Tagged: the Fire

Gas Station Rose

walking out of a Shell station, a man
pulls a rose so fast from behind his back

that it startles the woman he’s with
causing her to jump back

the rose is skinny, erect, the way
it’s wrapped in tight plastic

i guess it’s the type of rose you get
at a convenience store gas station

the type a man does not intend
on buying, but does do anyway, to go

with his liter coke and bag of chips
maybe the rose is for his feelings

a small gesture for showing up. none
of us intend on feeling the way we do

do we? one moment so beautiful and
hot-blooded among fuel-pumps

we could explode and keep exploding
if only she’d flick her cigarette

the next so certain that there isn’t
a moon. there’s a hole in the ice

i could swim through

December 5, 2013

a pipeline runs
from Cushing, OK to the Texas
gulf coast, near Houston

men in frontwards caps
pull levers
and release valves,
spit out dinosaur bile

these are the blackest men
i have ever seen, though some of them
are white, hispanic. all of them

are cut-out. this is where all
the cowboy lean-to silhouettes
in the yards of houses

come to work

i have trouble telling
one from the other
or telling myself anything
that isn’t better said
by hitting
against metal

as men they are measured
in hammers swung. the amount of rust
made migratory glitter, or
any small fires put out

today, a woman
became president of General Motors
a man proved by dying

that dying cannot contain
having truly lived,
which i think is to work


Like man took fire
and invented light, so do men
take women into glass bottles, learn
to switch their warmth on and off
Sometimes men will sit for long
periods outside a woman’s house
not wishing to be elsewhere, but
wishing that elsewhere wasn’t over yet
Maybe a man’s love
is also inside a glass bottle
that he hopes not to break
that he stares longingly into
on his work table, hoping one day to sail
Mostly he leads his own way with it
forgetting in such clarity
the light itself he is holding

On Nights Without Sex

The air has had enough
of being eaten
by the fire, so it collects
rushes off the light
into a sky
of hungry stars

In this moment, in this new dark
I feel that I am the furthest away I can be
without being inside her
This dark is a pale woman’s face
which I have pulled too close to see

I relight my torch
Loneliness fits another
copy of itself
down, on top of me


Home back then
our lies were so infrequent
so too the lights, which came only
a few at a time

I remember the fireflies
at the old house, how infrequent
they were in our well-adorned city
how in a flicker they’d strike
against rust and trampoline mushrooms
growing on the old swingset and cause
such chemical stillness

I used to hold my breath for that stillness
and when the flies went out
I would carry on their flight
with my eyes, desperate for the little men
to restart their packs
and shoot back up. I wonder now
if they wanted to be seen, or not seen
and which one actually
burns them. I haven’t seen any

for a while now. Is this why
we rush home? To watch as the fireflies
swerve around hard minerals
in the night, get complacent and
catch flame to their vehicles?
I go inside, shut the door.
Life has never once
leaned its head in and said, Hey,
aren’t you forgetting something?

My keys have never once
been the earring of a beautiful
home, yet here I am in the one
I settled for, locked up from the night

faint by the certainty
of something

Dormitory Fire

for a professor of mine who died.

consider the size of night
that passes, the frightened assembly
of students and unwed orientationers here
who lust in the rubbing of Darkness’s
wet finger-webbings against our skin
classes have yet to start, but already
there is a fire here to rival our dormitory’s
upbringing, with tender articles of unread
nightclothes melting and all of us grabbing
large handfuls of someone to spread
on the pavement. can you see us by the fire?
sweating like steam from a pile of community
bath towels, setting then setting again on
faces, flickering, all of us lit in the stairwell
of a stifling coed hallway. Doctor

you could play a child’s guitar
like a thousand-year-old tree
i am only high for a second
before i am coming down


I find I’m none too different from
this picture of the Captain plastered to the wall
of every room I’ve lived in – gun cocked, ready to kill
these beautiful men whose sweat
is kept in a suitcase-drumkit banging on stage. I know
that any one of them could walk up to me at any moment
and pull my gun to their chest, stroke me
on the back of the neck and it’d be over. That’s the real
in this. And when I’m taken off the wall, these memories
of mine that never happened will bunch at the foot
of the bed, leaving only repetitive textures
raised like the crumpled drafts of continents
that never made it. Antarctica over and over, Washington
breached at the hull and bleeding ice
into the Pacific. I’m sorry. There was nothing we could do