they make clocks now that don’t tick
too fast—don’t even have hands.
they slow you down, and drag your feet
by the heels, where Thetis held Achilles.
and they slash through your dreams,
boiling up from a barren pit—the one
deeper than the back of your mind,
behind all the back burners, black
now with pitch and smoking remnants.
i was still going to eat them
but you had none of it. standing
in the white, gravel driveway facing
me and not me with your hands
cocked at your hips
in those acid-washed shorts.
i could have eaten you, then,
but you spoke words in me with your body
and left no thought unpunctuated.
i sensed disappointment in your joints
as you pressed into me, warm
and cold simultaneously.
“there’s no sense in arguing,”
i heard your vertebrae say.
and there wasn’t.
still, in the void between clock ticks—
that old metronome can’t keep me in time—
you were you and not you, and
every powdery face i ever counted
with closed, flickering eyes.
you pressed and my blood grew sentience
because i felt each cell’s thought
like a hivequeen.
and me with you, all my noisy blood
and all your pressing body, unrelenting,
i swept us out of dreamspace
into an ocean of light,
no hydrogen, no oxygen,
—waves lapped and foamed
on sandstone beaches where
that ticking clock is irrelevant
and i can call my own thoughts back,
like reeling in a fishless, baitless hook.
and you say, still pressing me:
“there’s no sense in arguing.”
It’s as simple as the slip of the lips.
Some say tongue, but I’ve seen
wrapped in plastic.
Supermarket cold-cuts, sweating
they tell tall tales at night, when
the pale tile floors are no longer
lighted—the bologna to the ham.
I know they’re made up.
That’s where I heard this one:
a daughter and mother hurry
two little steps fitting comfortably
inside mother’s stride. Her sneakers
blinked on fire, flashing red
at the heels, like an emergency.
And by the slip of the lips, mind
mother calls out to the girl,
who is falling behind and unable
to keep up…
“Hurry up, Claire.”
But Claire isn’t right. No, now
the steel-clattered cart, full of
bread, eggs, all things white—
is not her name.
From my post
by the produce, I can’t tell if
the mother knows her sin, or if
the daughter’s chest splinters…
My tongue feels heavy; it needs
to be swallowed or caressed, told
everything’s alright because
a name is the first thing
we are given, and the
only thing we have.
ink not dry—
dried and chapped nails,
tips of fingerprints.
and a gentle,
pressure onto paper.
forgetting the word
Corn-covered plains spread low
Fifteen miles of hard rain, then
I trusted your fingertips
drawing lines over paper-hallowed
roads, that showed bends
but not turns.
I found silver lining for the first time
where you grasped the horizon
and pulled it toward you—
a suitcase handle.
Black and new.
Where you’ve decided
to end up
ends up as laser ink
black on white
on a printout ticket:
“Through Closed Blinds I Counted Lightning”
Your hair became mine
then the wall’s… and the floor’s.
Your outline broke-back twisted,
contorted in a pale bed-color mist.
Bodies dreamed around us—
the haunting patter-purr of cat feet
beneath and behind door frames.
Outside it’s raining for the first time since I can remember
and God Almighty is that thunder’s timing perfect
A digital tinge gropes you in backlight from the infomercial
television going on and on about…
Each inch of me is each inch of you and I’m sure I’m dreaming.
I even ask you and you say with open eyes at mine,
“I don’t think so.”
Well, I don’t think so either anymore.
Words pass between us like blood between organs:
we are vital, throbbing, and ready.
IND -> ERW, 8:32am EST
Where I live, you can touch the sky from the ground.
Sodium vapor colors the prints of your fingers
as you scalpel the sky—
sundering the initial incision.
At point-blank range, grass becomes a myth
because we have made a fold. From here,
Atlantis drips chalk-white starlight into the dippers
of the cosmos and each mile traveled
is a hundred hundred lifetimes in both directions.
Tacked-on zeroes have no value, though,
but act as placeholders in the holy places
of the universe. “Trees also reach up like us,”
someone once said, “but their roots
keep them tight to the soil.”
Where, by day,
we play and toil.
Photo by Tim Stone
“You and I Are Walking”
We have walked, my legs tracing yours,
to a cornfield and back.
Tectonics stir beneath my skin and I’m shaking
when you pull hairs out from your scalp—
I tell you, “I’m glad we couldn’t decide,”
and you whisper to the Photuris, “Me too.”
I believe that place was a sacred one
where time did not elapse, clouds did not pass,
and the stars held the sky together
like nails in a roof.
In a different time and space,
we held hands through the woods.
Our cellphones alight like beacons—
we watch stars leap from the heavens as bugs glimmer in the mist.
National Geographic, Photograph by Steve Irvine
.44 rifle neck cocked back, skyward…
hammer strikes, astral projection
and my face is in the stars,
where their shadows twinkle red
and blue, and move if you stare.
I taste cicadas, cochlea
And listen to foxes mate by the creek down the street.
Quests, reaction, reward. Procreation.
Laws, particularly of physics—
and I, a standing martyr of cause have been
shotgun-wingding crucified to the Milky Way
like an Achean explanation.
Odysseus wavered at sea, eyes at the sky:
contemplative, in transit, trapped. Free,
but still a man. Still and not still.
Do I barter with Death or demand immortality?
Dare I disturb the universe?