taking to your bends 

i hid my poems beneath the curls of your hair. i laid my smile between the layers of your skin and found your touch to be a welcome blanket coming over me. and i took your jeans off for you, wanting to catch you as you are and not as the rest of the world gets to see you.

resting my face on the inside of your thigh, then turning you over and kissing their back, teasing you with suggestions and caresses. i did that. i did it often.

i think it's partly why you continue to come back to me now.

how much of yourself can you give until you reach the point of not being able to take it back? and if that point is never reached, can never be reached, then it's not really giving. it's a farce. because that which is given can never be taken away.

like my grandmother used to tell me, what's yours no one can take away.

and it's true. if it's yours, it's yours. if it can be taken away, well, then it wasn't really yours.

it wasn't given to you at all.

touching you and looking for things, real and fictional, in your hills and valleys, i forgot what it was i was looking for. and all i could think of was the way to and from you.

i left my arms around you long after it was time to place them there again. i tied my mouth around your bends. i licked the salt water off your skin and left behind a trail to find my way back around again.

i hid my poems beneath the curls of your hair. i laid my smile between the layers of your skin and found your touch to be a welcome blanket coming over me. and i took your jeans off for you, wanting to catch you as you are and not as the rest of the world gets to see you.


the things we leave at the corner 

sometimes at the bus stop, sitting on the steps of the old photo studio, i wonder how many of the dogs who pissed on the hydrant did so thinking it was someone's leg. i don't know why i think this, why i wonder this exact thought instead of thinking about the delay in the traffic lights on ferry. but i do. and i have the feeling that if i thought of it someone else must have done so as well. and that if two people are thinking of it, some dog must have done it long ago.

lost in the ironbound 

at first i thought it might be the morning dew and lingering fog. but when it lifted and i still could not find my way, i grew afraid. at every turn another stone blocking my path, and i recognized the names of the streets, but not enough so that i'd find my way. suddenly, i was left to my own devices in the middle of the city that has so often been my sole crutch. i want to know it again. i want to feel it again. how else can i hope to find you? i must first relearn the names of the streets, where they lead, and, most importantly, where they came from.

i'm running down sidewalks chasing people that aren't really there. i remember seeing them once, although i can't recall when or why or even what was said, if anything. so if you do reappear, suddenly and unexpected, you can show me the way home. we'll laugh about things from our past and find a reason to make the trip last longer than usual. not that i'll know how long it should take, but i'll be able to tell from your eyes. i can find the answer to anything and everything in their brown depth. i can see clearly through them as if i was looking at the same thing you are. and i like that. i love that.

at first i thought it might be the morning dew and lingering fog. now i realize that the reason i can't find my way back is because that's not where i need to be. so i'm looking forward. counting my steps just in case i need to double back, but i'm only looking forward. and hopefully, hopefully sooner rather than later, i'll find you along the way. i'll relearn this city and discover a new way to lick your tears away.


warmer. warmer. 

in the days my hand found its way up the inside of your thigh, your skirt was an idle witness watching and admiring as my touch migrated up the warmth of your leg. warmer. warmer. and your mouth to mine, the gravity of desire. and there, in the passenger seat of my car, you took me as best you could - always careful to dispel fact from fiction - and understood me better, at times, than even i could understand myself. so when you left, initially i thought it was something to do with something about myself i was blind to. a detail that escaped me. a bad trait. a weakness. but you continued to come back, loving me shyly and concerned like you did when we first met, before we became home for one another. and during those visits i saw how your eyes still looked at me the same way - the love was not gone! that wasn't the problem. i wasn't something terrible. your heart had not changed course. so rather than dwell in the why, i chose to concentrate on getting you back. i went through all our memories and found a few i couldn't let go. one of which is that of my hand going up your skirt in a moment so intimate she (the skirt) could do nothing but stay out of the way.


