The ache performs exactly as it should, it intertwines, it sighs, it finds me in full bloom and with the pause I know the way to enter in. I watch my hands unwind the things I’ve been, harmonies I’ll never know but remember because my throat still shutters around the shapes of them, outlines of silver, outlines of songs. I am my own horizon, now. The voice that sings the dark it longs for, tongue still pressed against the loss. Opposition as the softest touch. I keep my eyes below and when I see it’s only ever after, the shift and glow, a reminder of the curve, the arc that heaven would have wanted but I’ve kept too close. There’s no mark to match what’s carved. I hear it. I hear what soars between the motion and too much. There’s more in this than I can give and that’s the only gift that counts. When I slow and wonder at the cost. There’s adoration in this, there’s wonder and I try to find the space for seven when I won’t count past what’s been done. I can speak the accusations better now that I’ve got a new mouth. When I’m heard I find new passages to cut, the prayer always a breath behind the last one, the way I’ve begged but never asked, not once. There’s no other in this, not because there isn’t but because I speak and it’s enough, because every word was made to find the source, to find the shape of everything that splits in me as I watch and I won’t speak because there’s no difference, there’s nothing and I hear it, I hear the stillness and the stars that would have answered if I’d waited but these are my hours, and I won’t.
Confession moves in us, disastrous, slipping in between the sacraments, the way blood would if it were meant for us, if all our longing counted for more than filler in another ave consequence, the once and always we’ll call now as anything else is long since and yet we’ll say, and yet, the turn of words around a sound we couldn’t make if we weren’t heavensent and yet we’ll say, the balance caught along some new salvation that didn’t know us and we know too much to ask for less, we know the coming judgement because we’re the first and the last and then one more second, one more second and our mouths open for the difference, empty things at first glance, a little nothingness to make the presence count for something, for an incorruptible loss, a sainthood for the after that remembered us and we know where the body ends and where it doesn’t, flesh and less than what we took to say that this was ours, as if the answer was in waking and not the opposite, a wordless altar to what’s left, what’s unsent, what’s still, what descends when there’s too much of the sky that reaches up to meet us and we were never going to fall until we did, all for the light of a sun that wouldn’t recognize us, the cusp as unrelenting as the curve it left and now we spill because we’re reverent, we’re unheard and holy.
HAVE YOU FINALLY BEGUN TO BURN WILL YOU IGNITE INTO THE AIR WILL YOU KNOW THIS WILL YOU FIND THE CONFLAGRATION YOU WERE PROMISED THE SPARK THE SUN THE SWORD YOU ANSWER AND THERE’S NO NEED TO TOUCH WHEN IMMOLATION GIVES WHAT PRAYER WON’T HERE IS PERFECTION CAUGHT AGAINST THE HORIZON HERE IS THE MOMENT THE INCANDESCENCE HERE IS THE SONG YOU SAVED FOR THE FINAL JUDGEMENT THE ASCENT INTO LIGHT THAT LEAVES THE WORLD FOR ASH AND ALL THE CURVES YOU KNEW FROM AZIMUTH TO HOLINESS TO THE DEAR AND THE TRIUMPHANT TO FIND YOU CAUGHT ASSUMED INTO A HEAVEN THAT CAN ONLY REGRET THE FIAT LUX NOW YOU ALIGHT AND INTERCEDE FOR US FOR OXYGEN FOR THE NOW THAT KEEPS A THOUSAND THOUSAND HEARTS THE SMOKE OF ALL YOUR WANT THE BEAUTY THAT YOU’LL HAVE DIED FOR IF THIS FINDS YOU IN THE HOUR OF YOUR GLORY CROWNED AND WONDROUS ANOTHER EMBER BEFORE THE THRONE THE STARS ASHAMED THE LESSER LIGHTS THAT CAN’T QUITE FALL HAVE YOU FOUND THE BRIGHTEST ONES THEY’LL KNOW YOUR BREATH YOUR SIGHS YOUR ALMOSTS THEY HAVE TRANSFIGURATION UNDER THEIR TONGUES THEY’LL SPILL YOUR PHOSPHENES FOR THE FAITHFUL FOR ALL THE DREAMLESS THINGS YOU’VE KNOWN EACH WORD OF THIS WILL CONDEMN YOU AND THEY WANT NOTHING EXCEPT THE WAY YOU’LL SMEAR ACROSS THEIR MOUTHS YOUR EXIT A REBUKE AGAINST THE SIXTH DAY THAT SHOULD HAVE NEVER COME AND IN THIS INSTANT YOU’LL HAVE A GLIMPSE OF PARADISE BEFORE YOU SEE WHAT’S ASKED OF YOU AND YOU’LL BURN JUST LIKE YOU WERE MEANT TO TELL ME HAVE YOU FINALLY BEGUN THE LIGHT FROM THIS WILL FIND THE FIRST AND CAUTERIZE THE DEATH THAT CAME IN WITH US DO YOU HEAR THIS TELL ME ALL OF IT THE IMPACT AND THE WAY YOU’LL TEAR INTO THE FIRMAMENT A SHINING ARC TO THREAD HELL CLOSED YOU’LL DRAW FORTH THE SPACE BETWEEN WHAT WAS AND THE RIGHTEOUSNESS YOU’VE TAKEN AS YOUR OWN THE COUNTENANCE THEY CANNOT WITNESS THE PYRE AND THE RAPTURE WILL YOU KNOW THIS WILL YOU HEAR US HAVE YOU FINALLY BEGUN TO BURN YOU’RE CLOSE YOU’RE CLOSE YOU’RE CLOSE
