(toward the light)

we have finally outdone ourselves.
when eye to eye i can tell
we both know it. it is better
just to hold hands. the mescaline stands
up inside me, paces like a caged animal.
it rubs its wrists together
i am rubbing my wrists together, now massaging
my eyes for the light show. there is nowhere
else to look. i laugh for minutes because
i bought this, these neurons firing
into each other,  crying and snotting
and unbridled awe using money grandma sent
for valentines day. she doesn’t even like me
having a drink with dinner. i can’t think
of a better way to use up
this celebration of love. i heard recently
that mostly rich kids do drugs heavy
anymore because it’s all too expensive.
it’s good to have grandmas
with underused checkbooks,
good to afford both dinner and psychedelics.
sad this is another bought pleasure but
it is a bad time to be sad. we know
we are through the thick of it
when we can look at each other again
and like it. ten hours in we lay on the limbs
of a bur oak like big cats, talking
about other times we were high
while hikers walk the ridge beneath us.
i want to grow into this tree:
a resting spot, a way to get closer
to sky.

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for a friend

it gets dark too quickly while a past-friend
talks at me over the phone. it is almost incomprehensible
but not quite. i know her girlfriend left her, i know
she has trouble keeping food down i know
i cannot be much help from this far away.
i am not even sure if i could help from across
the table. she says she is on the moon
and i believe her: she has no job no friends
in her city she just sits and thinks herself
into winter bed darkness. she accuses me

of keeping myself busy of keeping myself
to myself, of moving my hands enough
so i don’t have to think myself into anywhere.
i want to tell her it is not a defense mechanism.
i am not afraid to be beneath the blankets alone.
moving your hands makes heat and other bodies


like heat and that is how you find friends. i cannot
keep at it like this. this is the third call
today and my ear hangs from my head like
a corded telephone. she asks me what i would do
if i was in her place. what i can’t say is
i would never be in your place. you have to move
your hands. you have to dress yourself and leave
your bedroom leave your bedroom Amy

get out of there. there is a reason nobody stays
on the moon very long. this is not an avoidance
it is just what people do.

claws

when he offers me a cigarette i say
i dont smoke
and take one anyway.
pretty soon i have one tucked
between every finger on both hands –
a dangerous set of claws.

when i am down to the last one,
i pinch it gently between my lips
while unsteady hands work at his
shirt buttons. he leans down
pulls the lit cigarette from my lips
with his teeth and chews.

the tobacco is a dark stain
on his tongue. he says
i didn’t want you
to get smoke in your eyes.

Sweater Weather

His smell stays on me how feeling wool
clings to your cheeks.

Smell the inside of my wrist:
the cigarettes he gave up, the way
inside both our throats always healing,
wood chips in my lashes.

Smell the back of my knees:
sheets selected for thread count, too high
to see grief woven in, he washes
his hands with dish soap.

A weed tinged welcome,
breath patterns spread like
crystalline rash across glass,

the vape sounds like ice cubes clinking
ice against teeth taste after dinner drinks
drinks go down like sawdust

Personal Poetry

One of my past creative writing teachers always made the distinction between personal poetry and public poetry – the former is usually not very good, but a lot of times it’s something that is necessary in order to get stuff out. I don’t really ever post the personal poetry I write on here, because for the most part it’s not very good. But I think sometimes it is good to put that out there, if not just as a means to work through stuff.

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Tripped Up

Edges of his reason fragment:
eyes falling up, back, he burrows
between his own lungs, liquid
thrumming ribcage filling cavities, rising
like vomit in his throat
until it bursts behind his teeth –
sobs cracking like eggs on the boardwalk.
Too full to tell, the safety
of kaleidoscope vision rearranging
shards of cattails and sky into the curve
of his mother’s mouth.