Cedarwood

Semi-precious stones, shattered by
cedarwood branches, soaked in
meadow-kissed rivulets awakened under the dawn horizon.

Framework of tissue, skin, and bone:
the clockwork of gaze.

And you were looking at me.

Post-Cognitive

I wish he didn’t ask.
How’s it going with you and…?
Gleaming Herakles tilts his lynx ears toward Orion.
I hope the glancing-eyed Archer is too absorbed in the sport to see.
My pallor, draining into shrugged shoulders.
Leaving a gaze cement, mechanical.

Since when is this July?–my hands are so cold.
I’ve been praying I could maybe feel that summer breeze, been praying the Earth would stop spinning so fast.

Why does she have to spin so fast?
She just keeps spinning and spinning…

And if there’s anything I’ve learned.
Forward motion doesn’t pull over to the side of the road for anything.
But, sometimes, you can lean against that gravitational pull–
Step one, walk to the kitchen after the game and make a cup of tea.

Which, I was hoping you’d be there, watching me pour the boiling water.
Watching me feel proud of how I don’t want to burn myself while I’m pouring the boiling water.
And see me use the steeping roots you gave me.
The calming Kava and bright Licorice.
Letting the steam curl to my face–

But I am alone.
Step two, walk to the amphitheater, sit down, and breathe.
Breathe in the steam, Breathe like she taught you.

Breathe In one two three four Hold one two three four Breathe Out one two three four Hold one two three four. Breathe In one two three four Hold one two three four Breathe Out one two three four Hold one two three four Breathe In one two Hold one two three Breathe Out one two Hold one two three Breathe

Herakles arrives in his Shadow way.
Not gleaming so much.
He sets the oak roots of his legs at almost right angles.
Sitting behind me like a tower.

How is it, really?
Don’t really know
All right, you don’t have to talk about it

I feel like I’m hitting my head against a wall
I’m sorry to hear that
Sip the scorching tea.
Is that supposed to help

And then I: Flash Flood, Flash Flood like I know how

The glancing eyes the careful steps the shoulders turned away the vapid smiles the waning conversations the fresh smell of Lemongrass the Earth spinning the Sun just not caring the uninterrupted nerve endings the frustrated nerve endings the trying to go hunting the promise to find the creek the tugging towards the Ocean the two years ago in my apartment the therapist’s couch the empty hands the music’s cackling decadence the tossing and turning at night

God I hate this song
He says.

It drips like the condensation on a cold glass of water.
It burns like the fire Leo stokes in the pit below.

The music, the Earth spinning–
Trigger

Herakles looks at me like a river and says,
Come on, let’s get out of here

the lord’s prayer.

our father, who art in heaven
there are only a few numbers i know by heart these days.

remember when we used to talk all the time? now,
is the buzzing in my ears a dial tone or busy signal?

do you prefer to text? now–
thy name? i am,
of course, but i am i am
stricken dumb as a priest, deaf
as a disciple.

yet you gave that donkey a voice to cry out against the bruises inflicted upon her back. no one could hear me when
he wandered in without a sound.

let’s break the ice:
let me introduce you to your daughter, the
Redwood Tree, who
can’t be born without the scorch of forest fires.

if burn scars tell better stories, well
you should see the scars on me, i’ve
got a st. paul-sized thorn in my side, give us this day
our daily coffee and sourdough bread and ibuprofen, i swear
he wandered in without a sound,

and (now) i know i’m not the only one.

dear augustine, is the king sun really so far away?
dear augustine, i’m afraid we’re sitting in the dark.
anyone got a nightlight for this cave?

got a light for a joint of grace? fragrance
holy and pleasing–wait
is it bad to inhale smoke?–just smoke? who cares
i want to feel fine, and i’m pretty sure
this is how fine feels; you know
more like barely feeling at all.

hardly aware of our own existence, how
can we be aware of those around us? we’ve
gleefully pushed ourselves down the drain, tailspin,
dragging all we can touch undertow.

tell me, what’s the difference between the world and the heart,
deceitful above all things,
tell me, he asked, who can know it?

tell me won’t you tell me what is truth tell me tell me tell me why won’t you why why won’t you please tell me tell me WHAT IS TRUTH.

