beulah land's picture

tequila sunset.

you, stretched
out on the dirty bank of the river all afternoon
spent pulling me through the weeds
and scattered glass, laughing when i
stumbled.

the city wilted under the weight
of the heat, a grey haze hanging
above the jagged silhouettes of the towers.

you pulled off your sticky shirt, i carried it
in my back pocket,
a dirty white flag.

beulah land's picture

denouement.

de·noue·ment [dey-noo-mahn] (n.):
1. the final resolution of the intricacies of a plot, as of a drama or novel.
2. the place in the plot at which this occurs.
3. the outcome or resolution of a doubtful series of occurrences.

i think of you less
and less,
mostly in terms of "was" and "then," in
that little grey room,
grey walls cement floor
our crumpled clothes and bare skin

beulah land's picture

somebody else's clothes.

you know
i'm not built for the cold, i
slink through winter with
numb fingers, waiting watching
and giving in to the first warm
breeze i find- i'd head south
but i know i'd miss the trees.

your letters are stacked on the table, unread;
this morning i spilled the coffee and let the ink run.

what i mean is, some colors fade faster,
like red before blue,

beulah land's picture

you can't miss

there are times
when i lose metaphor completely-
when words bow out and all
i've got is this knowledge
absolute
that the curve of your back
against the open windowframe
matches exactly the ragged inhale of my breath;
when "like" or "as" is not a
substitute for should
or shouldn't
and your nearness locks my tongue
to the roof of my mouth.

this isn't personal, it's political:
i'm waging a war

beulah land's picture

down that manhole of memories.

i could have left you
in the blur of my periphery,
blending in with the greens and browns and greys there, i
could have let my feet carry me on;
could have ignored the creeping burning blush
that grew like ivy on my chest,
the blotches blooming like scarlet letters
under my collar when i saw you perched there,
between the shadows of the trees and buildings,
rising tall in the

beulah land's picture

monday, monday

the rain is still pouring
when i drag myself out
of your bed
in the early dark hours of the
morning; over my shoulder you
don't make a sound as i slip
out the door.

i'm steering myself home
my fingers cold and stiff on
the wheel- the rain's stirred up
layers of summer-baked oil and
the roads are dangerous slick with it.

the cold is coming and
honey you know it isn't
that i mind the change so much

beulah land's picture

rewind and quicksand.

your voice
on the answering machine this morning
when i woke, late, closer to noon,
my arms and legs still drunk but
my head clear enough to pour the coffee, pry the windows open
to let in the cool air
and to listen
to you falter
at the beep
-you were just in the neighborhood, you didn't want to wake me,
you quit smoking and wanted me to know.

what i know is that
where you're sleeping these days

beulah land's picture

slow this down.

this weather
reminds me of you,
these grey monotone weeks
between spring and summer,
the kind of weather
i really can't stand-
it's so uncertain, so shaky,
it's all rain/shine
like were you were all red light/green light
that first night;

and all the nights afterward,
your bed unmade so we slept on the floor,
the window propped open to bring in
fresh wet air
to cover the scent of sex and copper and cigarettes;

beulah land's picture

i'm no good at congratulations.

i don't want her name
from your lips, the consonants and vowels quickly mumbled,
all mashed together and sweating
crawling off your tongue
like men lost in the desert
40 and then 40 more days,
the sweat on our thighs
the only water for miles.
a name gives her structure-
a face
a stomach
and hips that surely will or will not
bruise yours like mine do.
it gives her flesh
and eyes
and dark wet places

beulah land's picture

but i guess it did its part.

the days are getting longer,
the light lasting an extra minute
or two
every night;
i watch the sun
settle and sink
all reds and orange and clouds like smoke
behind the trees,
(those lying evergreens that bloom
all through the dark of winter,
pretending like the sun never left them.
they’d have me fooled if i didn’t
catch them shaking
when the wind blows.)
it’s time for spring cleaning-

beulah land's picture

bang, bang,

talking
over black coffee and white cigarettes,
i guess i'll have to agree
when you say
that the distance i've put
between my mind
and myself
and my body
is no necessity,
but with every mile
i put behind me,
travelling through this garden of want,
every mile is one more morning
of waking to find you misplaced
and not minding
as much.

beulah land's picture

smoke and mirrors

it must be this rain- it hasn't stopped
for days, it's this steady unyielding solid wet hand
on the back of my neck. it must be restless rhythm it pounds on the roof,
a marching cadence that settles in the soles of my feet and
incites them to move, to run,
and they brought me here,
following the pull in my gut,
but here
is the last place i should be.

"use it,
or lose it,"
she says,
reaching out and bringing my hand to rest

beulah land's picture

get rid of the ocean.

i'm watching your mouth move,
memorizing the way words form on your tongue
(because i haven't gone there yet.) your teeth are too white
against the black of the trees
and the headlights divide the road into
my side and yours.

the wind is cutting corners
faster than you can, both hands on
the steering wheel, eyes darting
between the edge of the road and
the long way down to the water
and the edge of my slow smile i can't

beulah land's picture

the only thing i can think of saying.

call me frenzy tonight- i'm all
fever and rush and
busy hands
and words that won't come easy
(tired of my abuse, they're stuck somewhere between
my tongue and my fingers, refusing to move.)

i'm
lighting cigarettes end to end
and watching them burn, casting
glances like shadows at
my body in the mirror, my face is all
angles
and numbers
and teeth.

i think i'll have to tell her the truth-

beulah land's picture

a letter in your writing doesn't mean...

and i feel drunk
like november, stumbling around on thick uncertain legs,
drunk off the way the cold air
in my lungs
is fighting the fire in my belly,
the slick wet ground the only solid thing
i can find,
the asphalt black and shining
in the rain.

i'm burying my hands deeper
in my pockets
as a reminder
to keep them to myself,
i'm pulling my collar up
and around
my bare neck,
as much to keep the greedy fingers of wind away

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