughter in a holy place.
Perhaps that is love.
Or maybe it is other things
And someone will point it out to us later,
Not in the midst of some resonant moment,
But after the fact,
In the echoes and shadows of the meaningful.
For we forget;
We all forget.
Forgiveness is unknown, involuntary even.
It comes to us only in the balm of sadness,

Which invisibly bathes us all here
Beneath our bored discomfort.
And for that we are grateful to you.
If that gratitude could carry you,
Some small piece of the sky would be
Burned into the horizon, reclaimed.
And maybe the rest of us
Could call that feeling 
Hope.

 

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Weightless
Sinfully liquid delicious chemical addiction
Of her kisses at full boil,
Splattering reckless over my forehead,
My full mouth,
As she devours the taste of me.
An aureole of spiraling lips constellates across
The crest of my neck and back;
I am vaguely awake in an unlit dreamscape
And immolated in the wetness of these watery breaths.
So much proximity is distance,
Consumed by her spider curiosity,
Drawing me inward to her core
Even as it craves the fictitious state of division.
The soot of landscape clings
Leafless to each window sill: shells, 
Buds, dusty crystals, declension
Of lines bisecting color, papyrus, puppets, and waves
Subsuming waves in the invisible ascent of the tide,
Fully carnal and yet wholly released into the
Uncoiled surrender of twining limbs
That can unclasp and step back
Into the gap beyond trust,
Riveted weightless
In the lake of her arms.


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Waiting Song

The literal fire of intensity 
Inconsiderate and brash
Beating within me I
Reach across a chasm I cannot possibly
Ford
Or afford to pass.

Stand waiting on the wreckage of a trail, looking out
At sunset coming onto the sides of boulder-strewn slopes
Green and hewn and you
Lost below, unseen,
Hanging somewhere on the sheer face of the Sangres.
I sang out into the echoes 
To find you and to give you a voice to follow,
Not knowing if you would hear me
Or if I would ever see you again.
Music became an imperfect salvation,
More for me than for you,
My audience of one,
Returning alone to my song.

And now we sing out in deep sighs,
Kissing our way to the circles under our eyes.
All of this consecutive disjuncture suddenly seems a
Certainty.
Certainly I would have no reason to trust
What I cannot see, and yet
There are gods in our veins, 
Haunting the temple of being close to you,
Our own Orphic harmonies 
Rising through the embrace of our mouths,
In utter silence, and I 
Believe.

A-^-V-^-A-^-V-^-A-^-V-^-A-^-V-^-A-^-V-^-A-^-V-^-A

B's Headache

Imperceptibly soft kisses to the forehead 
That guards the flaming spirit and restless intelligence I revere,
Which stirs in nightlong whispering breaths
And troubles its possessor with pains of the flesh:
Cold fire in the temples,
Caryatid of my sleep,
Keeper of my dreams.