AT THE STILL POINT

 

I'M FORGETTING YOUR VOICE ALREADY
I'M FORGETTING

VOICE \ FORGETS

CROHNOS

HATE SAYING GOODBYE IN THE DARK
BUT I CAN’T AFFORD ANY MORE SELF-SABOTAGE
TIME TO GIVE IN AND TEND TO THESE COBBLESTONES
MAYBE ALL I NEED ARE A FEW MORE SCARS

THIS BODY OF MINE:
YOU CAN TAKE A LOOK BEHIND THESE TISSUES AND FILMS
BLOOD CAN RUN SO THIN

PAIN IS THE LOUDEST SOUND I HAVE EVER HEARD—
I GUESS THAT MAKES RELIEF THE QUIETEST

AS WE AIM TOWARDS VULNERABILITY
PLEASE JUST DON’T LEAVE US ALONE BECAUSE
I MAY NEED PROTECTION FROM MY CELLS
BUT WE ALL NEED PROTECTION FROM OURSELVES

“ONE DISEASE, LONG LIFE…”

 
 

MOTHER—
AM I POISON TO OUR FAMILY?
I'M STILL LOST TO INDECISION
SO MY TONGUE CUTS, AGITATED—
INJURES YOU WITHOUT HASTE
YET THERE IS NOT A SINGLE PALATABLE EXCUSE
   AND THEN COWERING ON EVERY RETURN FLIGHT
I WONDER:
   HOW AM I SO FORGIVING OF EVERYONE BUT YOU AND ME?
   WHERE MIGHT I BE YOUR CATALPA TREE?

FATHER—
AM I TOXIC TO THIS FAMILY?
LIKE THE BRIGHT BLUE EXHAUST
BLOOMING FROM YOUR OLD FORD
PARKED ON STIFF GRAVEL IN LATE NOVEMBER
(THE REVEALING SNAP OF COLD)
   INSTINCTIVELY, YOU KNOW NOT TO INHALE
   UNTIL THE FUMES DISSOLVE
I ASK:
   HOW LONG BEFORE THE SHARPEST HURTS FADE?
   HAVE YOU EVER FELT THIS WEIGHTLESS?

BROTHER—
AM I WORTHY OF OUR FAMILY?
OR OF LOVE AT ALL?
THERE WERE NIGHTS WHEN I STRUCK MY CHEEKS NUMB
JUST TO FALL ASLEEP
   SUCH A BROKENNESS I NO LONGER COMPREHEND
   IT NEVER FELT LIKE STRENGTH
AND YET:
   DID I NOT BREATHE INTO THE PAIN?
   OR, DOES MY HEART FLEX IN VAIN?

CALEB—
YOU MEAN ONLY LOVE FOR EACH OF THEM
BUT THESE YEARS YOU HAVE BEEN AWAY
YOUR INTENT WAS DRENCHED IN THE FOUL TRADITION
OF A SELF-HATING AMERICAN

THERE IS SUCH A HEAVY SYMMETRY
TO KEEPING THEM ALL AT ARM’S LENGTH
OR FEARING WHAT HARM YOU COULD DO
IF THE GOOD THINGS DON’T MOVE BACK
   EVENTUALLY

SILENCE OF MOVEMENT IN HEAVY SYMMETRY

 

WINTERGATE

YOU'RE THROUGH THE GATE OF WINTER
AND YOU FUCKING HATE IT
'CAUSE THE SNOW JUST SEEMS TO SPACE ALL THE BUILDINGS FARTHER APART
AND SEPARATES THE PEOPLE AND SLOWS EVERYTHING DOWN
BUT NOT IN A HEALTHY WAY—
IT JUST DRAGS ALL THE WHEEL WELLS AND BOOT SOLES
THROUGH BROKEN SALT CRYSTALS THAT STAIN ALL THE ROADS AND FLOORS

YOU TOLD YOUR DAD THAT LAKE MICHIGAN COULDN'T FREEZE OVER COMPLETELY
BUT IT DID LAST YEAR
SO WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU THAT YOU KNEW THAT?
WHY DO YOU ALWAYS THINK YOU KNOW THINGS?

(WHO DO YOU INHABIT?)

