When we part, let us brush lips, bump chins,
shake hands—let there be balm.
If we separate, let balm be one last deliberate waltz.
Let balmy moon carve us,
stormy brine—balm on tongue.
When we tear, I will kiss your palms,
crush you to me as you quake, depart limp—shadow balm.
I will name a star after you.
If I go first, will you follow my balmy wake?
In the end, I believe our hands will gnarl with balm.
I will still have fresh tilled soil beneath my nails,
yours will sport blotches and streaks of ink—your own balmy elixir.
Love, I am within your marrow. I am your humble balm and confidant.
I want the searing balm of your lipstick on every part of my body--
even undertakers need balmy entertainment.
You are soldered to my breath. You circulate my blood.
We cannot undo this bond—it is tangy sustenance, sweetest loss.
Let my fingers stroke the divine.
Gentle hush held to breast.
Teach me death songs, wafting
olibanum, myrrh’s spicy musk.
Let the trees whisper their language,
the one only the stars know.
I want to capture secrets,
shades and shadows,
nebulas and spirits,
oceans and deserts—how they twain.
Want scent capturing aliveness in atoms.
Trap quivering finger and fiery blood.
I want to fly in swarms of fireflies,
blink codes to the cosmos.
I blink ‘I am still here.’
He knows I’m here.
He captures me dusky, with amethyst prisms.
He blinks and I’m released into flame and flesh.
Galaxies and ancestors are in our veins.
Death lullabies murmur in pounding ears.
I stroke the divine. Hold him to my breast.
Constellations croon as the trees exhale.
Until the Until
I’ve been gifted second, third, fourth chances.
Plan to get it right this time.
Need to get it right this time.
Before language falls
Syllables, acapella poetry jams--
musing poison ivy instead of wild strawberry,
no daydreams that float like bubbles,
only those that can withstand the forge.
Let me read—not just the best,
transcendent hieroglyphics, literary archetypes,
but the worst—all the trashy, sleazy magnificence
glorifying underbelly of my deep.
Let me share my scribbles,
Judge me later.
I don’t have time for it now.
Let me fantasize trochees before I can’t.
Time is liminal—so is literacy.
What does grammar have to do with lying in grass
poet’s timber in ear?
Or the rain falling on the dead snake only I give homage to?
Oh, let the words hold
There is so much to write, say, beg, parry.
No amount of supplication will save me
from the until, until.
Toyota Corolla Wanderlust
I dream in that car.
Far more than galaxies
and Sweet n’ Sour Sauce.
I want candied planets,
saccharine daydreams beyond clumping napkins,
dirty spork, those damn paper straws.
I explore dirt, mountain paths,
plunge toes in icy water.
Living—broken branch swaying in tree.
Will I see it fall?
My parking space is etched in Coca-Cola desire--
too many scrawled notes and poems to count.
Sepia dawn, rusty sunset, hurricane night—I am there
still beneath that broken branch.
It is I that careens in the wind.
I am the clump of dandelions,
murder of crows pecking on windshield.
I am rooted in ancientness, spiraling past the Milky Way.
Oh, my car is more than dwindling fuel.
It is exploration. It is salvation.
you built it--
those shrinking Milky Way mushrooms
bloated frozen milk jug,
they’re yours. Own them.
Bright teal shimmer,
glowing yellow ribbons,
last year’s May banners placed with hope
—you built it all—that protection
—still guilty promises—weep.
You fattened squirrels—they watch
as carefully as the crows.
Are they cousins of the albatross?
Will they mend you?
You built this.
You offered cut lilacs—barely blooming--
hope buds unfurl
on gravestone tender
What would she think?
You built this. Weep.
Some days stars will end as black holes--
is that how I will end?
Sucking, gulping, devouring earthquakes,
unkempt relics, lost stratigraphy?
Will my explosion tan cheeks
dazzle brightened eyes?
On black hole cannot sing craters down
her yawning mouth, tortuous delicacies,
grace, brush of fingertips in hair, buttercups to chin.
Energy transmutes energy.
I do not want to be black hole—I want to starlight,
beg for last dawn before
destroying the universe one dust mote at a time.
You peer at me with spyglass,
use sextant to map course,
my stars, my freckles,
How do you see me?
Will I drown you or lead you beneath the waters?
I warble soft lullaby.
Embrace that lasts the stars’ rise and their setting.
Follow me. I am your Polaris.
I will navigate you through gales.
Find you safe passage through waves.