Last Flight Out

I’ve occupied the same heart
for several lifetimes
several deaths
I’ve been broken many times
at the same places
and there is a pain I know
like the back of my hand
a pain I’ve lived with
intimately, stubbornly
like a pet knife
that’s been driven into my flesh
at the same spot
wounds of varying depths
that I’ve mastered how to heal
into overlapping welts
like I knew how to breathe
and it occupied me,
the healing,
the ashes from different fires
mingling,
each of them burned its own way
my feet, bare and brave
walked on, but never away
from the same place of tragedy
like they couldn’t get enough

cursed to stasis
and possessed by inertia,
I was an artist of staying
staying the same,
staying in place,
staying in wait
patiently
for the eventual return
of something, someone,
hurtful but at least familiar
things and people I stayed for
in the same profession,
the same city,
the same e-mail address
so that if any of them ever
changed their minds,
they’d know where to find me
and we could go back
to the way things were
before change happened,
the scariest thing in the world,
and everything started
being so painful

willingly stranded,
I wasted so much time
but like that Nigerian prince
in my spam folder
had promised,
I just needed one switch
for the damage to be undone
and make it all worth it
so I lived, and suffered,
in the same mad, beautiful state
of being
where you one day found me

and you
you are the man
that moved me.

Pièce de Résistance

Sometimes I get asked if
I’ve always known I would
or wanted to
leave it all behind
for love,
this love,
or some love, and
whether I think it was worth
being in a place where
I have to start again
from the beginning
with nothing but my name
and my history
and my favored virtues

and I guess I have
believed with all my being
that my soul and what
I have to give
are worth something
and at some point, life
would ask from me a gamble
whose stakes were
proportional to the caliber
of my character
and somewhere
there’d be a moment when
it is all that mattered

and there has always been
the wish to measure up
to that kind of transaction
with destiny,
not to get out
of where I used to be
no, escape is for cowards,
not to possess or be possessed
who I am is bigger than that,
but to have love, real love,
love as it was meant to be had,
with strength and purity,
and to look that moment
in the eye and acknowledge
with all the honesty
my heart can stand up for,
that it is a difficult choice,
that nothing in this world
is guaranteed,
or reversible,
or without consequence,
and still tell that Guardian
who made of free will both
solid rock and question mark,
who is always listening,
who laid the pieces down
before I ever read the words
before anything had meaning
then asked me to choose,
…..I take what’s mine
……….and I own it,
and whatever follows
will all be but
the next ocean-deep dawn,
the next uncharted road.

The Wedding Entourage

Soon it will be you and me
instead of us and them

just count the days down
to when we can truly begin
to belong to each other
without them watching.

I know you’re suffocating.
It’s hard to love
when they can’t even give us silence
when they are all talking and we must listen.
They want to make sure we do everything right
they want to tell us how to love
they’d rather we seal this union by the book
instead of flow between the lines.

But I have been delivered to you
by the unstoppable steel machinations of fate
more surely than my parents would like to believe
they are presenting me, pure and clad in white
for your eager and receiving arms at the altar.

They pin tradition onto our clothes
and make a patchwork quilt of conditions
for us to sleep in, alone, as the final test
but a conquest in the flesh is not even the question
when we already occupy each other’s souls
in our private world
we have partaken of a love that cannot be contained
your life and mine are already soldered together
by choices and consequences much bigger
that what the stiff and silent symbols
of ceremonies and contracts can stand for,

but they will not understand that.
We have conquered all
except those who are on our side.
They cannot hear the music,
so our perfect dance makes no sense.
But for what it’s worth, they care about us;
let’s give them that.
And a hush, if it can be mustered
despite our inner protestations
will pass for them as obedience.

It’s a rite of passage and we’ve come so far.
It won’t be much longer now.
Just live it by the day until we say the vows
and their fears subside.

Footprints on the Clouds

He calls me his serenity
and I call him my strength
and we are each
the one thing
the other needs the most
two lesser angels
each with one wing
missing
bound to the earth

both rich with reason,
with rhythm,
we never noticed
what was missing,
we weren’t looking
for completion,
except maybe
a little more peace
for him and
a little less fear
for me

a respite from voices
at night, after
he’s driven his demons
back behind
the wrought-iron fence
of his inner sanctum,
some silence with which
to clean his wounds

a greater courage
to flee the Purgatory
of inertia, with its
mute, stoic ghouls
that rob my decisions
and dog my footsteps
in broad daylight,
a firmer step when
I walk away from the vice
of too-bruised goodbyes

we’d look in the mirror
and we were alone
save for the one wing
that needed meaning

there was no gaping hole
to fill, only flaws
in our character to work on

caught up in our lives,
our lives brought us together
our lives are our message
to each other
and we are now called
by the names
of our better reflections
when,
joined at the soul,
we can finally take to the sky

Anthem

I used to have a promiscuous heart
like Taylor Swift
what you know about me now
is the work of six thousand nights
of inevitable reckless choices,
of dancing with devils
to the tune of promises never spoken
but implied, tucked away
among the beguiling notes
of romance and possibility,
of intoxication that didn’t seem to end
flirtation and addiction to pleasures
and substances I could not see,
that got under my skin
and altered my state of mind,
kept me awake
and my heart beating, beating
unapologetic and sincere,
of days when the world
was molten gold on fire
with brilliance to rival the sun
and diamonds were nothing but legend
and the street was littered
with broken hearts that sang
songs of identity and rising again
and the sky was never just sky

Oh, how I’d love to say
I was molded to perfection,
that my red-painted town of a story
was all minutely crafted by fate
to give me all the secrets
and see me emerge
at the end as a butterfly
with alchemy etched on my wings

but see, everything happened
by accident, and sometimes
a blind swerve at the last minute
is all that saves you from disaster,
and finally I crash landed
into Heaven,
the same guitar-caressed anthems
worn on my sleeve like I was
never meant to learn my lesson,
with my heart, somehow, still intact,
and I came face to face
with love, my only master

Your Hands All Over My Pages

Love, do not be jealous
of the verses I wrote
for the ones who came before you,
they were prologues
of heartaches I turned into art
with the clumsy skill of a heart
under the weight of all
that I thought I couldn’t survive
know that I’ve known how to love ardently
from the beginning
and I did not lose myself
know that I have been sure before
and have had my certainties mocked
yet I would gamble again

love, a lot has happened in the night
fights broke out and many have gone home
and the music and conversation
have devolved into noise
but my shoes are still on
and I have saved you the last dance