My Oldest Enemy

I was low last night.
I don’t know why.
The words would not come
To form a night I wanted to sleep in.

So I stared at a blank wall
And watched it become
Only wall,
It loved nothing.

I rushed out into the night
And found only a street,
Not death,
Not the echo of compassion,

Not even a dismal hedgehog
Nuzzling the mane of the wounded earth.
I put on my coat,
Pockets filled with used up solitude,
And walked and walked.

I don’t know what I wanted,
A voice, a breast, a crime,
The outbreak of a new war.
I was looking for the source of my ache,

In the silent doors
And the shuttered windows,
In the gardens with their flowers
Closed like the fists of women.

I was low,
And there was no origin,
No starting point of my sadness,
There was no woman to blame,
No wrong, no mistake.

There was only this vast night,
Night of dogs,
Night of flowers,
Filled with the destruction of voices,

Night that I could not sleep in,
Like the bed of my oldest enemy.

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Some Kind of Perfect

She told me she hates to be alone,
That when she’s alone
The silence whispers to her
Curious things,
How she’s broken,
How she can’t be fixed.

I told her not to worry,
Cause we’re all basically used up,
And anyway,
Perfection is a sin.

She never spoke to me again, after that.
My guess is that she
Needed someone to tell her
She was perfect.

Later, I saw her walking with a guy.
She had ribbons in her hair,
And her eyes were sad
The way they were
When she told me about the devil in her.

As for me,
I’ve learned to live with the one in me,
It’s a one hundred year truce.
He gets to wear himself out
Picking apart the core of me,
And in return I get the
Keen insight of a crippled heart.

But I can’t see any other way
To go about these things.
Oh well, she wanted to be perfect,
And that means wearing ribbons in her hair,
And getting around with guys
Who would never dare tell her she was broken.

To a Friend

I saw my friend’s heart break open
In the foyer, in the university,
Staring down
At the cold screen,
The absurd message,
Clean font
And the unspeakable loss.
She is gone,
Beyond the world’s
infinite vowels,
Long piercing cries of the world.
She is lost to the carnage of the day,
So filled with its lives going up escalators
And falling from bridges.
Now she is one of them
And holds all the mute words
We will never hear,
And our sorrow is the echo of her going.
There is no stopping the world
From bringing us to these distances,
Between heart and hand,
Between love and mouth,
Between grief and shore.
It goes on, always ahead of us,
Over there
Singing with the ones we love,
And we remain
With our stomachs burnt with yearning,
Exultant in our loss.
I saw my friend’s heart break open,
In the foyer,
With the lights of the city burning,
Raw and unreachable.
I saw his love,
I touched the nearness of everything.