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memories of these appearances


there is an incredibly strong desire to hope for one
for one would be convenient in the way a name is
yet, more often than not, the name's the first thing to go
or the last to actually matter, and, or perhaps though
definitely but, in some cases, simply a magnificent lie

sometimes it wasn't even memorable, the name

never said or uttered because there was really no need
not even my own, since i was sometimes not even asked
and when i think about it, those were the most intense
secluded moments of all, when our voices finally failed

those times that had nothing to do with words

let alone a name, an unexpected mistake in pronunciation
an odd way of remembering the way your body looked under
the sheets, a thought from elsewhere, a single note heard clearly
but nowhere near the force of impact, of our mutual accident

because sooner or later they all disappeared
without numbers, of course, without even the slightest strip
of paper with letters, numbers, dashes, and flourishes
tucked away in a drawer, a coin pocket, a hidden sleeve


- the first one was twice my age, at least
a foreign accent to boot, but the same tongue
warm as every afternoon on the island
with a handful of witnesses, unwanted
unavoidable and dirty, like the sheets
like i always can't help but remember it

-then there were many names behind her
names like kisses in a darkened playground
but she was pale like a bloated moon
obscured by clouds, younger yet more experienced
always waiting for me in the housekeeper's
quarters by the pool, eyes the color of empty
bottles--it was she who taught me
the language of skin and how to wake up
without letting the dream dry completely out

-an ocean later, i found one of three at the far side
of a city map, but the city was neither hers
nor mine; still, it belonged to us for days on end.
we wrote each other letters back then and it blew us
away to find out we in fact corresponded seamlessly
but again, geography proved too overwhelming

-distance would define her, as in an entire world
between her eyes, her ears, her arms, her legs
the landscape was a table that felt like a stove
where she altered my shape with her hands
and asked me “where to?” with the crack of dawn
i was working as a bus boy at the time
and although she was a regular, never saw her again

-behind the counter though, i dreamed and coveted
her eyes devouring pages and pages and her body
hiding under long skirts like drapes drawn over windows
many years later and, again, as many letters written
i found her in california, i saw her in the flesh
but by then it was much too late for anything more
after all that trouble, a simple hug would just have to do

-it was more a house than anything else
afloat in a sea of rocks, pines, winding roads
with many doors, many places to hide
and they all have different names, different
stories about so many different places they’d been
each one more time for memory’s sake, a form of truce
they all cracked their doors and a couple came out to see me go

-alleyways and clearings in the woods, an occasional
trailer without heat, an abandoned bus among the firs
an impulse to fall together and see how far we’d made it
many years apart, yet periodical relapses into wanting
realizing this is where we will be for the time being
everything reduced to a brief phone call in the night
and the same ending repeating itself all over again, and again


years like wild animals rushing through the woods
a coast unlike any other, something amiss with the air
long blonde hair falling like so many tears of joy
of not knowing when, if ever, it will all unfold once more
within the indoor twilight of a desperate eve, some
ready to go, others, like myself, finally comfortable
in that soft corner between your neck and shoulder
needing nothing more than to see this night through

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