musings on my travels
i will say it,
i say i am brave in my brevity:
i miss the London rain.
spring is creeping up on me,
but across the ocean
it was summer
already shifting into winter.
i know i was running through marketplaces,
walking beside canals
but my soul is still
crawling its way back home;
i left it back in London.
i miss my brothers,
one’s home in London.
i’m not quite sure
where the other stands.
i held his hand
in the library before,
we were aimlessly
wandering the isles
and he was determined to
take me somewhere
at some time
i wouldn’t regret,
and now i don’t care
that the wrong people
my brother has
my mother’s eyes and smile,
he swears with his tongue
and not through his teeth.
he wears sunglasses inside
and grew his hair long
and then cut it so short
so i couldn’t play with it any longer,
he watched while i swam and
pushed me in the pool
one too many times before,
but he held my hand inside the library
and carried me on his back
when i was too tired to walk anymore.
we were all born
from the same cosmic fold.
my brothers are careless about this,
and i was too,
when i was marching through London.
it is all i can think about now.
how cider loosened my grip on my tongue
and my body jostled and stumbled
between my brothers’ arms,
we were interlocked
in our hearts and we
moved through the city
with only one beat between us,
it bounced behind us
because it couldn’t keep up.
i lost my brother in a castle once.
we were thrown out of a church
and were heckled by a bagpipe player
while crossing a bridge,
i baked some awful cupcakes
and a man in the elevator
grabbed my wrist and tugged,
i cried myself to sleep one night
how much i will hurt
when i return home
and i recall where
pieces of our single heart went.
i lost one in a hostel in Frankfurt,
one in the station in Windsor and
one by the river in Stratford,
i lost one to my brother
with his too-short hair and
one to my brother
who doesn’t wear his glasses,
and i gave one away
underneath an aging tree while
i was drenched in London rain.
to all the loves i’ve lost,
will lose: i turn away from touch
far too much. it’s a traveler’s dilemma,
i know i am scared of being seen
and yet will this mean anything
if no one sees me traipsing through
our passage of time?
the significance is in knowing
you have been known,
it permeates my dreams
and languidly lolls itself,
enlists itself in my waking dread;
it taunts and it claims,
“there is nothing quite so haunting
as nearly being known,
or achingly worse,
to have been known before,
and not anymore.”
the loves i have lost,
will lose, to this voice.
traces of me exist
in the faces of people
flying past, far too fast,
i hope they remember me
as some sort of spark;
i set aflame and engulfed
their heart with my name,
i have known them
like none have before,
with the single time we have danced
with the glances between us.
“resign yourself to your role…
you are condemned to show
that you are simply someone
that someone used to know.”
the loves i have lost,
will lose: take notice
of my flagrant flight,
the impending sight
of something stirring.
i have known none
as knowing as you.
spilling over inside me
i will watch our history
bleed out behind you.
forget my drifting, listless hands.
i’ll find something to hold onto.
was life so inexplicable for you as well,
were you grasping at the passing time too?
i’m not ready to leave. but you’re rising
over the horizon,
the light spills some ochre into my eyes
and i promise i’ll turn away
to hide the ache i was hoping
to give to you.
my history bleeds out too,
its shadow behind me
has emboldened me beyond repair.
i can’t be stitched up
by your trembling hands anymore.
its commands bite back:
“quiet… night will fall
and abandon its façade,
tread gently through the dark earth
or i will return again.”
is this life inexplicable to you as well,
pushing back the pieces of me
that lash? thrash outside their bounds?
i promise. you will owe to my eyes
to be dark, don’t look too deeply
and find the lines of my irises.
i will turn away and say,
a different morning than this,
dim enough for any shadow
to halt its haunting, retreat its lines,
i promise my history
will coat my tongue
and i’ll swallow the blood
and spit out the ache
i bit back for so long.
i know you won’t promise
to tread gently.
i’m getting too tired for this
if i wasn’t enough, this time around,
and the shy silhouette of my body
burns behind your eyelids
when the bright burst of the sun
awakes us all;
when crimson seeps and stains
and a thumbprint smudges
the pristine painted sky,
sighs billow away the clouds
and for a moment,
i’m only wondering what image
will blind my vision
when some totality proves us fatal.
