What I Mean

What I mean when I say “I love you,”
and what it means when you hear it
are two very different things.
That’s where words break down.
They can’t adequately describe the feeling,
it must be demonstrated to be understood,
if even that can do it.

Like the back of my hand

I

We came from the place where they mold your dreams into memories that do not fade. We walked along the river that flows both ways until the machine ran out on us and the molten rocks flowed down the hills. We talked with the man who taught one of us how to swim and invited him out for a meal.

II

Before we could eat with the man who taught swimming we first had to eat with the next generation, growing and laughing and eating their fill with appetites we will never know again. We also partook, in one place or the other, in rituals of celebration and remembrance.

III

On the way home from both of our meals we took local roads past the place where the wolves prowl the rails and the snakes draw the innocent out of their shells and into the woods where it’s easier to feast on them. I’ve come to know this place like the back of my hand.

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They Melted The Mountains For Us

I

They melted the mountains for us, dear

It was for us that they poisoned our planet

They drove all those species to the brink of extinction

and beyond

for our comfort, our safety, and our pleasure

II

I strangled myself in service to the monsters I made

I called to Death, “take me,”

then I hid from the first sign of his cloak

III

I negotiated my salary using imaginary numbers

and wiped the slate clean with alcohol

Now I wait for the sun to tell me lies

but so far

it just tortures me with the cruelties of truth

 

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The Place Where It Started

I went to the place where it started for me and spent time with half the people I’d known there. It wasn’t the way it used to be: it’s harder now to find some words and too easy for others. There are holes in places that used to be solid. There are flowers where there used to be trees. There is death where there used to be laughter, and knowledge where there used to be dreams.

The dark room showed violence, but not too much, and it also showed patience and grace. The room by the water showed the shockwaves of nature and the art that is hidden in food. The room meant for living was filled with opinions – ideas and voices and anger and hope. The room meant for sleeping grabbed me and swallowed, and groaned before hiding away. The room that keeps moving carried a box of silence across state lines where it was opened ceremoniously and out popped another fresh life.

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