Hope / Blue

*the words “Blue” and “Hope” are interchangeable*

The sky is absent of ____
until the fog burns off around midday –
a deeper ____ invited to each clear night nestled with stars

My walls are stained with it
(bathroom ____ bleeds to kitchen ____)
I’m cloaked in soft ____

Dry my hands on ____,
wear it thin on my chest and thighs
(____ can chafe in the name of appearances –
I peel it off and slip into a cozier ____ at day’s end)

____ never leaves my eyes
even when flecked with sunlight
at a fierce angle, even when
clouded over, a disappointment
seeping out from somewhere

I leak ____.
I smell of it.

____ in the ring he gave me
____ in the ring I still wear
____ ringing in my ears, lingering
on my lips, an anthem echoing
a deep cut

____ when alone
In a wrong crowd: more ____ still
In his company: Is there a word beyond ____?

(2020)

On A Spike

Can you see my head 
as you ride back into town?

I’m here because, in short, I lost.
Or rather, my head is here
and my body…well…

Can you see I’ve done my makeup?
Polished my spike?
I’ve worked hard.
I knew you were coming.

I can’t remember what did it,
what moment led to my reign
over this soupy post of quiet rot, 
head here and body…well…
War can be funny like that.

I bet you’ve forgotten all about it,
but for different reasons.
I hear you’ve got land now, cattle.
That’s nice.

Had someone asked, I’d have preferred
to’ve gone eyeless. Gouged out.
Mashed to pulps. Fed to a goat.
It would’ve spared me seeing your hair glint,
your eyes shimmer, your arms pump and flex
as you clop up the road. It feels wrong.
I can’t cry for your perfection. I’m dead.

I suppose the upside to it all is
my purpose: I’ve finally found one.
I was pretty useless while I could still roil
and ache and beat my chest. Breathe. Need.
I am now very helpful: I’m a warning.

See my head as you ride into town?
Aren’t I pretty?
Aren’t you mortified?

(2020)

Hello

The lamp overhanging
my neighbor’s back door
shutters on, flickers
like language.
A stutter. Morse code.

The incandescence
then swallows itself,
clicks off as the foyer light
warms the evening.
A mistake – they
clipped the wrong switch.

I still take it as a hello,
a good evening,
a happy spring,
an “isn’t the weather fine?”
I need it to be.

(2020)

Test (The Day This Lifts)

The days this lifts
we’ll flood the streets.
Will you get naked,
relish the air, lick the
filth of Manhattan Ave?
What a relief it will be,
what a relief.

The day this lifts
I’ll throw clothes in a bag – unthinking,
blaze down 95 – unblinking,
bang down the red diamond door and oh
What a reunion it will be,
what a reunion.

The day this lifts
we’ll shake the proverbial champagne and spray.
Will you take a sip for the occasion,
get drunk on talk and warm bodies,
fall asleep touching elbows?
What a night we will have,
what a night.

The day this lifts
I’ll let him go.
Or maybe I won’t.
Either way, my heart
will keep up the thaw
and eventually
What a Spring it will be,
what a Spring.

The day this lifts
will we be any different?
Will you still seek deep comfort?
Will I still conceal a dark heart?
Will our minds be wiped clean
like grime from windows in rain?
What a test it will be.
What a test it will have been.
What a test.

(2020)

(photo by Jennifer Hart)

Untitled

With anger spreading in the chest
To guard against a vainly barking tongue

– Sappho


With anger spreading in the chest
To guard against a vainly barking tongue
I tried, My Love, I did my best
To croon the words of light that must be sung

They fell upon your deafened ears
Which set a rage to sweep my heart with fire
Hysteria is born from fears
That tangle in the roots of all desire

We tumbled down an awful well
And cracked the very spirit of our bond
There’s no way out but through this hell
And through it we did go, for far too long

In the end, not much was left
We parted all our properties, our lips
I stood upon the shards, bereft
In disbelief how it had come to this

It took my all, My Love, to bluff:
To keep my person light, the dark at bay
I’m sorry it was not enough
I’m sorry that I don’t have more to say

(2020)

Vase

After years of tinkering,
puzzling over the shattered vase
I purposely knocked for the attention
one fitful evening,
I have finally started to see
where things go,
where they once were.

“See how fragile,
how beautiful it is?”
I say to a younger self,
pointing out the delicacies
in the design.

She nods silently, politely,
with eyes that tell me
she’ll understand
when she’s my age.

(2019)