The Rider

Listen, cowboy–
the way the dust expires
from the spurs of your boots.
It foreshadows you
holding to that rope:
bouquet of pruned rosin
warmed between leather gloves.

In those first seconds,
born again, emerging
from the unlatched iron
womb, the sun feels close
enough to keep,
locked forever between
palm and lace.

It will not last.
Your hand can only reach
for heaven so long
before it falters.
You feel it now:
the chariot vaulting,
body folding prone
as the last shadows
of an eight-count bell
expire.

In that last moment,
you will be thrown:
floating, falling
I will not know.
And what then
but to watch you,
and reach out my hand
to hold you when
you cannot hold,
and listen to that silence
that told me all along?

Penelope in Moonlight

yes because I never did a thing like that as to want you in the way the world finds me broken since the beach all moonlight and hands or your lips telling mine to shelter in your own yes I thought you might have held me there forever and wondered how our bodies could return again to that shame that is not ours O if this cornered time shadow of a body could release itself again to that moment I could show you love the way we might have found it again on that beach but it all looks different under moonlight now and our lips have grown old with words and our hands with denial but you hold me still yes through tears I feel that buried place again where you said I was a flower of the mountain yes that is what I was a flower in eyes delicate enough to realize the same yes you seemed to know or feel what it was to be a man and I asked you to ask me again yes how you kissed me beneath that theater of the moon my mountain flower yes and I said yes I will Yes.

Lost

… lost somewhere between midnight and the heart,

lamplight kneeling at the end of its march,
the musical hush of darkness
conceding

where

love drifts at the end of an eyelash and I reach
to guard it in my palms

where the only map is a rose in blue,
and the fallen petals hold for our return
as the perfume fades and I remember

only the motion of my voice
as it was before

broken as I let it go

all for you, all for you

falling, falling

the unromantic expression on your tongue
reflects the same expression my eyes
feel within a sunset set over,
within a sunset set over,
over again.

in that shadow of a shadow we walk
until its dark enough not to tell:
feelings so far beneath us
as not to feel
the night
falling
on our skin.

love comes here to fade away
someplace between this heart and that–
the unwanted creation left
above or behind,
we cannot tell.

we: the hidden.
we: the pretend.
failing eclipse into a sunset set
over, set over,
again.

Bluebird Blues

there’s a bluebird
more shadow than song
perched in my heart– reformed,
recast in steel: the inward
cage, holding in a melody
like strangled air
beneath an ocean.
I say, stay alive,
enough to break beyond
the fallen feathers grown
extinct, where the night
is really oh so close
and we’ll remember
what hope is anyway
if I we could only find
the key.

there’s a bluebird lost
where feathers have forgotten
feathers, where the
bones all digest and
the whistle will not yield.
and I call and call
where hope is buried in itself
and find myself calling
again, again.

Late Night Drive

I half expected to see you waiting,
time undone, the body mistaken.
I drove away in the late hours
just to see if I could find you.
I thought I heard your name
folding over in the grey stone.
It was no voice but my own,
and the silence of your lips.
If I could just drive
far enough to find you,
the sun might meet us both
in the place we would cross.
It would be day again:
the whole world below us
like a dream we both shared
to make each other laugh.
I would draw you near,
but I could never draw
you near enough to fill
that distance between my heart
and the pedal pressed
so far against the floor
as to disappear, driving
on a moonlit highway–
roads stretching on forever.

Occupatio

I’m not saying that I’m asleep:
the days all feel a little dreamless.
When was it last I was awake–
sunlight breaking from my eyes?
I will not begin to wonder
at the way I have not felt
at home, or the thought
that love awaited leaving
when I wished it the most.
No– I will not consider
the chance I have lost
a companion in myself.
Never could I be
so lonely as to imagine
erasing it all.
no:no–
there is nothing
I could never say
to make it fade:
to fade along with it.

Morning Shower

One foot testing the water,
I stand unbalanced between
myself: the covered and the naked–
the space between silence
and an outward shell.

This water has touched skin before:
liquid time–eyes of the past.
It falls and rises: steam marking
mirror, water striking skin.

The heart beneath feels light
enough to be dissolved.
I shower with my clothes on today:
spongy armor, temporal cloth.

I never know how much I leave
behind; the water drowns away
so much with so little trace–
and each time just a little less,

until the distance between
barriers has been ground so far
as to be the same: no guard
between sorrow and body,
body and time.

The mirror is no help at the end
of it all: animated now by shadows–
a rosy kind of nothingness
more reflection than the glass.

In the gray, self-departed mist,
it is peaceful–no one to know
or remember: steamed out of existence,
so close to death as to be in love.

Friendship

I wish I could dream myself a part in all the unrealized promises we inscribed into the air with our fingers. It must be a trick of the heart to believe we can filter through history so easily. It’s all about misjudging distance and time. It’s convincing ourselves the present moment is anything other than the present. It’s pretending like our two scripts are naturally part of the same narrative.

Friendship, present tense, the kind of wind that pushes the sail instead of whispers, is so often the distance between your fingertips and mine: and only sometimes as far as both our ropes will lasso–judging that both of us are willing to hold on. The future is a quilt. The future is the moments we weave together in the present to arrive in a mutually interconnected space.

The end of any college semester is both a relief and heart breaking. High school was easy. Everyone you know is close: the faces familiar. This is not true of the University. I have not maintained a meaningful, day-to-day relationship with anyone outside of my classes, and once the classes are over so goes the relationship. I think people are more comfortable using my mind than knowing it.

Going out for coffee once every 2 months and “catching up” is not friendship. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still admire and love the people that I meet and know; however, how does one actually catch up? How do you rewrite your past to include someone who was never there? How can you take seriously the proposition of someone listening to you when the second you walk out the door they’ve already forgotten you because literally you are a fraction of a fraction of their daily existence?

The end of the semester is always daunting because it feels like while I’m progressing, I’m also resetting. It’s funny how coming out of high school I actually bought into the idea that college would be “the best four years of my life.” I think the better phrase is actually “the next four years of my life.”

You go at life alone and hold to those who follow close behind. Apparently, I’m not much to hold to. Here’s to hoping that will change.