Sunday, December 13, 2009

Come Through

sometimes I wake, thinking you are beside me
sometimes my hand has a mind of its own, and reaches for you
sometimes I can't stop
each time I can't stop

I keep thinking maybe if I try a little harder
you will try too
I keep thinking maybe if I'm a little better
you will be too
sometimes I know I'm wrong
each time I know I'm wrong

but there are days when I think
maybe this time you will come through

I hate that I am always asking for your time
as if being polite would stop our decline
I should know better by now
I don't know better somehow

but still there's days why I think
maybe this time you will come through





listen

Monday, November 30, 2009

Other Cars

when you called last night I could tell you were on the road
probably on your way to work
the background was loud but your voice made it through
the sounds of engines revving
how many times have you driven that road
with my voice in your ear
your laughter on the line made me feel a little less alone
at my kitchen table

can you feel me baby
through the telephone wires?
if we talk long enough
do you think you could come home?

we talked about us for a while in metaphors
and "how ya doin'"s
it killed me to hear you ask if I had someone else there
when I only ever want you

can you feel me baby
through the telephone wires?
if we talk long enough
do you think you could come home?

when you called last night
i could hear the sounds of other cars



listen

Andromeda

well, your mom she bragged too much
about how you are the most beautiful girl
she was queen of ethiopia
but all her riches couldn't save you from the world
yeah, just like it always goes
the innocent one gets caught
in the middle, and they chained you to a rock
to wait and think of a man

no one ever asked you what you wanted

that man he took you far away
you were free again 'til you fell in love with him
I can't say I'm surprised
that was always your mama's big plan
Perseus, he married you
and turned your family to stone
with that Medusa's head upon his shield
now you're stuck here all alone

no one ever asked you if this is what you wanted

you used to dream of flying high
and fighting battles with those gods up in the sky
you used to dream of making change
maybe start a school or at least rearrange
how they thought of you
and now you're just somebody's wife
yeah now you're just another life

no one ever asked you if you go what you wanted



listen

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Prometheus

I've been feeling lately like you never come around
baby, how can that be when to you I am bound
around my wrists I still feel the heat of your hands
but even chains can't hold the best-laid plans

you came walking in with fire in your eyes
all at once I felt my need arise
maybe I should have had a little foresight
I couldn't help myself, it just felt right

now we're paying the price for playing with fire
and we're burning our hands and starting to tire
of seeing all our days eaten away
and all our nights rejuvenate
so we are right back where we start

I don't know why we're being punished but I guess we are
I can understand the urge to run when things get hard
I'm not asking for your life, just a little time
see, these chains aren't so bad when your hand is in mine

now I'm paying the price for playing with fire
and I'm burning my hands and watching you tire
of the waiting that we've had to do
and knowing you, I'm guessing soon
you'll say that we should just move on

I will be left waiting for you
in the midst of mountains warming in the sun
even if I could I wouldn't move
until you come make me the one

now the fire is slowly dying
the last breaths of us, they are sighing
to extinguish embers in waves of doubt
baby, please, don't let them go out

now I'm paying the price for playing with fire
and I'm burning my hands as the flames expire
I just want you back again
to feel your heat on my skin
to breathe some life into these coals



listen

Some background info, if you're not familiar with the story of Prometheus... Greek mythology says that after the creation of the world, two brothers, Prometheus and Epimetheus, were chosen to give gifts to the animals. Epimetheus gave the creatures gifts to help them survive, but had run out by the time he got to humans. Prometheus felt responsible for his brother's mistake, and stole fire from Hephaistos and Athena to give to the humans. When his actions were discovered, Zeus punished him by chaining him to a craig in the Caucasus mountains, where every morning an eagle would eat Prometheus' liver, which grew whole again during the night.

Monday, September 14, 2009

In the Morning

the slow creep of the day comes through your roomtrying not to wake us too soon
you stir in your sleep and pull me close
soon enough i feel your toes
wiggle their way in through the sheets on my shins
your hands find their way up to my chest
you tell me to lay back and rest

stubble on your chin makes little marks
i feel your lips part
against mine, under the sheets we find
a world that we can hide inside
we don't have to get up, the day will wait for us
i can see that you light up when we touch

somehow, some way, every morning will be like this
somewhere, some day, we won't have to live without this

through the cotton i watch you rise up
we'll never have enough
you ask me to come with you and i
feel everything at once
as your eyes open wide and much too soon it subsides
you don't say a word, you just lie there smiling

somehow, some way, every morning will be like this
somewhere, some day, we won't have to live without this


