Your arms can reach around me
fingers interlocked across the dip in my spine.
Your eyes can pull me to you
from across a long line of ether.
But we’ve spoken at length
about the holes in our psyches,
you’ve finally unzipped the goddess suit
and shown me the sweaty skin below.
I’ve maintained my heart, fastened tight to my sleeve
but I’ve loosened my tongue, unscrewed my filter
my game codex changer
I’ve been unlocked and led limp to the ways of the high road
difficulty be damned
But you’re not behind me.
I look on either side, and I am not alone
I am walking with sunshine and skylines and clouds
I am walking with voices and jogging for miles
But you’re not beside me.
I look in front and I know you’re not there
I would know the back of you anywhere
I don’t want to look above
if I know already that you aren’t above me
you must be gone from this world
Gone from the path
Or maybe you were never there in the first place.
Ankles crossed, pale skin
brushing with knee-high goosebumps
sloughing through the red tape
inspired by touch
groping with words to explain
guttural grips on grievance.
I take a chance
and delete a brash statement
from my mouth
only to find the words
had neutralized before I uttered
Whispered fragments of words
fabled by my lobbyists
these well-meaning tusks
that drop the bag of eggs
and then the giant ball
at my feet
forcing my ankles to unlock
forcing a wrapping of red tape around
my neck, squeezing my throat
until the silence permeates my larynx
and my guttural grip
becomes gasping shouts of desperate pleas
Pleasing the lobbyists
who stand back and admire their handiwork
their chests gleaming with an ‘S’,
their signal scraping the sky
showing how they saved their city,
they wrapped up the monster, defeated the villain
kept the world safe
And I lay on the floor, strangled
puffs of breath leaving my lips
my legs wide open and my eyes closed.
One day it won’t be the first thing you see.
Like the sea that oversaturates the sand
billowing to and fro toward familiarity
foaming at the tips to return to normal
only normal was never the sea.
Like the projector that sticks on the same image
the archaic screen spotted with dust
the flipping of the film in the overexposed light
the frame of your face twitching and epileptic
into my eyes.
Like the stiletto that finds the flaw in the floor and sticks
dethroning the queen who parades into the room
cursing the floor for its audacity to be less than perfect
I remembered ten minutes after I saw you
why we shouldn’t be around each other.
I am your wicked little town.
Again in this corner, this room
reminds me of before.
In this artificial light, the walls look yellow
the window to my right could hold the same scenery
I saw before.
The music in my ears was here
the differences an illusion
if I keep my head facing the screen
if I forget you aren’t in the other room
if I remember when my world was
who knew you were happy in that bowl?
I spent so many years scoping out surface
for you, foaming at the mouth with eager
You were buried under the sand.
who knew you were wounded in the water?
I felt so many years of frenetic family
scoping our surface, eager with mouth spent
Digging out the soul in the sand.
who knew you were dying in the water?
I spent so many years finding foam for us to eager
surface for us to scope,
anxiety buried in the bowl
You are floating over the sand.
Sometimes I get
why the lazy shut out the town
of creation and reason and motivation
why they crawl onto the couch
and nurse their second draught of despair
and tv their way into the dawn
instead of dripping blood on their canvas of choice.
It is easier to be miserable
than to be free.
You told me you are aware
of the danger.
You grimaced after you smiled, your shoulders
shook with self-deprecation
as I watched the smoke pour from your mouth.
I won’t stop you from trying, I feel
the understanding coursing through my veins
like that nicotine running into your blood.
But I don’t know yet if you are self-aware,
strong with the experience of a thrice-made man
or my twin fool,
stomping into the sunny abyss,
not once looking back.
We walk in stuttered strides. You the endless putterer, and I the parader. I want to feel the flux waters on my ankles, wading in the wake of evening. I want you to accompany me, your chatter easy and continuous, and bubbling like your laughter.
But your fingers find the sand, patting your palms on the grainy ground, and scooping cupfuls, captured in the rapture of your grin. Caught in the wrinkles of your knees as you sit and sieve and play.
You are no longer a child, but your words rip without warning. Your eyes glazed over in the furious patting of the sand, the slurpy lap of the tide inching closer to your back. The castle you are creating in your head keeps tumbling back into the earth as you desecrate each mound with your frustration.
You lose your ring as you finger the holes in the battlements, your castle creating shapes for the sea to swallow.
Your fingers disappear and quake as you work, the water walking faster, your creations bubbling forth like curses and you desecrate the sand again. You tantrum through the last round of building, your fingers clenched in reddened stumps, your bashing bringing forth tears from the sky, and soon high tide is washing around you, the sun dipping below the horizon.
I watch as the swallow of your sea takes you.