Parched

I.

These streets are barren
Stripped of conscious life
Left to die, a wasteland
Of brown, and black, and blue
Fundamentally ashamed
Of all they’ve come to be
Turned to rot and ruin
Dressed in sackloth and ash
Like consecutive numbers
In black, and white, and gray
A creative parody of sorts
These silent nightly trysts
These episodes of silence
Behind darkened windowpanes
And hollowed out veneers
The meandering lake run dry
Leaving dirt, and silt, and earth
Waiting for the rain.

II.

A reasonable delay
A staccato rhythm
The humming of bees
Where no hives exist
This hesitant laugh
Echoing off stone
Finding no purchase
No complementary edge
On which to balance
These expectant shivers
Disintegrating calm
Falling into disarray
Yet holding steadfast
To this lovelorn hope
That everything will mend
Even though it won’t.

III.

I can’t remember love
Not the uncompromising kind
Or the shadow of a promise
We never made to ourselves
But I do recall September
When we danced between the rain
And I remember strong laughter
A cacophony of sorts
Shifting in the swell of life
That often takes us by surprise
This idea of love that remains
When all else is obscured
I do recall sweat soaked sheets
In an otherwise empty room
Save for you, and me,
And the rhythm of this heat
Left behind in your frenzied wake
Cooling in the cruel reality
That encamped once you let it in

Now I know it wasn’t unconditional
Not the fairy tale kind of love
Just a placeholder for this pain
Shoved down in these dark places
Where the agony still reigns
Until I pray it to sleep

Until I pray it to sleep.

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Limited

Love sets loose limits
It comes and it goes
Like so much wind
Whimsical at best
Suddenly shiftless
Lacking heart
Conscious of itself
But only at times
Often caught up
In exultation
When nothing matters
When love moves again
Tethered to apathy
Like mirror twins
The push and pull
Evident to most
But shoved aside
Lost in adoration
For the convention
For the constancy
Of this inconstant love
These sentimental tropes
This beautiful mess
That takes as it gives
Leaving us empty
Desperate for the next fix
When it only tears us apart
Piece by bloody piece
But hope springs eternal
Ravishing us in turn
Making us forget these pains
Caught up in the rush
Of a calculated love
That leaves us in ruins
Before lifting us again
Because love sets limits
And we are its slaves.

Faithless

The crucifix burns
Startled by this sin
Affixed beneath this skin
Like so many times before
When prayers fell like rain
Into this bowl of holy water
But these tears are on pause
Hanging by this thinnest thread
Waiting for this watershed
A lightening over Calvary
A thundering in my ancient bones
To bring me back to life
My fingers on this pulse
That beats out of time
Out of tune with the music
That threatens to overwhelm
This sacred silence in my soul
Knees scarred from falling
Knuckles sore from clenching
This Catholicism wilting
Like flowers in the storm
The transgressions mounting
As swiftly as the current
Drowning me in its undertow
Perfectly sealing this tattoo
This ever present cross
Ingrained upon my flesh
Like a living, breathing thing
Stitching me together again
When I am broken.

Spacing

I choose my words carefully
Conjugation on my lips
Spilling over into sound
A perfect preservation
Of multi-syllabic language
Summoned from sheer memory
So I can tell you to leave
To go, to consciously decide
To walk away without pride
But I can’t just say it
This well-rehearsed wit
Refusing to dissemble
Betraying my tender soul
As the pretender it is
Wishing for a diction
That persuades as it eases
That uncomplicates things
Like the space between whispers
A fractional dissonance
That dissipates as it expands
Forcing me to breathe it out
To watch it fog up this space
Between us before crystallizing
Into this verbal repertoire
This parlance that means the same
Because the more we go around
The more we do this dance
The worse my fractured psyche

So my words just come out wrong
I choke on them like air
While you sit there unaware
Waiting for the space to close
But it never does.