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.

Suite 2010 at the Marriott

You taste of a world going down in flames,
of a force that doesn’t apologize
and of an inevitable end
hot defiance on your tongue
stabbing urgency on your pulse
transferring to mine

taste of sunsets and swan songs
in the dark, Puerto Rican mess of your hair
getting messier through my fingers

come undone with me

taste of all the old lovers who
had previously drowned in you
in a line of salt along your neck
like a body shot of broken hearts

your breath on my skin feels like
the scarlet of summer being
stretched longer,
farther than it was meant for,
tense and threatening to come apart
passions fraying
but determined to stay true

finish the job, ignite the moment
with the last of these embers
like it’s a matter of
apocalyptic importance

loving you sings like a sin
as it learns the cadence of the blood
and starts to rebel against the sheets
assuming all at once the positions
of the soulful noise and the sacred pause,
the clash of two stubborn, historied
instruments in a crescendo,
the final surrender
tangle of limbs
tangle of reasons
and a universe torn in half
with the pieces evanescing into
our flawed, enlightened flesh
somewhere between
your sweat on my shoulders
and my scratch marks on your back

Mizuage (水揚げ)

April
an invitation

embezzling spells
of innocence,
verges of awakening,
Gordian loopholes
from the love language of
hands quietly smoothing over
the crumpled brows of dawn
anguished over what sparse
things it is able to carry
to full term
and leaving the rest
to the condoning shadows.

Believe, somewhere,
in the dulcet hum
of airtight bud lie lyrics
to a lascivious song,
strains of scintillating sins
stroking it into bloom.

It is sometimes not enough
to flower, but to flower for
the first time. Watch her face
for the movement of moments
as if every flush and quiver
charts a map of places
in the order they are touched.
It is sometimes not enough
to sit next to the perfume
of the truth as it unravels,
but to crush the petals in
your own hands and be stained
by it. Call the hunger
what it is: a nuanced torture,
invocation of our mortality,
dark rhapsodies of ache
to remind us we are
evolved from savages.
She would wear all the labels
like a crown. The posture
of her espoused darkness
is the love language of
virgin honesty catching fire.

Becoming resplendent.
Becoming the hunger.
Skin on skin.
Divinity on desire.

And the force and eloquence
of her consent slowly
undresses the world.

Seasonal Ambrosia

The soul of summer, like young love,
doesn’t know how to keep its distance.
It hovers over the page
with its words all kinds of splendid
and its wings tipped in fire
daring the ink to go
in places before unknown
and the heart to have faith
in whatever is on the other side
of the writing-covered wall.
Passion ensnares us
within twists of the overgrown ivy
that has claimed that brick wall,
turning boundaries into invitations
with nature’s calligraphy
rendered in rosewater and light.
We become wrapped and enraptured
with visions resembling the touch
of satin on bare skin,
our temperatures rising
in response to the salacious coaxing
of the naked blue-white sky.
Like a metaphysical duet
of energies and the flesh,
we match its romantic professions
verse for verse,
harmonies for melodies,
trading our defenses for bossa nova
and al fresco kissing,
the ardent awareness of being alive
surrounding us like a heady cocktail
of butterflies and barefoot dancing,
like nights synonymous
to symptoms of fever
translating aches into longings.
This hypnosis, this surrender
feels like a previously
withheld privilege,
our inner strings vibrating
with that sentient magic,
all rhyme and no reason,
neither knowing nor caring
where our feasting senses end
and the yearned-for breeze begins.

“Woman is by nature a shaman.” — Chukchee Proverb

I have known a life
of dreaming,
about places to get lost in
and cultures to find,
of people with names
to roll around my tongue
and foreign persuasions
to messy with my fingers,
gods that create and destroy
and new ways to pray
and empty my heart
to higher winds

I have known a life
of temptation,
one defined by moments
when some secrets
kissed off where
my lips had touched
the rim of
cursed wineglasses,
by walks of shame
along the bared skin
of dawn’s soiled light

I have known loving
in halves,
a needfulness shared by
two broken people trying
to cling to each other
like faint embers
blown off from a dying flame,
and I have known cold nights
and even colder mornings

and there are shorter lives too,
of picket signs and blood,
of thirst and theorems,
of forged checks and
foiled revolutions,
of service and children who
hold nothing back
when they embrace

and I’ve lived them all

they all fade into
one another like
watery ink on paper
I am fractured and flowing
I exist everywhere and nowhere

but I have seen purer things too,
things such as
redemption and thankfulness
being rescued and waking up new
and sometimes, stillness
as perfect as the ocean’s soul
and if only by them,
I am held together

