Healer

Only for a second I hesitated
asked my intuition whether
I should treat you like a temptation
or a sin

but I recognized you only as my healer
when you first spoke to me
and the moment felt like a mirror
I saw in myself the healing
I never had the courage to ask for

and I went ahead and reached for you
and my senses fell into understanding
like when light devours water
not like an ordinary hunger
a struggle to breathe
a vision of my chains
and the look in your eyes as if to ask
how come the pain,
opaque and sticky as black tar
rancid with tears and dragging days
has a mold of my body and my face,
has it really been that long
since I last tried any movement,
and do I still remember
how to love without fear?

But you weren’t asking me
to prove myself,
you were giving me permission
to trust what the future has come
all this way to tell me:
that you and I are both
river and bridge,
reality and its cure,
and even hurt knows when
it has nothing left to feed on

what it felt like
was you were pulling me to you
what it really was
is you were pulling me to freedom

what it felt like
was me slowing down your
passion with my questions
because I was afraid
of being so sure, so quickly
but what it really was
is you and I,
from two different directions,
inevitably arriving at the decision
to stop waiting
to probe each other for the answers,
the necessary ritual to call
our shadows by their names

even my scars were turning
into verses that rhyme with beginnings
where there is nothing I ever did
that needs forgiving

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Blind, But For My Intuition Who Bid Me Don’t Resist

I just met you
I don’t know you
you are as dangerous to my spirit
as a rogue salvation spilled
from a tongue that chose me
broken in translation
for everyone else
there’s no way for me to
make them understand it
if, for instance, I need
to tell them I’m falling
into something endless
and have started seeing
a different sky
they would only think I’m crazy,
that I’ve faltered in my resolve
to starve my old addictions
and not even recognize
that these symptoms are new

I just met you
but feel no need at all
to protect myself from you
I just met you and already
there is no place in this world
I wouldn’t go to
if I were following you

I’ve never seen your face before
unfamiliar with how the poetry
that covers your body might feel
under the urgent searching
of my impassioned fingers
and sitting next to you
as you drive down this dark tunnel
is a risk I can’t be taking
a threat to my state of mind
but my subconscious has gone haywire
because it already knew
knew I was going to call you
knew I was going to give you
all the reasons to wonder
what the second day with me
is going to do to your soul
knew we would set each other on fire
like spontaneous sparks
clash of silver catching on paper
putting up no resistance

already knew you,
when I know nothing about you,
stranger whose skin tastes like
potent echoes of the home I lost,
whose gaze makes me hyperaware
of the colors I’ve swallowed
with my morning coffee
painting my insides
with sweet prescience
awakened from my mouth
I am saying all the right things
to make you want me

already knew I wanted you

I just met you
so I don’t know how
I can be so wide open,
so eager to be vulnerable,
so casually conversant with my hunger

Votive

I’ve never made love
the way we make love—

as if together, we are language

one that has all the words
we couldn’t find elsewhere
and this is urgent business
because between us there are
important truths that need to be spoken
there are things you need to tell me
and things I need to tell you
that as two separate flesh
we would only be half understanding

out in the open
where the world can see us
you can fill me with laughter
to overflowing
and our easy conversations
cut like crisp jazz melodies
across the humid silence

but behind closed doors
with my body pressed tightly
between your body
and the rest of the universe
time takes on a different meaning
we’d leave the bed just an hour later
with our love having grown a year older
this intimacy is our time machine
got my heart leaping across the continuum
with infallible faith on my wings

you fall into me
and all places become immaterial
we find each other in the dark
and a surfeit of visions washes over us
as if pleasure is just an afterthought
something so effortless and within reach
as we love our way towards something
that’s more indelible, unbreakable
I feel every inch of you
expanding my soul
and in your arms I am suddenly infinite,
and adored for my inner light,
and believed,
our centers of gravity entwined
in a dance of intuition
a trance that has no end or beginning

with every stroke you whisper
a confession into my right ear and
repeat it into my left for good measure
and I have to interrupt my moans
to tell you I hear you, baby
I receive every word
and I stare into your eyes
searching, fearful and uncertain
but I’ve never found any lies
I trust you now more than I trust
the moon to pull the tides

and every single time I come undone
you are right there waiting
to accept the terms of my surrender
so ready to receive all the pieces
and the solemn task of giving
them back to me in the right order.

