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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

 

Permanent Impermanence

That night as they cradled each other in the dim orange light

There were new lines carved deep between his eyes that she’d never seen

His face was an oak gashed with initials wrapped in little hearts and bleeding from question marks

She could tell those lines were scrawled by careless, unfeeling hands and she traced them with weary eyes

She covered each scar tenderly with her hands

She wanted to erase every “was here” and every love

She wrapped her arms around him, put her cheek to his roughness 

and mourned life’s permanent impermanence

Look

You look at me like I’ve got it all figured But I’m a mess Just look at me When I was introduced to myself My hands melted together firm but unsure and then quickly diverged They were surprised that their twin could be so So cold So rough So foreign My face feels the same about its reflection It looks different in the mirror than it does in everyone’s eyes My identity has been pressing the panic button repeatedly I’m a mess Just look in me I still loose my thoughts in the past I still judge myself for feeling Feeling afraid Feeling want Feeling melancholy I expect nothing to hurt, and hate myself when it does So when it comes to being with anyone other than me I realize over and over that I’m a mess Because of other yous And that stops me from making what’s old new

Drinking Song

The baton stirs the twist of sharp and flat

Until the sound, the lights, the taste of it all is a whirpool in a glass

Assertive hands bob above the brim manipulating this waxy yellow rind

Until bursts of sweet sour sound break at the mouth of the bay, my bay

Stringing through the lips, then through the ears and the nose

Through the salty crevices between the fingers

Eroding away at the incessant voices that speak to me in tongues

At a volume that soils every synapse

Usually I let my mind sink everything

It’s seasickness. Sorry.

But all at once this deafening triumph and muted blur

Travels down stream, permeates my every pore

And scrapes away at my banks

Until I’m wide and still

Drowning with drunk

Drunk with drowning