The sugar scrub reminds me of
the sand between our toes;
thrown back to when, on wooden decks,
as summer came to close,
we set up chairs, and passed around
a light for our cigars,
puffed clouds into the balmy night,
laughed hard into the stars.
Our voices echoed out to sea,
and bounced upon the waves.
Though long thought lost, it came to be
that laughter was engraved
in sentimental memories,
brought forth by little more
than everyday simplicities
that reminisce the shore.
The sugar scrub reminds me of
Sometimes I’ll leave it there for days,
scared to touch it, for if I do
I know how I’ll be tempted – no,
demanded by the crystal
to stuff it full of ice
lace its skin with sweetness,
and douse with golden poison…
straining into its smaller cousin –
decadent, and invitingly chilled –
a single, large cube begs to crack,
as I have,
under the spill of viscous concoction.
I raise my glass to the maraschino and I,
drowning in our sorrows.
What is it you see
when I bare myself, torn open,
pins holding back the flesh,
heart pulsing, shuddering in electric air,
lungs shivering, exposed and rapid…
I strain to see you,
to read your expression.
I scream out for it.
What is it you see?
What is it you hear
when I pour and pull the music from my throat,
dig words out my gums from the raw, sharp root,
eyes watering, glistened with agony;
I’m desperate for it to sound like the truth…
I cover my face,
striving to zero-in on your voice.
I beg for you to tell me.
What is it you hear?
What is it you feel
when I force your hand through my chest,
ribs cracking, organs displaced,
fingers splitting through sticky blood….
I wince, twisting your knuckles to pull you deeper;
even if it kills me,
I need to know what it is you feel
The sun rises, pulls up shades,
eyelids, and tilts heads to the sky,
lifts spirits, and lights the way.
Romance over its setting;
eyes clinging with sad fascination,
sentimental for dying flames and waning embers.
Follow it now,
down, down, down over the hills,
till staring, reality beneath feet,
seeking sun through the floor.
Gravity pulls and draws heavier truths;
forces peer through the dark,
and examine the ground.
Ponder in darkness.
All the while, it rises,
ready to raise us from beds and bad decisions,
where we’d fallen (fast) asleep.
I lost a day to a curious night –
how I suffer for the play and no pause;
the food sat too heavy, and my mind’s never ready
to admit to the sleep it implores.
Some find a way to recover their might;
how they rest before dusk is an art.
Even when I’m deserving, I find it unnerving
to arrive the same day I depart.
Instead I pray to a mug (held too tight;
how it burns me awake through the palms)
to speed up the sun from a crawl to a run;
pray the moon scoops me up in her arms.
The symptoms hide in silent whirs
of hearts that seem both fast and slow,
as if the wary beats could stir
the beast our world has come to know.
We wear our masks to hide and guard
a sickness we cannot discern,
and suffocate behind facades
of shallow breaths, and numb concern.
Contagions crawl through eyes and screens,
they spread through tongues and social feeds,
infecting our society
with novel mass-anxiety.
The countryside scares me
at night, when all I do is wait
for the crack of a twig,
or spasm of leaves,
or single cry in bleak air,
not to wake me
(for I am never asleep in the countryside),
but to jab me again with that white-hot awakeness.
So I moved to the city, instead.
At night, I’d leave the window ajar,
no matter the time of year,
so the sirens, and laughter, and trains, and shouts,
and smashes of glass, and loud songs from cars,
and helicopters circling, and doors slamming too hard,
and nightclubs emptying, and garbage trucks reversing,
could sing promises to me, from just-far-enough away;
you are not alone, they say.
We are here, with you.
But one afternoon, collecting my mail with others in the lobby,
a gust SLAMMED its face against the glass,
shouting something aggressive and unintelligible;
smeared as it left,
leaving us with that unsettling feeling
that we hadn’t seen the last of them.
And, as if word got out, the streets began thinning of souls,
dwindling of errand-runners, happy hours, and dinner-guests.
An unspoken quarantine befell the city;
devoid of people, traffic, and noise.
In our apartment block, we wait, as night rises from the tarmac.
That stillness I’d long-feared, and sought escape from,
holds us hostage like a small settlement lying in wait
of bandits, spotted tearing through nearby towns;
indiscriminate in their chaos,
they were here…
ready to expand within our pregnant emptiness,
and force themselves, screaming, from any crack left unclosed.
It begins with a
in the window-frame,
a whistle through the bars.
Its menacing subtleties come fast
come hard, then soft;
and stalks you from the
By the time we see the trees moving,
it is already done…
SLEDGHAMMERS pound their rubber heads on the walls,
on the windows, and bellow their bloody murder
through and under our buckling doors,
sucking all the air out the room
and throwing up all over you.
The one cowering in the storm.
The one whose scent is on its tongue.
The countryside has come for you.
I don’t hate the way it obscures the view,
how I open the blinds only to be blinded still,
because I wake up high in a low-down cloud,
shivering on the balcony,
peering over the edge, I’ve less fear than usual,
as if the sky had brought the ground to meet me,
promising a soft landing
all the while filling my lungs with crisp, wet air,
as I breathe out soft little clouds of my own in the chill.
I don’t begrudge how it makes us hide our skin,
bundled up beneath layers of cotton and down,
because your gorgeous smile still peaks above the zipper,
eyes unhidden and softly aglow,
reminding me of what you harbor
close and warm under your gaze.
I don’t long for the end of foggy winters,
the washed comparison and cooler tones
that clears my windows of dust, bugs, glare and streaks,
leaving me to survey, whimsically, with tea in hand,
curled up with my summer, indoors.
Clouds form behind doors,
deep-set in hills, like eyes in brows.
Hums leak from edges,
cause ripples of air, like heat on roads.
I’m drawn to it.
Blood pressure infused with gravity,
it weighs on me
heavy silence, like thick-laid snow.
Words wait there, I’m sure;
snared and bear-trapped, deathly glow,
laced with poison,
rigged to blow.