Saturday, August 19, 2017

sway.



I watch night after night as the labor crews move in,
Shuffling and shuttling in scaffolds and planks.
They toil by torchlight, the orange tongues of fire
Throwing orange rays against tree boughs
And the bricks of the poor man's tenements,
Giving way to ghastly tendrils of oily smoke.

They slide between one another, hand over elbow,
Head under arm, never speaking, only exchanging
glances and moving around in a solemn dance to some
Distant, silent calypso.
And they labor on, sinews pushing along their fervent ardor,
Until the first violet light of day breaks,
And they are gone.

When the fire of the sun breaks from behind the distant plane,
When the flatness of everything is overcome, bathed
In the fire of day, the men are nowhere to be found -
Chicken bones and tankards,
Tools left to dry in the sun,
No one
only the ghosts of men,
And the skeleton of a shack,
Perhaps.
Four posts, a floor, and a door,
But not where it ought to be.

The wooden skeleton, the frame
Stands proud in the day, stern and
Lonely, until twilight settles in again,
the columns casting long and sharp shadows.
And the men are in again,
their labors quiet in the cool night.

A gutter cat sneaks, thief-like into my view.
He snakes between my feet and rubs his black ribs,
His black cheeks against my legs, eyeing me
For a moment,
Before slinking away, the fire reflecting from
Green orbs before turning his head,
and he is gone;
locked into some preternatural courtship
with solitude and
the night.

Seven nights, and the men are gone,
But there is no roof, no walls,
Only a sturdy oaken beam where a roof
may lay its head.
The shrubs and the grass have been cut,
back, back, back away from the shack.

A day comes when the church bells strike,
Not the tolls of the hour,
Not a warning,
But a sullen, harrowing toll, and the
men and their wives, the town, they
shuffle in, shuttling in children,
setting linens in the crisp, cut grass.

They slide between one another,
hand over fist over head over ..
and a man in a velvet mask leads
another man in a sackcloth hood, trembling
to a short loop in a braided fiber rope,
coiling it around his neck like
a serpent.

And the fire in the skies before the sunset
Is the fire in the eyes of the crowd and the cat,
Reflected.
And the man is read his rites,
Never speaking a word, the clergy, the barrister,
the Sheriff all shuffle around him, the oaken
boards creaking beneath their soles.

And the man is hanged as the floor gives way,
giving way to a snap, the unremarkable report
of a branch or board, exhausted, breaking.
And his toes sway gently, three feet from firmament,
never knowing another love,
All of it dying with him, unrequited.

The air is cold and still for a moment,
before all the held breaths are exhaled,
floating out to the clouds.

And as the sun sinks behind the flatness
At the edge of the world,
the people gather themselves, gather the men,
the women, the children, shuffling out,
shuttling out,
and they are gone.




Friday, August 4, 2017

the fall.


i watched a butterfly fly away
today in the falling rain.
i watched it dodge and drift
between the drops,
the feathered edges of its wings
kissing the curves on globes
of drowning liquid.

time slowed, and the butterfly
pushed and beat its wings
against a wind pushed out
under a bruised, greying sky
clouds engorged with water
from the earth, and
veined with pulses of lightning.

i watched a butterfly die today
in the falling rain,
when it decided to alight,
and a single drop of drowning rain
struck
and for one glowing moment,
a brilliant blast of golden dust
as its wings were taken down
to skeleton.

it had landed, the butterfly
on the last leaf clinging to a tree

waiting for the fall



Sunday, July 30, 2017

slicker weather.

