Letter Rite I Cannot Must

Tear up the calendars of the days when my heart boiled over with the heat of blood lit love.

I buried myself in your scent. I luxuriate within the velvet folds of your robes, yet I am incense. I’m  curling like a cat’s tail around your head and finally come to rest in a pool filled by all of your layers.

When we slept alone. No one spoke to  me in my dreams. I shift away into black clean sleep, farther away than consciously knowing what to do, I followed the echoes home.

Late again, I found your back to me.

Now without a sun it looks wrong across the dark sea sky. I no longer know who hooked a wrong turn, and you were lost in the wrong direction. I’d forgotten how to write a postcard.

Right now with a look invented by yesterday, slip your card secretly into my pockets. You added to my risk profile a division problem with a remainder of

suffering that’s the equal to infinity which holds in its palm all of the numbers, even the odd imaginary ones,

and the one that cannot be divided except by either one of us. As two we fell into an affair of afterthoughts. Stupid throw away lines like “all the stars ever born.”

We embodied all the love ever swallowed. It was as if by will of force someone moved to live right now, and a life declared itself lit by our success.

But we failed. Tested low. Us so unaverage, painting with our blame we blacken our everythings. Spending a dollar meant more than my Cheshire smile in a body washed up on a Royal red blood tide upon the lights of the Queen’s necklace.

Failure listens through walls. It hears drumming, but shouting so much more like distant children getting slapped in shame, which is owned by a hand. It belongs to God’s voice, and you bestowed on me the right to forgive only one of us.

It’s easy to forget when you can cast the last stone during a secret ritual in a dead language. How I cannot write this down now, because I have loved only once.

My doubt exceeded measurable magnitudes, too much to write a simple goodbye. The letters cracked my body in half, and in a desert pond I lay thinking I must die just now. The dice threw themselves at my head as I woke up in a hysterical position.

Because I do remember justice’s blind compassion. You saw blindly into me and I heard you silently say, tracking me everywhere in your blue gaze – hide and never forget us and the forgotten will never find us.

So where now do I go to find you and make our new roots green again?

I can’t leave here knowing that we became each other’s closing doors. The endless slamming made us mad with deserving so much more than this.

It’s so bright outside and I must go touch the sun or the earth will split in half like an egg and lose the life we meant to live into it’s bath in the universe.

And the last sound you hear is shattering of my iced soul and it’s cradled body hitting the hot air and then gone forever.

Tropic of Cancer

I. He
Quick stepping and waltzing
Precise as a surgeon cuts into
The body, like a first kiss.
Her softness ages his face.
Speech fails him, words
Slurred with the stroke of
An unset clock stuttering
Her number in the dark.
His hand reaches under her breast
Bone tapping out a beat
Inside her hallowed chest.
Slipping away the sheet
Music uncovering the dance
With all the precision
Of a dull, straight line.
No beginning and no end
His sets his sights on her alone.

II. She
A limbo line dips and bends
under the tropic of cancer.
Drum beats cutting each dancer
One head after the next rolling
With small waves, lapping the shore.
Snapped off in a vulture’s jaw
With no allegiance and no friends,
She lost the line bowing then breaking,
Then falling toward the ocean floor
Slipping from lightning storm’s crooked fingers,
In the Leeward winds her hair twists
Into golden braids of dusk.
The complaining and crying of gulls
Making the melody of illness.
Quickening to find stillness and calm
Drowning into the safety of a harbor
She gives way to night’s remission
And accepts his request for her hand.

Fool’s Waltz

Until the day comes when my breath no longer returns to my lungs,
Air lifted away by winter,
Leaving you, yet wanting to stay much longer,
The remains of us forming clear ice sheets frozen atop beds of still water.
When the last faded bloom of your want wilts again,
And the secret garden of our history fades into night, (along with any white moonlight)
Until my words fall like dead leaves floating away in the winds’ sour taste,
Returning my spirit to the the distantly quiet source of persistent music,
Now silenced by time’s mercilessness –
You lose not moment, shaking me off like snow in your hair.
Now I come to you as a stranger.
Familiar my voice rose,
Its sound scented by all the memories of all the private lives ever lived.
Distance drowning me out like tossed off change hitting the bottom of a wishing well,
The fountains of life sang hymnals,
Ringing brass bells louder than every sound ever created
Heard together and at once,
You tune out my questions, drowning me in street curb rain puddles.
The science and the ciphers now long forgotten,
Unsolved crimes untested in time to unknow the names of the dead.
Yet without effort you threw my questions aside.
I waited until another day came and left
(You had long forgotten the word “forever”)
Ridiculous, only a fool waltzes to the time of one.
If I sent you a present, a song wrapped up
With yesterday’s news and knotted with time,
Right in black and white with twine like a fish in day old news,
How then would you refute the indisputable?
(You smile with every last rotting bitter bite…)
You must know what’s inside,
Prying open my hands you find only a joke, a lie, a can of air.
Now drink from the sea of my solace where the blood from my lips drains,
Quenching aching droughts and the thirst of your inventions.

