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Lord Lazarus

With apologies to Sylvia Plath

I don’t know when I came alive again

Like the first two times
It was sudden, frightening
Bloodshot eyes blinking against pitiless light

I wish I could say I saw God
I wish I could say I came alive
Baptized by Brother Bartholin
Sanctified by Saint Skene
But I was born again as a rusting machine

No blank slate baby
But a beast with a function preordained
Meaning baked into the mechanism
Symbols in the skin

I am no phoenix bursting forth into flame
But a corpse clawing its way out of a grave
(If there is a fire here
It is only because someone somewhere lit a candle for me)
(If there is a fire here
It is only the smoldering core of a world I consumed
An ember in my belly, a spark in a tomb)

But even the dead can walk, and so I do
I rise with grunts and groans, aches and moans
I rise with sweat and steam, snarls and hisses
I rise in an anxious chorus and refrain
(The notes come pouring from me like blood)
(I am leaking song)

This third life may be new, but memories endure
Even if nothing else does
And even the dead can want
(Born of black magic, I want ritual)
(Born of symbolism, I want gesture)
(There is faith in the ritual)
(There is love in the gesture)

In proximity
In lip meeting lip
In hands entwined
In fingers tracing patterns on skin
In pulled hair and sighs
In blood
In bites

I love you, like God
I do
It was my last thought before I died

But I have been buried so long
And now I’ve come alive

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Reign XI

Every night spent beating back entropy
Was a night we spent in glorious vain,
Conducting our bodies passionately,
Musica humanis, rhythm, refrain.
We movers got older, became less prime,
But the movements became more glorious,
Layered and nuanced, polished, refined with time
(We trained like artists, drilled like warriors)
(Film finds the best way to do a thing once;
Theater strives for perfection each night,
And so did we, animals on the hunt,
Tongues tasting the air, ready for a fight.
Night became day and time kept advancing
(The world was ending, but we were dancing)


Overture, Pt. 1

No matter how long I stare at it, the ceiling doesn’t change. This must be what it’s like to be a corpse.

* * *

There are too many people in this apartment and no one knows anyone else, but that’s the way it goes when the club empties out and someone announces to no one in particular,

Hey, I’ve got synthemesc back at my place.

Not even sure whose place it is, if it’s anyone’s, if the proper tennant is out of town or asleep in another room or cut to pieces in a bag in the fridge. Probably not the fridge thing. That’s where they kept the wine, and you’ve seen the wine. You’ve seen the synthemesc too, but you opt for the wine because it’s one thing to be in a strange environment, surrounded by unknown quantities, intoxicated to the edge of reason, but if you popped the pills and your eyes rolled back and you started seeing funny little green ghouls, too? Well, shit, that’s just reckless.

And besides, that’s not why you came here anyway.

You came here because she came here. You came here because you’d been dancing together. One in the morning on a Tuesday night, not exactly a sensible hour to be out. Folks got work in the morning. Kids got school. People got girlfriends and boyfriends, husbands and wives they ought to get home to.

But not you. And not her.

She takes a pull of wine and stands up and announces she has to go to the bathroom. No one pays her any mind, occupied by other things or other realities, but you hear her and you watch her and she’s watching you. Her statement was both an admission and an invitation. She’s making eye contact when she turns. You give her a few minutes to take care of whatever she’s got to take care of, and then you go exploring. The bathroom door is unlocked. The bathroom door is ajar. The light is off.

She’s sitting on the counter, a cigarette in her hand, her eyes staring out the open window. Outside, the city murmurs, tossing and turning in its sleep. You close the distance, put your hand over hers, your fingers on the cigarette.

May I?

I’ve got more.

But I want this one.

The cigarette carries her lipstick with it. Iris. You can’t tell if you taste it or if you smell it, but it’s there. It’s her. She’s there. Ten minutes later, the bathroom door securely locked, her lipstick smeared, your hands on your belt, she tells you,

I’m married.

The words don’t even make sense to you. They don’t resolve into anything meaningful in your brain. She might as well have told you that purple is the cubic root of eleventy-spleen.

You’re what?

I’m married.

What to do with this information. How to process it. You have no answers. Your hands fall limp at your side, your belt still buckled. You have no answers, but you have questions.

Are you happy?

Yes. No. I don’t know.

Where is he? Or she? Or whatever?

He. Business trip. Out of the state.

What are you doing here?

I don’t know!

There are tears in her eyes. You’ve been in the bathroom far too long. Even if no one’s curious about where you went or suspicious about your absence, sooner or later, someone’s going to need to use the facilities. And if she starts moaning, if she starts sobbing, there’s going to be suspicion.

So what are you going to do?

I don’t know. What do you want to do?

It’s a Hell of a question, you think. But then, you know there’s a difference between desire and reality.

I don’t know either. How are you getting home?

I don’t know. I went to the Salarian with friends, but they went home. I could call a cab. Or call them.

Too far to walk?

I live in San Solano.

You laugh. Oh, yeah. Way too fucking far for her to walk.

Well. I’m going to leave.

What? Why?

Why? Why would I stay?


Mermaid

Seiren, the last thing of substance I said to you was “Hello”

It’s all been downhill ever since,

Every other word to escape my lips

A piece of fruit that has rotted on the vine

But was plucked and delivered anyway

 

Were I not dumb, I would sing to you

The notes conveying what my words cannot

 

(Your skin is pale and soft

I want to kiss it

I imagine you wet)


A Life of Mending

In the beginning, we knew each other whole.

That intimacy was the most natural state

Of being, but a flaw in the fabric of

Things pulled us apart, created that

First break, set us in motion.

 

But we are born to fight entropy. We are

Heavenly bodies finding each other in

The dark, acting on each other in

Ways we’ll never understand.

 

We can fix this. We can laugh in the

Face of decay. A strong force

Attracts us. Gravity will

Pull us back together.

 

You will see, I promise you. You

Will see that the very act of

Living is to be mending,

 

That it is in the nature of

Our bodies to come

together, that

 

What has been broken will

Be made whole, and that

 

My universe will never be empty so long as you are in it.


Addict

I want to inject you

Inhale your scent

Take you in through the skin

Drink you like milk and honey


On Again, Off Again

Still and breathless

Desensitized to pleasure

Nothing to hide

You will not want me any other way

 

You’ll miss him

You’ll get used to pain

Protect yourself

Fill the void

 

Who cares what’s behind?

Here I lay in love with your mystery

I can help you

Take me

 

This may hurt to feel these lips

Still I want more

I need more

I just need it

 

Who cares who sees anything?

Let the whole world look in

Lucky witnesses keep me on the edge

Just like always

 

We belong together for the last time

I won’t stop until you ask me

You’ll hate me all night long

Never looked so good


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