you make a home where
the grass is greener than maple leaves,
and the sky is bluer than
and dogs bark and babies squawk,
and the world is flat
and faintly curving at the edges,
and it fades with every year that passes these
growing greying eyes, as every winter turns
and geese fly overhead to homes
they can still remember
you make homes in people
and that doesn’t work:
people are structurally unsound, poor pillars,
ribs are frail and the heart walls are strong
but the foundation’s shit, you know?
people are always leaving instead of loving, and so
you cry homeless to the seagulls
living two hundred miles from shore,
and they cry too,
you make homes where you find them now:
in ponderosas and junipers.
you build them from lava rock and black sand and moss
and cold white water bleeding fresh into salt.
you build them with people
and find green grass growing inside
and crows gossiping on the roof and
robins laying blue eggs in the elbows of trees,
just like when you were smaller.
you are a builder
like your hands craved —
you are callused, grown and growing still.
It blows my mind that after all this time you’ve spent on earth, nobody ever bothered to tell you that your eyes aren’t fucking brown.
They are copper against honey and sage and when they water they glow, two perfect orbs the same shade as nature after it rains.
You’re not as simple as they wanted you to be.
"you’re not as simple as they wanted you to be"
i spend the nights without you writing
and starting all my poems with
instead of “always”
bad habits die the slowest deaths
i feel like i have been folded
by capable hands into origami shapes
my skin a pretty paper
faded now like the sound of rain on windows —
i can’t help being a paper crane —
i was just parchment
to somebody once
and now i am creased into place
i can’t help being scared of your mouth
and your hands
when someone i thought i loved
took me apart with hands and mouth
but your eyes are green-brown and beautiful
and warm like earth and grass
and things that thrive in sunlight and rain
and so i love you,
with every broken heartbeat.
orange light on blue snow,
a breathless november homecoming
from the wilder woods
to the hearth.
i love you like a memory i thought i had forgotten.
i love you like a prism,
in a million glittering refractions.
i love you in the way only
broken things can love —
temerity, and timidity
in equal measure,
with questions on my fingertips
but soft smiling eyes.
sometimes i think you
are a ponderosa pine, taller than anything out east,
always green, unfazed by fires.
sometimes i think you
are the first time i saw the mountains when i
stepped off that plane,
like a backdrop ready to fall and reveal
that you were never there at all.
but there are pines,
and there are mountains,
and you are here.
when it gets bad
the world feels big and mean and ursine
or like a man beating a dog —
i feel every pascal like it’s sixty psi
spiking down into my skin
every breeze is a breath i should have taken
and the full moon is laughing at me
but you make the world feel vast,
which is not the same as big:
you make me feel small and safe,
pinwheeling through the quiet stars
from the cool-breeze bubble that we stand on
from between your strong arms,
your warm ribs,
i could explore the universe
but we forget this sometimes. We forget and the old longing returns and her voice breaks over the telephone and there is no way out of the loneliness. We sleep alone and we are not lovers, but we both have trouble in the night-time, turn to wolves howling at the moonlight, biting at the fleas. The distance keeps us from getting too involved. We have suffered it more than once before and are not yet ready to stand in the line of its shooting again. I get into brutal arguments with myself and lose every fight and we are not lovers, but she is there to tend the injuries, to lather honey over the open wounds, to bathe me in essence of vanilla and wring the sadness out of my hair. The letters stop and start month to month, year to year. The poetry shrinks and swells, shrinks and swells like a great tide. The ocean still breathes between us, a monster of epic proportion in the face of our love. She tells me about the new lovers sometimes, girls with dandelion hair and soft bellies, and we are not lovers, but she says she pines for me still. Says I am a war she has come home from, but cannot forget. Says I am her post-traumatic stress disorder. Says she experiences me like a phantom limb, no longer a part of her, but always itching. She says there is no recovering from me and we are not lovers, but still we cannot help but be tender towards one another. Still she is as close to me as my own flesh. Still she is an illness I cannot cure. Still she is every song, every episode of weeping, every white-hot desire, every bursting orgasm, every joy, every crippling loss. Still, she is love, love, love, until the end of my days, until the music stops playing and the lilies all wilt and the stars flicker out of existence and the silence promises to stay. Still, she is everything there ever was, and everything there ever will be, but we are not lovers.
First crush of 2014.
it took eighteen days
to get used to your body in my bed
and tonight i don’t want your warmth
to leave me:
you feel like winter sunlight.
you feel like a candle flame.
you feel like starting over.