yesterday's storm

At six it starts pouring
both water and people
into the streets to
flood our evening with
renewal and one other.

I hold serveral blueberries
in my palm
and it feels heavy
like rain.

The coyote and me
stared at each other
as the sweat found
its way to the corner
of my eyes.
I forgot a hat.
I was six miles in
my muscles whispering
enough already
the miles were going
by too quickly
we had nothing to prove
the coyote stood
her ground.

Meanwhile,

Carlos swaps the stud
for a hoop and
rearranges my jewels.
I throw out
the wrong receipt
the barista comments
on my eyes.
I tell him
they were on sale.

Ice-cold water has changed a lot.
I think often about my neighbor
who takes meth like showers,
her son covered in dirt
like my ankles most days
or rips in my clothes
coffee on everything.

It's almost been a year and I see things bursting, dwindling, growing in unexpected shapes and spaces.

I find love in weird crevices, or wrong places
it's a pull-push
take and give
answer and question
everything
credit
nothing.

a dark cloud stamps out the sky blue sky

it rained for five days straight
which never happens
and it might flood
which sometimes happens.

At six it starts pouring
both water and people
into the streets to
flood our evening with
renewal and one other.

in awe

I wake up drunk with myself.
Drinking manhattans in mountains
if only a reminder for a city
that used to live in my bones. 

She sits here, with a hollow breath,
waiting for a call that might change lives.
I sit there, with a mug,
a black coffee covered in apple stickers. 

It's cold in mornings but we dress for summer.
What we want always, eventually, comes. 
I hold hot heat in my palms, grip the wheel
as the sun dances through a windshield.

The rhythmic melody of gravel on rubber
turns into the song of my existence:
an unnamed highway slapped on maps,
in awe, and never fully seen.

 

 

Maps

Maps:
A symbolic depiction
of things in a space
and what is between. 

Most maps are fixed to cloth.
The earliest of the heavens, 
and then the world,
and then the roads. 

A map hangs above my bed.
It is fixed with duct tape
to the popcorn ceiling.
Distorted, its countries misused.

I stare at the canyon, its wiggly lines
while you finish carelessly.
I want to live inside this map.
Mappa mundi, cloth of the world. 

I want to draw my relation to you
inside a climactic map.
Using isolines to measure humidity—
the space between our hot and cold.

I want to capsize each street map,
your hands like four wheel drive tires.
Your grip: rubber on depictions of road.
My skin: slick and resists.

Maps: a cartography of bodies
of water, flesh and defiance.
A symbolic depiction of things in a space
and what is between. 

 

Wyoming

For a plateau cut by mountains,
I have never seen a sun so adamant
on not setting.

For a town of no one, 
I have never seen a road so adamant
on staying awake.

There is a big sky
you cannot see when driving through
ground blizzards, alive as teeth.

There are two hotels to choose from.
One is made from lathe and plaster.
The walls remind me of shooting stars

and their paths. 
I am cupping my hands
to catch them.

Do you ever feel trapped in open space, 
he writes in a letter.  
Which is just a piece of paper

he also writes. I respond:
A ski is a split piece of firewood
with a hidden agenda.

I take off my coat and have hands
that aren't mine inside my skin,
Submerged, a recreational scuba dive.

I look for fins.
Pulpwood is scattered
everywhere.

The chinook winds pushed their way
into my bedroom that night,
unlocking the door with her bare breath.

Enough of all the warm days next to ice days,
take your lumber to Wyoming, she says.
There is whole space and a psychedelic sky.

For a place so close to home,
I have never seen a landscape so adamant
on feeling borrowed. 

For a piece of paper so thin,
I have never seen wood so adamant
on keeping us warm.

I look for a sunset.
There is light
and it is everywhere.



 

wings

Wings

I cannot write as well as you,
I cannot write.

There is a woman who lives next to my window.
She hangs her clothes between our buildings,
I know her dishtowels and bath towels.
I understand all the details.

