TONOPAH, PT. 2
The desert is made
out of a million open hands,
hollow bones like
wind chimes in a dust storm.
Here we are
empty and wanting.
is a constant fight against
the urge to succumb to
I know we invented
such selfish barbwire
but I can’t remember why.
When we undress together, our underwear and sweaters
falling to the floor like shedded snakeskin,
the moon immediately burns through our pale shoulders.
We compare scars, one after the other,
white traintracks scrawling down our wrists,
both trying to beat one anothers’ stories.
My cat’s a little bastard, you say.
I tripped and fell down the stairs, I reply.
On a walk yesterday in the forest, the sharp branches
snagged my skin, you retort.
When I respond that I fell in the knife drawer this morning,
we both know it’s time to quit messing around.
We agree that we were young and insecure, all shook up
and full of vulnerabilities like a bottle of soda,
but those days are over now.
I kiss yours.
You trace mine.
You place your wrist over my wrist
and our scars meet.
Nice to meet you, they say.
to do better next year.
*cuddles up close to you* *puts my mouth by your ear* I NEED CONSTANT REASSURANCE THAT YOU STILL ENJOY ME AND FIND OUR RELATIONSHIP APPEALING
CERTAIN WORDS NO LONGER MAKE ME CRY
With every poem I write,
creativity begins to feel more and more
like 9th grade biology.
Art is dissection.
Here is my scalpel.
Show me your soul and I’ll take the parts
that I think look the best.
These are only love letters
to the things I have cut away.
These are only overdone metaphors.
I have touched the soft parts of myself so often
they don’t hurt anymore.
I’ll cut myself open.
I’ll strip-mine my heart.
Baby, this isn’t love,
my belly is a museum of rivers.
lungs, a pair of burning bridges.
show your hands, show your hands.
build my spine an upturned skyline of brick.
i already know how to crumble.
teach me to rise.
1. This town, with its bleeding jaw, gutted my childhood. I buried my grandfather last summer in a citrus field, and I have not been able to eat oranges since. I still remember his cloudy cataracts, his gentle hands. He told me there was beauty in being untouchable – this is why I lock the doors.
2. Some love is soft, I know, but not this kind – this kind slams drawers and ignores the screaming. Your mouth was like formaldehyde. Your hands were silver scalpels, were ragged teeth. Do not touch me with your liar’s bones. I hope she tastes the poison you keep tucked under your tongue for the girls you want to break. I hope that, when she leaves you, you have no one to pick up the pieces. I hope you rot in this town.
3. I spent sixteen tangerine winters in this city like split knuckles, like an open wound, and I can still taste the burning. I want to eat Manhattan and climb through its throat to Chicago. I want to touch the very ground God walked upon. When asked what I want for Christmas, I say miles, miles, miles.
4. I keep breaking bones just to get back up. The band aids on my knuckles are from punching walls and slashing tires. They never have the chance to heal. I do not know what I look like without violence on my palms.
5. This town – bleeding jaw, split belly. Town like childhood, town like funeral bells. Town like angels dying. Town like your eyes, bruised and blackened. You were not gentle with my heart, so I hope that you rot in this gutted city, with your mouth clasped to hers. I hope she sucks out your soul: I want you broken. I burnt down your heart long before she loved you – you are a monument, yes. But you are not beautiful, your ribs are a ruin, and when you kiss, it tastes like smoke. This is why I left you. This is why I lock the doors.
I wonder how many alternate universes i’ve died in