I hate to admit that I like you better with clothes on, that when you are naked I look at the flats of your bone, the darkest muscles inside your mouth.

but I am a good deal plainer. Under my skin is black water, one dimly-lit submarine.

Gas Station Rose

Walking out of a gas station. a man pulls a rose so fast from behind his back

that it startles the woman he’s with, causing her to jump back

the rose is skinny, erect, the way it’s wrapped in tight plastic

i guess it’s the type of rose you get at a convenience store gas station

the type a man does not intend on buying, but does do anyway, to go

with his liter coke and bag of chips. maybe the rose is for his feelings

a small gesture for showing up. none of us intend on feeling the way we do

do we? one moment so beautiful and hot-blooded among fuel-pumps

we could explode and keep exploding, if only she’d flick her cigarette

the next so certain that there isn’t a moon. there’s a hole in the ice

i could swim through.

Last Poem in this Apartment

I am trying hard to think of things that stay in one place and get better. A tree? I am not a tree. Trees have almost written all the poems. I cut myself against them. Nailing plywood down on lower lines to lay there, looking at porn. I’d leave my house at night sometimes to look at porn in trees. Even when very young. I’d walk past a retention pond of taggers blowing their colorful horned instruments. Their illegible, foam names like those of the animals. Some of us have things we don’t remember choosing to be. These are the things I mean.

Sitting Outside Her House

Like man took fire and invented light, so do men take women into glass bottles, learn to switch their warmth on and off. Sometimes men will sit for long periods outside a women’s house, or her temple, not wishing to be elsewhere, but praying that elsewhere isn’t over yet. Maybe a man’s love is also inside a glass bottle, that he hopes not to break, that he stares longingly into on his work table, hoping one day to sail. Mostly he leads his own way with it, forgetting in such clarity the light itself he is holding.

The Race

A pickup truck, its doors open. the arms open of a full-breasted man singing. box-spring octaves and accordion squeezing. Tejano music easing around houses like juice swirled in a cup. i am not inside my head. at all? a boy with long red shorts comes running past. his shorts are like the summers here. his ankles are like the winter in that they turn back over when they are rolled. the boy trips, is ran past by others. they are running to the truck where girls have started dancing in the bed. the truck is heaving. one of the racers is not leaving. he turns his head to look at the fallen boy. his body hasn’t stopped. he keeps running, looking back. a heart could be his birthstone. or a magnet, to be thrown out and returned along a soul. i keep seeing this, wherever i go. the way our heads are placed askew onto already moving bodies. the look of surprise, genuine surprise, at anything.

The Truth According to Bigfoot

Are there two black women or a white vase

A potter or masseur of clay

A carousel or drill on turn by horses

All of us more than just one thing. All of us until we are dead

All of us liars. Liars in love with beautiful stories about truth

And truth? It is something we might have seen

Something walking upright in the forest like a man

What Stays After Falling Out

We don’t talk anymore but you left your hat at my house.

And once after classes you told me you dreamt of an angel, that she asked you to tell three people of her coming. You were crying. Our friends played Frisbee in the bus lane, a neon disc passing like one halo between them, occasionally dropping.

And the nights driving. On 1626 I stopped at a red light with no one around. You were incredulous, like how could a color like red mean stop for boys like us, who bite the heads off centipedes and peppermint liquor bottles, many of which we refilled with water and placed again into your mother’s cabinet.

I miss that world you led my hand into, with everything unclaimed until we touched it.

Yell Fuck at Farmer’s Market

Twice now, it is windy. A woman selling teabags has run from her stand to collect its contents.

She does a thing that most of my great loves have done – yells FUCK, then asks me to wait.

So I’m waiting. The paper squares floating are like copies of the same tiny letter.

I wonder if the word Great has ever preceded Love, in my case. If Love as moving expanse

is measured in paces, or if it is more like water being held inside a room.

I guess it doesn’t matter. A family selling peaches has abandoned their post to help the woman with her tea.

Their jars instead hold suspended organs, misshapen toads in formaldehyde.

I imagine even the good stuff away. Like how being alive is more like

selling the thing you’ve made, until it’s a good life.

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