The TV said the planes have hit the buildings.
& I said Yes because you asked me to stay.
Maybe we pray on our knees because the lord
only listens when we’re this close
to the devil. There is so much I want to tell you.
How my greatest accolade was to walk
across the Brooklyn Bridge & not think
of flight. How we live like water: touching
a new tongue with no telling
what we’ve been through. They say the is sky is blue
but I know it’s black seen through too much air.
You will always remember what you were doing
when it hurts the most. There is so much
I want to tell you—but I only earned
one life. & I took nothing. Nothing. Like a pair of teeth
at the end. The TV kept saying The planes…
The planes…& I stood waiting in the room
made from broken mocking birds. Their wings throbbing
into four blurred walls. Only you were there.
You were the window.
I used to bury plum pits between houses,
buried bits of wire there too,
used to bury matches but nothing ever burned,
and nothing ever flourished.
I set fire to a mattress, disassembled
a stereo, attacked flies with a water pistol
until our house was damp.
I pierced my brow and adorned it
with a stainless steel barbell,
then replaced that with a scar from a melee.
I pressed tongue to nipple in a well-lit parking lot;
swerved suddenly into oncoming traffic.
There’s a woman waiting for me to marry her
or forget her name forever—whichever
loosens the ribbons from her hair.
I’m filling the bathtub for an enemy, licking
the earlobe of a nemesis, trying
to dance like firelight
without setting anyone ablaze, I’m leaning
over the railing of a bridge and counting
and counting higher, seeing
my face at the bottom—it’s everywhere now:
in scattered windshield beneath an overpass,
on a sculpture of a man with metal skin grafts,
even the blade of a knife holds my likeness,
while I keep running out of ways
to say I’m here.
repeat after me:
there is nothing wrong with wanting attention
there is nothing wrong with wanting human contact
there is nothing wrong with wanting validation for your existence
there is nothing wrong with wanting your hard work to be recognized
there is nothing wrong with wanting attention
how to teach a car the way home part one of two: make sure the driver is asleep in your bed he won’t be any help remember this is about fear and safety and he doesn’t know either take the keys from the hoodie which he always wears inside the jacket this time of year you don’t have to be quiet he never wakes up when he’s dreaming of the future and even though he won’t admit he sleeps so well in your tiny bed you’re gonna have to scrape the film of frost off with something take a shingle from the pile of kindling don’t be afraid of how the car looks so mean under the willow tree with the sun glinting on all its fresh armor don’t be afraid of the car its still spitting up its blood from the earth you’re gonna have to move the seat forward and don’t be shy even though there’s all this stuff that’s his and even though you’ve been touching each other for years you feel like if you touch it he’ll notice and give you a slow quiet look in that sickening way all black eyes and start the car and watch the house watch the sun behind the mountains watch all the crows in the air you can go now
Rush-hour on the A train. A blind man
staggers forth, his cane tapping lightly
down the aisle. He leans against the door,
raises a violin to chin, and says I’m sorry
to bother you, folks. But please. Just listen.
And it kills me, the word sorry. As if something like music
should be forgiven. He nuzzles into the wood like a lover,
inhales, and at the first slow stroke, the crescendo
seeps through our skin like warm water, we
who have nothing but destinations, who dream of light
but descend into the mouths of tunnels, searching.
Beads of sweat fall from his brow, making dark roses
on the instrument. His head swooning to each chord
exhaled through the hollow torso. The woman beside me
has put down her book, closed her eyes, the baby
has stopped crying, the cop has sat down, and I know
this train is too fast for dreaming, that these iron jaws
will always open to swallow a smile already lost.
How insufficient the memory, to fail before death.
how will hear these notes when the train slides
into the yard, the lights turned out, and the song
lingers with breaths rising from empty seats?
I know I am too human to praise what is fading.
But for now, I just want to listen as the train fills
completely with warm water, and we are all
swimming slowly toward the man with Mozart
flowing from his hands. I want nothing
but to put my fingers inside his mouth,
let that prayer hum through my veins.
I want crawl into the hole in his violin.
I want to sleep there
until my flesh