1. running crosswise

    tomboy
    running crosswise through the cotton
    just before the harvest perpendicular
    to the rows at the ends of which
    stood figures hands on hips
    scowls worth more than the threat of continued
    humiliating existence

    plants an army of vicious
    sharp twig thorn bushes
    in rows planted in rows planted
    in rows

    thick knee socks stolen from
    her ex softball player girlfriend
    shoes left beside the bed so white
    soles coated in the black face of mud
    naked brown strapping muscle under
    a white cotton canvas oversized button down
    she is running through rows planted in rows
    running rows

    she is running toward the orchard
    and sunrise and lashings
    more lashings more
    lashing more
    of mother nature’s
    harsh comb and brush

    past the rows
    past the barricade
    past the sticks
    past the squatting
    between to getaway
    quick

    once every day of her lifetime
    was spent wearing the soaked
    through mud of her jeans’ knees
    proud

    she wore through proud holes

    now
    her legs ring nude
    her thighs are not planted
    in rows or branches of thick
    her thighs are a shushing soft skin
    bronze glow delight moving crosshatched

    in bird scratchings haphazard
    scritchings of bright red blood
    blood that never drips

    the pattern spells power
    in a language
    you might well
    not even bother
    try to cipher

    known only to each
    alone
    tomboy

     

  2. short walks
    long piers
    small dogs
    with too much hair
    on their heads
    and tails

    random
    chances and less
    dangerous death
    threatens us alive
    and for crying
    out loud

    glances
    eyeballing closer
    to the verge of each other
    touching but safe
    to bolt when
    ever

     

  3. any old

    feeling for a pivot
    gentle fingers with nimble
    cloves smoked
    over oil dipped in garlic

    cramp tight banana
    onion bagel cottage cheese
    tired nap
    on his corduroy jacket

    sleeve of tattooed verses
    warrior poses one two
    three treed
    mountain reversal humble

    witness to all he sees
    hidden between demanding
    life lined
    with parallel processes

    ritual to prayer
    to promises made to keep
    long gleaned
    waking dreams from daily sleep

     

  4. perhaps is a sigh

    love is fascist
    friendship
    lonely togetherness

    each exhale
    sets
    something free

     

  5. how ever

    wearing the signs
    self hypnosis
    prickly sun beams drawn
    from a fiery orange core
    by a five year old hand splayed
    across the faces
    grossly interested
    onlookers
    gazes

    caught

    oblivious
    swollenful
    making
    a stand

    however wobbly

     

  6. vacuums and the persistence of purpose

    Given how hard it has been for me to let myself need anything, I was surprised how quickly and obviously my awareness of the thing I needed rushed in. As if all it needed were it’s exact absence for me to feel it and know it in a sudden rush of unquestionable intuition.

    The way a vacuum draws. The way it destroys itself. The way its definition is its undoing.

    The way I could not name it. The way asking for your simplest sensitivity seemed ridiculous to articulate until it was gone. The way my sensitive response to your, more than likely unintentional, insensitivity was a slick filet knife. Even tempered and well-filtered, my pain the thinnest blade made for slicing. Slicing layers of myself free.

    Beginning with the first layer. The layer of your protection. The layer that needed to be everything smooth and easy and not need. This failure to be granted the one thing I now can only see in its absence I needed but can’t reasonably count on, this failure has freed me to need it. I suddenly feel completely reasonable expecting it and consequently in my outrage at not getting it. Your sensitivity felt brisk in absence. 

    There is no blame just surety in my own deserving. I deserve not to feel that again. No matter how accidental, it is unbearable even merely as a risk.  And I was the one who put myself at risk. It’s one thing to drink before you know. Another, another thing entirely to drink again later. 

    So not getting what I was afraid to need has freed me to need it in a way that means I won’t give myself a chance to get it again. Get it either way. Smack in the face or need met there are some things, places you’ve gone, you can never unclaim.

    A flag on a stake that even drawn out and laid down leaves a hole in the ground. Unmistakable and round and a reminder, not a line because that is not how time works, just a small circle around which the rest must recline.  

    A vacuum around which all future interactions must stay far enough distant to avoid falling into the draw of that cold empty place. Each misstep feeds the void and makes the hole bigger.

     It makes play far away, outside the range of the crater, easier. Feeds a different hope of returning to picnic one day. It’s a circle, like all things, and the persistence of purpose. 

     

  7. tricks

    my father is a rabbit
    my mother a dove
    i the hat
    wearing magician

    my disappearing
    act makes reunion
    impossible

    nothing existed
    before
    the illusion

     

  8. the eagles asleeping
    in a silver web of night

    vision caressed through
    the long gaze washed
    in slow metallic light

    watching together
    from separate ends
    we saw the opening up
    reach for our joined
    unconsciousness

    a space in time and place
    where our dreams dance
    together and together
    stay safe

     

  9. never said nor done

    I have never said, nor done, nor harbored any intention designed to convince you or talk you into anything. Except that I know Bukowski is mostly a stupid hypocritical drunk poser, otherwise, I think you are entitled to your opinions and principles and decisions without question from the likes of me. 

    In short, what I am trying to say is: I have not the slightest desire to lay one finger on you even in the approach to a hug if I thought for half a second you had any doubt about whether you wanted me to. I don’t have any need to touch you, certainly not you, specifically. 

