by Michael Baptista
eyes, my lost highways,
painted like this plaster white-washed room,
marking each second tick, enflamed and
dull tracts half-opened and
longing to feel that warmth again.
to fill this void with a thousand atmospheres,
yet i’m still here.
how drawn-out these seconds can be,
hair on end consumed
with emaciated hunger.
i sit this day, rapt in moments,
scratching hunger eating from the inside,
only a matter of time.
hope of fulfillment fades to
sauntering clock ticks,
mocking me with
(there’s nothing underneath a tattooed heart that bleeds
like a Christ
in the red dawn of a sand-stormed Algerian night,
my cigarette slowly taps,
rhythmic undulation, my pulse racing. It’s over not for me.
I will not get off
there in the bathroom, blue eyes of dawn,
another night spent in throes?
how does plastic and wax become
thunder in my hands dreams
in my veins?
daynightdream of tiny waxen bags with
icy blue eyes,
your face a courtroom,
always brighter than the moon
but darker than the sun.
(Slow-dive heart quick beats, seething down my throat like a splattered sky
bending knee stomach fleeting,
I feel it but I never was
in this room with tie tight, second cigarettes lit butt-to-butt.
a long pale night like a wire.
longing to feel your embrace around my waist;
craving to overcome the memories
of your grip.
my self-effacing stare is like resplendent jukebox chatters, hollow.
what can this brontology divine? tick-tock a bit more. thunder.
anticipating the tightness to come, please stay a little longer.
another minute flashes
in a wave of acupuncture-nightmare,
canal street Apartment D wallpaper peels nicotine-yellow ceiling,
comes crashing through me
like first love.
the pinstripe blue tie windsor knot that never begins never ends
you never looked so lonely as my hero.
happy hour zeros loiter
on the face of the forlorn.
(and the comfort only self-hatred can bring,
one way or another, leads me,
back to you.)
obsession around my throat could tear a sunrise
from the horizon of waikiki waves,
but in the worthen, Apartment D, balding and bulging, mocking me with each second,
cutting and piercing me,
in my gray suit with the tie loosened just so
and the tourniquet wrapped so tight
the world feels so
i taste god
and my sublime fear
becomes penniless wealth, empty love.
yes, i remember you there,
silently succumbing to my
genuflections and epistles, bending will.
i covet this guilt
but against this wall you left me, saying the blue bags
are an interminable sky covering you in
a pollock-splattered sunrise
leaving nothing but an aperture behind.
but a cross-burden too heavy,
and now clock ticks are you wraith
in this empty washed-white room
haunting me even as
i love you still.
(i hold this pain, as a mother holds her only child,
slicing through clouds of memory smoke,
renting barriers of self-preservation.
the one tired of being hurt marches towards
peeling it back down,
you bend and
flashforward chest tight in your icy warmth,
all seems so right.
little blue bags that filled me with
in this place tonight, memory of you
like woozy warmth of homecoming,
yet leaving only
a night of sorrows