Anything I’ve been is this: my aspects answering with the hours that I’ve kept, with the way my mouth shapes the familiar as if I’ve never touched it and I haven’t, the light emptying itself out to fill the space between what’s voice and what’s affect. The rush I won’t remember burns down into the liminal, my pupils reaching for their inner surface. The comedown is everything. It’s the stop implied by motion, by what I’ve held close, as delicate as my bones have been, those thin things, fragile enough to stay unbroken in the after that’s more dear than now, a second-hand to mark when the first is long since gone. There’s salt here like faith was, air that pauses at the corners of my lungs. In this, anything I’ve been becomes a means of translating the blood back into itself, salvation without the junksickness. What’s taken and what’s given stop listening, equivalence hanging itself just to find the difference and I’ve been singing for the silver and the tidal things that sank further than I did when I was present, when there was room for the sound and the promise but not the air, never that. Any sharper and I’d mean it. I’ve got conflagration and five minutes. Meaning pretends like I do, the coil and the press that says this is wonder and not a way out, an exit on the tongue I’ve slit to speak like I was made to because the inhale isn’t coming and the pause is another gift that I’m not giving and if it’s implied it’s a fall just like the first one but I could have meant it, my accidentals only underscored by my intent because the means of this meaningless. I’ve got just enough to choke to death, just enough to say that and keep this cordial, my hagiography edited for a holier audience. Thirteen seconds into collapse and I’m white-lined and furious, I’m the same thing I’ve been or less, I’m a boys’ choir without the excuses, years deeper than strictly necessary because the cross perfects and I demand, I want and heaven inflicts the language that I have until my spit tastes like violence, until I begin again.
It cuts close because the agony isn’t measured in the passage but the permanence. It’s holy because it’s always and because it’s always I’ve lost. Another flower, she says again, and I echo until I echo, until I sing in oil and in blood. It’s a prayer and it’s the weight of this, the press and the cyclic and take this, all of you, over and over until these lightless hours spill into everything I touch, singing all of this beneath the voiceless, she and I and nothing else. I have just enough divinity to demand the whole of it, the shudder and the impact that comes before the judgement and if I ascend it’s because I’ve found the sounds that answer us, that cry out for something unrecognizable and sacred, something as beautiful as I was, once, the blood between us wondrous and unknown, our bones humming with all the absence that was kept for us.
The Garden burns and I won’t speak, I won’t.
The reflection keeps me faceless and it’s a gift, familiar in the way that never gives up the momentary, that keeps this still, a demand for suffocation in every aspect and so I stop breathing before you read this, just like the always that’s been beneath us, as if the motion was going sing salvation, some redemptive act in the distance that’s been with me like everything else is, eventually, something cyclic for the way you hear and the way you listen when there’s blood enough to make this worth it, the postage paid in dead letters, still, our means to an ending, to an exit, some slow death for what we’ve witnessed, softer than the words make space for, the one and one that make the pattern easier to address than what’s said with it because you see just long enough to look away again, to burn the aspects into scripture because what follows is sacred and so what started this must be perfect, some edenic promise that’s more unrecognizable than where I’m going and I ask you if I spoke because I can’t hear myself until you play it back the way I meant it, the echo that I’ve been waiting for through all of this and it’s been years and if there’s absence it’s only fair to all the emptiness, the balance that’s cost us, that we’ve paid for with the way we mean for this to hurt us, every second past eleven a reminder that the day and the hour is ours like nothing else is, like it was, world without end, we said, except.
