THEME

[197]

I am high
and I can hear tiny frogs ribbiting outside our window
this humid summer night,
my nose filled with eucalyptus, ylang ylang,
patchouli, and I want to kiss you the way
I wanted to kiss you the first time I ever saw you—
hard enough 
to shock the smirk out of your smile.
We are young and in love
and in a world like this one,
that is precious.
We are precious.
I am learning to be amazed by my self;
the way I bend and bow,
the way I never manage to snap—
but you kept my heart safer 
than I ever could have kept it.

The light inside me is so vast
I am overflowing,
and you catch me in all the right ways.

Let’s talk about how we halve grief, divide
moonlight, slice open decay to allow for
more decay. It’s May now, meaning cold feet
and dampening laundry. Meaning inconsolable
skies and a train pulling into the platform then
emptying itself. Quietly. At a distance. From a
sixth-storey balcony with evening dew clinging
under its rail, old telephone books thrashing
in the wind. Come winter, we’ll heat our
hands over the stove and ruin each other for
anyone else. For everyone else. You, who is
unlike anything I’ve ever known. You, who
kissed my idiosyncrasies until they sighed.
You, with half a chuckle against the weakness of
my throat. Yes—always you, at the rim of that
childhood playground, at the edge of that
ageing photograph, your face slow-burning in
fields of morning light. —June Tang, “Close the Window, Come to Bed” (via twelvestepped)

[196]

It is a panic.
It makes me clutch my chest,
claw at my skin.
It is consuming, overwhelming,
eats through my veins
and sets my insides ablaze.
The harder I gasp,
the faster it burns
until my lungs are corroded
and breathing
is no longer human.
It is a fury.
It fills me with fire,
turns my bones into matches,
tries to burn my house
to the ground.

If I could only
crack open my ribs
and set myself free.

[195]

I became difficult to love.
I looked in the mirror 
and saw disappointment
reflecting back
from my eyes.
It became harder to breathe.
I was trapped inside a body
that wanted me to die.
I questioned every moment
every answer
every event
every second—
what was the point of it all?
I became transparent.
I faded into the background,
my voice forgot
how to shape words,
my lips pressed themselves
together
in a hard white line.
I became empty
and forgot
how to take up space.

[194]

I am an ant 
under a magnifying glass,
a moth blinded
by the light,
I am on fire and no one can see me burning.
I am out of place,
losing track of time;
writing a sentence 
is harder than carving a wound.

If someone could at least
tell you
that you’re broken,
would it be easier
knowing it’s not your fault?

[193]

I wish I could
carve my soul 
out of my body
so that it could find
a better place 
to call home.

She is all there.
She was melted carefully down for you
and cast up from your childhood,
cast up from your one hundred favorite aggies.
She has always been there, my darling.
She is, in fact, exquisite.
Fireworks in the dull middle of February
and as real as a cast-iron pot.
Let’s face it, I have been momentary.
A luxury. A bright red sloop in the harbor.
My hair rising like smoke from the car window.
Littleneck clams out of season.
She is more than that. She is your have to have,
has grown you your practical your tropical growth.
This is not an experiment. She is all harmony.
She sees to oars and oarlocks for the dinghy,
has placed wild flowers at the window at breakfast,
sat by the potter’s wheel at midday,
set forth three children under the moon,
three cherubs drawn by Michelangelo,
done this with her legs spread out
in the terrible months in the chapel.
If you glance up, the children are there
like delicate balloons resting on the ceiling.
She has also carried each one down the hall
after supper, their heads privately bent,
two legs protesting, person to person,
her face flushed with a song and their little sleep.
I give you back your heart.
I give you permission -
for the fuse inside her, throbbing
angrily in the dirt, for the bitch in her
and the burying of her wound -
for the burying of her small red wound alive -
for the pale flickering flare under her ribs,
for the drunken sailor who waits in her left pulse,
for the mother’s knee, for the stocking,
for the garter belt, for the call -
the curious call
when you will burrow in arms and breasts
and tug at the orange ribbon in her hair
and answer the call, the curious call.
She is so naked and singular
She is the sum of yourself and your dream.
Climb her like a monument, step after step.
She is solid.
As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off. —"For My Lover, Returning to his Wife," Anne Sexton (via commovente)

[192]

I may not be able
to paint you a portrait 
on a canvas, with wild
colors and passionate shadows;

I may not be able
to construct a building
with 
corners like your jagged cheekbones,
or elegant lines
like the curve of your fingers;

I may not be able
to craft your face out of clay,
sculpt your angled shoulders,
your crooked smile;

I may not be able 
to draw the lines between us,
sketch the shape of our bodies,
like two halves of a whole—

But if you give me a pen
I’ll wrap you up in words, immortalize
the shape of your mouth and the golden
warmth of your honey colored skin;
I’ll craft you into metaphors for love
and everything I find beautiful
in this world.

Give me a pen
                  and I’ll engrave you in poetry.

[191]

I want to go to cities I’ve never been
and carve my name
into the earth and say—

I’m here, I’m here
After all this time, here I am
still breathing, still trying my best
and carrying on—

I want to kiss the lips
of people whose names 
i’ll never know but never forget,
steal their smiles and skip them
across the water like
pebbles dancing in the sun—

I want to smell the grass
and lay down on a mountain
to hear the Earth’s heart
beating against mine 
and I’ll whisper my name so the wind
whispers it back and I’ll say—

I’m here, I’m here
I am here—

I’m broken and I’ve fucked up
and I’ll never be the same again—
But I’m here.

And I am glad.