All I’ve ever wanted was a warm mouth on a cool night, us wrapped together in fleece and flannel, feeling the unfurling gusts of wind whipping up whisps of hair across our faces. The smell of your lips turns sweet smiles into delectable dishes. Your hand rests on my chest, softening the harried heartbeat, calming the catastrophe of current events.
I always stepped into the day, downtrodden among the atrocities, reaching out in hopes of one day finding your fingers ready to soothe the ache of destruction. Facing each empty slot of time, relenting to the entropy when you stepped in as if on cue, ready to remedy the rust that had settled into my bones.
You lead me to the ground and embrace me as the night falls down around us, splitting at the seams and seeping out a serenade for you and me alone. All the bugs and blades of grass bend toward you to bask in your glow. But your focus stays on me, fumbling and funny, flirty and fortunate enough to fall into your line of sight, springing up with newfound spirit, safe enough to scream, to laugh, to share these blankets with you. Crickets sing, the air dances, and the light grows dimmer, hazy shades of green and black, plaid and pristine wrists, blue branches leading to your chest and lips and eyes. Your delicate cheek on mine shines against the light of the moon, piercing through the dark clouds carrying a rain that runs past us.
My head winds down, drained of dismay then fueled with a thousand fantasies swirling like so many leaves in the wind. A warm drink and skin and smile. Lips pressing into the flesh of forever. A lifetime encapsulated into a late night with you, my heart a steady drum, my blood a slow stream. Fluid dreams and concrete connections. Pulling me out of a ribcage coma and shielding me from the sun’s rays, random bursts of violence, and the gravitational pull of disappointment. It’s the clarity of breath, the breadth of belonging, a kiss so pure it hurts as much as it heals.
Let us not linger in the brightness that breaks through the webs of bark, illuminating the trauma of the world. Kiss me until the light leaks out once more, covered in the safety of this dark. Run with me through the black fields before resting again in the shadows. I listen as your heart slows. You wrap your arms around me and I am wiped clean, a blank slate without shame. You invite me to draw closer. I sink into you, close my eyes, and wish for the stars to burn bright forever.
“Again I belong to the night
I’m a mess Pull me over
I can’t forget her name
Slow me down
It’s like you’ve stolen my soul
So far from heaven now…”
-Issues, Slow Me Down
“I was your prized possession and who was your exorcist?
Thought you was heaven-sent
You left for the hell of it…”
The mind spins at the thought of affection. A desire brought forth those bright blue eyes from behind your fringe. Parting it back and basking in the realization of prayer, God-sent and God-fearing. But mostly fearing your own wants, needs, desires that deviate from the established word. You kept that hidden between kindness and kisses and a fringe of fellowship fell over my own eyes. I wanted to be your back rub. I wanted to taste your laughter. I wanted to get closer to the one who wanted me.
But not that close.
A firm grip on my fledgling innocence, milking it away from me with no choice, no exception, and no time to process the pumping. Building up and blowing out, rinsed in instant regret, falling farther away from the fantasy and crashing into a cascade of concern.
The brain braids together bonds of mutual fondness to detract from this indiscretion, forgetting the words that fell off a cliff, the kisses that cushioned before cutting, the tongue that lied before licking it all up in selfish starvation. Overloaded, overboard, and boring a hole into my chest with your iron-hot hands, singeing all the hair and stealing all the hope from within my heart with your uninvited skin.
A first crush. A last time. A lost signal sped up then jammed in the dark. Mixing chemicals, trusting words, crossing lines, lying in your bed and lying about your intentions. Red lips and nipples and hands, tensed from tugging, a tale tired from being told.
Rise and fall. Rise and fall. Singular in sensation, suffocation, and suffering. Alone in this affliction you thrust upon me.
Carefully selective only to be stolen in sweat and promises of partnership. Three decades dashed as you went down, determined to conquer this basketcase. Cold. Callous. Inconsequential.
An AWOL angel. An MIA messiah. Death waiting above to witness the final climax before climbing down to peel back the chambers of my chest. Thick down your throat, coating you in my trust. A simple spasm of the body. A complex thrashing of the mind. Attempting to reconcile the religion and the regret in the midst of two bodies melding. Had my savior sanctioned this person of faith to flay all my fantasies or was this just a disciple of the devil, deposed in prayer before prying the life from my lips, lungs, and limbs?
