Where We Come to Stay

How horrendous. The body.
Like something dreamed.
Shoulder blades like oars.
What are our tonics today, love?
The teas you steep above Astoria.
All of the figments with which to make fortunes.
I hated your ex.
We were in the sheets above the sea lions.
Towers of rocks in our eyes.
I wrote a poem on how you buried me at night, smelling of sweet liquor.


She Said

Disappointment is heat.
When someone leaves the house.
She said.
When I chatter inside.
My beer is lined up against the wall.
She said.
All I wanted was to go to the coast.
To see hair and sand meet.
When I sneeze I think how close we are to death.
How death is everything opening inside us.
She said.

Something Written in August

Took a picture of the Steel Bridge
while yelling at my friend Rabbit
People in the train waved
cheeks full with egg salad sandwich
dills in their hands
I had my helmet on my handlebars
Noted the level of water
in late August
the water
green and purging
I felt the garbage up to my ears
saw the sportsmen in their plastic cabs
whooshing down the middle of the river
Flags whipping.

When I meet my friend
we cross legs symmetrically
Harbor a small anger
against the man busking
for change in his tone-deaf
voice: ‘men, ladies? ladies, men?
how about a few dollars towards
mushrooms, E or acid? well, ladies?’

My girlfriend and I are melting
Eating sushi and watching
babies go by in their strollers.

Begin Again

begin again

with a pizza half slaughtered, foiled
to its own stained plate
tune in to a game in boston
fresh-flecked players in their whites
and i, on the couch with my dog
it rains and i know i can’t be here, will
walk to the bar to sit among strangers
who cheer the words i swallow
when we talk on the phone
i trace the petals with my finger
finally give in to the rain
it’s not so bad, this sense of knowing,
and though i blow smoke towards the
worn eaves of my house
there is a general sense
of calm.

The Party

I am born in motel rooms.  It is the one place I see the shapes of things.  The shape of us.

The brightness of your party stuns me. There is a real color scheme.  There are girls who look like magazine glossies.  There is a cat shaved like a lion.  There is a glass, glass table probably Windexed with newspaper.

You see me.

I feel like so much skin with you.  A human fit snug.  Pores singing.  We are here to celebrate.  To celebrate money.  It is only the fourth floor, but the elevators have bamboo panels, every trace of dander wiped out.

I am not her.

I did not lose myself in natural disaster.  I do not remember the gray water rising.  I do not know the smell of rot, of photographs rubbed clean.  I do not have a delicate hand or hair that wisps out waiting to be caught.

In a motel room I know my four corners, my window that barely opens.  I like the sheets that pin down my feet and the electric heater singeing my underwear, but just a little.  In a motel I put my face to the dirty brown screen.  I see you lunge up the stairs in your button-down shirt and wingtipped shoes.  The party is just getting started.

We Want To Start Over

We want to start over.  We live in the city and we are tired of it.  Of other people’s lives.  Construction workers from across the street take breaks in our front yard, buying tamales from the smallest woman you’ve ever seen: “Tamale, tamale!”  The good-looking girl next door has gotten a puppy and it cries like an infant, so bad that one night Monica broke into her apartment and came back with the puppy and crawled into bed.  They had a good snuggle until dawn, when she threw the dog back into its apartment and shut the window closed again.

The worst thing is that now I’m unemployed.  I am downtown enough to recognize people’s faces.  I need some wings.  The record store guy either wants to fuck me or kill me.  Bits of the day stick bright in my mind.  I dream in sheds.  Both of us do.  Yesterday Monica woke up and wrapped the clock in a thick towel and stuffed it into a drawer.  “Fuck,” is the only thing she said.  They say its depression, this exhaustion upon waking.  Everything seems louder.  I open the fridge and there are too many words on things—the milk cartons, the Hebrew Nationals, everything explaining, explaining.

Night is the only time I think clearly.  I tell Monica I’m going on a walk, and I leave the porch and turn right.  I walk by the brand new house, the one that’s too big for its neighbors.  Its lawn is still rolled up into Swiss rolls, the grass an alien shade of dark green.  I walk all the way to the big Freddy’s, which is lit up and turning people yellow, orange by the pharmacy.  Check my blood pressure first thing.  I like the pain it almost causes.  It takes you safely to the edge of discomfort.  I write my numbers down in a little black notebook.  You’d be surprised how little they change.  In years I’ve only seen them deviate by three numbers, either way.

I go upstairs to find some rain boots.  The rain boots look like motorcycle boots…what a trip.  Go to look at the watches, but the watches are also day planners, calculators and stopwatches.  One says EMAIL.  I can’t spend too much time thinking about that one.  Think about stealing now.  I always think about stealing.  Instead I buy a pack of underwear and put a pair on in the stall.  Still two left in the package.  They’ll never know, I think.  But I use self-checkout so the whole thing’s kind of a wash.

When I get home Monica is asleep in her curves on the bed.  I get in; listen to her breathe.  Hungry but afraid to open the fridge for all that noise.  I chew on candy instead, hear the brutal fact of teeth working.  Wait for the jaw to complete its task, for the next day to come.