dear night: i want to paint my eyelashes blacker
than they are, a black you can remember.
shifting night, bleeding light, I fear you.
i saw the moon messy and kissed and sweating
clouds. smudge and shadow. so close to touch.
december night. there’s a wind.
these are the wrong maps, bury them.
it is hot here, air swells, skin swells.
light moves beneath water.
rinsed moon. clear and sharp and sweet.
cutting the night. its affliction.
slice me whole. i’ve felt these edges
before. before, always a tree to
hide behind. a roof to climb.
a whisper to break in the dark.
never this open, the night.
never this smothering.
never such a yawn.
what was so flat and clean, now full and ripe
to give in the mouth—
why can’t everything
dear night: i want to shout louder
than i have been, a shout you can remember.
8:54 pm 9 notes
“Don’t worry,” I said,
“it’s not dying, but evolving,”
and it was like walking into
a mirror, slapped by the sheer
metaphor of it all. I hate
this tendency towards
how we can bury ourselves
beneath the broken pieces
of our own sky;
what can we learn
about life except that
we have it to lose?
God, I am tired of weaving
threads of light
when our sheets are so
heavy with the nights
that failed us.
And God, remember when
I still folded prayers
into my sleep?
When my sister asked me
we both turned smug,
thinking we knew
more than the other.
But in the end, I think
she did. That’s why
I’m the writer. Because when
our laughter struck
the silence of a room,
it answered a thousand questions
at once, filling in the gaps
that I still struggle to patch
with two languages,
two hands, and matches
It was enough, then.
How could she know so much
without knowing? And how
could I let myself forget
that once, I did, too? What we hid
from everyone but each other
and the backs of our eyelids;
the art of raising my voice
or her small hands
pulling my hair,
how else could we speak
of love without shaming it
with the word, which knows
of nothing but setting itself
10:54 pm 6 notes
I wish I knew history enough to use it
as a metaphor, and it’s like the night
I had to say sorry because I couldn’t
really kiss you. Even now what I remember
is the feeling of old heartbreak settling
into new wounds as the night tapped
on my window.
Today I thought about leaving my apartment
but it rained. Then it stopped. Then it rained.
And I cried twice to two different songs.
It wasn’t about the songs anymore. Do you
get what I’m saying? Why I couldn’t leave?
I don’t think there’s anything outside
these walls. When I think about the rain,
I remember only the word rain.
I write two kinds of poems:
ones from within,
when I give myself to the world,
and ones from without,
when the world gives itself to me
as I merely watch.
Funny how when I remember only myself
it is the only thing I cannot feel.
But looking up at the sky, I feel it tip
cosmos spilling into a mouth
that has forgotten the word mouth.
Now I know that I want to be everything
so that your name
cannot break me.
3:47 am 51 notes
Not making love, but making
out of love, maybe even making
The way the sheets spill reminds me
of rain, not rainclouds, as you’d expect,
like the arrival of the after
during the before
I craft a crane from the thought
of our bodies on the sheets and hold it out,
you give it to the air with your breath
I’m thinking in terms of destruction
but you shake your head and say,
Outside on the porch, it is
not quite cold, a white plume
detangles itself from your laughter,
yesterday’s smoke or the idea
of winter which we wear
like the crown of tomorrow
Looking at the cloud, I wonder,
Is it cold enough for that
or is it merely the forgetting?
6:47 pm 3 notes
I can’t get it out of my head, S:
comparing music to water, the way that poets do.
I want to hear music, S, I want to see people
sculpt bridges between spaces without words,
how hands work heat and sand like honey.
At the back of my throat is the memory
of music. Or of the dream. Of waking up
to throw open my window only to find the street
the deep blue
If music is water, words are air.
Taken in, then given back. When I write
I am suspended between them, tirelessly,
one after the other, each an island. Never all at once.
The time I wanted to swallow poetry, I phoned
my mother. Told her I was sick, couldn’t sleep.
Dry in the palms. Told her I had bruised
the earth and it couldn’t forgive me,
not this time.
When she asked if I was taking care of myself,
I hung up the phone, buried it in a suitcase,
in the waiting of goodbyes. It felt like walking
through sandpaper for weeks, the moon etched
by the nails of a terrible beast. I thought it would
come for me, S: the silence eating away at the fire
eating away at the cold but all we did was break
and we could no longer look each other in the eye
or do what we did best and worst; wanted something
to hold but our hands just lost grip, hands in prayer
pried apart by god, hanging now at our sides
What we needed was to be opened, completely
opened, but not torn, not broken the way we had been.
S, what we wanted was to become our own homes.
when we heard the man at the mouth
of the tunnel, wrapped in all of his belongings
at once, ease violin to his chin, his eyes
leaden with apology for the future when all we could
ever write was a voice from the past—
Well, all I can say is that I wanted to spill
right there on the street and end up in the warm corners
of rooms lit by dying fireplaces. I wanted to become
not the violin or the bow, not even the hands
which bore the mark of winters we would never know,
but the very thing that melted and folded and bloomed
to the gentle movements of his body;
how this warmth did not crack or burn, how this warmth
was everything we wanted to hear, everything we wanted
to become, in which we inhabit nothing but sound,
expect nothing, receive nothing, have no obligations
to return or to pick up, slowly, shamefully, the words
we drop which too often scatter into gutters;
how the weight of language has worn our bodies thin
but still we have nothing to say but this:
Every night, the same hand reaches in or perhaps
out of a grave.
We do not know which side is life,
which is death.
6:09 pm 1 note
I scramble for pen and paper;
I lay out my bones one next to the other
forming a path from the doorstep to the center of me.
Coffee surging into veins of being, my chest aches for poetry.
And this is how it is: the disparity between body and mind,
the space of me in which I do not quite fit.
So take this warmth to heart. Breathing in life as I step out
of this blank vessel, my heartbeat starts running,
chasing something in the dark. Wound tight by wind.
Pages ripped and unbound. This is where I have lost.
The phantom ache for the place from which you were torn.
Looking up at the sky, you hurt like a star.
Now, now. Closer than ever before as you spill from the brim.
The quiet breaking like new life through an eggshell.
Ripening, blossoming, melting, riding the before of a shout
that contains the darkness of your chest. Held now
in your mouth like a cherry pit beneath your tongue.
The weight of absence pushing on the edges of words.
Now, now. This is how I yearn.
I’m telling you to listen to the hurt; it is quieter
and louder than silence, louder even than god
as he thumbs your ribs like insignificant strings.
When he picks up your heart, the universe roars.
You are cracking it like glass. Swallowing the heat of galaxies,
what remains is the honey of in-between. Ask the glassblower
who lives in fragments of seconds. And then the end
encompasses the beginning—
a grain of sand
in the palm of your hand.
4:08 pm 4 notes