The Illusionist

I.

He still sees her in the dark
behind the moon beyond the stars
          translucent, ethereal
hair all around her
like ink spilled in water,
he feels her tired shadow
heavy with endless sky
billowing and blue, 
          moving through 
          and over him. 

She cannot be complacent
or hide crackling bloodshot eyes
and the dust in the corners
of her red red mouth
chokes the spiderwebs 
that were there first. 

II.

Dawn is half-hearted
thin and gray,
papery wings of an ashen moth
shroud the filmy windowpanes,
the cobblestones are glossy
wet from woeful rain
that no one remembers
or cares to.


Phantom Limb

I feel your virility
pulsating across the Atlantic
stupefying the jellyfish
paralyzing the manta ray
reaching land and then:

          singeing the lips of every kiss
          gathering speed in laughter

I must only touch a stranger’s hand
to be reminded mine is missing,

not lost like a glove or a small child
not unsatisfied like a cloudy rainless day
or a cold cup of tea.

My hand is static electricity
sifting fibrous sentiments:

          your cheek on the pillow
          bristley in the morning, 
          your chest swelling and deflating
          a rasping tuneless accordion.

Such solidity is a fleeting 
projection on a smudged white 
wall where I squint to make out 
grainy images 
and come 
to no conclusions
at all. 


Morning

It was one of those nights
in which your face became
embedded in the harrowing 
darkness of shuttered eyelids

and in an adjacent reality
I touched fingertips to your
carved-marble chest and 
congruous jawline. You carried

a violin your fingers were blind to
and when you touched my hand
to pull me in, I made a very
conscious decision to burn

the desire from every moment,
to function on fire and relish 
in flames like baptismal water.


To Smoke a Cigarette

You should have a plan
for when the lights
don’t come back on;

that end table you nabbed
at a yard sale last summer
has unavoidably sharp corners

that will seek out the pale
unexposed flesh of your thighs
with tender, mocking eyes

and in will sink a single
congruent corner. And after
you’re done goddamnit sonofabitch

you will limp to the balcony
to the last lonely F6--a skeletal
corpse in a crumbling paper coffin,

poison to distract you from the broken
vessel, the blood pooling green-blue
beneath skin thin like newspaper. 


To Drown

Before there was blood
there was water,

          snaking through forests
               puddling in dimpled earth

          a silver thread 
languorous and lilting,
          knotted too loosely
          around my neck.

Even you with capable fingers
cannot slacken this flood

the water pooling in my skull,
trickling between chinks of vertabrae,
          rushing over ribs.

My blood is diluted (veins
          swelled to maximum capa-
city) and gazing at my watery reflection
I see with pristine elemental clarity:

Before there was blood
there was water.