listen

Monday, June 15, 2009

suzu's song

little bell ring for me, for me
skinny jeans and long black hair
the world better beware
you are coming for to make it all your own
eyes are open wide and taking it all in
you're gonna be known

little bell sing for me, for me
laying all your hopes on the line
this is your time
with a smile on you take it as it comes
pulling for your dreams you take a breath
and tell him he's the one

little bell ring for me, for me
little bell you've got one chance
better make it last

fly a long, long way

little bell sing for me


listen

Sunday, June 14, 2009

in the morning

The slow creep of the day
comes forward like a parent into a sleeping child's room,
desperately trying not to wake them for fear of ruining their dreams.
From where my head rests on your shoulder I watch the pulse in your neck
steadily ticking forth the minute where you are gone.
Your blood and the sunlight are relentless reminders that time will not stop, not even for us.

You stir in your sleep. We have slept too close for too long
and now my hair sticks to your neck as I raise my head to look at you:
one leg up, making a tent with the sheet,
a trace of sunburn pinking your tanned skin.
I move carefully, again resting my head on your chest and closing my eyes,
willing the sunlight to recede like an enemy defeated.
Your hand moves on my shoulder, precoursed by the muscles under my ear and around my back.
It's strange how it fits there, as if my skin and bones were always your home
and we had laid like this a million times before.
Your grasp tightens. Pulling me closer
even though the heat is almost unbearable.

It is then that I realize you aren't asleep either:
like me you've been sneaking secret looks down our lengths,
tingling at every place we touch.
At the same time we both decide to be brave and look when we know the other is watching,
no longer hiding in the dark corners of bars or spotty street lights.
In the full light of day we meet, unshrinking,
and face the morning together.

after mexican food

the lights of bleecker street seem low somehow
or maybe it's that all i can see is your face,
eyes staring out at me as the words stumble out of my mouth
like drunken actors forgetting their lines.

i hate that you're right, and that once again
i could have done better.
i should have done better.
my eyes are searching for a place to look that is anywhere but you
and they follow the passersby who are probably wondering
why we're standing here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

apartment 42

on broadway the train rumbles as it follows the tracks under 134th street,
and on the corner a man in a sombrero
sings along with the recording coming from the bakery.
the low rumble of voices next door mixes with the hiss
of the bus letting passengers off.
nate says something and she laughs, mentioning Spock
and something about william shatner's haircut. they
must be watching star trek while they unpack their boxes.
i scrape my hair back from my face for the millionth time and
lean over to inspect the bruises on my legs. moving up here
was a long process and the black and blues are
everywhere. as much as i love this room, i can't help but sink
a little at the realization that you've never been here.
sometimes when i can't sleep
i prop the pillows against the headboard on your side of the bed
and just sit there. i'm not sure that i can technically call it your side
when you've never even slept on it, but
it is where you belong.
i wonder would we sleep as close in this big bed
as we did in the tiny one before it,
waking at 8 am drenched in sweat
from forgetting to turn the air on.
I still think in the blurry first few seconds of waking
that my hand is resting on your chest and not the pillow.

another train, the man with the sombrero has stopped.
i wonder will you ever be here
to tell me stories about what his song means?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

communion - viggo mortensen

1.
we've left shore somehow
become the friends
of early theory
close enough to speak
of desire and pain of absence
of mistakes we'd make
given the chance.

each smile returned
makes harder avoiding
dreams that see us
lying in the early evening
curtain shadows, skin
safe against skin.
bloom of compassion
respect for moments
eyes lock turns
forever into one more
veil that falls away.

2.
this after seeing you
last night, first time
smelling you with
permission: shoulders to
wonder openly at
as carefully kissed
as those arms
waited impossibly on.
they've held me now
and your breath
down my back
sent away the night air
that had me shaking
in the unlit anglican
doorway.

3.
are we ruined for
finding our faces fit
and want to know more
about morning? is
friendship cancelled
if we can't call
each other anymore
in amnesia, invite
ourselves to last glances
under suspicious clocks
telling us when we've
had enough?

