Old friend, in countless hours have I resorted to caressing the finesse of your swan neck,
Pleased in your own beauty,
You smile coquettishly to anyone listening to our love.

Your butterfly kisses taste as the winded laughter of children,
Defying gravity the way prepubescence ignores the passage of time,
Never wanting to go home.

Adventurous in the hands of many,
Gypsy voice with arabesque blood,
Allow your sterile, maternal curves to dance— dark skin from work under the sun of my desires,

The moons of my disdain—
To your sonorous rhythms and heal my stone heart;
Your nickel-plated steel braids to rope it and teach it to be one of flesh.

Clothe my tremulous memories with a sound that knows not of notes, scales, or music;
Only the melodies resounding asphyxiated in a hollow full of want.
Mar your fingerprints on my fingertips,
So that I may never forget our forlorn.

How we cry in a cherubic language spoken by angels behind God’s back,
In the hidden corners of Heaven.
Weep, my love, for the memory of your arboreal body,
Which, still clinging to trampled roots, played music with the wind

Made of wordless songs, strumming your leaves against the lonely dirt road.
The dusty halo that consigns your slow, atonal demise from the world of sound;
Abandoned, naked, sitting quietly on a lap tired of silence,
Burying your broad shoulders in a chest full of inconsolable, consonant misgivings.

Scarred and varnished to a body unlike your own,
One that’s becoming, yet horrendous compared to the virgin mother you once were:
Bearing fruit from your leafy bosom.

Outstretching your countless arms and fingers to the sun,
A light that never forgave your adventuresome transgression,
When you took the shade from her beloved earth,
And left a wound, a stump to seat those persecuted by heat, and a mind burdened with thoughts.

Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Rascality, Heroic

There’s the animal and its flesh.
At times interchangeable, not quite the same.
Anglo-Saxon named the beasts, French their meats:
Cow is beef;
Deer is venison; pig is pork;
Sheep, mutton and chicken, poultry.
What cut of man is husband?

Poussin is a young chicken, fowl good enough
To feed two young lovers, with not much money,
Due to be wed in a few months;
Not fully committed to a fully grown bird, dinner for three.

Poisson is fish, salmon we buy every other week
Whenever we have extra cash or need a breather from the chicken’s–
Butterflied in Ziploc bags– shitty, rotten egg smell:
“Throw it out and order a pizza,” is her solution to these scents from married life.

Pullet is a young hen.
“Pull it, and cut the wing off,” I insist.
Even in my foul mood– as our love grows old and the butter brown–
I still can’t forget when I first loved her in the Tenderloin,
Near the San Francisco Bay,
When the thought of losing her first crossed my mind.

Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

The Figure That Is None

Words are meaningless
As colors on swatchbooks, dead
On a page, so distant from the world
Of the living, of breathing.

Suffocated taxidermy, a taxonomy of structures
Building infinite thoughts with
A finite palette of colors to portrait the entire universe:
Beautiful to admire, impossible to live in.

12-point font characters, in single-spaced stages, cages for captive
Beasts with no wits— surviving in a world of human
Eyes, who browse, search, and peck through seas of seeds that never fully sprout—
Discarded as soon as they’re rendered, moused over their putrid carcasses.

Never trust human speech when spoken,
Only when written, and its creator has become nothing but
Strings of sigils printed in lifeless-black:
Lines, dots, angles, curves, and crosses.

Learning to read to learn to ignore—
When the author is alive, he is a heretic, a liar,
When he’s dead, a prophet and martyr—
A perfect god making an imperfect world

Inhabited by vulgar people
Speaking bastardized languages
Far from the time when speech was like birdsong, grunts and clicks that said more than any
Unearthing from the bone-white pagination: his miscreations, his aberrations, his abortions.

Drink his tarry nectar with your eyes,
Allow it to cocoon in your mind,
Metamorphose in your mouth
And butterfly in your voice:

To speak as you write
And to write as you think;
To think as you act
And to act as you speak.

Words evolve, ink bleeds,
Hearts change, bones turn to dust.
When you take away the letters,
What is left of the word?

Photo by Brodie Vissers from Burst


Inquietação – The restlessness of young love.

Come to me and find rest;
Delight in a sky eclipsed by my smiling face.

Combing hair behind your ear,
I pluck a white flower and plant it in your hair.

You seek the reddest, most beautiful strawberry— as a hart a pool of water— to clothe its fuzzy
Nakedness with the motherese of your lips on the bed of your tongue.

They live in a secret island near my heart,
In a valley where all emotions gather after sorrow’s rain irrigates my landscapes;

Their delicate, seed-spangled flesh gleams a gloss not yet defiled by human gaze,
Embracing it with a guillotine of teeth.

At first, you nibble only the tip of the berry
Leaving me the round stump to enjoy.