No ring, knock, or other notice of entrance. Barged in and banged down my door. Death of dignity followed close behind. A pale horse come to trample my misconceptions of your intentions. Naivety and hope hauled away in the revelation of identity. Ghosted, roasted, and toasted, burned down to the backbone, easily cracked in half under the ramifications of rejection, of need, of confirmation of humanity.
But the only true confirmation was that the devil teases while God taunts. In the face of lethargy and loneliness, when temptation chides chastity, when worship won’t wash away desire, when sigils, sermons, and sacrifices can’t cut through a calloused brain, we knew we had both failed our father. And that neither one of us were leading by example.
You know, Biblically-speaking.
You take me by the wrist to pull me alongside you. I follow blindly, gratefully. Next to you, I feel like we are all threads waiting to be woven together. You’ve taken my heart with an innocent greed, given yourself over to me as if I were deserving of your body and all the mechanisms below. You drink my words, eat my anger, and bathe in all that I believe. And I am devout, desperate, and delicate under your fingerprints.
I sink into the layers of skin and meat and blood and bone. Then you pull away and pull me apart, an ache as palpable as a severed limb. Eyes transfixed on the specter of your form, filling you out in a revelation of being irrevocably pierced, bleeding out in the best way possible.
Pondering your profile, examining how I could be so drawn to you among an exponential pool of prospects. Billions of people pass by and you pause in my path, enhancing my existence just by breathing.
It must be something higher than us, an orchestration conducted in the clouds. All the cosmic wonders crop up and cry out to me, revealing the curious playfulness of cupids as they see fit to magnetize and harmonize two souls. Waking up chambers of the heart and ushering in the pain of longing, the elegant agony of a space between two pairs of lips, the sweet cut of curiosity of the soul, of wanting to be reassured regarding mutual fondness.
Time has no effect on affection. In dealing with day one or one hundred, the feelings manifest all the same. It’s a realization of an awakening, a clarity of sight and sound, a sharpening of focus. Feeling full and empty at the same time. Dizzy and sober simultaneously. Out of sync with the rest of the world while fully in step with you. Love measured in months or years or weeks or minutes. None of it matters when you just know, when the mask of solitude finally falls away.
Clinging to a chance of redemption, grasping for another day of nirvana. Yearning for the imperceivable perfection of your hand, the jewels of your knuckles, the exquisite glass of your nails. The simple act of slipping your hand into mine, of dipping into a purifying warmth, watching as parallel lifelines run concurrently.
And to bask in the feeling of all the universe shrinking and pulsating between two palms.
I feel you coming closer to me. A heartbeat that quickens and deepens with each step. Your face leading to a trickle of excitement, a pinprick of nirvana. Gliding to the floor, cradling yourself next to me in a silent, semi-conscious stupor. Turning over, my nose brushing your mouth, black circles expanding, blood branches rushing to compensate your exquisitely crafted face.
A hazy vignette hangs over us, dream-like in the notion of you finding me, a mass of mess on the cold tile and molding me into a man again. Hoping to remain locked inside this lucid dream in order to replay this scenario until it sears into my head.
When I close in and pull your lips apart with my tongue, I want you to move toward my mouth, push forward and kiss back. When I trace lines on your skin to write love letters on your legs, I want you to run your nails over my shoulder blades to write me back. When I cry into the crook of your arm, I want you to wrap your arms around my neck and hold me back. I want to look into eyes like teeth, salivating for a single sovereign kiss.
I wonder about your journey as I make plans to be your destination. I want you to set forth and secure a place with me. I want to be encapsulated by your presence, to braid my bones with yours, to live knowing I will die loving you.
We need to love just as much as we need to be loved. I want to care for you as my own, to raise you higher and rake you down. I need the approachable animal, the amiable assault, the hurricane of spirit pounding down on me. I want to be tied to your tongue, healed by your hands, cemented by your ice-blue eyes.
