It’s Not About the Taco

It’s Not About the Taco

It’s not

It never is

It’s about the tremblings

at the stove

About did I get food?

Should I get food?

Can I afford to get food?

About a long day at work

Grateful?

Spiteful?

Do I have a job?

Do they know where

my money goes?

Do I still have a job?

Please

Remember

this is all in my head

banging pots

scraping metal

billowing

and

bounding off

dirty wall

over open flames and plastic tools

Don’t stalk in corners

Loud footfalls in hallways

Please

Announce

Don’t shout

I can’t hear

But I will burn myself

Down

I will fall

It’s about not

having the leg

strength

to bend and fix

one more thing

About not having the arm

strength

to push down another feeling

About not having the

throat

to stifle one

more scream

Because I

only have

one

voice left

It’s not about

the flaw and

the mess and

the mistake and

the collapse

not about

me

But only me

left

when

it’s done

Quartered

quartered

four chambers

valves between

one leaking and

flooding

whooshing

too much

in one half

the other

starved

valves between

anatomy set to drain

right scant

left swollen and

sluggish

skin dimpled

outer layers

turning to stone

fibered and

scarred

adhered and

atrophied

drawn four ways

and you

stand

still

a drill

crooked

and twisted

wrong space

wrong side

metal shaving

under fingernails

probably

not enough

for tetanus

probably

but

there a shot

for that

don’t need

anything

don’t slip on

the blood as

you

slide

in and

leave again

Floating

For Jamie

They float in with the light

the ones who left

Not in reflections

Not in words

Gestures and turns

opposite from

everything I ever

planned

prayers condensed

still etched and smudged

Clean the mirror

and my face is still

only now

I don’t see before

Can’t remember yesterday

Maybe around the eyes

When I’m tired

I see then

Lights out

heat up

Looking for before

again

floating in

forever

Missing The

For my co-dependent leanings- reminders that choking halts organic growth. Let go.

Missing the view

onto a courtyard

from a hotel room

never reserved

Not regretting the

last glass of red

when the cork

is still in the bottle

Reeling from the

first fight

when a dozen

polite words

expand the history

that hasn’t been

Not forgetting a face

not memorized

Not letting go

of a hand

never taken

Not knowing

morning eyes

and midnight toes

Not recognizing

fine from fine

okay from okay

hurt from hurt

true from true

A memorized road

driven with eyes

closed

but needing a map

Remembering everything

because it

hasn’t happened yet

Primed

Paintbrush
Slapping gray over your brain
The same general color
But thick enough to form a barrier

Thick adherent plastic
Stretched
Over styrofoam of rotten meat
Can feel the flesh under
But it looks nothing
Like what is was created

Some parts manage to shine
Through
Uneven swirls
Happy
Scared
Anxious
Escaping
Or trapped
Driven by the
Viscosity
Or
Emulsion

Or separation
Of the opposing
Elements of
The paint

Staring
Knowing you are staring
Knowing you cannot
Stop
Because
Scared eyes might
Pull away
Forever

Damage rot

Shines thorough

On Top Of

On Top Of

If I hold my pose

And hold my breath

Lean into the pain

Away from stability

Crane

And peak

And peer

I can almost see

on top of

What’s on top

I don’t remember

another dust I forgot

On top of

The paper

That was suggested

Not mandatory

Not have-to

More half-two

Meant to be three

But I’m lucky

To see one

So I guess that

Does it

Like that last

That did it

Can’t remember

When I did it

Last

Gather my

Pennies

My books

Secreted away

See

I like their dust

My wrinkles match

Favorite pages

Begging to be

Remembered

While I’m

Hiding

To be forgotten

Doors and

Blankets

And a

Reeeeeeeally

Long

Garage

Door

Closing

Right there

On top of

Me

While I’m below

Everything

Everyday

And

Every breath

Is a pose

Toes curling

Not releasing

Digging

For control

On top of

All that

I have to

Maybe when I’m

Alone

Under

Done

I think we’re all done. There is nothing left for nonsense and red tape when working in a hospital. There nothing left for another e-mail from school about a missed assignment. There should be nothing left for to return a passive-aggressive message to a religion teacher that contained most uncharitable language and suggestions requiring dexterity and cartoonish imagination. But there is something left for that. Which means there is even less left for laundry and cleaning and cooking and the urban warfare that is obtaining essentials. And patience for those behind the fence with us. I’ve lost that. And also for forgiveness when all shit is lost and behavior bypasses bare civility and dives into blatant selfish assholery. We’re all done. And then somehow we do it again.

I’m kicking my own ass and soul everyday and it’s not helping. Be kind. Forgive. Save something, however that looks, for another day. We have to do it again tomorrow. If we’re lucky.

Pacing

Waiting to be seen

Dreading

To look

And we look

Again

A different page

Again

Another problem

A new way to

Disintegrate

In the water

That pours inside

The open doors

We can’t breach

The hardness

Still seeps in

Anxiety gets

Stuck in that sludge

As fluidity stops

And settles new

Foundations

Set apart

Cemented together

Can’t reach too far

Or the whole

Thing

Cracks

And we’re

Buried

In

Ourselves

Under notebooks

And spelling tests

Misspelled Spanish

And overdrawn

Art

Face masks

And pay checks

Lost hours

Not time gained

To show for

The hours

Given

Alone

Too close

Weighty

With

Consequence

And

Losing what

We can’t see

Can’t be

Everywhere

When

I can’t be

Anywhere

Gentle

Pokes through

The fences

Fingering

Unknown air

Bitten off

Or kissed

Maybe make it

Better

Can’t make it

Stop

Incompatible

People aren’t incompatible

She said

It’s that someone

Isn’t rising and learning

And meeting and changing

Seems unlikely

Turning a Montague into

A Capulet

With not even a nurse

For some comfort

A flower in a city

Sidewalk unwilling

But growing regardless

Doomed to trampling

Incompatible or

Foolhardy

City sous vide

In a cottage kitchen

Too elaborate

Too unknown

Incompatible or

Self-injurious daydream

Oxygen

Apathy

Fury running

Code eglot

Cell debris

Connecting it

Ready or

Not

Stick on

The axis

Soon facing

Each other

Longitude

Polar

Magnetic

Take over

Incompatible

Inverted

Corrected

Connected

Until the season

Ends

Icing

His smile was a Tom waits song

Wrinkles and grey hair

Wry curmudgeon

Who still stayed up late

Not wanting to miss

A chance to complain

Or to touch her thigh

Sneaker and

Sweater

And scarf

Mr. Rogers cool

with a curse

And tequila

On his breath

If it was a bad night

Most weren’t

Maybe that’s why he never slept

To make sure

The nights stayed

Under his control

He was an argument

You’d never win

a heart you couldn’t

Catch

Always sliding away

Of the ice of

His words

Uncircled

I guess I’m supposed to be embarrassed

Everyone else seems to be

For me

I don’t go to law school

So I missed the instruction

That

Over forty

divorced existence

In public

Is a crime

Only whispered about

And only slightly

Preferable

To manslaughter

Which I understand

I’m also meant to

Crave

Swirling

Wished-for revenge

Through my teeth

Like the glass of

Malbec I had to

Buy myself

You just haven’t

Found him yet

They pat and

Comfort

And cringe

ever so slightly

Under concerned

Eyes

And above

relieved shoulders

I guess I’m supposed

To be sad

That BBC and flannel

Was my real trauma

That checking an

Unclaimed box

At hospital admission

Was my real crisis

That an empty box

In the back of my

Drawer

Was worse

Than a backyard of bones

I guess I’m not