The fan stops, the room warms.
Disasters, like perfections,
Happen with majestic rarity
All the time.
What town's nearby? Where's the road?
Well, you're not so far, though it's hard to see.
You give bad directions and point at air
While I eat a Snickers by the vending machine
(act like you care, I say to me).
The nice lady's Billy boy moans
In the backseat, like his father,
Hungry and not alone.
You start the fan, unplug the phone.
Back home others switch off lights,
Careening towards declarations of "I'm bored."
Leave your message before the tone.
The soundless cities are nearing,
There is no need for hearing.
Speak what we have spoken:
There are gods, but they are broken.
The little leanings of our lords
Upon their righteous swords
Impale veins of ancient ardors
Where their foul fluid has harbored.
And this is how the blood runs
And this is why the blood runs
Upon the paths of ardor.
She had cigarettes with her showers.
We kissed once, yes.
Seated at her back
I cradled a torn kite in my arms
On the edge of a stained bed.
"It's dawn", she said, sifting
Through the blinds, trying to believe.
If you need forgiven you'll steal again.
We did and sold for gain--yet wept
As if an eye could see, as if…
She only trusted herself in sleep…
Rip the map, dream.
Waking, and banished from safety,
She arrived at the gate;
The wrong man still swung
From a senator's bought noose.
Woman who stole with me
if you find this
allow for my deceit
and decipher the code
as I taught you.
You who undeceived me that night,
Suppose I'm yours (yes, yes) to hold.
But remember, or do not forget,
How they made us master maths of despair,
Forced on us fools, jailed to a chair,
Saying here are the rules,
Pretend that you care.
We learned to secretly smile instead
But the times I've most missed
Among their numbers and snares
Were those which crept in while sharing a head
When you and I kissed
alone in fate's bed.
They pranced a sloping course,
Crowns uncovered, silver hidden,
The way jays fly north or dancers
Converge across dark rooms.
And in that last dawn before April
Urged itself into strawberries
She broke fast on cool dewed moss,
Listening to him breathe.
A path laid over and again,
Out far enough to fling them
Past those gold-woke, aching hills.
As my Jezebel always said
When she would open it in bed,
"There's never been a better time
Not to fall in love with dying."
Then sinking rubies in the moors
She'd lovingly conduct her wars
And train these artless lips to spill
The sighs which with a gaze she'd kill.
Murder never meant so much
To one like me, so starved of touch.
Yet our bed keeps an only me:
Quick-Death deals in spades, you see.
We may find it was all a test
To see which emptiness holds best.
A feeling ends but never parts
From open chests…or open hearts.
There sits a red
Inside each black
That holds to all
It does not burn
The searching hand,
For a searching hand
Searches in vain.
Still, there sits a red
Inside each black
And it burns there
All the same.
Nathan Woods, editor/overlord