I think I swallowed your name that night in the bar.
I think you infected my veins while the music was
raging some 90s rock song and nobody was
paying attention to us as we ran to the back
room of this exile for tar-winged children.
And boy, now you're starving for some
sort of distraction in button-down lust;
a porn star type in DKNY jeans.
But I'm not one of those underground souls,
looking to lose consciousness
in pretty lashes and money-grabbing directors.
Honey, you can take a cab home because
I'm only here for the bottled-up affection
you said would never be mine
*I've been reading Judy Shepard's book "The Meaning of Matthew" about her son who was murdered in 1998. I wanted to write a poem about who Matthew was as a person, not just the headline story. The title was taken from Lady Gaga's cover of "Imagine" by John Lennon.*
The state melted into a pool
of cerulean in your eyes,
Wyoming tinted your hair
a cowboy prairie blond and
stained your boyish lips
with a wanderlust grin.
Matthew, you've grown
older by now but some
things never change like how
the Curious Unknown
still sparkles in your dreams,
the sticker lights of Laramie.
The playground looks broken in
December's plastic moonlight.
The basketballs have turned
to orange ghosts on the court
and the purple clouds above
resemble one-eyed teddy bears, smoking cigars.
You hold my hand between zombie oak trees
and stutter through a Michael Jackson song.
"Ben, the two of us.." you whisper,
then press your lips against mine.
It's surreal but I swallow your laughter
and stick my hand inside your jacket,
making you gasp as I trace
your shy muscles.
Boy, I want to scare off all
the bad memories that still
linger in this park;
the jump ropes and
*inspired by the song "Lover's Spit" by Broken Social Scene.
Golden red, your arms were a sinewy fence around
my form as we sat on the fire escape overlooking
a schizophrenic town.
Your lips tickled my cheek and I stroked the back
of your head, twisting
my fingers in your burnt wheat-colored strands.
"Remember when we used to get excited over
the smallest things," I asked.
"Like kissing awkwardly and
stumbling through doorways,
dragging in the scent of fresh
cut grass and angel's sweat?"
"Yeah," you said. "But let's play it out again,
baby, before Philadelphia
There were no goodbyes scrawled
on the bed frame,
no apologies painted on the floor
with tea and chalk.
Those words didn't
exist in your vocabulary, lover,
because you weren't
supposed to feel anything.
But then I came along with
my searching blue eyes and
demanding lips and you couldn't
just get rid of me like all the rest, no..
The seductive rain hit the windows
with an angry hand and made
the sky shrivel up like vanilla skin
and we stripped off our clothes
under a cluster of police lights;
strawberry red and turquoise fear.
You kissed my mouth like a Sadie
*inspired by Brian and Michael from Queer as Folk :P
The sun dies in your irises as you lie in bed,
clutching a joint between your fingers and
savoring the memory of a fight on your lips.
Friend, you start the evening off like a burst
of color and light brighter than a carousel,
but towards the end of the rave, you're
already bored and empty so you turn
to hospitals and dramatic suicidal promises,
threatening to jump if I don't hold your hand.
Manipulating the seasons in Pittsburgh,
my friend, you drive me wild.
But somehow, I'm always playing this game.
Tell me, what do you think about when
the debutante moon has lost her charm
and there's nothing on TV to keep you up past 11 o'clock?
Do your eyes glaze over, remembering
how I used to hold your head on my knee and rake my
fingers through your yellow hair, baby?
Does your chest burn like a joint in the night with
the absurd memory of my mouth pressed to your
shadowy abdomen under turquoise plastic stars?
David, it was heaven, making you come undone!
You were dirty and beautiful; a clean-cut
little show choir first date gone wrong.
And I know I said you weren't my type
We wanted to make history.
We wanted to make this an
epic thing filled with riots
and dangerous kissing
behind liquor stores,
feeling the thrill of
being chased to death,
having our hearts
beating on the edge.
Or perhaps, that was what I wanted.
Darling, you only wanted waffles,
sugary and tasty at 8 A.M;
holding hands while listening
to Harvey Milk on the radio.
"You gotta give them hope," he'd said.
You always liked a good
watching from the window
as it ripped open the sea
and spilled its foamy secrets
all over the harbor.
*I guess this is my version of a love letter :) the title is from my all-time favorite book by Nick Burd.
Dear perpetual stranger,
In august, I saw you at a neighborhood get-together
and though we both said it was stupid and boring,
the truth is I didn't mind because your irises were
filled with buttery gingerbread and your Clark Kent
type smile made me feel like I wasn't a sad story,
doing somersaults through the summer.
Trailer park flowers grow outside your front door,
but I walk up the road leading to it
with excitement ramming in my chest because
You claim she's making you restless
with her strings of costume jewelry
and celebrity perfume that reeks
of insecurity and family issues.
But despite all your complaining,
the way I see things, your heart
is just as isolated as this girl's
and you two aren't that different.
She thinks it's funny to call her
peers names that she dug up
out of her dad's expensive yard,
covered in undeserving soil
and pubescent bacteria.
"Dance with me," she says.
"So everyone will think you're normal."
And you make excuses as
disco balls throw cliches
against the rundown walls of a gym
*so I watched this independent LGBT film called Shelter and I loved it so much, I wrote this poem.*
The brainwashed sun sticks to my eyelids
in the pear drop morning.
Wandering down these
I wear a practiced smile.
But your name is something foreign;
a long-forgotten page
from my adolescent journal,
and so used to flying under the radar,
I'm at a loss for words when
you give me a compliment.
Still, you seem comfortable
in your thick skin and it's
seeing how you joke
without straying from the truth,
Maybe this time the pale violets will catch fire
instead of the tablecloth and my mother will
come out of her study and yell for me to do
something about the flames eating our house.
Then I'll have to call you on the phone and say,
"Not tonight, David."
You're a clever tease with a drama club smile,
an almost perfect posture that screams,
"Believe in me or else I'll melt into oblivion."
Especially in the beginning, I thought you
were conceited, but at the same time,
I dreamed drunkenly about tracing
the curve of your jaw and causing
color to form on your cheeks.
Reputation is a cruel, deceiving thing
with dark humor in its smile.
Your shirt sleeve rolls up and people
start chattering about your
tattoo but all I can focus on
is the sinewy peach stretch of skin on your bicep.
It excites me like a cold shower at blistering noon
or walking across a bridge during rush hour traffic.
Anyway, what is wrong with the fact
that you believe love should hang
from a Tim Burton type of tree?
Attraction comes at us
like a freight train in eastern Iowa;
merciless and unstoppable in its
race against time and judgment,
not letting us breathe
The quail rain hits the glass and splits in half against
the windowpane while you're sprawled on the cloud
grey mattress, idly smoking a cigarette.
We are in a green room at the La Quinta
motel near a sunburned Texas highway.
We do this sometimes; drive away from our
respective hometowns and pretend we're
different people with movie type of stories.
Perhaps it's immature but for a few
bank-robbed moments, we are not
lying just to breathe easily.
You understand why my father might disown me
and extend a hand, saying, "Come here," very quietly
Lime green lightning bugs lit up the road late on a school night
and you squeezed my hand while lip-syncing to Ed Sheeran.
Inside your car, we were safe and invisible, baby.
You rested your cheek on my shoulder and I fell
for the dangerous tints of maple in your irises.
Maybe it was naive or maybe it was real;
either way, we threw caution to the wind
along with the ash from our convenience
store cigarettes and kissed hotly like nobody could stop us.
You were someone I wanted to keep forever;
tie you up with imaginary rope and trap you