Catching the Sunrise from the Ruins

What’s different?
When any other time
under identical circumstances
I’d be tripping over the things
that are in danger of breaking
holding the moments half in fear
like everything is so fragile

but now you’re here with me
and there isn’t any part of you
that feels like destruction

your mind is gentle with
my mind, like the words
in old school love songs
and even your absences pour
quiet strength into me
like I’m a faithful fortress

and every time I lie next to you
I get these visions instead
of things that are being healed
or becoming whole,
our shared, easy laughter
like spells of nurturing tides
offering up to the shore
the missing parts I’ve long
given up on finding,

your deep kisses and
our responsorial confessions
like light filling the cracks
binding the pieces
back onto me
as if I never lost them
and so I never have
to lose them again

Preoccupied / Hazel Eyed / Archetype.

My favorite memory of you

is me
stretched out on the couch
in the dress you fucked me in,
my pulse and breathing still not
completely back to normal
and still reeling from
the smoky transfusions of passion
from your body into mine

idly watching you across the hall
sitting with your back to the kitchen wall
barricaded from the 11 o’clock darkness
by your defiance of sleep
typing furiously on your iPhone
as if that brand new song couldn’t
escape from your soul fast enough

and me, barefoot and reverent
walking over to ask for another kiss
as if I were just a permission away
from a world where I didn’t exist,
and there was only your will
and your words
and the truth you were trying
to give justice to at the moment

shrouded in bulletproof silence
just a verse away from
creation or destruction, as if
in this desecrated temple
where I had lain and loved you
you’d been possessed by something god-like

as if among those cooling embers
of our intimacy you have
found an arrow of freedom
to kill your demons with,

as if on that obscure night there was
a spark of your inner fire
that you recognized
and you ran with it,
and didn’t mind that I was there
to bear witness

you looked so powerful
you looked so vulnerable

did I give you that? I don’t mind
not getting confirmation
I just know that I was there

the bed was still warm, warrior
my flesh still a map of your
recent conquests, warrior

and I got to watch you put
your armor back on

Betraying Closure

Do I no longer love you?
What was it again that Neruda wrote
about loving and forgetting?
We spend so much time being traitors to
the last ceremony of parting
instead of honoring it:
Here you are
showing up at my door at 1 a.m.
after making it through a whole week
without texting me.
We’d casually tiptoe around
those conversational landmines
and almost make it, make
a masterpiece of small talk
and just ruin it all
by one rogue “I miss you”…
and in the wake of the damage
might as well say “I miss you too”.
You’d open your heart “for the last time”
tonight, in gratitude for the ways
I made you better, and apologize
for all the ways you’ve hurt me,
and I would receive it all,
with tears that are worthy of us,
and still have tomorrow catch us
laughing over breakfast at Valois
or sharing the softest silence
on the sidewalk along South Blackstone
between 54th and 53rd as if
time were moving backwards.

Between us, life is desperate to be poem
and keeps giving us chances to create
more elaborate acts of closure, as if
it only requires a good enough goodbye
for us to let go.

And by God, our hearts keep trying.

But we never had anything to start with,
we never had anything to lose,
we never built anything that we didn’t
already need to walk away from
at a moment’s notice
if what we had were to survive,
if we were to share another kiss:
You’d been wiping your phone’s memory
several times per day already.
I’d been disguising my heart with
melodies of other people’s pains already.
We’d been carrying on with our lives
as if we didn’t know each other, already.

Even before it all ended.
Even during the days when they could have
cut us open and found my lyrics on your blood
and your name ready to spill from my mouth.

I wake up each morning next to
a thousand ways I might avoid missing you,
but what else is new? How exactly
do we cross over to a world
where we don’t exist,
when we have mastered the need
to stay true to something that
doesn’t have the right to exist?

There are No Accidents

We had transcended
whatever we had been before
we are no longer
the two fools playing with fire
provoking the wrath of the gods
free falling in a slow-motion
tragedy of our own making

we are larger than that now
larger than the nights
we had risked everything
for a few hours of pleasure
larger than the hurt
we could have so carelessly
caused the people around us

because this world is a hard place
full of sharp nails and dead ends
and everyone needs a friend

because these tides turn quick
and the storms you didn’t ask for
have finally come for you

and I know you are too proud
to reach for me
but I saw you when you were drowning
and damned if I let you go down
when your only crime was being young
and if loving you makes me complicit
then so be it

because people are more complex
than a laundry list of wants and needs
and there has to be more to us
when not long ago I had trusted you
enough to be naked with you
to be alone with you in my most vulnerable
and I wasn’t afraid to turn out the lights
and there has to be more to us
when you have kept the secret
that has my name on it for this long

we have shared time
and we have shared sins
poverty is just nakedness of a different kind
homelessness is just lights out of a different kind

I can still love you
at the bottom of your despair
the way I had loved you, once,
at the bottom of a stolen hour.
I can still be there for you
when your cup is empty
just as I had been there
when the shot glass was full.

If you would let me.