ttb poetry

It quickly became a panic
scribbled on a ripped envelope
doused in the smoke of a cold
morning. By the look of the light,
the day’s verbs will be off,
battered if not believed. My toes
half ache before we set off -
what were we doing putting the city
before us like a journey?
It was just looking for a pocket of you
I hadn’t seen in a while, the short
breaths that lived in corners
where we pushed our embarrassment
out into the streets (the city looks
the same until you notice smaller
changes). Would I know your name
still if I didn’t hold it close
to heart? There’s a crack left
for a fool to fall in - self-designed
diagnosis for a framework to meander,
buy an apple or two for the road,
leave where you left off
a little warmer, too.

Sometimes the moon is missing
I’m so sorry, so so the moment’s
sinking, nowhere is where we get
from here, ever present address
with a gettingalong,just ambition.
Pronouns can barely contain a person
and it breaks something like a heart.
To know what it would sound like
would a thing suffer too?

All our wishes made us thirsty,
ready to risk the rain in an already
drenched summer and we’re distracted
by radicals: minutes incessantly reminding
us that we’re at the edge of where we can
still measure the increments of desire.

We welcome the morning informally,
thrilled to find ourselves: two halves
close to being reversed, leaving other
broken states in a house of ecstasy.

All the back roads made us thirsty,
we wished for a tiny parade to keep us

plodding along, the sand felt like Jupiter
between our hair, the wind an arctic ice

running straight through the release of
whatever we had to give.

It’s so easy to speak of the heart as a living being;
it’s so easy to ignore how hard

it gets with little despairs: the empty
cup, which is an oft-lived despair

and rather silly; the silliness in
realizing how trivial most despair

can be; the soberness of missing
your train and the ignorance of minutes

you just bought your morning.

This is turning into another laundry
list of ridiculous things a poet might

think are important to discuss, but at least
a poet can be aware of how lines are just

lines burning down each New York scaffold
until a sense of conclusion is reached.

Really, I’m in the dark about most conclusions
in general. I’m a real nail-biter,

I’d like someone to meet me in the city
and gaze up and make something of a day.

Love can be the case
or not the case,
hell is holding on
and if a golden
age poked its head
through the door
it’d lose it.
Everything else remains
the same, shadows
try passing by
unnoticed, the thought
of lingering is a proposition
in a sense, but I doubt
the validity of all
my propositions.
I can only marvel
at your existence
in the language
that existence permits,
I’d rather be a plain
and clear voice
pulling you through
windows by the wrist

New Years

I’m a bazaar of waves,
I’d like the moon to stop going
through phases and just lie
with me – here the wild awake
with their bones in fences,
bodies decontextualized to spaces
that can hold a christmas tree
and the raw trumpets of a year
filled with ghosts and the bravado
of every posture we’ve tried
in failed sleep – we’d rather
explode than soak.

I remember every stone in the sky,
the date’s coffee and how its steam
corroborated that my desire was after
clarity, and that the way the lies in a shifting
moon’s face are lost on me. And when I said
I lust after you I really mean I want to memorize
you and have you rattle in my teeth.
The last bows of of sun loom like an aftershock,
the night is neither you nor I, but our dreams
dazzle with speed and oddness. Dreams mean
we don’t understand what is happening to us,
but that our sleeps roar from across the world
to a closer pillow. We reach across myriad risings –
what overlaps is what will last.

I checked the oil to get a good sense
of how much distance we covered
in such short time. If trajectory were an object,
it’d be a cloud roiling in the coming slip
toward winter. We black out the more familiar
skies, that last bit of tourism is true: no matter
where you look up, you’re sprawled about
the abundant absence.

But what I meant to say was that you looked more
splendid than the sunlight. Could we run into
next week rust free? There was the time the ocean
dreamt of us and we woke encased in salt
and knew that any jokes about the past might be
serious but not serious enough to be the theme song
for the current landscape. Then there was the time
we passed out in a room full of lit candles and had
dreams about the ocean – we floated like a pyre
billowing into a better representation of our massiveness.

The heart just hangs there
like a pause, I inhale its smolder
until I am a cloud. We arrive
home priceless, laughing at the thought
of ever losing someone or getting lost.
We lazily toed the Pacific, speaking
in whispers of golden orange, knowing
the history that hadn’t happened yet,
the black ocean sounded like a desert from
where we stood at a distance from the stars
and waved, their medieval bulk shooting
light in dynamite specks, to their casual,
meaningless preciousness, feeling like we’re
rushing toward them backwards, close enough
to smell their bright peaceful sleep.

Four poems you totally shouldn’t read together. Or do. Whatever.

Have we given up already?
Have we plucked every satellite
from their vine and woken up
too wincing to address
the big air piling around us?
I put my arm around the brow-
beaten ghost, sending his
feelings nowhere.

How much is explicit? How much is the heat we feel
once we’ve ducked out from the sun? How much is
revealed without our consent – did the birds’ audience
pay to enter the forest? Even if we create utopia,
we’d still be incomplete, still collecting grass to bulk the walls.

Everything is bad and you don’t care,
I’m full of hard feelings and they invade the room
like summer flies, we lurch forward through lying about
in our dens. The mountains hang like a drip
in the morning, it’s blackberry dark and the sky
bursts into a walk of flames in protest of our
reliance. Oh, the world is bright and crowded,
it sounds bright enough to squint; we’ll walk
to the edge of the world and make our way back
to the beginning where the past is destroyed
into a terrible nightmare we are relieved to wake from.

You’re staying in the city again
I tried to direct you to the happiest
Place I could imagine
You walked into Starbucks
Like a browbeaten ghost.