I do not understand anything when you’re
on top. I am tired and pretending to not
be tired. I loved you in any position
but this one.

We’ve been here before: 
radiant love and rampant fear. 
It’s too hard with a heart that
lacks salt.

I will not speak as well as you,
I will not speak.

I take souvenirs. I get tattoos
and have them tell the stories: 
there was a bear that cured all histories
mountains I could finally call a home.

This woman, I do not know her but
I understand. She has a bird that’s
caged but still sings. I know because I
write the melodies and harmonies,

I have known wings before.

I held a gun once

We have spoken without speaking; I held a gun once. 

It was heavier than I wanted.
It was for fun, like reality tv. real but not-real
I close my eyes and shoot towards a tree stump.
I close my eyes when my rights are taken away

the literal and figurative assault of my body there is no longer a system that honest-to-god gets it.

We are bound and we are bound

What do I do, well I write. well then I fight.
I held a gun once

The morning after: deep loss. I go straight to yoga and cry the entire time, every heart opener my lungs get stuck in their own gasps. We hugged afterwards, we don't even really know each other but it was everything

and I felt a lightness. 
These emotions I feel I've never felt.


Yes, Hate does not cancel out Hate. For those who voted the other way, I must love and understand I must show compassion. I must not fear but I am terrified.

We must unite but I am split in a million fragments

Things keep shifting in the news it was DAPL it was Brexit it was Orlando it was Bowie it was Ebola, or pokemon. The ebb and the flow of everything in our hands, eyes, feeds

I held a gun once
and I wonder why anyone could want such violent power.

In a blink of an eye Tuesday turned from hope to a devastation
the bullet slices through wood, making its mark.
 

The only reason we know

I look up to the sky and see two moons.
One is completely full
the whole disc illuminated
tossed its orange glow into the lake.

The other moon is green,
a sliver that bends into the stars beneath.
A leafy sky pulls at our ankles
and we lift.

It's 62 miles to space.
Two to where I am at the lake.
But this one has a current
and we drift.

My eyes feel like ice this time,
but our hands are warm
with all the extra moonlight, 
hot air into tightly clenched fists.

The snow falls politely,
almost in sin.
The only reason we know
is because of our prints.

We head down the ridge
towards a sea, or so they say. 
Later he tells me it was my choice
which is expected, or so they say. 

I don't necessarily agree
but with two moons in the sky
so much can shift up here;
we'd let our hearts do the talking.

Come down, only so we see everything: 
peaks pile on top of our palms
we give in, or up, into compressed air
like ice in wet water

and we lift.

 

 

World

World, never stop taking me.

New York City, I mistook you,
a radiator for crickets, the river
in its murky, filtered waters
of mountain, tap, and fresh mud.
a reminder of what is tough to swallow.

in New York cash from cans is king,
it snows on the first day of autumn.
the homeless drag plastic bags
in shopping carts, recycling income.
women in scarves hold hot coffee
pinned beneath the wet blue sky

the cold coddling bones that crack
with tepid possibility.

and World—
let's stop naming hurricanes.
burst beautifully instead, red aspens
deciduous in the crumbly light of fall.
take the orange leaves from my porch
and serve deftly on a copper platter.

L.A., there are pumpkins and palm trees
everyone mistakes clouds for the mountains.
under the sun the dress fits like a glove;
the wrong color was the perfect choice. 
my suitcase now full of sand and two
strangers share a motel with a coastline.

George, the Uber driver does not judge
the 8am dress, falling eyeliner or the
fraying wheel on my gritty suitcase. 
we do not judge the chaos, airscapes,
or desert beaches.

World, never stop taking me to these places,

never stop these erupting arrivals
of vivid depth. 

the thing about mountains

The thing about mountains
Is their wild otherness.
Up here, the sky is black
And we see stars in September
There is a burst of yellows,
Orange tucked inside aspens.
The weather shifts like the second
Hand on a small, tin clock.
In the middle of the summer
The cold turns our cheeks red,
We throw snowballs, wear gloves.

