On Having Turned Thirty Without Killing Myself

I have joked about suicide with the
Tastelessness of an overcooked steak, charred
Like a body burnt in the wreck of a
Car (the logical end result of nights
Spent drinking and a brain that backfires and
Bristles in the presence of speed limits)

Had I died, the real killer would not have
Been the bullet but the decisions that
Put me in the path of the gun, the sheer
Hubris that has often found me waltzing
‘Round a battlefield wearing a target
(I have kissed the lips of cliffs, flirted with
Fire, run cars red, toasted to broken glass)

But if I have let my laugh echo down
The cavernous depths of a barrel, I
Am grateful no monster emerged therewith

There are mountains unconquered, stories to
Tell, women to love. My work is not yet


Endoscopy

One night, my roommate walked in on me,
Knife in hand, cutting away
(I had a sliver of glass in my skin,
And it was easier to cut to the bone
Than to live with the sting)

The other day, I dropped a lead weight
On my foot, and as soon as I convinced myself
It wasn’t broken, I went back to work
(At four in the morning, when the ache
Had grown too great, I drilled through
A toe to relieve the pressure from the bruise)

(Which is all to say,
There is so much I have excised
From my life,
So much I have cut away for making me weak,
So little I hold onto after the first time it hurts me)

(Which is all to say,
For me to keep you so close to my heart,
I must want you more than I want my own blood)


Another Ghost Story

This is how I haunt myself: with creaking floorboards and rustling curtains in a house gone silent; with lights flickering in broken windows against a moonless sky; with laughter and sobbing and anger and joy in a space that has not known the warmth of life in years.

This is how I haunt myself: with superstition and ritual, asking cold entrails in an empty room if a ghost still loves me.


Confessions

I love you as a child, for though I have grown as large as the world, I remain a pup nestled in the crook of your arm.

I love you as the man you saw when you set your hands to clay and baked me in the kiln of your vision.

I love you for the future I could see in your skin, the shadows of your eyes, the shape of your lips, the warmth of your body.

I love you for the memories you hold, the folds and curves of your brain that make facts from the rumors of my existence.

I love you for the way you love another, and so doing, glow with a guiding green light for the lost souls of the Earth.

I love you because I can imagine the kisses I would lay upon your cheek, and though I would never dare, I can see so clearly the home they would find there.

I love you.


Reign XV

It was always two minutes to midnight
In our world, this green valley turned metal.
The promises broke like glass, bright and sharp,
Each point of light another jagged edge.
Leopard print and sequins aren’t Tyrian,
But in your hands, they are greater than gold
(The shame was never in going naked,
Only in blindly insisting you weren’t.)
“No gods, no masters, every man a king.”
We preached our creed with every breath we took,
Every night spent beating back entropy.
The world was ending, but we were dancing.
With pen and ink, blood and bone, I proclaim
The coronation of King No Future.


Reign XIV

The coronation of King No Future
Came on like a bad hangover: sudden
As a star collapsing into sutured existence,
Painful as a cracked skull and a broken
Heart, and just as inevitable. This
Is our life now, homeless and indebted,
Marginalized and indignant. Well, piss
On the world that left us here, abetted
The theft of our later days. Tiny hands
Force crowns of thorns on us all, begin to
Salute. They laugh, those new Charles IIs,
But the only royalty is us. So
We live like exiles looking for a fight.
(It was always two minutes to midnight.)


Reign XIII

For Chris Cornell

With pen and ink, blood and bone, I proclaim:
“We’ve been living like études, short, fast, hard.
(Rock and roll, baby!) Sex, drugs, magic, fame:
We devour them, laugh and push things too far
(but never too too far, until we do,
Until life becomes stacatto and we
Trade microphones for shotgun barrels.) You
Made it past twenty-seven, thirty-three,
And we thought if you didn’t die strung out
On a cross, you’d live forever. But no
One does. We just get that one time around,
And if that doesn’t do it, what will? So.
Here I go, cataloging in sutures
The coronation of King No Future


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