When the Words Fade, We Fade EP

Rest Inside EP



An Aftertaste

Something repressed, restrained, a little volatile;
Undone and open.
Dripping in darkness with a shy rasp heard a mile away.

Swindled whilst swooning.
Sown seeds, sinking sprouts stretch their arms aboveground,
Obviously below you.

Remember when you were that man?
With a bottle of room temperature beer and an unlit cigarette.
You were a dirty distraction playing out across the opposite frontier,
I never would have crossed – but you were an intersection.

When clasps rust and the hinges relented, I leaned into a jug full of sour promises.
Did I know then that that man’s face would become only an aftertaste?
That the tree’s limbs would burn?
During a strange afternoon, where no one knew who was leaving who
But that we were gone.
Not only from each other but from ourselves.

It’s hard to hear across the booming of bells marking the nine-o-clock hour,
So I’ll yell.
What do you think they’ll think?

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Break Into

Break into unspoken reservoirs,
Reservations that slide away as the night progresses.
Resolves to wait dissolve to create.

This means this – too much to remember.
All you need to know is that when blood runs through the streets,
Over the feet of our youth,
Know that the curfew has been dashed.
Rules were made to changed, updated.

You’re in your world of fire.
What we do to survive,
Make a list.
Slam, slam, slam, dunk, dunk dunk.
Drunk off your jokes.

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Collide, Disperse

Hard-boiled Easter egg.
Beneath the shell, I could feel a ridged language.
With eyes closed, I ran my finger,
Along and Across the risen letters,
Spelling out a meandering Bildungsroman,
Without a point or plan, weaving across the shore,
Picking up shells and dropping them when their tinkering bell sounded.
What is the point of a plan,
If the point is to love pointlessly without ask of return?
How do we love while knowing of loss?
The mass graves accosting me in the middle of the night.
The featherweight neonates cradled in napalm.
How can we love while knowing of this?

You can only love if you recognize irreversible loss,
Can only receive if you want, not need, and,
You receive grief.
Fuck, it’s true.
And you receive grief.
Suffering will remain – no soap nor scrub can tear off –
Until you peel the dead skin it’s attached itself to and
Let the light ooze through the unknown,
Knowing that you follow warmth,
But allow the cold.
Because it will steer you to the closest coast.

I’ll let my foolishness morph into fruitfulness,
As I take the time to celebrate the taking of time.
We’ll sit to watch the shapes collide, disperse, and make new.
I’ll let my foolishness morph into fruitfulness,
As I take the time to celebrate the taking of time.

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Corset of Cosseting

I’m watching the world from a rooftop
I’m standing on a rooftop, listening to the baying of city people
A mother cradling her son, tears falling on his forehead
I can’t tell you why, I can’t even tell myself why

I’m standing on a rooftop
And the city skyline paints a picture of forgotten wealth
And yet all I see are stray dogs with matted fur howling at a moon they can’t see
They know it’s there
How do they know? How do they know?

I wonder where you are now that you’re not here
I wonder if you still love those fast songs of yours
I wonder if you still love those fast men of yours
Those men so fast and fearful
You said they were fearless, oh
But I’d have to disagree
They’re terrified, not of you but they’re fucking terrified of themselves, that’s what fast men fear
They fear that they’ll never to be able to slow down and stop like a car spinning out of control

The tension taught me that not everything has to be broken to be finished, just slack
I thought she was trying to hold my hand so I smiled and held it out
Only to find her several steps behind me, crouched on the pavement, her mouth open in a silent scream
I told her, I won’t offer you a corset of cosseting
To this she laughed and opened up every window and every door
Though I warned you the day will come where I can’t help but to upbraid your every quirk

My compassion is capricious but I promise it’ll never be spurious
It may tremble and waver and falter and falter and fall
It’ll never be spurious
She said, leaning over the table and lowering her voice
She said, life struts around on the edge wearing a three-piece suit threatening to stomp on our fingers clinging to the ledge
Her hope was pockmarked by fear
She tried to inculcate with a sense of caution

