Your breath a gust, a gallows in the tree & my green
Shy hooves then heartbeat it begins
Your pink nose falling off into my hair
We wrestle the walls of wry space
When we start to make love
Your bellybutton threatens to eat my right eye
Your mouth splashing the dark then growing fangs
O zealous aperture of the light wave his
Ecstasy is that breath
Playing on his trumpet next door
The Gold Ascending scales
Suddenly you become who you are
As if pain were truth
And twilight filled itself with balloons
You try to eat alone but fail
Shivering like a cherub in the cold
Whose lips have darkened
Blue from almost freezing to death
I hold my breath
What I want most is to keep having
You beat night from my body
Your bones clicking hard then snapping back in place
While I squeal & bite the edges of all air
Like a moon the eye loves in sleep
floating between two trees. Deathlove,
how did we get here, in these arms? This skin,
this skin's a warm shroud—and Breath
as if god were inside me, like one
heartbeat with its black sob—the mind's
transparent flags firing above. It's January.
The flesh comes like a loud darkness
I can't see into. I'm listening,
lying down with my demonside, trying to
get to the invisible
heat that is the soul's vast home, riotous spirit.
Why the asphodel, the eucalyptus sweeping?
The season's disappearing. Like the white
smear across the beach at night. I try
repetition for sleep, and count
the hiss of each heartbeat. My Swift
Embracefuls—I hear a cricket's golden filament
scratch night. And the Santa Monica Mountains—
dark harp. Broken jawbone. I hear
the beast of the sea
in the shadow of a beetle I once captured
rise up against me & wail. Shadow, listen
—My breath is
my corpse: torn
shore of the earth. A weeping darkness—
you make me moonsick. Tonight on your back
I destroy myself into bright bluish airs.
Psychologist, I was a challenge to your insights
because I knew how to listen
to the black chains in your eyes.
Who did you think you were fooling?
did you think I gave a shit that you liked me?
Once I devoured a doctor a podiatrist
who kissed like a madman with his eyes'
white lifelines fluttering back into his head
as if he had just taken a hit of heroine
tilting his face roofslant to joy.
I cocked one eyebrow
because this had never happened to me before.
I touched his white ear while he gobbled up the spit from my mouth.
My kiss was vapid.
My kiss carbonized, black tablets of ash bluing his lips & tongue.
But I grew up watching the addicts die
again & again & they were boring.
My mother, my father, the cripple's dance, the beer. No,
it was fear that I smelled on this Foot Doctor,
his having a mole like a hairy planet
gripping his left cheek. I liked him
because I enjoy being frightened by my dreams, not
because my mother who nursed me sometimes shows up
with fangs. After all, who hasn't been a homosexual
wanting to fall down on another man's secret—
the shocked hand pulled back
& stiff hairs? I don't care if you've figured me out.
You & your one lonely bag
swinging as you gallop. Your only body—
Seedmusk & plum muscle.
Blue snail curled underground.
Because I know your type I look down the long tunnels
of your face toward the prisons
I unbuckle your belt
reaching down with my hand for your secret
hanging there alone—
in a single grip I've got us:
my mother my father & you—Lover,
we barely escape without letting loose enough cries.
Miguel Murphy is the author of A Book Called Rats and curating editor for Pistola: A Literary Journal of Poetry Online. His poems and reviews appear most recently in Ploughshares, Willow Springs, and Rain Taxi.