    So the derby girls are going out for drinks after the show and they’ve invited me to come along and not completely unenthusiastically. You know? I love skates and girls and short skirts, especially altogether at the end of winter. I even warmed up the other night, had half a beer with my sister because I’m a lightweight and I wanted to make sure I hadn’t forgotten how quick alcohol goes to my head. It felt great and I handled it well and with grace, which means I am confident I could go out tonight and enjoy myself over cocktails. Part of me really wants to. 

    But another part would be really happy to stay in, maybe still with a drink, but be alone with one other person. To spend our time thinking while we sit in the same room. Maybe we’d read a story to each other or even write a poem. There would be music and maybe focused, controlled breathing exercises, over the shoulder browsing and take-turns body massaging. Drumming or tapped time-keeping, stomping or clapping. Maybe jump rope or elastic hand strings routines. But most of all just quiet, companioning. It could be equally satisfying with almost any person with whom I shared a certain minimum intellectual compatibility and common sensibility in terms of taste. I might need touch, but I don’t need it to be with any one particular person. 

    Except… I cannot stop thinking about what it would feel like to have my hands tangled specifically in your hair. I’ve been thinking about that all week, as if to remind myself that what I want and what I need might be two entirely different things. 

     

  10. because it was time for breakfast

    awareness and understanding
    poured through my skin into my cells
    with the weight of water’s boyancy
    doused me drenched me lifted me
    liquid wet to floating
    picked up drifty on the breeze
    a feather drying pleasant
    from damp to warm to slick to fluff
    then wafting back down to the surface
    once more and more diving
    swirling twirling lifted dance
    dropping round the miracle
    of constant change
    the consistency of paradox
    i swam oiled and bobbing for fish

     

  11. past the blur

    the kind of sharp
    living beyond
    the edge of
    the point of
    the prick slick
    stick of the blade

    the kind of sharp
    extending
    in past
    and out back
    through
    and then retracted

    leaving a hole

    as cost
    of the looking
    eye pressed
    in gazing

     

  12. it was a beautiful place and i did not want to leave

    I traveled to the intergalactic council where they speak an entirely different sort of language but I was allowed to listen in and understand by magic. Afterward, they insisted (though I agreed) there was a need for me to at least try and bring this report back to you.  

    So without further ado, I bring to you, the following. 

    When the chief affiliate for the planet Earth stood up to give his report, in particular on the dominant terrestrial life forms, the gist of his message read something like this:

    "Liquefied, infinitely pupal, their bodies made up more than halfway by water, the humans are so significantly un-self-aware as to live ninety-nine point eighty-nine percent of their lives pretending they are each a separate entity, rather than mere cells in the body of the community.

    As we know, that is not at all how bodies really work because cells are acutely aware of their connection to all other cells even when they are not engaged in the most active functions toward which they serve. The idea that any single neuron along the path between the brain to the hand is independent of any other nerve cell in the path - or of the surrounding cells or of all the body’s cells for that matter - this idea of disconnectedness is absurd to the cells that make up the living flesh. As it is to us. Because as we live and breathe and know, these cells are in constant touch with each other. Each cell is perpetually feeling its tight interdependence with all the other living cells in the body at every moment. That is what DNA is for, it’s a holographic information system. 

    Sadly, while the humans are equipped with the necessary parts and the complex mental capacities to grasp this, their cultural memes, norms, and standards have effectively eliminated their ability to comprehend themselves and their world in any way that is realistic. 

    Humans instead turn everything — even love, even interdependence, even connectedness into a zero-sum game of competitiveness. Invented concepts like exclusivity and loyalty make it impossible for them to open to the reality of their infinitely mutual influence on one another. They remain unable to delight in the way that each connection harbors the touch and influence of every other connection that has come before it, and around it. That each touch is an input into the next instance of touching, of connecting. Humans fail to see how their memory and experience connects each of them to all the experiences of every other, present, past and future inseparable. 

    The only great unique potential humans have in terms of the creatures currently inhabiting earth is their reflective consciousness and ability to communicate with language. But, the language itself seems to have inhibited their ability to be aware of themselves. Or they have allowed it to, at least. Unless we can find some way for them to remove all the false certainty that is clogging up their systems, I can’t see much use for them. 

    And they are, without any question, a major drain on the ecosystem.”

    The next thing on their agenda, is to take a vote. 

     

  13. pour

    the purity of water
    has nothing to do
    with its sexual history
    but everything to do
    with its cohesiveness

    each drop connected
    to every other in continuous
    mutual reciprocal bonded
    communication in the language
    of touch expanded on trust

    you cannot learn
    the sounds the letters
    the words the notions
    the rhythm of the fluid
    fluency of it without
    immersion

    each encounter
    betrothed
    beholden
    to every
    single infinite
    other forever
    and never

     

  14. plucked and stuffed chicken

    the use
    of eyes & ears
    to abuse
    masking truth
    held
    in our absolute
    interdependence
    it catches us
    unaware & unprepared
    reality unseen & unheard
    in favor of a single cell’s ego
    and eternal yellow cowardice

     

  15. cosmic

    obsessions make good company
    until you need some
    personal space
    time

    life defined by carbons
    and proteins and
    membranes
    energy exchange
    the reproductive transfer
    of dna

    or put another way
    but a quick harsh
    glorious moment
    to be immediate-
    ly erased