Addie craves fire. Swings methodical across the room like solving a mathematical equation. Shoves hands into worn jean pockets like beggars searching. Upturns empty as she opens his lips with a kiss full of tongues and teeth and the theoretical underpinnings of a life without dualism. She's done with two sided coins. He tastes of just her brand of two day old cheap whiskey and the recent consummation of the effort of a half empty pack of Marlboro Reds. Skin shudders indelible ache. This unnavigable island pressed flesh against flesh. She pushes hard heels of palms to hip bones. Back. Whispers the words warning signs inside her mind the way he would have the afternoon he left her thinking he could crawl back into her always open arms. His ears and mouth always problematic with the esses. Her finger tips slip the dead bolt locked. The sound like the click of her teeth nights grinding for sleep.

like strings webbed around a circle and hung in houses
not for dreams yours i was
a guilt catcher
heavy with the pain of your constant discontent

what becomes so clear now
in digital images of your head
next to mine
i was only in love
with your jaw bone

Let's move to Arizona, she says. Knuckles pressed white with the pressure of tearing paper into hearts. The air between them thick with the smell of tea leaves and caramel. In the empty entry he stands like the door unhinged, watching the trapped dance of a lone lady bug against the window world just behind her. He doesn't say anything while she thinks of all the times he's walked in and out of her life as if she were a cheap motel room. Convenient and comfortable enough when necessary. Ugly and lonesome a place to remain for long. On the television two women argue over a man. The tinny laugh track reminds her that it's a comedy while she scratches a hole in her skin where the swelling remains from an old spider bite. He doesn't open the window.

and every vanishing picnic and stories i told all the people i trust

i don't want smary men who are too old for me and drive muscle cars

why weren't you ready

i want to be an amiri baraka poem. filled with fire and intensity of vision and the power of understanding history. the exigency of the economy of words. i want to soak myself in gin and play with matches until the whole world fills with the scent of burning hair and i am rendered timeless in bones. i want to be more than a photograph or a memory or those fucking wishes you spew that make me want to scratch off my skin with butter knives. i want to be an untranslatable answer phone message and Jean Toomer's (un)broken arcs.

Every moment recovered worsens as if I'd rather fill my mouth with broken glass or razor blades to chew than stagnant silence. Even today, as I walk rain soaked city blocks, my compass broken, my belly misery swelled, limbs toxic slow, I am the wrong map, the wrong city, the wrong me. Homelessly bound.

After never leaving a man who rejected me and my love more times and on more occasions than I have time to even consider, I finally decide not to participate in his desire to talk out of both sides of his mouth. I finally decide I will give him what he always says he wants -- to be alone. Because, honestly, someone can only tell you and show you that there's no place for you in their life until you're just a fool for not believing it. And I'm tired of allowing my heart to be broken. In response to my silence, which comes by the way after he trampled all over my feelings again, he sends me an email message -- saying that he doesn't understand how I could completely shut him out of my life, but that he could accept it. And to take care of myself. I'm sorry, apparently I'd forgotten the old adage -- it's your world and I'm just living in it.

After a myriad of potential responses written in my head ranging from: Sweet Jesus, you moronic fucking asshole, are you even being serious with yourself? Grow the eff up! and How many times am I meant to effing wait around for you--you self-involved piece of shit? I wrote the following response. I think I've decided, actually not even to send it. [all names have been changed]:

This message from you doesn't invite a response. Neither does it invite any explanation. And in my logical rational mind, I know I probably shouldn't be sending this message at all. That it probably won't actually do any good.

I talk to you, now, as someone who sincerely cares for you and with no anger or frustration in my words or intentions. And I'm not interested in trying to make myself out to be a martyr.

Please think about when I've ever shut you out of my life, [dumbass]. When I've told you or our relationship, no. When I've shut or locked any door against you.

Acceptance doesn't come easy, and understanding is perhaps harder still. I hope that you don't just accept the fact, but that you will really spend time trying to understand how we've arrived at this moment in time.

This message from you doesn't invite a response. No, [dumbass], it just offers up another closed door.

Time goes in waves. Now. Maliced patterns of the opening and closing of eyes. Luscious intoxication of dreamless sleep. Like moaning winds covering the cavernous distance between. Empty tee shirts that smell of the bare chest of a man less home upon which to rest night's heavy head. No words ringing metallic into shadows that make lips ours. We cracked open like the delicate shells of eggs.

if i had beautiful wings like butterflies, i'd pluck them off. one by one. shed any thoughtless fear of flight. curl up tight as fists to press my body into that perfect angle between your arm and rib cage. so close you'd never be able to tell, again, where you stop and i begin.

Love is never particularly dignified. It's often like the taste left in the mouth after a night of drinking too much gin -- sour and hungry -- but still filled with the memory of so many great moments that made the slow grinding moment of disappointment completely worth it. The thing that can always curl the mouth into a smile like the memory of dancing with moths to the music of the women of Africa on the porch alone, unabashedly, and for no particular reason that reminds you of the person you most love.