FILM NOIR — A Villanelle

When will love feel like the movies again?
I have sacrificed my youth for boredom.
Sick of lukewarm days, of meaningless men.

He does not touch my heart or move my pen.
I once breathed electric, now I cry numb.
When will love feel like the movies again?

I used to be in love, Amen, Amen.
I miss the bliss of being overcome.
Sick of lukewarm days, of meaningless men.

Will I ever feel like I felt back then?
Whatever bleeds recklessness, I crave some.
When will love feel like the movies again?

Does the earth remember us, way back when?
To mimic the way our heartstrings would strum.
Sick of lukewarm days, of meaningless men.

We are starving for original sin.
Bad man, I suffocate under your thumb.
When will love feel like the movies again?
Sick of lukewarm days, of meaningless men.

THE LITERATURE OF LEARNING ME

You are fluent in the language of making my soul speak.
I wonder where you store the volumes of how to love me,
whether they stand like civil war soldiers in alphabetical rows,
occupying the vacancies between thin fingers. A, B, C… do you see me?
Do they live in your core, breathless encyclopedias of how to fan the flames
within the woman on fire?
An instruction manual, perhaps, of how to hold me?
I know they exist somewhere because you do it
like you were the breath that mumbled me into existence.
And you must have studied well, memorized that volume L
means Listen. That the girl in your arms has a mouth
where a heart should sleep, and it will run, run, run away,
but never from you.
You have learned that volume O tells the story of Only.
Me, I am only so much. Only atoms and laughing matter,
tangled hair and forgetfulness. Sometimes motionless sunshine,
other times trembling rain. But only ever me. And you are the only
one who speaks me now, the rest of them
have sacrificed my dialect to mute, wordless gods.
V stands for violet. The color we think in,
of faint purple veins and velvet words.
Of royalty. Of tenderness.
The pigment of our dreams.
And finally, volume E.
Easy.
L
O
V
E
is hardly ever such. But with you, it is as easy
as listening to the voice of violet petals unfolding silently in the springtime.
Only you.
Only you are aware of how easy it is to hear my heartbeat.

you didn’t ask, but

1.

i played with safety scissors again, and now i have those same floppy bangs hanging stupidly on my forehead like back when i could still write good poetry and we still kissed and couldn’t predict that we’d ever have to stop.

your hands are not the last i’ve held. i’ve clutched others since you left. at the movies. on the curb behind my car. the summit of bleachers at a football game. a talent show audience. on someone’s bed. and none of them were yours but they all squeezed just as tightly. forgive me, it was perfectly evil.

3.

i miss you in pitiful snippets. like sundays. when no one dances with me in the living room. when there is no one to argue about tomatoes with. in that finite discomfort hanging in the air when someone asks how you are. how i wish i knew enough to tell them. i am still justifying your ghost.

thank you for the excessive exclamation points in your merry christmas text message. i am coming to terms with the fact that i am a passing thought, your little five second obligation.

i wanted to die that night and yet i still wished for your warmth.

5.

i’m not doing as well as you think i am. but you probably don’t think of me at all, right?

6.

don’t answer that. please.

The Dream I Dream

after Les Misérables,
“I Dreamed A Dream.”

You haunt my dreams.
Not as phantom nor ghost
of ages past, but as you were
our final summer,
all hazelnut-eyed, soft gold.
In this fractured reverie
we dance. Spinning, I clutch
your fragile frame against mine–
no fairytale fluff, but real blood
and tangled muscle, chemical bonds
welding together like wax
on wick, rewritten.

Relearn the sanctity of how
you felt in my hands.
Relearn the static weight
of your pulse, force field fingerprints–
how they tasted on tangerine afternoons.
Relearn me relearning you.

I wake in pink haze, shrouded
in stiff blankets. Empty bed, skin
charred by old flame.
I feel you still, broken music–
the ache of suspension
between reality and illusion.
I deem it “The Romantic’s Hangover”
intoxicated by love unconscious,
roused to familiar loss,
tasting its hollows as if
for the first time, sickly,
sickly sweet.

It seems as if I have lost you
again, somewhere in that candy floss
cavity between sleep and wake,
between present and past,
as we tumbled into soft Sunday kisses
and imaginary car rides to nowhere,
I have lost you again.

Nightmare lover,
you live in the goosebumps
that rise when I do–
to a world we no longer live in,
reality unwritten.

INDEPENDENCE

is breathing fine without you
brave, or weak? am i strong
for letting you go, or foolish
for letting you slip?
you are Icarus descending
through the hairline cracks of youth,
final lost tooth, last prayer
uttered by believing lips.
you are a fixed memory
dose of serotonin and
i am not an addict
but a Creator now.
craft my own peace,
bare hands, fresh blood.
is loving someone new a miracle
or tragedy? perhaps both?
indeed,
i was born Artist,
infant inventor, birthed
Poet, sculpting renaissance
with electric palms.
made to make, made to
kiss canvas with the pigment
of my indigo veins.
and life, despite its institutions,
is no collaboration, but
a self-portrait
and i will paint on, foolish one!

so i command you!
let my lungs sing the song
of my own breath, let
my chest fall, heartbeat
metronome, on and on
let her dance, for the love
of everything that matters.
let my heartstrings tangle
with those of another pulse–
they no longer exist
to tie your shoes anymore
let the Artist claim
her magnum opus, let her
own it, titled Happiness,
singularly and authentically
Divine.

so i smile big in pictures
not because you would have wanted me to
but to show you I can
without you.

2018

2018, you won’t be perfect–
and that is beautiful.
But please, if I may ask,
Give me muffled 2 AM laughter, bright morning sunshine, every cliche sunset drive with no final destination. Give me piping hot poetry and high heels to dance in, long dramatic sobs into cold pillows and even longer hugs. Give me hands to clasp tightly and hot cups of black tea to warm them on. Give me shooting stars to trace with my fingertips, windy afternoons by the sea, freckled shoulders and freedom. Give me music; let my heart stir. Give me blurry photographs of dimpled smiles, brown eyes, and the crescent moon. Give me soft words and gentleness, handwritten letters to open on hard days, rain to cleanse my thoughts, and lessons to learn. Give me deep breaths and soft spaces to crawl back into and plenty of time to soak it all in. Give me kind faces wherever I may call home, Sunday morning chocolate chip pancakes and a crisp novel to fall asleep in. Give me my people.
And if all of this is still too much to ask for,
Give me gratitude.