The sun sinks a little deeper here.

As you trace the outline of a sculpted elephant's tusk,
'Dusk has settled itself in his lungs' he tells you.
Amidst promises that this will all one day be yours.
This brass empire, drawers of gold-paint,
closets of concrete riches.
You can't tell if he says this out of depths of generosity
or the skimmed rocks of fading hope.

He chokes on his moment of broken character.
He did not intend to let you in.
An inquisitive visitor was not what he envisioned inviting
but the lightning is bleak here
and he misheard the thunder in your bellows as anything 
but fear.

Life has made him weary.
He is certain these four walls will bury him.
He will admit to you,
death doesn't hold his hand so tightly anymore.
He is trusted to walk this alone.
You will want to tell him he doesn't have to.

Respect in these last breaths
that he is brethren to men of a religion
built on a bible of kept secrets // hidden emotions.
He will not break face
due merely to broken body.
Don't tell him anything you ever wanted.
Ask him questions.

Let him tell you about his once life
as a 'new Australian'
When he was fresh-faced and naive enough 
to believe that serving this country in the National Army
was pledging his allegiance to promises of a better tomorrow
but today, the old-world kids threw him in a river
of shallow water to remind him how shallow his 'Australian' blood runs,
broke his back, so no one ever again saw his Maltese last name
as just another British subject
asked him 'Who are you to be in our army.

Turn away, as a tear slips through his cracked skin.
Distract yourself with christmas lights,
they pool in jars at his bedside
and he watches them shine,
illuminating the photograph found above his bed.
Father and child, sepia toned sunlight
seeping through laugh lines
'Don't they look happy?' he'll ask you.
We were once so happy.

There are boxes upon boxes here
Fresh cereal to combat the stale air,
and to remind you he was once a man 
who collected more than just silent sons,
scattered families, granddaughters with passport hearts.

He says goodbye
like the final boarding call of a plane you will not be there to catch.
You are laden with too much excess baggage,
they will not let your demons through the security gate.

Hours later, you'll sit
passenger seat, father at wheel,
stoic and silent as always.
You'll make subtle jokes and smile into flickering headlights,
speak mundane truths as if they are heavy handed
with oncoming traffic.
In a moment of brutal honesty,
Tell him
you are afraid you are only capable
of loving that which you must leave.
He will leave.

You will hear the news
while walking through Berlin,
standing atop the first mountain you have ever climbed,
running hands along the tusks of Indian elephants.
Forget to breathe.
Do not react with a concrete heart.
Nor an ivory smile.
Grief is the same in any language.
Speak it. Scream it.
Cry for what will feel like the first time in generations.
Be the new Australian.
Pay homage to emotions your elders had no strength for.

You are made of so much more than brass. 

Lana Del Rey Helps Me Decide What My Pussy Tastes Like

My pussy tastes like skinny dipping
in a glass of bourbon. It tastes like brass knuckles
and blush. It tastes like pop stars eating Poptarts.
Tastes like your mother’s does. Like a small
knife. It tastes like your favorite cock-tail 
spiked with antifreeze. It tastes like you
can try it, you can love it, but it will
kill you.

It will kill you.'

- Megan Falley

You were an empty chamber in a loaded gun.

He's never once asked about
your hometown; your first pet;
your mother's signature dish;
how your ex-lovers last kiss tasted
before he flung himself from a parking garage;
your favourite colour.
You're not sure you'd know how to answer him if he did.
He knows how you take your coffee. Knows you only ever smoke cigarettes after sex.
That to you, Jack Daniels smells like bad decisions
but you love the taste of it on his breath.
Knows your room number, but not your mobile.
Knows your allergic to latex and commitment
but would never guess, also strawberries.

The past and future are both mirrors you avoid like burn victims.
Memories feel too much like striking a match.'

Let me be the conduit.

