She leaves wine glasses balancing on counter tops - she leaves the corks sitting on the chipped sill along her window. And every night she teases the small pieces until they fall to the sidewalk beneath, and she shuts her window, and she returns to bed. Knowing that at some hour, one act of a stranger’s curious glance up will surely intoxicate them, filling them with visions of thick black silk and bubbled over rims. Tanglings down a small hall, heavy tongued laughs and misbalanced limbs, trying doors until the bedroom is found. And just that, knowing a stranded wine glass and a stupored passerby were filled with a sheer drunken nothingness, she swallows her lover’s taste, lips stained plum, and falls asleep.
Notes on Hands III.
There is a woman you’d like to know, see, and so little do people know that everything they could imagine and more is held right in her palms, so little as the space between her fingers. Every moment, every clench, every bend, everything she holds, it all has a meaning to it. It all defines her in some way. Imagine such a thing on display. Oh, picture it, nothing but wooden frames of her fingers… picking up flowers from the market. Tying a ribbon into her tired hair. Lining a steaming mug. Touching her lips. Tucking her hair behind her ear. Reaching to scratch her back. Blocking you from catching her face. Rubbing an eye. Painting her nails. Peeling an orange, splitting apart a sunflower seed. Where it’s placed when she falls asleep. Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t it fucking beautiful?
These aren’t just things. They are not just coincidence. All of these movements are for a reason. All of them will tell you something, you just have to listen. Look at the way she holds the Lilies in her hands. Is she white-knuckled? Are her fingers tucked into a fist? Or are they held with just her finger tips? Does she hold the flower while it bleeds against the edge of her, or let it breathe? If the fragrant blood stains her skin, she is a smotherer. She grasps until she depletes the life out of this thing that she has, she becomes so utterly exhausted with these things and feels them so helplessly that they live short, but whose heart’s die hard. And even while mid-death she appreciates the scent of the kill. ‘This is what the end smells like.’, she must think, and simply closes her eyes and lets it die. However, the girl with a dainty grip, small innocent fingers, she nurtures. She lets these things that she loves feed off of her, and realizes that it will be this way until her own end. She will fill a small thrifted vase and place them in the center of the table, she will sit with them and she will watch them, and she will weep when they begin to sink into themselves. She will weep at their loss of color. She will stroke their petals as felt between the pads of her fingers and even while they are gone she will keep them in that vase, beside the window in which her sunlight speaks loudest. Even while they are gone, her love for these things remains, and even when there is no room within her left for more things to occupy, she will take them in.
And don’t even get me started on a man’s. Can’t you tell how he would hold you? I believe just by sitting down with a man over coffee, you could find how he would fix yours in the morning by his hands alone. You would know if you’ve found a writer. You would know if you’re facing an artist. You could see how well he handles the cold, how fragile he is, how nervous he may be. You would never have to fight a man to let his guard down because little does he know simply within holding his hand in yours you are climbing throughout him.
I wrote this for a boy.
Never write for them, simply of them.
untouched eyelet lace
because he didn’t know what it meant
unfinished coffee on the counter
because the rim tasted of a strangers lips
and not his own
ces we are
i leave the windows open
to soak your things
and you see all ruin but me
your shirt clung to my skin
and i was left
to peel you off
drop you to the floor
close the windows
and ignore the rain.
Most people don’t understand that a novel isn’t a choice. It’s 20 years of pain welled up in concrete words like bricks keeping up the apartments she’s left her mind. I don’t think many people realize that pages are suffering. Pages are turmoil, some sick feeling of vague depression, stale coffee and therapist visits. She is stuck to them and she belongs to them, not them to her. You say she has a gift and she smiles. What you don’t know is that is her way of saying you don’t get it. Child. Naive. Innocent. Untouched. She is saying, “I didn’t write this for you. It matters nothing if you enjoyed it. I wrote it because I had to. I had no other choice.” She becomes her books. The spine isn’t called the spine for nothing. Find the 24 pages to construct her ribs. Hint: they are the most bruised. Find the coffee rings that don’t exist unless they have to. 137 unslept mornings where she had no choice. Find the lipstick stains from smudged thumbs, nights where she had come home drunk. A hangover of words. Physical pain would have been a gift. Seductive even. Find the pages that smell of vodka. His tongue. Unfinished arguments and cheap ink. She had no choice. She had no choice. She has no choice. You are only thanking her pain. She is the empty vessel that embodies it. She exists to write.
