so you looked for your own answer
in long necked green bottles like
the ones found by the sea, except by
your ribs like washed up trees in liquid gold,
watered down happiness and tidal sadness,
you spoke so often of morning after
headaches and the way he pushed too
hard into you at dawn, that i
never wanted to know you —
but the way your eyelashes rested
on your cheekbones, whenever you reminisced
told me you wanted
to die —
dear tired, tired eyes, i felt misery
wash off your skin and blaze the air on
mine, you were
acidic love in the bluest skies, you were
slit wrists in bed at 3 am, you were
stiffness choking on your own soul,
silenced by your pillow, tangled
legs under furrowed sheets and furrowed eyes,
not alone. your scars stayed
with you, keeping you awake until the darkness
began to fade from the sky;
you absorbed it.
you drank the night and stars
like a child eager to prove they were
grown, mature — when the last drop of
darkness misted, the sky filled with dawn —
you were too full to drink more.
so you dripped away, leaving behind
grey clouds with no silver linings,
sore limbs, cold fingers and toes,
too late to dream but
too early, too early to ever move.
collaboration with lan, (navyblue-winds)
i am drinking much too bitter boxed peach juice, thinking about you,
thinking ‘bout you, thinkin’ ‘bout you.
the constellations taunt me with their small distance,
you always said you wanted to sleep on the stars,
and you always get what you want.
the clouds are thick with rolling sound,
my voice is lined with vancouver sea salt,
and now the ceiling has flattened eyes
compared to the easygoing surf.
your letters are far too crumpled to be legible,
and i peeled back the stamps two weeks ago
to try and hear the wash of your voice —
all i received was stickiness and a papercut.
the time you usually wake up —
the time i usually slam my eyelids shut,
weathered and feeling widowed.
this morning, i am too much in love with you.
you are gathering in my epithelial lung lining,
it is getting hard to breathe as the sky lightens
and bluebirds circle the oak we slept under, once.
my bones are much to heavy,
one more night without you
is another night chasing death
and you are not in the stars
nor the spaces in between them,
nor the curve of the crescent moon,
nor the nebula’s dust altogether,
nor the invisible shadows of airplanes,
nor the heaviest footsteps breaking the nothingness,
nor the whitening sky,
nor the birds nor the worms nor the coffee nor the rising sun,
but in yesterday and yesterday’s yesterday and that day’s yesterday,
and all the crevices and cracks and edges i cannot reach with my broken wrists.
The first words she ever said to him:
“I can feel the salt washing up against the city a thousand miles away.”
The first words he ever said to her:
Her eyes were dull in the morning mist, sleepy and lidded and they were standing under the weathered streetlamp.
A pause — waiting.
Nervous fumbling and the sound of rubber soles grinding against uneven pavement —
Shuffling feet and white winter breaths being let out slowly. It was too early. Only November.
She spun on her heels, walked away. He could see her hair dampening with the webs of mist clinging to her head and the small of her back sinking into the fog.
“Would you like my umbrella?”, he whispered after her — an afterthought.
Her eyes were green-blue;
His high school girlfriend’s voice back on the maritime coastline, hazy in his memory.
The water was too warm, too salty.
They stayed in the canoe all night, in each others’ arms, too far from shore for the lighthouse to see.
Shivers rippled into his body too abruptly. He shook himself and pressed his lips together, hard.
i. the road is clean
you spoke with absolute clarity
and the sky was pale blue.
ii. think i’m finally going somewhere
i drummed my fingers on the scorching plastic,
twisted the wheel to the left and left again,
you hummed with quiet lips to the radio
and summer songs swept our tongues
away into the backs of our throats.
our hearts caught like barbed wire fences.
iii. you are sinking below the horizon
i felt the sun creep up between my shoulder blades,
ripeness dropped down below zero,
i said bye, clutched your fingers tightly in mine
but your bones diminished until i was alone.
i felt the sun on my back.
iv. and i will scatter your ashes over the highest mountains
i pressed an aluminum urn against my chest,
my breaths replaced the measured second hand,
i tapped your sombre tomb,
your eyes were bluer than the misty hills,
i was met with vast nothingness.
i wanted to kiss every zero you sent me.
v. you will hang over the city
and i am the smog over smothered roofs,
heavy with sweat and brand new heartache,
waiting for you to meet me halfway in the wheat fields.
I woke up drowning.
I thought of your sea washed eyes and I remember the black washing in, quick and flat.
The girl next door spoke of calm glass waters more lethal than choppy gun shore waves. I sat tall and traced twisting cigarette smoke toward the blue skies while autumn leaves twisted toward the dirt. Bent and broken. Watched her lips shape the air and her shadowy hair lie and shiver against her cheekbones.
She told me I had so much to live for. Told me not to die.
She spoke in the soft voice that made my spine supple in the wind. I felt the cobwebs shake from the bottoms of my eyelashes and fall to my knees. She told me to look her in the eyes but I just kept staring down at the chipped curb. The pavement was ice against my turned in bare feet.
Northern winds lifted her bangs from her forehead. I felt her breath against my bony shoulder. She told me about the sun and the stars in the coldest sea. The way lights were strewn into constellations like city maps pointing home. My lungs felt warm and fresh. Like another way to inhale.
She told me living meant more than just taking breaths to stay. More than thin carbon existence. I don’t understand.
I thought of your eyes blackened by the sea. Washed under the surface and poured out so watery and thin. For you, the red sun set so quick and flat.
