I PACK MY HEART IN ICE
To keep it well-preserved
Like when one loses a finger or a limb
And time raced, can be sewn back in.
But it beats fast — a primitive hymn
Unwinds clocks till they no longer chime
Time keeps as still as the kind
Of ice that keeps the organ
Ready to transplant back into a body.
The heart flutters a blue kill
Arctic estuaries, glacial thaw,
The body a globe too warmed by
rays and vapor. For in ashes
Does a heart lay beating
Frothing fire from its rhythmic draw
Liquifying the ice that keeps it neat
Like Chernobyl she keeps seeping
Years after the initial blow.
Isn’t it something?—How ash
Resembles snow. Fire’s aperitif
A dove-grey confetti floats
Gently like the flakes that preserve
Our greatest assets. Our seeds and organs
Subject to the catastrophe
Of melt. Just like our hearts
Before they leave our chests
An obstacle is supposed to be something in the way. An object. Implying duality. That’s you. That’s me. That’s you, again. Soaking up the reeds at high velocity. Around your head a caustic crown. Thorns cut off in favor of blades. Your head was always so heavy, no wonder your heart had to work twice as hard. But it’s no use fighting for a clap in a cup, as quiet as the lightning that struck it down. There’s no use for blades or a tear torn from the glade of an eye bent on resolving sound. For its waves have revolved around and around till both our heads bled to the beat of the pulse that silently lead to the furrowing of our ancient crown and blessed us with dread.
To take this tear is to transplant the entire sea of us into the indentation of a fingerprint — forever altering it. Next time it’s dipped in ink, a drop will appear there, blurring who was born and who became. Defining only its center whilst splattering the edge.
ODE TO THIN SKIN
In my hands you bouquet — singed. Each stem
Unrooted. Each bit of crumbed soil proof of unearthing
I don’t know if my hands are mine anymore. Or just another vessel for holding those prone to expiration. I hold you up to the light
Examine translucence for veins
A sign the heart ticks
The wiring askew, an open heart circuitry
Where my hands are, a crevasse starts to form
Dripping into doves eclipsed
Dripping foliage and stillborn leaves.
The vase is very clear. It is the ice slipping.
The petals candied we can’t catch
In our mouths
awakening — the way Winter does to Spring.
When I call, you crawl out of my mouth
in full bloom
As armor segways into flesh
Big bullets beat the brain
The breath a heated muffle
Metallic and plain
The biggest battle is the one within. Though
Started somewhere on the outside
Like a wheel collecting snow
A carriage carrying forth between drops
As melt and hardness combine packing in tight simultaneously, seeping
Has the heart atrophied? Or its rim?—where the vessel’s hammered in. Our blacksmith makes origami fray. With each breath a sizzled raspberry sinks in. A whole body medieval. Still pumping and needing to be pumped. The organ most futile is the skin.
When I walk with you It is the bones I wear inside-out. So that you can’t make me limber enough to enfold you. So that I can’t become your shell even though I want to. So that were you the ocean that made me crust I’d know how to skim its floor for scraps and contain their dew draping osmosis gently (paused) over the flood
You see, what has metabolically been burnt by fate Is what makes this fountain overrun blushing bones on the way Coral — where a hand carved what was supposed to be a pump But instead, just gave way
You can almost see the pale groove
Upright in bruises
Wading through salt
Fanciful feet clasping pearls
Brow of delphinium
I am all sea, no fury
All brine no froth
Sometimes I can’t decide if it’s the 90-pound decibels of pressure that stopped my heart
Or the electric eel, my pacemaker
up through the full stop
Only to realize it’s fueled by toxic shock
Just long enough for an echo to return
from a gullet
Come boomerang back as a gill
Make this phantom limb to feel
Where nothing’s in the way
I’m just six decibels between a laugh and a tear
A rubber rock and a big black bouquet
Listening high-pitched like a dog
Translucent immune to decay
It’s utterly untrue, by the way
My skin sheds down in one fell swoop
Dusting a sovereign name
With loose spools unwound
A reunion for a game
Lids overcome with light
blinking negative space
I am a myth wrapped in embers
Ovid swings in my hips
a rabid starling unfurls
wind in born-again form
Whose countenance can maintain
its blasphemous plain
its finality of pores
breathing like micro-anemones
suckling each sway of nervous tor
Here is a bounty arming scope
to devour beyond the hunt
to delight in carbon forced out green
when it’d already lived
fate of star’s black whip
Soon a martyr calls to clip
its wings beg air to drip its name
Until the denizens of another place
another continent have
safeguarded their alms
Somewhere today ash rains and
someone breathes and someone burns
See the portrait of us on the wall,
the one with no canvas, just a frame.
