He laid back into the arm of the sofa
and let me strip him to the waist.
I worked the buttons of his dress shirt
(there were so many buttons)
I would never reach the shirt tail
never release him
(until I did).
His skin was cold and seemingly
lit of its own. It was
the sickly purple gray of a hot
His chest and abdomen
all full of little scars.
He opened his languid arms, wrists
into the shirt as I bowed
the ancient wounds.
“Like you,” he said
“I know something of war.”
Of the Smoggy Valley—mountains, desert, ocean—
whichever climate you like within an hour.
Of the sacred gray arteries—bloody asphalt—
broken glass shimmering in the shoulders—jaw-dropping overpass knots.
Of the train that no longer whistles
the graveyard where railroad men rest— the abandoned Catholic hospital where railroad men were born
Of gunshots in the night—the green and
black—the godly ghetto birds— NightSun—criminals who cannot hide.
Of skinny backyard coyotes—un-collared dogs
left to roam the neighborhood—the scarred faces of little children mauled on their way to school making the national news.
Of the withering Empire
of “these gangs came from LA” of “we’re number 1 again!— most dangerous city in the US.”
Of everybody’s got to proud of something.
Of heavy lungs
Of visible heat Of prostitutes who stroll anyway— immigrant tweens who twist their ankles spiked heels stuck in the melted asphalt.
Of “this way to Vegas”
Of “this way to the baptismal sea”
Of kissing the corpse’s mouth
Of lying with it
one more night.
baggy T-shirt train soot gray
patched leather slain ranchers’ tack
115 degree morning
blacktop risen shining son of god
Clinging glass windshield clear beer bottle green.
When nailing down eternity
two pieces of wood will do bound together by dusty centurions on shit duty.
Try also iron nails
in a bottle of piss with fishhooks, sulfur, and the dirt from a murderer’s grief-less grave dug from the dirt patch behind the green cemetery
not good enough
for a proper fence but bound by torn green tarp shrouds instead tacked haphazardly to decayed chain link.
When the angel comes
Will I know to step back Will I have love Or will I have lack?
Golden Sexuality sits by an open window
his hair shining, his lean legs crossed. He considers the hills wearing their shadowy green the glacier-strike lake they curve into born cold, gone balmy, rippling life.
He remembers stag chases
trysts in the leaves—the fleshy shock and shudder discovering exposed roots with his bare back.
He sinks his consciousness into the water
the fingertip tendrils of his god-form first
followed by the instinctually flexed shoulders
still warm from the running catch hollow chest where the feral heart echoes root-wounded back crossed legs golden, shining hair.
After the shower fruity
Shampoo smell released Ascending from a turban unfurled The Holy Spirit you kept Under your hat.
If the ill-formed shadow-mass of “the civilized”
drives your wild heart to rage and howl you know it goes on beating.
Though deprived of the lucid heat
of blood-hunts in broad daylight it stalks within itself and becomes
its own series of revelations—
its own wastes its own benighted hollows.
The sheep’s clothes hang heavy
but the flocks still fear you sleeplessly—
causes their lambs to quiver.
Fresh box of 12 bold
pens. If only they smelled like brand new Crayolas.
Every two weeks I pay a college senior
(engineering major I believe) to rip most of my eyebrows out of my face.
The right one always comes out higher,
arched more elegantly than the left.
“It’s the way your face is constructed”,
she tells me, as if an accusation of the original engineer’s design.
I nod—a permanent inquisitiveness
in relief over my right eye.