4.
your steady hands
cradling my grateful
skull: were you taking
in my face to
save an image
you've rarely allowed
yourself after leaving
that cold alcove?
am i a photograph
you gaze at in
moments of weakness?

you ordered me
off my knees
into your arms.
wasn't to beg
that i knelt; only
to see you once
from below.

tried to say something
that filled my mouth
and longed to rest
in your ear.
don't dare write
it down for fear it'll
become words, just
words.

the stolen branch - pablo neruda

in the night we shall go in
to steal
a flowering branch.

we shall climb over the wall
in the darkness of a private garden
two shadows in the shadow.

winter is not yet gone,
and the apple tree appears
suddenly changed
into a cascade of fragrant stars.

in the night we shall go in
up to its trembling firmament,
and your little hands and mine
will steal the stars.

and silently,
to our house,
in the night and the shadow,
with your steps will enter
perfume's silent step
and with starry feet
the clear body of spring.

but not forgotten - dorothy parker

i think, no matter where you stray,
that i shall go with you a way.
though you may wander sweeter lands,
you will not soon forget my hands,
not yet the way i held my head,
nor all the tremulous things i said.
you still will see me, small and white,
and smiling, in the secret night,
and feel my arms about you when
the day comes fluttering back again.
i think, no matter where you be,
you'll hold me in your memory
and keep my image, there without me,
by telling later loves about me.

darlington road

The sheets swish, and I raise my head from the pillow to look down the length of his blue checked comforter, bathed in late afternoon sunlight. Oh, I see- he moved his feet. For a second there I thought he’d gone, but no, there’s his breath on my back. I hitch the covers up to my chin and nestle deeper into the pillow while he snakes his arm underneath mine, bringing it to lie across my chest.

“Don’t fall asleep,” he murmurs somewhere behind my right ear. I smile, and push my back into his chest.

“I won’t.”

***

“Fucking phone, I wear to god, if you don’t stop ringing-“ and like magic, it stops. My hand gropes the floor, feeling amidst the cheap, thin carpet for a cheap, thin cell phone. The buttons beep as I pick it up, checking the last missed call. It’s him.

I turn on my side and let the phone rest on my cheekbone while it calls him, searching through all of Sydney for his, buried in his pocket. Ring, ring. Shit, I should have answered.

“Hey Bubbi. What are you doing?” Every time, his accent is like new, sending a shiver down my spine. Every time, picturing his smile makes me smile.

“I’ve just got up. My head is killing me- must have been the wine last night.”

“Poor baby. Never go drinking on a school night, that’ll teach ya. Got class today?”

I groan at the unwelcome reminder that I have to sit through yet another lecture, one in a series that I’m pretty sure was designed for the specific purpose of giving me a headache or putting me to sleep.

“Yes, in a few hours. Have you?” I can hear him clicking the mouse of his computer in the background. He must be checking his email.

“Already been, love. I’m done for the day.” More clicking.

“Right well, I’m going to have a shower. Should I come over after lecture?” I know he’ll say yes, he does every time, but somehow it still feels more polite to ask. Something about me just can’t assume it’s ok, though I have good reason to.

“Yep. Call me when you’re downstairs.”

***

“Now, Aphrodite was more that just the goddess of love. In one myth, she even…” I know I should be writing this down but somehow all I can think about is going to see him. It’s strange; I thought I would spend this time here alone, getting used to my own company again. But then she dragged me to that party and his smile- I was a sucker for it from the start. I don’t even really know how it happened. If you asked me all I could tell you was that one minute I was looking at her, and the next minute I was totally blindsided by his smile and the hair dangling in front of his eyes. I remember in particular the way he held his beer: in his right hand, fingers slightly splayed but loose, elbow at a right angle and kept close to his body. He used the bottle to gesture, especially when he made jokes.

“Apollo, now, he’s a character…” I check my phone and decide that I can’t take another hour of this. Gathering my things as quietly as possible, I slip out of the auditorium and walk through the sun-lit quad. There are birds of paradise blooming along all the buildings, tempting me to pick just one.

As I come to the corner I pull my phone out of my bag and dial. It rings while I walk across the street to the door. Standing underneath his terrace I can her his phone ringing inside. Why doesn’t he-

“Oi!” He’s leaning over the railing, his hair flopping forward and his shirt floating away from his chest. “Catch!”

I snatch the keys out of the air and turn the correct one in the lock. The heavy door shuts loudly but I don’t care, I’m already halfway up the stairs, my fingertips skipping along the banister. As soon as I’m inside his room I shut the door and take off my shoes, leaving them in the tiny space next to the closet.

“Hello, Bub. Good day?” he walks over and wraps me up, smelling like sunshine and warm cotton from being on the terrace. My arms encircle his shoulders as his do the same to my waist, just under my ribs.

“Better now.” For all that I pretend not to like him that much – to myself and to her – I do. He’s a good man, when he’s not stuck in his own head rethinking and rethinking things.