She told me I had so much to live for. I closed my eyes and saw your dimples. I don’t understand.
During the night, the stars were all washed off the shore. Dead stars staring with glass eyes at the lonely skies.
i met a boy under seventeen skies
he was dark, i was lost
the rainy sky that night tasted
like scarlet tears and ripping wind
a rush of wine through a pair of lungs
a steady heart that beat and wept
we stood under the cold blue moon
and stared at all the lonesome stars
in constellations like white sewing thread
he shook the shadows from his hair
they crawled like cobwebs into the river
drifting through the sifting state
between sleep and light
dawn seeps up through cobblestones
rising voices stir the clouds
rising voices drip from the edges of night
i met a boy under wallpaper skies
and it was bone cold
and we were dimensionless until sunrise
This is my half notebook, where I record thoughts formed in the shapes between the clouds, letters to the blackbird boy and the shades of steam flowing into the air from the kettle.
The sky is a solid blue today, like a fresh coat of glossy paint spread evenly over the ceiling and I hear a ghost’s whisper in the air shifting between the branches of and coating the leaves of a green maple tree a couple metres from the playground I am sitting in. I am leaning against yellow metal bars, all paint chipped and scalding from the auburn heat. I can see the grey layers peeking out from behind peeled back yellow skin, a metal that speaks of children’s thundering feet and fumbling hands. The worn texture is like the wrinkled face of an elder, full of wisdom pulling at folds of skin.
Autumn’s bony fingers are settling into the soft flesh of summer’s air and light is shining on the underside of a pine tree as the sun sets into a plump slumber. It is not quite sunset, but the quietness that accompanies a half mast moon is already creeping up on the loudness of the day like a wolf behind an unsuspecting elk.
I am writing without a well defined purpose now, simply absorbing the pleasure resulting from drawing a black ink pen across a blue lined page, simply to splatter my emotions onto an empty canvas. I am writing letters to the dead willow’s ashes, the bones of the ocean and the island’s craggy skin. I am writing to you, in everything around me.
a boy with a spine,
a boy with a spine and the lies
leaking from pretty tear ducts,
flaccid under starstruck pine trees,
the boy with the evergreen eyes
spoke smoke rings spun from lips
silver sterling pierced, spoke smoke
film sheets run from sinking ships and
hips like starling whips,
he threw red wine with fists
and blades and cracked ribs, cracked
lies like hard iced eyes on the rocks,
threw sea blue razor stars
like hues that could slice past
cardiac tissue and stop your —
heart, dropped red telephone
dropped calls and black static
dropped glass nail polish
dropped convulsing lungs and erratic
pulse with the veins unplugged, cobalt
blood spurting waves and waves of sea
salt sting and unopened envelopes
scattered on the watery night tile floor
to the boy with a spine,
to the boy with all the lies and the
aren’t you a sleeping sickness, aren’t
you three am calls in nausea, aren’t you
the one who could burn up the
city burgundy, neon intoxication
with your cigarette smile so much
like the lighter fluid you are
it’s one of those cold summer mornings and
i’m standing in front of the window, (icy but
also soft to the touch) like a flat diamond
skidding light over the textured walls.
there is a girl downstairs in a wheelchair
struggling to maneuver around the throes of
people and the waves of noise spewed from
lips so painted, eyes so numb.
i am drinking tea in a coffee cup, glossamer
and brick in layers, like irises with no pupil;
the liquid heats my fingers to the bone, sears
sheets of skin but soothes hurried blood.
the girl is beautiful, lakewater eyes speckled with
flecks of ink and a beating heart of
sunlight blood like a delicate flood that threatens
multiple pairs of raw pink lungs all at once.
i am but an invisible cloak, lucid drifting like
warm waters dancing along the coastline, salt
kissing washed pebbles without romance,
transparency burning into the core of my vacuum.
On the outskirts of the small town I used to live in, where the highway winds off into a dirt path with not quite enough gravel to cover the dirt cheap road is a dusty canvas lawn chair and a welcome sign with three letters scratched off.
I stop my car at the shoulder, roll up my windows. Feel my sneaker hit the pavement. The so-called “air” clings onto my skin and I struggle even to draw in a lung-full.
A painted arrow points vaguely toward the left, even though there is nothing but overgrown grass fields. Someone has taken neon orange spray paint and crudely scrawled an arrow pointing directly downward. Someone else has scribbled permanent marker faces all with dull flat eyes.
There isn’t anything here past the dying wind combed fields besides the dusk colours and a ton of dust swirling in the atmosphere. The pinkish orange tinge is like a blanket that rests on dirt and not much else.
A skateboard decal has been slapped onto the corner of the wooden sign. It reads: “stop here”. A violent X has been spray painted onto the faded teal lawn chair seat in black.
It’s bold and hard. It hasn’t been worn down with the weather like everything else here seems to have been. Stop here.
I dig the toe of my shoe into the gravel and scrape it around. Feel the heat on the back of my neck and the single sweat droplet trail down my spine. My eyes drift down the edge of the sign and I see a bouquet of flowers resting in the dirt.
They are fresh, the colour still vibrant in the petals like blood coursing through a set of veins.
I wonder who became cold. I wonder how old this person was, how they took their coffee, whose name was on their lips. I wonder how their tears tasted, whether they belonged under the sunset or the sunrise, if they were more alive in the lake or the ocean.
I shut my eyes tight. Pull in a hard breath, fast.