Peppery residue, paper-like, call me
what you want: I’m here and longing
for you. The droplets that dribble from your corduroy
pant strings, you help yourself to the spicy cocktails.
We’re in the moon-drenched corner
and you’re touching my shoulder
asking to leave.
and gesture, big
with thumbs outstretched and eyes
like kayaks—we pedal upriver, trout
in search of burial ground. You touch
my shoulder: I’m here
and longing for you.
fall from rain clouds, the ones
from the mountains that spill and
hurry out to the Pacific reefs. The relief
we feel: the shoulder to shoulder
the eyes like moons in eclipse the
salmon, swift and sturdy.
Moon rain on shoulder skin
I’m here and longing
We came shuffling out in pairs;
freshly toasted and slightly
singed, John tipped his bowler
to the woman with groceries and
all of us snickered.
“It’s too windy for this shit,”
said Ed, and I agreed, tho’
Maggie did not. She gave me
that look like—you’re agreeing again
I see—and I felt my toenails
scrap against the edge of my sandal.
We wanted a loaf
but got waved away by the white man;
clouds of dirty flour flew up
as he slammed the door
into John’s lumpy nose. Ed spat
and it landed with a thwap
on Maggie’s calf. Ed laughed,
and I laughed and Maggie did
A man with a shopping cart
was masturbating in the alley behind the 7-11.
We saw him, heard that desperation
as Maggie started to throw her apple into the dumpster.
She stopped when she saw;
but the man didn't. His face was flaccid
and his eyes, open,
I saw her shiver, and thought
she'd back away,
but first she reached into her coin purse
and pulled out a stack, which she lined like an army
on the spotty concrete.
I saw it, then.
The gift she gave.
A shadowy hint at the edges
of his iris; a faint sniff of the stuff.
Shame crept into his gyrating
body, flickering like a movie theatre
open sign. We all walked
just a bit taller.
This is the age you are
when the red balloon is launched
into space. The people
don’t care—look at them,
their faces! Lumpy and pouty,
too windy to be pleasant—
I hold your hand in mine
and we lean way back.
If anything is left,
let it be.
Let it be like waves
like rolling, ferocious, temperament
unleashed, selected forehead fury.
Like the dance of the sand
in the cracks of toes, alone and left
to their own devices, rendering skin
smooth and fresh.
If anything is left,
let it be. Let it be
the end of the novel, that rests
in your lap, tickled by wind,
the pages curling and sweeping
against your bald knees. Let it be
doomed forever to longing.
than the sound of your own blood.
Take your hand
and touch yourself;
what you feel
is your own skin; the kin you bear
day after day.
Look at it.
A million shades of sun
in every corner. That vacuum
is a myth.
Feel the crookedness
as the thumb becomes wrist,
as the skin folds
into elbow, as the knot of shoulder
climbs into neck.
Relish in the absence of plastic.
are like all of them.
O my soul--