what i had in mind

years ago, i was in the bay area to work the three-day labor day weekend at the renaissance faire, when it was still in novato … on the way through town at the end of it, we (that being i and a boy whose name i no longer recall) stopped at the first seedy motel we found when we came off the golden gate bridge … i couldn't remember the name of the place if you paid me, and more's the pity, because it was just the kind of place i like to visit when i'm in the mood to touch an uglier side of life, to dip my finger in but not immerse myself up to the elbow

the building looked as though it had been around forever, and at the time it seemed to me to be a hint at the hideousness we might uncover if we dared to venture farther in … but I was in the mood for an adventure then … i know now that it was just a survivor of time and natural disasters that should have been razed and rebuilt, but instead had bandages applied over the wear of every decade

everything about the place screamed that i should not be there

the room was large, but the carpeting, wall-to-wall matted beige, was stained to a mottled brown … the sheets and blankets were clean, but smelled of too much bleach, and colorless from too much washing when they should have been replaced … there were spiderweb cracks fanning out across the ceiling … the walls showed no such damage - they were thick with a layer of institutional grey paint - it was like a piece of duct tape slapped over a whore's mouth to keep her from screaming, the way the paint had been slathered on, maybe to hide bloody splash marks or old urine stains or putty-filled bullet holes - my mind created a host of lurid histories for that dismal little room

if there wasn't someone shooting up in the room next door, there would surely be a prostitute at work on the other side … perhaps both were true

at any rate, the only clean spot in the place was the shower … and that was where we spent most of the next twenty-four hours, just fucking under the warm running water, mistaking jealous tears for steam … there was no tender emotion involved - i won't even pretend by referring to it as 'making love' … we were tense and exhausted, sweaty and covered in filth from three days of working in the sun and dust, and on top of that we had been arguing heatedly all weekend … it was a heady combination - we only left the room once, to go for midnight szechuan at the new sun king … and we slept very little, in spite of the fact that we'd hardly had a moment's rest since the thursday before

it had everything to do with the setting and the time of year, the place in my head and the time in my life, and i know that i can never re-create any of it, but the incident had a lasting effect on my tastes, what i like and where i like to be (and there you have it, my own particular brand of damage, a penchant for the gnashing teeth and the frenzied, impatient collisions of angry sex)

so this is what i had in mind, once … i want you to meet me there … perhaps not that there, but a there much like it … and i want to throw your naked back against the cold, cold tiles of that shower and fuck you until you're raw and screaming, then make you do it again ... i want to feel the water slipping down between us, searching for and only with the greatest luck finding those few spaces where your skin and mine do not meet and it can escape down the side of your thigh, over my ankle and into the drain ... i want to dig my nails into your back enough to rip you open and expose your innermost secrets, and never leave a mark because the water prevents me getting a tight enough grip ... i want to feast on your skin and feel you burning inside me while i forget your eyes

maybe then i can get you out of my mind

thousand
because I can only sometime savor the taste of your skin and carry that sweet succor away with me into the dimly lit recesses : to huddle selfish against a corner of twilight's grotto (cheek pressed cool to the stone) and in jealously guarded silence feast greedy on the memory of it : until copper and honey spill down my chin and I've licked my fingers dry

thousands before me, all far more distinguished than I, have suffered love's famine, the longing that burns holes in the stomach and impregnates them with crimson hopes

from the bath to the bus stop, I dance all the way on the song of your skin, throat all swollen on the promise that chokes back the protest

thousands before me have suffered so as to make my words a meager recompense
a dabbler's ticket, torn and dirty and many times creased, offered up by its ragged edge that perchance it may purchase that coveted seat catching scraps at the end of the banquet table

when I dance whore to Morpheus' tune, another wanton in his den of thousands, I lie with you : as I have lain with you a thousand times beneath his velveteen gaze

on my knees (praying) with my cheek to the floor : a pretender to grace, and the myth of caution : solemn whisper kissing the footlights in a thousand ancient tongues

mad heart hammering
cold sweat kick the
sheets down around my
ankles in the middle
of the night
think of me often when
the cold sky turns to
rain and remember
the days of frosted
breath mingling in those
last hateful moments
before your lips
crashed down on mine
was there ever a night
so divine as walking
hand in hand
fur-trimmed and mulled
wine kisses
will they be so sweet
when the sun returns