The Dilation of Time as in Dreams

We didn’t escape
but only
put a thin layer of silence
between us and the world

what we needed wasn’t really
a pretty view to
stare off into
together, while we
remained alone inside,
but a little privacy
to practice sincerity
to breathe in each
other’s presence

so we came here,
where the mild sea breeze
could loosen the hair of
my many womanly troubles
whose words were too shy
to rise out of thoughts

on this remote island of time
all ours,
in an archipelago of
obligations and
expectations
my meek dreams took shape
slowly, and
in a setting devoid
of judgement, my fears
found a sighing release
among the cicadas
of daybreak

we took turns taking
the time to listen
and sent all our doubts
home with their luggage
as the sun set behind us
and the boats dropped
their heavy anchors
on the shore,

and through the open balcony
while we slept, the horizon
embraced us and the stars
consecrated our union

you led me by the hand
to shelter where
love was a language
everybody understood:

love is
a cacophony of voices
both bolstered and burdened
by the things we want
to give
and be
for each other,
but allowed to run free
as in an honest
conversation, they
find their way back,
carrying us, to
the beautiful future
that sent them

Peaches

He likes the smell of peaches
on me

it was the acute attention to detail
only devotion could give a man
that let him catch it
the first time around
when I tried that handmade soap
and he’d come to miss it ever since,
if I ever went without it

makes him feel like
he’s kissing summertime
when he pulls me close to him
and that fruity scent emerges
through the sieve of threads
in the fabric of my dress

he likes picking up
that sweet, subtle flavor
off my bronze flesh,
sun-caressed, I feel it
in his breathless pause
right after brushing off
the hair from my bared shoulder
as if the petals of
love’s season in half-bloom
live in the lining of my skin

under the gravity of his warm hands
I am the ripe fruit he has harvested
from the fertile branches that
wrote choruses for
Solomon’s sacred song

he helps peel off my inhibitions
coaxing my giving nectar
by the impassioned abandon
with which he explores the tree,
seeking a more full-bodied taste
after teasing his senses
with that bouquet
intoxicating his heart
with that red-orange flame

he’d get cravings so bad
he’d bruise it with the urgency
on the tips of his fingers
and let the juices run down
his face and neck without caring

and when I am as naked as
the deep sky and wet earth that
had united to bring me to life,
I am his sangria to be consumed,
translated through the poetry
of patience and time

and all his memories of loving me
are somehow infused
with the fragrance of peaches

Scribbled with a Maybelline Lip Liner on a Thomas Lee Pillowcase

Sometimes at dawn
I’d pass sated minutes
with sleepy eyes resting on
a night so recently
drunk from the cup
and marvel at the way
he loves me
the way his every kiss
is a slightly different paraphrase
of the same potent incantation
that invokes the four
corner elements of my soul
how totally he holds me
night after night as if
he were my many-armed Shiva,
powerful and confident
worshiping my sensual surrender

and I know that force,
that passion that
does not hesitate, because
it knows it is pure and
has nothing left to prove

neither he nor I
am young or innocent
he knows
what he can get away with
and he could well guess,
and guess right at first try,
what transgressions of men
I have come to just
grit my teeth and accept as
a part of a society that
has aged inevitably and
outgrown fleshly monogamy,
what sins he could
expect me to forgive,

but he wears his loyalty to me
like a dignity, even
as he stands naked
behind closed doors of
temptation and impunity
like the tattoo of my name
branded on his skin
he is mine and
my trust is his biggest
source of pride
more than his size and his skills
at keeping his woman satisfied

and every night like a worthy warrior
he comes home to my sweet welcome
and claims the prize he knows
he deserves,
a prize that is his, without question
and with my permission
takes as much as he needs.

The identity of his love is
in the details of his loving,
the promises unbroken that
his desires are called after,
my faithful man,
my ardent lover.

The Closeness Of You

Your nose on the back
of my neck
your fingers on my wrist
light as feathers
your palm on my knee
warmth
through denim jeans
as we sit face to face
and nothing else exists
your eyes nestling
into mine
searching my face
for that light you never
fail to find
as if beholding a miracle

watching me sleep
with your heart
armed and ready
to defend my peace
and you hold me
like you know me

the love in your touch
leaves echoes on my skin
like sweet voices
soft as a breeze
writing messages in code
playful toes
marking the sandy beach
your genetic whorls
loops and arches
burying time capsules
in my muscle memory
for me to find
when I’m alone
when no one is looking
so that I can smile
the private smile
only you understand
and remember,
“he touched me here…”

and right here
with us so close
the air between us
gets cut and bleeds blue
and the sunlight flashes
for an instant through
the aperture before
we close the distance
and its golden fire
is swallowed in the
rich black truth
between our tongues