Poem Audio #3 – “Space” / “Two Boys”


Two more poems: “Space” and “Two Boys.” The full text for each poem is included below the audio player. Enjoy!


I read the other day

That the human body can briefly survive

The hard vacuum of space unprotected,

And I’ve never been more afraid than I was then,

Sitting quietly at a table, drinking coffee.


I dreamed you and I were astronauts,

Breathing into screens, fingers in padded gloves,

Drifting in the black, until suddenly,

You peeled your suit straight off your arms

And pushed into the dark.


I wanted to reach you on the radio,

Try every channel, all my digital rhetoric,

Just to have you back,

But you slowly grew smaller,

A white star fading from the frame


Until you disappeared.


I wanted more time to hold you in orbit,

To see the constellations

Reflecting in your eyes,

To prove I could protect you

From the cold of this wide universe.


But I was left there, suspended,

Playing over and over in my mind

The singular curve of your hand

As your fingers unwound themselves from mine

And you said you needed space.


“Two Boys”

Every man is twice a boy –


once, through the swinging years of wildness,

two barrels of bone and breath

in his fiery chest,

hands on the hot road,

toothless summers of

grapes and tall grass,

the braille of bumps on the high dive –


and again, in the final minute,

when his breath stays in his mouth,

and his fingers itch

for his mother


We started with addition, placing our hands side by side

To complete the whole.

But soon, your kisses divided into half a dozen words,

Then fractioned into thoughts,


Now, absolute zero.


And I couldn’t bear the burden of this one-sided subtraction,

So I multiplied my work

To find an answer that could fit.


But as you slowly put your pencil down,

Scrubbed to its last lead,

And walked out the door,

I closed my eyes and longed for the impossible solution to this problem,

The moment when our equation could finally be balanced and

One and one are one.


I could feel the skeleton in my skin

When you left me, every dry bone,

Like I had swallowed two balloons

Bumping inside the gaps of my ribcage.


When we were together, I had learned to grow arrows

From my fingertips, I had become an archer

Straining to earn your glances.


I threw those darts at your heart long before my back became your cutting board.


Your eyes were happy, and you played the piano like the tide

Passing over the shells of the shore beneath the moonlight.

And we would walk along the sea, our toes touching the glass

Of its little waves, the seagulls soaring above our heads.


But soon you led me along the blade

As the hives in your mouth traded their sweetness for stings,

Your laughter becoming fangs,

Filling the air between us with distance.


You touched my hand one last time, a single spark

Before you went away,

And now, this cold adrenaline’s a poison, convincing my body

It is more alive than it could ever be again.


We sped along the highway,

Headlights slicing through the dark.

You placed your hand at your side,

I held the wheel in silence,

Patterns of ice spreading at the edges of the windshield,

The defrost sighing on the dash.

I wanted to look over to you

And love you all over again,

Pull you close on the bridge

And kiss above the water

Far from this hanging night

Hovering over you and I

In our separate cars, driving to different houses.


I wrote this poem across the length of California,

Scrawling these ink strokes through the vineyards and the shoreline,

Even on the edges of the “H” in Hollywood.


I waltzed through the City of Angels

Tuned to an imaginary score,

Pulling up pieces of the highway and blowing them in the air.

Then I hopped on the eastbound train in an old and rusted boxcar,

Writing another line on the face of wooden crates,

Even on the metal sheets stacked against the corner.


The next night I high-fived the vampires in Denver

And dashed off another verse on a creaky traffic light

As I swung from its taut cable, my shoelaces

Reaching toward the windows of the passing cabs below.


In Dallas they saw me dance on all the tablecloths,

Kicking over glasses, scribbling on the centerpieces.


I wandered round in Nashville,

Dizzied by the neon lights,

And etched a lovely metaphor on the back of a guitar,

One where I compared love to a waning moon.


Then the wind ran wild beneath my arms in Atlanta,

The universe of skyscrapers, planets of burning light,

Offices and windows humming with breath

And watching close as I straddled the top of a limousine,

Pockets inside out, my words on every exit

Down the infinite interstate.


Well, I should tell you,

I wrote this poem all the way to your house

Where I finally lay down in the middle of the road,

Anchored the tip of my pen to your cold street,

And waited for the world to turn,

Drawing a new equator.


Two hemispheres,

One for each of us.