Tag Archives: love


Winter’s melting into the apartment

In the misty light, my insides warm and brassy
She and I lay in a heartbeat’s hibernation

She exists in telegraph bursts,
The moments between a switched flip and a bulb exploding to life.
From time before time, the question and the echo,
Ribbons and a kindling spark, heat and smoke and everything

The very zipper-teeth of her tumble over everywhen,
A hundred thousand backbone dice cast into the pit
Some lost to history, more stuck between the pages, others now

I’m rattling in the cup of the future, waiting to roll
I’m learning to be less present

I dreamed my mother’s eyes were taffy-stretched
Woven in forever knots through the skeleton beams of our unfinished house
I’m tangling more and more

The frayed ends of me wander, winding, riverlike
Crossing, curling, turning ever away toward her
Vibrating to her pulse–the waves and the warped

Winter is lifting

My breath rolls in like a stranger, and the heart wakes

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I know little and understand less.

As for you,
I would be wind
Racing across the lake,
Changing light’s play on the surface.
I would be breath
Rolling over the shore,
Brushing worry into smooth, soft beds.

I am a brief storm; you are a brilliant stone.
I am impulse; you are permanence.

This is my romance:
Selfish, self-sacrificing.

You are another tempest.
Ancient and heavy, I am shelter from the whirlwind.

I understand so little and know so much.
We are storm and stone, wind and waves.
A gray day is ours for dancing.

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All along

She doesn’t expect much but she hopes for all
Little red flame burning hot in a velvet cage, vulnerable
Asking eyes and a fist balled-up tight around life

Independent of the many ghosts that pinball bump against her
And shoot off silver with her momentum, she is adventured
She is her own adventure

Beating back forest to discover lost cities, she
is a hammer and a chisel and the artist and the marble in the block
She will never be finished

Suspended and unseen within perfection she is a masterpiece
Her lips tell me why we die for love: I lose my life
With every kiss

When she is here I am aware of my half-form, and know
That I am damned to incompletion,that I
Was born to be half-great without her, and I

Would pour myself into her like rain into the sea
Forgetting the sky
To be a meaningless diffusion in her mysteries

Sometimes I am a chronicler of her long journey into air
And into darkness, walls of marble, glass and fire
Small and hidden in the sunlight, I

Can sleep here close to her heat
Happy to consume her light
As happily consumed

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And you are–?

Why not meet twice?
Why not three times, or four?

Why catalogue our knowledge, keep each other
in a store that we must draw on every time
we pass, until we burn the substance of
our mystery from thick intrigue to paper
panes of penetrable glass?

I have met you.
Forget all that.  Come meet with me again.

Let all the skittish, probing questions fly
and bounce around the ether, blind, unsure,
and bloomed to blushing courage by encouraging reply
that says: I do not know you yet–but I
would push myself out of my mouth, project
from teeth and tongue and tangle in your air
an exhale between one kiss and one ‘goodbye’

We meet.
And, simply, without knowing why,

Our fingers brush, our blood is heated by
an unfamiliar voice, and we ask: why?
In fitful fantasies, insomniac twists,
we sate our fascination, drinking in
the intertwine of lives and legs and longing
to be met; to melt; intensify that passing
on the street, meet, and re-meet, skin upon skin,
and heart from heart, and mingling steam with steam.

I meet you morning, afternoon, and night.
And every time, I find we can meet twice.

If I know you, how can I redefine
each hand-mapped inch and memorized fragment,
each hair and blush and blemish of a face,
and every tripping meeting, every time?
And find we do not owe but to eachother,
and as do twisted roots, we grow together.

Let us meet.

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Here, after

below my throat
Somewhere between the collarbones, grief in a hard cold knot

The smallness and isolation,
alone with you

The ‘oh’
of your breath
lost in roaring stillness
tumbled across that silent gulf
wrecked on my back, soft around the shoulders
vulnerable to the hoped-for and dreaded bridging strike
of a murmured word, or the electric touch of
fingertips spreading, to gentle
the landing of a soft palm
to draw from my chest
the sluggish blood
of doubt

Inhabit all of me
with the fire of you
together and large and
awake with me
to go
with you
to sleep

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small and chestnut, sipping at
your coffee
shrugging on a winter coat against the breeze
your endless inner void
tumblers into locks deep inside
puzzling out new worlds
finding and forging new roads
your artist’s tools
making each pen stroke
delicate and deliberate
ticking down another note
your way into
stretching and pouring
ideas and truths
creating a mind
tearing it down
look at me
with the voice of a lullaby
your lips softly parting
and meeting again
your tongue exploring
your teeth
speak a word to me softly
speak a word to me gently
fill me from the deep well
let me drink

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And Now

(For the wedding of Erin & Andrew Harrell)

As I look out
upon this iron city
and watch it steam

and breathe
and people come and go
in great glass towers
and in long trolleys
and trains
and winter coats

I think about a child that was me
and another that
I knew
a girl with summer-colored hair
who held my hand and walked with me to school
when I wore blue overalls

and I recall a day when
we were high up in the branches of a eucalyptus
making small stories
the lives of her dolls
and the rain came so sudden and so hard
we ran
and yelled
and the thunder yelled back
and that was us.

And we learned how to be small together,
and we made lemonade in the summers,
and we spent our few dollars on movies,
sitting in the aisle on the steps
because there were no seats

We were so close we could not help but fight.
And with her voice she made me so angry
before I knew how words could fight for you
I kicked and hit and bit,
and never won.
Her voice was so strong, and I was so small,
and her voice has never changed.
I feel her strong voice when I think that I have found my own
and maybe it was she that taught me how,
the way she taught me how to tie my shoes.