Our fingerprints made of chalk
Playing a dusty game
Your lips were sour. My whisper guttural.
I know this will all begin again when
we’re done for good. I know it’s only a matter of
time before obsidian
can be called aged lava. Before canticles of what
you failed to know
and what I failed to hit you over the head with
have fallen from grace. There is no grace
in spewed ash. Only in distance.
As though when far enough away, a mushroom cloud
signals not doom, but merely a nebulous shape
out of which rain will be harvested
and drop acidic lakes. If time was never
a factor, perhaps the ant’s view of its army
would overrule its embered fate. Perhaps we’d
wipe out a planet and be the only survivors left
to procreate. But here we are with time
as a factor…
when on earth is it not?
As though every
flower’s assembly depends
upon the earth’s crust
Vines like a blind wisteria
ushered cups tilt synchronous molecular
antibody to the fall
Nostrils are tendrils assembled backwards. Draped louvre of anti-smoke and battered oak
you bride of no one nor widow a fingernail
has breached the black spring harbored
black soil and sprouted. No — armed
the sky with perfume. The lever that locks an arm
into bullets wilts into skinned arcs;
some semblances are equipped mechanics others
flounder when found.
Stones are dropped
muscles, breath a trick the lungs
learned one day they had to quit the gill and
just fucking gulp.
Air too thick to pump.
You see these nails? Those are extensions of private Mars.
Rocky and cleft to trudge but split-prone
at regular slight irregular edges. I’ve used
every one I had left down to the nub. Every knuckle
really just a receding claw. Hair? Every joint has a
purpose. Hair? Whose purpose eludes into a million strands
of literally dead comfort. The parts that shed and die the quickest cling on the longest
serving us, still.
The eye’s brine
Collects in paraffin
Waxing dark into dusk
A reminder that would a tear fall
And be caught, not harden through gravity’s lure to shatter but instead,
to roll, bluntly soft
Be collected and congeal
The dark salt would merely be the brine
That lit the sky from the back burner.
For all eyes to ponder
As its supine fall embalms
Emblazons witnesses of dusk
Unearths the minds of men—
That were a single expression expressed
through a pliant drop, a thousand more
could be said through the sea,
the foment of an oar with teeth,
the wonder of a well
Atrophied by the heart
What if this world’s just a side effect
of a pill that won’t slide down
a willow past its weeping
or the palate cleft left hanging
a screw left loose
like a beggar kneeling
or a knife jutting not in but out
Liveliness sheds a second skin
until the body snakes its way through
The same way a snake swallows
large, live prey whole
at the persistence of a pliable stomach
The same way the tiniest pill can seem
to go down yet,
itches like a motherfucker
and wretches back out from whence it came—
the wrong way, who’s to say?
One threshold above the heart lies a valve,
porous and heeding
It hums a blanched hymn.
Pulverized rockets leak through the stem
Cortisol is raised. Indefinitely.
What does that do to a body whose gate lay open and unguarded as the wind pipes through it, a song?
White noise is another name for dark hymn.
All it takes for definition is a vibrant glow from within
Then, what of the pipe jutting out of the heart
when the muscle caves after
too many jumpstarts?
Can we blow hard into it — inflate
the whole organ with another element?
then quickly bind
as to not let it deflate again?
All the nerves have been buttoned up in Sunday’s Finest.
See how the white hymns fire
To dusky pleats
Fiber optics fray to petals
Then: sensation. Emptiness reams like paper
Too thin to pulp, to beat back to tree
All the nerves dance in white coats
Myelinated sheaves powering
The upper sleeves
All this is to say the heart gloats
In its sterile lab coat while nerves
Dream of sheep, also dressed in coats
White as fleece, fuzzy
As white noise
drowning out holy bells
It is quiet now. No earth rumbles ripping
Heaven out of the ground
We are two tectonic plates ribbed
With a gaping hole between
The wind funnels through it
Like a dragon riding a wave
Apart from that, it is still. Placid. Violent inside.
Every time I look across you appear
A little inch further. As though land were the
Antidote to space. Heart’s anti-venom
Licks the wound between.
We are not done yet. Every time the ground shakes, a new chance is made. It’s just a matter of time. Like how our bodies move making waves of their own
To form a body anew.
This is the way continents form and drift apart.
Except I don’t know what are we—Land or sea? Or the rift itself
Etching a scar like a new vein
Pulsing life away from the heart
flooding the black abyss between us
with colored dark