Há já muito tempo que não me perco na música dos teus dedos, o silêncio dos segredos que nem a nós mesmos contamos. Mas ao ver o teu sorríso chegando perto de mim (que nem o nascer do sol) pasmo, e canto aquela cantiga bem antiga para nós. O fado que volta a acender o lume nas esquinas dos teus olhos. As lágrimas do teu sorriso são salgadas, e revelam a tristeza que tentas esconder com olhos falsamente contentes. Já te conheço há muito tempo. Ou, pelo menos, parece-me ter passado muito tempo. O amor acelera as horas. Agora travado no tempo, fecho os olhos para me lembrar de ti, e de nós, e os dias passam um pouco mais rápidos. Eles também com sede de ti e da água da tua língua. Sim, continúo a chamar por ti. Usando o teu nome grito, "Amor," mas o amor não volta. Nem com memória nem com qualquer outra estória que a história de reis e raínhas nos queira contar. Não sei para onde foste. Só sei que ao olhar para ti, para as fotos que tenho de ti, falta-me o ar. Chegam ideias, a paixão e o desejo, mas nenhuma palavra. Nenhum mapa que os meus dedos possam seguir até à tua pele. E os teus dedos, a tocar as notas no vento, a música do teu andar. Parece que danças no ar. Volta a vontade da verdade da tua pele. E desejo-te como se deseja um pêssego numa tarde de Verão. E quero-te como se quer ser rico, amado, desejado e querido. Apetece-me a tua voz rouca a arranhar os meus poemas que lês em voz alta, no teu quarto, em noites que não queres adormecer sózinha. Não chegam as fotos que os momentos tiraram com os meus olhos. Preciso de ti. Preciso de ti porque o por do sol deixa-me sózinho com o nada do meu mundo sem ti. Preciso de ti porque sem ti não há dias. Nem sequer há horas, minutos, segundos. Não há tempo. Estou preso no nada, e é tudo apenas o que deixou de ser. Pausam as nuvens e as rodas dos automóveis. Não há tinta para te desenhar em verbos e adverbos, adjectivos e superlativos que se prendem na garganta da caneta presa nos meus dedos. Esta mesma caneta que te procura na pele da página. Estes mesmos dedos que te procuram na pele doutras. Estes mesmos dedos que choram por ti e pelas lágrimas do teu sorriso. Aquele mar cheio de àgua salgada e saudade. E entre isto tudo, apesar disto tudo, entre o veludo de visitas e despedidas, memórias despidas do teu corpo nu, lá chegam meses, estações do ano, feriados. Passa-se um ano, 365 razões para encontrar amor nos braços de outra paixão. Somos diferentes do amor inicial, somos pessoas por quem nunca nos apaixonámos. Mas quando passas por mim, leve como a brisa matinal, a madrugada é doce tal e qual a música dos teus dedos. Não há medo do adeus, e o segredo do que fomos convida um sorriso que apenas serve para me lembrar ainda mais de ti. Por isso, envio-te um beijo pelas cantigas do vento, aquelas com letra escrita nos dias em que tu também sonhavas comigo. Volta em breve. Volta brevemente.





ice and destiny 

amid the dark stares of a dark room, i sit at the bar spilling notions of quotients into a glass of ice and destiny. and strangers may look, i don't really bother to look. it's dead and silent here, like the end of a cave. it'll do for now.

if i could give back my drinks i'd hold you near again. we'd set out for all the plans we once had. we'd do it again as if everything can be brand new a second time around.

what i'm trying to say is that i'll love you again. i will love you. i will set up a ladder and climb, come for you. lure you out of the end of the forest i can't seem to reach. this forest of buildings and poles, with street lights for stars and puddles for oceans. i will pull you out of this town like i pulled the air out of your lungs with my kiss. i will leave my thirst behind and find a different way to get around the days. i'll touch you like you used to like and make it so that i never stop again.

i know i come and go like the breeze, that my mind is everywhere at once, but i'm just looking for more amazing things to show you. i'm searching earth and sky for something to keep you with. and if you want me to stop and just be me, then i will just continue to search for more things because that is the way i am. you would not want me any other way. not really. not really wanting like you wanted.

so i'll finish this last drink and head out. i'll search this place for anything you... and if i fail to come up with something, i'll find this stool again and get a refill of ice and destiny.

science of the flesh 

not so long ago, learning your curves and curbs was a new frontier, a science of pleasure to perfect in the hopes of being your latest and last lover. jubilation when you randomly called me in the middle of the day to tell me that you couldn't wait until night to see me because you'd bought a new lip-gloss and wanted to make certain i liked it. "come taste it on my lips," you said, and went on to add that if i wanted you to you'd go and fetch a whole box of it because, you said, we were getting to the point of liking all the same things.

i learned to brew tea the way you liked it, and you told everyone that you would only drink tea prepared by me. and that made me the happiest tea brewer in the world. i went on to learn how to brew coffee as well, stopping at the store on malvern street to pick up imported colombian coffee, with just enough richness, and making it dark and smooth the way your mother taught you to take it. dark and smooth like the small of your back.

