January we are broke as fuck and Christmas trees all line the street, tossed out with the newspaper, cigarettes and street debris. But February, February, February is for love.
On St. Valentine’s Day, the birds will cometh to choose their mates.
Another Christian martyr holiday.
There are just some parts of me that will not bow to clemency. By this point in time you should have known that already. I wasn’t exactly beautiful when I sat on the edge of your bed with my hand on your throat and said, “This is not what friends do.”
Oh and all the dirty words you taught me in Italian, they won’t let me talk to you. They just leave me sounding crude. But even in my native tongue, I still get the same job done. So when it comes down to it, I guess it’s an even split.
This is just a soft song, something to put in your tea.
This is just a soft song, a picture of me that is pretty.
I’ve been so good. I haven’t thought about you at all, I swear to god. The memory of you is starting to fade away from mine. Your bathtub skin and your red walled ambition, or drinking tea naked in the bowels of your kitchen, rusting away in that ol’ ‘69 bug. Waking up too early from the feeling of your cat crawling on me, feeling ugly, wander-lusting, rising/falling from the ‘faint, but steady’ dreaming of your pale freckled body, etc…
(I don’t know what she tastes like, but she swims in the back of my throat.)
I spent two years wondering if:
a) I loved you and you treated me like shit
b) Or if I loved you because of it
“Birds on a Wire.”
We all just stood in line, waiting to feel alright. I swear we were just like birds on a wire. I had a change of mind, the impulse to go outside. An aching in my head, it wouldn’t let me rest. It wouldn’t let me rest until I went walking all by myself.
“I killed poetics.”
I killed poetics, I killed romantics, with a meat cleaver in what started out as a fist fight over semantics. Lately, the mannequins look more and more like real women, all the varnish is leaving stains on my good linens. Sick, finished, and coughing, with splinters in my “soft skin”, sand burnt and itching, so I battle it with Penicillin. I swear to god these journals were all blank before I filled them in and now they’re all dripping wet with literary snake venom. But when I woke up today, I really didn’t want to have to go and save hip-hop, but fuck it I’m too far to stop. So while I’m at it I’ll bring back Pluto, Latin and the g-spot, feeling good, holes in the o-zone, newspaper ink, reincarnate the voice box. I’m stuck behind the dirty glass of a sample serving counter, with latex gloves on my two hands my mind begins to wander. Just how much of myself do I sincerely have to sell? Just how many years do I have to spend, making coffee stocking shelves?
(Making coffee, stocking shelves…)
I know it’s cacophonous, but it feels so good to do something besides customer service with my mouth, my lungs, my teeth, my gums… I’m sure I will be fired before this song is done.
I wasn’t given a paintbrush, but a box cutter to paint with. Now I guess I’m just some form of entry-level muralist. Carving hearts in cardboard to remind me where the motive is. Compacting meaningless relationships in between paychecks. If the ship wrecks, or the hand slips, on my “Five Year Plan” corpus, I’ll divide the hide with kitchen knives and send the ashes to ex-girlfriends. So they can have a smoke and joke my ambition through old blunt slips. (Inhale, cough, cough…)
“It tastes bitter! Like coffee, sarcasm, and brown liquor. The beaded, mingled sweat of a sick sinner at a church dinner. Like Advil, and sedatives, like cheap lead and paint thinner!”
For the rest of the meeting, I’m most sure, they’ll all just sit and bicker. Comparing levels of disappointment, arguing over “Whose is bigger?” But meanwhile, the alphabet gets alpha-maled in my aftermath. The other kids in my writing class get guillotined by my syntax. Pushed and bent and put on edge by the tt-tt-tt of the high hat. Is it too much to ask for some job security? All of these pills make me so thirsty. I guess it depends on how Dante saw hell. How many years must I spend making coffee, stocking shelves?
I followed you through abandoned apartments and tugged on your skirt as you drift into darkness. But you didn’t seem to be afraid; I guess I’ll just do the same. We peeled paint off of all of the cupboards, went to the porch where we threw it on upwards. Our science just couldn’t explain exactly what happened that day. First you play dumb, then you play the victim. It seems to suit you. I lay so smug on beachside property. You are an ironclad, you are bound to sink. “Just tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.” She’s like the ocean, she’s open, she’s fluid. You ran your hands places your mouth would never get. I think that your mouth looks best on a cigarette. First we got curious and then we got loud. First we got curious and then …
“How Do I Measure My Affection?”
An almost-love poem in twelve frets
How do I measure my affection? Is it in terms cubic, as in chinese take out boxes stacked up? Things I can peel? Orange rinds, skin, seed, core, volume of bloodied fruit, bloodied fruit. It’s armor I apply to you. (And if we don’t have a chaser we will have to make do.) Whose turn is it to make the coffee? My hands are mapping out your body. Your eyes, nun-black, have sink, line, hook, caught me. It seems your eyes have caught me. Sick tide of drunken sex run sloppy. Yet pristine intention begs at a phrase we won’t mention, not yet. Minds’ palates bone dry but tongues’ imagination is pulsing wet. Won’t let me forget, won’t let me forget, won’t let me forget, won’t let me for…
“Julia Played the French Horn”
And I know you, know what you’ll do, you’ll say,
“Why didn’t you fight for me?”
And hell, I know me so well, know what I think I’ll say, I’ll sing,
“Why did you even leave?”
When I was a boy, I remember learning that our blood is blue under our skin and
that it only turns red when we let the air touch it.
Maybe we’re just like that, cause our colors don’t seem as bright anymore.
Maybe we’re just like that, cause our colors sure seem diluted, nowadays.
Maybe we just need some oxygen.
(Or a fresh cut to let some flesh tone get back again)
And I know you, know what you’ll do, you’ll say,
“So, what are we now?”
And hell, I can not even tell, but I know that I’d like to find out.
You’re writing love poems.
“Another One About Jeff.”
I wore your shoes to your funeral, tripped over myself as I pushed down the tongues. We sang along to some Frank Sinatra songs from a eulogy singer, and then we got drunk off the words muttered from everyone that you knew. Youngest of prayer, heart felt sentiment. With me in the front row, impossibly blue, burning out slow like some tungsten filament. But I never let it get me. No, still to this day, I have not cried. And that’s what’s really frieghtening. Horrible news can just pass me by.
This horrible news is passing on by.