I Wanted to Write You Into a Love Poem

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I wanted to write you into a love poem,

But all I can conjure

Is a picture of a girl crying off her mascara

On a stoop in the south of Chicago,

Smeared burgundy lips wrapped around

One

Thin cigarette,

And the man she used to love

Entering the scene upon his exit

From the doorway with it’s crumbling yellow paint,

Pale, now, in the rising moonlight,

Faded from

Two

Decades of wind and rain,

And the gun he’s hiding behind his back –

“Come in,” he says to her –

Voice shaking in the cold December night,

And she says

Three

Words in return,

Breath rising like a halo around her lips,

But it’s lost to the wicked wind,

And he raises his hand and puts

Four

Slim, flattening bullets

Into her, and the

Five

Children they had together

Come running

Just as the church bells ring,

Announcing the arrival of the hour

Six.

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June

It was June, the month of broken promises and hopeless dreams.
I was further gone than I’d been before, perhaps a bit recklessly,
But we were young and restless and the night was aging fast.

So we went to war, all guns and roses and bloodless violence;
The guns weren’t loaded, and the roses had wilted last month,
But we needed to see who’d be victorious, so we fought.

The battle raged on and on past the midnight hour, and I?
I prayed for my salvation, and that I’d die younger than the others
Because we couldn’t stop until there was but one man left standing.

It was June, the land of broken dreams and hopeless promises.
I was young, perhaps younger than I’d been before the war,
But the night was dying, and in the light of dawn I saw.

Morning was breaking, and I was too, but I’d be going home first
Because at my feet were the bloodied bodies of my allies,
Scattered amongst the wilted roses and the now hollow guns

I closed the eyes of the one I’d loved above all the others,
But he was cold as stone and the roses were quickly overtaking him,
Because as hard as I’d prayed that night, death had kept me waiting.

It was June, the realm of love lost and something called grief.
I lay me down to rest amongst the young roses, and, bitter, bitter, bitter,
I celebrated the century with a single deadly bullet called deliverance.