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
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
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.