undetectable poison

Flowers and coal dust at Pithauria coal mine, Jharkhand, India. From the series The Coal Cycle Wallahs, 2009planted seeds in my psyche
that seeped deep through
everything once clear
and bright. a rose in a coal mine,
I shriveled in sincere denial,
and rationalized my inability
to feel the sun. i fell in love anyway.
with your turbulence, i threw dreams away
like dirty white flags, and laid awake
listening to the fucked up rhythm
of my heart. i fell in love anyway.
with the warped butterfly
that flapped its wings and left me
in a pile of dirt to be washed
away, anonymously
in the ocean:

my heart now misses its life raft.

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In This Recycled House

you lied for
their crutches
which became your crutches
which became you
with a missing face
and blank white slats
and fingers with no prints
and circles of dark brail
that crashed like dominoes
and never broke
but really should have
touched something
more besides holes
of broken knots
holes of words
that drowned
and scraped
like sand

you weren’t the first
brisance
of gunpowder
you weren’t

like the mongols
or the ancient
world
suddenly violent

but you also weren’t
stopping
the phantom of
me swaying
from a sudden depth
of time
of the why

i see pictures
before and
after
and those pictures look like
ugly lilies
and mapped laughs and
how i saw you there
and how i see me
here
we were here
but i swear

we were never there
never
even
almost
quite there.

Victory’s Aftershave

We’re all running from the same cockroach
searching for that fake moment:
the apex of tossing waves, a tide
shelling more than its own sand,
magnetic plastic, water unboiling
and reboiling, a picket fence
with personality, gasoline torched
sunrises, smoke signals
arriving on time, anticlimactic
cancer, a ring that fits insecurity,
the eye of a tornado, victory’s aftershave,
the engines of storm clouds, anger in mosaic form,
two hearts stilled in amber,
a sword made of good-will, wet money held
in old age’s palm,

I’ve heard it all before,
the novelist wandering the world,
knapsack of mercury on back,
wielding an opus only second
to the champion of night crawlers,

a faltering crescendo. A gaze saturated
with too-much-whiskey and dug-up-sunflowers,
plea dealing with silence, nowhere specific
not to anyone at all,

what if this is it?