the stains on my tongue are from tea

Red Velvet

So this is where we stand. Estranged from our own bodies, and we rummage through fragile tissue; fields of ripened skin. We become mere onlookers,

detached from ideals of our own destruction. So you tell me about the dream. About the night you slit your tongue on broken glass. About the ratchet of the

wind and the lullabies you whispered into your momma’s coffin. The way you worship kitchen sinks and bloodied noses. The indomitable rush of a wild drive 

to nowhere. The birth of hunger in a cavalcade. How their footsteps bite and stir. This is arson, you say. This is what I was dying for. Now, I’ve kissed the

mouths of many tigers. My flirtatiousness, a subterfuge, my lips limp from icicle stings. Now I’ve decoded the subliminal pleas of your tea-stained tiles. The

stygian in your eyes. How it eats you from the inside, a death in the womb. Maybe, somewhere we’ll find a five-star restaurant where they feed us our

brains on golden platters, freshly cooked! Maybe, that tunnel we spent half of July rotting in is finally being reclaimed by foliage. You are nature in its truest 

form: carnal, chaotic. Cracking floors. What’s worse than an earthquake, you ask? I don’t know, I’ve been unlearning my own history lately. Posing questions

to nobody. When will we be able to distinguish mutely existing from blithely living? Why do you hold my hand still, flinty to the touch & steeped in

pomegranate welts? The truth is, if you left me, I would not be able to bear it. And honestly, you can be awful but I love you. These days all I want is to pry the

sword out of the stone and wear it in my hair. Between these swollen toes. All I want is to engrave the shadow of you upon me. All I want is, perhaps, childish

and unattainable. A bowl of plastic fruit on the living room table. Wounded evenings, hot & numb. Alluvium pooling from between my legs. Call an

ambulance, call an army. Something unsought after grows in this endless river undoing me, drills a cage for a tumulting god, seized & vanquished by nightfall.

After Philip Levine

I swallowed many skies in a thunderstruck thirst.
My childhood brief as a skein of swans, I towered
choate, lifting the grief of a body from position to place. 
Still, I peregrinate without the eloquence of rivers

that whisper their living in the citadels of stone.
My word as green as the velvet tongue of  moss,
I limned light to loss, each tea-stained paper
unfolding beneath the casuarina’s lampshade.

As if to say, here we are made immortal by ink.
Here we are looking for forests beneath the ash.
A shrine where the heart deepened into a song
that runs through the mustard fields like an elk.

Cities become chapters. Streets are summarised
in sentences; dark hordes of split second convers
-ations; this nervous happiness I am leaving in your
lap. This moon culled from a jawbone. This lit dust.

I will petal in slow gaze. I will hold this pink nightfall
between the schisms of my fingers as if a magician’s
polished coin. I will bring myself back from the edge
that turns shoulders to wings; wordless as compass. 

Something will occur other than life. Other than
this daily communion between home & horizon.
And I will keep its language unnamed. Finally
knowing how anything that learns to flow through
                                           its flaws becomes a river.