We strode together down a hill where sour cherries fell from low branches,
to listen to loud music and dance and act the way that we thought it would be
to be older.

On a strange night, in a strange place
We sat against a moonlit wall and thought of home
and cried until it hurt.

And we got older
and we wasted time gloriously on idle things.
And childhood crept out the door and left us
awkward and stumbling, proteges of life
and that
we had always had
it left us too, and distantly, we struggled.

She found herself in dance, I told my stories in my way
And separately, and over years, we kept the things that we had learned
when we were small

And so, across a country and through time, we grew, and we were us.

And now
as I sit in marble and wood and glass and flower
and love and excitement murmur in old hallways with soft voices
I think about this time, this place, this me,
and a man with kind, dark eyes
and the warm smile of a brother, and a son,
and to the girl with summer hair I knew,
and woman that I wait for here today,
a husband.

She will struggle
and when she struggles, he will comfort her.
He will fight
and her strong voice will join with his,
and they will win.

And time and distance will come and go,
and always,
as there was always us,
there will be them:
waiting at the end with an embrace
and whispered words for nobody else.

And as I stand before you now
the many Uses and the many Thems,
I think about a girl, a woman, sister,
and a friend, a man, a brother,
And how many, many stories
that they have yet to write.

And now-

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“And Now”: drafts and scribblings

1. Hold on to this.
A day.  You get so many.
Mornings that you’ll sleep
and stretch and yawn
and leave behind.
Mornings together. Mornings alone.
Some mornings will slide by
into the foggy memory of routine.
Some mornings you’ll take a picture,
or some news will break your heart,
or you’ll wake up knowing you will be somewhere else
for the rest of your mornings.
But not this morning.
This is once, for you to keep.
So remember this.
Hold on to this.
Hold on to this day.

2. I knew a girl with summer hair.
When I was young and wore blue overalls
we sang with painted faces in the park.
And when the sun was out, we sat in shade
And she would teach me how to tie my shoes.
And high up in the branches of a tree,
We told each other stories, and imagined

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Like the Twelve-Bar Blues

I want you to play me like the twelve-bar blues.
Pick up a guitar and just start sliding around,
Tell me something sad, tell it twice,
But don’t give the whole thing away just yet,
Because ABABCD is a tricky little waltz
And let’s not miss the third step.

Now riff me back to the beginning,
Hit a chord that tells me the story’s not finished
And we’ve got a ways to go.
Wind me up like a major league pitcher;
Stack me up like one of those wooden string toys
So you can push the little button under my feet and let it all
It’s a dangerous little dance
And let’s not forget where we started.

Spelling out a story in threes:
it’s not the fastest way to go about it but
Yes, No and No, Yes are no story at all:
Yes, Yes, No is the way a tragedy goes, and
No, No, Yes is where my little victories usually come from.
Roll up the frets and we’re back to step one
Feels like starting over but we’re a little further in the tale
And things are starting to come into focus,
What happened to you? What happened to you? Now I know.
It’s a silly little jig,
But let’s not forget why we began it.

I want to tell you a funny story, you might know how it goes
I want to tell you a real funny story, you just might know how it goes
See, I get so sick of you, and then I want to hold you close

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I don’t

I don’t lack appreciation.  I don’t want you to think I’m cold to these advances.  I don’t want you to wrinkle your brow again.  I don’t want to tire you out.  I don’t want to become routine.  I don’t want you to lose your passion.  I don’t want to restrain myself.  I don’t know if I’m strong enough to pick you up.  I don’t mean not to try.  I don’t keep my phone on late at night for you.  I don’t wait for a call hoping it’s somebody else.  I don’t listen to the lyrics when you’re around.  I don’t see you doing well on your own.  I don’t want you to know I pity you.  I don’t want to panic in the light of your brilliance.  I don’t shrink from your challenges.  I don’t like the way your eyes remind me of a child.  I don’t think about you much anymore.  I don’t go a day without trying to shake off the parts of you that stick in me.  I don’t think you made an impact at all.  I don’t hear your words.  I don’t want another man to drink in your elegance.  I don’t remember you twirling your skirt while you laugh.  I don’t want you anywhere else.  I don’t like you.  I don’t need to grab your shoulders and shake you.  I don’t want to miss the curve of your hip.  I don’t throw myself at you.  I don’t see how you burn out your passion like that.  I don’t think it’s cute when you’re dumb.  I don’t wonder where you get your fix.  I don’t like your arms anywhere that isn’t pinned under mine.  I don’t think you’re always beautiful.  I don’t know if I love you.  I don’t wonder if you feel my heart crashing against my ribs when my chest is pressed against your back.  I don’t spend much time thinking how I covet you.  I don’t really think you exist.  I don’t think your family is related to you.  I don’t laugh about you all the time.  I don’t forget the hot red flush that creeps across your body.  I don’t mind cracking a smile now and then.  I don’t enjoy the way my arms and neck tense for a beat when I see an old picture.  I don’t have to guess why I kiss your knuckles when I hold your hand.  I don’t want to see you again.  I don’t know how to explain you.  I don’t want your stupid throaty sigh and narrow-eyed disapproval.  I don’t want your legs ever untangled from mine.  I don’t need the growl in my breath when you kiss my neck.  I don’t want anything else, ever.  I don’t measure the time when your hot tears burn my shoulder.  I don’t have the time for you now.  I don’t want your faces at the edges of my thoughts.  I don’t want a new tree of possibilities forcing its roots in every time I catch your eye.  I don’t like the way your product keeps my fingers from running through your hair.  I don’t share your obsessions.  I don’t miss you.  I don’t want you.  I don’t know you.  I don’t know myself without you.

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