you’ve hidden them in my heart, specifically:
that to kill is to hurl the world into a million pieces. look,
my normal average day, my watching her standing in the kitchen with her collarbones pulled tight and her eyes staring at the ground–
my getting through the day as normal is letting thousands of people die.

yet sometimes i wonder whose hands are bloodstained the most. now i have said something terrible. now do i have your attention?

because awareness comes to me like staring at the sun. topographically,
the distinction between enlightenment and blindness is slight. wondering,
if this this apple-tree knowledge is the lesser evil (because sometimes I have my doubts).

because awareness comes to me like swimming under a tidal wave filled with heaps of seaweed embroidery thread,
all flooding full the wedge of a granite crawl space.

all the while, the earth is rotating at
1,037 miles per hour. ever considered
the miracle that we aren’t all hobbling around with speed-of-light-induced migraines?

so don’t you dare talk to me about the stupid weather, ask me
how i’m managing to keep myself from spinning out of control. because awareness comes to me like GOD IT’S SO HEAVY WHERE CAN I PUT IT DOWN DOWN HERE I’M NOT SURE WE’RE BREATHING MUCH AT ALL.

can petitions for healing raise the five bodies i’ve watched exhale back into dust during the past three years? (i think we both know they were taken away too soon).

can petitions for healing reconstruct the roadmap in his mind, who often considers the ways he would like to exhale himself back into the dust? what the hell
is wrong with the blood in our brains?

and lately, i confess–
i’ve been taking my own turn to go swinging from the ceiling.

an embrace can cover a multitude of sins, but
where are you when i am less than sober, and want to stone myself
for my own transgressions?

am i not allowed to cast stones on even myself?

i’ve been trying to determine the differences between things i want, need, and have been given too much of without letting my eyes get all blurry–i’ll streak the mascara, you know–because i’ve been drawing in meagerly professional eyebrows in the day and smearing teal shadow at night, but everyone knows, you know, that caramel is the best color, not a wasted yellow like piss, or black umber like burnt coffee but caramel caramel caramel and oh i’m going to drink it like kisses, drink it in like kisses, I SWEAR…

i swear i swore myself i would never tell anyone else.

i swear that when he began to kiss my forehead and my cheeks it felt like tears running down my face, pseudonym gentle;
more like a feverish prodding, picking
at my scabs, at the pathetic
rages i kept caged inside of me, hung up
on the walls of my skull, embellished
in smudges of ash and smelling of rain.

and i swear he wandered in and left without a sound.

but i was the one who woke up underwater, falling
under the lethe, i think…i’m starting
…to forget…if…
i’m…breathing…or
if…i’m…drowning.

catch…me?…i’ve been sinking all night
for far too long.

you,
YOU WITH LION’S TEETH IN YOUR EYES,
IF YOU LOVE ME, CATCH ME.

with muddy arms, with holes
frayed in the knees of your jeans.

lead me not into fragmentation, but deliver us
from, specifically, deliver me
from cutting off–even so welded with scar tissue–deliver me
from cutting off my own ears.

i question that you’re the sky; i
think you are the sand, and the dirt,
for that is exactly where i am made every day, and i’ve seen
your muddy arms, and the holes
frayed in the knees of your jeans,

and the way YOU sweat RED over the stained glass you create.

First Sight (Vega’s Narrative)

When I glance     back
      to see      whose footsteps are
nearing–

I see a boy      both
     dark      and
bright.

Striding       in
     a quiet       confidence,

his rich brown wings       enfolded        behind him.

He’s      coming
      closer.

Mercury (the Broad-Winged Hawk)

 

cury curous curious.

everything is made of wood:
benches and buildings and platforms and tables and, all the while,
hemmed in by wood

the sky, even:
blue-grained wood,
knots swirled white

he quicksilvers right through,
wings bark-brown and then ivory

–can’t seem to find any animal tracks in the dirt–

     What’s your name, again?

carved out under the tallest red trees, beam-bleached plume curls,
then eyes crisp like the tip of a feather quill

     Artemis–and yours?

his gaze holds still, fixed within fluid movement,
a reflective luster when the gold licks through the branches

cury curous curious.

     Mercury.

ensuing, his timbre hums to the tune of thinly-veiled self-amusement.