“Come lay down,” he entreats, pulling the covers back. I slip under, turning my back to him so that there’s enough room for both of us. Damn this incredibly tiny bed.

***

When I wake up I think at first that I didn’t sleep at all, but then I realize that he’s not in bed, he’s at his desk, and it’s dark out. “Shit, I’m sorry.”

At the sound of my voice he looks up and over at me, and smiles. He gets up and comes over to climb into bed with me, and I turn over with my back to the wall so that I can look at him as we talk, cheek pillowed in one hand.

“Nothing to be sorry about,” he says, pushing away a piece of hair that’s ruining my line of vision. “I’ve just been thinking while you were sleeping.”

“Really? What about?” He pauses, looks at where his hand is resting on the sheets between us.

“Well, I don’t know quite how to say this and I don’t want you to take it the wrong way, but, I love you. I’m not really sure in what way except that you’re a good friend to me and you’re there for me and I really appreciate that. So I just wanted to tell you.”

A million things go through my mind in the tenth of a second that I hesitate: he’s picking at the fabric of the comforter, there’s a lock of hair sticking in the sweat on my neck, itching, the image of our hips reflected in the mirrors on the closet doors, finally the actual words. And then the realization: I can’t say it back and still be truthful. I won’t say it back, if it’s not truthful.

“Listen, you don’t have to say anything because it’s not a big like ‘I love you’, it’s just that you mean a lot to me. That’s all.” he looks up, tilting his head on the hand it’s resting on. I rest my hand on his bicep, saying “Well you’ve been the same for me. So thank you.” Even as I say them, the words sound lame, obtuse, anything but genuine even though I mean them. Thankfully he doesn’t hear it that way and pulls me close, throwing me off balance and pushing my trachea into his shoulder. When we pull apart we’re both smiling, though I can’t for the life of me figure out why I am. Isn’t this what I tried to avoid all those times I reminded him that I was leaving? And what about the night I told him I thought we should just be friends? Even as he left that night I knew I had hurt him irreparably, and bless him, he gave me another chance. I never told him I had the feeling I’d do it again when I left.

He lays down on his back and pulls me into him, my head coming to rest in the nook between his head and shoulder. His other arm is flung above his head, and I run my hand from his stomach up to the tips of his fingers and back again. Eventually I feel his breathing slow and deepen, his arm around my shoulders relax. I stare at the expanse of grey plaid covering his chest and wonder: could I? Do I? What do I say if this happens again? Over and over the questions ask themselves, butting up against the walls of my skull and rebounding only to whisk past invisible answers on their way to ricochet from the white bone for another time.

Gingerly I roll over and in the process both wake him and knock my knee against the wall, hard. Damn this incredibly tiny bed. My cheek rests on his bicep and I reach up my hand to rub his palm, then entwine my fingers with his. I feel his other hand on my shoulder, first on the bare skin, then pulling up the sheet to cover it and coming to rest there.

“I’ll walk you home in a bit. Don’t fall asleep,” comes from his lips somewhere behind me, the words already trailing off as he starts again to doze.

“I will.”

Saturday, March 21, 2009

untitled two

On the way to the airport the lightening sky seeps into the spaces between our seats
and we move quietly forward except for the radio blaring into early morning sleepiness.
When we say goodbye, I realize that I may not see you for a long time
but strangely it doesn't bother me.
Maybe I am just too tired to register the weight of it,
or maybe my instinct on the way here was right:
we have little to offer each other these days
and are only held together by nostalgia and sheer force of will.
I hope I'm wrong.

Out the airplane window the mountains shrink along with my ability to let go.
Once again you have taught me an important lesson,
one that, this time, I won't forget.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

march 5th

At some point, I think I knew that we could never return,
not after all this time.
So much ink spent putting you in words,
everything but your name,
should have been a sign that you would never let me back.
Once, I felt you like a thunderstorm
but now your presence has faded to the lightest of greys
like an almost dry sidewalk after rain.
Sometimes I worry that one day I will look for you and you will be gone,
though that has already happened.

On the first birthday I knew you we went to the movies,
and I sat next to you in the dark wondering what would become of us.
Afterwards we watched the ducks swimming in the pond
and walked home slowly in the dusk. I felt bad because
I hadn't gotten you anything, so I reached for your hand as we talked.