Always dunning me to fulfill her dreams
I hate to say it but if you don’t even know them, how can I?
Late nights watching grainy home videos
Was it strange to hear her voice echo?
Off the walls, off the wall, off the wall
There was a still, tacit agreement not to mention what had happened
But I push and I push and I push until something snaps back

Sometimes things break before they snap, other times they just go slack
Before you hit the pavement with your bare bloody hands, sand sticking to your palms
And everybody exclaims, what happened?
What happened is right, what happened?
Now your shirt and your morals are in tatters
And you can’t call home because you don’t remember the number
A fantasy is something with nothing at stake
But at stake is where I stand with two feet planted in the ground
It’s all just wear and tear
Is it normal?
No, but that doesn’t matter
What matters is what you hear when you put you ear to the ground
That far off rumbling is enough to send most running
But if you’re able to stand there, upright and tall by your stake
That’s what matters
Not what cold people project onto your mind
They have no right to cross-fade who you are into their own reflection
Watch them reel and trip over their own feet, lurching through life blinded by their own ignorance

Because we’re no better

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Is Your Love A Noose?

Knowing when to ask and when to let it slide.
Sink into the knowledge that there are no soft landings,
Forgettable strangers, and no failures.
For years I thought I failed him.
I thought the sun had seen its reflection
In the sweat that carries the damned truth of my silenced labor.
You know me because you know yourself,
Like the back of a deck of cards
Momentarily being beaten in the hands of some magician street performer.
You ask me because you can’t ask yourself,
“Where did all the good times go?”
“Where did all the clean water flow?”

Inside the minutes when we truly stand outside the waiting rooms,
When God’s name is being ripped from my split chapped lips…
When the Light is an all-knowing blind widow who sees every young lover…
When every touch leaves marks and gouges
But barely brushes the hair that hangs like prisoners from trees…
Is your love a noose?
Is it worth all the nights spent alone,
When it felt like our faith was swaddled in DDT?

And when I stopped asking, it started to come.
We were leaning against his car,
Listening to highly compressed music
That at once felt extrasolar and deeply intimate,
Harmonized with the industry of nature itself,
And right then, something poured over my skin
And the answer was this substance: satisfaction housed.

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Little Hoaxes/Little Hopes

Like rats in a maze,
Like Rays in a cage,
Like seamless seamstresses in a rage.
In and out within 2, 3, 4, 5 minutes tops.

You said you wanted to hear how they sung in South.
How they sung when sweat ran down into their eyes,
And into the soil.
Down into their eyes,
And the soil.

Dropped your ring down the drain.
Drinking tap water while watching creatures parade through the living rooms,
In their taffeta ball gowns.
Tell me that story again! I know I’ve already heard it but tell me it again.
The one from your other life,
The one you lead when I’m not watching.

Little hoaxes line the streets,
Helping people to carry little hopes in golden lockets.
Little hoaxes line the streets,
Helping people to carry little whores in their pockets.
Little hoaxes line the streets,
Helping people to carry little homes in their wallets.

To watch make-believe doves take flight,
From grimy apartments rooftops
In cities ground down into wastelands lining the coasts.

Conclusion is an illusion.
Thought I’d beat it,
I was just beating myself.

Our damnation,
A sweet little stomping ground.
Yes, we’ll fake our passion,
Until our hallucinations run dry.

Mr. Honey Uncle, the one I never knew.
The one who’s the banker, the builder,
The one who left before.
Don’t think memory will sweeten your image.

No, one cherry doesn’t make a fruit salad.
I should know,
I stretched the truth as far as it could go.
I should know.

Tousled and true to form,
We all gravitate to fullness.
Tousled and true.

I’ll keep riding when you’re writhing,
I’ll keep riding when you’re rising.

And I would have danced for you.

It’s strange to say but I promised to tell you true.
So tonight, let’s regress a little.

And walk.

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Mask On

No one remembers to close the windows when it rains,
So water pours in.
Drenching the curtains and running down my back.
My hair plastered to my face,
My makeup streaked by tears, sweat, or rain.
I forget.

I took notes, and handed them in.
I took jokes, and handed them back.
I took punches, and laid low,
Never knowing how to curl my fists tight enough.
The one time I tried, my hand slid through his face,
And I – not him – fell into the gutter.

