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Laura, Toucan Editrice

Monday, February 14, 2011

I., Patrick Braley

I am man, sporting a beard and flannel shirt,
thrift corduroys and a pocket watch, and sweet girls in tights and tank tops and giant sweaters
and tank tops and no shoes on cold tile
grin at me in coffee shops because I’m a
poet, sitting at desks by large windows without drapes
igniting antique typewriters with some exaggeration of life or death or love
with furrowed brow and shaking hands that hover over keys like fat black roaches.
A struggling musician, with bloody fingers that caress steel and brass to tempt the ears by soft seductive note, tapping a bare foot to alien meter.
I’m an artist, leaning over cliff faced paintings of serenity and
walking closer to the edge with every stroke, squirrel hair scratching classical pornography like nails on bare flesh.
I’m the creator, a man of prose to women of shade or shape or sleight of hand
magicians in their capes and tophats full of lovers, whose oil scars and
ink-stained cheeks are soft with tears from their palms shoved hard into eyesockets.
Driving through blackened streets in Ford Pintos, the headlights turned off
as I am one with the night and the air and the sound
while buildings lean overhead looking into holes in skulls and oatmeal brains
spitting granola through gapped teeth and mustache clippings.
My facial ivy curls down torsos like tentacles of beasts below the depths
hungry, lusting for flesh of pink lilies and I choke
on dust storm tornadoes through canyons with finite understanding
regarding the meaning of the vast spaces between breaths.
A troubled youth, strung out on coffee and Prozac in empty hallways
chewing baggies of rainbows like salt water taffy and biting my nails to the quick,
sipping on coffee mugs full of whiskey as the sun paints the bed sheets effortlessly.
Drunk off rum and high on opiates tripping through the bedrooms for a lighter in the dark
stilling lovers in their socks with my bare footsteps.
Sitting on glacial bathroom floors with shamans citing verses from hallucinated
walks though midnight mists, up azure hills with wizard men smoking pipes and breathing smoke like dragons,
flying minivans down paper highways and playing invisible drums, conducting symphonies
under the influence of God and grass and electric guitar while spacecrafts soar overhead,
smoking under the full moon as it grows like pupils of boys smoking under the full moon who are sick of walking through downtown streets on wing-tipped shoes reciting
99 lines about lovers trapped in war-torn apartments for the tiny heroes in our skulls.
I am an emperor, staining the sheets with skidmarks and semen from the love
of a fine man or the lust of a soft woman, or the abysmal mire of no one at all.
I am loveless, standing naked on roofs covered in the frost of early March
looking quietly towards the ground while a cigarette hangs contemptuously in my mouth,
burning holes in lungs and pockets and forearms of the world I rule over.
Writing prayers in my thighs with razor blade quills
hands clasped in shaking assuredness that I’m still here I’m still here I’m still here
and loved, surely by these pretty little ladies
and all the people and the animals and the ants, as well.
I sleep on cold bedroom floors with my heart on mattresses above my head
held firmly in the jaws of she-wolves
shaking so violently that I purge it all right there on the carpet in a stinking mess of
booze and pills and sweat and blood and tears and lust and hope and love and hate and loss
so profound that I will want to write a poem about it
and not know how to end it
so it will conclude with a deep draw of breath and a sigh,
because I seem to have become long-winded
and I am none of these things
and all the lovely girls have left my side.

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