I really don’t always know where to draw the line between a friendship poem and a love poem. I’m polyamorous and mostly demisexual, and friendship and love form more of a spectrum to me than separate boxes. I write love poems to friends I don’t intend to ever convert into lovers, and I write friendship poems to lovers I also consider friends. So some categories overlap in my life and poetry.
“…Yesterday you told me about the way
forestry affects your mind:
hunting poison ivy, leaves of three
with greater poisons in hand,
your mind twists and grows
into moving shapes, tesselations
of trinities, hidden in the brush
like a Magic Eye painting.
The movement of growing things,
the taste of green gets under your skin…”
“…Come with me, when the coast is clear,
to the Gideon’s call of foghorns
and the rush of wind in your russet hair.
I want to see the cold playing your skin
and draw maps of the constellations
of your freckles. I want to discover
the highways and fire roads in you,
your back country, the icebergs that break ships
and the lounging sunlit seals…”
“…Tonight I’m connecting the stars on my own
in a house the color of midnight.
I was experimenting with electricity
and found a rip in the galaxy—
an open circuit, a breach in polarity
where the mysteries of trinities glow
Is it too much just to be happy?
I don’t need to invent the microwave
or write a symphony.
I just want the simple pleasures
I’m waiting, and waiting is a sentient life-form
you can feed snacks…”
…He drew a line in black ink,
squiggling around shapes
of buildings, people, trees.
I followed it around the corner,
curious where it would lead.
I followed it all the way into the subway.
Sometimes I drew things back.
The city opened around me
like the glass teeth of a mosaic dragon
breathing smoke and the fires of sunsets
between buildings. their underground organs
pumping and hissing with hydraulic precision.
…Somewhere in another house,
someone’s eating dinner.
Someone finished their homework.
Someone’s practicing guitar
and I interrupted him but he doesn’t mind.
He teaches me the chords
to “Message in a Bottle.”
Voices far away
cut through static.
I want to eat the sounds
of humans being alive…
…In a mirrored apartment
that your father bequeathed
to you after his murder
I escaped the world,
above the East River
and the bleached ribs
of the Whitestone bridge
where seagulls lazily played
in the panoramic blue
outside your picture window.
We savored meals
of dreams and secrets:
hiding in bookstores,
swimming in crystal blue
of chlorinated pools,
wandering Manhattan streets…
How could I forget a kiss?
I know it’s strange to forget this
when I think of how you entered my life
like a monsoon: a sudden pressure drop
and rainbow macaws streaked across flat gray sky
like the mist auras on spigots
long after it stopped raining —
on that summer day when you picked me
with your nimble white fingers
like sea glass on a beach
that day the subway stopped
due to a sudden accident
when someone tripped on the train tracks
and died instantly of a heart attack…