it might be you
black cherry screaming
thick and syrup cloying cries
might be you
golden halo glowing neon in the
dark and (stale) haunted corners
of a leather bound
booth in a
remote cowboy
bar off the
interstate to nowhere
maybe it isn't
maybe it isn't but only
the delicate fingers of
an artist dancing minuets
across my naked thigh
and when I see you start
to drown in my dreaming eyes
and me with no desire
to throw in a life ring

it would be the second time in a decade
that my desert drive was filled with you
and you were every dust devil spilling over highway's edge
      into my mind
grit and parlor tricks and jaw clenching huge black marble eyes
      for a seven-hour stretch
don't forget, she whispered,
and you never forgot, but you did
heart hammering milk-washed sage and a fistful of powdered
      diamonds dashed against the sky
scattered to the four corners and glowing

at what point did dancing spinning spiralling under a
      clear sky full of your stars
become eddying down grinding into the earth with arms
      folded tight around me for safekeeping
lead me not into temptation
I would go with a smile on my face and a blind eye towards
      the burned man who haunts me and is my fate
lead me not

I wanted to walk away telling myself that it didn't matter
but as the constant stream of cars and colors and
      rolling brush pricked holes in my senses
seven hours of crazy leering tilt-a-whirl rides along
      the byways of heartland America
reentering the town of my birth to the slivers of copper
      wire crashing down out of the sky and turning to
      steam on impact
you were my last great hope, someone that might
      speak my language - I've been searching for my own
      blood for centuries now
but I knew when I had not slept enough to think
that my dream would have to die
and the blood would be on my own hands
and I could never bear to look at a clear night sky again

left Novato on that golden autumn afternoon
left Blackpoint behind for the very last time
and into the mists and over the water
to one of the dilapidated motels near the Presidio
but it hardly mattered that stale paint smell and the walls peeling
I was on air cloud-walking my head all full of the sky in your eyes
and it wasn't him but you beside me in
      the shower rinsing away the dust of a weekend
      kissing summer gone
and I made love to you for hours on satin pillows
before embarking on the hunt for Chinatown
      midnight Szechuan and live sex shows
the next day was yours too, the perfect dove wool that
      later became bands and pleats and cutwork sleeves,
      hearts and spades and clubs
the diamonds in my palms
your shadow stretched across my footsteps at City Lights
and all the way back through the desert in the midday sun
I remember every grain of sand every berry stand velvet Elvis ceramic dog and seven hours of diesel smells liquid asphalt greasy spoons and flat lime soda
and I remember every minute and every mile was rapture because every breath was filled with breathing you
in my dreams I still and always see your eyes above the mask and feel the smile below

I want to spend hours making love to you in a darkened motel room
muffled arguing engines on the street below
the windswept lapping of rubber and wheels grumble softer louder softer
growling from a whisper to a shout and then back to a whispered goodbye
on their way to Kentucky or Colorado or wherever they go when they go
leaving behind the drunken days on sunsets the color of margaritas
hard steel blue whistle of the luxury cars over Nob Hill
and the muttering of lace trim on the boxes that overlook North Beach
need a miracle down in Golden Gate Park not realizing Jerry's been gone years now
inside everything is still and silent but for the sound of our gasping for breath
slick wired fusion of the vacancy sign painting neon welts across your chest
sheets scented fresh cotton musk and lingering whiskey and the ghost of tobacco that never can be exorcised
dusk filtering in from a city sunset through the drapes of woven autumn gold
and shadows playing over the spill of satin … untouched … and pointless …
from the open suitcase at the foot of the bed

...what emerges from flames...
and do you remember that bright smile that once was fortune's favor
raining down blessings upon your brow in streamers of celestial gold
do you remember the laughter like caramel thick and sweet with butter
the heat of her blood rapid firing kisses and cinnamon smells
the muted mahogany of her eyes and the light behind them
oh she of the magical eyes
the eyes that sparkle mischief
with a light you cannot possibly comprehend
who sees what others may not see
and dazzles from within
and the reflection of your eyes in hers
do you remember in vague moments of sobriety the warmth of a hand pressed to your chest
birdlike and delicate living for the rhythm of your heartbeat
legs perfectly fitted to one another while outside the screams of sirens
and inside darkness and wireless dreams and warmth and safety and never alone
do you remember the curve of her thigh as she lay sleeping
you remember when she wasn't there surely the bleakness of a cold bed and stone dead silence do you