I balance on windowsills
when it’s raining, dangling
legs out of the frame
for the night to lick
and take me into it’s mouth.
the moon pours and I
I have the sick
thought of your
mouth so close to
mine, vodka smoky
on your breath and
I cut your lip cleanly
a solid cut and the
vodka bleeds and your
lip bleeds and your
lips pucker to the taste,
and I slide my tongue into your
mouth just the same.
Her hair was dandelion strands - her skin buttery and light as milk, her eyes tinted with October. She fantasized of white umbrellas above garden eyelet tables, wine glasses and quiet sighs, breath like nectar. She was coffee rings on thoughtful napkins, the red booth with initials carved in the mahogany behind her neck. Her hair carried the smell of cigarettes and cheap vanilla shampoo, her lips a blend of cardamom and chai. She wore her nights around her wrists, stowed troubled men in the pockets of her coats like keepsakes and maintained fragrant relationships with cafes and book shops smothered in ivy. She was twelve nights of mindless sex for two hours of literate passion. It was the delicacy that left her ruined. She hurried into the wrong men, memorized the musk of their furred skin and the cheap mispronunciation of love on the sheets. She wanted unknown lovers. To reply to the gangly girls brooding for details, wide moon-eyes expectant, with a simple “I don’t know.” Why him? What is it like? How is the sex? “I don’t know.” And does anybody? She didn’t know. She was forgetful, but she kept notes folded in a French dictionary, boys and men tucked into words that held no meaning other than the way they played with her tongue, arranging them like a tasteful phone book. rêche, L, hands rough on mine[me]. ivre, saliva like vodka. lils, M, he wrote on the petals. nuit, orange sheets to tint the sunlight.
If you catch me outside in the middle of the night with your shirt draped to my bottom and the blood of flowers licking between my fingers don’t worry, they were for you.
I find a stool near the edge of the company in the room, conjugating my own of sugar packets, light slurs with my pinky into the cocoa, light spoon taps against the edges when things are getting a bit loud. There is a light rain, I can smell it. I’d rather be outdoors, the little bricked patio. Delicate black tables with the presentation of a fold, and black chairs to match. I sit alongside a stoned in garden, leaning against the edge. I pull the mug to my lips and let it sit there, the steam creating a seducing chocolate musk in the air, I let my tongue out to touch it, hoping it will absorb. I take a sip, taking with me the breath of a tired rainy night. I swallow. I am taking the night with me. I close my eyes and admire the veins in the ivy, studying the bodies around me. Striking passages from books. Hurried recalls. Little do half of them know the women they will fall in love with next, as soon as I make it home. As soon as they make it onto a page. I am creating them. I smell the faint washed out aroma of lilacs lining the cafe’s windows, trapped between limbs and seats and an ivy tangled fence. The nape of my neck smells of a faint sweat and rain water, causing my hair to tuft and gnarl itself as it pleases. A have my bus map tucked between my crossed legs, pulling it to sprawl it out in front of me, running my fingers over the areas of the map that have been folded, creating unintentional mountains and rivers alone personal spines. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know who I am going to see. I am going but I do not know. But I do know that I’m going. And that is all you have to do. A stale smell of a overgrown weeds finds it’s way between my pressed lips. My skin is moist. Cinnamon at my fingers, chai spice and hot chocolate claiming both of my lips. I can taste the man I had parted from on the trolley coming here, a rouge kiss to the cheek, it’s traveled my skin. His taste. The spoonful in the middle of my collar. Between my ring and pinky finger, left hand. Dead center along my spine. Be careful to touch me there. That is where I taste him. I could write a book as to every inch of me devoting itself to tastes that felt warmest when touched. My past chaps my lips, leaving dried uneven blood. The wind always comes down to stirr our scarves and napkins and notes from him that she will now never see and scatters and things are lost. As they should be. I’m wrapped in a thick creme knit scarf, hiding the lips so