GAZELLE BOY


I'm the gazelle boy
running rough streets for money,
hunted by the lions of exile.

Memories lie
half of one day away,
my body timing itself down.

I'm two people,
my bodies timing themselves down.
Hours stretch into miles.

I call the distance,
the husk and timbre of my voice
under the dome of the darkened

damascene sky.
Mother roughs her days
dreaming, thinking of nothing.

Memories of running
stunned in arid sunshine,
of decades slumped into pasts—

Father's decades,
all his blame and hunger
lying in the wake of their running.

Separate lives,
separate cities, the sun
blinding the souls of everyone.



I'm the gazelle boy,
returning, jumping the ocean.
My horizon is summer itself.

A taller city
calls me by another name.
I resist the urge to question it.

I run. I'm running.
I'm looking at towers above me.
From inside, I see myself hurdling

walls that are flooded
with white, crumbling into light.
White passes over, under.

What is wonder?
One's travel through one lifetime
governs the mind. The foot

shuffles in the gravel
of a distant drive. The present
becomes the path of the labyrinth.

Faster I run.
The cars beside me drive.
I am showing off. My breath,

undertone of life,
chuffs out of me. I stop and stand.
I'm still. I lie on the ground.



I'm the gazelle boy
stopping to lie dreaming,
slumbering in darkness and solitude.

Above this room
families struggle to welcome
me home. Lovingly they stutter,

in layers of generations,
burying their son in the margins,
in the fogs of blur and focus,

under the heavy
muds of marriage and division,
the sludge behind time's motions.

My body curves,
my sleep is slowed by darkness,
settling the rhythm of my heart.

The weight of histories,
the blankets of future experience,
adopt the form of my breath.

I rest my head
in the sands of trust and hope.
Each moment shifts. Drifts.

My chest expands.
A hand shines down in the darkness.
A star. What do I believe?



I'm the gazelle boy
whose small body is suddenly
as vast as the ocean I've crossed.

The soul's extremities,
reaching the shallow edges
of the sea's far reaches,

synthesize
light and night and order,
feeding on the strands of heritage,

sensing safety
and the will to hope. I am
the liquid melody of consciousness.

Behind my eyes
I am head and chest and gut,
anchoring my awareness down.

I'm two people,
anchoring my awarenesses down,
boring the muddy bottom.

My gatefold heart
swings open with sunlight,
roiling the tentative sands.

I lie in myself
and float throughout my body,
this dream as simple as flight.



I'm the gazelle boy
banding my quiet songs,
running my days through their paces.

From New York
I've brought my grids and angles.
My crushed admirers send postcards.

The long distance
of Mother's refrains repeat
their faithful lyrical histories.

She is singing,
Take one of my eyes
so you can always see me.

I love you so much
take both of my eyes because
I love you that much.
She sings,

quietly, in memory,
You will make me wanted
and you'll take my eyes as well.


Her voice in my veins,
half of one day away,
our city mapping itself out.

We're two people,
our cities mapping themselves out,
pinning my borders in place.



I'm the gazelle boy,
pegging the earth with towers.
The rattles and noisy clanging

of new cities
surround us like the beauty of glass
bitten into stars and heavens.

The heat and the sand
pass over populations
accustomed to the constant idling.

Traffic circles
turn to white, light,
like mysterious desert snow.

I'm watching animals,
they crawl with curved perfection.
The yellow of their skins glints.

Through the city
the animals run, faster
than my own quickening heartbeat.

In and out,
we're using the family building
as a stable, or a shipyard, or track.

Our course unwinds
before us, like yesterday's histories
swinging around to form futures.



I'm the gazelle boy,
praying again for the lions.
Never certain where I am,

I fix myself
in the beds of east and west,
in the hands of the faint and faithless.

The music rises
and swells in the silver heat.
Accents fall into place,

Mother's accents—
perfectly placed and ordered,
chords of simultaneous speech.

Hiding in rhythms,
the meanings of days and travels
embed themselves in my voice.

My two languages
make a melismatic slide into me.
Surprised, I slip into a crouch.

I turn and leap,
forgetting I am a man.
Rest. Be thankful. Rest.

I dream of colors,
dreams large and abstract,
just ideas of colors. Listen.



I'm the gazelle boy
running to the sounding of horns,
counting my way through the crowds.

I'm always escaped.
Always the continuous boy
who threads the family's seams.

Prayer returns.
The future's endless memories
ask everything of us.

Waiting at home,
closing my eyes in hope,
I open the future's heart.

From inside, my voice.
Quickness is not enough.
The sacred and the scared all run.

Time yourself,
send yourself looking forward
over the soft earth.

Turn the window
toward the eastern light.
Lift your body into its arms.

Lace Damascus
with the sound of soft panting,
the shuffle of a gentle hoof.


Request limited edition chapbook, 2020

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