Nick Sturm


How We Light


Dear Darkness,


Summer has been unusually long so let me just say
fuck you          this morning

                                               for the first time
my head declared an official ceasefire

I wrote a friend a letter
a smudged green feeling sitting at a window in the hidden
architecture of my wrists I felt like I was surviving this feeling

all over me in the pavilion of unsyntactical promise
           the punch you know
in your blood what I'm talking about I wrote I'm sure
you're in love with something or somebody you know
you don't love enough or maybe I wrote

you're standing on a beach somewhere holding
a peach like some kind of hero it's this way says one

human to another pretty human you are
one of the youngest things in the world we're all

dawned on our wrists on the soft
blue truce I've made with death the last thing I wrote Darkness
this is for you
                                  was the first thing

I am in the morning is a pony
named Kenneth

I pass through the park eating snacks
           attempting to do something fabulous hand my friend a bag
of almonds of course there is no reason not to

imagine what I'm seeing a way I'm not seeing it

           earlier I washed the dishes and in the warm water
                       my hands were bridges full of blood good

not because of what they are but because they are
doing something          reaching across

                        the bed in some near and gentle future
            where my friend says          we are dead
                                  and actually just naked somewhere else
                        in the sound of my whole being          hearing I believe

with the muzzle of delicacy smashed against you Darkness
            for as long as I can
                                  I will know where to turn my head

to hear you fresh from sleeping

                                  in the street how
            we light is obvious
                        sore in the circus the sea
in me the scattering means some purring
                                  in us awake an elaborate system I am sometimes
           reduced to a spectator but I won't stay
in line only in lines I feel more
                        human here all this endlessness
dismembering the music in us there isn't an adequate word

for what's turning into an afternoon between us crashing us
           on account of where brightness is kept my hair smells
like mint I'll never know exactly how

                        I'm supposed to feel
            exactly the breeze

is beautiful all at once and at once I desire a better
word I should have said
                                              world I really wish

I could communicate something
            this unusual and lilac-like feeling you

smile inside your speaking I shouldn't need
a password for that          in the cozy urgency

of a yellow room a square
yellow room I am assured where the Darkness pushes

          against us we are letting the Darkness know
we're here on the porch the breeze feels let me
try again

like white paws like constant curtains like the ruination of politics
          if you need me Darkness

I'll be making pies all night
with my friends in the caramel harbor
of common feeling you will be asked

                     wicked and full of health to please
          enjoy yourself 
                                who doesn't
want to kiss until the morning clasping the nourishing
arc of grief letting yourself laugh at some unimportant moment
          crowded with arguments of how buoyant
or not the day is becoming

                      one continually growing maw

dedicated to the smell of rosemary
          on your palms          some vital exchange
of breath we might all allow ourselves

          to be surrendered to beyond the wild
                      blue light below our voices this endless table

we insist upon vibrating upon and I'm not too shy to ask
                      you through every possible window if it feels good
          in this book of dreams you have permission

to lick and fail and feel raw in the ruins where at breakfast
our hearts are breeding in these bodies these vowel structures
                      these fence posts in snow the sure

need to share in the glistening
                      a thing with wings
stands up in us and begins

an uneven faith peels off me Darkness like Keats basically
I'd rather be an Eagle and when he wrote Eagle
           he capitalized Eagle as a way to believe

in the power of the nouns we are to save us I promise
                      we're going to be delivered
something more than coupons in the ceaseless
           kingdom of noise I have this feeling

                      of accountability I have
           no idea what I deserve

my cell phone bill is due and where my love are you

I will not be a tool for bitterness over and over I admit
           I have dreamt against the law of your cheek
going backwards and forwards simultaneously I want to

drape solace across the invisible sound of you
                      your quiet shoulders the memory

I woke up in to suffer this lack of definition
in each other's hair for a little while we forget

the government has assigned us each a secret number

so I stand alone in the yard at night
forging my mangled crime in every color

braced against exhaustion scattered everywhere
            with skin I'm going
                      to go lay with my sovereign

dreams I want you
to touch me first
                                I'm tired of knowing
            giving away the snow in me

let's digress into mist
            build lamps out of the laughing
we give to the wound just sitting in the park
                      looking at swans we mostly never touch

            each other other than

when we're asking to be broken
            for the future even if it makes me a shameful man
I believe in hoping towards knowing
we are thinking of each other

                      where the shattered blue settles I write
the rent check and watch someone string lights
            in the trees today that's their job

the point being to generate
            a larger feeling

not visibly located but diffused
                       in every layer I am
            one unfolding sequin a glaring piece of distress

for what's left of you Darkness
in my mouth the clouds are employed
shedding important questions about being

always partially formed I possess nothing
I wouldn't leave in a field or bury in flowers
            to fuck with

the senselessness of completeness in every pattern
putting on my pants or the water
             to boil I want to

point at the glow
it was someone's job to give form to

that others might stand below it feeling
            something new entirely every moment

a ghost undressing itself for a future
where the sky quits being a ceiling and my signature
            quits being my name

there will be a single moment to consider
                                  what to give and what
            to give up before


                                  magnolia trees

being vicious and green some obscene holy
             difference between what's fully formed
and what's a phone call
                        into the abyss just imagine

you are a person with an entire life ahead
            all pain and apricots the sprawl we frame

this rapt imbalance in a voice
            my voice chews on attempting

                       to touch the endless
amiable blur we have each given a secret name to

                       where under one's wonder attention
sees and seizes this uncertainty what feels      
                                  like yarn in your chest or how

bells sometimes must be broken
            or turned into bullets
                       I'd defend your lips against
everything but milkshakes my friend she's got

a pretty good hold on being
                       some gorgeous thinking
some names carved on a tree convincing me

there's nothing sentimental about axes

we are going to buy all the best sweaters
be a herd of weather asking how much
            more complicated can this get
without becoming a bird
                      a bed where we lie

            putting words against a neck that will be
so hard later to describe          the shape of a body
                      where Darkness made a home in me

I nested until I had the ocean
            to prove it wrong I wrote

                      this light
this letter needs no reply just
                                   listen my heart

           is cheering
                      a little bloody cheer