How to Combat Insomnia

His bones are powder; at night, she gathers them like a dandelion corsage and rubs them into her aches; he snores angular love affairs; due to jealousy and prior commitments to mania, she scratches hate crimes into his skin in retaliation; his aging hair a snowdrift; she parts her thighs and climbs onto his Winter because someone once told her midnight orgasms are like warm milk; his veins are paralyzed caterpillars; she plucks them out like bloated guitar strings, flosses between each tooth and finally falls asleep inside the river of his blood.

a dangerous shadow

She called everyone a misfit, wearing the city like a cloak. Fire eyes. Field of poppy lashes. “No one expects anything from us,” she said, “which makes us more dangerous like unidentified alphabets.” I started rummaging for what hides in my shadow, finding a grocery list for ends of times. “Nothing is quiet anymore,” she added. “Our wrists harmonize with the wind.” “Don’t forget our tongues!” someone shouted. “Yes,” she spoke quietly. “Our tongues are the synthesizers to our souls. And we’ve got entire albums hoarded behind our lungs. So, let’s turn up the volume and dance!”

Things in Do in New York City (# 2)

To call it dark, would not be enough. A campsite at 3am after all the wood has burned and the stars have shut their eyes. Lungs, after a lifetime with nicotine. Or meat left on a flame, forgotten due to a lover’s quarrel. That dark. The pigeon led me down to where the rats grow old, to where humans learn new ways to be human. The mole people. The subway shadows. Where garbage grows wings, fluttering over the tracks like ghosts. Here, we gathered to share one slice of New York City pizza together. Cheese congealed after waiting too long–slowed down by the other: short legs of humans, lack of wings on I. As we gathered up calories, we spoke in languages neither of us shared, on all the ways we’ve loved before. Seventeen times for me, and only once by this pigeon, unrequited and undisturbed. Towards a letter it once carried. Many, many years ago,

cornbred (sic)

His accent curves through gaps where teeth once were. And we smoke illegal cigarettes in order to challenge the air of this cold October wind. He reads Neruda as though we are in church. My knees want to bend. They want to repeat these prayers. They want to sing out Hallelujah. He stops to call himself a part-time convict and when I ask him if his voice is contagious, he says:

It’s Kentucky and Alabama and gritty from harmonica. 

This Southern Baudelaire gets onstage and claims percussion, keys and tambourine. His lips press against metal teeth. He breathes into and out. Repetition of grit from voice and beat of conjoined instrumentals.

In the trailer parks, that’s where I got my first scar.”

And then he lifts right arm, bare because his sleeves end just above elbow. He points to where his skin slurs. Between each song, he philosophizes. Then, announces a love song.

“This next one is about my ex-wife,” he stumbles out. “Don’t ever marry your Philosophy professor. Can’t cook needles for shit.”

And I am listening. Bookended by handsome poet wearing stolen cologne and visiting Canadian with chocolate and bourbon breath, smeared in own version of musical narrative. I am wrapped in scarf and false leather jacket with notebook gathering up the dust of what exists in this bar. Just noticing. Just listening. Just arriving in this drunk evening of moon, electricity and lust.