Let’s for the sake of argument say instead of a riddle,
You found a small skeleton key laced between my hands instead,
Trying all the padlocks and gates, You find it only clicks tumblers into place for the unforgiven.
So weak from solutions,
I implore you rest right where you stand.
As my body folds in on itself, as it will,
We hold fast together trapped like silt in the fingers of a delta.
(We steal each other’s answers and quickly shield our guilted eyes).
Maybe next year we can awaken the annuals again,
Dig up the yellowed dirty promises,
Unearthing the worm worn legends and maps to find a way out.

Pull the paper tight before the image sets, etched and stretched,
Spilling out old photos poured onto the concrete floor.
The stuff of a sudden daydream:
I am not selfish with my hope,
Yet this alone drives me home.
If this cure becomes your solitude,
Then in shame, I am, Defeated.

As the image emerges, lighting dim walls,
Our dancing shadows sway together, slowly,
Hold onto me – reach gently into your memory.
Promise to leave the fence unlatched
And now you may go back to sleep unmoved.
Morning drags it’s nails across your still-cold cheek as
Starlings and turtle doves beg you awake to hear their laughter.
They do know you hate the daybreak by hearing my humility.
I reach straight into your pocket to pick at memory’s locks.
I opened you up with the deftness a coroner’s blade,
Leaving scars rough like a saw.
I wanted so desperately to believe you knew me.
So desperately. And
I believe it, too.

Midlife in Four Cantos

I. Miami Beach, New Years Eve
We cemented our rites
and I ran down hallways
climb up 16 stories
look now – displays
minor pyrotechnics
rushes of electricity blue
hectic eyes jotting
down the body frenetic
calls to empty
himself of blood
spilling me out like syrup
over pancakes
Funny things
and sour stories of line
caught harbor crabs
stilled in brine, time
in a Singapore sling.

II. They Move
Circling station wagons
The Western front seat
Ticket to the stage where
I bought you a slave,
And waited decades for you.
Sprinting a photographers
Flashing finish
Mine with an expired warranty —
There’s no repair stations
For another 125 miles.
Nothing grew from sand
But deserted lawns
Wheaten with drought.
Expectations make such sad pets.
One oriental rug
Meticulous as a prescription
For narcotics,
12 vases filled
Weith cheap baby’s breath.
So disgusted by the
Pathetic, sorry little flowers
Now the rug runs
Color from red to the
Coward yellow Angel’s trumpet
Marking the gang plank.
Blindfolded and
Coerce me home with two keys.

III. Bee Swarm
Call a beekeeper
Then dead air
My mesmerized heart watched
A swarm from the 300 year old
Hive that rush to see a blaze.
Some silent sirens ring
Up the street at the fire house.
Paratroopers empty one by one
Dropping from the hive
Now growl as one great
Carpet to cover the windows
Door handles and locks.
A bee moat.
Moist and musky, the white
Sided bungalow
Protected from the flame
Now extinguished with
Rancid old vase water.
Shotgun shacks, powder kegs
Rotten elm leaves on the porch
Swinging slowly with twitchy legs.
Those bees site their patron saint:
A queen scurries through
The swarm parting
Like a sea for her scented thorax.
Just as fast as a hive can
They disappeared. (I’d once read
A Beekeepers’ sacred scrolls.)
A few stray behind to thin the
Hive of the dullards, the confused.
Dutch orange parrot tulips in
Illegible newsprint tied with twine,
Now sipping water through
Hollowed green straw legs.
Quenched, they crane towards us.
Running over cobbled blocks
Rushing to the sounds of breath.

IV. The Louvre, Paris
I stop and sit at the feet of Winged Victory, royalty,
The high ranking headless queen, she’s mad you know.
Follow her lazy outstretched arm where sensuous grand ladies,
Courtly jesters, and tawdry boys all come to find heaven.
Some stairs usually leading to a window where I watch,
Quiet crowds pour, queued, into the pyramid below,
I’m startled by a many storied room overrun by alabaster
White, milky skin, robed shoulders, un-uninformed guards,
A crack here, a small nick there, and a careful cleaning,
Before long they leave with what they came for –
Cruel beasts, goddesses, poets, beggars, tinkers, thinkers,
Any and all creatures alike, alone under watchful passers eyes.
Their new coats and incarnadine daybeds – park benches,
Hurriedly restored for await their revival.
The permanent residents at the Richelieu arm, the medieval cellar,
The baroque hallway, the glass palace,
Cold, white and black veined marble limbs and sad sightless eyes,
They all return tonight.
Unlike the rich blue irises stolen by the brush of a madman,
or a life still still in vein on those bodies waiting, arms struggling to cover up,
Shame replaced their youth and lively, graceful likenesses.
Bloodless, stolen by angry hammers and chisels somehow
Unimportant, they share rooms with boys riding turtles,
Mary Magdalene, the prostrate bodies of lovers’ locked
Limbs forever in uncomfortable embraces.