I could put these time bombs In a God-jar, let some higher angel Keep them. Cigarettes. Music. Weeds. Grace. The men I love, born with the mercy card up their sleeve. Impossible to make a voodoo doll of. I look at the dark, soft hair reaching below the ears, their Jesus complex, how it's necessary for them to have at least 7 followers. Each one an only son I cannot confess to, cannot say how I wake from a calm sleep to find my body stuffed with down, hops and grapevines, nettle a choker around my throat. A wild apple [...]
As wistful as any portrait from El Libro de Santos was the dream of a spear branding me a sinner. Little by little I see clear to giving myself away. This rib for Moses, this rib for Michael. This rib for James, and this for John, the deserter and Jesus the enforcer. Their bellies are full of me. You need to know lust has a smell, pain has a scent, death is a flowerbed. You need to know somebody loves you. Let me show you these stars, Christmas red, holy silver and gold, royal blue and jamboree green. Let me [...]
The bone fetish close in your shirt pocket, the worry beads, the medicine stone. Your Souvenirs of Love. Where I write there is an iridescent morpho butterfly from Brazil, three times the size of a monarch, pinned in a black frame so that its colors are the only movement it can make. Souvenirs of Love. The morphine inside us, the poppy springing from our mouths. How drowning is necessary to a dry seed. Years ago in Los Angeles I was waiting for Salvatore to arrive and take me to Venice, the half-mythical shore full of ghosts and children and sailors [...]
THROUGH THE HEART I laid awake with palpitations all night, unable to smooth them out. I thought of how you would hold me to you like we were at the edge of an abyss. And how it was that before all of this I never knew your face or heard your voice. And then all at once that I needed more than anything to look at you, touch the reality of you and hear you say my name. Yes, in another world we were on our way, driving down the remains of Route 66. We stayed in motels with names like Candle [...]
VALENTINES FOR THE DEAD Dear Jonathon, It's Friday night and Billie Holiday's not singing. I've thought of you constantly since Wednesday night. I stamped all my emotions on paper and tried to remember your face and warmth when we danced. When we came into the city that afternoon through Queens we passed a cemetery where the coffins were buried upright. There were so many headstones and markers they seemed to litter the space, a conglomeration like some macabre skyline rising and falling and tripping over itself. Heads closer to Heaven. Honey, you know about desire. It lays down beside [...]
Another angel I saw In a bee out of season Trying to move through glass. In a blind kitten Abandoned on the fairgrounds. When I was 17 I was in love with a rock star, a singer. The first time I met him he was sitting in a church pew inside a club in New Haven. Pigeon-toed, he sat there leaning forward toward nothing, holding a Beck's beer in his hand. When we said goodbye he kissed me and held my hand for as long as it took me to walk an arm's length away. The languid fluidity, the casual soulful-ness of him would surface [...]
A bird wing on the sidewalk, flight cut down, torn from its body. Now, only a symbol of falling. Is this where we land, on cold cement, a touch of blood with all the passersby looking down and avoiding us. Thinking of wings and how good it is to be human sometimes?
A trail of Latino men and women walking on a December night, open bibles in their hands, they follow a black pick-up truck, its bed filled with red and white roses, carnations. In the center a weathered cardboard portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They are singing hymns to the Virgin of the Apocalypse. It's Christmas and the hope for warmth and faith issues ghosts from their mouths.
You question if you're in the right place- next to me. I tell you you're like a ghost, half in and half out of my world, like that UFO incident where men were fused to the side of a boat- half their bodies buried in some unknown space of the structure. I remember an interview with a witness- he said there was nothing he could do, so he brought one of the guys a pack of cigarettes while he was suspended in the middle of who knew what. Would he ever see his other half again? He was in the [...]
I remember at this time in my life there was a drug dealer living next door. At all hours there would be someone knocking on the back door, or the window, sometimes for up to an hour. I thought, as I lay awake, that I was like these addicts, unable to help myself, knocking again and again without an answer. I wanted to go back into that house on fire and rescue what had made me feel alive. I did not see the cruelty that he'd shown me, I remembered only the way he was tender, deeply sweet and [...]