maybe next time

control showed up on my doorstep
broke the door down, knocked me over
ran up the stairs and sat in my chair
finished my book and sold it too
handed me what I wanted
as I reached out to take it
it took it right back
and it laughed
and it left
left me trampled in the empty entryway

I was too late

appealing to your selfish side
when you’d already strung him up
tied him to the wall and said you’re welcome
as he screamed for me
and oh how he would sing for me
and all the words he’d string for me
but arms in chains cannot hold anything


my cheekbone is tender from lying
on concrete, lying
in shallow wounds
not lying.

I can’t offer you a smile
from across a room
can’t lie at the feet of your emptiness
and offer myself as food
for I am too large and too far
and too good at not lying
and I wish
for a moment
that I wasn’t.

and my hair is darker now
and the smiles, when they come
are different
but I see it
clear as a skeleton wearing skin
I see your clouds
and I sit beneath a shallow lake
and watch for rain.


it’s a big thing
and big things like this require
a certain amount
of gentleness

that isn’t hard for me
I can be gentle
in fact
I can be so gentle
with the things that I am holding
they don’t even know
they’re being held

so the question isn’t
can I do it
can I hold this thing
this monumental thing
can I hold it gently
and right?
of course I can

the question is
will it know?
will it feel my touch
my hands on its skin
its thick leathery indestructible
fragile delicate breakable skin
and will it break
with or without my touch?
my gentleness?
my anything?
with or without knowing
it was ever being held
ever being held by me
at all?


a shallow impression
made on a surface both more and less pliable
than it used to be
than it should have been
smooth until the first crack of sunlight

other tools, they hammer, they bruise
but this shallow pool remains
the only indentation, sole crater on the moon
visible only to the touch and
never in the dark

an elbow on my leg
green eyes looking up
his skin is warm from a sun somewhere
and mine is cool from the sea
shaking with inevitability and the thought of altering course
a sticky thought, dipped in the rum
we found in the dinghy
the bright morning light dripping into the cracks, widening, deepening

The Who on a loop, seeking, seeking
a small indentation, salt water rushing in
too deep to stand in but not enough to sink
if only I knew how to float

there I am
lying in the rocking waves
with nothing but a boat
and a shallow impression filled with the sea

not that it matters at this point

my skin is slick with coats of you

coats of lacquer coats of liquor

some layers blacker some layers thicker

coats of you that don’t make me bigger

they make me small, so small I can’t see

would you find me

if you looked?

I can’t remember which layers of you

you gave me and which ones I took

she and I

I’m made up of every me
I have ever been
including the one who once thought
she loved you

I hold her memories
I hold her heart
I know her sorrow, her unfiltered pain
I know the why behind every single choice
she ever made

and I see her foolishness
her stubborn trust
how she looked at you
the way she pictured us
and I can still feel
through the thrum of her heart
what it used to be like
to need you

we were once one
but we aren’t the same
so don’t be a fool and mistake my strength
for weakness


to all the things that i can’t see
that i can’t know
that i’m not shown
lines and dots and spaces
endless spaces
curves and edges
all the shapes are forming words
that i can’t make out
that i don’t know how

and i hear the sounds
(the few you gave me)
turning into echoes fast
then all the echoes turning back
their sources lost then found again
(i can’t keep track)

and all the thinks and all the knows
flowing and curling and diving and rolling
shifting around all the pebbles of me
that make up the sand
that cradles the sea
so big and so deep
this unknown invisible ocean made of


so if he offered to light up your skin

to shock your bones and make them glow

to turn you to fire and

paint you red and

rip you from cold clinging hands of the dead

and worship you in a palace of flesh

don’t tell me you wouldn’t say yes.

I mean it

It was a smile that ended the world

yours, your eyes, and the look in mine

your hand on my neck, a few spoken words

the fuse was lit and

we saw it ignite in

a blast that no one else heard.


The whole thing aflame from a glance and a touch

you fled as it burned while

I stood there and watched the wreckage, entranced

the flames as they danced

the beautiful chaos, the burning expanse

I stood right there and watched the world shake

and all I could see was a giant, heaping

mess of a non-mistake.

what have I done?

you tried to burn it and

burn it you did but

it didn’t disappear

it only dissipated

fire to ash, fell to the earth

but smoke to air, now it’s everywhere

you thought this was better

you thought this would work

fire to ash and smoke to air

but now it’s everywhere you look

and you can’t even see it.

I tried

you gave me a toothbrush and I promised I’d be back
it wasn’t a lie; I thought I might this time

but then I got my way
and he got in the way
and then time got away
and everything was gone and so was I

but you still check in now and then
to see if I’ll keep my promise
to hear some more of my silence
and you’ve never mentioned the toothbrush
but I wonder if it’s still there

I wonder if it’s still wet, still waiting
still dripping tiny beads of guilt, the drops
not big enough to hear from here
not loud enough, really, to make any sound at all


I see that you don’t want to mention her
as if I don’t already know
but there’s no reason to hide it
unless you think there is

I don’t see one as you pass me the cue
as I aim and shoot
and ask you
to tell me about her
and you do
because there’s no reason not to

I hear no regret
but I see your eyes
and I look away like I didn’t 
even you can see that it’s fine with me
and maybe that’s what isn’t fine about it

does this mean it’s over?

I used to see us standing there

a double of you and a double of me

in the future that was always coming but never came

now I see nothing, behind or in front

there are no doubles and there is no us

and even your shadow (he held on so long)

dissolved in my hand in the sun

this is strength

It’s golden, this haven
I wrap it around me
it glows as it settles
it fits like it knew

the shape of your arrows
so sharp and narrow
I don’t recognize them
I poise to fight them
but this gleaming solace
will not let me go

it won’t let me send them back like I want to
(in moments of weakness I’m just like you)
it won’t send them flying back
won’t let them breed
it won’t let them pierce holes of you into me
instead it just shines, so bright that I’m blinded
and they disappear
the hate unrequited
the pain that it brings goes unfelt by me
in my golden peace
I no longer see

your poison arrows
your blackened bow
raised with intention
your precious weapon
all that you know

I pity the thoughts inside your head
that see only darkness.

so which will it be?

I soak it up now
lizard sprawled in the heat
the warmth a reminder of
how cold my bones
like shivering drums
they were, they are, they beat
loud they become when I forget
but not for long.

I fall to the rock like
without it I shake
I shiver and beat
the warmth I remember, the work and the heat
but cold asks for nothing and
doesn’t mind me. 


And I was a prize you won ’cause I let you
again and again and I
didn’t know then
that I’d never get you the way that you had me
you had me, you had me
you had me so wholly
your eyes wrapped around me
your lips would control me and I
didn’t know that your heart couldn’t hold me
I didn’t know it would never know me
never want me
never be
anything but a lack, you see
I was the prize you won ’cause I let you and
you never knew
never knew what you had.

oh retrospect, yes, please, do come in

cold on the shore

dripping and shaking

salt in my hair and my eyes and my lungs

that was the sea

for a moment I’d swum

and you wanna know what?

it was nothing like you

nothing like floundering, drowning and blue

in a puddle.