Nights in Alexandria

Bravery is simpler
in solitude,
when there is only
myself to save
as the walls close in,
and no one else
to bear the burden
of paying my debts and
living with my mistakes.
I can crash and burn
as many times as
my reasons bring it
on themselves,
betray myself my own
weaknesses occasionally,
make decisions on the fly
with the courage
afforded me by a daring
devoid of sacrifice.
And when impunity names
the too-high price
of surrender,
my defiance rises, if only
emboldened, and comforted,
by the thought that
consequence only has me
to deal its blows.
All the things I could lose,
I did without, details
of the sense of missing
lost by having no one
to tell them to.
Cold only on my skin.
Blood only from my wounds.
Dishonor only to my name.
I rewrite my heart
and contract the words
to bend pains that are
all mine to endure.
I can pretend some
of them never happened.
I can pretend that
their ends were swift.
I can pretend away the
lingering. Roughness
to which I am accustomed,
uncertainty with which
I am at home: I’d walk
a little way around it,
look at it from
a different angle and
call it beautiful.

But I’d always needed that,
something real
to rest my head on.
A gentle breathing
to listen for
in the desperate
moments before dawn.
That would be better
than any victory.
That would be worth
all those forgone silences
that my spirit can’t
be compelled to keep.
And life can hurt
as much as it will;

you are here.
I had tried to protect you
from everything that
could go wrong and
fall apart in my hands.
But you are stronger than me.
Strong enough
to not pull me to a safety
I do not subscribe to,
but just stand still,
beside me,
at the far, far edge,
your hand where my faith is.
That is everything.

Six-Lane Catwalk

I stand in the middle
of two-way traffic
in my white dress
a domesticated wild gazelle
unfazed by headlights
moving—
forward,
or back,
depending on
where you’re coming from,
what direction you’re facing,
hanging note tags on
red lines drawn on
smoky air, post-exposure
through a Nikon with
slow shutter speed
by brake lights
sticking Post-Its of
offhanded judgment on
hexagonal bokeh
filtered blinker beams
through cinematographic
apertures
tunnels that lead away
from extinct dreams
and the facets of a soul
that can’t evolve
can’t keep up with the times
this is Millennium City
you got to have direction
you got to have power
or the urban tide will
wash over and consume you
pull you down to the
belly of the beast if
you don’t know how to swim
Eden is no longer so innocent
this is Paradise lost, then
reconstructed
with stunted palms and
rows of pretty, pretty lamps
the old Eve
a new Adam
and twenty thousand serpents
offering twenty thousand
choices
with which to define yourself
and write your next chapter
so many hearts behind me
zipping accelerated
through the blind night
each with his own reasons
and guiding constellations
so many hearts before me
bloody, beating,
open,
so ready to try
so ready to be hurt
but I’ve been hurt too and
I respect that,
respect the secrets,
the sheepshank-knotted past,
the scars and the memories
of bruises,
and me your modern, cunning
courtesan, half concealing,
half unfurling all my
monstrous beauty and
the pieces of my broken
piggy bank where I used to
set aside my frugal innocence,
diamond-hungry Satine
from the Moulin Rouge
high-class prostitute
of the mind,
whore of inspiration,
auctioning my golden time
to the highest bidder,
calling out for a muse in
the middle of this
dangerous six-lane catwalk
in my white dress

Golden Child

Do not be afraid to be hard
do not be afraid to be cold
that’s what stars have to be
there, in their rightful place
do not fear the dark night,
the impersonal void,
allow the celestial emptiness
to pull you open
and hurt the sacred hymen
of your impenetrable soul.

You don’t have to fight
your metamorphosis
into someone
nobody could fool.
Leave all of them behind,
those dancers to
the stale, unoriginal beat
too weak to know
the battles you’ve fought
dreams too little
to keep up with yours
do not be afraid to stop loving
the unworthy,
and watch your needfulness
shrink and fade until
it fits into the vacuum
between perdition and
the commonplace narrow escape.

The clumsy and polluted limbs
of lesser constructs,
unquestioning followers
of the schools of thought
of a society compromised
have defiled you for the last time.
You are too pure to walk with them
and they are too complicated,
too far from the source
to reach you,
truly reach you.

Dry your tears.
You have denied your
inner golden child too long.
You owe it to all the times
they gave you way less than
what you unselfishly offered them
to be true.
Do not be afraid to be you.

The Woman Who Needs You

Did they tell you
I stood in front of men
who wore their ranks
on studs on their shoulders
did they tell you
they carried their names
on white cards with logos
that made people tremble
did they tell you
they owned almost everything
did they tell you
I spoke to them
with the weight of tens
of thousands of dollars
on my shoulders
in a boardroom that housed
the world’s most
complicated problems
with windows that overlooked
the world’s most
expensive vanities

did they tell you
I did it right,
that they clapped heartily
and wrote letters
to their superiors
about me

did they tell you
I was beautiful then
that I appeared to them
wearing my talents
like heirloom diamonds
around my slender throat
and the wisdom of all
the years that
led me to that moment
a marble pedestal
under my mighty feet
did they tell you
that I navigated
their collective thinking
like my old hometown
and commanded it,
exploited it with ease
with my killer’s instincts and
my dexterous rogue’s mind

did they tell you
how, afterward,
when the signatures
were in place
the silence was something
that neither they could
break from the outside
nor I, from the inside
and I wanted to run to you

did they tell you
that the clouds
between my knees
felt cold and I was in need
to be taken care of by you

did they tell you
I knew
they weren’t fooling me
and something was
infinitely better than this
did they they tell you
I’m still saving the very
best of me for it

did they tell you
it’s evident
I’m just counting the days
until I can hold you