1995 was

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long sweaters, color of grey clouds

wet wool beneath leggings and Docs

the way rain stayed in your hair and rinsed it of color

how you kept every love letter ever written

by all the little freckled girls who chased your dragon

we lay in your narrow bed

too small but small was what we were

breaking every splinter

in our roar and our mocking

you implanted a life

the telephone gave the news

my grandmother had given up pretending

perhaps the devil helped her

take that final breath

I couldn’t get a train

the rain the rain

you felt the despair of a boy who liked

the fur of drama

not the feel of fatherhood

her funeral was for two

the woman who had held me and said

what a pretty baby

when the rest backed away

like spectators unwilling to touch

and then there was the fetus

dry like a winter flower

red like a sore lover’s thighs

white like virgin snow covering

a crime

and the smell of damp

invading every corner of your room

ransacking hope

leaving in its wake

Smashing Pumpkins on low

sheets frayed and stained with youth

I did not return

you did not ask

it was accepted like an envelope is sealed

and black birds begin their fight

long after night has cast

her dark

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The possibility & the defeat

When we were nothing more than a line on a page

the author daydreaming of what it would feel like to meet

the other part of herself

the pencil half tracing an arc and then dropping off in thought

for she did not believe it possible, for she had stayed inside her box

such a long time it had become second-nature to assume

there was nothing more, and if perchance, it was only illusion

when we hadn’t grown flesh and hands and eyes and mouths

licking and touching and fitful for all of its circumference

and mad for it, with the supple sway of lovers

bending to each other’s lightest trace

when we were two people walking in opposite

unawares of the fall of love, or how it can plunge so deeply

the violence of a hearts commitment

then, you had a cocksure approach

keeping yourself remote, never getting close

and I was like a cake without frosting

not knowing how it would be to grab and eat a mouthful

for someone to climb inside and inhabit me

I was undamaged or at least less scored

by your whetted knife of emotion and longing

and you were safe in that way all who refuse to play

remain aloof and jaded against

what they have never allowed entry

it was perhaps the greatest pain to open ourselves

to the possibility and the defeat

for in feeling everything there is sometimes only

that high rising gloat toward the eclipse

then the rest of time spent recalling

as a drug fix, the chambered splendor of fantasy

you leave me void and furied with untamed

need to bring you to my mouth, my flowering chest

I’d sooner bury this confession than discover in another’s arms

the blank expression of indifference

when we lurch on sea-sick ship, sailing apart

the cruelty of love

or something approximate

is a shrill bird call over the top of trees

warning all those who dare discover

the taste of things unrecoverable

as these marks on my skin will

stay as symbols

of what we were and

endeavoured by that stark hour

to preserve for another season

when the flowers fall from the trees

and the birds, tired of cold nights

fly south in blue lines

First light

I was meant to find you here

In the feathered hour before waking

Where, gentle with sleep

You moulded yourself to dreamscape

Timid our hope to find, in straining dawn

Within the stream of our wandering mind

Elucidating like synchronized swimmers, carving ever decreasing circles

Each head sleek with water, diving deeper, ever tauter

From such depths we surface, forming mosaics on our skin

From seemingly unrelated moments, they wind, mirrored twine

Like treasure-seeking may leave us penniless

Laughing in the bask of adventure and

Oh the divers urge to search beneath surface

And never grow complacent or bored

For this day streaming on us, liquid silver, holds all promise

If we just examine, the way forward is forged

Out of darkness like a bright brand, quickening

Come to the frightened as they implore Titans

Leave us just a moment longer in the belief

Love can last a long wild run, barefoot and laughing

Into ocean and beyond ourselves as stones are thrown ever wider

Tracery, to the excited call of children and their hopes unfurling

Taking to warm sky, kaleidoscopic red and gold

Where you begin to wake, your eyes capture and hold

First light

Intoxicate

I fell hard with relief

for being desired after so long, felt like finding water in a desert

I lost my sense

Captured in your confident swagger

The Butch pretension, drove me to my knees

The strength of your arms and thighs

How you led and pulled my chair, touching me briefly with possession

Beneath you, listening to little cries as you feel your way

Tell me is it wrong to want, the security or promise?

