Uncertain & Afraid

For S.

Last night I woke up & mistook
        your tresses
        the for fallen
        golden leaves
        of Autumn,
we were collecting for reasons
I forgot the instant I tried
to recall them…

…all that
        I remember was
the way we walked through a forest
admiring the gracious way
         that trees decay…

Do you remember last Autumn?

How we were fighting
to forgive each other for reasons
we needed
       to believe in
            without understanding,

like the words of a foreign song
playing in the distance?

We will die
whether we love each other or not*,
            without forgiveness
we’re all fucked,

& love has to wait for hatred
& petty resentment
    to be castrated
           by humility.

All we have are voices
            against the night,
but when the weight of you body
        presses against me
the darkness ceases to be
        so deep…

So will you wait for me,
        & can we

            forgive ourselves?

* September 1, 1939 – W. H. Auden

Pause, & add your own intentions…

You found me at the worst possible time,
but only in the sense in which a dog-walker finds
a corpse in the woods:

        It wasn’t your fault.

The words in this verse are replacing
the excuses I’d prepared for presentation:
words about falling, & nihilism &
other self-pitying bullshit trying
        to play tragic…
but the truth
        is never quite so ornate
as I’d like to make it…

I told you that I’d become a mistake.

But that doesn’t make it ok…

I remember you as
vulnerable insolence &
timorous intelligence but
I was too selfish to realise how
much attention you gave to my words &
how little you understood about my

        your skin
compelled me to write a poem across
the inside of your left thigh
            & I think
you found it charming.

That poem had been written for someone else…

Attention is the rarest & purest
form of generosity*: you
    gave it to me
        & what did I
give back to you?


it wasn’t that I didn’t care
it was just that I hated everything…

So this
is an attempt to apologise
        for the ugliness
by replacing it
        with a failed attempt at elegance.

& that still doesn’t make it ok…

* Simone Weil

The Eyes of Death*

For my father.

So that you wouldn't die so undignified,
I wanted to force a black rose
down your throat, so
                    that the thorns
would pierce your larynx
                            & silence
the animal noises;

a language
capable of expressing
only pain & existence,
belonging to you alone.

Your cells were in rebellion:

First, they conquered your lungs,
before taking your liver
                        & then,
traversing your spine,
they laid siege to your brain:

dead pixels in your irises,
made me
think of machinery, but
            doesn't feel pain.

Hours dragged past like sandpaper against glass.

I held your hand, sat by the bedside as
                                        you died,
until suddenly, what remained of you
sat upright
& pulled me close enough to hear
your last words…

& that's when I saw it, in the final moment
of your lucidity:

            the eyes of death

            staring back at me.

*The Eyes of Death – Off With Their Heads

Meena Muska

Seperation, you set fire
in the heart & home of every lover. – Traditional Afghan Landay

The blue horizon of your eyes tricked me:
a mirage or sanctuary?

I can’t decide.


last night,
        the blue horizon of your eyes
            came to me
in a dream,
Purple carnations brushed against
my face,
        you were careful
not to press too hard,
        just in case
I awoke at the moment of your
    betrayal, which
        in time,
            became a gift:

Even though
it filled me with sadness,
        now that our distance has
            multiplied across space & time,

I now know that
beyond the blue horizon of your eyes
the real sky reveals itself…

Die, & be forgotten…

“This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.”
– Rumi

Soon enough every cell in us
will cease to repeat the pattern,
        & we will die

& be forgotten.

So focus on each breath as
our chests repeat the movement
        of our heartbeat;

in & out,
        up & down,
            until we’ve found

the place where presence elides into absence &
from something to nothing,
we return again
        to where all things

The future is composed of consequence
not yet made manifest
& the past
        is the mess
            it left behind.

Diaphanous & thin,
the boundary between
    mind & brain; something &
            life &