This is the much more neurotic, messy younger sister of a poem I wrote long ago, Words. The two kind of work together as a team… feel free to read and compare. I often enjoy taking the idea of a poem and exploring it from different angles and perspectives, at different times in my life.


I’ve lost my voice
all my vowels and consonants
are sliding down your throat
and falling into your stomach

I’ve lost it
because you swallowed my breath
when you took it away
and carried all my words with it
in overstuffed hobo bundles
tied with silver dew-threads

I can’t get your tongue out of my mouth
long enough to remember how to use it
for anything but this—
we can’t pass without touching
can’t touch without kissing
can’t kiss without falling
into the black hole portal
leading straight from the ozone sheath
of this soft breath-planet
caught between our lips
going all the way down to China—

we can’t stay out of each other’s stomachs
can’t disengage from this tractor beam
can’t disentangle our fingers
long enough to hold the pen
weave the fabric
spin the wool
write the letters—
our battery is always charging
all the wires are overheating
and there’s no unplugging
from this power cell—

we can’t stop touching
can’t stop looking
can’t stop tasting
stealing all the candy
from each other’s pantries:
wrappers scattered on the floor,
gettin’ real in the Whole Foods parking lot
…cleanup on aisle 4!…
squeezing all the produce
and crashing into each other’s carts—
let me just say this:
I’ve built my nest in the roof of your mouth
where my tongue has found a permanent home

let me stay just like this—
in this birdsong cocoon
where words are vestigial organs
and the only scribes
are your nails
carving your initials
on the tree-bark of my spine:

this is where I get off.

This is where I leave the battered shell
of my self with its broken fortresses
and radioactive messes
of my evacuation zone,
and become a Chernobyl roe deer
running into the headlights
of an incoming sun.
This is where I leave behind
the package on the bus
I’d been carrying
that never had a bomb in it anyway
(it was just the ticking
of an unattended heart).

This is the switch
that turns on all my Christmas lights
and glows in my ocean
and all I have to say
anymore is
light and
light and light

my heart grows new windows
to let all this light in
and you keep filling me
filling me with this sugar of silence
spilling the open packets one by one
and lighting them on fire
and the grand finales are just too much
all this dazzle and heat
I can’t talk over all the phosphorus
scorching my lungs and making me cough
I can’t think over the sound of your voice
singing theremin tightrope hymns
of desire pulled taut to snapping,
forced back to the precipice
with all your teeth
and the shock of percussive instruction as you teach me
to take in more and more too much with the
candied wordless wisdom
of your touch that is just
love and love and love and
violent shoegazey tenderness
and the only word is yes and yes
tessellated in sacred geometry patterns
branded in blue-violet Venn diagrams all over my flesh
all these vesicae piscis and rosy flowers of life
in this well-tended garden of loving discipline
as my hands wallpaper all the rooms of your skin
and you reach deep inside my exoskeleton
turn me inside out and gnaw the bones clean
and you can’t retract your claws
and even your heartbeat ravishes the portals of my ears
and disturbs all the green grain fields of my mind
with crop circle transmissions
that flatten all my tall stalks of small talk
blowing new cowlicks into my thoughts
and giving all my arm-hairs erections
as I blow your many dancing dervish
heart-on incarnations into higher and higher
towers of Babel that just won’t lie down
and submit to anything
but the biggest dirge of dying
until I open so hard
even my million pores dilate
to let all of you in

There’s no extricating even an atom of me
from this singularity
when you’re locked down in me
up to the wordless root
where infinity is my vocabulary—
you tie up my tongue
and keep it permanently
I’ve lost my voice
because my tongue has become ivy
on the walls of your little wolf teeth
guarding the hallowed halls of your heartbeat
and it’s grown inseparable from its host

the trapeze net of my heart
has stretched so far from our aerial arts
it sags to the tarmac and snaps back
from all this falling
but never breaks,
it just catapults me higher and higher

and now I’m stuck here in the air
(I’ve fallen and I can’t get down!)
and I can’t find solid ground

since you said goodbye—
I watched you vanish at the gate
when the cold hawk of sky
snatched your chest off my face

and now that you’re gone
I need to wash your shadow off my sheets
because I’m wearing it out

and it’s too painful watching it fade
in all this rain that won’t stop falling
as I’m fighting the inevitability of entropy,
the tragic half-life of scent;
I tried to draw a chalk outline around the place
you lay so I won’t forget its shape—
but I know that’s not the way
you want me to hold you:
you’re made of fireworks,
laughter and bullfrog calls,
stalactites and shifting northern lights.
You can’t be kept inside the lines
your colors bleed off the page
in pools on my lap—
you aren’t an alphabet
but a dance,
an electric current
that still buzzes in my fingertips
and tingles on my lips

I’ll see you again someday
and when I do
I’m going suck all the words out of you,
take your breath into my lungs,
drain you dry of all your syntax
and wear you on my face like a lucky charm.
We’ll batten down all the hatches in our airlock
as the world turns and turns without us

but until then
I have to build you this sand castle
with my plastic pails of nouns and verbs.
I know the ocean will wash it away
if my eyes don’t first

but it’s what I can do with these empty hands now
that keep trying to bake you cakes
but they’re shaking in withdrawal
and my voice gets lost at night
when the world’s asleep:
it’s running around the neighborhood
calling out to cats
and chasing random cars
because the headlights remind it of you—

I’m reaching so hard across the console
for your impossible velvet fingers,
so soft (against me
as your love is hard)
they make even the air around them
ashamed of its callouses—

so take these words

they’re all I have to give you now.
When you’re gone I miss you
and miss you and miss you

and from stark deserts of longing,
I’m reaching out double-fisted
for you because you’ve stolen my dictionaries
swallowed all my vowels
deconstructed all my diction

and I thought this would be the thread
that carries me home—
but it’s NOT…

and I can’t survive on them for years
can’t quench my thirst with quicksilver
can’t live on the pulsar of this longing anymore

I can’t fit your love in these empty boxes
that don’t have your touch in them
and cast only shadows of a kiss

and I know there’s something waiting for us
someday at the end of a long highway ride—

something we won’t have to talk through,
something better than this.

© Psyche Marks 2017

One comment

  1. Pingback: Words – Phosphor Factor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top