i stop on the steps of my recollections and pick up the pieces of you left behind, shards of someone time and circumstance stole away. it's getting time to make new memories, i know. i'm certain you, too, try to move on. but you're lying if you say it's easy. i won't believe you for even a fraction of a breath stolen mid-kiss. you know this as well as i because you still make excuses to come see me at work, and you still carry my chain with you - the one i wore until you asked for it, claiming you wanted a piece of me close to your heart.

not so long ago, or at least it feels that way to me, you were a new science to master. and then i learned my way around your body, mastered your shortcuts as i have this town's, and am yet to forget the taste of your lip-gloss on my lips, neck, chest, arms, stomach....


revelation on alyea street 

you knew an old way of saying goodbye and that sufficed for the time being what it was. i don't recall much of those other streets, but if by another name they roam i guess i'll have to try and understand. "make an effort like you do for the things you love so much." you said that with disdain, to cut and hurt. to infect the way i was so that i may become another way but i could not. could not be differently. when suddenly it seemed the only way, i betrayed the intention of the self and gave up the words and their worlds, the understanding, the erratically human emotions. i want to know it like the ingredients of your perfume, but i don't know how. or perhaps my mind is just filled to the brim with all the ingredients that go into making you.

bigger than this 

there are things bigger than love, like hope and destiny. this i know. but there are none as sweet. none as ripe as it for the tasting of the soul. there are things bigger than love, yes, but none as sweet as tasting your skin.

i think of my father, and of the things he did in coming here. all he left behind. the little he found here. it was hope that drove him. it was destiny. i don't know how these terms operate. i am not comfortable thinking about the predetermined because i am lousy at making plans. i can't even put myself together, how can i compose thoughts regarding that which is unknown? i can't. i won't attempt to.

i would rather take in this weak, morning sun and dwell in my memories of you. of living in that corner behind your ear, on the edge of your sweet smelling neck. and leaving it was like falling off the edge of a cliff. and i was afraid, at first. i was afraid for some time to follow as well. but now they're just memories.

there are things bigger than love, love, but none as sweet as your name spelled out in the sand. or in the sky. or anywhere i have a chance to see it, to taste you again. because i need you in order to understand all the things that are bigger than me.


time and the stars 

time is slow, but oh, so very fleeting. in its slow ticking it constantly adds up to more. numbers are more than infinite. the names and dates are recycled. but you and i, love, are so very different now.

like the clocks, we are passing by. like the hands of the minutes and hours, the seconds come along and remind me of you. every second is another memory. another infinite added upon the already infinite distance between us.

i once kissed you under the clock by the ballantine. it wasn't romantic, it was stolen. it was cute more so than anything else. and you didn't react at all. you just smiled and said, "unexpected, like a falling star." in retrospect, i wonder how long one takes to burn out? or do they find a way to keep burning, like an old love?

time is slow, indeed - yet who but the stars can testify to such?


in the dark 

the streets and avenues are draped in darkness, there isn't enough light to show me the way. and while i've memorized any and all possible ways, paths and shortcuts, i no longer know how to get close to you. when we meet, it is always you coming to me.

so you come to see me, and your smile makes me forget everything i've ever wanted to remember. i'm a child again. i need to be told it's all ok. somehow, you're aware of this, and as we sit under and amid the darkness you tell me you need us to embrace. i oblige, as always, completely devoid of all my thoughts and notions of strength and firmness. in a moment of weakness we share a kiss. the type of kiss we had on those in-between afternoons. the type of kiss our lips adapt to the lips of a lover for no particular reason. just 'cause. just 'cause i want to taste you for a second. and then we sit silently, lost in the darkness, fumbling for a way to bridge who we were and these two fools in the dark.

as we pull away, the constellation of your eyes and smile brings some light after all. radiant, we are at the sun of the world that is this town, in a constellation called love. or memory of such. it's not so dark anymore. and even as my eyes adjust, i can see that you will always be home.


loudest whispers 

for all the loud non-sense, and despite everyone who thinks they can make their point by shouting louder than all those in the right, i can only hear a faint echo of your voice whispering me to sleep. a serenade coming back through memory. only, i'm not in the mood to sleep. and even if i were, i doubt i'd be able to do so over all the shouting in this place.


