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Basslines

I took some of you with me, you know?
Like Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young,
That obscure Led Zeppelin album
With “the object” on the front.
A tribute tattoo for your late father:
A handsome man that let himself go.
I carried around his funeral program
Folded up in my back pocket for over a year.
It reminded me of the couch we burned,
The Berber carpets that we ripped up twice,
Carried out to the woods with tears streaming,
Doused it all with gasoline and stepped back.
The gold-embossed crucifix on the front
Slick under my fingers like the sweat on your palms.
I squeezed you until my knuckles blanched
Looking to you with my broken eyes,
Wondering if you could feel my hands in yours
Screaming with existential agony.
I never knew that my reaper would come soon, too,
In September, wearing black jeans and a suit jacket.

We took all the strings off first,
Used the heat gun to pry away the silver frets,
Sanded the board smooth and filled the imperfections.
Stayed outside for hours breathing sawdust,
High on the scent of wood fillers and acrylic paint,
Painting lime green custom detailing
Up the neck, and down the curves of the body.
The girls at your shows just couldn’t resist,
“I’ve never seen a white man play a fretless like that.”
Maybe I should’ve been a little more worried
If you hadn’t shot all my nerves already.
I thought us living together made us safe,
Unknowing that you invited the intruders inside
With warm tea and vinyl records to charm them.
The more they entered the more I was pushed out,
My own home, an entertainment venue,
The wood in my fireplace heating everyone but me.
I took with me your ability to say “NO”
To anything and everything that I did not want.
You remain my biggest denial to date.

___________________________________________

You showed up on my doorstep to surprise me
With a bouquet made of pity and colored daisies.
You took me out, let me talk your ears off,
Even paid my way into the bowling alley.
I was impressed, and it really didn’t take much.
I was quite literally pushed into your lap,
But it wasn’t the first time you’d thought of it.
Before long, it was like you had always been there
It was absolutely terrifying, given the circumstance.
I wasn’t ready, I said it over and over,
But neither of us wanted to listen.
We got tangled in each other too quickly.
I made you feel sick to your stomach,
You sped to me to demand an explanation.
I didn’t have a very good one,
So you slammed my door in my face.
Took “I’m not ready” as “I don’t care.”
I wish I could’ve spoken softer,
Said something more eloquent,
Because I never intended to hurt you.

I drove over an hour, past 11’o’clock for consolation.
When you didn’t answer, I had a meltdown.
I thought you had done something drastic,
But it was just me projecting onto you.
I should have ran in and kissed you hard,
But instead I was blind and furious.
I threw grandma’s loaf of bread on the table,
Flung open the screen door and bolted.
I had never seen such grand passion
As you ran after my speeding car, barefoot,
And clutched my window, panting,
Begging me not to leave so late at night.
I apologize until the end of time
For being so accustomed to apathy
That I couldn’t be grateful for your love.
A terrible night would have been more well-spent
Looking at pictures of birds,
Calming ourselves down,
Kissing each others’ faces,
Making love until morning.

How did I love you so long without knowing
That you would take all that pain
And let it immobilize you?

How did I love you so long without believing
That someone could take all my pain
And love it anyway?

It retrospect,
I guess I’m just a sucker for a funky bass line.

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Overanalysis

I will turn the ellipses
At the ends of cryptic sentences
Into my own apocalyptic lollipops…

I will suck on them
Until my tongue is raw,
Lips chapped and wet,

Devour words and punctuation
Until I reach their centers:
Empty.

No Tootsie Roll.
No bubblegum.

Armageddon,
All for nothing.

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Hypomania

I want to pick up a skyscraper
Put it in my pocket
Carry it around
All day long, and
Cement it in another city.

I want to breathe in a billion-acre meadow,
Fill my lungs with
Blades of grass, and
10-foot sunflowers, and
Exhale a thunderstorm.

I want to touch the skin
Of all my lovers, all at once,
Light my fingertips like candles,
Drip my unrequited love
Over the beads of our sweat.

I want to scream at the sky,
Throw fistfuls of rocks at “God”,
Thank gravity for keeping me stuck
Weeping on an imploding planet,
Show gratitude for time ending.

I want to swim oceans in my bathtub,
Shower in the waterfalls
Of my hyperactivity, and
Electrify myself
With a toaster.

I want my words to be more than ink,
I want their weight to be heavier
Than my head,
Than a black hole.

I want them to unhinge
Like the jaw of a snake engulfs
A white mouse of surrender.

I want someone to understand the sickening lurch
As the roller-coaster moves 90 degrees upward, and

My stomach leaps from my throat.

 

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Woodwork

The first time I ever dropped acid,
I saw my DNA intertwine
With the roses of the wallpaper
While sitting on the commode.

I lost myself in the pinstripes
Of dining room walls
Running infinitely, upward,
In binary code.

I died in the wooden paneling.
Reborn in the dark circles of white oak,
Opened and closed and opened again,
Like mouths swallowing themselves whole.

8-bit deaths on the Nintendo-64
Induced a nauseating anxiety, and
I melted like a warm chocolate bar
Onto the faux-suede furniture,
Reduced to dilated pupils and contemplation.

The 30-foot pines across the street
Were the synapses of my brain,
Lapping at the emerald pond water,
Strobing against the blank, aubergine sky.
My neurons, neon signs in the abyss.

We begged him not to open the door,
Panicked and told him it was a bad idea.
It was safer inside, but
I’m glad he didn’t listen.

His absence stitched together our mind-spaces
With the same needle it pricked us with.
I could see our mutual thoughts
Inflating, floating, popping like soap bubbles.

When his energy left us,
The roof flew off of our mind
Like a windswept hat, and
He got lost in the woodwork, too.

(Revision #2 – 10/10/2017)

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Mid-June

It is sometime past 3am
On a Sunday in mid-June,
After streetlights laced our legs together.

I keep erasing my handwriting
In pursuit of hopeless perfectionism,
Still too lazy to check my wristwatch.

My eyes roll backward, lids flutter
In waves of lavender electrostatic, and
My bones levitate under my skin.

I can still feel your teeth on my neck,
And I’m trying hard
Not to love you yet.

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Depression and Anxiety Walk Into A Bar

Depression and Anxiety walk into a bar.
The Bartender gives a classic greeting,
Drying out a freshly washed glass:
“Good evenin’, folks! What can I getcha?”

Anxiety looks around, wild-eyed,
The scalding fire of a crowd consuming the pub.
Knuckles turn white clawing at bar stools, and
Anxiety sprints, shrieking, into an occupied restroom.

Depression looks up with a wry smirk and says,
“Bleach.”

(Revision #1 – 9/22/2017)

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