second hand roses
second hand roses
second hand roses lie tattooed on wrists
and vapor memories reel drunkenly in the wind.
thorns dig deep into the grooves
drawing forth from romance and hero worship.
the mercurial fires that have drawn us here,
black-haired scions, broken-hearted angel boys;
we’re spend-thrift with our penny memories
wasting nothing of our mothers’ rice cooker dreams
gambling what we are on the flip of faithless cards,
that johnnie walker, favorite saint, constant companion
our prayer beads have grown silent, the liturgies
catholic school boys and hood rats have all but forgotten
we map irreconcilable distances on our knuckles, scar cartography
our fathers know too well, but still forget our names
dreaming in anime antagonisms, ninja-pirate debacles
as we finger the knives hidden at the cusps of pockets
always so afraid of the heartbreaks
that tear breath from the chest
we speak wino-streetboy-immigrant creoles, falling in love like only angry boys can.
music contracts and the only beat is marked by fists
what we are, globalized contradictions and salt-water dreams
mosquito bite existences, the denial of our own inadequacies.
too much rage to be humble, too pitiful to be hated
boys who know dream abattoirs and the sweet stink of funeral parlors;
flags etched into our shadows, love like a warrior’s topknot
obligation and the ability to endure: our fathers’ gift to their sons.
I’ll leave a second hand rose on your pillow – all I could afford;
a poor-boy’s atonement for petty sins.
we dreamed ballerina dreams, I gave you a poet’s quartz glasses
you wore them to humor me.
my head, shaved for what could have been
cigarettes strewn like incense
sleepless nights and work worn hands, a balm
for heartbroken boys’ anomie
you loved me when my walls were bare