love lies bleeding



I hold my breath until my chest burns,

And my stomach churns,

And all I am yearns for the air I will not inhale;

My love lies bleeding, pale,

And I pray that the holy host, crowned in amaranth will hail

Him with kegs of the finest ale, and I can think

Only in the currency of kisses,

And all of me wishes

That they were as numerous as the riches of the empire,

But for all this desire,

We are down to the wire and, sharing a final embrace,

He turns to face the angels in their grace,

And I weep for him,

As the willows did, in that final wartime summer.





I saw you, yesterday,

Holding a rose as our lives converged

For one fleeting moment;

And I knew it was not for me,

But imagined it was,

There in the tunnels,

Where the clouds of our breath followed us

Into the train,

And all the way home,

A miasma from a different time, another place,

Now lost;

The world in which that moment was spawned

 Having changed, irrevocably,

For such is the nature of things,

To never stand still,

Even for an instant,

Not even long enough for me

To see the flower you didn’t pick for me

As more than a brief, blood-red blur

Of a life we will never live,

And a moment

We’ll never recapture,

Enraptured though I was,

By you,

And a red, red rose

Destined to win another woman’s heart.


The Last of the Snows Came in May



The last of the snows came in May,

And I must confess

That I was gladdened by their arrival,

As I was lovesick that winter,

Into the spring,

And it quickened my heart

To see the new buds in your garden

Wither and turn their faces back

To the loamy soil that had birthed them,

And whose final freezing,

Like the closing of a door,

Had brought with it the cold breath

Of Death, face pale and bloodless

As yours had been,

Curling my shaking fingers ‘round our promise ring,

As you returned the ill-omened thing.

A Better Man Then I



I wanted to write you into a love poem,

but I had not words enough for the sorrow I felt in your arms –

hush, don’t touch, let’s not rush this thing;

God, I love her so much,

clutching her in the sea of eternity

as the darkness descended

and I defended my inch of Hell in No Man’s Land,

as dawn broke and so did I,

as the tide subsided and revealed

in morning’s pale light the wreckage of our ill-fated love –

hush, love, kiss me, now, in the red dawn;

soon, you’ll be missing me, and I you,

and the serpents will be hissing in our ears,

but for now,

kissing you on the shores where our dreams came back home if only to die,

I can’t help but thinking

in the silence and the stillness and the calm before the storm

how fucking beautiful you’d look,

in a love poem penned by a better man then I –

one whose hands are pale and bloodless,

one who can find words and world enough

to write you like an arrow,

straight and true.

Wild Thing




Pardon me,

That I may gaze upon you,

Your figure twisted into a Peaceful Warrior,

Hips stacked, body balanced, arms aligned, head high,

Staring into the face of the universe without fear,

The sunlight dappled across your skin like waves

Lapping upon the shore of my dreams,

Like a heat map that leads my eyes to yours,

Like a road flare illuminating the shadows of your soul,

And in the half light, the moment stretches, and,

Brought to the breaking point,

Sings one last warbling note on its golden lyre,

Then shatters.

What I’ve Tasted of Desire


Title is from a line of Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice.”

She’ll wear your perfume, but only once you’ve left, or rather, once she has chased you out, swift-sweeping all the remnants of you from her castle, save for a single bottle of the pink lilac scent you used to wear, when you were her lover.

She’ll burn your clothes, it’s true, and you’ll leave in such a hurry that you’ll forget your dream journal, which she’ll decide is too sacred to read, and into the pyre it’ll go – all those dreams you used to hold so dear, all going up in a blaze of glorious smoke.

Your books will end up in a bin in front of a library twenty miles out of town, though she’ll consider keeping Tolstoy, if only for the irony. She’ll decide against it, in the end.

She’ll pour your cognac down the sink, or better yet, toss the whole bottle into the ocean blue, for the mermaids to get drunk off of, and they, too, will feel the heat of the passion you once let smolder in between the bedsheets, which she’ll burn later, when she goes to the beach next Midsummer to light a bonfire in memory of freeing herself from you.

It isn’t until the quiet stillness of September of the year after dawns that she’ll gingerly free the bottle of perfume from an unadorned wooden box in the corner of the side drawer of her most frequently neglected dresser, and dab it between her breasts, and upon her wrists, and anoint her neck with the scent of you, breathing it in like a starving animal – and she will remember you, then, and only then, with some degree of longing, and her heart?

It’ll burn too.