She kissed him like a bus ticket with a blank return date, said you go play mad libs with my heart, said you know I’m going to ask you not to leave me. He felt guilty. How much time do I have until? None. Don’t leave me. And then they kissed again, this time like two friends who didn’t know they were lovers. An accident. A car accident of the heart, except less totaled and more of a fender bender that forced them off the road, waiting for AAA together. No, that’s not it. See he was the victim of a hit and run and she found him chainsmoking on his car hood, learning how to speak cloud so he could ask to be struck by lightning. She stopped to help, but she didn’t have a cellphone, so they made love in the backseat with the raindrops beating the windows like a cop’s fists on a door—they didn’t answer.
Their love was a surprise party they threw for themselves and so no one else was invited. But she saw the way he eyed the buses. Saw the way he’d put his pack on for practice and introduce himself as a bird of migration, smiles spelling I don’t have my wings yet, but I’m expecting a package. She had with her fingers traced the shape of every bruise that the hit and run accident had left on his skin and she was a translator of geometry, so she knew what she was reading—an itinerary for healing.
She watched him tow his heart off the road’s soft shoulder and wave his arms in ancient code that translates the earth is round so if I fly far enough I’ll find you again and she shot lightning bolts out of her chest bones—not at him, but at the hit and run hunters that send the good bird’s flying from trees like the tree she was climbing. She climbed down eventually, but not until she was nearly fluent in cloudspeak so she could ask the sky to follow him gently.
Any admirer of the infinite has reason to be
suspicious of purpose on a night strung like
this, former infatuation enthusiast, seasoned
couch kisser this time rolling out of the scene
like some sort of cocooned animal spooked,
watching meteors get drunk and pass out
into the earthcouch with its shoes still on,
leaving streaks of mud and fire. Too many
reasons not to speak and hallucinating
musical triads, I taste the dust on my tongue,
taste your tongue in the dust, the flavor’s still
there but only activates with tearsalt and
nostalgia. It’s like honeysuckle but slightly
more real, a hair bitterer and we’re licking old
love letters instead of flower stems. He who
lectures others to bring spare tires always
gets stuck in the mud, and there was a
metaphor in there somewhere but I haven’t
cleaned it out in weeks and the light’s
burnt out. Guess we’ll have to wait for the
sunrise, and perhaps that’s the moral. 3am
by the kitchen window and I know that I have
lies to keep and 530miles to go before I sleep,
to guess precisely. I can watch this highway
all night and still never ditch my conscience,
like a little sibling mom said you had to bring
to the movies with your friends when you
were going to sneak into that R rated film
with the perfectly choreographed sex scene
and now you have to worry about tattling,
though siblings are diplomats susceptible
to bribery, it just gets expensive. I have
friends that will sleep through half a state
if you let them. I have roads that would
make great friends if you got off their backs
every once in a while, cooked Zatarans over
camp stoves in the gravel pull off, realize
that the middle-of-nowhere is something like
the wailing wall for farm animals. These
cows had one too many fallen pears, if you
catch my fruit. Attempt to isolate a sound
from the drunken chorus. Owl? Grouse?
Must be a bird. No, a ghost. It’s the spirit
of road trips past coming back to ask
for that gas money. You still don’t have it.
It will forgive you because it was a good
friend. You’re in short supply of those,
midnight couch surfer. Asker of Wi-Fi
passwords. Awkward petter of house cats,
outside this 3am kitchen window you can
see lights, but nothing Carl Sagan would
wax poetic about it. Just nightlights
for skittish city limits, galaxies that tripped
and fell out of the skyparty because they
got relatively too drunk but didn’t black out,
as you can see. “Shine on, you crazy
streetlamp,” you hear yourself say in
lahjat al-medina, cigarette hanging listlessly
from middle and fore, elbows mounted
on the patio rail like gargoyles. I suppose
shooting is better suited for stars, but I can’t
see stars from my house, light polluting
my sky like the chemicals conducting
routine stop-and-searches at my synapses.
Strange, the alternative to addiction
seems like a sort of narcissistic joyride.
You need to get better for you. What did
I ever to do deserve that courtesy, staring
down spit stained mirrors like a poker
scene in a bad western, hands black
with ash like breakfast toast, lipstick
smeared from cheek to childhood. Now
all of us cloaked in linen and dancing
like pious snowcaps, hearts soft
like butter left out in summer. Home
is where the heart shuts up and takes
its shoes off. Home is where you live,
so while you’re alive home is wherever.
I feel the revival creeping on
like humid air before rain.
It’s been drought so long
the cottonwoods are pissing
just as yellow as me three
weeks deep in drunken dreams.
But we’re still waking green
and ready to sing, all the bees
in my stomach sting but I’m
still stuffed full of honey,
still licking fingers sticky
sweet with liquor and catching
breath between kisses like fishes
from the dark sea of stoops
without the porch lights to see
the snow tickling our noses.
Holy voices growling over
guitar strings on losing gods
and gaining lovers, hands
locked like grocery dumpsters
but hearts sharp like bolt
cutters, all our breath steaming
over the neon migraines like
morning coffee that smells
like oh god what have I done
but I forgive me yes and tastes
like wearing coats in spring,
be a little bitter but stay warm
like home on the knees. Next
time we’ll kiss ourselves
because we know exactly
how much tongue we need.
We’ll drink some water, piss
clear and think clearer. Save
the yellow for our thoughts
and our coffee-stained teeth.
With palindromes, rats
become stars and we
throw our old tails
into the Truckee.
We write up critiques
on Genesis stories,
our fingers playing
in the front yard dust
like childgods in
hot heaven summers.
Yes, the criticism is
heavy handed, but
our palm songs weigh
I never did give
it my all, but then, wasn’t
that much all of it?
Poetry is like an
at a dive bar, its
metaphors sit alone,
the other patrons
does it hope to
find here? Cheap
drink specials, mostly.
and I was Lot’s wife, except I didn’t look back, I was walking backwards when I was leaving. The violation of the commandment was so severe that I couldn’t just be transformed into a pillar of salt; they turned me into a boy holding an orange pillar full of lithium. “Take daily until the tides in your chest let go,” they said and I’m drowning in the tears I ate from her face. I learned it was all the moon’s fault, and I tried throwing rocks at it,
but I only put more cracks in my glasses. Got the neighbors angry. Pulled all the muscles in my shoulder, pulled all my eyelashes out but forgot all the wishes, pulled all the letters out of the pouch in the basket on the dresser and put them back like nothing happened, but I swear something did. I swear I don’t swear enough and I don’t like fucking in dusty water-heater closets, I don’t like passing my heart out to strangers like a gospel tract,
I don’t like talking about you in 3rd person like she were dead, but I might as well do either, seeing as how I always find myself in bars these days, and you always find yourself behind them.