I am not ready for heroin

This piece was a sort of revelation for me on a couple of levels. Firstly, it has an actual title, a title that I quite like. Secondly, it really just came out without any effort. I know that  writers hate it when people say things like that, but I sort of casually wrote it while watching a movie about Kerouac.

No, I do not think I am ready for heroin yet
I do not think I am ready to read Swann’s Way
To own a television or a couch
To travel across America in a broken-down sedan
To take a week-long train ride from coast to coast

I do not think I have suffered enough
To sing the blues
To return to those things I carelessly discarded
Those people I broke like guitar strings
I do not think I have played enough minor chords

I do not think I am ready to open the music box
To hear that tinkling of angelic notes, prophesying nothing
I do not think I am ready to pretend
Or to fuck somewhere we might get caught

I do not think I am ready to rhyme
To read poetry in front of a crowd
Wave my words like a loaded sestina
To finalize the divorce
I do not have room for a coffee maker

I do not think I am ready to lose control
To drink until higher functions all shut down
Until I can no longer hold a pen
Until I am a penumbra of infirmity

I do not think I am ready to leave Oregon
To breast the mountains like a board on the waves
To throw away those old CD singles
To give up on my dreams of the stage

I do not think I am ready
To appreciate abstract art
To kiss you and not mean it
To scream as long and loud as the highway
To pick up the good times like litter when the bad times are falling ashes

I cannot cry at nothing any more
I cannot watch you grow up
I cannot stop wishing I was a girl
I am not willing to buy a new toothbrush

And I do not think I will write you a love song
I am not ready to throw a plate in anger
Or carry a loaded gun
To kick those old, white habits

I do not think I am ready
To abandon hope of you
To use the word ‘broken’
To throw out those t-shirts that no longer fit
To finish

Editing poetry: Polarities

This piece is really intended to be more about the death of a relationship than anything sexual…

He says that
he doesn’t want to hurt you
sounds different
when he’s not on top
in that dizzying crush
stifling tightness
you begin to die
so quickly
is it better
when you recline, eat grapes
expire one cell at a time
this is more
dregs of shared tea leaves
all else divided
in scored knife
eyeliner line
weighted us down
with sandbags and circuits
we rose too quickly
in the airless space
it seems that
emotions too
have some terminal velocity

Editing poetry: Time moves

Perhaps the further away a memory gets, the more it softens around the edges. Or perhaps things really were better back then. The title of this piece comes from a line in the Martha Wainwright song ‘Don’t Forget’. ‘Miracles and Idolatry’ is the title of a book by Voltaire.

we were
two halves
sliced clean on serrated edge
segments torn apart
sour in our own ways
the light down the hallways
a ghost of a threat
tangled in your hair
cushioned your feet
in plume of powdered rosin
ballet shoes
on institutional floors
we conducted
a symphony of glances
spoke in the movement of air
all rush and dizzying pressure
such silent gesture
ignorance, miracles and idolatry
there was a time
when I would wrap
such words
in cherry leaves
soft flesh
lay in perspective rails
narrow the distance between us
when every word I wrote
was a step towards you
now you are
far off tumble of hot galaxy
dissipated over distance
I see you in
the scrolling pictures
timestamped and flat
a disconnect tone in pixels
that final gift
blooms in water
uncurls a chaotic flower
radiant
a supernova
imparts ferric slant
is gone
like a rolling wisp

via Editing poetry: Time moves.