I have often feared of great disasters, and kept my keys
Where I can always reach them, if ever I needed to
Lock the door from within.
My brother once said odd beginnings had odd ends
But the sum of my life is always a study in
Half of what it could have been.
I have reached for metaphor after metaphor
But found that nothing ever truly
Equals something else.
I have reached for that note too high on the fifth string
And made do with one that fits just
As well in everything.
My father never came home before the night was dead,
And smoked by the window. I always thought
He was talking to me
But now I see I can’t remember his voice and
Today’s not the anniversary
Of dead nights.
My brother was a madman who never loved himself
But always found enough in his heart
To love me.
So many ages have sagged in my spotty arms
And the weight of helpless despondency
Has turned my eyes
Into the dark marbles of my musty youth,
Into pictures without time
Into hatred.
I feel the shadows of this lampshade taking over
And the scurrilous pounding of ancient nerves
And I can’t find my keys.
Oh well, there’s so much to tell but so little
To tell it with. I have often feared of great disasters but
The little ones got the best of me.


purple rosebud octopus

purple rosebud octopus
i thought you were ready to pounce
with a curve of your back
and shadow whiplash
but you came softly through,
slid your watery cups across
my bruising skin
and there infused
your gentle toxin that
turns sand into ice.

purple rosebud octopus
i wish i could cry
so i could weep away the slow sting
of your phantom limbs
and turn your dull cutlass
into the spear in my side
and then feel your limp
tendrils entangle my spine,
and to deceive myself
of all feeling.

purple rosebud octopus
where do your tentacles reach
when they wade into my mind?
do they reach around
until they find
that closet door
those years ago
where i hid away my sadness
and emerged
but only a feasting ground for octopi?

suits and glasses and love

What does it take to kill this spectre
Of electric memory that pulses through
Tips of my toes and drags my gut towards
Its incessant bubbling spring?

And at our confluence, sister, brother, friend
Where our charges shift and shade and sink,
Where our bodies tear into sparks,
What keeps us going on?

Mother, I have hated every moment
Of making space for suits and glasses and love,
When I could very well curl into
The current of our past and never wake up.

And now we flow in listless cities
Where everything runs but nothing ever moves.
We were built for rapids and foggy waterfalls
But now all we do is keep this fucking light-bulb on.


I don’t think I can make it up this staircase although I’d rather
Be up there than down below with all the loose flesh of
Spiked eyes, wrathful in their breath, sobre in their sense-
Less words. I could push my way up against this damp
Plastered wall, with all its cracks and faultlines reaching
For the slip of hot blood that rushes through the nerves
Of their eyes. I could hold my tongue and never speak again
And only hope not to be spoken to, because speaking was
My first sin and I’ve never gotten past it. I could get
On my knees and push my bag of snapping twigs up
Across each plateau until my legs are sore with boredom.

But do I really want to be up there, with those sexless
Lotusmouths that spew love like it’s a prize? God knows
Love is a fight and no one ever wins until they’ve given
Everything they’ve got and come up short, because love
Isn’t what you say, it’s what you can’t.

Maybe I’ll wait here and rest my head against the
edges, and bear the dull ache of its refusal like
String around my fingertips, and rest my hand across
Its shoulder to wait for some desperate fool to
Pass over me and excuse himself by crying out,
‘I’m sorry to be in a hurry but the slowpokes get
The guillotine and my skin is far too sensitive
To bear the weight of something that has crushed
So many a good man before me, I’m sorry.’

Maybe these steps will move and shrug me off if
I stay here long enough, or maybe the wood will
Rise from its open grave to engulf me in its arms and
The thorns and grass and leaves will capsize my body
Until it rests in some deep sleep of history books
Where the restless millions scamper to claim everything
They’ve lost, but I will be here, on this great, kind
Staircase until it shrugs me off.


Who did you hurt?
These bones were ground to dust before
The skin had ruptured.
You can pluck as many petals as you like
After the flower
Has withered and died.
Nothing stings when the spine has shed
It’s smarting vines
And the wishful malice in your eyes
Goes up in smoke.
And if you wish,
Take my soul and wring it dry;
It’s been heavy
Since the start of time.
Feast, you mongrels, on the flesh
Of what you wrought
If it will bring you joy.
Take my breaths in silver spoons
And feed it to the swine.
But know that with my body you will
Take my ache
And what goes twice is
Blessed twice:
Once for love and once
For cruelty.


nothing wakes
the ocean is another failed suicide
or almost.
touching takes
too much work to grammatise
our sorrow.
crashing pans
and picnic blankets laid out
all awry.
shaven heads
offer god a sacrifice she
doesn’t want
but can’t deny.


Could keep past the humectant sleeves of old coarse bitterness
That reach across the seams and blur the miseries we found in each other’s
Happy eyes.
But how do we survive when the cold wind was all that kept our hearts beating?

The coast of generations, pile upon pile, hurry the waves to moan:
‘Don’t take too much but what can pass for common nightmares that tear
The starry sky
And then leave what you can for those that seek their fortunes told in reverse.’

Here, withdraw, hold still before the sea breeze blows you away
Along the lines of derelict moonshine that occupies what it cannot own.
Here, come stand with me tonight and I’ll tell you all the dreams
I’ve never had.


In crossword cities
The rituals of the beat
And weary
Conjoined at square
And street
Spell of rain.

Careworn and fraught
With the wrinkles
Of their family lines,
Forgetting how
To read the
Subway sign

Shambles in the
Warpath of
Streetlamps and
Outstretched palms
The ritual must
Go on.

The knees they
Rattle like
The restless door
In old wheezing
Monsoon winds,
And give in.


This town waits for the crescent bloom, the nightfall poultice that forgets us:

In slow grooves we circle our graves.

It secrets the cracks in our walls and sits by the fireside and listens to the ticking clock

And carries with it, its moss and damp breath,

Lumbering through the streets

Like a dog forlorn and drags the fog behind it.


This town once crooned to midsummer night

And rung church bells,

But now it droops and rests at a bus stop.

When on window panes were speckled drowsy  raindrops

And children in tiny rivulets

Flowed up the hill

This town was eavesdropping.


Maybe we have grown too old to see the monster

And now we keep it at our bedside chained

So our secrets will stay there to rot

But the town scratches at the leg,

Implores the rain to come visit again

But knows the rain was never its friend.

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