No One Belongs Here More Than You

our limbs are only softening
around the joints
and in the end, having to
find not only one single place to be ourselves
but to live out the life of a circus
wicked torches and trapeze wires
delicate and bracing,
strong and self-referential
a homesick tiger, pacing

spotlights dusting below
the under-cup of your breasts
it’s wetter on the dark side of the moon
nothing grows and nothing glows
but the potential leans out at us, for life
from the cratered things
which taste of borrowed light
from other galaxies 

the same tired words
now exploded on our tongues.

Title borrowed from a story (collection) by the wonderful Miranda July, because it ‘belonged’. The rest is my own.

what are microdreams anyway? are these them?

apple-blown boots / worn by impotent marauders

lachrymose papyrus / indescribably lucid scripture

lips splayed for days / endowed suckerfish

tantric eels / surgical head rush

plausibly known / indubitable moan

original stapler / the fresh-pressed lapels of a king 

dusk collects at dawn / what is forgotten on the lawn

phlegm the dinosaur / parties in a flax cabin

Sexy

I am leaning against the side of the house again this morning, smoking a cigarette.

I used to come out here before everyone woke up, to think about everything that is wrong with all of us. I am tired of thinking, lately, and I rest the back of my head against the brick and watch the smoke curl up from my lips. It looks awfully sexy, but strange too. Feeling sexy when your socks are soaked through with dew.

The cigarette is done now, and I stash the butt under the rock that I keep just behind the fence. My head feels strange, too, because I’ve stood up too quickly. A car starts somewhere down the street. I touch my lips and have to force myself to go back inside.

Lizard Skin

J. packs another bowl and we pass it around a few times, getting a decent buzz going, and then we all go upstairs to see Rusko. Our group is divided between those who have seen Rusko before and those who have no idea what to expect. K. shows us to his room, and everyone gathers around the dresser. On top of the dresser is a huge glass terrarium and inside it- a motionless yellow-brown banded gecko.

K. lifts the creature out of the terrarium and presents it to us, beaming, and the girls smile indulgently and quietly slide their phones from their back pockets. “Here,” M. whispers to me, “let me take a picture of you with the lizard.”

“He’s a Velvet Gecko,” K. announces proudly, looking down at his cupped hands.

I don’t want to touch it, thinking for some reason of the resin on my hands. I’m afraid that I’ll hurt the thing- who knows what’s going to poison something this fragile? I bend my torso around Rusko instead, positioning my head directly behind, and at eye-level. From the viewpoint of M.’s camera, the effect of my round, red-cheeked face is Rusko transformed; he acquires the majesty of his prehistoric ancestors, solemn and unblinking against the backdrop of a rising sun.   

We pack more bowls, and take lots of pictures of Rusko chilling out on top of everyone’s heads.

Benched

We met the first time at an outdoor jazz festival
so why are we folding clothes
in this sad humming spaceship of a Laundromat
we were going to be better than that
we were going to
we were going to stop stealing detergent
or whatever we could get our hands on.

your lips and ears are famous
but you lost face with what’s between them
i didn’t mean them
i meant that we were going to

not end up like our teachers.

it turns out we were worse off.

our hands dipped in milk
to take the edge off
we are tracing circles of frost on glass
until the coach asks
who’s got fresh legs?

we look at our legs and then look at each other

and become a team.

2 Pigeons

We stood, hand in hand, two pigeons on a live wire

when time edged in, under the door like a folded rug.

The neighbourhood cats circling, tails twining below

they stopped at once, to lie on their backs and open

their jaws wide as whales. Our skin prickled with fright

under our feathers and we twisted our heads

all the way around and looked down at them-

their pink-ribbed mouths reminded us

of our bubblegum-thin lungs. Age came to us,

grayed us and curled around us on the wire before

 

the cats left us alone.  

Whiteflesh

I went to your lifeguard job.

Asking if you wanted to show
me your mussels – you know what
I mean – said yes as you
clamped a hand around your pipefish,

said yes to the whitecap wave
of your shoulders – I mean it –
pinched by the unwelcome mitten crab
then, going out with the tide
and coming in, and even then

to come upon fluorescent monsters, inkling
a newborn squid- that ancient tingling.