The makeshift ashtray

A better word for purgatory

twin suits in a dressing room

beneath a dying tree
orange blossoms land
like a crown of last wishes,
sucking the juice
out of curled sardine cans
your face a plea
of jewels sold
in the morning’s market
from the ancient woman
with papered hands
and the temple’s blessings,

set in her eyes
an infinite album of light
breaking over winter waves,

jumping over last night’s
discarded bottles
poking with sticks
sea creatures on land,
moving heaven’s sighs
for a gambler’s chance
to the top

at the camp of leaning tents
red from the sun’s break
where heaven and hell danced
at long last
locked in a lover’s gaze
over pink sky,
and closed coffee shops

from awnings in rain
and blurry ink a river
in a glacier’s ascent

excalibur

last year we promised,
with hands cupped over eyes
to never cheat
that last slice of pie
or the saltiest crab
at the bottom of the pot,
through sneaky stares between
a blind winter

and determined a trail
made for sun burnt thighs
and winking photos
of an egg given out of care,
only a sibling would understand

a favorite riff on a worn record
at rest finally
among growing plants

that year we promised,
to be outside ourselves only
to know the glance of a first bloom
to find treasure’s embrace
inside, under our warmest blankets.

for lovers

in a crook on the mountain
my infant father,
with silent sorrow
ever the good son,
the woman king
lit an undying flame,
in old stories and new
we knew

that season’s crop
would weather every
frozen pipe blowing steam
like a popsicle
that sticks to your tongue,
deep winter, you say

I love you
like this unending snow,
a trouble I care
to know

a heart in every heart
of deep beating earth
and spirits we see but deny
we proclaim loudly
in a hall of mirrors

from knee to head
covered in new fur
and first sun,

theirs in reach
of the steps of sanctuary.

badenvurtenberg

you smiled at the memory of my arm
around your belly
celebrating a birthday we both
didn’t care about,
a breath lost
there you said,
it happened

on a night serious with cold
and twin moons
speakers full of holes
from darts
I remember feeling faith in falling,
tripped up on halos
of distant ravines,
with clenched fists but open hearts

for cubs that survive the midnight waters
at a window,
tonight I am the mountain
the morning after snow
your face a reflection off brick,
giving a lover’s kiss

loving green monsters

resting on a bed of spring grass,
I saw your birth,

reflected in the sea’s glass
walking alone to the night’s show
a dusting of the morning’s rain,
a spider’s web on my black hair

the rhythmic brushes of raw silk
from fingertip to bone,
an early desire fulfilled,

while resting shoulders on white museum walls
our lights in stone,
our laughter bright rays of loving
yourself,
in, and always awake

so in your death,
chasing daisies with ash, in orange sunlight
a king regains touch.

our four leaf clover

Last summer, in windy rain
and damp sand,
my toes dug deep
in its mist,
carrying a pail of shells,
I jumped waves,

rushing out to grab
a sweater,
and hanging it dry
while dinner warms,
I lived

first in a cage, pretty as stones
before they turn,
and later on a grey porch,
coffee pressed in foggy mornings
and nicotine stained fingers,
where we kissed
our histories goodbye,
love

your hands tangled in my hair,
sweet nothings
and truth,
bending knees
and birth,
peace

for weary spirits
wide enough to ride
and small like a child’s smile

that way, they say.

going for five

in our kitchen
your hand reaching for my hip,
as I dissolve sugar into spice
for the weekend’s meal

drops of disappearing tears,
and I smile,

smile at how your lips twitch
to your heart,
never a false prophecy,

everyday you’d leave a note
still as wading waters
that glowed yellow after winter

in that glimpse,
without you.

withstanding the tide

and she heard herself say
they’re just harder people,
where waters reach only so far
and why their bones sink
to depths perhaps
beyond your understanding
always with a promise,
and away
apart of a child’s first marks
on trees at an evening’s red kiss
not soft like you
where reasons are never enough,
and so the chase an always
companion of desire
too late,
the why of setting desert sands
and the feel of cold fingertips
on a warm cheek,
and we prayed for sky
big enough to touch
on that first afternoon,
a diary of hearts stolen
and never returned,
their peace the foundation
of old stories
of bright dreams

finding rhythm

It rained the first day I met you
under green canvas,
your hands golden
from the cold,
felted wool a sometime lover
draped along your jaw,

when I awoke
on my hands and knees
covered in summer sweat
and saw the fall,

until the turning pinks and reds
break into day,

like a river’s reprieve, endless.

for T

When I thought of how we became
friends,
my hair heavy
with southern winds a welcome
pleasure,

loose strands of falling pearls
slick as an icy windshield
without gloves,
a heart begins,
remembers

the angle of sunlight
best for young trees and new love;
a requiem composed

around the bend of an arm,
and believed

tomorrow we
sleep in the sun.

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