The Passive Fire

Lately, my life has been exploding in narrative arc,
spinning in car crashes, off-kilter smiles, the force of paper airplane
deadlines cranking like a car jack under my body.
This body of my work. We are strangers, soon to part,
too soon.

What I mean in real life is that the damage is immeasurable.
There’s no going back.
Tomorrow is a whole other day.
—all those clichés
and more, rattle in the trunk of my car.

When you fall out of or into love, there is a dizzying forest
you kneel in to pay your respects to the fire.
The one that’s about to burn you

Tell me. Who has never tried but failed to say something?
Whose knees have never whimpered against
the concrete parts of this world?
Who has never watched a magician pull a rabbit
Or a bird or a bent pink bouquet out of their hat,
and thought: why couldn’t I have done that?
A long time ago, with you?

I stopped wishing for that kind of magic,
the day I started beginning my sentences with honestly…
As my voice trailed off the edge of smoky sincerity.
Because I like to cloud my own judgment until my heart settles
to a skip, shaking Oh man, what did I do?
It feels like rain.
The kind where the earth is a wet sphere that gets stuck
in the mud every time you try to kick it passed the curb.

I realized recently that questions are passive
welts on our knuckles. They don’t move me
along. Because when I’m truly inspired,
in love, in the fire, I will speak in active language,
with conviction, with no paper trail
of crumpled apologies for my life—or yours—
singing behind me in the wreck.


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