Is your mask on?
Is your mask off?
Either way, your eyes are dark and looking directly at me.
Hard to read, as in cryptic,
As in distant and deep but not without gravity
And that’s what I seek:
A graven image amongst this burning wreckage.

I’ll find a lacerated cicada, cicada, cicada
And hold it to my chest.
Won’t show it off, no.
Your hands on my hips is what I’m waiting for.
I don’t love you but I cleared out a space just in case the answer is:

When we find the gramophone,
Will our nostalgia cloud the critic?
Let’s hope.

Was your silence a salute? A presage?
Let’s hope not.

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Nicotine and Butane

Although I try not to give the devil his due but darling you look lovely in blue
We are like the troubled sea, when it rests not, casting up dirt and sea shells
You called up saying tell me everything tomorrow, yesterday if you could but just not now
Oh, Eugene, you bottled out again like a bottle bobbing on the surface of that troubled sea
You seem to think we’re so alike
In response, he pulled a face, just not his own
In response, he pulled the leg of every palmist and zealot he came across

Lived a life according to the many laws hanging like cobwebs in the doorways of the people who tried and failed to kiss, tried to kiss you
A recluse who exclusively jaywalks through the heart of cities that can’t be found on a map shoved into the pocket attached to the back of the passenger seat
Elbows well-rubbed when we went out to eat
You said they’d be smart but all they did was stare at the floor and wish they had more than an empty wallet and an empty schedule, an empty wallet and an empty life
At least their stomachs weren’t empty
We had nothing but bravado to sustain our bravery, said nothing but bravado
We had nothing but bravado to sustain our bravery
For years I wore a hibiscus flower tucked behind my right ear but it don’t seem to bloom anymore

Nicotine and butane
Pale yellow memories spiraling upwards
A haystack of hope, so easily lit
Sticks of atrophied desire, atrophied desire, just as easily burnt

Let the tsunami hit the bricks, hit the walls

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Perched in your room
Lick your paws, grooming and growing
Only for your mother, a little while later, to muss and mess your coal-black hair

You smile up at me
I don’t know what you’re thinking but I know what you’ve done, damn right I know

You came to my home, sat down and crossed your legs, spread a napkin across your lap
Elbows on the table, food in your teeth
Dine and ditch, a little pitch on your fingers from climbing trees
Dine and dash, you beat the check
But I wasn’t even asking anything of you, no, no, no

Socialites crowd the halls of the courtrooms
So the jury can’t even hear me out
Come on, someone somewhere, come on

When I speak I don’t scream but at least I make noise
Unlike half the birds flying too high, sucked into men’s engines
They’ll destroy you and you’ll never be able to destroy them

You bought me flowers
One peony, peony, peony, four lilacs
Two roses, one for me and for my mama, mommy, mama
And eight, eight, eight, eight, exactly eight, eight, eight, eight dandelions
They’re weeds, growing out of concrete
A little while later I tasted blood in my mouth and wine in yours
Blood in mine, wine in yours

I don’t care about where you came from and I don’t know what’s good for you
But maybe I could be good for you, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know
Maybe you could be good for me, I don’t know, I don’t think so, I don’t know
Just open up you dandy, with your dandy ideas
And eight, eight, eight, eight, exactly eight, eight, eight, eight dandelions
They’re weeds, growing out of concrete
A little while later I tasted blood in my mouth and on your hand and on your lapel, lapel, your lapel
And wine in your glass and in your mouth and in your lapel, lapel, your lapel

I remember standing on the shore during a storm, February, winter storm
There was sand and ice hitting me in the face like shards of glass
The ocean gray and blue, screaming and pounding
And there was driftwood caught amongst all this rage, floating or trying to
While the ocean simultaneously carried and drowned it, carried and drowned it, carried, carried, carry, carry, carry, carry, carry, carry

We’ll perch in your room, we’ll lick your paws, we’ll groom and we’ll grow
But just remember your hair isn’t coal black anymore, red, red, red

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The kind of girl that looks like she’s always on the inside flap of some joke,
One that’s not quite funny enough to laugh at,
And you’re it,
And you know it.

