dreams drive canyons between the days

shadows catching up to each other
a start again half, bear the ending.
tastes like despair,
tastes like sun in my eyes.

a carful of clones, careless, pairwise.
i always think short hair, not alone, is you.
i always think cigarette, long stare, is you.

citizens there with a french name, and a black hat,
i’ll take it and i’ll take good care of it,
and i won’t tell anyone but the fire exit.

it is funny to be impressed, and depressed,
and participate proportionally to our gain,
less than ago, less than again.
cloud stories
whispers in the sky look like chicken,
look like running, look like afraid.

        chest with no cavity
        building with no spine 

sea creature is chased by a mountain,
by a mama bug, by a parade.

        galaxy with no center
        orbit with no sun 

piper puffs peace, pities magic, performs talent.
parent potential is the epitome of perfectly pliable.
pulley ponders pushing without impatience.

        all giggles and snaps for mediocre men,

                    and cloud stories.

rare find
the sun raises sadness
about the day’s end, how you
forgot to restring the guitar,
how it’s just been waiting
for you to reset, an
impossibility, so you 
wait until next time.

and you wonder what it’s
like to touch your bed, or be
both breathing and smiling,
how you’ve been anticipating
falling into place, but it’s
like the cicadas in may: only
a handful per lifetime.

and then you notice how
one hour has passed between
awake and asleep, and it’s not
too bad at all; it’s the uneven
swing of a footstep, although
the foot knows not where
it's going.
rats i reached the tab limit,
or, what is a rattlesnake without its cold blood?
may i say ummmm
uhhhhh
a chalk poem never asked to be born
and neither did i? well,
well, well, well, well,
well,
well, well,
they say,
don’t you dare crawl around
my backyard and,
and, and, and,
never get anywhere with it. don’t you
dare! well, i never got
anywhere on my knees
so i think i’ll
give men a chance. well, well,
well, well, well, well,
have you thought about
literally nothing because
the station is so far
away that you refuse to commute?
welllllll
uhhhhh
ummmmmmmmm
what about running on
three ice cubes or
the equivalent and
being expected to
wash the dishes? what the hell
like dishes can never be cleaned!
like i cost three
thousand dollars and i
know how to operate a
machine? like i chose to
be a single transistor
over the course of a meal?
and, and, and,
uhhhhhhh
i empathize too strongly
with the birds and their
screaming, and how
it is visible to the
human ear. but why
are the sounds i
make not visible
to the human
heart?

god’s children
pat pat down in the room
next to the
table it
shelters her
face
from the bite
of weakness of
ha ha you’re crying!
of the empty room and
the single voice, which
is to say, you, which is
to say, alone there. you
are exactly one cloud
in the sky, you are exactly
the only cloud in the sky,
sorry!
they say, and
i’m sorry they say
that.

o céu não é
grande o suficiente
para encher
seu coração, cel
but i wish it
could or
would. she finds
only dust in
the shoebox of valuable
things she is pushed
only by the need to
keep going. somehow
we broke the breaks and
now we scramble to think
of our last words
before it is
too late
even for the
cruise
control.

far away joe staring
up feeling
down when the
pipes need
oiling but we
are all out! try again
tomorrow
when the puddles
rise up
and the shower water falls
down, which is to say
i’m sorry, which
is to say it is not by
me that you will
understand how
a man can fall forty
stories
and live.

the month
of april itself
has echoed through
the black knotted tunnel
and has reached me
at last, or i should say
i don’t want to freeze
to death here i would rather
find you among columns of
stalagmites brushed up
and shivering down
so that you can
know that
you are not
alone.
It takes a mile just to cross the street
Do you remember when that walkway
between Walnut and 36th used to exist?
Now it’s just a seven-story glass artifice.
It’s like, every time I meet you there’s
an itch I can’t scratch, and the sky darkens
like for the life of me I can’t tell if the sun
has set or if it’s about to rain. And I try to
explain how an ordered set of anonymous
yellow flowers can make me feel like my
lungs are about to cave in, but the fact is
we love David Foster Wallace more because
he’s dead. And I get so peeved out but it’s
just a squeaky chair, it’s just a bust in a
reflection, like I remember the precise
moment I became gentle with the mouse.
It’s smaller than an egg, tumbling around
with more words per minute than me. It’s
like when the weeks become so blue that you
swear everything is okay, like the page has
been so completely ripped out that only
the author could tell you something was
missing. Do you remember that hill to Levin
that we had to climb? It was so slight, like
imagine a pool and then the Pacific Ocean.
I think if it was up to me I would refuse to
learn how to swim, and I would never walk
a step backwards again.
Philadelphia
Invisible blue
denim reflected against the sky,
slated teeth on a chalk white plane.

Voices chirping, deciding that
grass is alive because it is
green, but not because
we step on it.

Stacked compartments
emptied by the call of the sun,
orange discs spilling freely into
leavened cushions.