DRY HANDS AND SOME CALLOUS FINGERTIPS:
ARE THEY AN EXTENSION OF AN IMPERFECT ARRANGEMENT OF SPINAL CORDS
OR JUST A SYMPTOM OF THE BITTER DAYS BEHIND AND AHEAD?

YOU'RE THROUGH THE GATE OF WINTER

 

YOU NEED IMMEDIACY, I HAVE ONLY PATIENCE
YOU WANT CLARITY, I GIVE ONLY CONFUSION
YOU COULD EXIT, I CAN ONLY SUSPEND HERE
YOU HAVE EVERYWHERE, I AM NOTHING, I AM NOTHING

RESISTING THE URGE TO MAKE TIME
WHEN LANGUAGE MELTS TO THIS JARGON:

YOU HAD PATIENCY, I NEEDED IMMEDIANCE
YOU OFFERED CUSION, I TOOK CONFLARITY
YOU WOULD SUSIT, I COULD ONLY EXPEND THERE
YOU WERE EVERYTHING, I HAD NOWHERE, NOWHERE LEFT BUT TO

MOVE SOUTH ALONG THE SHORE
I TRY TO LIVE IN THIS MOMENT
WHILE THESE UNFAMILIAR SHADOWS
CAST ACROSS STREETS OF CEMENT

I—I’M SO BROKEN UP
QUAKING ABRUPTLY
SHOULD I APOLOGIZE FOR THE PLEASURE IN DESIRE?
 
NOW I FIND YOU NO FRIEND OF MINE
BUT I KNOW NOT WHETHER TO PROLONG OR ABANDON

UNFAMILIAR SHADOWS ACROSS STREETS

 

CLEAN SHEETS

PLACING ORCHIDS BETWEEN STONES:
KEEP BENDING STEMS
KEEP FOLDING PETALS
KEEP PEELING FINGERTIPS—
THE ORGANIZATION MAY BE ARBITRARY BUT THE MOTIVE IS NOT AT ALL

SWAPS, JUST:
ONE BED FOR ONE SMALLER
ONE SLEEP FOR ONE SHORTER
ONE BREATH FOR ONE STEEPER—
THESE ADJUSTMENTS MAY BE AUXILIARY BUT THE OUTCOME IS NOT ALL AT ONCE

TO YOU—OR YOU—OR YOU:
I STILL HAVE SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE—
I STILL HAVE SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE—
I STILL HAVE SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE

I-80: THE BACK OF A BILLBOARD
FROZEN AND RUSTED SCAFFOLDING
ONCOMING TRAFFIC MUST MAKE MIRRORED REAR-VIEWS
TO SEE WHAT IS PLAINLY EXPOSED TO ME ACROSS THE PALING ROAD

I SPEAK DEFINITIVELY BUT I’M STILL FIGURING HOW
THEY WITNESSED MY WORST HEALTH, BUT KICKED ME OUT ANYWAY,
AND HELD PATIENT AGAINST MY ACHES
AS IF THEY'D CHALKED IT UP TO PERMANENCE;
JUST KEPT QUIETLY SAYING

TO ME—TO ME—TO ME:
“WE KNOW YOU ARE NOT THAT SPECIAL—
“WE ARE NOT YOUR GODDAMN PARENTS—
“AND WE WILL NOT REGRET THIS TREATMENT”

THE DRAGONFLY’S WING SNAPS AND THE MOTH’S BILLOWS;
FLIGHT IS LOST REGARDLESS
I OBSERVE THIS WITH APPREHENSION DURING NOISY EVENINGS
OF A MONTH ALREADY HUMID AND ORANGE
AMID WEEKS SWOLLEN WITH FRESH FOLIAGE AND EL NIÑO'S RECORD HEAT

PAST THE STILL POINT:
IF I CATCH FAMILIAR SCENTS NESTLED IN SLEEP—
SOMEHOW, DESPITE CLEAN SHEETS—
AND WE LINGER IN THE DARK AWHILE
I HOPE IT IS FINALLY LESS OF A PLUMMET, INSTEAD A MOMENTARY DRIFT

TO YOU—TO YOU—TO YOU:
I STILL HAD SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE—
I STILL HAD SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE—
I STILL HAD SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE
I STILL HAD SO MUCH LOVE LEFT TO GIVE

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