Pockets of snow that look painted
Dirt trail to rocky sidesteps with pole
Thin air, icy air, surrounded by
Thick rock, jagged rock, held together
By chemical bonds, pressed up over
Millions of years, squeezed together
Like a piece of machinery.
Creating own weather systems,
Painted rock their green.

I've seen you in rock, too,
Our once-love crystallized
In earth's crust, igneous meaning
Of fire and the hot heavens.
Maybe the mountain is my God
Maybe wilderness is spirit
Is what I marry, is what I love
And returns, the thing,
Is they have already decided
What to do, to show up
To move, crumple, and dive.
To love with a brief endlessness
Earth rising, you returning home.

 

love secrets, II

I breathe in a figure of eight
joined like two ovals
I send letters without stamps
writings in bottles to a sea.

follow your heart filling,
you are an adventure.
enjoy the final minutes
under broken stars we discover

we'll never get used to this,
under a forest of desert pine
the moon on a different axis
under broken stars we discover

the creek where we forgot our clothes
slowly, like gazing at a Koons or the man
who counted age in numbers of days
10,248 and counting.

the ghost of Phillip swims beside me
I swim to my room where I prefer the bed
close to the floor, where Conrad prefers
empty boxes, crates and where

the needle entered between toes
fingers interlock at the lumbar.
so tell me, from a layer in each sky
that we'll never get used to this. 

misha's house

one time in the wrong season we went to vermont. 
the lake was shrinking at that time of year, 
the leaves were so green you could never
believe they’d want to change. 
we went up to the house, the owner is your
ex girlfriend’s father and he is hospitable. 
he talks with his hands. 
in the summer the nights are cold in vermont. 
the green leaves are laughing as the green plaid sweater
covers my toes and my elbows hug the thin sleeping bag. 
it keeps me cool
we lay in the lean-to that one day I will build. 
I thought of the vanishing lake and orange trees while
your elbow would find my feet to acknowledge
the gardens we planted on rooftops
and the skylines we saw on summits. 
we spoke to angels
but I am not sure how to know which religion is right. 
you said we dream of what scares us which scares me:
I dream of holding mint in my hands,
I dream of soft water and shrinking fires. 
I dream of beautiful things.

Big sky

the desert, in haikus: 

Canyons, a big sky
She climbed to the edge to see
The red crest of earth

Our bodies touching
While the jackrabbit watches
Under the big sky

Under the big sky
A river cuts through desert
Cacti quenched for thirst

Desert: an absence
I pulled you from the big sky
Landscape fills with hope.

love secrets

The last Monday in July, normally
a work day. The sting ray carcass
washed on shore, fried scallops
leave grease on the brown bag.
Hannah orders a side of broccoli
and we share the coleslaw. 
It's peeking spring in Brooklyn, 
the cherry blossoms on a run, 
and the evening that followed
is in my dreams: foggy moon
dancing in the bedroom, between
the sheets we told love secrets.
George says, What are you doing
to me? and we grip the final moments
together under broken stars.

there is something

there is something,
driving through the dissected plateau
uncracked and filled with glossy moss.
whether cat creek or the Blue Mountains, 
whether Meeker Avenue to buy unsliced meat.
each bumper strangely kisses another
like unloved school kids unsure of
where to place their hands. 

so we just ask The Catskills: 
a range with no defiant ending.

there is something,
perhaps in Brooklyn they removed
every rock for every patch of dirt,
elected a mayor who elected steel cables
coated with zinc, going from body of
land mass to more bodies, 
each bridge of steel
stretches across a timezone
to our heels.

there is something about the woods, 
the insides of your skin
are like a cherry pit, sucked dry
but a silky slime.
we named every body of water
after every body part:
shoulder estuary, chin creek, wrist river. 

