I love the way your tongue limps over consonants
But lingers idly on some
Is it linguistics that makes your love
Is there a cathedral behind your lips
That no one can see
Is it the Irish Sea I hear in your whisper
Let’s get lost in translation and I’ll taste what I can’t understand
The details just don’t matter
I heard love
That L that limps forward on your palate like the
Liffey limps toward Dublin Bay
The O that’s as soft and hollow as the
Crypts at Clonmacnoise
The V that vibrates on your lips like the tender hum of
Spirits ten thousand years old
And an E
As silent as the fields of Athenry
Sweet sound, let me swallow your meaning
And I’ll never be hungry again
Oh my son, I’ve dreamt you again.
You’re thin as this sleep but let me hold you
My little egg shell child.
Does it hurt anymore when you fade away?
To make you say goodbye so often.
What is it they say
About mothers letting go?
I never held my dream in real arms.
Real arms, no
But I held you and I hold you still
In fragile visions that feel like memories.
Oh my son, to have memories
Watch me while I write this song.
Don’t look away or you’ll miss the part where I
Does the rise and fall of my chest have you throbbing yet?
Now watch me turn this page.
I’ll linger as I wet my thumb but don’t blink yet,
I’m not nearly done.
Are you wondering what I’m thinking?
You should be.
I’m only thinking so you can
Watch me while I sleep.
Don’t you wonder if I’m dreaming about you?
I’m trying to undo this cyclical sickness and learn
In my dreams
To love myself.
To find a comfortable vanity.
To preserve my feeble sanity.
To be alone.
Watch me give up on romance.
And pardon me while I become
I need to watch myself evolve
Into a singularity.
His voice aged that night as he spoke quietly about the disappointment
that only a prayer could soften.
Beneath the words that bubbled in his chest
his heart beat
but he did not know what for.
I listened to his anatomy and found god
and wished he would speak instead.
The rise and fall of his chest staggered as he made sentences,
useless articulations that failed to find meaning or peace.
Occasionally I kissed him
when only his tongue clicked against the palate of his mouth
and words began to tumble back into his throat
where they stayed without breath
to push them forward again.
He did not kiss back but I tried to breathe some light in
to sustain his searching.
I held him until he slept, and in the darkness that penetrated only one of us
A living body would have melted the snow
that fell with wintery indifference and gathered in the folds
of its broken limbs.
Passing trucks made waves of ice and asphalt that crashed against its side.
It bared the force with a stillness that can only be had in death, but for a moment
it looked like bravery.
Its beady eyes could not see
the frost growing from the corner of its eye where it looked
like a tear had fallen just before those tiny living spheres became
Blood spills slowly when you’re hit by a car.
There is no blade to make a gory exit for your insides.
Just a blunt force
that knocks everything out of place but leaves
maybe dead or maybe dying but definitely
My fingers tear across the hard brass strings
and they ache to find the right note
the right chord
to trigger my memory.
I found you once in a diminished B 7
but you vanished and moved on
and I’ve been playing ever since.
And what if you’re a melody,
Lost in a pattern in these goddamned frets.
Then I’ll learn to write songs
like I learned to play guitar.
I’ll find you, I swear,
and I’ll play you until I fall asleep.
I’ll play you until I bleed.
I’ll play you until I remember
and then maybe the song will be enough.
I can’t bring you back.
I can’t even dream.
But if I can resurrect just one memory
or hallucinate the feeling
of your beautiful, calloused fingers on my face
then I won’t ask for anything more except to
play your song
again and again.
I remember walking down Eleventh Avenue in winter,
Wrapped in wool that smelled like the
Cinnamon candles it had been packed with during the
The fibers scraped my skin and I’m half convinced
The irritation kept me warm or at least distracted as I
Soldiered through the winter storms just to walk by your
The light was always on by your bed where I knew you were
Writing, but not about me anymore or if you were,
I can’t bear to think of the words that filled those pages after I
I sobbed quietly into my mittened hands and I
Shook with convulsions from the cold but could not
Move on until my suffering became a delusion and I wandered safely
Then in blankets that smelled like you I’d dream the walk again
And the horrible happiness I felt to remember
The life we used to share would wake me from my restless sleep and bring me back to
I can’t count the spaces between us
The months and the hours
I don’t know what’s longer
I can’t think of the places I’ve been to
thinking I’d find you
I don’t know who’s farther from home
I’ve searched all your favorite places
I guess all I have to say is
I don’t wear silver anymore
I can’t count the times that I cried
the silence, the screaming
I don’t know what’s louder
I can’t find the will to move on
thinking you’ll find me
I don’t know who’s further from home
I can’t spend another night on the freeway
I don’t know what state you’re in anyway
another dime in the pay phone, just wanted to say
hello I’m not okay
I’ve searched all your favorite places
I guess all I have to say is
I don’t wear silver anymore.
He looked thin.
All the beer and potatoes and red,
red meat had left his bones
in just eight hours.
Tubes and needles stuck out of his yellow body
like sterile weapons
sucking life from him
while they pumped fluid in.
A beeping and flashing machine
kept his heart beating,
and I wondered how my dad
would have felt about that.
The better part of me wanted to grab
his motionless fingers,
but the bigger part held me back.
I was as still as he,
imagining it was my heart
limping across the screen,
my lungs being filled by a plastic bag,
my life lingering in a hospital bed.
I wasn’t there, though my spirit seeped through the television screen and ran mad through the city while tall, gray buildings that meant nothing to me yesterday poured into the ground over and over on replay, and it was impossible to see inside, through the walls that enclosed the greatest terror of all, walls that concealed from billions of viewers the faces and screams and cries and prayers made in horrified haste, and oh, how the floor must have shaken beneath their feet before finally, violently sinking, or how people surely fell down stairwells or burned in the fires or got stuck in the elevators or obliterated by the thrusting silver nose of a plane, or how those who leaped from windows could not scream or breathe against the roaring vacuum of wind that sucked their bodies faster and faster downward, and we can only speculate if it was the impact that actually killed them, for perhaps the horrible wind did it first, but either way, these flat, human sails as we saw them (for they seemed to fall slower from a distance) were the only visible lives outside the great, collapsing boxes that kept the maddening suspension of inevitable death of over two thousand people secret, and so it is replayed because really, no one was there