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

Vacant, Celestial

It’s almost two-dimensional,
that winter sky before a snowfall.
Sheet of stifled light hangs
over our heads, paper tacked
onto a gray ceiling, a lonely page
asking for a poem.
It forfeits all other possibilities
in favor of one; it mourns
in its sleep, the cold more
an insinuation than memory.
Those icy hands have previously
brutalized me;
doesn’t mean we are intimate.
The wind that carries its alto
stabs requiems into my flesh,
purple dirges on my skin
for whom touch had never
been enough despite the lies,
always claiming otherwise
to the lover, to the hunger,
and the wait,

that wait for the sky’s descent
as divined by meteorologists,
modern oracles with instruments
almost down to the half minute,
like a drumbeat of frozen seconds,
a funeral of mornings,
denouements, erasures

Nimbus Theater

The sky ruptured
in a deafening instant
boom of non-negotiable darkness
like an abrupt gesture of cruelty

a stutter?
a master stroke of honesty?

an explosion of dust
on a startled blackbird
jerked to flight,
and the noise that startled it

so long and so prolonged,
the nursing of this storm,
the humid heat like a knotted fist
holding life itself
hostage

the way it refused to breathe
or let breathe, or release

and nobody saw
how close the sky was,
only felt it
bearing down on the horizon
thin line between surrender
and soul

an ending that would
trigger so many pent up things
with the full weight of knowing,
because otherwise, believing
has no room to wiggle in
that airless space,
that unyielding grip

and it all went tumbling out,
limbs flailing in the chaos
dirty laundry, all
and sense of time
turned upside down

Abstract Sky in #8f3d4b

The shell of light unfastens
from the wavering end
of the day’s chaos,
the colors of dusk
burning on the rooftops,
pontificating
on things not said
and things broken by repetition,
bruised from the lynching
of opinions,
smothered by digital noise

clothed in red, the sky
and everything under it
painted in defiance for the way
we are expected to end,
to fold into nightfall
restless and covered
in judgement and debris
of the fast emptying vessel
of light

Why Poets Need To Travel

At 36,000 feet with will
and purpose cruising along
a preordained path
brushing against strangers
and buckled-and-strapped
into flights of fancy toeing
the line between time zones
knowing that familiar faith
is on board but wondering
where, exactly, I reach up
over my head for what’s mine,
for the reminders of when
I handpicked my own life
and the book falls open
on a page where an unfinished
poem sat abandoned, with
a note beside it that shouted,
“It’s going nowhere because
you don’t mean it,” perhaps
a suggestion by fate or muse
that airborne creatures owe
truth no favors except to try
to aim at the direction where
the noisiest, most turbulence-
savvy metaphors are going.

* * *

Here, gravity and light are but
disposable symbols, moments
are not chronological and
the people back home don’t
miss any of us yet.
The sleep-deprived senses are
all window seats to the breath-
takingly beautiful impossible.
Anything goes. We are free
to store physics and feelings
in ziploc bags, reject
personal limitations that
exceed three fluid ounces,
and finally get around to
reverse-engineering the sky.

PS. Now Look at the Stars

You will see ten thousand sunsets
different renditions of the same song
and on some random day
you will witness one whose dance
of colors will feel like the entire
landscape of your soul has been
cartographed and retold across the sky.
And even then, the masterpiece
will still fade and night will still fall.
But you will understand a little better
that it was never about the parts
that remain unchanged.

Azure and Softly Spoken

You are the touch of purple
to my blue symphony,
the drops of moonlight
dissolved in my sunset sky.
You are portents of the future
gilded in familiar warmth
and the rewriting of the impossible.
You are my reminder for believing,
for finding what’s lost
and for reaching inside of me
for things that bloom
and blaze trails that wind
around the stars.