there is something,
perhaps nothing ever falls in place.
tectonic plates collide to make mountains
and only to shake them down.

the most stunning spaces, 
the sunrise, the ribbed landscape
of snow-capped fingers entwined
beneath once was our hips

there was something.
 

the curvature of

a rib bone, of
constitutional space.

feeling fast, thinking
slow sand in moss

believing finding a conch
in the forest green wood.

relativity theory only relative
for quantum doctors

undermining confidence
to cull all shells mistaken

for roots beneath a tree.
an incessant incandescent

sky of stars so alive
breathing and intent,

like bodies tending to
lie and bodies tending to

break
on craggy mountains

there is no sound
we heard nothing

which is something
I knew everything:

the secrets of oceans
finding blue beyond

coast and state lines
ending a life like that

or trying to feel the sun
through yellow leaves

soothing skin and
together we could fix

all of this we
believe in what bends,

a crane cranes his neck
another is folded

from looseleaf
and flies.

words means every thing
with a stillness;

give up on monogenesis
make 6,500 ways to speak

grow slowly, silent
the paradox of choice

leave us with
bodies telling stories:

the dialectical art
we only speak

argot, slang, cant
and so on

we say touch:
I say remembrance

melodies of defiance
locked in lovers

inside rust mountains
in rock we let hum

and I swear,
and I swear,

I swear to you
it was worth it all.

nothing, really, ends

(another set, this time six, because nothing really ends.
dedicated to old beginnings.)

the snowball effect:
say one thing, its weight giant ...
yet her lips still small

remember this mouth?
push gently, he can't hear you
you can't hear silence

but so what! listen, 
we're 30,000 feet up
but ground rules apply

you chase down seconds
"cabin crew, prepare to land"
ending all in air

but it keeps going:
say one thing, wreck a life
better to do what? 

speak up? and for what?
nothing really disappears
nothing, really, ends. 


 

(un)moved

you are unmoved by the moving earth.

The language we speak has little inflection;
I understand through your eyes only

the auxiliary verbs help
validate each emotion:
you feel what you feel because you feel it.

However the english language makes it hard:
the clouds clouded your ability
to glue the glue to the heel of my heel- 
toe my feet together one more time
tell her to let go and I swear my palms are
open

cupping blue-gold flames
chilly next to cucumber-white tea
the insistent taste of incredible things
happening in the world.

We walked to fish for sea bass and god
I am sick of losing people this way.

By the creek an expression of complex
tenses seems to mean we are back
to the ledge a million miles from
the Wasatch and its red rocked canyons

a current too strong to pause and realize.

Pull me from sleep, again, summer 2011
and the wind slows down for a place so high
as if the atmospheric pressure drains itself
to a sameness.

The earth at eye level is put on mute
refuses for once to dance easy.

"I don't understand what you're saying"
how many feet high? I'm on a beach
in Santa Monica just ate an artisan egg sandwich
now trying to save your life through a flip phone

falling
slowly is what I imagine the planes do.
When the headwinds knocked the neck
into the thick air someone cracks a smile

Somewhere we're about 50 years old
driving the road in rural Maine,
snowflakes make amends with the windshield
the disappearing of apartments
the first clue of this beauty. 

Remember though, we came in jigsaw pieces,
creek-breeze rising
of perfect melodies next to the thirds

falling
fast. Hallowing the final story out
on the ledge, on the mountain,
on your fire escape
why bother escaping
from an earth that will stay unmoved?

 

 

on planes, in your arms

last five.

wheels down, safely still
or frozen, what happens next?
smoke a cigarette

replay the stories
of what never should happen
on planes, in your arms

she wonders: why us
she thinks: it's not all that bad
she sits: her breaths climb

she climbs: breathes faster
she pretends: touch me once more
she hopes: forgiveness

ask: does this feel good?
it's the hardest fucking thing
to do what is right. 

 

(pt I. your hands were my hands)
(pt II. azure, to crush you