Mostly I'm grateful that no record of our conversations
from after I left remains. I think - no, I know -
I would be ashamed of myself to read it.
As it is I am ashamed enough to remember, and to know that you remember too.
I hear myself speaking now with the patience, the frankness,
I should have given you to begin with,
and I know that my chance to show you that is gone.
Maybe this is my backwards way of giving you what you should have had all along.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

absence

i wonder if you miss me at all, if you feel the lack of me.
if you wish sometimes that i was there.
do you think of me at night
before you sleep, missing my body beside you?
do you think of me in the morning when the sunlight creeps
into your room and you cannot touch me when you reach?
do you wish i were there when you make a joke you know i would laugh at
and others are silent?
with you it is always a mask; to me you show nothing.
you slip sometimes and i glimpse
who you are and could be, but then you realize.
every time, you catch yourself instead of letting me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

pictures

I spent the night listening to songs that I always told you I loved
and looking at the past in color and black & white.
In particular at the way your plaid shirt fell open
when you leaned to kiss my temple as the flash went off.
Some nights the absence of your snoring wakes me
and I sit bolt upright searching the covers,
convinced you are around here somewhere.

In the background you can see the stripes of your sleeping bag,
the fabric waiting for us to lie upon it.
How soon after the shutter snapped did we-
Or was it before?
I can't remember.
It's fading, the feel of your skin,
and there is nothing that can bring it back.
But at least I have proof that it happened, and that I
I was happy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

mirrors

late at night when it's morning for you
i pretend that i'm watching you choose
what clothes you will wear that day
the mirrors of your closet doors
still have prints from my shoulders
and the fog of my breath on the glass

you've been spending some time in egypt
with your brother and sister you've seen
sights that i could never attain
and the nights out in newtown with your friends
staggering back home to your bed
do you ever wish i was in it?

some days i just can't stop thinking
about the way you looked at me when
i was lying beside you
but i'm sure you never think of
me with any love
it's all gone now anyway

Friday, January 23, 2009

blue

it was when you touched me that i realized
we were both wearing blue.
somehow that mattered in the grand scheme of things.
i looked through the sliver of air between our chests
and saw that you were still wearing your shoes,
as if you were afraid to take them off.
you picked me up with one arm and spun me around;
i landed with my hips against the counter and the
invisible bruises forming on my ribs already aching.
maybe i shouldn't have leaned back, but i did
and your fingertips floated like butterflies over my collarbone,
barely there and much too real.
it's not that i wouldn't, it's just that you seem unable
to take the time we both need.
i keep telling you it's ok, but you insist on touching me
like the world is ending.
your hands slid along the wool expanse of my back while i said i would see you later.
it was then that i realized we never mean the same thing by goodbye.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

perfect strangers

i'm writing letters to you in my head
wondering if you at all regret
the thousand times you did not reply
to the words that made it out of my mind

the last time we spoke you told me
i was breaking your heart, now you see here
i would have stayed in that airport for days
if it meant we didn't end up this way

we are perfect strangers

i should have saved up all those kisses
i should have savored every minute
how was i to ever know
how hurt you'd be when i let go

we are perfect strangers
we are perfect strangers

i thought i wouldn't mind
but i think of you sometimes
i guess i'm not fine

we are perfect strangers
we are perfect strangers
we are perfect strangers

i'm writing letters to you with my guitar
i have the feeling they won't reach that far
would you listen if they did
maybe i should copy you and quit


listen

Thursday, January 8, 2009

distraction

with my back up against the wall
you are coming toward me to break my fall
out of this moment where it's only us and no one else knows
how much we want to forget it all

we are talking blue streaks as we wait
maybe not, maybe that's hindsight saving face
slip of the tongue and now i've come too far to ever turn back
i'm having trouble staying in my place

i don't want to be a reason you are coming undone
we keep fooling ourselves
saying this is not a distraction

wind blows my hair, a train's coming soon
i just can't shake the feeling of you
a few feet away your stand and wait and all i want is your skin
under my palms and yours under mine too

i don't want to be a reason you are coming undone
we keep fooling ourselves
saying this is just a distraction


listen

Friday, January 2, 2009

defiance/defeat

we are sitting, overlooking the city
our legs touching, hands in pockets
it's been a while and clearly you feel like talking
but my mouth is just a graveyard for my tongue

i'm trying out lines and slowly i find
that i'm confessing my demons
your hands are strong but your touch is light
as we sit in your car with the heat on

where do we go from here?
what do we do from now?
i felt your breath, your weight, your fingertips
aching taking place of a kiss

we're always wishing, our eyes fishing for answers
from each other, from the ground at our feet
trouble is we don't know the questions
so we just sit here in defiance, in defeat

where do we go from here?
what do we do from now?
i felt your breath, your weight, your fingertips
aching taking place of a kiss


listen