My dream is that you
might one day
of their daughter,
and not just
My dream is that you
might one day
of their daughter,
and not just
find someone you can be quiet with —
someone who will stare at you like they’re afraid they might miss you blink, because they love the moments in which they can see your eyelids. someone who saves those snapshots to their memory banks as if they expect them to gain interest over time. who won’t look away after 7 seconds when you don’t have camera changes and special effects to keep their attention. someone who knows, or at least wants to know, how to see all of you without your passenger seat directions to bring them to your driveway. someone who will remember that, if you’re heading west at night, you turn left after the neon sign of the 24-hour diner. someone who knows that even though the sign doesn’t say it, that’s a Coney Island. and that you might be hungry. and that you can always eat lemon-rice soup. they won’t start there, but you’re allowed to demand that they search for you, in you, and know how to add up to the numbers in your address.
I am sorry that
they never spoke power
into your name —
that they painted
you; covered in rot
until your limbs
learned how to
forget their circulation,
I hope that
my coat keeps
I hope that you
can convince someone
to charge your peace
to my Macy’s card.
I hope that you remember
that you are stumbling
because they pushed you
that when you stand up
or the next day,
or the next day —
that when you use your left hand
to find the wall,
and find your balance
I hope that just because it’s
whatever day it will be when
your feet remember their
souls, that you decide to give
the light switch a try
and that you (re)discover that
you are electric.
she smiled and
my arms and legs became
aware of one another,
of their distance from my torso,
and from hers, they
quivering, exhausted, as the
epitaphs and coffins —
my past and the post-ambles
I was dragging behind me
like a burden
I let them go.
and smiled back.
Her: Morning after comforters are more cloud than cover.
Him: How so?
Her: If you close your eyes hard, and breathe deep,
Her: and allow your dreams to open them again:
Her: when you see the fresh-squeezed
Her: cracked-blinds-sunlight pouring over
Her: our amateur attempts at bedset-and-spread map-making --
Her: scandal, expose, midrift and thigh turned to any landscape you stretch them into;
Her: mountains, and valleys, and rivers,
Her: and waterfalls, and sitting, and watching days turn dusk from
Her: the porch of the home we could build
Him: and the clouds?
Her: don't you feel winged here, too?
I can’t tell you that I remember things that I’ve said;
somehow always been better at
“anything for yous,”
than “anything specifics” —
better at the way your hands felt in mine,
than the color of your nails.
I can’t tell you if the scratch marks
started at my shoulders and dragged down
like drapes your cat had swung from,
or if they started at my spine
and fled — high speed chases across my back
along a rib-cage-lane-divided highway
toward my sides,
I can’t tell you how your hair started —
only how it looked in the morning as you slept,
and that I hated the pattern of your carpet.
It made me dizzy.
I spent eleven minutes
trying to stare through the design,
trying to find my feet,
trying to convince them to join forces with my calves,
and knees and hips and spine;
to stand me up
to run me home.
too scared by how
I loved the way
you tried to love me
to try to stay.
with my bags packed,
singing at cliff faces
sowed into pew rows
at base camp;
that I watered the only way I had left,
that I watched grow from sprout
that it hurt more to walk away from
than the mountain.
when the trumpets cried, it
sounded more like a riot
pouring from my stomach.
more like a revolution;
marching down my forearms,
more like spring kicking winter’s teeth in
because it layed a hand on May’s baby sister April,
Your name, sung brass or otherwise,
has always echoed off of things like the
june days you spend all winter waiting
for — sweet and sticky and suffocating in
all of the ways that make you
gasp for one more breath,
and use it to ask for more.
She told me to check my shoes and coat
at her bank when i arrived;
promised that if i only
her current —
she had a boat
coming for me.
but when the undertow
I realized that she
was not the kind of river
you asked "why?"
It feels like I’ve spent
every morning since I learned
how to bleed or
or whatever this thing we do with pens is best described as;
watching the place where land meets sky
as if the dawn I slept through and missed might
backspin if I ask nice enough,
might sunrise one more time;
just for me,
just for you —
might mercy mercy my hands,
show things how they used to and
show me love like the first breath you take
after feeling your lungs cry Mother Mary when
your kick-off lame ducks and it takes too long to find the horizon —
if I am the sun, submerged,
then you are the sky I see:
prayerful for another chance to breathe you,
kicking twilight into last night
and spending my day in your arms —
you are a dream worth fighting away the dark to chase.
I can never remember the song,
only hearing it
I can never remember the words,
only the hair that grew and stood straight along my spinal column when they landed in my ears,
if you hold me when I dream at night
you’ll feel the goosebumps come and go,
my lalaland is more of a merry-go-round:
surrounded by circus clowns and yeti,
and white people standing their ground
and tyler perry
and other shit that niggas like me tend to fear, and
wedged between Madea and Zimmerman and Krusty is a speaker
playing our song,
and for 3 seconds of every orbit I make through my nightmare —
around our planet —
I can hear only the words to a tune that I know if I could remember to tell you
would keep you here forever,
so if you want to know why I wake up in cold sweats every night
and I tell you that “it’s fine,”
and promise you “it’s fine.”
I just need you to remember that I’m doing battle
with all the things that scare me, hoping that
every night, in 3 second increments,
I’m learning the thing that will teach me to sing
in a key that opens locks
on doors you had forgotten.
could open and
release millions of paper planes
chased by enough wind to carry them across the
I hope you never
pew yourself into a faith
that might make scripture of
settling for me
just so there’s another plate
at the table,
and local sets of hands
trained in your praise.
I pray you never
wake up lonely —
ignoring alarms because to hit snooze
you have to reach across the empty
other half of the bed,
your heart buoyant,
your stomach filled like a clogged sink
after you wash the pots,
overflowing with leftover remnants
how much teenage I wanted
to love you with I never
could find a problem
the first one to hang up
The cat bumped an encyclopedia and it fell to the ground, cover first.
The CLAP as twenty-thousand words kissed the hardwood sounded like a gun-shot, and we both turned bullet.
She dropped to the ground and had fired three toward the bookshelf before she hit the floor.
We’ll get a new cat this week.
We’ve gone through three during Obama’s terms-to-date. She leads on the scoreboard, 2-1, but honestly it’s because I just plain missed last time.
And no matter how many funerals we wake, each morning she smiles like sunrise.