if i wasn’t enough, next time around
i’ll prove to be too much.
i’m afraid. it’s become an oath of mine,
my act of faith. it begins in my tongue
and travels down and rests in some
visceral pull beyond where our lives may link.
it’s untouched, it worships silently,
it appeared in my dreams one time
as a man who held hands with me
as we floated away from a blazing
earthly plane, my hair was light
and it reflected back the bursts of pink,
some orange hues, the same crimson tide
that washes over you when you leave behind
the last acts of blinding hope in this life.
he reminds me of our endless drift.
our concession; your closing eyes,
my quiet worship. the sun rising and setting
to the rhythm of our chests, like it needs to fall
like we need to breathe.
we will see what burns behind our eyes
before it tires of its life.
my delicate memory
my mind grasps at some pieces
of some past, but i heard every time
your mind runs through some memory,
some details change and the more
you love some distant things,
the more the truth flitters behind…
it fizzles out so you can keep
the taste as sweet as it was
when you made it.
i love these distant things…
and when i write “love”
some echoes ring out,
they’re some callings to
some bitter parts
of some dying daydream,
and some other time
i’ll dare to call them corrupt…
i love when distant things trail off
and leave me some spaces,
leave me some pieces to piece together,
leave me some gaps that secrete some sweet tastes…
my mind has some mercy like that.
so it’s a shame
we’ll ever have to meet…
some things are so concrete
when it comes to that.
i know you’ll dare to call it poison then:
“it corrupts and corrodes and
i’ll never forgive myself
for succumbing to some sweet thing like that.”
you love some bitter thing,
something sharp, it makes me bleed
and blood stains, so it’s safer…
“stop letting your mind leave things behind.
i count your blinks and mark the path of your eyes,
i memorize your gaze and the flutterings of your fingers,
i remember when our seconds blended together
and when counting every moment of your every movement
meant counting mine.”
i’m so tempted to stir outside
of the haze my humanity provides
when you trace the lines on my palms
with some grace, some mastery,
the same sweet thing i could aspire to be.
“my palms remain the same as they did
before you started drawing my life line,
seconds existed before you wanted to measure
the movements of my breath,
my eyes will blink and fall and flutter
if you meet or deny them, you make them weak,
my mind still grasps at some pieces of some past,
the only line is before and after i met you.”
i can’t piece together your purpose
when your restless catalogue of my features stop.
my mind is quiet, mercifully…
falling in love
i felt this last night.
it started as a slow lazy roll,
seeping through me,
and if it was entering or exiting,
i can’t recall…
and even now those fleeting feelings,
they’re settling in my stomach and
they don’t belong to me,
and i remember wondering
if i needed to belong
to feel free;
all i can recall
is reminding myself
how words stung my tongue like venom,
and my movements are slow and slight and lazy
and i’m bearing the brunt of a thousand heartaches
and they don’t all belong to me, but
nothing quite so stirs any dying desire;
i learned it only lays dormant
and i found that i’m fond of any piercing pain
if it only meant i’d feel something,
and find my way to you again.
and i bear it all so beautifully.
i’m a statue, i’m solid, a picture of permanence
in an ever-moving time,
and you would brush my face
and retell a story
in not so many words because
each one is an affront on my ears,
i’m being swallowed up and i can barely hear
the thrummings and beatings of my bare heart,
i’m dressed in white and drenched with blood
and i come to my senses when i kiss your watch,
like time grounds me in this boundless place.
and then i awake,
and your shadow remains in
the images behind my eyelids,
i’m feeling lightless and limitless
and i’m barely laying in my bed,
my hand is hanging off the side
and i’m reaching out above my head
like i’m grasping for a promise made to me,
and maybe God returned in that moment
to absolve me,
and if it wasn’t in my nature
to gently sin and begin again,
i’d be slipping back
and silently shouting at my slow roll,
speed up, speed up,
but instead i’m reliving our moment
i’ve never felt i was alive more than
when i was with you, even while
you’re drifting away,
God lives through me
and so do you.
