Two

if you told me I’d find a plus one
who speaks three languages
carries altruism in her genes
a woman who rocks the hawk at synagogue
I’d say that doesn’t exist

the best times are mornings
eight hours have passed since I saw you
now I have the privilege
to watch you smile without waking up

it takes a big person with a giant heart
to make a man like me
feel small in your arms
you let the love sneak in like water
I drink up and breathe you in

two years – our hearts
wound up like twine,
aged like wine
this ride we’re on
it only gets better

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BEACH HOUSE

I.

In the summer,
we’d do cannonballs
at the public pool.
freedom for two bucks
an extra dollar for ice cream
jackknives and coffins
biggest splash wins.
extra points
if you get kicked out
when all the girls are watching

II.

look! there are my toes
wriggling in between the sand
and sand
in between my toes
and you, oh mom,
in your sun hat and black aviators
reading books in Hebrew,
waving at me
eating watermelon
with juice all over my face
I’m so in love

III.

at paradise cove, at two p.m.
you could see dolphins
if you wanted.
Me and you, brother
we’d bury each other
up to our necks
where the small waves broke.
the sun reached its summit
and we couldn’t afford more freckles.
So we smeared sunscreen
on each other’s backs,
then let the water
wash it all away.

IV.

twenty minutes
after killing tuna sandwiches,
we’re on our boogie boards
paddling,
swimming,
holding on for dear life.
wave crests crashing over our heads
our tiny, little heads
“Twenty feet, at least”
I scream over the water to no one.
you got scared,
and went back.
so I followed.

V.

castles in the sand
we dug wells,
captured sand crabs
that I wanted to take home
to start a farm
name them silly things
like Herbert and Roger and Nancy and Sherbet.
when the tide got high
you took the cup
let them all go,
like Moses freeing the slaves.
I was so proud
and so sad.

Depressions from the Sea

On Tuesday, Ed McMahon went off in search of the stars
Farah Fawcett waved a red kiss goodbye
And the King of Pop popped some pills for his one big last Thrill
And yet none of these struck me with any significance
Until currents of water pulled my friend under
When that light washed out, and fairness was torn asunder.

Soren. My friend.  Some things I won’t forget:
Your love of techno, Belgian beer, and tight pants.
How you turned your head sideways for every Facebook photo.
How you smiled at those you knew – and at those you didn’t.

I remember a long day in December.
It was raining outside so I decided to bother you.
“Do Danish people eat Danishes? Isn’t that like cannibalism?”
I thought I was being clever.
You took it seriously.
I never thought I’d spent an entire afternoon discussing pastries.

Soren I can see you now
Walking slowly, lighting up the streets in Paris
Or standing tall across the ocean
Teaching the penguins how to fly
In a world full by brands, yours was the best.
I’d buy a million of you if you came in smaller packages.

When all seems fleeting
We suffer and wonder how.
How we can sustain ourselves through the morning.
But somehow, from somewhere, we gain the strength to move forward.
To move beyond moments like this one.
Where each breath comes easier than the one before,
where laughter fills the space where before there was only black.
What’s strange and painful,
bittersweet and lovely
is that this will happen to us
without us noticing at all.

Picture 5

Soren Hellner (1979-2009)

Royal Grounds

Cafés are making a comeback.
My second home
an office
a place to sit
alongside desperate Melrose screenwriters
overworked med students
and a crow of Israeli mothers –
a Hebrew gang in pink jumpsuits
absorbing caffeine and the cappuccino gossip.
A blonde sits in a square table to my left,
her face weighted down with eye makeup.
Green gray sludge takes control of her eyelids
and ruins her job interview.

The manager has just given me the look:
‘You gonna buy something or what?”
I reach inside my pockets and jingle keys
My eyes scan the coffee menu
For a well-deserved minute
Until they give up
Now I’ll sit back down
to steal more wi-fi
and eavesdrop
on your conversation.

Thread Count

When the rain gets heavy we stay under covers
Looking to ride out the day under cotton

Your small face and palms resting on my chest
Prying for answers to questions too afraid to ask
The green rug cluttered with socks, burnt matches, earrings

A clumsy trail of sex and bitter arguments
Your jeans keep the chair warm, heels hidden behind the door
Don’t forget to take them with you when you leave

In the morning we are thirsty and crave carbs
French toast and coffee, head back to bed
We are without shirts on top of one another
And then
Why don’t you write songs about me?
The voice is yours – small, defiant, inquisitive.
The stillness of the moment
broken
like the pelting of thick rain on cheap glass.

My eyes are distracted by the spider chandelier.
Bulbs out
a tug of chest hair.
Am I not inspirational enough for you?
My hands dig fast fast through her hair now
pull her head towards mine, kiss hard, let go…
It would be one of the last few times-
The words come when they want to.

In a few months she will wake up to me and leave.
And it will take months, months
To put this all into words.

sweatstains #1 (this is for everyone)

you’re tired. its shabbat. you’ll never be good at advertising. your ideas suck. you don’t sleep enough. eat something. you’re great. what’s your name? take my number. you’ll never call. you need help. are you sure you’re okay? you bring such joy to my life.

why are you so sad then?

sweatstains #1 (this is for everyone…)

I’m sorry for bad beginnings
And incomplete endings
I should’ve told you I’m stupid
unfamiliar in these waters
Fetching for a rock, some truth, anything
It’s easier as façade, to conquer them all with guile
A soldier who has thrown away everything
Gone to war and come back with nothing
Not even stories to tell
I miss the days
When I’d lose sleep
but feel good about it the next morning
Now I cower under the covers
Evading the treasure right in front of me
And I wake up sweating
For no reason
Only to wonder
Why you aren’t here.

——

sometimes when days go black I prefer the indoors.