The narrative on repeat.
Familiarity rubs curiosity raw,
And they’re telling me I sound like a broken record,
And I feel hooked.

The kind of girl that looks like she’s always on the inside flap of some joke,
One that’s not quite funny enough to laugh at,
And I feel hooked.

Yes, I feel blessed.
And drowned.
Or should I beam and bob?
Should I have beamed and bobbed?

Villains and fools, can anyone pluck them apart?
The cat certainly didn’t have anybodies tongue,
But it wouldn’t surprise me if she had something up her sleeve,
Like an atomic bomb.

Recite meaningless adages passed down.
Are you disappointed?
Are you disappointed that the motherland isn’t what she promise you she’d be?
Well, most people would be.
I mean, most people should be.

Heading back home empty-handed,
Heading back home empty-handed.

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Same Wood

Like Russian dolls, I rest inside of you
We’re crafted from the same wood, expand in my hand
A lark and a wren and seventeen hens remind me to pay rent to the demigods
Like Russian dolls, I rest inside of you

Terrible claws can be soft paws while owners sleep
Just like my tongue can curl around lies, lies, lies but also wrap around daydreams
If every cold sweat ended like the last then showers would be an option but hear me out
People hang from rafters, bake pie crusts, and crack open old, dusty books all for the same reasons

Like Russian dolls, like Russian dolls, I rest inside of you
We’re crafted from the same wood, expand in my hand
Thrashing in the deep end, while a lark and a wren and seventeen hens remind me to pay rent to the demigods
Like Russian dolls, like Russian dolls, like Russian dolls, like Russian dolls I rest inside of you

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Am I light you started at too long and too deeply?
Is there a black imprint of me on everything you see?
I’d like that, I guess.
I’d like to feel like I was sitting on someone’s swollen soul.
We’re marching past the statues,
Our mouths slits in the gathering dust.
Rub out the truth we’ve come to know and agree with;
When the words fade, we fade, too.

Use your teeth if you have to.
A dirty razor, broken glass, or your teeth if you have to.
Use a sharp edge to subdue, keep calm,
Block the slipstream,
Don’t let the ripples hit the children.
We need them to think they’re unshakable, unsinkable.
We need to feel unshakable, unsinkable.
I need to feel unshakable, unsinkable.
Make me feel unshakable, unsinkable.

The problem is, death seeps in.
Up through the floorboards like a drafty window, a drafty widow.
Bushed, whipped, and bagged.
Where do we go, if not here?

I never breathe too deeply, in case I breathe something in
And find I have to exhale what just made home in my lungs.
You know one neighbors near the heart.

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Thigh-High Apprehension

Here, play a game of whist,
Or maybe a little euchre,
You little girl with pleated skirts and thigh-high apprehension.

We cradle your ambitions in the crooks of our arms
Or, at least, that’s what they demonstrated.
Until her ambitions outgrew their scrawny arms,
And she had to learn on her high-heeled feet.

A young man yearned to be a vigilante,
While his sister wanted the same but could only amount to a dilettante.
Thanks for the help.

Sticks and stones may make you prone to unraveling,
But words will only push you further into the herd.

The vanity of whispering in my ear,
A game of telephone.
In the end, no one heard a word and all meaning is lost.
So hear it from the source –
Or hear it not at all.

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Every morning I replay the touch
That sent me spinning as if I were white flour clapped into the air
And I want to cry, I want to feel the chemical burn of a sweet curled hand resting between.
Destructible, breakable, I am tinder/tender.
Never a crack nor rustle,
Could light three fires.

A nervous treading of water in the flooded basilica
And we knew it was our own dark, celestial twitch that made us birth this curse,
That no name could be rubbed in its face like smelling salts.
My breath is a distant smoke alarm with the batteries removed;
And what’s between the tiles in a gas station bathroom?
On a petal we see in moments of too much focus without connection.

One drop of seawater in a chlorinated pool.

Innocence or ignorance:
With the lights out – they’re the same.
With the lights on – one is sugarcane/Cain and the other is able/Abel to twist your mouth.
So sour is the power it lends the shortest man to tower.
Leave it at the curb for the city raccoons.