i’ll keep one heartache reserved for you,
i won’t dare to forgive that one
until i can look you in the eyes again
and swallow the slow-moving venom
that coats my tongue,
and tell you a story
about the nights i spent
wondering what belonging meant
the grazes of gentle
rain will set our scene,
and it’s framed by
my waning belief,
but it’s gradual, like you,
a sincere slope on which the rain slides off.
i’m sitting here, waiting, watching,
and people blur their own colors and lines
and it’s funny, to discover my hands aren’t stained
when you allow the change a swift shower provides.
i learned it from you, to try to forget that i’m human,
to keep my hands by my sides when i walk
past someone who’s dripping down their doubts,
casting out what collects at the bottom of the page
when they’re glancing over what they’ve done.
i’m hiding here, i’m bursting at the seams,
and with impulse or intention, i don’t know,
gentle rain turns to cascades,
and all those scenes i set up
blend and break together
and i can’t tell anymore
the moment i picked up the pieces
of some passerby, all i know
is i’m collecting each handshake and wink
and blink of each poor person
bleeding out their soul, i’m an amalgamation
of each cast-away feeling and thought
and doubt and the ire
someone decided they could live without,
i look empty.
i look grey and i look like i’ve never dripped
a day in my life, i’ve never slipped
on my waning belief.
keeping my hands by my sides,
keeping the human in me at bay,
veering my own broken lines
away. don’t stain your hands
on someone like me.
life imitates art
i can count my promises on one hand,
maybe two, maybe in our handshakes,
maybe even on my eyelashes.
or i can count them on some dragonfly’s
wings, the kinds that only arise
when a lazy summer haze and
my atmosphere combine,
and i’m mildly aware of some
mountain man in the back,
and it’s calling me to where
wild things are but i’m drunk
on some freshly-cut grass,
and the smell of cold ocean
careening against cliffs
will pale to this. one moment more
and i’m left floating adrift
in the midst of the thousand promises
i made before now,
and i can cut off my wrists
or i can loll in the bliss
in knowing i can indulge in this
some part of my soul
i’ve said it so many times before.
my leg is always bouncing
and my spacebar is stuck
and i’m dancing in the kitchen
and it’s 6 pm and
it hits me once more.
it’s a secret i’m keeping
but i think it’s keeping me.
a month ago it wasn’t my spacebar,
it was a pen
and now my hand’s smudged and
some noise reminds me i’m not
wasting away in some vacuum of space.
and i wasn’t dancing in the kitchen
and it wasn’t 6 pm,
and it didn’t hit so much
as it made me wade in its fog
so i left my own home to breathe;
it was 11 pm and i was gazing out
on some city lights from a balcony
i imagined was thanking me
and it was some clean crisp air
and i forgot to breathe,
and i wasn’t dancing,
and it was daring.
every night i’m made aware
of what i owe to my role.
i’m sitting on my bed
with my hand in some sheets
and i can’t tell anymore if i’m lonely
or dreaming or if something bigger
has visited me and made me feel
i was meant for something,
or if something was meant for me.
i can’t recall if it’s simply me
or the someone i’m searching for.
i’m sitting here and i’m stranded
and that part of my soul
is wasting away in some vacuum of space
as i lay down and go to sleep
as if i don’t believe that someone
is calling for me.
god, i’ve said it so many times before
and i think i’ve always meant it
but now i’m not sure if i’m yearning
for something simpler or stronger
than what i’m used to,
if i’m searching for that secret
that keeps me bouncing my leg
and sticking my spacebar
and makes me dance in the kitchen
but i know at 6 pm
i hope it hits me
one more time
“she won’t be long.
i’ve sent her out into battered seas before,
broken by bridges, and then
stitched up again
by some faint callings by tides
a few miles ashore.”
i want this said so solemnly,
like those words lay
no truth to the claim
that i’ll be back someday…
i know the beaten sea
does not still in its vision of me,
and waves do not remain in
their moments of break,
but in someone as solipsistic
the wild ebbs and flows
and pours with me.
and i ache when i close my eyes
and hear the crashing of the sea.
and i move in phase.
i won’t return
the same way i left those days.
someday they’ll learn
one day i don’t intend
to return at all.