(terrible) love poems


Down there it’s not winter, not ever really

Grass grows tall instead of snowbanks

and there I am walking with you

on a sidewalk made of

stones that have witnessed

decades more of heartbreak than I’ve tasted

and they still stand, polished by water and baptized

by piss but yet

unbroken

There we are walking

holding hands like lovers do, and me barely

able to keep the grin tied down on my

sunwarmed face, keep my feet attached

to the ground because you

you filled me up and then let me go

a careless child watching

her balloon drifting away, she didn’t

know how to hold it

And there I am walking

alone but still knowing

the feel of these stones by heart, by sure footstep

.

Here I am in winter

no sunlight to warm me, nor you

Wanna float away from all this

my helium-stretched heart expanding in my ribcage

Wanna remember

but there’s too much space

between my fingertips stretched and

the top shelf I put those memories on

so they wouldn’t break

so they’d stay safe until

I needed them, took them down to touch

the rock I picked up at that beach

where we kissed

.

Now it’s winter and

I can’t reach the sun, won’t return my calls

but I found a broken lamp on

the sidewalk, fixed it up

found a fence to climb up and watch

the parades from

Now we are walking, she and I

holding hands like balloon strings on a windy day

in this winter city

and you’re not there, not really

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Is this happiness too brief

to hold, fleeting as

the warmth of her breath on my skin?

Or will it last, an imprint of

leaves in the concrete

sidewalk, each vein distinct

each moment remembered before

escaping to join the rest

of the fallen leaves fluttering the sun’s

warm whisper?

I regret

not kissing you at the train station

that night when I came to walk

you home after work.  Got there

just as you rounded the corner, with that

momentary vertigo

the sight of your beauty still provides.

It was like a movie but then

when I should’ve moved, dipped you slow-mo

in a kiss to make Bogart jealous

my feet missed their cue, frozen to the

sticky pavement.

In my ears

still echoed lonely footsteps

down the long alley towards home, and

along the bottom of my mind ran

the constant ticker tape of news blurbs:

beatings on the North Side, gay bashings across the country

I am not usually so susceptible to the

germs of fear passed through mother’s milk

and media, I am not so thin-skinned

that a kiss

would bruise me.  But that one night

I let blood fill my feet like lead, met you

instead with a smile

you could see through.

forecast calls for mittens

riding my bike under glowering skies

two states away they’re predicting five inches

of snow and it’s not even

November yet

she complains about cold and

I say I’m sorry for laughing, but then

that’s just the effect she tends to

have on me

warm me up with a single look

a line in a text message–this is modernity, after all,

romance in the age of global warming

and distance surmounted by frozen trails from jets

satellites circulating

to snap pictures of clouds

smoky cities

and her

with me on a park bench–zoom in

close enough to see

the grin I’m wearing from teeth to feverish fingertips

pulse beating at the base of her neck

this close

wind can’t find its way between us

even as winter hurries to arrive

sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

except when she’s holding it

easy between her fingers

or dangling from her lips–

watching her,

I’d like to Freudian slip

and slide

down the length of her,

ease my fingers inside

while I am fulfilled by her

this isn’t just a single hit,

it’s an addiction I can’t quit and I want

to drink my fill of her:

inhale

the smell of her neck, her warm skin whiskey-slick

exhale

the words I can only whisper

because she is more

than just a summer lover and

I wish I could spin-suckle-smoke

her flavor

every time we’re together;

fuck Freud, this is better

than any substance

or disorder I’ve ever

tried, so maybe it’s time

for giving up on

living it up on the straight edge

she’s got me hooked

line and sinker

got me wrapped around her finger

got me falling for

a cigar-smoking bartender

and the best part of it is

I don’t even give a shit,

I just want to be her drug of choice

I just wanna sit close and listen

to her voice.

for you
I’d burn/
/mixed CD after carefully-mixed CD
/hundreds of cell-phone minutes
/hopeful voodoo votive candles
/late-night oil talking about everything, and nothing at all
I’d burn forever for you

because you unlike any other
you make/
/breath stutter as I read handwritten letters
/me smile as I see a streetcar
/innuendos that set me blushing so much I lose my words
/French roll off my tongue (pun intended)
/loving seem easy
/my hands feel empty without you

make me burn, you
together we’ll hold the night until the day’s gone,
wrap up the sun inside our skin
to keep us warm later

You’d think it would be
easier, after rattling around this long
with words between my teeth.  But I
haven’t really written love poems before, because
I never thought I’d be qualified
to write convincing ones. All the science
and philosophy in the world and still
the links between my body and emotions remain cloudy:
anger is seldom more
than a slow biting burn behind my eyelids while
sadness means a slower step, and it took
an embarrassingly long time to figure out
what lust felt like.  So forgive me now
if I can’t tell you
all about rapid heartbeats or lovelorn sighs, since
the only things that make my hands shake
are hurricanes and too much coffee, and rationality
still has its cold grip on me.  As much
as I admire your passion, flashing bright
like a bird and trembling strong, I’m only
learning how to let myself go.  My whole
life I’ve loved heights, but the prospect of
falling tends to keep my feet
fearfully on solid ground. But if you ask me, I will leap
and soar with you, against the pull of reason’s
gravity; I will struggle
to untie my tongue and describe the pulse
and flow of every molecule within me, shimmering
golden at the thought
of you.  Let me try
to write the kind of poems I’ve never
attempted, for the one who could unlock these doors
between love and corporality.  Smile now
because you deserve more glimmering words
than I can give you
a thousand pages after I begin.