I keep my eyes open when I look at you.
Your lips read: espresso for here, please
& my fingertips tap against the plastic screen
& I slide it to you with
my eyes open.
You criss-cross your skin, diagramming the name
you’ve owned for years, & before
you leave for the corner table, you
reach deep into your pockets.
I’ve met you before–
on busy days, on the minute
and I wonder:
I wrote myself some love poems
today, outlined in sun near the
ocean’s smile. The waves beat down
upon charcoal rocks and up
frothed a great many minerals. I
absorbed them all, flesh-first, like
the fern drinks in the rain. I loved
myself with pen and with sun; when
thirsty, I drank; when hungry, I
ate; when sleepy, I slept—and felt
no reason to do otherwise.
and write long. As long as the strokes of your
eye lashes pulse the fingers to keys, then
both of us remain alive. Be patient.
Your dreams have no anchors; let them float light.
Let the throat grow easy and jaw relax.
Open and close the hinges of your mouth
and feel the knobs of your shoulders merge with
the elbows. There is time for us yet.
Step two :
she said—small as possible
you ain’t gonna reach the earth
if you insist on being so big.
Curl your toes; just like that
til you sink neatly in on your center–
double, triple, crisp and clean-cut
like a paper brochure
tuck yourself under and let the head
Step one :
I throw up my hands
and jump out the bus window—
What you doing?!
as my face slams against the hot asphalt.
A car screeches beside
my left foot. Sticky exhaust
blossoms into my mouth
from the butt of the bus
and the squirrel
by the trash can
At the top of the outcrop
I sat with my knee-bones tight to my chest—
the river undulated
in shades of blues and yellows
refracted light on stones of marble
the guttural current cut the cliff
to slices–jagged & twisted and
Consider the man in the aloha shirt
talking to the Banyan tree.
The diet Pepsi clutched in his hands
holds him against the chipped picnic table
and the spotty pigeons scatter
when he flicks his toes.
She was a warm-weather writer
the sunlight singing into her salted shoulders
she tipped her head back and felt the flesh rise,
tiny hairs stretching for a soft sky.
The pen she held loosely between fingertips
knowing it wasn’t for show she was here.
If you scowl,
they’ll know. They’ll see
into that cave smile
and know—if you frown,
it’s clear to them, that
your mind is a burrito and you
are the tortilla, wrapped so endlessly
it’d take the sharpest knife to
separate that mound. If you let
a tear squeeze through
they’ll see and gasp and wonder
what must have happened
to you to make you like this.
If you tell him what you’re feeling—
abandonment, low self-esteem,
Don’t ask me to do
that. Don’t ask me
I’m in deep, deep
& have no flyers
to hand out today.
Praise be the autonomous
who sit, crumped upright
in a land of red Mountains.
The ones who eat, food dripping
from loose corners, at a table
who lay, facedown on beds
of Earth shards, listening hard
for the rare sound
You wore their hearts on your wrists and ankles
belly to belly hugging,
chalky and holistic. They extended themselves to you
palms sunwards, asking you
to see them, to see them, to see
Your own heart,
you tucked carefully out of peripherals,
finding happiness in the folds of
not having to share everything.