My friend and fellow poet Ingamars poem about “random eye-locking with girls in NYC” beats every “random eye-locking with girls in NYC” poem I’ve heard thus far. Take the time to enjoy.
I drummed my fingers in succession on the bar,
wallet in hand.
I ordered a glass of gold
at the cost of 5 desperations and 50 senseless
and swallowed it down,
feeling the courage bubbling in my stomach.
A few seats over
I noticed a girl with tattoos on her cheekbones
that read “eyes for sale:…
I used to shower six times a day trying to follow the water down the drain
but that never worked, so I threw myself over a clothesline
clothes-pinned your picture and called it a sun shower
and that always made me smile
how much safer it was than holding your breath until you turned purple
bleeding on your blue shirt trying to make a rainbow
to say you got “stuck” in the thunderstorm
like you could get “stuck” in the middle of your first kiss
knowing everything you know now
I can’t ignore what the falling death certificate I pushed over
every professor’s desk like a glass of spilled milk
does to every other letter it touches
shaving against the grain, driving over bridges, through red lights
realizing these are the only favors I want today
like being alive was pressing my face against
elementary school glass during inclement weather
my friends wrapped themselves in little nations to stay children in
the dark sky swirling on the ceiling of the late bus stops everything
it’s where I go when I come home a little later this year, safely.
honesty contests with the reflection on the tip of this grease pencil
begin immediately. write “I will not ask for help” 50 times in cursive
envy the old diary – dog-eared, under your childhood bed
that reminds you that you have more bones than you once did.
how you barely recognize the brick behind the drywall. how brave
you were for keeping journals then.
how after a few months of air conditioning you looked like a choose your own ending novel who’d had all but four pages ripped out – every midnight
you fall into a dream at the driver’s seat. grandpa takes the wheel.
you cut off your head and hide it in a house with glass cupboards
wishing you’d seen the zipper in the back of the monster suit
you watch the chest exit the kitchen on a stilted bundle of steering columns
and set the record needle to dig the valleys out of his gums
to recreate his voice from a smile
you twist the number dial on the phone like the small of her back
the recoil under my fingertips returns as though I was never there at all
but rings and rings
I called to apologize for hiding in boats at night
for trying to escape with feather oars, for playing jacks with my life instead
of finding a way to fix it without playing a game, without trying
to do so in one flick of my wrist. without flipping the light switch
instead of bouncing a ball. for mixing up games
and carrying white chalk in case I got back up
so when I’m not looking, I pretend I’m someone else
with invincible friends and a driveway filled with 6 sunsets and 15 middle of the nights
depending on how little light is left in my rise. how little
it matters that I left promises peeled-out in my teenage bones
to never become all the people I disliked about God
that inevitable night wrapped
in an extra-small hospital gown where I was riddled
with terrible holes to fill, and fill, and fissure until I couldn’t tell
myself from each cliff under every step I took out of there
here’s a story about a lifeguard who was so gifted at saving others
he waited for them on the ocean floor. a story about a man and Jesus
on the Lusitania who fought so fervently over who provoked the torpedo
with the biggest promise of safety that they joined the war
just to keep fighting. let’s settle this.
no one ever say inevitable and means well. I forget being saved
If I could do anything, I’d cash his last social security check.
spend it on a swing set, and try launching myself onto his lap.
his jaw – notched against his skull like an airport terminal – was my escape.
his smile loosened the slack on my eyebrows like a dark kite on a sunny day.
the smiles dug sandcastles into our skin.
every loved one who grows wings
dangles a rope ladder
and begs you not to climb it.
that’s why I got taller
stream a new jawn.
the sheets were changed for spring,
I finally cut my hair and
you were still getting in my eyes
captaining a ship in a piggy bank;
each time the covers were raised above my head
to rock down like waves, I saw you
two years looking under the welcome mat
twisting skeleton keys into your pictures
to see if you’d ever let me in again
I’d rooftop pillowed bunkers overlooking your spine
dangle my feet like white flags in hopes that you’d return
whatever spoils sit under your constant sun
the intangible soldiers begging to return home
moments where you bowed like a toy boat left
out in the rain, asking to be kissed one last time
opened-mouthed, yawning iron giant in 1946
waiting to make a nation built on I told you so’s
I had lost more than the war that night in the rain
since then, you were
the distance, the silences, the lovely
drugs and the prods at reality they made
last night, like the zinc flash in our old portrait
I watched the drugs trade hands like a secret
how nice you were to that man when you gave you
what you and your body wanted
how you used to lick my edges and roll me up
but I was never that good. how much more
beautiful than any war monument this had become.
all this time building a hunger
starving with all the wrong cravings
One of the best videos on Youtube, hands down. Derrick Brown, ladies and gentlemen.
People say, “I’m going to sleep now,” as if it were nothing. But it’s really a bizarre activity. “For the next several hours, while the sun is gone, I’m going to become unconscious, temporarily losing command over everything I know and understand. When the sun returns, I will resume my life.” If you didn’t know what sleep was, and you had only seen it in a science fiction movie, you would think it was weird and tell all your friends about the movie you’d seen. “They had these people, you know? And they would walk around all day and be okay? And then, once a day, usually after dark, they would lie down on these special platforms and become unconscious. They would stop functioning almost completely, except deep in their minds they would have adventures and experiences that were completely impossible in real life. As they lay there, completely vulnerable to their enemies, their only movements were to occasionally shift from one position to another; or, if one of the ‘mind adventures’ got too real, they would sit up and scream and be glad they weren’t unconscious anymore. Then they would drink a lot of coffee.” So, next time you see someone sleeping, make believe you’re in a science fiction movie. And whisper, “The creature is regenerating itself.
the passenger seat –
a diner. her lips – pie. I
get the usual
I wish I could smell that kind of loyalty
like the 9 ounces of racing fuel evaporating through the neck of a beer bottle
the heat tells me exactly when I am to blame
the first time
it is a lesson
the second time
it is a reminder
the third time
it is a punishment
the fourth time
it marks the first time
you considered never having friends again
the fourth time you buried their secrets in the backyard
lest you become the kind of believer
that measures the golden rule
sometimes I overdrive my bravery
and end up as a firefighter
down the stairwell into hell
trying to find a mental elevator
to calm my melting hands
so the whole time
I sat atop brooklyn
throwing you a party
and I know, you’re no longer a rooftop sailor
you’re the balloon traveling type
throwing friends out your basket if you ever feel weighed down
and spitting hot air to get yourself high
if I had a parachute ready
does it mean I was asking for it?
I know you’re no promise of safety
you’re the warping leather helmet atop my head
and the scalding water dripping down my hood
the white v-neck beneath it all
I trusted in your skin
but hotter than the 121 burning in your throat that night
I still pulled myself out
the fire was extinguished
and every ash falling from my shoulder
looked like a little hot air balloon
a theater projects my back on a 60 foot screen
for an hour and a half straight
a performance piece
the audience gets disgruntled, and throws things it.
this goes on
until the screen falls or everyone gets up
and goes home.