I performed this at the Poetry Brothel (NYC) last night, and it was well-received. Hope people enjoy it.
You move like smoke.
I’ve never watched something take form and use it so easily or so well.
The movements you make are deliberate and yet fully boundless—
that first night, you appeared topless
as a painting subject
the object of desire, feather-haired, glaring
defiant into the eyes of the painter,
you chased fires up the beaches, rocks into the shore,
threw popcorn in theaters, and reached for my voice within my throat.
You beg to escape the ideals I’m trying to describe you with—
those elegies, this smoke, the pedestals and statues I’m building in verses—
are measurable by human hands
but even if I had you in my arms,
there wouldn’t be an inch of you left to discover
so remind me again and again that there is no place like home,
no place like home, no place like home—click your heels.
Take me from my bedroom window to the rocks of Malibu
where we’ll never grow old—
make me sprint in the sand with cameras orbiting around you,
dragging you off into the sunset.
Why did I still say yes every time your slim shoulders asked it?
I would call that bewitched but that implies you actually understand the spells you’re casting I think that your existence itself was put here
to entrance anyone with the eyes to watch
you would have spit the apple back in god’s face
and worn a snakeskin necklace
you would have dragged us back out the garden’s gate
and kissed the resting Lilith awake you wander
in and out of myths we’ll never know are true.
But I know that we’ve seen you before,
in the rain clouds, with cut hair
pounding drums and moving the earth itself or simply
leading it with your hand in the evenings,
but you are blighted inside, that coldness,
the deep hardwiring from saltine crackers to stay
alive and under a hundred twenty pounds and she did,
she is Schrödinger’s woman—
she lives on in the forehead she kissed three years ago
and dies in her rarely touched lips, the fingertips that massaged her,
and the sides of the live roads of her back
they are so fraught with flowers
and petals as they run
fearfully up the aisles and through the maze of hedges
like the lilies upon the breath of those lilacs I
shoved into your eardrums—metaphors
unfit to describe you are still growing like weeds from my lips
and the grass lifts
beneath your feet as you move into the steam.
We sit in opposite corners of your shower, balancing
the wood planks between our feet, matted hair dripping water into the glances passing between us
hands and towels around our waists,
it is silent
except for the pounding in my chest,
and you have no idea.