Three Poems

1. Of Faith and Roses

 

Sometimes the sun rises North of East. Sometimes the moon hangs above our heads like an orphaned jewel and when I reach out it hides in your breast.

 

I wonder on whose axis we are living.

 

Venus is an orphan too. She sleeps between us. Her breathing is the sound of an heiress and a whimpering lapdog. Her lies are bachata, her lies are haka, her lies are arabesque.

 

Come, let me wrap the moon around your shoulders. Let me cloak you in the invisible.

 

We live in a vacuum that sucks the blood from our people and boils it to iron. We will run through the night, together. Stop to thank our gods.

 

Stop to make love in the grass.

 

We cannot be stopped. Wepa! We cannot be caged. L'chaim!

We are not free so I call you mine. We are free so I guard your name like a centaur, like a jackboot, like a mother of strong, kind hands.

 

Little infinitude, daughter of dark matter

naked you are feline, naked you are light as dust,

naked you aim the bow at the star

and bring heaven to your lips

 

I am a mountain that moves at night and you say I confound you

my words twist in the wind, they cascade between the trees

they smell of mossy dawn

 

My love, my wild love

the girl who seduced time travel and now lives forever

We must expunge Venus, we must put the moon back where it belongs

we must find our goodness before we lose our hearts

we must love each other and die

 

For we are the pillars of the earth and I never send you roses

even though you once did the math, long ago, when music fell from your hair and your sister braided birdsong behind your ear

Send me your flowers, you dared us

send me the perfumes that blossom in the city night and I will open like petals!

but your faith, like mine, is a vapor now

a trick of light on the restless pond

surface at dusk

 

a morning dew, a joy

a rare delight that only dawn can bring


The Mourners Go Singing on Easystreet

 

Your girlfriend says he's done a service for the dear departed 

to sing prayers to the dead and the heavens

But you can't break atmo with words

Can't defy the laws of nature with your voice

Can't grow a gollum of someone you love by feeding it salt

 

Dust is better

 

For some time now the bay has been burning,

trillions of ash particles speed over the placid wetlands

they snarl they twist, they hunger like the crazed, like newborns, like fire to dry wall

everyone in Fruitvale boards the ghost ship to flee

And all that grief he's been serving

to the dead can't slow their hurried homecoming

 

They scent the air now; San Francisco is wearing masks in the street

Billionaires and poets sing coarse, bounce their words off the mesosphere

laugh hysterics into murky pools

 

Take selfies in the oil slick, until something rises from the blackness

no one knows what it is saying

 

You can't break atmo with words, I have tried

I have thrown bones into the sea, I have planted dollar store mausoleums

In the soil of gardens and highways

I have breathed the ashes of your lovers

 

And most days I am coarse, leaden to the earth, singing like a cut throat

Garroted by some bureaucrat who follows me, binds me to the ground

evicts me for the rent increase, chases me to the docks to

leave a trail through the dusty streets

through the tears of raining ghosts


When the World Burned

 

Wake up and remember: intention is an act too.

you off to the academy, off to shoulder the mourners

carry them like shells for a righteous shooting

 

Into the blackness, penitent judge

hops the line, talks to the bouncer, takes the seat

 

Tweet tweet tweet

 

this is not a conspiracy, somebody quacks on the TV

This is the waiting room

this is climbing the stairs, this is the providence of forked tongues

A hand snaps back.

Someone asks a cop for his lucky numbers; he says

rich people want the rarest dances, want you

 

to teach a new dog old tricks, like how to hide food from the roaches in plastic

how to fuck in a house full of people

how to build a raft of shopping bags and bloating bodies

Seal it with blood, send it to the Pacific, float it to Australia

 

Ain’t no guns there no more, maybe

just maybe

they won’t notice the real you

Some things are true, I promise you.

 

Everyday in Los Angeles is the right day for somebody to say everyday is the right day

Strays don’t make good guard dogs, always looking for the horizon, eyes always

on better prizes; no concept of ownership, would stand on the rooftop and watch the looters burn it all

down

 

Some things are true about your hands, your elevens, up like volume, up like mass shootings, up like time

Days accrued to nothing, you rich with the nothingness of them

a vocation on your back

Some things are true

Your heart is a battered dog

Your heart is a first kiss

Your heart is the girl who dissed you in 10th grade ‘cause your clothes was whack

Your heart is falling from a skyscraper

like a stock broker

He deserves it, nobody taught him those words

Been spent all his days funneling wealth to the wealthy

Paying poor people to stay poor

 

Tying his secretary to the floorboards to keep overnight, for her own good

He says, can’t let her go now

Busses breed sedition, air brakes sigh like satisfied women

she’s not safe out there


 

Alex Ivey is a writer of short stories, novels, plays, poetry and awesome love letters. He is a New York native currently on loan to Los Angeles, California. His work has appeared in (or is forthcoming to) The Harpoon Review, Viator and Drunk Monkeys. Alex has been featured by reading series such as Litquake, Red Light Lit, Inside Storytime and others.
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Poetry & ProseAlex Ivey