my heart’s a whiskey barrel
my blood’s a good brew
ya know how they do that with beer sometimes
give me the sip of your lips
i’ll show you how well i’ve aged
If moments are trees
I’ve carved our initials into kites cut from our branches,
attached keys to our rings
in hopes that we’d find home together.
I’m a topographical map of a train wreck collapsed into an ocean wave
washed ashore by an iceberg melting into a stop sign.
I don’t know this dance.
Paint your footsteps on my floor. When you’re around
if you held a record player needle to my breath
you wouldn’t hear anything
but we’d look cute trying.
I don’t know the difference between flirtation and honesty-
I thought you were cute so I spread my arms like fan blades
told you like wind tunnel.
But apparently some people are built with wind resistance,
go figure. I was just testing your aerodynamics.
Now I’m stuck standing here in my awkwardness.
Are my arms still stretched like fan blades?
Have you caught my drift?
Chaos first was a primordial deity.
And I’m Ralph Wiggum on Valentine’s Day.
Even if every girl in class gave me a card.
I still go home feeling less like Romeo.
Lying awake trying to make sense of
why their sugar just didn’t taste so sweet .
Lying in bed like a nebula
waiting for all my stars to form.
—the nothingness from which all else sprang
headfirst and heartfelt,
half-naked and handsome,
hook, line, and
Sometimes I feel like an angler fish
and this body feels like ocean.
in here. I’m lost.
You see more of me than I know what to do with.
I’m still catching the waves
that the teen-aged version of myself
bellyflopped into tides
when he thought
I’m too big to be loved.
Except ‘loved’ meant everything.
I’m too big to be happy.
I’m too big to be handsome.
I’m too big to be seen.
I still watch skinny people do things
that no matter how many lights I turn off
there’s still a reflective surface somewhere
that no matter how high I learn to jump
from this skin in a moment’s notice
it’s still an ocean I’m cannonballing back into.
That no matter how much I sweat
double-chinned and love-handled
does not know how to be a pond.
Tonight this evening
I almost revealed my horizons to you—pink and orange.
Nearly slipped citrus and told you something bold about this moment.
My inner-twined workings almost outed themselves for you in strings.
I almost made a gallery of myself for you to stand in.
My thoughts saliva-painted on this red-stained tongue,
echoing in this esophagus, sore throat,
how I acknowledge that the old me is an x-ray not a photograph.
How I want to build a life like a Craftsman,
I don’t wanna have too many stories.
How I hope the pretty people
of Guernica died knowing they were in a Picasso,
reveling in the frame of their existence.
We could share a neighborhood and make fragile houses
out of shapes
Figures, roman numerals, and numbers,
you brought your baggage claims,
talk to me like cold fluorescent terminal illness ‘tis the season.
You say, “there isn’t much difference
between the sky, a slow eulogy, and the desert.”
“Vast,” you say, “we’re pale-faced traveling in box-towing caravans.”
I drop my eyes to the floor looking for an oasis,
I say, in a whisper you could never appreciate,
“all of my lovers are deserts.”
We all know
that the Sun
Both these moments
only ever look
in the Earth’s attempts
from the Sun.
One of us
a celestial bolder
smothered in hope and fear
and the other
an abundance of light
in the foreground.
Sometimes I let nostalgia get the best of romancing me
back to the aqua grey green hallways of my high school
where I hear a voice over and
over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over
and over again
telling me to, “Wipe that gay smile off your face.”
That makes no sense.
Smiles are gay.
They just are.
Please, spellcheck your hipocrisy.
Don’t ask me y.
I want to know you like I’ve studied your language, failed, found a tutor, studied long and hard with index cards, took your exam, got a C, broke down and cried, begged for extra credit, stayed up for nights on end building a scale replica of your likeness, gave a public presentation on the metaphoric significance of us meeting in relationship to the chaos of dust in the cosmos, studied more, slept less, took your little blue book final and narrowly escaped the semester with a B+, I can do better, I’ll never stop learning, I want to know you like I’ll never stop knowing you, minored in, majored in, bachelors, masters, doctorate, I’ll keep studying.
The year I learned to hone honesty in the direction of travel, while moving toward you at the speed of forgiving myself, was the same year I learned the distance between my heart and the roof of my mouth. It was four years ago. The same year the cavemen alive in my chest rubbed everything together the right way, discovered fire, and danced, warm—they knew they were finally on to something.
The last time we talked I must’ve looked like a magician with the way I kept masking the truth. The last time we talked I forgot to mention that I want to be a decorative strand of lights still hanging in your residence long after the holiday. Long after the party. Long after the day we met and the celebrating and the moment when I meant something. I want to remain long after my obvious purpose not because you forgot me or because you’re lazy or because I’m hard to reach but because we both found a place we can occupy together pleasant and still fill it with light and sound long before the holiday. Before the party. Before we bring meaning to the silence that exists between occasions.
It might’ve looked as though I was turning away, it might’ve appeared as though I was panning for the nearest escape route, it’s just that twelve years of Catholic schooling taught me to turn the other cheek. And so I turned and turned and turned like a hurricane, alphabetically named, temperamental and temporary.
Each one of them like man.
Each one of them whole.
Each one of them speaks tongue-tied.
Each one of them begins where
each one of them ends.
Each one of them wing-tipped and double-breasted.
Each one of them walks upright like a stand-up bass yelling, “down in front!”
Each one of them wrapped up and curious-
All eight sides of my being are alive for you
in the way you nose dive
into prominence, potential
wear it like a graphic tee
that proudly announces your irony.
You opened the sky with your appearance.
I stood bold in your italic threshold
asked for your presence to iron out the wrinkles
in the ways that I had been approaching myself.
You rolled moon rock into my shadow and called it night.
I called myself rough draft.
You pressed a finger to my lips, created silence.
You stood sky-wide in my horizon
asked for my presence to occupy your basin
in the form of ocean flood.
You turned your eyes to me like binoculars
said, “the only thing rough about this draft
are the glaciers—and they’re beautiful.
Don’t go melting them off just because I asked for your bath.
We’ll find balance
in long-form attendance.
These are not corrections-
just places where I recognize- you stand out
like the 1980s”.
This skeleton is a laundromat wall.
This skin is graffiti.
These words are warmth and drier sheet scented.