To All of Us

this is to climb a staircase to a room of sleeping loved ones,
to find a dream catcher
wriggling with strangled life
visions tangled in the lattice

this is for the clipping
let the leather dangle, dead and maimed
you, also, have wanted to rid your ankles of these laces
we're not nightmares
just places imagined and let go
from somewhere inside our most-loved
as they slumber
we are the heaviest of dreams
not wanting flight, so much as community

and we worship the handiwork of the ones awake when we're not
smile at the glean of their blades
snip, shear, and untangle what we don't realize
is coming unconscious from us
the sights we spin and free
and send to those lying nearest

this is to know rapids closely
lick the stones buried in white water
and ask them why they're anxious
not to stop
just to know, if their restlessness and yours, is the same

i found a friend climbing billboards
this is to climb with him
to hold his bucket of paint
as he alters the wants of the world

he turned to me there
our thousandth work
and said, "again and again
this is to catching tomorrow,"
and he lept on a passing car
to which I followed
we held its mane tight,
and night came, lovely cold, and rushing

after the hundreds,
who couldn't even name the weight,
this is to the hands that lift it from our chests,
these are fingers on a breast
the heavy grace of caligraphers that drag their tools so lightly
leaving love for our bodies to breathe against and learn,

"what did you write, oh friend,
what love have you written here?!"
this is to the learning

to the recreation stories
being scribbled between our ribs

to not throwing away stained shirts
and thanks that really come from grace
to living in the spaces between perfection
this is to lips and teeth turned to red wine
on account of days saved thinking

when there lives no heir to an emptied throne
and its on us to make a nation new
even one fortune finally not left to lottery
to give our soldiers rest
and new language for us all

i may be a silent idiot
but im no longer a sewer of idiom
this is to lifting my beer in the quiet

this is to the thermostat in your belly
the one that warns you of a loneliness that's making you cold
it is the eye which spies frost creeping the curve of your heart
hears an unwelcome december gale
whistling in your chest bones
and it speaks to me
this is to its defensive proclamation
give us music, give us message, give us warmth
it says
here's to it always morphing voice, keeping us alive

to the ones who've always assumed
everybody's homesickness is the churning
of an anxious angry stomach
at the thought of what happens in their house
this is to realizing what people actually mean
this is to the ones who can only look to the fog
hung on those mountains
to be called home
this is to making reasons to be homesick

when our ship pitches to starboard
and again no land, no light
this is to toasting the storm
smiling fools roaring back at the thunder
lost at sea
this is to the pictures we've spread on the deck
thousands on the wood planks
love these ones not with us
frame your face in my hands
and kiss you hard
provoke the storm
remove your shirt and stare down the sky
"you can do much
can you do this"

i get it when you say you want out of your clothes
out of your skin
this is to the music, the beer, the people
ready to strip you bare

when it used to be just me
and then all of you too
this is to all the ways of us
its faces and voice
this is to all the sacred places
that we will build with dirty hands

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