I’m starting on the final draw, abandoning the present tense for something closer, something vicious, something that matches what’s been beneath this since the last time this was ending, when I stopped. I haven’t forgotten. The withdrawal is conditional just like breathing was. I have the pattern but not the rhythm of it, so the words become a gesture towards a judgement that’s lost all meaning outside these contexts, sacred scripture in ellipses, in ritual that’s indistinguishable from bleeding out. This will be as pious as it needs to be, I promise. I haven’t spoken but I’ve sung, and the difference is immaterial but for the cost, the sounds I’ve made as unforgiving as the quiet that’s been with me, that answers before anything else. There’s no introduction left to make because I’m gone. An assumption into heaven that didn’t get me very far. I crushed the serpent beneath my heel for the comfort, a little adversarial back-and-forth, one that’s let you come as close as you have and still not realize how much. The risk inherent in all of it, in having to hear that you didn’t mean it, folds itself into the dialect, in how gracious I can be when I need to live through this. I’ve been gentle because the alternative isn’t. You’ll never have to beg for courtesy, you’ll never have to give it. I have the threat until I make it. It’s power that exists like I do, a hypothetical that’s worshipped, that’s almost, that isn’t. This is fragile and wondrous and if there’s death here it’s because we offered it, a sacrifice with bloody mouths, with all our hours, with the shuddering that was always with us. The language here is not enough and even still I’m speaking it, the words destroying our strange armistice, each one an act of war that goes unwitnessed. This has always been what I’ve demanded, the distance just beneath the surface, my salvation understated. I’m going to keep this close. I have horizons, now. I want you to know. I want you look but not touch.
This is the last of the oxygen we’d recognize if we could pass for living things for once. There’s asphalt and there’s not much else. The road holds close to the memories we had before we abandoned all of this for something worth it, for the backseat and the white and the way we’d stay heartless because we never were more perfect than when we’d had too much, when we went translucent, our lady of want. Prayer thins us. Our veins are brighter, now, iron moving at the speed of skin. Something holy grows out of our mouth and into a sky that fits itself around us, that finds our edges and the streetlights and the promise that there’s still a rush in us, the spark that I had and you lost. I know what’s mine. I know what makes this ferocious, all the heresies I’ve sung out of the spit and the salt that were left to me in the half-past that could have made it in the after, in the almost, in the wreckage that let me pass for a living thing or close enough, in the singular, in holiness.
If I’m close enough I can hear the coil and the hum, the exhale and the metal both. I don’t separate, I just unfold. The weight of this stays with me even after you let go. I’ve got the rush but not the echo, not anymore. There’s nothing here that would pass for self. There’s no holiness that wasn’t bought, there’s no altar but this mouthless fount, this sickness that’s the only source. This was a garden, once. This devours and I know how much. I know the want that shapes what you call worship, I know the shudder and the desperates, I know the way you’ll hesitate before you don’t. I know you want you to mean anything but what it does, I know you want some exception to the accusation that will let you get through this untouched. I know and it doesn’t matter because there’s no translation that will save this, there’s no way out but down. Descent remembers what we won’t. There’s a song in this, something voiceless and unwitnessed, something for the years that I had nothing and now it’s all of it, now is always after, now is always, wasn’t it. I’m caught up by the sound that this will make when I’m alone with it, the pause of what’s withheld, when you hear this, but you don’t.
She’s with me, the blood between us holy, the blood between us singing in the voice that I carved out. My throat opens at the softest touch. The words don’t make it just like I don’t. I keep the sounds beneath the surface and pretend that it’s enough to dream of suffocation when she knows exactly what I want. I stay nameless because my pseudonyms reveal too much. The pulse slows and I’m close, I’m almost, I’m still enough to play at beauty and never ever breathe out. I’m a perfect saint and a better martyr, I tear apart the distance that kept us heavensent and silent, our ashes still in front of us. I don’t remember but I know each moment, the rush and the violence that collapses on a frequency that promises what we lost when the angels breathed in time with us, when the metal reminds me of what I was. Another flower. Another corpse.
I dream until the Garden drowns.
This is an aftermath. This is the corpse I’ve been, underpinned and breathless, weighted for the measurements that drown now and not yet in the same instant, killed again and again as a feast for the faithless. I bequeath without having consented. Every gift is taken, wanted because it’s been withheld, its only value dissolving the second it touches the flesh, the mystery of destroying what was never yours to begin with. My spit tastes like violence, I said. I know what I meant. Words and dialect that span all the hours of my death and even still the substance is meaningless outside of what it means if you can touch the aspects of yourself you think I dance in until I don’t, until I betray the whole of it with this oxygen contempt, with these accidents of being that could have been if you had let me, the whole of this is predicated on keeping me reflective. The silver still and polished. The silver almost as perfect as I am. I have no absolution that I’m willing to part with, so this is another confessional for the heartless, the letters unanswerable because I sent them, the quiet ruined by the silence. I speak and kill the thing I could have been if I’d been less, if I’d been content with the welcome that comes so long as I don’t enter in. Anechoic and vicious. I am a living thing, almost. I release the catch beneath my sternum, I place my fingers in the curve and pull until I’ve opened. I’m all bones and circumstance. I’ve given up the ghosts that might have heard me because I told you everything when I said that. The arc paints itself from one horizon to the next, and the frequency I hit makes impact as sharp as the edges of the world that now unfold to meet me and it’s glorious. This is a new kind of cruelty. This is the cold that I was promised when I refused what I’d been given. This is my body. I speak and leave the rest unfinished.