From years of being a shadow I was intoxicate by your

Certain stroke

As if you knew me as an instrument of your creating

Pressed beneath you, struck by lightning

A woman is never more beautiful than when she is strong and knows what she wants

You wanted me and I longed for your deep kiss awakening me from obscurity

It is a form of madness and when removed the wound is long to heal

Nothing that comes to pass changes the stamp on my soul

Some emotions are as real

As the hand you feel

Clutching your heart

Into water

There was grief in the last time I was myself

long-faced, retroussé nose, thick hair

broad shouldered from swimming away

cutting through water, weightless

not carrying your stare, your aprobation, your disregard

if ignored, let us ignore better, make an art of failure

suck the pipe, squeeze the last drop, inject, pop

those blue pills, as blue as you made me feel

psychiatry says nobody can make you feel anything

you choose

did you choose to feel nothing and by nothing

cause my center to crush softly inward

like the river flowers we press in our books

before you were born

carried over generation from generation

I laid in the grass wondering why

no lover had sought to please me

and the boughs of the trees revealed themselves

as my hand wandered back and forth

drenched in sweat

for who can satisfy a tin box with its lid hammered shut

who can know the heart of a girl who is told before she can walk

she isn’t enough, she’ll never be near sufficient

then you walked out of the river

green and shining like forested afterbirth

you did not care about forms and structure

spelling and photographic reproduction

you had a tongue and eyes and hands

like a thought with action

you claimed me beneath alders and pine

stretching so high, embracing unseen faith

I became a woman that day

crying out beneath your stones and mud and lillies

as white as an urge

with pink in the center

craving to crest in sun

and fall wilted back into water

Beneath your coat

Losing your mind feels like

Slipping your chaffed hands into a pair of rubber gloves

Plunging them into hot washing up water

Hearing the chink of porcelain, knocking against glass

Impossibly fragile.

Soon the water grows murky

You cannot see, nor reach the bottom

From the top of your head to the ache in your feet

Standing wooden, bones imploring, knitted sweater itching corner of your cheek

Passion in contrast, hot freedom, dusty legs slightly parted, cold between

An urge as you stand beside the sink

To dive in

Silent impulse on a cold day to keep your hands deep

As long as the water stays hot

That feeling when most of you is dry and clothed, but part

Is submerged in warmth, feeling like fingers working their way up

Stockings, underwear, the electric wire beneath wool

Into the mirage of your longing to let go, absolve yourself of .. it all

If you could release, lie back in kneeding waves

You might let your weary cracked elbows

Then shoulders, sopping, sink beneath

Climbing into the sink, patent shoes slipping

Brassiere faded by multiple wear, a grey strap, a bulge of apricot breast

Hair loose and dripping, reflecting against dull tin

A buttoned up woman trying to gain admittance

All thoughts stewing in your head like vegetables boiled in water lose

Their flavor …

As politely you wash and rinse, checking against light for water spots

No one shall ever know, the devouring urge beneath your coat

Where uncertainty cannot

Her need

To be held

Close against her wet neck

The taste of summer and leather seats

Tears and well played songs

Her perfume and the laundry smell of clothes

A bird repeats its protesting caw

Sprinklers intermittent

They lie wrapped around the other

Glistening lizards on stucco

Her thighs are muscular

Beads of persperation

And a haunted look in her eyes

Like a car crash playing on repeat

She wants to touch her deeper

Than tragedy can reach

All the way beneath her skin

Where uncertainty cannot dictate and only then

Head flung back and nimble neck stretched

She lets out a cry

Catching the top of trees

Like unexpected summer breeze

So far from fear

For a time, it is forgotten