The sweet-savory of your breath
Encrusts in the juices soaking my beard’s coffee coarse strands.

Each bite elicits a sensation hot enough to warm two bodies,
But once you taste the blood of my fruit, you bite hard and deep.

You gorge on the strawberries of my misfortune,
Poisoned not with death, but love.

Their perfume intoxicates the bees singing their buzzed motets to the gods
Those who sprout with the compost of parental neglect,

Their sweetness from the bitter memories of the “what would they say?” and the “what did they say?”
In an adult language that I learned to speak when my child eyes stopped being so,

After seeing God’s absence from my short life.
The fruit from my vines was as big as dreams dead,

Heavier than Persian pomegranates in late September.
The silk of your naughty fingers pull strawberries of all the colors living inside the red.

You pollinate my lips fresh with new wine, not yet fermented in your eyes,
The most delicious song your throat has sung echoes in my mouth.

I take the last strawberry and squeeze its muscled form on your nape,
Trickling thin on the petite of your back,

Down into a feline smile that grins its way into your buttocks;
Its battered body of tiny eyes watch mute as our bodies lay in the waste of its green crowns.

Lay your head on me and rest;
My chest is empty, my throat full of heart;

It weeps with the wind bouncing off the trefoil leaves, concealing our faces from the sun,
Warming our satiated stomachs,

Groped by its jealousy that does not settle for just caressing your white breasts full of maternal milk:
Moaning for the children we will never have.

You want more, but I am barren.
You want other fruits, but I am strawberries.

Photo by Brody Vissers

Innocuous Noctuary

Arise early.
A body architectured for toil, engineered for pain,
Worked to death until it’s delivered back to the dirt
From which God’s breath had its humanity cast—

A rose plucked from soil: petaled with a soul,
Prickled with a mind that defies its Creator and creation;
Created last, but first in His image.

Truss the give of the bedsprings
With those tortured instruments of berth—
Striated, cracked mud— given to build a hearth out of the same
Earth you were made from.

Allow its bounce to buoy the dearth of strength in your empty limbs,
Your secret affair with sleep, unrequited and short-lived, was ended by
The elusive mistress that once gave you a whole night, now only a taste of her
warm embrace.

Eyelids hang over your grey eyes and fat over the vanishing svelte waist,
Coveted in times past by Lucifer— the apple of his eye, puppeting your
Desire to spill your essence into a willing vessel; young Krishna seducing the

Wanes on the spine constructed to walk in grace,
Deconstructed by drudging the weight of years;
The handsome chiseled off your face by the hands of the clock.

Beauty surrounded your Ionic frame, graced your cathedral cheek bones and
buttressed shoulders;
The solidity of your muscles gave the illusion that you were
concealing stones under your skin:

Cascades of cliffs and ridges, bluffs of tightly knit muscle and flesh
woven on ribs,
Cobbledstoning a fairway for wayfaring eyes as fingertips
Stroking the tuneful strings of a harp;

A melody belying the stout of your hips,
Their V-shaped canal sprouting of follicled verdure by the shore of your vigor—
Hackles crowning as laurels the sharp of its protruding beak and coddled wattles.

This morning, they’re sandy debris of dislodged rocks and displaced sediments
Eroding into a body you no longer recognize in the mirror—
A guest in a strange house, missing the thoughtless
Comfort and familiarity of a home gone forever—

Neither the wild carnations of the pillow,
Nor the cool breeze of wavy linen can shed the fatigue that burdens them:
Calcified as pebbles ripping through withering parchment, written off by
your blood-ink.

The river that flooded your body with immortality has dammed,
Damning everything that flows from you— canals of blue mapping out of your
Heart, branching outstretched beneath your caramel-bronzed skin—

Recalling infancy’s simplicity
When you took the Edenic curse as an old doggerel
Told by your mother to rock your restless body to sleep.

Bones that wouldn’t break regardless of endless
Falling, now quiver from the cold,
The fear that the next stumble will be your last.

A reminder that the tale of first man became your own,
That time’s running out, that there was never really enough of it.
The springs of the bed roar antiphonally to the screams of your joints
For a Spring that will only equinox in memory.

Photo by Scott Murdoch from Burst

Also Sprach Isa

When my heart danced in childish glee
You took it by the hand and led it to a high mountain
Where you could be alone.

Trapped in my ribcage, famished, using my insides as playthings
The child that never grew up, and never would was enticed
Innocent he wasn’t and knew where you led him:
A path it had been before yet forgotten where it led.

All upon a night when the moon’s bosom lactated white, drinking its
Cold, serene breeze from your cupped hands.
Your pale skin’s constellation of beauty spots coyed as the sky’s nocturnal tenderness clarified into morning void.

