Minutes to Midnight at the Subterranean

too much alcohol
too much truth

you close the distance between us
and all my secrets start spilling
into your hands and all over
our fused shadows
busy, breathless, freed
in 63,000 cubic feet of live music
igniting temptation in dimly lit corners
it didn’t even take too long to find us

how exquisite
how so like the last full moon of the decade
to have this hour
when I know I am living for this moment
and then the moments start repeating
I dance with you
I kiss you
I whisper into your ear
and stumble into revelations
about myself I had already forgotten

I don’t know if the words are slurring
but I assure you my mind’s all there
this is the most important moment
and if there is something I know how to do
it is to show up when it matters
I am all here for every inch of you
not missing the slightest movement
never mind that the moments are blurring
I dance with you
I kiss you
I whisper into your ear

how many songs has it been
I still have so much I haven’t shown you
and suddenly I am wearing too many clothes
and I really want you to see me
and not only in that way
like the next time you close your eyes
I want you to inhale my soul
I want to occupy you
but how much time do we have
but how much time do we need
you dance with me
you kiss me
you whisper into my ear

again
again
again
every cycle deeper than the last
like the wall behind you is dissolving
and all my past sins are arching
against the curve of our seamless rhythm
find me with your tongue, your fingers
there are too many people but
we are two burning truths on a collision course
and I don’t think any of them are aware
and quite frankly I don’t care
because you’re dancing with me
because you’re kissing me
because you’re whispering into my ear
all at once

(I am drunk on your warmth
and molten in your hands)

Dance Dance Dance

How many times do I have to
seduce the city before I get it right?

But you are not from here.

Passion is a rock hurtling through space
brushing against debris of nuance, of history
the things we used to want
the things that make us feel seen
the things that look like copies
of our souls, under the right light,
or if another artist had tried to render it
its path altered in a million little ways
by passing voices, strangers,
songs on the radio
staining the physics
leaving imprints on the ergonomics
of burning the way we do,
on the inside
free will negotiating with gravity
colors rioting against the spectrum
evolution masquerading as vibrations
particles of choices
in sheets, in knots,
in regrets we settle into like dust

see I spoke you into this place
before I even laid eyes on you

and I am only recently coming to terms
with how energies work when
we strum the strings
like we know what we’re doing

but please, tell me about yourself
so I could find the mirror
the last savepoint

how by the time the projectile reaches
its destination, it is completely new
somewhere along the fall
the fall gave her a taste for his mouth
so that kissing him for the first time
would feel more like remembering,
taught her to want that thing
she’d never had so when he puts
his hands on her skin she’d respond
to his touch like she’d rehearsed
a million lives before

before the end of the fall
the fall marked her
with the name and the patterns of
the place she was ultimately headed for.

And look how I landed into you
the same time you landed into me.
(Did you notice?)

Lost in Space, Out of Time

You are no longer the stars
whose bullets of light
ricochet off the surfaces of my oceans

you are no longer the moon
whose dark scars grant sanctuary to my desires

we’ve fallen into fissures and gunshots
the once favored muse no longer
bleeding gold from her wounds

I used to be bound to you
like the impossible is married to the horizon
like the pleasure of our pain
unfetters our souls at the crossover
you used to be the second verse of my song

but no longer

we witnessed a supernova
it was both a death and a spectacle
whose forgetting would cripple us
but whose remembering is
akin to highly addictive torture
to being madly alive but incomplete
we were each other’s Catch 22
and our love was Purgatory
you could not keep me
I could not leave you

but oh, how we
would traverse entire universes
in the eight sacred blocks
between our two prisons
mine of my honor
and yours of your ambition
four to the west and
four to the south
not necessarily in that order

how there were multiple
permutations of our destinies,
and this is the version
where the odds overwhelm us,
where timing is not on our side,
where we do not have the fortitude
to follow our instincts home.

What the End Sometimes Looks like

a confronted permanence

a deceptive view of the city
through a car window,
with very few clues
to warn you the cold is fatal

from here it looks like
I’m fully equipped to face it

being in it is a different story

I haven’t been sleeping well
I still wake up at 2:00 a.m.
I used to send you reminders
to put your seatbelt on
when you leave home for work
now I only shift around on the bed
playing slow-motion tag with
the moonlight through the blinds
wondering how you’re faring in this cold

I’m sure you’re fine
you’ve always been fine without me
I used to worry a lot about you
I still do
but you won’t hear me say it