If a world can be framed, then
we can also make sense of it:
numbless clouds plod on
the horizon, invading the coast;
when its answer can’t be put into
words, out-singing a squadron
of gulls, then neither can the question-
the riddle cannot exist outside
of a whistling defiance to the rain.
Gather up the space between the stars
to find enough to grab and shake
hands with your departed ghost.
If that’s the answer, then the sense
of the world lies outside of it.

Nothing fell out of night as it ought to,
I climbed to the top of the bridge
and yelled at the honey dusk
for always abandoning its finest moments.
The birds seem to know there are finer hours
to day than to drag me out into the unkissable
cold of a mean 5 am, but the kitchen buzzes
with wonderment of how the morning’s already
gone afoul. The strong sea of coffee wears hard
on a full thought, I cringe to be less
aware of how ghastly my head can feel –
please, don’t blow out my love before
I’ve had time to watch the wax obscure its foundation.
The snow seems a far crack away,
dawn rifles down my hopes to make it to heaven tonight.
And I’m not sad, just gold wanting
more tarnish in the sprawl of the sea floor.

I’ve been staying up late even in your absence,
the dead night breathes and twitches in it’s first
moments of sleep. We keep our smoky clothes
hanging in the living room to entice us into days
where we near froze together. Though things
thaw and you can still eat them, what’s invariably
changed is memory – I remember what it tasted
like before but the crystalline hope of total preservation
skips town without a note. Old life, you are gone
but not forgotten, memorialized at the park and
smoked under, we have a giggle-fit and think
“how crazy the city’s teeth felt when we were
at our biggest mouthful, how it would sound
if its eyes, squinting at us in the moon, could speak.”

There are a million poems that don’t
recline into the dark and leave creases.
I told myself I’d write at least 50 of those
and haven’t even balanced a checkbook this year –
the notes of a cold day are abandoning me.

The theme instead is that winter always
comes early and thawing is the most impressive
feat I can muster. Motown played throughout
the year like a birthday song, that elated sense
of kissing death on the forehead and setting
a new trajectory through the confetti of snow.

So in this world overwhelmed by irises full of heartbreak,
let’s count our days in trees, speak of each
other only in superlatives, toss dignity out
the window, talk about our friends in tall tales,
tackle the impossible and believe in what isn’t true yet.

To enjoy yourself is to reveal yourself
as a heartbreak of irises
or the petals of a bomb.

To describe is to measure
the difference between
what we are and what we expect
to be: if seed,
then the boom; if petal,
then the plume; if blink,
then blink.

I blink and see the edge
of blood accelerate through
the window, if heart pounding,
then the room is empty
and you can see it clearly –

the heart is a bomb shoved
into a glass show and brought
to the party as our getaway plan.

I Drew The Moon Of My Dreams

I waited for it to appear in eclipses.
Put an onion on my heart and call it a meal,
or howl until it gets us anywhere less blue.
I’ve been having a horrible time closing
my eyes and finding the day older
and birds fluttering into open windows,
making themselves a part of the decor.
I’ve been having a horrible time with standards
of division to make tomorrow more complete.
The moon of my dreams makes the world
a coffee shop and I’m ready to pull it together
and fly into the trees that scratch the sky.
What’s so hard about courage, except
that it requires a leap? The moonlight creaks.

I waited so long, I had to borrow a melody
from the void, and you danced in the season
like it was a sundress. The decorative birds
chirping signal that we could rush into a new plane
whenever. Anywhen. When the ambiguous
dawn begins to define the impossible chapters.

We silence each other with violins,
do you think that’s what it’s like
to be filled like a cup? We endear
each other to other worlds in fractions
of ash and honey, but only find the gravity
when we curl back the rising over our chins.

Sometimes I’m afraid we’ll live as long
as mountains but never be in range
of the failure that keeps them fighting
to hold up their paradise.

Let’s have some coffee, stay awhile,
become more concerned with becoming
amber than sap in this animal life.

Dirty up the pretty dream,
when it’s available for everyone it’s taken
for granted and innovative workarounds
root themselves in the endless
grids of indistinguishable spirits.
I assumed the sun was a vehicle
for mapping change so I stole it
from the lot and drove it to the part
of town slashed by endless freeway
underpasses and left it on blocks –
until I started smashing states
of wanton transformations
and dreams of modern architecture
I was just trying to subdivided now and
tomorrow until it could stay constant.

The worst death I ever witnessed
was light years away and poking
my side like a stitch. The moment
of 20 years blossomed like a machete
in a blink, and I don’t have a problem
with it, but don’t get in my face with
improvisational weapons pulled
from guessing cloud shapes.

The principles of motion were cut out
of the playbook - the only chance
I have to feel up to speed is barreling
down a throat in a muscle car
or dive head first into a snowflake
and act like a kiss and send a blizzard
waywardly to the star fighting
off its death like a hangover.

If All We Are Is What We Do

All we need to do is something.
So we fished in the city’s
wallet and found dirty change
and left over sand from a far away beach,
then took the train like a jet pack
so we had to squint through the rushing dark.

Things got me all knotted up
cause I was still late
and I’m now writing a note to apologize
and say god I want to kiss you
most minutes, except maybe
when the sky cracks open
but even then could you rejoin me
in a slow dance in a crowded bar?

The mastiff of sun accelerating
our change of seasons sheds on the couch,
I tried to nap the drinks off
but sneezed the pigeons from their wire
and the flutter shook you back
into rejuvenating and all I could think was
how different it would be, having
breakfast with you every day,
or looking out into the sea.

In a later nap’s dream,
I asked you to take notes of all
the hints of different somethings
kicking into a hurricane.