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.

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Goodbye Apricot

So, you’ve packed your things
and you’re ready to go.
On a little leaf folded into a dinghy,
you set off on a great, wild wind.

It’s all too big for you,
for me alone, I fear.
You’ll smash to pieces
on some calamitous street,

or a handsome hotel drifter
will hold you tight,
and on some cheap and neon night,
ruin your pretty little feet.

I’ll read about it in the paper,
and lose my appetite,
and my day will retreat into its room
and never speak to me again.

But that’s okay,
because if I’m honest,
you’re more like the apricot’s hard core
leaping on a tide of world.

I’ll never see you again,
that’s for sure,
but you’ll grow sweeter in my mouth,
with a sweetness that is sad.

And like me,
the lovers of all your hours,
bewitched and inconsolable,
will break their lips on your dark pip.

Night Poem XXIV

Night of my harsh confessions,
you won’t let me turn away.
Tonight, regret is a new nerve,
and I probe the opening
where my years writhe exposed.

My failings dance before me.
I throw them wild flowers,
I throw them cabbages,
and they dance and sing and burn.

I failed to love anything
fierce enough to die, they sing.
I failed to be driven mad with longing
for a slice of this world.

Everything I touched,
I let drop from lukewarm hands,
my music, my literature,
my one aching adventure,
the girl who loved me with a dangerous sky.

They all got away,
and now another, bolder man
has the girl and the dream,
while I sit waiting for the night,

for the dawn, for the naked revelation.
I am the lion that never roared,
the bronco that never bucked,
the rolling stone that got stuck in the moss.

Night of my harsh confession,
I cannot turn away.
My regret is an old nerve,

and it tells me I will live out my life
in a parlor like a piece of furniture,
with my drunken relics,
my moth-eaten youth.

Can I salvage a brazen mouth,
a roar,
a life of pristine adversity,
a dangerous core?

Night Poem XXII

Night of my nameless grief,
I mourn the death of my child,
the girl who was never born.

She had long, devilish curls
and a song for every shadow.
Her piercing eyes
conquered my frayed and shaggy sorrows.

The child I loved was not her mother’s
was not my own.
She was never born.

She fled like all unspoken things
when I left and shacked up with
that bitch, solitude.

Night of my nameless child,
I mourn the death of my grief,
the one who was never here.

There is an infinite ache on my shoulders
where she sits,
hot hands clutching my ears.

Night Poem XVI

Who hurt you, night?
Who was it that gave you your melancholic gait?
The suffering of the void became too much for you, didn’t it?
And so you came down here and entered me,
and all the others like me.
Then you could bear the weight of your own heart again.

Now the night dwells in me
like a duke alone in his chateau.
And he wanders from room to room,
speaking gruffly to himself,
and stands at windows,
and turns away with an involuntary smile.

And he fills me with the primordial memories
of ruined love,
of all the love that came and went long before me,
the love that became the night’s blue hurt.
Night, my tenant,
I listen to your afflictions with an ear pressed inward,
and what I translate becomes my strength.

Night Poem XII

I breathe this same night as you,
this night humid with eyes,
this night of crushed hearts.

Though continents separate us,
the way it enters first you,
now me,
it is like a tide turning,
bringing a salt of remembered song,
this same night.

What part of you do I receive?
Your fear of love,
your day broken by horizons,
your ecstasy for another’s waist?
I receive all of this,
and I too am broken by a jealous moon.

With a rag-eared note in a bottle,
I send my reply.
I am lonely, and my body wishes this
night we share were not so immense,
so burdened with impossibility.

But a vastness of black flowers
drowns my mouth.
This night we both breathe,
alone with an enormous love,
I cannot traverse this hemisphere of ruins.

Night Poem VIII

The night is a stained basin,
and a hot bulb that grins over me
like a hitman.

Down the drain come voices
of lead centuries,
of sexual hurt,
of girls in love with their eyes.

The pipes are clogged with
hair and bad love.

And the night holds me to the mirror
like another failed experiment,
the third this week,
like a cautionary tale for earnest youth.

Because the girl has left me,
because the night is terrifying and young,
I seek the medicine that brings the
heaviest lids,

I seek a way to become
new on the cold ceramic tiles.

The hours drip from me now,
the deepening acceptance
that nothing is waiting on either side of the divide
of night and mountain.

Shivering,
I rest my forehead on the
stained basin,
with a childlike desolation,
I wait for her,
I wait for exhaustion.