...come home...
stone cold with fear and quivering
watching out the window for hours now
hours that seem like days
waiting for him to come home
waiting to hear the ring of his bootheel on the walk outside
my fingers cramped from grappling with the shade pull
a thousand times telling myself to turn away
busy yourself, clean something
the sooner you lose yourself in distraction
the sooner he'll be there
but I was never one to listen to sage advice
I'd rather sit here and torture myself with the needles
needles of worry, that his own hands are cold and blue
at least it brings me close to him, these fears
that his own arms are buried wrist-deep in snow
a frozen memorial to the last moments
when he reached for me
and ... I ... wasn't there



say that you will please say that you'll go there
lie if you must and damned be the consequences
consider them later
when it doesn't matter anymore
but drown in the delusion with me
hooked through the mouth and drawn frigid upstream rapids
at top speed body thrashing bruised over algae slick stones and smooth pebble gardens
nostrils flooded lungs filtering numb chlorine rush and the sickly sweet copper liqueur that is my heart ruptured
chill air flaying my skin away bathing me clean again in the ice and snow
I can be virgin again if I must with novitiate innocence enough to bring tears to the eyes of a drunken Latin mass
and bury my harlotry beneath layers of vanilla mist cream lace and fine spun silk
pleated skirt fresh peach freckle cashmere ponytail toothy maraschino smiles
nothing was ever so fine to my eyes no palace so golden as the merry dance you lead
waltzing in dizzy Viennese circles in a shower of daisy petals and the buds of newborn roses,
catching on my lashes, a rime of fresh snowflake confectioner's sugar, and delicate, bathing me pure again



when the rest of the world is all about breaking me down your gift is the things I think about, those gossamer daydreams wielded like a crowbar to pry from my weary shoulders the dictator tyrant manic police state villain life that clamps down with fingertips gaunt like spindles and rimed with frost - my thoughts are for sanctuary curled in your lap, like a kitten preening, and burrowing down into the darkness where it's warm and the goblins can't touch me and the skin is the life - I can always set myself free in a tuneless dance, legs wrapped around your waist and prying your mouth open with my tongue to lose myself in the drunkenness of a kiss - all they can do is tear me down… but you… you build me back up again…



The words dance stately minuets across my tongue
But I... here am I... poor fool...
Brimming with rage and ecstasy
Longing not to whisper but to scream the terms of my endearment
To tame the rivers of seething oil and tides of molten rock
To take them up to cool in my hands and form clay dolls
All marching in military cadence, following the rules and loving by the book
Never to overstep their bounds
The words, they are a strand of pearls, satin opera gloves and a long cigarette holder, refined
Until a moment of recklessness garnished with foolhardy desperation
And embers spilling over from the furnace to the fairway
Loose them from their studded leash to shriek the phrase that always sends you underground
And I, poor fool… hostage to my own trickster tongue
Clap a hand over my mouth and suck in a wide-eyed breath
Teen horror queen paralyzed in fear too frightened to move
Heart thudding and praying in silence that nothing changes for the knowing of it



You could almost pinpoint the precise moment
When her heart broke for the thousandth time
Could hear the schoolyard brick bursting through an abandoned window
Mirror shards raining down and dancing like crystals on the sidewalk
A shower of bells, oh the joy of the song, but oh how the brass bowls and clappers gnash at her skin
See her features fall
Eyes slowly fill with clouds and breathe not again, not another one
Resignation was the brewing storm
You could almost taste the disappointment on her lips like bitter wine or black coffee
Beads of poison welling up on that sweet blackberry smile
Bramble pricked and a saccharine horror that passes with a sigh
(because she hasn't the enthusiasm, after all this time, to muster up another scream)
This too shall pass, another day, another chance
To go into the world fresh-faced and be discarded
Surely life must have more to offer than another whispered sorrow
But nothing like waking in the morning to find his memory
Still leaving dirty imprints on her bathroom tiles