Curiosity fluttered restlessly as butterflies drinking nectar from bouquets of flowers,
Tame and wild, sweet and pungent,
Sauntering by the path the berceuse rhyming on your hips,
And the kisses your soles left cicatrized in the tender dew-kissed wild grass.
Your silk tresses caressed by the warm wind’s long, bristly fingers
Sung along with us the madrigals of newborn spring.

You hid a blade in your smile, its cold sharp in the blush of your cheek—
A peninsula glistening unyielding sterling—
Licking your lips, aiming for mine, you redirected their tranquilizing toward my forehead,
Unsheathing the knife with the sweetest honey
Of surprise, mightier than the pen and the sword, the word that proceeded out of your mouth—
Creator of all, the beginning of us, the end of me.

The tip pricked my skin puckered: I held it as you pulled away,
You didn’t seem to care anymore, whether I lived only for you, or died to love,
It was a sin that consumed without fill, where desire and the body were one and the same.

I sat on a broad stone and you fed me a host lit with promises and lies,
Scorching down my throat as you lay me down on its smooth, cold, eternal death;
Baited breath, braided grip, we butt the handle ‘til it dripped— teaching me to accept its full girth
Every time I stole a glimpse of your guarded stare.

You slid it slowly in between my ribs with the sweetness of your laughter,
My blood fell on the ground as great drops of sweat beading
Dripping off your forehead,
Tears of happiness reservoired in the corners of your eyes,
Tissue destroying tears, invisible scars, invincible stars,
Of joy and pleasure, carving me a solstice out of my own flesh where the sun could bathe our naked bodies to sleep.

Only, you didn’t feed its vigor into my traitorous, infantile organ, but
Wrenched it out, bubbling purple, gurgle black
Mocking the stone’s wrinkles, trickling of the sacrificial altar,
Clotting clay with powdered red earth, blood,
Sweat caracolled into beautiful irises of wounding burgundy.

I reached for the elusive blade— an amputee’s itch for lost arms, reminiscing the touch of his own face,
Regretting never touching yours—
Beginning to miss the pain of your absence.

You pranced on the path you had tramped for one,
One unlike me, flowers blooming shivers on my sunburnt back, and honey out of every pore,
Consumed by strange birds and rodents, emanating from olive trees
Disfigured, as bruised hands breaking free from the earth,
Pebbling the ground with olives rainbowed by sunlight.

I beg, prostrate, palming my way off the rock to kiss your feet
Even as I withered away in the slender shadow of your violence;
The destruction of kissing your lips— feeling always as sweet as the
Pain of when they first enlaced and ripped apart,
Nothing compared to my blood’s rapturous departure, peeling itself out of my veins and from my bones
Running off and draining itself from me as a fountain into a sea of red.

Kill the child within, my heart— Abraham fulfilling the will that a cruel god plunged deep into his soul,
To hurt that which he loved most—
The one who still enjoys the violence of falling prey to love,
Who prays it so in the delight of his eyes.

It must die so that what remains can bloom to be a man:
Kill it before it dies on its own.
Before it kills me.


Photo Credit

Photo by Shopify from Burst

Animal Mother

You love and give, and want it all,
Expecting nothing in return.
Your kind’s love is full of the angels’

As ours lacks of kindness.
Though you’re flawed in more ways than you’ll ever know, your place is at
The right hand of the Son of Man for suffering at the hands of sons of bitches.

You took on a name that wasn’t yours and made it mine to call you by,
Misunderstanding your nature, we created a language of blasphemy in your name
Treating you as if you too were human, but in every worst way.

Man’s greatest creation, at times, treated the basest beast of all:
Not eaten, but beaten; trifled, not treasured.
If your tail could tell a tale of its own, would our ears be keen to its entailing?

You are there and not there, around when I need you most—
More than you’ve needed me— slumbering sweet on my rug,
Next to my feet, and under my heart.

In the silence of your innocent stare you always know what to say,
Knowing me best by the tip of your fount nose than your densely foliaged irises.
You live your life, basking in its shortness, not caring

About its insignificance, but clinging to its fullness.
The pain you caused the mother who birthed you into this world
Impregnates deep within my heart as you exit its grey-clouded skies.

Your endless affection, learned by wild rote than by noble rite,
Extinguishable flame— one that burned bright during my mind’s
Darkest affliction, whose flecks of fur warmed places spurned by human concern—

The heat that snaps off the fire must, as your life-kindle,
Love its warm heart to ashes.
Embered memories, simmer still in kindred minds meant to hunt

Together, forever our flesh craved the empty heat of the moon
Branding silhouettes on the silent grass blades:
Cutting, unmoved by the breeze of our speed, steeling before their trampling,

Bent, broken, ripped from the root as the heart whose grip
Your weathered paws never trained me how
To release from its leash.


Image Credit

Dog Paws [Photograph]. Dan Gold. Accessed on 03/09/2018