Tapetum Lecidum

Sure as shadow puppets
their pasts
are solid
and often just around
the corner she speaks
numbers, laws, and other
things pulling words
from crystalline
honey, she is
enunciating, among square
things woodeny
the curves
of her body
are punctuating
establishment white
walls no doors,
no windows.

The best girls
have always been
he thinks
or was it
that they made
go crazy
or was it more
that it is
that was crazy
and she
was just
the first to

They say when a ray
of light hits
a surface
it bounces in a certain
way, and a punch to the head
does to the brain
what a car wreck does to passengers.
And she watched
her light bounce off his cornea
without cease
no matter how hard
she struggled
against him,
no matter how hard
she struggled
to make him


I needed
everything wrong about the sadness in
your smile where
you sat, calm,
and cross legged in
your innocence.
I’ve carried
you under my skin in every
second of every
minute of every
lifetime since then, swallowed
you as every pill
and then cutting open
my skin to place
you within, soothe this wound,
you left, angry,

I’ve searched for
you in the eyes
of every
while trying to make sense
both of the women
you’ve been with
and the man
you’ve seemed
to become since then –
everything wrong
and just doesn’t fit.

What then, what then
in every universe
and every single
might have been
in every single touch of
your hand, is she
paper doll
or simpleton or,
like me,
is she close as
you can get,
or even as far away
from our madness to keep
you tethered
safely to the surface.

I created
you – wrote every version
you’ve been.
And who
you are now is easy –
a businessman
a boyfriend,
mowing grass, entertaining,
growing beard, brewing beers
in your cellar
to share with friends,
discussing the game, or standing
for a bit in silence, same
as here but over there, same
as America
but so British,
proper and safe,
congratulations –
you’ve achieved
well-adjusted gentleman.

If so, it’s better off
we don’t
talk anymore
nothing good
can come of it.


a gunpowder trail, sinuous
across the wooden plank floor sparkling
down the stairs, scarring the runner, under
the wainscot and around
the corner, you know
this trail
from a hole
somehow bored
in the wooden keg and then
comes along
and lights
from the other end

And What Happens to the People Who Come Into Our Lives and Try to Love Us

I’ve been crawling your body for weeks, seeking
scars, a signature left behind, some sort
of split where the shrapnel went in and did the skin
heal over before the metal

was removed. I’ve been trying hard to still your eyes long
enough to let me crawl inside, but I cannot quite make it before
they shift, flash, or blink tossing me off, making me grab for something
to steady, check around for someone watching

me navigate the displacement of ground underneath, my rubber knees, bare
feet grasping the stingy rubble crumbling. Crying through smoke surrounding, grey tear streaked face barely able to breath. This place is too thick
with history, more a photograph in a book of me peeping

now through a window, some people on a beach, sand in creases, twisted
hair, honey skin smoothed from wind and abrasion, smiles rising and fading, windblown loneliness, the ache for life to begin again where it’s now
stagnant and peeling, the same since last spring. Honey, I’m trying to draw

myself back to safety, inside again to the stubble on your chin, the pulsing
of your tongue, or the soft v between your fingers, but the stillness outside this reality is killing me and the wind wont stop howling your name, telling me if I cut you open I could catch a glimpse of infinity.


As the ardent moon approaches, hot and bright, melted stars smeared
behind her, instigating the night, wrecking her orbit, confusing
the seas. Should she do her best to calm herself? Smooth her dress, apply
fresh gloss, sit and pose for her eternal painting?

As the ardent moon approaches, fervent and perfervid, throwing sparks
now having scraped off her silver, she’s ruining geometry and algebra,
serpentine,incongruent, misaligned with the planets. Should she pause
and adjusther coordinates? Hold her hands and feet just so as she avoids
blinking too much in the camera flash bulbs?

As the ardent moon approaches, life swells, rises, and overflows in anticipation
of her kiss, but she only knows how to love with her fists, brushing ants from her planet, she is visibly disgusted by the crawling and clawing, striving
in the desperate attempt
to stay alive.

Of course she wants love. She is trying frantically to remember how it was she
came to be, understand the concept of freedom, stitch together the touch
of a lover’s hand, shake the bitter vagueness, make mist solid, grasp the throat
of camaradarie, squeeze tears from the soft, downy comfort
of all that was once cool and green.

Mild Sparkler Burn Healing Under a Band Aid on a Warm Summer’s Evening

Is it panorama that pulls? And landscape might
so be
an enraptured phrase, but not
all rolling hills
are magestic and not
everything in motion
is alluring.

But could it be possible on a warm summer’s
eve that the reluctant
of the willow’s leaves might
stay the friction of the
bones that eventually
ardor away?

He Used to Ride Out and Dispossess His Tenants as the Spirit Moved Him

She tried to push love through
his skin, thin like an insomniac’s
two a.m., inject it into the tiny ridges
of wrinkles or will it through age
spots gathered like sad men in strip
clubs alone, breathe it into his mouth, save
him from death sleep, speaking
to bereft only he could
see, roll it like fog down his
thoroughbread thighs,
rinsing the rigidity from his
shins, injecting
opiates in his mortified
toes, but his body
always pushed it back
out, and no amount of her
could stop the chill
that came
when her surrogate
heart stopped beating
for them
and he forgot
how to
at all.

Not Just Romantic Separation, But Also the Death of Family Members

We survive the hours between waking
and sleeping, some stylishly, some with more
money, slinking between
problems beneath
speaking passionately, purposefully gesturing,
hand on forehead, publicly worried
about others’ safety.

Some with chests heavy, heaving
to overflow regret
or rage.

Some, without thinking,
smile at the day.


She tried to make herself
smaller or drown
in the words wafting
from his brother’s wounded,
gritty mouth like
a ton of wet milkweed
fluff dropped
on her chest –
the anvil weight

His mother circled, a crow
full of poisoned rat – clawing,
clacking, waddling, preening in the dense
unkindness, kneading
her scar tissue
into shapeless, thorny


Too Rare to Die

Our men amble together tangled in shadows
of dusk, fingertips brush, sticky laughter, backs
wet, sweat trapped in the anti-curve hollow just above
belt, just before we ought not think his

or where he stole his mouth, our man with more pout
and the smirk of someone shrewder, clever eyes
threatening to fill your pockets with stones and let you drown

in the promises he makes and the company he
keeps, no weight or means, whole days of wondering
what he thinks, the certain myth of eternity, his
long peppered fingers reach toward without