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.

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There are only a few numbers I know by heart, these days

And I used to talk to you all the time.

Now I can’t tell if I’m hearing dial tones or just a busy signal.
Maybe you’re wondering the same thing. 

Do you prefer to text?
I’m better at writing my voice, anyways. Yet —

Stricken dumb as a priest, deaf as a disciple.
How I long to be a talking donkey.

Our Father, I am speechless.
Deliver us from Evil?

Deliver me from cutting off my own ears.

Diagnosed with Kierkegaard

Awareness comes to me like watching the moon fluctuate phases.
I am old enough to draw in my eyebrows daily, I am young enough to  skateboard sidewalks between meagerly professional responsibilities.
I trust this is not fragmentation.
Thank you for your commitment to the art of stained glass.

Awareness comes to me like the knowledge of the twisted friendship bracelet thread tangled up in the box under my coffee table desk.
Try to determine the things you want, need, and have been given too much of.
My eyes are blurry.

Awareness comes to me like the rotations of the earth.
Shouldn’t I be spinning out of control by now?
Shouldn’t the speed of light give me a headache?

Awareness comes to me like staring at the Sun.
Topographically, the distinction between enlightenment and blindness is slight.
Sometimes I have my doubts.
What happens if I try to turn the lights out?

Winter constellations arriving, a reading of Thomas Kempis

Today, I am inside of myself.

Can you still see me
Crimped up like the soreness in my spine that
Keeps me from the painless sleep I need,
Can you see how I
Caught the winter’s-eve
Constellation Orion rising at my window out of the
Corner of my eye, how he
Conjures up November like the memories
Casting me from sleep?
Closed eyes finally dream dreams of dancing
Characteristically specific, the
Kind where I have someone to smile at
Kindly yet
Kind of haunting in a way
Considering such recurring factors as a familiar
Countenance not familiar for nearly twelve weeks and I
Can’t forget
Kempis was telling me about true love,
Keen and daunting as
Chiron and God I
Crave that self-
Control again. But

Today,
Concrete kisses have scraped my elbows and my ankle is sprained.

Get-to-know-you questions after finally breaking the ice (a prayer)

Where are you when I am less than
sober
and want to stone myself for my own transgressions.

But, guilty as charged: I’m not perfect. Am I
not
allowed to cast stones on even myself?

And sometimes I wonder whose hands are
bloodstained
the most. Now I have said something terrible.

But you are not normal. Lion’s
teeth
in your eyes. I think that’s why I love you.

And I am a fool. I can hardly tell the difference between
breathing
and drowning. Will you catch me either way?

I question that you’re the sky; I think you are the
sand
and dirt. Besides, that is where I am made every day.