Dilated eyes that can’t tear themselves off that careening machine,
Bucking like a hell-bound bronco.
And when the streetlights are as bright as the sun, it’s then we’ll know to quit.

She sat on my chest,
Knees digging into my shoulders as pummel-feeling words fell like rain, felt like acid rain.
I called her on her lunch break to tell her I figured out why we like to remember pain:
It’s because cocooned in the worst grief is the deepest, sweetest love,
Which means we must monopolize on whatever sticks to the sieve,
Capitalize on what clogs the drain, take up room in the smallest of cages, and she said, “honey.”
And she said, “Honey, honey, I’m homeless in a honeycomb with barely enough room to think and that’s still too much room for me.”
After we hung up, I sat with a sickening thought,
That maybe what’s wrong with me,
What’s always been wrong with me,
The thing that can’t be fixed,
Is that I think with too much space.
I think in plains and great lakes and indestructible, unbreakable love
And they can smell the stench of being bent on home, heading home.

Doesn’t it always seem that what we hold inevitably falls to a clatter of dust resting on the fingertips of God?
And what you had is what you’ll never have again.
And what you have is what you’ll never have again.
And what you’ll have is what you’ve never had before.
Doesn’t it always seem that what you hold inevitably falls to a clatter of dust resting on the doorsteps of our last apartment?

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Will It Away

Bars on the window and cocksure guards flank the doorways
Planned a coup but when the day came, he thought he might prolong his stay
For outside is just another prison with another set of cruel rules

I hate you because I love you, son, you should know that, son
He won’t be back again, brother, you should know that, brother
Riding that bastard’s coattails home because you were too drunk to walk
It’s not exactly the rarest sight around here

Missiles of insults whistle past your ear as you hail a cab
The coup de grace, the door slams, the knife twists
Is this what you missed?
Large swaths of pity cloud your tea as you stir and stir, willing them away
Will it away

Looking for a grave to dig but all you have are spoons
Looking for a woman to sing you a paean
With your name written on it just above the nutritional facts and serving sizes
But you can’t find a single girl willing to sink her teeth in

Your ego is corroded and your hands which used to hoists loads heavier than your weight doubled have begun to look like shuttered, abandoned beach houses
Though the graffiti is not of yours but by bored boys

He heads the phalanx past art museums and concert halls and gift shops
Down past any landmark or recognizable face
To a world where nothing and no one depends on him
For this is where he will learn that independence this is not

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Wooden Overcoat

A story told with no beginning or end, twisted back and forth,
Knotted to the point of no return, and this is how it was told to me
So, all I know is that there was a moment of lust, of fury, and many moments of misplaced love and trust

You dropped red herring after red herring as I followed you home, listening to you tell the story
“You dropped this,” I would say, holding ’em up like a coin to a lady with a hole in her purse
But I’m prepared to believe you intended to leave a trail

You tucked me in that night
Saying, “There is no wooden overcoat, no sarcophagus resting on this bier but all the same,
Pull the crush velvet pall up beneath your chin, and curl up, sleep, baby, sleep”

My daddy woke me up the next morning
Asking me if I heard it last night
The house next door burnt down
The story goes that a boy was awoken by his dog, who ran to his mother
Who ran to the lawn and stood and watched it burn
“No,” I said, “I slept through it.”

All that I heard that day, ringing through the halls, was a story
Gossip, most likely
About a group of misfits, misfits that lit that house fire
They delivered a speech prior about how soothsayers and haruspices were the only ones these days
To hike into the true terra incognita
While the rest of us stagnate pieces of shit sat on our couches and watched the world burn through our TV sets

But I learned a long time ago not to ask those desultory lotus-eaters for a favor
Don’t sit by the phone, waiting for them to call
Their minds are ragged and torn
They’re frightened fly-by-nights
That while away their time back-combing and back-pedalling and they’ll never be there for backup, so don’t ask
So dig a quarry and leave your hatchet there
Bury it under layer after layer of cold, wet guilt
That’s what she’d want, that’s what he’d want for you

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