Boreas I: Compliance

I breathe through my nose
because my throat is
sore with mystery,
phrases lost between
hot water and the
morning commute.
And it is sour:
winter wool rises
in the damp and the cold,
and each luxury
is a stake
beaten into frozen ground.

Sleepiness digs me deeper
and deeper,
all the hidden sheets
rubbing my body to
quick to anger and
to possession, stripped bark
like a missing photograph,
lost wasp from
honeyless hive.

How sick we get
in the quiet season,
death muting even the footsteps
muffled in the dark.
So the dust sticks
to the radiator
so the walls turn,
and so I leave the sun like
an embittered lover
every night,
waiting for her at
the threshold in the morning.



When my thumb presses little
on a cakebox,
the scarlet moons
the crescent of my mouth.
It draws back,
the memory on paper,
recoiling like a shotgun.
How much do you think
lovers spend on
mosquito dreams —
foreign blood
and kissing?
They must pay less
than they do for
carelessness, than I have
for ignition. The fire
has lit my bones
and my lungs
are scorched.


Blood on the Altar

This is a place of worship,
and you ask for it

You bring my purity as libation,
suckle at the wetness
on the altar,
plunging your hands in the viscera
of my flesh so I am reduced
to fat and warmth – seized,
and touched
the way I like it:
velvet, and sand spilling.

So you lay me out
to be eaten on the slab, and drink
from the innocence,
drawn to the pulse
and the throbbing pain. My belly
the hearth
is hot for you.

While you cut the shame
from my body,
and the whiteness runs down the stone
in slow trickles,
I close my eyes
and wonder if lambs take as much
pleasure in sacrifice
as I do.

Capturing Myth, Introspect



Listen, listen,

I have nothing to say
to turned ears,
empty-filled with not-me.

I am all steam,
hot spring and mud in a limestone cave.

beneath the vapour there is clay,
and behind the clay
is cold that rushes through.

A terrified prayer
is whispered to a hole in the wall:


 It’s the prayer of Dawn and her grasshopper,
the prayer of the Sky pressing to his consort Earth,
the prayer of boar tusks through your lover’s back.

I am hungry
for gold coins
or for swimming with swans,
the scent of flower garlands
tied to a white bull’s neck
still clinging to my hands.



Here is anger, and it comes in a whisper,
lost in a white night,
blind with the agony of absence
as it brushes against the burrs and brambles,

This is speech:
bared teeth beneath the veil,
daggers smiling when silence
is questioned. But then
there is always speech,
and ears pricking.
There are always observations
littering the pages of a low-commitment journal.

The memory is cleaner,
and better, caught in a wasteland
with tempests that were raised in
fury and then forgotten,
dandelion seeds stubborn
in their fright,
sticking to the corners of the earth.

That is where the honey’s hiding.
it is found, cool-calm collected,
new-smoked, just-ripened,
a sweet that bites
just as you bite it.



tell me
how you’ve fallen. quickly?
like a skein into the loom,
or a feather on the foam-tipped crest.

you thread all your letters with remorse,
watched for a century
and forever, and still wonder who saw.

there’s a lie
that hides in the windmills,
on the turquoise,
the woolly sheep in shelled grass,
breathy clouds in the daydream.

but you know this,
tasting the sun for melt to moon,
because the softness of your careful words
is too frail for daylight.

Introspect, Weaponized


There is a pain in my ribcage
that hasn’t gone away in weeks.
Breathing is impossible
I conquer something warm
to my side.

The Photuris firefly mimics the mating lights of nonviolent females
in order to lure males to the ground
before eating them.

I wonder if animals with teeth
pity the things they kill
as much as they want blood. I
wonder if it is O K to be
disappointed in a meal
that bled too easy.

They do not know
what I want
because I sit on the emptiness
and grow out evils in my hair
and they can’t touch me. You
can’t touch me,
sad man, lonely boy,
you don’t know if you want to talk to me
or fuck me,
so you watch me.

I wonder if I should see
a doctor about the stabbing pains
in my lungs.

Watching usually isn’t enough.
They always try to hold you
like you want the same things they do,
desperately, pathetically.
But you’re soft-hearted and
you don’t mind being held
if it gets you closer to blood
at the end of the day.



Gasoline, gasoline, gasoline
on the sidewalks and in the
air five stories up. Five tales.
A mother is in the kitchen
pressing beets by a window;
the juices run down her wrists,
drop in bright puddles
on the floor.
A few years ago
when the linoleum wasn’t as yellow
she might have pressed
a palm to the window,
flesh distended on the glass,
she would have changed
her dress twice a day,
fluttered –
it is 4:44 when
she raises her hand
in yesterday’s shirt,
in matted hair. But she
lifts her hollow wrists
to her mouth,
and licks away the stain
with all the slow purpose
of a hunter,
sucking the poison out,
or swallowing.



In second grade,
I learned that every person was once swirling matter
in the belly of a star
and that horrified me,
because at night my father would take me on walks
and I would crane my head up and look at the stars
over the field by our flat.
“There are two stars here,” and point,
crush my cheek to his so I could see.
I hurt my neck by straining it for hours
so I could pick apart two flames
burning years and years
into the darkness.
So everyone comes from
these hot stomachs,
but I didn’t want to believe
that the boy who tore up butterflies and stuck his scale-covered fingers in his nose
was made of the same things that the sun was,
and I did not want to believe
that there was no light on either end
but for the brightness
far away,
past the glow of Dad’s smile.
Loneliness still scares me: I think I am happier
as the dying remnant of some starry bile
than I would be as Sirius, as Betelgeuse,
as Alpha Centauri.