that moment and you with your scared rabbit eyes
and her hand in yours
and mine raised to my mouth in horror to stop the mewling
of my voice already stolen
by the piano wire wrapped around my throat
cold dry numb of disembodied washing over me
like the child dead on the side of the road
abandoned and wrapped in an old coat
flapping in the tailpipe exhaust wake
mustard wool and oil stains
and you with your wall of warning me
that it would be this way
the piety behind which you hide
takes away my right to scream
but then why are your eyes still nervous and shifting?
and if it's supposed to be all right
why can't I breathe?
when I look up the street and see lights burning in all the nighttime windows,
and hear the white noise static and baying of the hounds
and know for all that there's no one there
and nothing but miles of empty asphalt
these are the horrors that come for me in the night
these are the monsters under my bed and lurking in the closet
ready to slither towards my hands when the lights go out

Gutted
Stripped of everything that shone
Not so much exorcised
As amputated
Hopes and dreams corralled in a pen of razor wire
Everything that shone
Darted across the sky on gloss-black raven's wings
And trilled misfortune's song
Leaving empty eyes, dull brown and lifeless
Lips of blushing rose, now scarred and bloodless
Everything that shone
Gone forever
Ripped cruelly from my womb
Cicadas clicking
Moths to the silent flame



…Time has come to this, stopped dead on parted lips...
mute, frozen, bloodless and unyielding
the phantoms that haunt me now have long since had their price
but they linger to drive the needle through my mouth
round and round, sewing my words shut with twine like fine barbed wire
the scars are monstrous, great black ravines, jagged crayon lines
as though a child had been turned loose with a razor
to paint these atrocities with the brush of innocent dementia
masterpieces of horror in my blood awash
rough lines, those lines, hacked and slashed and carved with no finesse
I always knew you could be petty, always knew you could be cruel
always knew you thought the world was just for you
the tears are yours as well keep them as a trophy
let me wash your feet in them, let me kneel to bathe you
they were right... they... they... they...
and it never stops and never stops and never stops...



it fills up my throat and stops my breath
makes ribbons of my flesh, this horror, mine
it finds the vein and injects the pain
turns blood to arsenic, this horror, mine
if I could but spend a single night
lost in the rapture of your absinthe smile
bells in the wind and the smell of fire
would it stop the gnashing teeth this horror, mine



can feel it coming again that sort of noisy desperation that always precedes the long, black silence out of which there is no escape but for the rescue that never comes catatonic staring past the blood on my claw hands poor harbingers requiem dream to come awake screaming fetal in a corner quake and mutter about the seams clutch at them as they unravel take that last thread between thumb and forefinger and hold on tight to sanity whispers goodbye sprawled naked covered in tears and quivering like a newborn emaciated gnarled vine limbs not proud and tall but weak and broken sobbing with a child's voice gasping please oh please scream awake little sparrow until the blood pours out at the corners of your mouth




I don't remember the words precisely
And maybe there were no words
Only a touch or a spark in a glance
A stolen promise in the way you held my hand
And filled my bed with roses
I only know that it went horribly awry
But never fear
These cracks in the casement are not for you
But mourning for an ancient heart
Who spoke in tongues of love and flying machines
One an empty room with the shades drawn
Shards of dusk filtering through the particles of misery hanging like a translucent funeral shroud on the air
The other an obscure shape vaguely resembling the barrel of a gun to lift me on the wings of broken angels and fly me away from here
Your list of regrets will grow with every passing year
But oblivious to the glories you turned away
You'll wake up one morning with an old man's beard so long and tangled in denial
Knots of burnished abandonment and rimed with frost
All the memories of all the things you might have had
Woven into the fibers that wrap around your ankles and disappear into the undergrowth
And when you come stumbling down that hillside at long last
Everything good long gone and nothing but to settle for what's left over
Remember me
Remember me and burn



sucking off the biggest fattest meanest cock barrel oil dribble down over my chin salt liqueur black and grimy like the rotted core inside strings of useless sinew hanging loose like singed threads over the cavity that used to house my soul

