"Did I see you
on every line I wrote
as I borrowed the brightness
of each star that stands to light up
the sky at night?
How like sinners we keep…
we shall stay hushed
like the sounds of graves
I’m scared, mommy
Very little breaks the heart of a mother as efficiently as her own child frightened beyond consolation. The logical approach usually works, at least here. There’s nothing to be afraid of. You’re safe, I promise. Don’t worry. Think good thoughts. But tonight, all failed. And she comes out of bed shaking with a trembling voice, desperation in her eyes. She’s scared of her dreams. The ones that brought her to my bed at 3am last night. That make her lip quiver as she talks. And the ones that she probably inherited from me. I can’t hold her close enough, my own patience a knife edge. Why can’t she move on from this? Would it help if I tell her the images I f car crashes and betrayals will fade in the morning? That you won’t have vivid flashes when driving in the left lane or walking in an alley? I would tell her that I’d single handedly defend her from any onslaught, with a strength she hadn’t seen but knows is there. Willingly step in front of a train to spare her. I would tell her I command the angels on her behalf and the demons shake with fear at the strength of my conviction. I would defend her peace with the last drop of blood in my veins, the last beat of my heart. She would see me fall long before she felt death’s sting. No, I don’t tell her these things. She’s scared now, and I will not add to her nightmares by revealing mine. I stroke her hair and speak again firmly. The angels are standing guard. You are safe, I promise. Believe me. And she sleeps.
"I was built from fragile things—but that doesn’t make me weak. If anything, it makes me stronger. This constant breaking, but also this eventual pull of all the pieces back together. Despite it all. That is strength."
Dance with the Devil
These lines are nothing but self-therapy
And don’t hold any critical acclaim,
Mere symptoms of my search for remedy
And for a winning move in devil’s game.
For he has pitted me ‘gainst my own mind
And made me want to flee from my own head,
Made me my adversary, most unkind
I fear this game won’t stop until I’m dead.
But as my suffering depends on choice
My enemy has made a stern mistake;
I will be deaf to his alluring voice
And I will choose now all his rules to break.
And as I move now to a tune that’s new
The devil’s game became a dance for two.
Learning dialect from silent film,
mannerisms stolen from hues
of the deepest blues. Pulling strands
loose from fabric shared, unravelling
bodies stitched by hand.
To disappear under threads,
contented hearts unburdened
by the structures that held us in place.
Losing ourselves, becoming each other
and nothing in a moment blind and muted.
Absconding forms for formlessness;
Never closer, more further apart than ever.
To the Wooden Bookcase
Every scrap of love I knew
died screaming in that fire
when the axeman tore our dog from smoke
for the gawkers to admire
and the paper sang like gospel choirs
on the eve of the return
for the readers sweetly smiling
reading ink that didn’t burn
and the phone calls of condolence
rang against me like the lash
Every scrap of love I knew
committed into ash
Tell me there is more to this
a more not so absurd
and promise me an afterlife
where a man might find his words