famous landmarks we bled onto

my scarf smells a little like you / a little like a cigarette
         what distance rises out from my palm      pour one more glass of wine

is rioja girl talk      you ask me      & i smile thinking about your hip bone
         in my open mouth      (i'm no good at poems when i'm in love)

red bridge in front of us      i stir the demons from your skin
        with my tongue      explain where my scars were born

one more rising moon   some smoke exhaled i walk into
   everything breathing like i do in times of sickness

                  i require sickness    some blending of rum
                  in orange juice    i don't know    i don't know

to be good or alone    to be naked & confident   it's all my fire
my wet tights   spill your drink on me again    i'm only asking

         for release    a tight pair of jeans to keep my knees shut
               some unworkable attempt at caring about another person

miles i don't feel like walking    when it's so much easier to dive
 & swim   at least that might feel earned     clench & clink    some ice

         in a glass or the street   or ask you to wait
         to fall asleep inside    what i mean    is to be a body

for you to enter    a season change
like winter to spring something like that

                  toast that i can't quite remove
                  from the toaster   burning my fingertips

memories   static    last night    your bed orange & needy
could you taste the wine in me

         each morning i pray for death
         of responsibility    these actions stick their cycle

middle of the bridge we did not walk across
my almost body outside of you

                    where i lick you in your entirety    i'm sorry
                        i'm too in love to write a poem

why didn't they teach us this in school
it's ok    we wouldn't have paid attention

My Gorge Rises At It

What I remember of my hair
in your face Your body against mine

                  I always thought my closet would open
                  onto some beauty covered in snow

I keep telling you to touch my feet   To tell me how wet
       I am    Face shapes into other   My body

means a bit more nothing    Always
trying to be beautiful

     & unsuccessful       & trying     Always   failing
     at being my best self    whatever that means

         I carried you home in my clothes    That first time
         Putting my shirt    up to my face   I want to sleep inside

this coffin with you   Scar of my belly     waiting
for you to wake me    More sleep than from morphine

                  Bring me back to there    Things I need you to tell me
                  but I'm afraid    To touch what I want

Transcribe my honesty as bitterness   I'm all deceit
& envy    Deceit & envy   Convinced my feel is want

         To feel & left spinning   To be on your floor & not
         quite remember     Wanting to tell you

what my breasts used to look like   What that scar is from
How your heart   I can see it I swear I can see it but

         Realistically what this means is nothing
         More bone for this sacrifice of myself

against your tongue   Please
I thought I owned enough black

                My back forming
                to this carpet

This curve of me
I want you to feel

         Over here in the mud      I am back here &
         drowning   Watching    some other story unfold

Into a play someone else wrote
     & I am still so very far away

Sunday in a Different Bed

I am going to send you flowers stolen
from a nearby grave I am going to brew
more coffee for both of us Although we wake
in faraway states Fell asleep next to a glow
mechanical in nature This morning I stare out
the window blocked with blinds

New York to go home to you
I would be better off Inside your closed
curtains The snow on Washington Avenue
slushed with ash Sidewalk walked while staring
down Double knotted with memory

Tell me something romantic & then
retract Apologize again without
meaning a goddamn word I never
mean a goddamn word I'm sorry
Still mountains somewhere A painting on my wall

Books on top of books piled
on top of me Some morning without
you here Every morning More coffee
Scaffolding More coffee scaffolding
some ache I buried too deep to touch

Some distance to walk today This morning
in circles Straight lines to where you sleep
A piece of toast buttered & I cannot talk
about the things I want Building & bridge
in the sky I see from my place right here

Nowhere near you Tell me you're proud
All I've done Maintained some small semblance
of self I've grown fond of crying while watching
my face in a mirror Snowshowered & tongue-tied Sleep-
walk in doubt What does it take to bring you next to me

Alexis Pope lives & writes in New York. Forthcoming from Coconut Books in 2014, her first manuscript was selected for the Joanna Cargill First Book Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Washington Square, Guernica, Octopus, Forklift, OH, and RHINO, among others. She is the author of three chapbooks, most recently BONE MATTER (The Lettered Streets Press, 2014), & is an MFA Poetry candidate at Brooklyn College.