I am lost unravel thread by thread the whispers of purpose that were holding me together deserting me now so that the seams open bits of grass and flecks of dried leaves floating in the wound where bone rises up through crimson like a cypress knee in a tidal pool oh the tide turned a long time ago fighting upstream ever since rest and keep paddling rest and keep paddling but every time more difficult than the last

suck it hard barbell clicking over metal fixtures death rattle requiem chant of a passionate lover too ardent to come to anything but the most bitter end do me now let me show you how I love you and the promises your body made bruises that don't heal but remain like charcoal tattoos to brand me as a dead man walking and you a liar

beautiful dark-haired boys hiding damage behind kohl and sanguine lips because there is no blood to blush left only shards of bone and slivers of glass that's what it was the glass buried in my brain get it out and make it stop please make it stop suck me dry and in the end release me to the autumn winds that carry my body where they will and deposit me like an oil-slicked feather on some forgotten shore

time is of the essence now use it wisely slide the beads and count the aspirations lost charred pebbles covered in the soot of a dying fire nestled between the coals where the last remaining embers struggle and crackle and pop and then wink out forever

come for me you rock-hard son of a bitch and let me feel you spitting your fire through the back of my throat one last gift of redemption in the knowing that I can make you explode just throw me on my back and brutalise me until all that's left is a Rorschach spot of maraschino on a tile wall and rivers of murder spilling into a chipped enamel bowl



dried and shameless husks
once housing life
now empty parched set adrift
to rasp over empty fields
forlorn and whispering sorrows
left to nothing
but a meal for the carrion feeders
we found our own language
preserved it under glass
held for one pristine moment
time and decay will have their way
nothing is so solid
as to escape the chaos
that rules the universe
with iron fist and clawed fingertips
shredding the words down to mulch
disintegrating
useless babble that only Bedlam could cherish
resting side by side
with a stone wall between us
strangers to ourselves madmen and fools
silent vacant-eyed and burning
our voices little more than
a draft in the underbrush
of an overgrown field barren weeds
grasses brown and gold
on an autumn afternoon
yearning for the rain that never comes



mongrel carrion rodent picking a living off the carcasses
of the mutilated souls you left behind
you modern day warrior you
what makes you think you have the right
conquering new ground with a touch a glance
moving on and filling your belly on a diet of rotting flesh
picking your teeth with the bones
take what you want and bleed it dry
what makes you think you have the right
behind a mask of piety never responsible
because if the skin was thin enough your claws to rend
then it was meant to be shredded and discarded and left by the side of the road
not your fault if they can't take the heat get out of the kitchen
(what makes you think you have the right)
sainted anointed yours is a holy war and you are the only stone idol
selfish mocking justice wallowing in your own killing fields
simply ignoring the screams of children
and the fetid stench of charred blood thickening on your hands
a crimson confection I see you for what you are
guilty of turning a blind eye no more
I see through the child's smile to the pestilence you sow



flaming acid rains
drops of liquid rage
shrieking animals
caged too close too long
gnashing teeth
burning holes
in the pale, pale skin
of innocence
frightened and hungry
huddled fetal weeping
beside stone pillars



open up screaming
on my knees
spilling entrails
on the cemetery floor
stabbing my gut
with the poniard
of your cool glances
and silence
retching on the bile
that spills
from your gaping maw
oh you treat me cruel
but I am my own villain
and the blood
that is on my own hands



biting through a leather strap
all that remains of my weeping
just a hum in the back of my throat

when next you take my hand
feel ice not fire
in my eyes
see clouds not cerulean sky

if ever there was love
it's preserved now
with the rest of the stone monuments
in a satyr's valley



come down hard and wash me clean
set fire to the parchment brush
set fire with electric fingertips
and wash me clean
pummeled by ice chips and slivered rain
wash me clean
so that the stink of his touch
runs out of my eyes
and mingles with the blood at my feet
thunder tolls requiem bells
haunting screams love songs
split the earth wide open
and let the maudlin seraphim voices
puddles of syrup bitter juices
moist and pulsing
wash it all away
scrape skin and bone and flesh
and sin and redemption
and butchered love
into the gutter where it belongs
and leave me with the bones
carefully arranged in a brine pool
bleach to pristine white
monuments
when the sun comes back again
wire brush ribbons
scrub the chill
emptiness is best
strip me to a void
and scrape off
what remains
of desire