many have claimed, the lips that hold so many others against them. What if someone couldn’t handle it? Where do I separate and I begin? The breath of night is direct, youthful, a curiosity we feel before we know what there ever was to wonder about in the first place. Cars pass, the roads are getting sloshier, i hear the individual geometric tracks of the tires as they tread through the street lined with pot holes. A man walks across the street with books in hand, his other tucked into his pocket, hesitant at the crossing but light and sure in his movements. The timidity of an artist, the ferocity of a human being. And I wonder, why don’t I know him? Should I know him? What would change if I knew him? I sigh. I shift. I toss my balance between my toes. The bus comes, distinguished sloshes. It sounds like distaste. Nickels and quarters finger through the drop slots and I listen to everyone get settled. Put in such close company. As if you knew who you were sitting with. As if you wanted to know who you were sitting with. 46 lightly dropletted passengers, the pressure from the doors leaked and I can feel the drivers eyes on me, waiting for an inch lift from my finger to signify that I might change my mind. I hold my breath, too, Sir. You’ll make it fine without me. I stand entirely still, staring straight forward, knit smuggling warmth into my neck, fingers wrapped around my still steamed mug, makeshift sipping mittens. Fascinated, while walking down the sidewalk, at the steam from the espresso mingling with my breath as I speak out to it. How the two converse with one another. How they mingle. Who takes what of whom, when all is gone? I always wonder that. You take pieces of people with you after they leave but what do they take from you, is that what’s off when you’re up at 4 in the morning and fin yourself stirring your coffee in the opposite direction, thinking no other general thought other than the strict image of him. I am not taking the bus. I would rather wander. I will meet trees and rare wildflowers uncovered from muddy floats, fractured ribcages of trees. I look up into every apartment on each side of me and wonder if any of them are up there. The people I’ve written about. The ones I’ve touched. I see the fire escapes in their alleys, imagine stringing small notes with tea bags strung on and dangling in light jars of fire flies, my room to yours. I smell the temperature of the drops paddling against the knuckles of my hands, pulled to my lips to suck into my mouth. I have not ever kissed during a downpour. That accent of my lips is reserved as it stands. I’ll keep walking and walking and walking, and I’ll sit on stoops that feel familiar or give me the presence of someone drawing notes to me on my forearms, pieces of newspapers twirling in unorganized circles on the ground, I pick one as it lands at my feet. “my body moved “// ripping - “had been moving too fast” ][.?\ “too hungry to become a woman.” I pocketed these pieces. My knees are aching with their incompleteness, the empty thoughts so urgently that needed my care my filling my time my taste my feel my skin my touch my scent my fuck. They needed me. Everything did. So I went out into it. I find things, I find things that need me and I bring them home and then I need them. Distraught flowers as if I had gone to a funeral service, ]/ reality: an eighteen year old boy felt I deserved the prettiest he could find in each color. I let them die, and then I kept them alive just the same. I feel suffocated in knits and it’s soft graze along my chin like a cat innocently trying to gain your goodmorning addresses with a curl of their tail. I think, with a night starting off like that, I would end up alone where I eventually turned in to sleep. Unless by sick whim I decided I needed a lust. A risk. A quick bout of tease and confidence to get what I want. What I want this time. What I want, do you hear that? Next time it will be me pleasuring you. The flowers on the table beside the couch, newspaper pieces scattered over the edge of the sheets like illiterate roses, now we tangle. Hair like the ivy. Night depth, stumbling over black tables. Nickles and quarters through the slots to ride. To travel. They go and I stay but have more love coursed through myself and another man before they reach their destination, still not having went through the process of knowing what they even want. I’m there. I’m there I’m here. I want. So let me get it.