[We grab an audience at the water wall,
and the rock shimmers in the velvet morning,
but the water's off.
We found our moment, our chance to say we
found our place in everything, or:
We found exactly where we need to feed in
to get in line, and:
we found an opportunity to exit the drama
before we sell it.
A stone passed over a fist.
We are haunted by the resonance,
the ripples in the retaining pond]


slicker weather

do you want to dance
while we are waiting for things to get good again?
we should get moving.

so many days it was supposed to rain and didn't,
well maybe for a minute.

come on rain,
here i sit at the end of this night,
typing and dialing,
and dialing in;
trying to reach some one at the end
of a long distance line.
and there's
absolutely no one else around
to point a finger, to shake a stick.

last night, i woke close enough
to you to smell, even though
we were homes apart.
maybe in separate rooms,
we had hit separate bottoms.

how bout that dance?
i'll be outside if you want to talk about it
it's getting a little loud in here,
with the sun ready to burst
all these fractal prisms across our floor.

come on rain,
just when i thought i had this pattern sorted out
the sun comes up
come on rain,
and bits of the truth have worn off
and are brittle in the light.

come on rain.

how bout that dance?





Friday, July 7, 2017

iconoclasts.

> good.
i thought you'd never ask. <

[guided by starlight
true, you know your insides
better than i do
but i will follow you
beyond the nebulous stars and their dust
beyond the galaxies
until beyond the veil we are thrust]

I peer through the stained glass prism,
The leaded glass a metallic constellation,
A silvery-gray atlas, a road map to all the points
Of faith and worship I've never visited,
But have had visited upon me.
And I ask the face of any god to
tell me which side I'm on.

They speak all the names in tongues,
They suffer through a tetragramaton,
and any other four-letter words;
And they cast the spell of a prayer
as they turn their jewels,
as they cinch their holy string of laws
around soft hands with useless fingers,
pointed outward at every angle;
as they clutch their holy beads of grief,
not yet seeing that we are all but lost.

So I join the farce,
And I call out a prayer,
I pose an inquiry.
I cast lots -
Roll the bones and ask just please
Tell me which side I'm on.

And we arrive together, some god and I
At the mouth,
the
Mouth of madness;
At the brink of some unspeakable pain,
Or this endless joy they all describe,
They all subscribe to : the heavens.
Heaven, a better place, a place where we are
Approaching constant listlessness.

It's a place
between love and hate,
an emotionless home, a warm stone hearth,
a land eternal without strife
Or hate; a place where love is so universal
We are left to feel nothing - where we are
encouraged to shed these mortal husks and
we let loose
Of our vanity, We can become something
Of eternal love.

and think of all our eternities:

Death is eternal,
life is eternal.

We don't which to let go of first.
what to worship,
what god to call upon when we are stricken
With this unbearable anxiety of living,
coupled with a crippling fear of death,

so which goes
eternal life
eternal death

and which do we grieve?

We all know we are competent,
fluent in the many languages of grief;
so I invite all my loyal sycophants,
In all my houses of worship,
All of my faithful adherents, who, bless you
Think that there's still a way to save us,
to grieve with me the loss of our god,
the death of all our gods,
and to revel in this nothingness,
as blood.

My blood,

An offer to you;

To take this life of sin,
and keep it.

To taste the slightest sin,
and o, what a taste.

Because what good are we?
What kind of family?
If we don't bleed
If we don't grieve
If we don't choose to live
If we don't eat
if we don't
sink
swim
die
together?


Sunday, January 29, 2017

out near the edge.


[all these days passed,
poor every year and housed by someone else
just got it figured out, just in time to come in from
being all out, all on the outskirts
i should have learned a more noble craft
more noble than the pen.]

in your living room we began to fight
the feelings that had us so confused.
we found we were fit to touch,
fit to taste, right
along the hem of your garment.
and we found our separate spaces,
and lamented the nights apart, but
how the grieving was so illogical
when we'd both be back soon enough.
the return of the prodigal daughters
and sons, round-tripping to the very brim of things,
cartwheeling along the edge without a faith to crutch on.

we never thought to say a prayer, or
call on the cross, or
do what we needed to do.
once we crossed the line
into this wild kingdom,
where there's no infirmary,
there's no yesterday,
and there's nothing any ghost,
holy or not, can do,
nothing they could have done
to bring us back.