Flames transferring, deciding
between sunrise and sunset by
plotting their lives
onto a mirror.
Hard / Heart
Nothing will be taken away  

or prevent you from walking   
down the three steps out  
your door into your maroon  
Impreza and taking your regular  
ice-water bath around the block,  
or is it purple? Or is it beautiful,  
that I can’t tell? My eyes which  
have been formed and deformed by  
the unseen glassblower, disguised  
as the men in my memories, stamped  
and fingerprinted by the women,  
and if I’m lucky I get to   
keep my own hands intact  
and all.  
  
or keep you from feeling, no,   
experiencing the type of misery of
monochromatic April that 
thrusts you outdoors, front 
and center for the visitors  
and babies and bench strangers  
to witness, and ask me, is  
my pain, front and center,  
like this, what I worship?  
  
or stop you from writing about  
trees and the solidarity they don’t  
have, even while you sit among   
them, their bare fingers stuck  
out of the ground, maybe  
offensive, like the truck meant   
to throw toilet water at you,   
and like I realized it’s   
okay to be unoriginal  
and unhappy.
  
or force you to decide between  
the pigeon and the dove, or   
Monday and Thursday, or
the bus and the train.   
The carbon strength it takes for   
you to pray through the caffeine  
scouring your veins, or is it just  
brick strength? In a brick city?  
With brick friends, recently promoted,  
recently helping me paddle  
upstream, against the  
voicemails and our seven  
day week and three hundred and  
sixty-five and a quarter day  
year. Don’t sink! We scream and   
we try this many times, and we are
as plentiful as fallen leaves, and we are  
bound as one, stuck together as   
any well-implemented construction  
plan. Pray through it, for  
  
nothing will be taken away.

4/3
I am the idiot child licking its own vomit,  
rolling around and wailing;  

and then the coffee  
to clean out my bowels  
 
arrives on time: one thing  
I’ve been given.  
  
I am the little shit who takes more  
than can fit into my tortured stomach;  
 
and then the milk stays spilled but is still  
chocolate, thick enough to  
  
almost make up for its fatal  
stench.  
4/3
i wait for  
you to  
leave  
and the rice  
to boil,  

because i  
am at the bottom of  
the pot  
and i can’t give  
you a counter  
argument.  

3/30
squinting down it is already  
a challenge  
and there is a mosquito  
carrying no malaria  
because my friends are  
singular and like satin.
Writing
It is either  
dirt rubbed skin  
filing against concrete  
or  
my rubbery body  
finally getting into  
bed.  
firstborn
green lamppost  
gray tree  
for once a safety net  

breeze, to catch  
me
Of Place
The house didn't know what it was asking for when it became a
sanctuary. Annie, thumping across the third floor, and the cat, 
menacing. Then, I didn't know where I was going, I just knew 
about how good it was, the springtime breeze: like stepping into 
an oven walking down Baltimore, the sparkling concrete cooperative
with the deep soil of the Woodlands -- full of dead people, 
probably rich. I think about each tombstone I was familiar with, 
the life those people let go communed in the center of the field 
for me to play with, brushed marble fossils all lined up at my 
disposal. I can't go there, you said, all I think about is death. 
Now, all I think about is death too. And the room that welcomed 
me with its vermillion wood is now singed with your smoke, 
and reeks of death. It's all I can think about. Spending the 
year afterward unlearning, and taking each tool out of the box 
one by one and throwing it into the Schuylkill until it shattered 
against the cement, not even hitting the water -- it's all I can 
think about. I didn't know what I was asking for when I entered 
the house, or called you a sanctuary. Now I stay north, away 
from the quiet green assembly guarding the dead who died without 
ever mustering an answer to a question they weren't forced to 
ask. The sky is the same, clumped up and prodding, light purple 
and pink. Always beautiful. I climbed out of the oven right into 
the storm -- always raining, never clean. The time it took for 
me to befriend the fleshy ants was long enough for them to march 
right back into the ground. To live under a black cloud masked 
as climate change, and stumble around blindly never looking each 
other in the eye, never again synchronizing, it's all I can think 
about. Up ahead a plane starts, painstakingly journeying 
through the sky. It won't come back. I used to think it was 
just light pollution, but you passed through 
and Baltimore hasn't heated up since.
3/18
don’t be like
    

the drop  
asking for permission  
to drip down  
the sleeve,  
spreading its limbs,  
basking in the attention,  
the excitement  
of getting caught,  

or  

the straw  
shattered,  
guilty of its deed,  
drowning to stay afloat,  
picking up broken bits,  
thinning out the host  
as it drifts  
further and wider  
apart.  
3/17
i found you in the  
ridged skin of the  
resting trees,  
passersby,  

in the fertile confidence   
of the swarming landscape,  
placeholder for my worries,  

in the immediate bend,  
divine twists,  
stroking the spark in my mind  
awake.  

i found you at the   
forefront  
of my skull,  
waiting patiently,  
the ribbed bench underneath me,      
earthy green.  

to know the 
balloon that will never pop is 
the broth that will never end is
the sun that will never set.

i found you in the  
ridged skin of the   
resting trees,  
passersby. 
3/13
what is it about the glow  
on the corner   
of the dresser it  
reminds me of  
your eyes  
the entire room  
pulled inside  
quickly  
i think of you  
everyday and  
package you up neatly   
but i know   
you won’t get in  
you  
just want to graduate  
First Home, Twice Abridged
Microwave steam 
and the scrunch of your nose—

we were shirts pinned
to a clothing line,

grabbing for dear life
that day.





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