should i see you before i run into you again 

should i see you before i run into you again, i don't know whether i'll use the conversation i was saving for when i was to see you again or whether i'll just go with the moment. i'm very confident with the scripts i concoct in anticipation of seeing you again, but they're written for the purpose of seeing you again and not for running into you. they might not fit the moment. they may prove too awkward for that, or too scripted. i want the next time i run into you to be spontaneous and from the heart, because if it's otherwise it might just be like the times i see you, which, while great, are not like running into you. running into you is unexpected. it's a pleasant surprise. it's a ray of sunshine when i've been expecting rain all along. and just like the rain, the times i see you are great. i enjoy the rain. i more than enjoy seeing you. but i'm just playing a part then, whereas when i run into you i don't have time to get into character. i'm just me. the same me you used to love, different from the perfected version of myself i type into my scripts. so should i see you before i run into you again, don't judge me harshly. know that i'm just being as close to the original me as i possibly can right now, even if by trying i'm not being very original at all.


the trees walking branch in branch 

if i stay up late enough, i can look out my window in the twilight forgotten by both day and night, those forgotten hours, and watch as the trees go walking branch in branch. i feel alive in their vivacity. it gives me hope that there is much i don't see. because of it i can imagine that maybe the river enjoys skipping stones off the ripples of the avenue, and the cars open and shut their doors in an urban chorus of metal, and the clouds come down and they're really cotton candy and it just makes the whole town smile in the absence of rain. you see, because the trees walk all these other things are possible, even if not real, and the world is that much more beautiful for it. oh, how much beauty lies in promise. i don't have to see it to believe it. it's faith in the minute details of the lives we often forget we're living. it's reaching out to the angels and insects alike. it's knowing that there is a universe that evades my eyes, and that it's beautiful and full of promise. i'll turn in early tonight, dream of touching you one more again with my thirsty fingertips, and wake up tomorrow high off the perfume you wore in my dream. and as i gather my belongings and walk past the window in the morning, i'll notice the footprints the trees left behind. and i'll smile in recognition. it'll be like love, a secret i want to share with the world but can't, because the words evade my lips. like the universes from my eyes. i know they're there, i just don't know where to look. and the trees, waiting for the hours between the days to walk branch in branch. i feel alive in their vivacity.



what's a word? a creation born out of meaning. i see a rock, i want to tell the world about it, i name it 'rock,' but someone else has already named it 'stone.' the word is a symbol, a stand-in, for when i wish to recall the rock but don't have one with me. i say it's name, shut my eyes, and there it is. rock. stone. different name, but the picture is the same. this is all well enough, but what about when people use the same word but see different pictures; like 'god' and 'love'?


flowers and hours 

when i see orchids, and roses, and tulips, rise up out of the cement, i understand all my longing and the nature of my love for you. because nothing is completely a product of its environment, because we all start somewhere, i found beauty when all around me was the numb nothing of a town that fell asleep too early. and the roads and bridges are empty, and it seems as if the passaic, too, is napping under the shade of the trees along the boulevard, and the steps to my house are a perfect place to sit and admire this album i construct for you out of words. it's as if they, too, are flowers borrowed to add some beauty. so when i see flowers, i think of our hours and how the outside didn't really matter. it was us who were the petals of the riff the night played in its own mind - the gift of sound. like your voice repeating verses i wrote for you and recited matter-of-fact one night when i thought you were sleeping. i didn't remember writing them, just recognizing the feelings in the words as you whispered them to me in bed, knowing them so well that the authorship of the verses was obvious. evident was your voice against the noise of passing time, like orchids, and roses, and tulips, rising up out of the cement.


ball and chain 

sometimes, being shackled to something can be quite liberating. sometimes, in fact, it can be liberty itself. this is especially true when what you're shackled to is something small, something you can take with you. this way, it can always remind you, at an instant's notice, of just how good it can be. in those moments you realize, that it is actually that which you thought you were shackled to, that is irretriavably shackled to you.

(still) our bed 

this bed is empty without you, but emptier still because once we filled it together. had you never shared it with me, your former side, spot, whatever, wouldn't be so alone, it wouldn't even be yours. it'd just be the side of the bed with no one on it, rather than being the side of the bed with no you on it.

this bed was just big enough for us, small enough to give me an excuse to lay my arms and legs across you (and yours across me). but it's now too big, too big for just me and my longing. the pillows and sheets, they, too, miss you.


of colors and lack thereof 

our love was of a different sort. we always had the things no one else knew possible to have, the way we bent things to have them. and so, i always saw you in black and white. the rest of the world was full-color, but you, and everything about you, came to me in black and white.