This warmth is foreign and your touch shouldn’t feel as good as it does. I’m as scared as I am serene. Sirens slice through the candles and conversation, warnings of wild fights and fears of decaying. But the blaring blurs into a hum at the base of your throat, an inescapable moan, a penetrating penance for past punishments.
I’d become accustomed to pain. Persistent papercuts that pervaded all my parts. Slugging through the day with open wounds and worry of another tomorrow. Now here, lying on this cool floor, I am flushed with chemicals. My spine is tapped. And with you sliding from me, swelled, spent, sweating, I finally know about comfort.
I can see us lying in those supple sheets, your hand running up and down my bare chest, your lips brushing against my neck. I can feel the tingles and tickles charge through my body in the orange light. I can envision these pillows like portals carrying me out of my world, my mind, my self. I can fantasize taking you with me, this place we’ve carved for ourselves in the early morning hours, a space without alarms or algorithms. An alcove of absolution.
We are perfection, free from guilt and insecurity. We are all the oxygen, all the rush of blood and water. We are connected to the creatures that fly and furrow. We’ve tapped into each other and all that surrounds us, grafting onto gulls, gears, and ground. I could stay here forever, reckless in responsibility, oblivious to obligation. Nourished by you alone. I could get used to my heart pumping anew, filled with a forgotten joy in the face of a long-abandoned possibility: that love could touch me. That love could last.
I can imagine it all, each blade of grass and each strand of hair, all made presentable for you. But it’s all just in my head, a vision unraveled in times of respite. Perfection was possible but yet you remained unattainable. As much as I wanted you to hold my heart, I could never find a way inside your mind. You shielded it with smiles, distracted me by drumming your fingers along my spine. I was guarded, kept away from the cancer thriving inside you. It deteriorated your ability to be close, to fuse yourself to a future with me.
The orange light only burns now. You’ve left long ago but I still allow myself to take a semblance of you back to that sanctuary with me. I don’t know if I’m soothing or searing myself by doing so. But it’s comforting to imagine us together. I sail right past the painful realization that love has never been with me after all. I’m unaffected. It’s nothing new. I choose to focus my thoughts elsewhere. It’s healing to think of the possibility that your hands could be real, that your mouth could have been the best thing to happen to me.
The alcove is empty now. I often sit there alone. And I think. And I pretend to know how people carry on with each other. I go through the motions. I plan our partnership. And I know it’s all for naught. But not for me. It feels as natural as your smile sinking into mine.
How is it to feel yourself falling asleep?
For me, it’s like I’m standing on a cliff to unconsciousness. I feel my feet hang halfway off the edge and look down into oblivion. Vertigo hits and I feel momentary nausea, like my stomach is being pulled into sleep before the rest of me.
There’s a lace-thin layer between eyes and lids. It’s in that portal between practical effects and faraway fantasies, that slice of time and space, that I am pushed into by the hand of exhaustion. I am plunged into the black before the bloom of a dream.
That’s where I see you.
You’re only there for the smallest amount of time, a greeter at the door to dreams. But you pluck me from the murky deep and help lay me down gently into an inky spot in the sky. But before you go, I freeze frame you in my mind and you’re the picture I choose to carry over with me onto the other side. It’s where we can be together, where I feel safe to explore the imagination that uncoils during boredom or a great need to feel something. It’s where I can act out the scenarios I can only sketch in a notebook when my eyes are open.
Being with you here, in this space carved out of the cosmos for just us, feels bittersweet, like a chocolate candy flecked with copper. It’s the only place I can see you idealized. And the only place anyone can see who I actually am.
You’re like a ribbon that weaves through my ribs. You push air into my lungs. You turn me from a corpse to a Casanova. I sink into a scene of me resting deeply in your arms, your hands running through my hair, my mind reprieved from the black that steeps into my skull every day.
The same hand that callously casts me into the abyss plucks me from your pulse. But your veins have worked on me. I wake up to a heartbeat. I pull a remnant of your face back into reality and use the morning sun to sear it into my memory. Sometimes it works. Most often it does not. But even when you slip away and pass through the portal again, I know you’ve been with me from the residual red on my chest and cheeks. And with breath on the blankets, I feel the push of blood again and the comfort of knowing you’ll call for me when I reach the precipice once more.
