Pillow talk.

This blog is a collection of poetry, musings, and wounds that reopen at 3 a.m. and 3 p.m., sometimes with no discernible forewarning.

Pain is a universal language and the human condition is its most intricate medium.

Whoever you are, you matter, and this existence is a shared thrill and agony; my hand is holding yours with a pen that writes in all our human blood.

The masque of Grief

A tribute to my first inspiration as poet and prose writer, Edgar Allan Poe, (1809 – 1849) whose “mysterious death” was likely cirrhosis of the liver from years of steep alcoholism and opium addiction. Most historians agree that his grief over his late wife’s death was ultimately the nail in the coffin for Poe, as he subsequently started a fast downward spiral. While “The Tell-Tale Heart” was reputedly derived from a bad opium trip, the guilt and shame after the narrator’s delusions of grandeur and self-assuredness echoes the manic depressive episodes in Edgar Allan Poe’s own life and is reminiscent of the bargaining stage that often consumes those who grieve: “I should have been more present, more aware.”

The cracks in the plaster used to help me rewrite stories.
As the wounds whispered curves down the ceiling’s edges
I remember watching couples waltz,
saints love sinners into lovers
though unhealed still—I was never one for faith—
as their paper skin
unraveled to reveal hearts too damaged to resuscitate,
but if I followed the right lines,
I could delight in their happiness—
at least, for a little while.

I then imagined lovers, crying in the corners where rain came in,
their mourning in the toilet ring in the bowing ceiling
that only reminded me
that in life,
there are no saints nor sinners, not truly,
& no devilish seraphs envying human passion.

Like a house with a cracking foundation,
there are limitations
and there is only so much time,
just as there are lungs,
and just as there is blood,
and sometimes they are both at once,

Every dance ends with a final bow—
a single dip of the hips or the weakest wall,
after a choreography of sentiments and storms
sometimes on a cot, feverish, and with blood on our lips
and sometimes with the smell of whiskey
but how naïve—or, maybe just poignant—
for the poet to cry “the heavens were jealous of what we had”
and the coroner to sign “cause of death: unknown,”
and the child in me to still write with the damages of another broken home
in an effort to bandage everything with dreams.

Origins

I.

I grew up on the riverbeds of the River Styx,
where the parched grays of starving soil
felt like soot between my toes;
where my breath, staggered, still existed—
and writings on the cavern walls in ancient blood
quietly reminded me I was only ever wanted for my pulse.

These words created cracks in the cavern cold
and I saw bodies brimmed with heat and life and blood above me.
The few who stopped, their skin was kissed with daylight,
their nailbeds flush with rosy life as they tried to reach for me

but too often,
I didn’t let them.

Co-inhabitants made promises in their stagnant water
& with curled fingers made of ether,
they beckoned me to the river’s edge.
I often took the hands that felt too cold for mine,
even in the sting of tears of the friends who tried to reach me.
What body could ever stand being close to mine? I’d think,
with my body made of fire, and my fellow prisoners demanding
I no longer be so blinding;
but the passersby who stopped to save me
who wished I wasn’t blind
understood before me
that my mouth was not full of victims’ blood—
but my own
and pomegranate seeds.

Addict

A revision, originally written 7 January, 2020, and this poem carries a trigger warning for substances, addiction, abuse, and neglect.

The days we are apart are the longest of my life.
Her lips are dew-dipped when she calls,
and I come to her, legs trembling
and I fumble as I fall again into a kind of trance for her.

I wander with her into a missing child’s bedroom
strewn with strangers’ dirty clothes
where she, so alive,
is wild with a smoke-and-floral fragrance
as the setting sun stirs the dust among the long-forgotten diaries
of hypodermic ghosts.

Letting go

I.

How many poems have I lost?
to sand-laden eyes in mid-nights,
3ams too heavy to endure.
I find a cradle in the darkness,
and my dreams borrow me for a little while—
language lapsing from my thoughts
until I embody my deepest secrets
for a few dark hours.

II.

I was unapologetically a romantic once:
A mind brimmed with love-notes
to strangers in the grocery aisles,
to strangers reading books on benches,
to strangers admiring the sky,
to strangers
in my bed.

I used to fall so hard for little things—
the movement of a hand,
the curvature of lips,
the octave in a song,
the way he smiled or the way she laughed
or the way they got lost
in the moment.

Cold

A revision of the original written 5 January, 2020.

As if I could redeem
a lost eternity from snow,
but like frost flowers,
our love was never made to last.

I am the lager on other poets’ lips
when our poetry was the waxing light that burned inside,
then buried,
us.

I’ve seen beasts become bards
and bards become beasts at my touch
and I shouldn’t blame myself—
It is not my fault they change,
but I have feared it is,
when I seem to be the echo of a passion or a ghost
lovers have tried to make themselves forget inside me;

Primal

NSFW. A reprise to “Pathos,” in which reality is never enough. In this poem, the ecstasy fulfills because all there needs to be is what already is.

I don’t have any answers anymore;
I’m just aching to escape with you.”

Every love-note passing through your lips
feels hot and heavy on the nape of my neck
and every cell you excite
composes another symphony in me.

We burn best when we burn with conscience.

Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.

from House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

But then, what is euphoria?

I’ve never found euphoria in someone else’s lips, but presently, I lie in seas of grass with wildflowers pouring poems from their earthen roots, and I think of us. The sky that’s mine is yours, and no portion of the same ocean is impossible to either one of us. I can’t name you; that’s fine, because as I close my eyes in my bath of sunlight, my lips parted to a cooler air, all I am is whoever anyone ever was, whatever particle of life inside me is a particle that’s lent; and in this way, I still matter, like you do, with my wounds and my scars like yours. I could hold you, kiss you, embrace you, but when we have been too fragmented to connect within our brokenness, this distance offers me the wholeness I could never have felt within the kind of poetry you wrote in me.