I took my sleeping pill over an hour ago yet I am sitting here with chai tea and this book sprawled across my lap like thick hands to distract me. I have so much to do but there is nothing to be done. All I can do in my exhaustion is lye in this big pile of down and prolong it, and relieve it by writing. Scribbling. Ranting. I truly feel that no matter what schooling I go through I will forever be a writer. That isn’t what I want. That isn’t what I want. But it is what I am. I didn’t ask to be this. I didn’t mean to prefer the electricity bill to be late so guests would stop switching on the lights. I couldn’t stand the buzz like a cheap motel, your green duffel bag left at your ankles with a large neon strung sign like Las Vegas on a deserted strip. You see what such little things do? Keep the lights off. I didn’t ask to be this way. I don’t know why I taste him on porcelain mugs. Maybe I need to switch to terra-cotta. To have the taste before I have the body, right in front of me, mouth, inside of me. Swallows. Sips straight from the Sunny D jug in the fridge, what’s mine is yours. The boy left pieces on my lips. I wonder if you tasted him there. What’s mine is yours. But I will complete my education. I will make a mold of the business women with her wide eyes beaming, bakery plans in her future. The bakery is an excuse. The cafe is every writers recluse. We hide. It is understood. It is the softest place on the block, but I will leave once or twice because there are too many shuffles, a perfume like my mothers chest, too many breaths, a cologne like the teeth marks in his skin, too many irrelevant touches that shouldn’t mean a thing. None of it should matter. And it doesn’t. But that is the point. Everything I do reverberates itself into a piece. Every person that passes me teases me and they don’t even know it. They don’t know their actual life. I’ve crafted it. They are in pages. They will never find themselves, even if I handed them the cover, slid a note in to an underlined passage. It will either go untouched or potentially derange a tulips delicate mind. At least with me, at least with me, with me any way you’re with me, if you are with me enough for me to say that you are the one that is with me, you will never die. They say death is natural and we all must eventually come to terms with the fact that the people we love the people we are with the people that we are with enough to call them the ones we are with will have their turn at death. That to live forever would be a horrible tragedy to lose everything that you have. Do they not get it? They will not be dead. They are not gone. The pieces are still with me here. The pages in a 20 year old girls journal in her bag. It is everywhere with her. This is how she lets go but does not let go. She has dismissed you from her physical being but you are still tainting quiet typical things around her. Like an idiotic love poem. I am all over the place. I am the one that will watch everybody live, while I am dying. They are not leaving. They’re here on stained pages and I am simply being torn at from gentle and rash angles to gather the parts of me they had sunken into, the parts of me they had claimed. Take that. Take that. Take it back. I don’t know what I am saying. I am a writer because I have to be. I am a writer because I have to be.
I’m laying in bed. You’re lost to our apartment as you always are. I knew when I’d moved in that I wouldn’t be seeing much of you. A stale couple rooted together on the third floor, apartment 6A. Strangers living side by side but entirely apart, within the same four rooms but never once at the same time. I can hear your mind lingering with your footsteps, the silences with a light shuffle like a comma of your papers scattering the table in the dining room. Not a single plate has ever touched it. 3 AM eating habits. And then I hear your bottom give a quiet shift against the wood of the sill, and your lighter slickly fingered by the edge of your thumb. I hear the filter catch the flame and engulf the marrow down to the flesh of your lips, split with dried scabs. Nervous teeth. The anxious dissolving of the paper, pale and fragile as your skin. I know you, you finally let it go with trembling fingers, the cloud of smoke being swallowed by the night. It teases you. Everything teases you. The edge of the window. The nicotine on your breath. Exhaustion at the back of your throat. Everything has you. Owns you. Uses you. But you relish in the hungry company. And you hollow everything you touch just the same. I’m laying in bed. You’re lost to our apartment, and you always are.
She exists no more as you think she does, and no less than you fear she might not.
Just be sure to touch her when she does. All love is fleeting.
She will love you according to the seasons. She will suck the richness off of each transition’s tongue and hide it in her mouth, leaving her taste matching the temperature outdoors. You will think you have memorized her, but you will know you have not learned her. You will feel the shift in your stomach as she feels it in her knees, you will watch as her attention averts to the temptations of fall, the sorrows of winter, the spirituality of spring and the flight of summer. And watch is all you will be able to do. She will tempt you with the sight of her skin alone, below freezing temperatures making her bare body a sight to leave your lips dripping. You will see little of her in the heat, and she will feed to you greedily as the day on her cheeks. Wilting flowers will dangle along every counter top, colors as distracted as her bare feet when a walk turns into her discovery of a meadow, and she will hang over you just the same. If you can, love her during the fall. For it is only then that she is steadily beautiful and driven, and it is only then that she will be sure that she does, in fact, want much if anything at all to do with you. To experience an entire year of her love would be nothing short of astonishment, even to her, and it is only then that you will see her undone, raw and unkept. It is only then that you will be able to say that you were loved by her seasons, and adjusted to each of the chills and warmths inside of her mouth. She will be waiting, she won’t be within her bed, but perched on the end of it, watching her ankles in the dark. She is scared. She is no more ready than you. And when she sighs, when the air leaves her lips and you feel the temperature plummet, or suffocate you into her throat, you are left strangers. You do not know her, and she does not know you. And this is why she will end up the most diversely loved, and diversely lonely woman to live.
Know that whoever she is, she does not appreciate the sight of you unbuttoning your shirt the way that I would.