For the Ocean I Never Crossed

The last time I saw you,
we were happy.

The rest of our story
was coursed through
a great distance.
The fights.
The tears.
The goodbyes.
The futile trying again.
And again.
The goodbyes.
Through pings and pixels.
Ones and zeros.

All my memories
of the times we touched
had been untouched
by the bad parts.

And so I hold on to a small page
that had been full
of color and music
and layers of splendid,
as if it were enough
to stand up to the rest
of the saga of destruction,
of undoing,
spanning many volumes,
wasting many years.

Closure is a contortion of a flame,
once having kindled a devotion
to a premise, bending
the farthest ends of its reaches
inward, beyond pain
and the natural flow of feeling,
to touch the closest thing ever held,
past the burning, past
the tantalizing brightness obscuring
the collapse of that premise,

and teach it to move.

Outside of the blue soul.
Towards the smooth,
healing mercy of night.

The Intoxicating Aesthetic

When I do indulge in pangs of regret,
it’s not for my heart
or for yours
anymore
but for a well-written story
that wouldn’t have the ending
I thought it deserved.
It’s no longer you that I’ve lost
but the verses that will never be written
about a love that once inspired
so much devotion to expression,
so much power in the hands of one muse.

For we loved more with our words
than with our bodies,

how we crossed over from nights to mornings
with lyrical movements
across the virgin white of the screen
spilling imagery that carried our mingled scents
and ran its fingers along the creases
of the yet to be imagined

how we chose as our meeting places
private symbolisms on the other side of the page:
the poised kiss, the autumn leaf, the caps lock

how we made of commonplace romance
complex allegories of freedom
layered in self-discovery
and nakedly rolling in ink and sawdust,
ego and beautiful lies and raw emotion
that sometimes stung,
sometimes burned exquisite scars on our skin

how we redefined our inner storms
with the thrill of tainted revelations
that were more rhyme than reason

how the darkness wept haikus while we slept
on fatal shards of bitter fights
and fragments of immortal sonnets awakened
to the shivering of broken pride
and found pieces of their lost soul
in the restless space between
our opposite stillness
anticipating the surrender of the first touch

how stanzas of light flowed
from the hiding of hurts
the unraveling of lies
the seeping into stagnancy
of a future once jealously harbored
like fugitive bliss
becoming taboo
crawling under the many goodbyes
we seemed to never tire of saying
and taking back.

I’ve come so far but every time I look back
the road is still paved with sentences
you and I would never say again.

I believed in us so much,
not because we might be right for each other
but for the possibility
that the poetry of our wrongness
might somehow architect a transcendence
and more—a redemption.

I forgot that some of those words were only mine,

not yours.

The Gentler Ending

There is a future
where we danced

where you and I
partially drunk on life
would be a roomful of people apart
instead of a thousand miles
and music, the kind you promised,
would casually descend
like happenstance
and we would recognize
the hand of fate

and it would be
the end of the world all over again
and our eyes would lock
and it would be enough

because there is no version of this
where our futures are not
already signed away
and no matter what
the romantics say
no warmth is worth forever
and my flesh doesn’t need
to know yours
nor yours mine

but I’ve held you with my mind
a million times
and that would be the future
where your mind would hold me back
across a distance that is
infinitely better than
a thousand miles
and nobody would know but us
that we have found a loophole
in a lifetime of anguished dreaming

and after all these years
deciphered the sweetness
of a chance never given
and temptation
speaking my name
in the same breath as yours

Boldly Drawn Shadows Blurring Past

Piercing the heart of the Windy City
at sixty-five miles per hour
aiming for midnight
with every arrow in my quiver
and all the windows down

something about this nocturnal wind
rushes at me with memories I never had
like a touch that never made it to skin
only imagined
but desperately missed

here, blowing through my hair
an unremembered dream
awakening at light’s tapered end
there, stinging my eyes with smoke
a heart that asked to be broken
if as a price for a pleasure
I never tried to understand

here, a handful of years
like a flood-prone interstate
and a network of roads
where accidents are commonplace

there, all the times I heard
the phrase “too young, too young”
they usually said it twice
like a votive incantation
a short code for primitive spirits
one for awe
and another for judgement

and then this one breeze
brushing against the bared shoulder
of the road close to home
tasted like the mess
of a forgotten bed
in a convoluted night
tormented by the impossible forbidden
that marked me for life

I am no longer marked
this is another life
I’m living
titanium and luminous and
consorting with raging winds

Louder Than Words

I meant that you never met me halfway.
I meant that you stayed in one place
and watched me. And waited.
And did things on the side behind my back
because well, I suppose, you just had to.
I meant that you were never willing to
do what it took to make it work.
I meant that you left, slowly, cruelly,
because you wanted to believe in me
but didn’t, and would rather I prove myself
with the clock ticking.
I meant that you never starved yourself
or spent the night in the street
so you could afford one touch or one kiss.
I meant that you never slept with a stranger
for a lottery ticket
because you were running out of time
and your body was all you had left to sell.
(They drew the winning numbers
the next morning and the ticket didn’t win.)
I meant that you walked down the aisle
and said your vows and blamed me
for your misery, for being too late
and then I had to hold my peace.
I meant that you never made it easy
for me to hold my peace.
I meant that you always came first.
Your safety. Your security. Your money.
She and I were merely incidental.
I meant that you were never satisfied,
not with her nor with me, and you
would hurt everyone around you, for you.
I meant that you would let a better man
do the work for you and claim it as yours.
I meant that I thought
blackmailing me with my past
in exchange for cheating with you
for my future, was beneath you,
but it wasn’t.

You said you loved me and kept saying it
and I had to tell you to stop
because I heard you back then
and I hear you right now
but everything you did
and didn’t do in between,
says otherwise.
That’s what I meant.

The Color of the Ocean after a Storm

You are the miracle that
…..brought me back
…..when I thought
…..I would always be broken
you are dream
you are the spark of life
…..where everything around me
…..was dead or dying
…..or praying to die
you came out of the sky
you came out of your story
…..and, pulling it to shore,
…..tethered it firmly to mine

first brave star at eventide

I hasten to you…

From Dream to Reality and Back

When I was far away from you
I was far away from myself
spaces between us
were themselves the hungry gaps
in my rhyme and reason
until our universes joined at the ends

and now I travel only inside you and
the endlessness of your love’s unfolding,
when you lose sight of me
you only have to turn the eye of faith
and I am closer than you think,
train rides and bus rides
and cruises and flights
the grand ceremonies crafted by destiny
to bind your life to mine
and all the languages and cultures
are our blessed saga’s many seasons,
jet lag only the bright daisies and
mimosa wine on our bedside

there’s a place in love’s time
where we are always together
and we are always loving,
and dreaming, and planning
for all the distances we will go
to touch the sun and evolve with the sea
where we can find all the love we’ve ever made
blending from one night to the next
like the colors on a wheel,
where I-miss-yous and the kisses that
punctuate the occasional dissonance
are the divine lanterns in our night sky
stretching across the breadth of time

where we exchange our insatiable wanderlust
for a home and a freedom in bliss,
where seismic shifts in angel time
are as inconsequential as soft rain
and can fit within the pattern
of green and gravity that leaves wear
repeating to eternity, only to begin again.