red hand shapes

eyes that rush in and open

like they’ve just missed most of it

wake to a beep

that makes me want to break some things

a focus to tie my shoes

and then again to make my body move

lift my head like it weighs more than my neck is used to.

remember the red,

it came before the black was even blue

fueling a progression

that doesnt even really need me to.

just learn to catch it

like glass learned to catch all the light

and then cut it up

so each color is recognized

sometimes we all think

we’re sixes and sevens

but a decent face

wont get us into heaven

and we dont even know

if they’d let us in

but we wouldn’t go

unless they paid us for it

joan of arc

if you look into her eyes long enough

the room can blur and disappear

she can become you for a while

and say what you know but can’t hear

since the day you were born

you’ve known all of the stories by heart

pearl tea, cat-scratch blind sight

reincarnate joan of arc

and then there were darker stories

some that you wrote yourself

but maybe no one has ever asked

how the gypsy queen herself felt.

so now you try to leave

your whole childhood behind

but the ghost stories are just that

and they’ll haunt you your whole life

maybe she’s just an old woman

you’re now much taller than

who asks you just to sit with her

and give her your hand.

but then all you can remember

is “fear” and “guilt” and “scream” and “cry”

then you are eight years old again

shutting down inside.

john the conqueror

keep up with the good luck

make it sweet enough for the rest of us

put the blood up over the doors

and keep the first born under the floor boards

you can’t just keep looking back

you can’t just keep dusting tracks.

sit still until you know how to make the shape

sit up s.o.s. rush rush then just wait

remember how quickly it all just fell open

know in an instant that it won’t be closed again

you sat on the edge together throwing things in

now you owe it to him to keep a stiff upper lip

hypnotist

dampen the banister with a full glass of scotch

say you can’t remember anything without the hypnotist’s pocket watch

grasping for evidence like digging a face out of make-up

hands falling asleep waiting for your lover to wake up.

cleanliness and godliness and these floors are filthy

but you still hold your breath when you drive past the cemetery

eat fallen fruit from trees with limbs hanging over fences

and swear you can’t taste anything if your not wearing sunglasses

smiles all around you when your mood elevates

and cameras kept handy so you can see the look on your face.