I Used to Be Able to Listen to Sad Songs
but that was before they started strutting
around with billy clubs in their fists, started
kicking the backs of my knees so that I
crumpled right there on the asphalt,
their faces streaming tears all the while.
That was before they started showing me
the switchblades in their boots. Before
the twisted arms and sucker-punches.
Once, the songs slept soft beside me.
Their eyes were like the moon then
and they never closed them, so all night
I dreamed under lunar beams and woke
each morning glowing. But then I learned
that the earth is infinitesimally slowing
its spin. Then I learned that we’re born
with more bones than we die with. The songs
started growling sometimes when I wanted
to cuddle. The songs started cracking their knuckles.
One morning I caught one filing its teeth.
That was when the problems started.
Now I armor myself in hand-claps and tambourines. "
I’ve honed a trigger-instinct with the radio.
But sometimes I’m walking down a boardwalk
in the safe, bright sun, seagulls dipping overhead,
cotton candy spilling from every hand,
and there they are, locking step beside me
past the ring toss, the arcade. It doesn’t matter
how fast I turn away. Hello again, they whisper.
You can’t run forever. And then I know the ocean
is there but damned if I can hear it anymore.
"I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again."