i knew your colors. don't know how, but i knew them. knew the tone of your flesh, the different tints arbitrarily switching from light to dark where the sun had flirted with your skin. knew the color of your hair and eyes, the different shades of your nouns and verbs. i still know all of this.

but despite all your colors, i always saw you in black and white, and i took that to be a symbol of what we had. something different, something that wasn't trying to be anything other than what it was. and i think that bothered you. i think you felt as if you couldn't be the ways i saw you as being when that was never a concern. you didn't need to worry. you didn't have to burden yourself to be anything other than what you were. you weren't perfect despite your imperfections; you were perfect because of them.

if ever you wish it weren't so, should you want me to give you some color with the pallet of my eyes, all you need to do is say so. and i will climb up one side of the rainbow and bring back all the color you can ever want.

when you smile 

when you smile like that, it's like the secret lives of objects come out. everything has a name. everything claims a home. but it doesn't matter. despite all the magical details, i only see your smile.

you bend the rays of light and unweave the snow out of the mountains. in this town, the birds, cars, cement and fire hydrants vanish. everything goes away. vanishes without a second's notice. and you and i, afraid to vanish as well, would hide under the river that you so graciously lifted up as you would a rug.

all of this from your smile. all of it.

when you smile like that, the clocks pause to stare, the air clears up just enough to allow a glimpse at the night sky, and the truth finally comes out from behind the alibis and preaches to the one-way streets about the importance of tolerance. it seems we all wish we were headed elsewhere.

when you smile, my lips can't help but head for yours.


damned if i don't 

in moments when i get the urge to hold you and can't find you, i fear that by learning to deal with the pain i'll lose my ability to love. it's happened in the past. never to this degree, but it's happened like this. i've learned to deal with the longing. with the lack of. and while i became stronger for it, i did so at the cost of the attachment i felt. i learned how to cope by building a wall around me and keeping everyone out. those i love, those i loved, and even those i may come to love. in order to prevent the pain from reaching me i shut out the world. i shut my eyes and slept alone at the foot of the divider. so when i get the urge to hold you and can't find you, i ponder the benefits of holding the wall instead. but walls, as we both know, tend to prove way too large for my small, longing arms.

a day shy of tomorrow 

it's colder than is usual for this time of year. the days want to be warm and the nights want to be cold and i, i don't want to be anything at all.

leave me be in the shadow of the morning when the sun is not yet intent on burning me to a crisp. find me bare in the weak light of the rock bigger than all the stars. it's all a matter of perception. how many of those stars could swallow the moon whole and yet to us they seem so small. like a lover's eyes.

i'm reaching out to understand the world, but i don't even begin to understand myself because i, too, am too far away to resemble my actual size.


parts of speech 

i thought love was a hyperbole, until i met you and realized that words could do you no justice. even what i write here isn't for you, or even for love, it's for me. for me to remember i lived once. for me to remember the opium of your saliva and the dust of gold you leave behind to trail you like my puppy eyes. i thought love was a hyperbole until i saw in you its personification and how the metaphors flew out of your mouth like bubbles underwater. yes, i was mistaken about love, but to say i don't know what i'm talking about is itself a hyperbole. i have, after all, already met you in person.

late for you 

even the quieter parts of this city have asked for you. where are you, my love?

i don't know if you recall, but here, as they rush to work, people resemble headless chickens running around. they don't know why they do it. they just do. kind of like my hands with you. never knowing why. just content to do so. alive in doing so. rushing up and down you like being late for work. except my hands never met with traffic. even when you left me, it wasn't for someone else. it never had anything to do with anyone else. just us. no other cars on the road. just you staring in my eyes and my hands running up and down you like one of those who is late for work.



i don't know what i'm doing anymore. i don't know how i feel. i can't read myself. don't understand. it's beyond me. it's all beyond me.

some days i can't get enough of you. i pray to whom ever is listening that i'll see you. i search for you. search these streets for you. walk and drive and it's like everything is in mute. everything is moving at half-speed. i walk past old women sweeping their steps and think of how their younger days must have been spent. i drive past the baseball field and the bright lights make me forget the road. i'm searching my own mind and thinking of the irony of not knowing what it is i'm seeking.

some days i can't get enough of you. other days i can't take this place. and i come up with getaway plans and plots to leave. i sketch maps and blueprints of where i'll end up but i misplace everything. and i forget i ever drew up anything at all.

i keep going back and forth on you. on you and this place. and i can't take it anymore. i really can't take it any more.

today might finally be the day i remove your picture from my wallet. i think i'm ready today.
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