I wake up from a dream where

I am the skee ball
champion of the world, but I spend all my winnings on spider
rings and finger traps, and you still don’t call me back.
It is very lonely being the skee ball champion of the world,
it is very hard because being the best at anything means there is no
room for failure, and I am very good at the failing part.

Hello, it’s me, I won it all. I’m the champion of it all.
I get free reign of the whole lot, the whole arcade, I could get you
in for free, I could get you lots of scented pencils.

But the line goes dead, so I decide instead, I will move to Cape Canaveral,
where astronauts pretend they don’t get homesick. I am on the moon,
or I am circling around a satellite and I can still pick you out from the lights
on the planet, even when you are very far.

Los Angeles is very far, but it seems the moon is closer than
California, because at least I can see it. I would build one hundred thousand apiaries
for you, so you could hear the buzzing from New York. Do you hear the buzzing?
But all the bees die out, in the winter, in the summer. The association warned me of that, too much bad luck, it will all die out.

Your voice buzzes in my ear in the Skylark diner in Juneau,
the light makes your eyes squint at the three in the morning.
I can’t make out what you are saying, instead, I pick up the phone and I call you.
You are sitting next to me and you ignore my call. Your voicemail mocks me,
can’t pick up the phone, buddy.

It is the fourth of July at the end of June,
and your spirit guide has committed suicide
to a Kelly Clarkson song, the bad song, they’re
all the very bad song. She looked like Stephen Hawking
without the ALS, but now she’s gone.

The sky flashes upside down, I want to tell you that everyday
feels like taco tuesday when I am around you,
but it doesn’t feel like the right time,
so you mourn Miss. Hawking. I tell
you to not worry, we can use my skee ball
winnings to find you a new guide. One with a better
head on her shoulders, one that won’t choose an American
Idol winner to hang herself to,
and it is the first time you speak here, and I hear you clearly,
even with the sky cutting into coral-clementine and the moon hanging by its side–

no.

Answer Me

Q: are you in love.

The lady in the chair
smiles big like it is her birthday
when I say my head feels like a balloon
that can’t explode.
“cool,” she says.

I am stuck in a maze,
the smallest mouse searching for the cheese,
the ring of the bell, the skinner box, ivan and frederic have conned us both.
I am misled by the 8-ball,
our horoscope has lied to me again, you should not be mine.

I grab out my heart and tell her
my lady, I am so sorry. She doesn’t hurt,
but she is too occupied with me, buzzing
like something other than a bee, not hibernating like a bear,
swimming like a toucan, submerged like our mouse – my mouse.
We’re going to have to lose her, too.

*

I have cut the tip of my finger off
with the longest blade over an onion,
the blood drops on mom’s white floor
and it is the rain that had fallen
on Tuesday.

My finger eats cotton. I put cotton in my mouth to hear the rain.
The black cat is not afraid of the rain, but she runs off the porch when I call her
here, kitty, do you know what it means, the Tuesday rain?

I tell the lady with the chair that it rained
on Tuesday, they said it wouldn’t.

“You are a hard worker, too hard, too much, too fast” she says.

I say, unfortunately, it feels as if I am inside of a soup can.
Ha-ha. I want to make her laugh because it is
the one thing I have left that I haven’t thrown
in the garbage, out the window, in the fire, under the bed,
with the ghosts, with the rain. What do we think about trying
for an exorcism?

Her smile would look best upside down, I think, the knife.
why aren’t you sad, lady on the chair.

Art smells like an oven upside down, out of the ash,
the end of a rope, the fish line broke, the spring, the hammer,
the catch, the holding bar —
the lady on top of the chair
is The best when she is suffering.

 

Q: are you in love
with the way someone makes you feel
about yourself

You Have Done It (Again)

You let him
subtract us, divide up
our comparisons
and took us apart.

Your husband is a liar-
one year in every ten, you wrote
us down. Now he does it for you
daily, hourly, monthly, continually.
We are better this way, he says, they say.

Would he consider it
a lapse in (your) judgement?

Discarded by someone else,
someone else who failed to see
the void, the absence that he should
not have created.
Now our abscessed estrangement carries
your worn out years,
a pleading spectacle,
a wailing dramatization – look here!

a bad ass sonnet

The head warns the insides
that flowers grow, too
when his teeth and tongue settle on petals.

Terrified stars put on their jackets
when the moon shows her face,
the eyelashes of light are dishonest with excuses
to reschedule Our rest.

Swallowed ghosts fall asleep
in their cribs as the shudders of fur
command recognition when he sighs into ear canals.

The insides remind the head
of the flicker of sun’s nosebleed
when the ambiguity of incompetent love
was altogether silent.