I lull myself back into dreaming
I use my favorite lies
that I’ll see you in the morning
that I’ll see you in the weekend
that I’ll see you next summer
that I’ll see you forever

there’s a fine line between
dedication to manifesting a desire
and commonplace, cowardly escapism

but right now I’m just frozen
afraid to even fall apart
I’m at the place where everything
I ever wanted before I met you
is finally mine
just a season late
just missing one set of heartbeats
but it would do if I could be quiet about it
I use my least favorite lie
that I won the lottery long ago
and this is what basking in
my winnings looks like
this is the safest place, the safest route
I am paralyzed by fear of feeling
but if I don’t move I can mimic
the deception outside the window
and be cold and fatal myself
without needing any help

there’s a fine line between
settling and the pains associated
with the last stages of healing

All the Festering Unpretty Truths

He is wrong for you. Write it anyway.
It was a mistake from the start.
Write it anyway.
Loving him is stupid and has nothing for you
but heartbreak and questions with
no answers. Write it anyway.

Write it like it costs you nothing,
like the sleepless nights don’t encroach
on your mornings,
like you don’t hear the bottom
of the precipice calling your name
write it like the words are fleeing
the burning building that is your mind
trying to stay alive
trying to preserve what
meaning they are able to salvage
write it like there should be
no shred of softness left unturned,
like the past is purging its soul
of metaphors it no longer has use for

and I am not talking about
Hallmark Channel reruns about finding
a shining grace among the wreckage,
or all the pain being forged
into strength like emotional chainmail
that would become your beauty’s
greatest asset someday

you are a poet, not a purveyor of bullshit

do not write to save yourself

write the ugly and give it a hundred names
talk about the hurt that turns the moon
into a throatful of spit
talk about the street that reeks
of quick fixes and losing gambles
and empty alcohol bottles
that you keep romanticizing
in your endless walks,
hoping to run into him

write about the infected needle
that your dreams about him have become

write about the remembering that
yields nothing but dissonance and decay
and the winter cold that so penetrates
there is not one muscle in your body
that hasn’t been raped by the awareness
that you have settled for so, so, so
much less than you are worth.

90 Proof Sky

Drink this sunset with me.
I know it’s not much;
winter has drained most of the colors
the reds are weaker and there’s
a tone of finality in the blues
like barbed wire.

But sip on the song of this waning light
anyway, a toast and a funeral for
the warmth we used to have in abundance
and the intensity we had co-opted
for our own anthem and gotten
so drunk off of in each other’s presence
the laughter that sweetened the four walls
as if we had out of thin air created love
of enough quantities to convince
impressionism to make a comeback
in the digital age just to rain down
ones and zeroes on our constellated bodies
in bursts of amethyst purple and
sparks of emerald green
and that unnamed and elusive
mad brushstroke of the divine

I still feel like an unfinished
canvas every time I think of you

and to be honest I didn’t think
I’d still be here in December
watching the changing sky and wondering
about stars, wondering if they had
also written our paths crossing
a second time as they had ordained
and orchestrated the perfection
of our first encounter
but they are silent and keep their secrets well
no matter how hard I beg for answers

but later, as twilight moves to claim
your consciousness and you slip
into the softness as you would
if you had my eyes to drown in,
drink that haze that toes the line
between tomorrow and today

as if you are kissing me again
as if you are getting lost in me again

if this changing sky is all we have
make your thirst all about that
slowly fracturing dusk

Pendulum on Nothing but Gravity

The trick is to wait,
to put just enough distance between you
and the day everything fell apart
so that when you finally speak the words
that call the hurt out of its hiding place
it arrives dressed in echoes
with rounded corners and
its eyes half closed
and when it takes aim at your heart
as it has hundreds of times before
at point-blank range
it isn’t as earnest,
as if it wants to miss
as if it wants to spare you.

And I have no problem wearing my hunger
on my sleeve. What am I but a romance
and a long sustained awakening,
and you are in both places.
You are in all the places.
You gambled with me once;
I’d gamble for your love again and again.
And I tell you I miss you
because I believe words have power
and so what, so what if all you could
reward my honesty with is your silence
my bravery for your indifference,
real or imagined,
so what if I have to fill in the blanks
with daydreams when only a month ago
you were so deeply entangled in me
you only needed to kiss me on the forehead
to scribble lyrics on my conscience and
make my energies line up in octaves.

And I have no problem sending you
pieces of my naked soul.
What am I if not yours
and what does it matter that we
haven’t touched in a million years?
I tell you I miss you
because I believe your silence has power
every brick on the wall a wall in its own right
and I’ll press my palms against that unyielding
until the warmth in my blood stops resisting
part waiting
for you to see me the way you used to see me,
part begging the dream to release me.

I wish I still knew you the way I used to know you
just enough to not second guess
the worthiness of my pain
when I reach for you and you leave me hanging