This is what being human must feel like.
Inspired by p.
these times are quite a ways away
running circles through your hair with my finger
sending strokes down your spine
that sprout seeds along your skin
a slight with a smile, a simple scene
sinking into a perfect passiveness
that plays out over and over again
until your ringlets become real
tucked in black
you can’t see me looking at you
looking at the screen
with lips that stretch into a smile
and eyes that wet with laughter
one among many, looking forward
hoping you’ll see me looking at you
with lips pursed to plunge
and eyes closed to signify
a scene cut short
to direct one of our own
the unbearable barrier between arms
craving the taste of sweet and salty skin
hoping to sink into a seat with you
and experience a climax of our own
before the opening credits
I’m ready to dive into the deep end with you.
I want to explore uncharted waters and the weight of your head on my neck.
The sun beats down on our bare shoulders. Diamonds skip across the water. Birds whistle in the distance as we douse our bodies and dunk our heads. We swim for hours, leisurely lapping past our lives and linking fingers to keep from floating away. We bask in the sun as the heat casts a halo around our heads and wet ringlets form crowns across our eyes.
I swim to the shade but your catch my foot and pull me back into the heat, out in the open with blushed cheeks and bruised knees. Course hair on rubber skin, the smell of plastic and pool chemicals as sharp as the sear of the sun.
There’s a gentle strength to water, the way it effortlessly lifts us up and takes the weight of the world off our shoulders. For as long as we are submerged, we are protected. We don’t have to worry a hole into our hearts or fear the next fall. We are always held up. But I have to wonder, is it the water doing the heavy lifting? Or are you?
We splash and smile in the summer day, the hours dragging along like a doggy paddle, plodding toward a break in the heat. The sun squints to a close and takes a swan dive into the dirt. The air cools but I’m not chilled. The sky forms a black veil over our heads to cover up our kisses.
I sail past the chlorine on your lips to find the sweet beneath the sting, sinking further into you, melting into your mouth. I am buoyant in your embrace. And for the first time, I can open my eyes underwater.
I can’t wait to see you again, without chemicals and without clothes.
one for the head, one for the heart…
At night, I let your lips carry me away.
I’m often restless when lying down. The day’s events bulldozer my brain into a rubble of untapped possibilities and debris of doubt. This fixation on fixing the past pulls me away from dreams. I switch from my back to my stomach to my side, turning away from the thoughts that grip me awake. But it doesn’t seem to work.
Until my mind meets up with you.
With closed lids, I think about your face and it helps filter out the superfluous noise. My mind’s eye pans out like a camera until I can see us both. Our lips are perfectly framed as we close in and kiss. But it’s not riveting. It’s relaxing. Your mouth is the melatonin that helps soothe me from the days’ stresses.
It’s this vaguest sense of shape, you and I. It’s been so long that I almost don’t know what it looks like to be intimate. I have to color in the missing parts of parted lips in order to properly set the scene. And focusing on filling in the gaps helps put me to sleep.
Other times, I think of you in bed next to me. I hold my extra pillow close to my body, mold its shape to what I imagine you’d feel like. Occasionally I’ll wrap my arm around it, other times lay my head on it like it’s your chest.
I recalled a conversation we recently had about cuddling and how you thought it was uncomfortable.
“It’s a nice image,” you said, “but the reality of the situation is it’s not as romantic as it seems. It gets hot. Quickly. And your arms go numb.”
I smiled at you and said, “I don’t care. I want to do it anyway. People experience these things. I wanna be one of them.” And I wanted to do it with you. But I’d never have the courage to tell you that.
Back in my mind, taking into account our conversation, we do eventually separate, inching our way to our own side of the bed. But our backs still touch. Our spines connect like cogs, interlocking as they work to spin us into sleep.
I take comfort in just knowing you’re there. We don’t have to touch from head to toe. Your energy is enough. Just knowing you want to lie with me is enough. Just knowing that you will be there tomorrow is enough. It’s just a dream before a dream, a fantasy to help me focus on getting to the other side for one more night. And that, too, is enough.