They’re Playing Kaufman at the Theater

Behind the camera’s eye I’m

writhing in this capsule I’ve twisted shut and

trying to sprout by hanging on the memory on the edge of your lips,

pretending a lingering taste means more than waste

and not just the bitter candy written off as remedy.


The sourness is a familiar legacy that

splashes over rays of sunshine, but

never pierces past a barrier of clouds,

reverberating off of the raining troubles while I’m already a foot under,

breathing in water for air,

drinking up defeat to weigh my bones down to sea.


Reflecting off the tomb of this pool I see

locks of hair arranged for a movie scene,

illuminated by that star I appointed to you

that you never really earned.

In depths below, twenty-three fathoms or so,

the warmth of this image survives any effort to replace.

I call it comfort but end up waking up shivering

in the cold knowledge of your touch

and the lies inside of your fingernails.


Called again

the room inside my head

where I know

you are wide awake.


Mine the mascara dry and I

am unsteady on hands and knees when

I mistook happiness in a counterattack over the counter,

whispering convincing untruths to bluff sadness,

and hope the scars don’t shine on film.


Tally marks remain lined up

to be the sentries that are

circling the thought of you,

their razor fangs barred to preserve a rotted fruit.

Teething on a numbed joint and

I swear it looks like rays of sunshine

pouring from the torpedo hole launched into the boat’s belly.


Gave Carey a thought and drew concept,

but came away empty when

reality and fiction ceased to blur in the family photo.

There’s still a clementine rooted in the pit of my stomach,

leaking a sourness into my senses.

I call it comfort but always rise while shuddering,

having felt the electric charge of your touch

and the lies inside of your mouth.


Called again

the room inside my head

where I know

you are wide awake.


Stuck again

dwelling next to your bed

where I know

I can never leave.


Try or fail

I am always drifting

straight into those rays of sunshine.


Snagged in the tendrils spread out from the image

as what I am and what I claim to be never intersect,

lost in translation in antipathetic arms.

I’ll turn to stone in your portrayal of my self-worth,

having never been good enough,

and now never good enough for myself.


Watching the waves wash in and out of the room inside my head,

hoping for a high watermark to take it away.

In any ending, I’m always up at night,

shivering.

( ❤ Mitch)

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