Month: July 2011

neither black nor white

i said, you’re hurting me.
you replied that you had to,
that dropping me from this height
was the only way you could remind me
that those wings on your back could be
removed (and the pedestal, too,
is only cheap plywood).

through furious tears i blinked
and opened my eyes to see you
naked and dirty. i wanted to tell you
i had always known you were disfigured–
i loved your mouth more for the acid burns
left on your lips after so many acrid speeches

but i admit to glorifying your ugliness
to forgetting that even beloved hideousness
is still horrific and will sometimes bite back
without kissing the wound.

do me a favor; do not push my hands away
from your open sores, but teach me to see them
as they are, still to tend to them, to kiss around them,

teach me to know the whorls of your gnarled self
as the warrior apprises the worshiper
of his being a murderer as much as a hero–
but be sure to remember that just as you have killed,
so have you conquered,
and that is just as well.

show me, i say quietly into your ear,
hoping you will pull me close enough
to know that i am yours
and say,
let me tell you a story.

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(i have this dream of)

rolling over, sloppily,
to be buried in the rough cotton
field of your hair, short fingers
landing loose against a limb–
the arm that catches me sometimes
or one of those long-ass legs;

opening first one reluctant eye
and then the eager other,
ravishing the plains of your skin/
the planes of your body
without moving an inch

and slowly, like a patient worm
over the loamy earth
shifting my short self up
until i can claim the delight
of pushing my quiet lips
against your sleeping mouth–
my shy sweet joy, kissing you

kreisberg, you’re doing it wrong

some dude with a german name
loved new york in november so much
he composed a song about it. i say,
pshaw, cat, you have never slept
on the windowsill of warm louisiana
in his matted fur coat eaten through with holes,
singed at the bottom from rich cigars in the eighteen hundreds.

you have not taken tea with grand louis
in his mantle of mudbrowns and slick acid green,
all that indistinguishable scarlet and mottled yellow
leaking through leaves
scaring off the caterpillars and the cicadas
(no more music for a while, the earth sleeps)
you don’t know the ceaseless teetering
the rush of holding your breath between one dusk
and the next dawn, waiting to see if old louis
will grant brisk breezes or bestow balmy blustering
afternoon this time,
or the flush of his teasing as he hints of snow,
never fulfilling all his promises promises promises

hum your northern tune as you like;
i turn my face to the gray sky
and sing louisiana black-limbed night
broad-armed days of bitter cold and steamy breath
and that smell you can’t forget,
seeping into my southern bones.

to myself at seventeen

i remember you as black nail polish
and electrical tape across torn lips,
as fanatical loves, fantastic hatred
and ceaseless shifts between both

as an infant cradled between speakers
on brown carpet at four a.m., fledgling
fictioneer with cramped fingers
curled around composition notebooks–

musicians were religions, mother was a broken bastion
and the rest of the world could care less.

now i want to kneel in front of you
to touch your cheek with my fingers
because i know you like that
and cupping your face gives you panic attacks
if it isn’t done correctly. i want to look in your eyes
(though it frightens you too) and tell you

it will be worse. you will die,
and these dreams that succor you
will soon grow red with rust and ridicule,
you will love too many boys the wrong ways
and your mother will move away in a year.

you will never quite be sure if she left the city
or you,

but the day you stand up after scratching your wrists
in a cold dormitory after loneliness lacerates your lungs
you will find that at long last, the mirror speaks truth
and it will change everything.

, like son

i wonder if your father ever knew
the smoky sweetness of your throat
between surges of smack
pushin up soul through pipes– cracked, i am sure
wide to receive and give forth unto god
and the glazed-eyed,

your father you followed to the eighth letter
riding lizards with wings, suckin their breath
from scaly nostril to scabbed lips supplicating,
soft sleep in hazy daylight–

your father, did he know how you spoke his name
with a shudder i wonder, perhaps slight shivers?
how many times had you called his name
before you swallowed at last,
inhaling rivers into your blues bellows
before you shifted to imitating thrown stones,
humming the whole way down,

oh scotty– your father– did he catch you
beneath those currents,
or was it his hand that pushed you in?

before i sleep

laying here our last night
in the crook of your arm
smelling your sweet sleeping smoker’s breath

i want to write poetry to you
of you and tonight, your lips in the light
of an ending kanye west film

closed now, averse to spitting verse upon verse
in peculiar vernacular foreign to my frenchy
southern oreo speech (until you wake);

poetry to how your skin tasted
when you let me kiss it yelling rape
and that quiet scent in your hair
like a child after baths

to how i call you baby,
because you grow more in my memory
every moment

poetry to wanting you
to push your lips into these crevices,
rock my hips into hills of blanket
in the heat of this room,

to how you breathe hard in my ear
and say my name when i’m not listening
love me in slaps and racial slurs
and angry teeth in my twisting limbs–
your knees hemming me like tapestry
stitched in longing and lust
in tender violence, sweet succulent
ash-dusted mouth on my mouth,

i want to write poetry to all this
all of the above

maya and nikki and edward and charles,
lend me your pen, open my mouth,
let me speak of love

i gotta tell you this

(e)x-factor

perpetual individual slipshod shards
parade, separate, regroup
like that diamond girl, my very own psycho bitch
she precedes me into every room imbued with you,
speaks before my lips can finish saying goodbye
to one another; she shoves my hands back from your back
and pushes them into my own ribs, she says
no. all you need to know are these bones,
silly boy. she has the answers to everything.

i am not strong enough to push her back
i am too curved to square my shoulders,
and so she bends me to string my spine
with her tightrope
(you always feel like you’re teetering with me
for a reason, i just never told you)
looses one after another swift bolts of bitch
and brat, bastard and bully

i cannot battle this broad but
if i had not followed you onto those stairs
she would have laughed me to sleep
and i am tired of hearing the same song
so i crawled on my knees to pull open the door
and like the miracle of marijuana mysticism
you were there

so i stepped out the door into the maryland moonless
and i wrapped myself around you,
and everything was okay as you giggled madness into my arms

but somewhere behind me, i know she is there,
waiting to tell me why you’ll disappear.