Creation

I created
you-

The detail in the lines
against your face

the shine of your
cracked lips
against
the hard yellow bedroom light.

an enduring mark
on your foot
you earned twenty-seven days
before
you wrecked me.

Before me

the slight strands of your fur
running up
and down your body
did not stand up
in fury

before me

your mouth did not form
a sentence
so stark
in an obliterating sense
that the syllables
continue to hum
in the distance and haunt
my memory.

A Smile Remembered

I.

You died on that street.

In your sleep,
she said
you didn’t wake up
this time.

Last time
I sat near you
in a cracked black chair
you brought to hospital room to feel
like it was

Home.

She said you begged her
to bring me to you

she said
“he wants to see you.
it’s almost over.”

II.

The blinds were closed
at 3pm to forget there is life
further away from
you.

She fixed the white sheets that laid on you,
let herself out of that room.

Your head titled back,
the television
played

you said
“have you seen
this show?”

a smile
I remembered,

the part of you
below the white hospital sheets
I recalled
from years
from months
from weeks

stood up
in recognition

I said

“no.”

Until

I wasn’t always good-
especially to you
mostly to me,

and you promised
but then you didn’t,
and you did
again

my mind-
it couldn’t take you here but I couldn’t
imagine you somewhere else
and not
with her.

You wouldn’t have loved me
if I was honest

and I couldn’t love me honest
because you, me, her
told me I wasn’t good enough,
that I wasn’t smart enough to keep up with you,
and that’s why you laughed when you tricked me

I didn’t believe you
the first, the second time
when you said you fucked someone else.

you laughed until it was the only sound
i could hear and

then I was pathetic
because you crawled into my head, you burned your name
behind my eyes

until it was only you that I was consumed
with.

you misplaced me, you said.

you said a lot of things,
conflicting things,
I couldn’t keep them straight.

I said
it was you,
it was only you,
it can only be you,
I forced you to be things that you were not,
I forced you to believe that you loved me
when you did not.

I was scared, afraid,
of what the worse side
of us looked like
but I didn’t realize that we were already worse
and I was worse and I did not realize it
until

it was June
until it was two years and you were sick of me,
I was sick of me,

but you said, you said,
you said,
you would be back at noon,
I watched the time push forward
without you-

you remembered
at 12:23
in the afternoon
that

I was the worst
part of you.

Where

You said you had me figured out,
that I wasn’t good, that your mother couldn’t like me.

Freedom, you said,
you would feel freer without me
where your memory ignores the spasms of me.

but it is now –
and I remember the grey,
the in-between before the end,

the pull of your skin against
your eyes.

Your hair is two years longer
now,
you continue to cut off
the ends
in disconnect from me

where the strands of your hair
hit the bottom of your sink,
where you doubt
you have buried me.

Time

I waited
up
for you,

check
the time

mindful
forgetfulness,
you tell
me
to find
a better use
of my
time

the clock
distorts
reality,
a construct
made up
in your head,
my head,

when it used to be
our head,

when you
called
me
ten-
eleven
times
in two
hours

the pause
is long
now

your
disuse
binds
us

a fictional
cord
tying you
to me,
to me
to you.

you said
I wasn’t
like
you

that’s
why we
don’t
touch
anymore.

Twenty-Six

I.

I counted
the number
of steps you took
to make it from the front door
to my bedroom,
twenty six

you stopped coming around
after your legs
gave up on you
because even they
were tired of carrying you
around

I slammed
your bedroom door
hard enough
to watch the hinge
break off
when my mother
said
you were a saint
for dying

II.

she brought home
a bible
the day after
you told her you were dying

she let it collect
dust in her nightstand,
the same nightstand
where she left her ashtray,
smoking cigarettes,
getting high

each time
I did not flinch
when she told me
you were dying,
she said

I’ve been thinking about god lately.
god will help you
try to forget

an occasional
christian
when the occasion
calls for it,
with get-well-cards
lining
your hospital room,
god can
fix
the terminal
if you
ask nicely
enough

III.

you cried
telling me
how awful it is
to die,
how the white
sheets on your
hospital bed
remind you
of death,

you can’t feed yourself
anymore,
a tiny baby
in the body of a fifty five year old,
whining
about things it does not
understand

IV.

I said
we’re all going to die

but not as soon as me,
you said

I sent a card
to your mother
with a pre-written
apology for your death,

followed up with
a handwritten note
detailing how much you changed
my life,
read between
the lines

7pm,
someone
is taking your body
and burning it

I wonder
if they think
you were good,
or if the rough
wrinkles
on your face
are enough
for them
to shove your body
in the fire
and forget
about it.