trying to paint a sailboat while it’s up on blocks and its shelter made of tarps gets thrashed by the giddy Spring winds, gleeful with snow, howling with pleasure at our toil

when you’re not sober you forget
why you get high.
you get high
because you are not sober
and you get high because
your day is made of bones
and these bones
pulsate and quiver from
their marrow to
the resonant clink of
their outermost layer.
quiver and warble and hum and
sigh for flesh in which to hide.
you get high because
you need somewhere to go
and something to
wrap you up.
i can’t tell you why
you are or aren’t
sober and i can’t tell you if
your pursuit of flesh
is intoxicating or
an appropriate and acceptable method
to have your needs met.

i dated a woman who i loved
even though i am failing
in my belief system;
another woman i loved
though who never allowed me
to ruin myself with her, she
spoke with me at length about
the unreality of love,
how it’s all just
a chemical kaleidoscope,
a carnival ride
on a piece of plastic under a
high school AP biology microscope.
a mid-level suburban microscope,
not the nonexistent microscope
of a shambling urban public
school, no, and not
the opulent public school of
a wealthy suburb, up there
45 minutes north of the city,
where kids play
on professional-level sporting fields
and look at love
under finely-tuned microscopes
and get high in a verdant field
just out back of the weight room,
the field that only the ceramic studio
windows look upon, and
those kids in there,
even though few of them
get high anymore, they
don’t mind if you do.
they won’t tell you
that love doesn’t exist
and they won’t tell you that
your bones are wailing
for safety and comfort and
their wailing is audible
to everyone around you,
even if the sound is less
heard and more

outside it is Spring
snowing to near-all
of our disgust.
inside i was writing
at a wooden table and
listening to music and
drinking single-origin coffee and
feeling so lonely that i could taste it,
though maybe that was just
the coffee. a single-origin
from Guatemala
and the loneliness inside me
is here in America with me.

i am sober and i have forgotten
why, much like i have forgotten
what my wooden heart was to do
at this wooden morning table.
i remember a woman
who i loved and she did not
get high and i then when i was
loving her also did not
get high but always my bones
moan and always people can hear
the moaning but they hear it
like a color. they hear it
but experience it like a
quick chemical on a plastic plate
under a mid-grade microscope,
a limb of lightning
in a sea of thunder.
it sounds like love looks
and i can’t tell you why you do
or don’t get high,
only that i have some sense of
why i may or may not use my own
recognizable flesh as disguise.

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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