I worked in the attic

I worked in the attic
instead of the basement
Because I liked to see the early morning
Or the setting sun
Or the mid day ray
hit the unfinished pieces
Flicker in through an ashy curtain
And land on objects with anonymous determination
as though to give hope to parts
that may never become part
of the final draft

When the phone rang
I would have to come down
to the second level of the house
and I would sit on the edge of the bed
and talk about my struggles
with the work
Instead of recording it by hand
or audio

That was how I knew my piece
had purpose
I was making it for the same reason
I needed a voice on the other line
I needed to hear breath
While I released thoughts
I had already argued over with myself

I have to go back up,
I told my friend
I hear the current starting up.
Be safe, she told me

Upstairs
I ran my fingers
over his skin
Admiring his new shoulders
I had contemplated giving him
A fish tail
So he would always be in agony
Over not being able to make love to me

But you’re past all that?
I had heard my friend’s voice

So I thought what the hell
And gave him a long thick cock
and hoped it would make him
well adjusted

What about his childhood?
How can he be an adult without it?
Have you worked out his memories?
She was eyeing me hard as she said this;
interested though forever disapproving.

Long ago, I said.
I simply gave him ones like mine.

We all think we’re meant
to rule the world,
she laughed.

I have a feeling, I said,
Thinking of how he would always call me
to tell me he made it home,
This one’s gonna be perfect.

When I wasn’t ready yet

We were like two thieves that summer
Both with severe tempers
Waiting for something

I watched you
Tie knots on your boat
Swim at night time

You were strong
Frightening
In the silver water
Leaping like a needlefish

It takes only a thought
To turn the comfort
of the dark water
into an ominous gulf

Swimming faster
My soul in my throat
The squeeze of death coming
I want nothing to touch me

Later looking back
at the calm water
Never quite sure
whether I imagined
it meant to take me

This week

Sitting at a
this week’s anonymous
meeting
realizing your strengths
by observing other people
from your fold out metal chair spot

You say
how funny
It is living alone
You never realize
who you are
without comparing yourself

This
basement in a community building
addicts’ meeting
is the most elation
you’ve felt in a while
And you couldn’t have imagined it

You could rip
into the skin of an orange
with a thick prod of your finger
and be unapproached by the sharp juice
in a paper cut on your hand

No man is an island
Quotes the coke dealer
Hasn’t been for four years

Variables of Cancer

I remember thinking
her husband
was like one of those small yappie dogs
He was a pale, melting, boxy body
Shuffling to his car every morning
The buttons of his shirt
nearly bursting open

She was sometimes
A madonna
Other times
Sleepy, uncombed
Walking across her front yard
in pajamas and big glasses

Our backyards
were separated by a thin
brown picket fence
From the back terrace
I could see her
sunbathing on a lounge chair
Always alone

Legs longer than the Missouri river
To me, she seemed deeper
and more remote than any body of water
Often hidden
As though with a veil
by the sprinklers
that dusted with water their bushes

One day she was going
just twenty miles per hour
At three in the morning; drunk
And she hit a tree beside our house
with her front end
She emerged out of the smoke
Dancing and pointing towards me

My mother banished me to my room
And the rest of that spring
My neighbors were awful quiet
As though swept up by a trade wind
and planted in some other time