Baltimore in Scarlet

I have synesthesia.

But, instead of seeing sound

or hearing color

-which results from cross-talk between

auditory and visual neurons-

…I see pain.


Through some accidental quirk of nature,

my right supramarginal gyrus,

the empathy “center” of the human brain,

has strong connections to my visual cortex.

When someone is in pain,

I see waves of iridescent crimson

radiating from the person.


When I was a boy,

a friend of mine fell off his bike,

and skinned his knee.

I tried to clean up the blood,

but it kept flowing,

in wave after sanguine wave.

It wasn’t until later,

at the neurologist,

I realized I was seeing more than the physical wound,

but the emotional trauma as well.



I walked through Baltimore.

I could barely see through the crimson haze.

Emanating from the chests

of those who marched

was a dull red, pulsing tired.

This hurt was not the sharp scarlet

of intense immediate pain-


This suffering ached ruby from years of being held inside.

This pain turned the air florid with anguish,

and suffused the very streets with vermillion.


I walked through a city in agony.

When I came home

and saw the riots on the news

(which I saw none of in the 10,000 strong protest downtown)

I saw the white pundits,

on their alabaster thrones,

cool and emerald in their calmness,

in their analgesic world,

piously decrying the  protestors-

citing damage to nerveless properties.

I wish I could show them Baltimore

through my eyes,

point out the rubies of torment in their hearts,

the aching ruddy hue painting the city.

I wish they could see all the shades of red

I see, when I look at Baltimore.


How it feels to be told you’re not to be trusted


Two weeks.

A fortnight.
14 revolutions of Terra swinging gravely about Sol.

Two weeks since we decided the make-up sex was not worth the fights.

In that time I:

-explored stretched mentality in a nestled cabin amongst brethren
-wielded bong and bottle valiantly against sobriety night after excruciatingly long night
-and, during one such battle, recruited a female compatriot to stave off thought; banishing it with intimate touch.

Two weeks later.
I am in your room,
feeling the dead claw at their graves in my chest.

I tell you I slept with her.

Except I don’t just tell.

I twist my words with labile veracity,
concluding that because you hurt me,
because you excommunicated me,
because I could no longer worship at your altar,
but to pay homage between someone else’s thighs.
YOU did this, I twist.

You have words, but all they say is hurt.
I have words, but all they are is ash in too many mouths.

I have kissed so many mouths and by God,
no one kisses me like you do.

We will kiss again, much later, but I will always taste the ash.

Two weeks you say.

You couldn’t go two weeks.

You crumble as I rise to leave.

I do not trust myself to say anymore twists.

You tell me,


“I will never trust you again.”

Dear former lover

Dear former lover,
I dreamt of you last night.
Tall and gangly and spirited and quietly and not so quietly amazing.
I think you and I both know
That I was parasitic.
I took and took
Because I needed so very badly
To be more than the rent half she had left me as
I took and took and left you the second she opened her legs back up to me.
There are few wrongs I feel I cannot make right.
We are one of them.
Last night I dreamt of you.
Of how you would look in my eyes
Turn and Laugh uproariously at a quiet inanity I might mumble
And as your gaze fell back to mine you would slap me, playfully
Your laugh was fuller than a brass band
Your eyes more mischievous than Puck.
It is hard, dear former lover.
To wake up from your smile.
And look into the eyes of the woman I now love.
Dreams meld the past with the present.
This morning, I loved you again.
I wish I could ask
In all humility
That you stray from my dreams forevermore.
That you unvisit my sleep.
Let me wake to the here and now.
I think though
That this is my penance.
To love and forget, love and forget,
Dream to reality, again and anon
It is only fair. It is only appropriate
Dear former lover,
I love you, in the former, in the imaginarium present, and in all, I am sorry. In all, I am sorry.

I want you to feel the vibrancy of THIS moment

I want you to feel the vibrancy of THIS moment,

and sure, I may not be cogent,

but that does not detract from the potent, the soul net,

of these stitched together thoughts.

It may be the alcohol but my skin is caught,


hooked on your bait.

Thus we are both fish and fishermen,

I with my sinewy net,

you with that lascivious hook

and it takes no amounts of books

to know that these heavy-lidded looks

are magnetized. We do not tantalize no,

that was left at the sober door.

Sober clothes hit the sober floor.

So too did this post hoc poem,

flown from my grip as soon as you gripped my gaze

leveled those earth eyes through my fog haze.

And then we were fish, slippery and wet,

caught in each others’ snares and nets,

skin prickled from hooks, looks, feverish stares,

until collapsing we gasped for air.

The air – it is vibrating. Humming between us.

Fish and fishermen shimmer into blackness.