I can do last breaths, last words, I have so many things. There is so much symbolism. You should hear the conversations Toph and I have, the things he says. It's wonderful, it's unbelievable, you couldn't script it any better. We talk about death and God, and I have no answer for him, nothing to help him sleep, no fairy tales. Let me share this. It's all there, all these things at once, so it's up to you -- you choose, you pick. Give me something. I will be sad and hopeful. I will be the conduit. I will be the beating heart. Please see this! I am the common multiplier for 47 million! I am the perfect amalgam! I was born of both stability and chaos. I have seen nothing and everything. I am twenty-four but feel ten thousand years old. I am emboldened by youth, unfettered and hopeful, though inextricably tied to the past and future by my beautiful brother, who is part of both. Can you not see that we're extraordinary? That we were meant for something else, something more? All this did not happen to us for naught, I can assure you -- there is no logic to that, there is logic only in assuming that we suffered for a reason. Just give us our due. I am bursting with the hopes of a generation, their hopes surge through me, threaten to burst my hardened heart! Can you not see this? I am at once pitiful and monstrous, I know, and this is all my own making, I know -- not the fault of my parents but all my own creation, yes, but I am a product of my environment, and thus representative, must be exhibited, as inspiration and cautionary tale. Can you not see what I represent? I am both martyred moralizer and amoral omnivore born of the suburban vacuum + idleness + television + Catholicism + alcoholism + violence; I am a freak in secondhand velour, a leper who uses L'Oreal Anti-sticky Mega Gel. I am rootless, ripped from all foundations, an orphan raising an orphan and wanting to take away everything there is and replace it with stuff I've made. I have nothing but my friends and what's left of my little family. I need community, I need feedback, I need love, connection, give-and-take -- I will bleed if they will love. Let me try, let me prove. I will pluck my hair, will remove my skin, I will stand before you feeble and shivering. I will open a vein, an artery. Pass over me at your peril! I could die soon. Something bad will happen to me, I know, I know this because I have seen it so many times. I will be shot in an elevator, I will be swallowed in a sinkhole, will drown, so I need to bring this message now; I only have so much time, I know that sounds ridiculous, I seem young, healthy, strong, but things happen, I know you may not think so, but thing happen to me, to those around me, they truly do, you'll see, so I need to grab this while I can, because I could go any minute, Laura, Mother, Father, God -- Oh please let me show this to millions. Let me be the lattice, the centre of the lattice. Let me be the conduit. There are all these hearts, and mine is strong, and if there are -- there are! -- capillaries that bring blood to millions, that we are all of one body and that I am -- Oh, I want to be the heart pumping blood to everyone, blood is what I know, I feel so warm in blood, can swim in it, oh let me be the strong-beating heart that brings blood to everyone. I want.

- A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers

My dearest ocean,

I've missed you like a sailor, 
like sunsets and smoke signals. 
I stand shivering by your sea-side.
Something has changed within you. 
You've grown colder, 
calm but calculating, 
You already know 
I'm going to leave you again. 

Please know,
I think of you every moment I'm away. 
I follow your veins on maps engraved in my skin. 
I whisper love letters down every drain I pass. 
I wish I could stay. 

Forgive me. 
I'll come home again soon.

Dear Babyface

I miss you.
I can't get you off my mind.
Lately the world has felt so quiet,
Like I'm hearing it through your ears,
Buried some 6 feet beneath Chicago snow,
Muffled miles below Lake Michigan.

I'm holding on to this anger,
It's hardly comfortable but it's so warm.
I don't think you deserve forgiveness,
Even though you dished it out in such generous servings at a rate that would make anyone a diabetic.
Forgiveness is too sweet
And I, too bitter.
Your final words weren't even grammatically correct, for God's sake.
You were a poet, you're not allowed to end on a mistake as poor as that.
I demand you come back to correct it,
I'll even supply the white out.

Here's that poem you always asked me for.
I hate that you had to go to such great lengths for me to finally write it.
I'm so sorry.
I'm sorry we never discussed our apparent mutual love for Kerouac.
I'm sorry I was joking about hiding you in my freezer that one time.
I'm sorry I never read that book you gave me, you told me I needed more life in me first. I'll buy a copy tomorrow, I promise.
I'm sorry I was selfish, 
I'm sorry I'm still callous,
I'm sorry I couldn't live up to your standard of light and love.
Even in your own admission of defeat, you found a way of making the world brighter.
I'm sorry I didn't ever follow suit.
I'm sorry for talking as if my apologies or actions would have made a difference.
I'm trying to be better, I really am.

Please forgive, I'll try to do the same.

'Death has never been one of those things I worry about. When I'm called, I'm called.'
- Tom Loconti

You weren't meant to call yourself.

Oh Berlin

Berlin, you blissful backyard of hidden footpaths.
You secret garden of blossoming hearts. 
You bustling underground of coffee-stained subway maps.
You aching backpack.
You proud and shameless walk home in last nights' crinkled clothes.
You kingdom to a traveling hearts' throne.

Berlin, you empty loft. 
You basements of bare-stripped wallpaper.
You hour-long waits just to get a glance in the door.
You roaring 20s, you silent 2000s.
You most unpretentious hipster.
You genuine, unironic appreciation.
You bohemians and children and the warmest place I've hung my coat.
You simultaneously ice-chilled bones.
You contradictions.

You stumbling on salted street corners.
You laughter illuminated by half-imagined headlights.
You sleeping in through sunlight.
You hiding beneath walls of white cotton castles.
You squeaky, squeaky bunk bed.
You nostalgia for new experiences,
You expat never exiting.
You creativity, you trust, you complete lack of angst,
you every familiar embrace.
You dream-chaser, you carpe diem, you dance anyway,
you every hopeless cliche.

Berlin, you thief.
You collection of stolen hearts.
You every past and future.
You home.
You home now.
You bring me, finally, home.