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You, you, you

A song strums through my open window playing with strings of my hair as I sleep; its hands are like yours. Its notes are shards of mirror that send sunlight burning holes in the drapes like a careless child. Its crescendo is ear-splitting, eye-opening and then all at once a whisper. It ebbs like a slow inhale and flows like a passing shadow pressed into the wall as this type is pressed into the page. I hold onto its lyric like a railing as I climb into my mind’s attic. I dig through all the dusty nostalgia for that persistent needle, the one that’s pricking me over and over, the one stuck scratching the vinyl with the song of you, you, you.

This Way

 

I haven’t walked this way.

The faces are white sky bright and the taste of burnt coffee sticks to the roof of my mouth like tar.

I’ve never felt so sick.

I haven’t walked this way.

The steps are grey like the day and the circles under my eyes.

I’ve never been so blind.

I haven’t walked this way.

Those boards create an illusion, a pyramid, and I always question their sturdiness, but they held up that winter night.

I’ve never been so cold.

I haven’t walked this way.

Green seems impossible in all this grey, yet there it is, blanketing.

Is that why I still hope?

I haven’t walked this way

Since my hand was held, my face was warm and next to me was you.

I’ve never felt so lost.

Morning

It’s 4 AM and the morning I taste is menthol cigarettes and your chapsticked lips warm against mine
The morning I feel is the rain in your hair and the way our bodies dovetailed under the streetlamp
The morning I hear is sighs of fears and finallys and the promise of no promises 
It’s 4 AM but the sunrise I see is eclipsed by the doubt in your eyes
And in all the quiet I can still hear the fear of a bad day in your “goodnight.”

Machine

Electric lady luck

My index finger stuck in the socket of this new machine 

It startles my brain waves

As a hairdryer dropped in my bath would

I’m still buzzing, blipping, beeping

Was that real?

Electric elocution

The mechanics of your words shocked my face bright last night

I waited for every bulb to string from your mouth like Christmas garland

Their enumerable possibilities wrapped around me

Every hair on my body rose like stiff wire 

Electric eccentricities

Your hand was iron hot, smoothing every wrinkle in your hair, your skin, your shirt

Our elbows touching on the armrest, I wondered when the machine would falter

I waited for the gears to creak in defiance, for the engine to overheat

But everything worked well-oiled and efficient

So tell me, should we rely on what it seems,

even if we don’t really understand this machine?

Empty Alleyway

There’s this empty alleyway

downtown near the bus stop

that I always look through

by now it is etched completely on my brain

carved in deep like a first memory

it’s red bricks jut up from heavy treading

litter is swept haphazardly to the sides

the buildings are scarred from rear view mirrors and graffiti

and it’s shadowy corners are quiet with waiting

for the next passerby.

In it I see myself

the rust red brick when I blink

the dirtied mortar caked under my fingernails

and the right angles that structure my mind.

Most bizarrely, that same anticipation stirs in my heart.

I love this empty alleyway because

we are both made and unmade

by the ones we let in.

The city night

She is a dark alley intermittently lit by fluorescent street graffiti lights and passing cars

The sounds of the city burst from her lips in soulful gasps as her arms outstretch in a wide v

They’re a street scene in perspective, drawing the eye to the very center of her

To the place where the sound boils up and steams out of every crack in her surface

To the place where everything disappears in her horizon

And watching her

All you want is to get closer and press your body

To the sultry city night

My face alone

The concrete streets soaked with last night’s dew
I think of you and look into shop windows
I’m reminding myself of my face alone
Because my reflection’s been lost in other’s eyes and in the shadows of time for too long
But today
There’s something in the way I look that surprises me
I see I’m not lost at all
My eyes are crisp and my mouth is bold red and smiling
This gray afternoon I may have lost you 
But I’ve found myself