we (desert)

But what if you discover that the price of purpose is to render invisible so many other things?
Acceptance, Jeff Vandermeer

we buy an RV without a plan or map
and then unceremoniously we leave

somehow we reach the desert
where we park for days then weeks

because we have been watching sometimes naked
on the couch Breaking Bad

we realize we are o so alone
except for sand and brush

on warm bright mornings i watch
you outside hanging clothes

sometimes wearing only a shirt unbuttoned
other times only panties soft tan like your skin*

i do not run through the door and sand
tackling you cradled in my arms to the ground

because my chest is overfilled with this
so that everything seems to be spilling from my eyes

and once you turned seeing me through the window
curtsying and opening the shirt with a smile

people i suspect don’t know
a goddamn thing about deserts

or being all alone as we are
with 14 hours of sunshine and cacti

* Inspired by the artwork of Valeria Ko

hanging clothes

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when you forget about me (i don’t want to be your ghost)

when you forget about me
where do i reside

1000s of me’s and you’s and us’s
haunting your memories

the smallest figment of me
clinging to the lining of your heart

the remnants of my protestations
etched across your bones

and frantically burrowing deeper
into the reddest marrow of you

when you forget about me
where do i reside

when you remember does my name
leap like love from your throat

i am afraid of these forgettings
i am afraid of becoming a ghost

invisible and silent and immaterial
drifting bit by bit into just nothing

please don’t bury me in forgetting
i don’t want to be your ghost

—P.L. Thomas

“it shouldn’t have to be this hard” (terroir)

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
—e.e. cummings

you speak to me in declarative sentences
as if words can shape the world
as if words can reshape the world

you take it into your mouth
a tongue like sandpaper
to polish everything beautiful

cooperative as river stones
patient as water rendering rock smooth

you’ll hear nothing of sticks stones and broken bones
because you have so much invested in the power of language
books degrees and hours alone with Faulkner Foucault and wine

we talk in circles like english majors gods or sorcerers
rounding up everything we can imagine about fairness
in a world that refuses to be fair or even a river stone

what if i told you i will love you forever
is that the same thing as me loving you forever

should we shout over each other or simply repeat ourselves
until this fermenting thing becomes something entirely different
a burnished stone spit against the rising tide drowning us

or would we be better off holding hands and chanting incantations
as we circumnavigate the globe with the conviction of a river
the sort of determination that makes a parent’s bones shutter

you speak to me in declarative sentences
a tongue like sandpaper to polish everything beautiful

spent we ask for silence like a glass of Cabernet breathing
space to be filled with kissing spooning feet against feet
and the faint whisper of our inhaling exhaling just so

—P.L. Thomas

artifact of lost love

i can never find the books i own

but it is valentines day
and i need my copy of e.e. cummings
selected poems bearing sticky notes

to send you a text message picture
of the first book of poems i gave you
the us before either could more than hope

finding there marking one poem
a piece of copper the size of a business card
stamped with “SNOWFLAKE” and “LOVE”

an artifact of lost love
once carefully made just for me
hoping metal would not melt like snow

i can never find the books i own

fearing loss is almost as bad as loss
as i scanned the bookshelves over and over
like waking from a dream about a lost love

i have surrounded myself
with so many books i will not organize
barricading myself against that which must pass

i have not yet collected enough objects of you
always joking all you want is everything
although we know there is nothing funny about that

so i spent valentines day chasing books
and memories of the us before us
like feeling the rough edges of a copper rectangle

an artifact of lost love

i can never find the books i own
but i found you

i found you

—P.L. Thomas

the water (we could die)

the water is so cold we could die in it
the same way we could die
just driving home innocently enough

you remind me of all the things i won’t do
drowning as i would while refusing to move
never lifting a muscle to risk this living

at night water appears black and white at distance
and night driving is performed with tunnel vision
as if any living is something other than illusion

your hands and feet offer bare palms and soles
like invitations to everything that could matter
unlike cold riverbeds or barren blacktop highways

this diving in driven to risk and happiness
cannot be muted by mere water or asphalt
cold and lifeless unlike your hands and feet

instead you take my hand leading me through darkness
stepping softly toward warm dry light whispering
the water is so cold we could die in it

—P.L. Thomas