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!

Last Call

 

Here it was, the last act!
Your stubborn mind
crept for years, forgetting that it is not
easy to recite (write) the final words of you
when genetics signed the end.

The slight shaking of your left
hand, pushed up against the paper
for the final time as the index
and the thumb decided
it was enough.

A crack in your voice
eager to convince the rest of us
of the finality your words could hold
if only
you had something left to say.

The reduction of you
was swift, laid across newspaper, time stamped and closed.
The only remnant willing to connect you
and I together was the ink
that would smear when the slightest of pressure was applied
against the letters of your name.

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.

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.”

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.

The Day the Cat Died

The day the cat died,
you sat on a stool
in the bathroom
crying

I asked my mother
why you were crying

she said
because the cat died

no,
I said

that’s going to be me,
you said

you didn’t look once
at the cat we had
for twelve years,
the cat that hid
behind the couch
each time
you came home

you cried
in the bathroom
on the stool
with painted balloons
and carousel horses
not wanting to die
like the cat
that laid on the floor
on a blanket
in my bedroom

then I waited
for you to die,
just like the cat
with the brown and orange fur
and you did,
but I did not
sit on the stool
in the bathroom
to cry over you
or the dead cat
you didn’t want to bury
in the backyard

instead
I counted the hours
until the sun came up
without you
for the first time
dividing you
and I.

here/where

you
pick
up your phone

to call
her

and I laugh

here I am

I still
let you
fuck me.

her voice

sounds
like a
previous
me

before

I cut
my hair
off

before

I tried
to sleep
off
you sleeping
with her.

you tell her
i’m here

you laugh

roll your eyes

I get dressed.

you tell me
not
to leave,

i’m putting
my shoes on

you check
your phone
again
to see
if it’s her.

where am I