Seeking Physical Presence In A Stock Photo

Teenage intuition seeks alternatives to baring witness
Conversations  delayed till no longer relevant

Legs run
Tracing root systems to river’s edge
Flames whisper from peripheral’s blur
Time capsule’s accordance
Flesh is buried
Trinkets sewn of heart string
Reunite with hand prints on hinges
Pulling heavy breath through narrow openings
Stumbling still abled
Safety in knowing but not showing face,
Translated shoe laces missing
Tied a knot somewhere
Stopped the bleeding for a little while longer
Scrapbook sheets left behind
Licked a stamp as last chance exit
To be returned anywhere
Except every moment not shared

A picture framed
Gravel roads kaleidoscope stained
Porch light projecting a phosphorescent montage of letters kept
Context shown as postscript flashbacks
Narrated by voices in tones of bodies present,
Pressed together pen under skin
Wrote in cursive slender yet elegant,
A signature and hyphen followed by
A smile with some numbers added
Replaced the thought of never seeing you

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Feather Weight

A kiss creased into a back pocket
Smiled unexpectedly
In reference to a present opened on Christmas,
An item thoughtful and needed
Following a fence post wanted

A knock prior
Passively echoing a feeble voice
Whispering

Shake dry the sultry atmosphere
A brush of moist air passing through

Dive down stairs like submarines learning to sink
Releasing ballast out of habit
Plunge mechanical
Skin rusting
Oiled joints moving with effort
Onto couch cushions-
The very bottom yet just beginning to,
This is where it begins

Trading finger prints with hand shakes-
A continued attempt to show these arms are
Harmless
Continually striving for contact

Laughter asunder
Subtle oxygen deprivation
Pupils dilate in accordance
With action perceived,
Teeth reveal themselves
Peaking around the corners of a mouth worn upward

Ambient gossamers of cerulean float freely
Between
Two telescopes meeting-
Bashful harmony brushed gently
Into the inner folds
Of knees swollen,
Wading water convinced pressure
Could crush such a thing

A throat ladened dry
Spoke as if swallowed by
The undertow
Gave response to tension-
A note to be read
Until the words are wet and impassive

Wait To Be Seated

Cups of orange juice spilt
Over minor street vocabulary words,
Spoken softly sifted
Through subtle smoke signals
And parenthesis, cued laughter genuine
And honest caught between pauses in sentences
Off timed phrases- “I could piss in the street”
“Well wouldn’t that be a sight to see” she says smiling, quirky
And clueless the silverware hasn’t been touched
Excuses brushed aside with hand motions,
Shy tongues napkins used
To clean the table stumble with
Meaningless phrases like
“I’ll have the chicken cordon bleu”
And “I love you”

Asunder

Sleep within us Great Bear
Ever shifting as we wander, oh beautiful
Land of unknown pockets and
Crevices brimming with innumerable
Narratives passing passing by,

Not a minute before ten
The car speeds seventy-five,
Landscapes and hands collapse in cacophony
Speaking a crossbred language of consciousness and abundance,
Stopping at a river coloured meadow unassuming
Stopping at a crosswalk downtown Traverse City
Nursing cups of tea noticing that familiar feeling
Of being somewhere previously unexplored,

Fervently kind, comfortably gentle
At sight this trio of denim and nylon would be
Placed in a coffee shop cloud cover casting threats of rain,
A map would have us be bountiful-
A brilliant constellation dotting the state,

Every footprint or photo taken
Becoming another piece set free still to Michigan’s wilderness-
A story a few years from now
Seen in a valley deep down a field
Between monoliths Dwarf Iris blooming
With the colour of our laughter

Driving home felt like night turning to day

As It Is

Joy consummates the soul, sews the ragged seams of one’s heart shut, cleans the wound and filters that putrid mud which has soiled the liquid purity of blood. All to often however, failure is accepted- falling asleep to Parks and Rec. caked in sweat with the volume up so damn loud your own dismal conceptions drown without a second thought, whispering compliments into whiskey bottles hoping they’ll return the favor with friendship become hobbies. When not working or studying for twenty years of debt these are the things that occupy us. No more do we dream of grand fantasies or shout impossibilities to the heavens as if we ourselves are the gods the oceans answer to. No, we are but human, idle and defeated existing under ironbound weights; our skin a canvas of lacerations exclusively okay, never better, never worse.

To find joy, fleeting as it always is, is to realize that the innocent idea of “infinity” lasts a measurable amount of time. A first kiss unexpected and rushed on a school night walking briskly home before Mother realizes that you’re thirty minutes late for dinner, a road trip in rust lasting a week of curse words and cigarettes- I left my accent in West Virginia, the smell however, stayed for another ten days. Each petty attempt at holding back a smile that would strike a sun in the darkness of my gut remained for as long as needed. For a measurable amount of time the chains were lifted, arteries were allowed to heal, the heart allowed to beat. Let this body be a map of cuts and bruises, perpetually determined to convalesce as much as I suffer, I will find my way home cleansed and honest if only for a moment.

Only As Much

An accumulation of truth hell
Bent on seeing end result, a tree fell
Silent somewhere, maybe north
Where I first learned to fish or to
The east seen signaled as
Embers of a family
Photo being burned beneath cedar blossoms
And cut-off jeans, processed to paper printed
A love note in legal text, an obligation
To let you down, do it now
To save a scene,

What do I have to know
An insistent intervention
An addiction to a drug that runs
Through my veins, I am half my mother
Half my father, half ex-husband
Half failed marriage half-proof alcohol,
One-hundred percent a portrait of love’s incompetence

What do I need to know

Sundry summer day, bees kissing
Blackberry florets, sitting expected but
Unaware on picnic table watching
Jack russell bathe in black dirt-Friday
Contemplating coming sunset,
Walked out tapped flannel crossed
Shoulder, handed document
Recited rehearsed structure,
Coming out in murmur spilling
Over labor and birthdays
Anniversaries and being buried without
The matriarch holding your heart
In requited ardor, a rush
Of words thin as blood weakened
Pulling distance from existence,
Signed your stone separated and alone,
I’ll lay next to you

An Epilogue of You and I

Settling for
Sand falling in precipital pattern,
A cloud cupped in your hands
Formed an hourglass spoke nothing of
Coincidence rather, we watched
Intently the flipped motion picture
Of a mountain evanesce into transparent mist

Potentially blunt ignorance
Or just enjoying a sentient moment
Of naivety, loosely strung
Cotton clothing embraced the moisture
As gift from Lake Michigan,
Shaving warmth from skin
To accept this weight felt closer in sharing
something other than a kiss,
It seemed limitless
The possibility of being able
To walk anywhere

Barren feet beget tandem path
Turned twisted pulling memories from momentum
And the smallest actions go unnoticed
Distance in inconspicuous space
Hinting at inevitable outcome,

Breathing-a mercurial montage
Fizzling forth collective images
Immortalized in wet cement
Chalk drawings of cigarettes
Lighting up caves of empty
Fields between hair and glistening cheekbones,

And the last grain of sand stumbles
Triumphantly to earth
And we felt such relief