John Courtney

Rookie - 0 Points (05-22-1982 / Philadelphia)

Blood Pressure Birds


Fairly certain I was dead
I decided to stop for lunch
in a strong crimson hallway
three rooms from the body.

The mind seeming endless work
I ordered a colorful past over easy;
monsters crawling through pipes
and boomtowns on wings fucking
behind the fresh signs of chain food
summer nights, stray cats jealously
drinking engine radiator puddles.

How far I'd gotten without compromise:
the hair uncombed, the bones unbroken,
eye tests cheated and blood pressure
birds crossing picket lines to work
again proudly in the pale factory of me,
I liked to tie knots in my shoelaces
instead of tying them how you did,
I didn't believe in underwear either.

You'll notice I enjoyed being awake
very late at night when you slept
in the different cities, I stood guard
to a world that didn't believe in us
and watched the secrets of the universe
ticker tape slowly behind your eyelids.

There were things I could never say,
reasons I never shook you awake
from my flaming sea, left you delicate
and undisturbed like a flower peaking into
a winter memory to boast about the mutiny
of my spirit? I love you too much for that.

What were my eyes after all:
hands and feet on the neck of speed,
magnets for my mirrors, blue movers
hauling reluctant hatred to my throat,
a perch for my blood to pickpocket
tomorrow, a porthole in Tangier
where I could watch us sleep
together in our life back home.

Submitted: Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Edited: Monday, August 26, 2013
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