Mare Nostrum

I am the mother ocean
washing over you,
spilling unstintingly,
a wave inexorable,
I crash against you,
knocking you down,
too heavy, too heady,
pulling you deeper than
you ever meant to go,
I break myself against your body
until you yield
or drag yourself
to dry land you imagine safer.
I swallow your poison
and hold your dead to my bosom
so that you may let them go.
I comfort you with my eternity,
cradle you within my infinity.
What is sharp and vicious, I smooth.
Where you ache, I fill in the emptiness.
What is stone, I turn to sand for you to shape
with your bare, unpracticed hands.
I quench thirsts you cannot even admit,
pouring into you even when there has been
no rain.
Ebb and flow.
Ebb and ebb
and ebb.
And on nights like this,
when even the moon has left me,
I rock myself,
for who can hold the sea?

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Irresolute

in a moment sweating
with possibility
I twitch
small talk
impossible
when the big talk
is hanging
in the air
like rain not yet fallen
as I watch your eyes
waiting for them to turn green
as my tongue
heavy with words unspoken
strains against my lips
and the teeth that bite it
wanting to be free of its awful
and miraculous burden
or maybe it’s a gift
but I cannot know for sure
until your face falls
and like Anubis
I weigh these fleeting lives and deaths
against my feather of a soul
blown away too easily
in the gust of your
careless sigh
wilting under the glare of your
careless eye
prying with my own
looking for signs of
orange detours or
blue moons or
inevitability

Caveat

A precarious dwelling
homespun of selective memory,
of willfully misread messages,
of pauses filled in with the
sticky, intractable mortar of desire,
built upon no foundation
but enthusiastic denial of what is known
and faith that there is more unseen than seen,
forgetting that we close our eyes when we wish.
Hope is a dangerous thing.

Chemistry

Between us hang
jagged breaths
empty, aching hands
silent tongues searching
for words that may not exist
a world that exists
where our eyes meet
where you are here
feeding fire to honey
where I am there
dissolving into your pulse
beating in my ears
our wishes, our bodies,
intertwined.

Vesuvia

I keep telling you that I hide nothing
that I am unmasked and bare,
when what I really mean is
that’s what I want, not what is,
because my soul churns and boils
and hisses at the core
and the few fiery missiles that streak past you
and make your face glow red and hot
barely begin to suggest
the fire that burns within me
the blazing heat in my veins
that might well scorch you as you sheltered yourself
next to my flame
if I didn’t bank it, regretfully,
with the ashes of your predecessors.

Blowing Kisses

Do you think anyone dies having never been in love?
Why, I myself have been in love seventeen times
since breakfast
and there is no end in sight.
I fell in love with you, again,
over our cereal bowls this morning.
I fell in love with the wry eyebrow of the boy
who carelessly pushed carts in an afternoon parking lot.
I fell in love with the red ringlets and freckles
of the girl who left the restroom as I entered.
I fell in love with the giggle carried above the cacophony of rush hour.
I fell in love with your perfectly pleated pants.
I fell in love with the little red-ruffed bird tapping at the window,
wanting in as much as I wanted out.
I fell in love with the tired eyes that met mine across the aisle on the train.
And you, whose perfume lingered in the stairwell, I fell in love with you, too,
every one leaving your echo ringing in my heart.

A New Voice at Your Shoulder

We all seem willing to stick with the devil we know,
somehow forgetting that his presence indicates we are, in fact, in hell.
The human insistence on persisting in misery baffles me—
if you’re going to grit your teeth that hard,
you may as well bite through that chain choking you.
What redemption do you think your suffering will bring you?
What afterlife could possibly make up for your wasting this one?
Slaves have always been sold an eternal reward for their
current bondage, and it has always
always
been a bad deal. The house always wins. It intends to continue,
and on your dime, if possible.
The human mind can adapt to any situation. It can get used to anything.
This is a survival technique, not a living technique.
How many of you have forgotten there’s a difference?
Please raise your hands as far as the shackles will allow.
The human heart, however, chafes at restraints. It fights back.
It never forgets.
How long are you willing to assist in your own subjugation?
Until you can no longer remember a view not marred by bars?
How long are you willing to be silent?
Until you forget the music of your own voice?
How long are you willing to remain blind to the fact that your cell door is open?
Until I stop calling to you, and finally walk away?