Twenty-six dollars in my hand
Took pictures of a doctor today, got off the phone with a photographer friend, made plans with a painter for later, going to a gallery tomorrow, giving spare keys to somewhere else, promised to wear a kimono, promised to find a home for a house-pet. A mask waiting in a box on my bed. Cats asleep. Words glistening like the fruit juice at my wrist as the sun falls down behind clouds, too far to warm my city, to light my room more than this screen might. Double exposure, the different brands of cigarette collected in a tiny bottle on my windowsill I do not empty, a model museum of names who’ve stayed the night. The times I’ve closed my bedroom door.
Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive
I have a cough for the first time in years. Walked home in the cold on Sunday night, upset, throat tight, by the time I arrived my clothes had frozen in patches where the sweat from my skin had wet my shirts. When I was done, after I had peeled off the cracking frost of frigid threads, I sat curled in front of a heater and sent a letter trying to explain why, what had been decided. Hat off as fire licked me. Silent. Too close. My body cracked open, left without a voice.
Oh pardon me sir, it’s the furthest from my mind
Daily photos continue, more than a month now, though always in stolen moments, never more than five minutes. Trying to stay alive has been fighting, trying to catch up from where I have been behind. All of my books have been read as my writing is put aside. My back arches, hanging from one ankle, I’m relearning, examining where I put my punctuation as I redesign where I keep my bones. New skills tying into old ones, applying left onto right. Cloth flaring from my shoulders as the fever breaks. Ink and memory soaked into silk, the shape of this fall the same as my pen. Someone shouting at me about Kafka as I remember to point my toes.
Here he comes, he’s all dressed in black
I keep hoping to hear from certain voices, dark haired creatures I’ve tied to the surface of my heart. Jumping in with both feet solidly planted on water, the waves of our phone numbers, the little cards I buy at the corner store late at night, embossed with maple flags, red and white, all the better when we flip through the books together, contrasting prices against countries, microscopic lists, the ritual of me and the girl behind the desk. She smiles like the taste of someone’s home rests behind her teeth, waiting to get out. Scratch off the possibly carcinogenic silver with a coin, enter the pin number digits, type the long distance, make a song of it, and wait for it to ring. Terrible, the wait for it to ring.
He’s never early, he’s always late
There was a promise of shirts off, standing where I asked, the placement of a camera, the fixing of a light. No time, in the end, as expected, suspected, being justified is never any fun with the things I believe of people. It’s not being negative if it’s realistic, however precious hope can be. Another time, some future we don’t know enough to plan, season shift, other cities, the places we choose to live, the furniture we fill them in with. Conventional wisdom. Dark lines drawn under every eye, cuffs and collar matched, like these are checkpoints to cross the same way I insist I buy flowers for men.
First thing you learn is you always gotta wait
If there’s one thing to learn, as much as anything, I need affectionate goodbyes.
Until tomorrow, but that’s just some other time