maybe it wasn't just overnight,
but i had drunk of the blood
and i could not deny the taste.
i'd decided to leave the customs and gestures
and pageantry to the rest,
and let your delicate fingers lace up
these boots i'd rarely worn, dusted leather
shrouding the feet on which i'd march
to some haunting dirge,
the trilling of the battle drum,
and i'd let loose my cry of war -
let it slip right off the cuff.
we'd march together,
careening through the darkness,
driving through cold nights,
to choke the very life from the stars,
and inhale the dust,
to snuff the fire of the sun,
if any dared to pass between us.

what i held in my heart for so long,
i make no excuses for, and i dreamt and spoke of you
until we spoke and dreamed each other
under the covers, where we were bound to be,
after years of finding we were
bound by the secrets we kept from each other.

and so i severed this staccato prose,
and i tied it in a simple knot around my finger
lest i forget, lest i forget, lest i forget
and i severed all these strings of fate and serendipity,
and i tied it in a lover's knot around the neck of a beautiful girl

the devils not an excuse for the ways we'd let each other down.
but we won't be fooled by the ethereal, or just
modern art in deep disguise, we won't have been snared
by some other face - which one of you motherfuckers?

i tried to warn you
loving with hole in the side of your heart
i tried to warn you

loving is the whole of the law

and for years it was unrequited
but i'm quite glad it followed us
cartwheeling near the very edge of the abyss
and our eternity, if we'll just stay inside the lines,
or
we can plunge into the unfathomable together
i won't question the depths at all


Sunday, January 8, 2017

contrite.


i knew it when i saw it,
when i saw your hair had been cut short
i knew it when i saw you,
and i knew i didn't fit the bill,
i'm not what anyone would expect.
but you grandfathered me in, anyway.
and i was contrite but
i'd never intended to change.

over all these years,
the only thing i'd ever felt constantly
was your absence.

all that time, i'd hide my eyes
in my bootlaces and
say, i'm only human, babe.
and i'd disappoint my appointments,
15 years of fucking around with these old ideas
and i'd lapse into solipsistic moments
and my phone wouldn't ring.

i'd watch my pencils shaking out lines
in this atlas,
needle shaking a finger at me,
when i had relationships to mend
but still north.
i knew the direction when i started,
not that i'd ever put any faith
in a scripted fate.
but i'd run away.
and i was repentant,
but i never thought i'd change.

i knew it when i checked back in
on all my setbacks, and i looked for new
outcomes, that you wouldn't be home -
and i'd laugh at myself like i was your home.
and i'd lapse into a new existential crisis
and my phone wouldn't ring.

you were gone so long,
and i never learned,
you were gone every time i checked in.

as if i needed a reminder.

you can open your eyes now, girl
we're home.

and i only want what you want,
i only want to rest assured,
i only want to rest with you -

and live
        like we are the last two
            until it's all faded
              and all the waters we thought were drowning us
                 have evaporated

Thursday, December 8, 2016

dazzling.



[show me the bent future in that prism.
curve my body and capture me,
spin me upside down in your lens.
show me that power, girl.
'cause i can't just stay the course,
i can't distinguish
who's driving and
if they're driving me
home.]

i'm bent in the back from gathering
artifacts and all these artless facts
on the gravel road that runs right away from
the home i left to eat fire, to spit fire
to build new, and to burn.
and out on the asphalt and broken glass,
under the stagnant sky of night,
the cheap and ephemeral twinkle of starlight,
there's no guiding wavelength,
no resonance, no waves, no magnetism
in any direction
as far as the eye can see
only this,
this monumental emptiness.
all the things we thought were left across state lines
they've followed me, followed us home.
and the polaroid develops from fleshy silhouettes to
smiling faces, to pause and record a moment in time
on cheap plasticky paper, and our voices are melted
into wax and pressed, and played on and on and over,
with no end in sight.
and the needle bends as the record spins,
hard enough to start a fire,
to build a roadside camp
on a highway scratched like a razor line
through the desert in this atlas.
and the sounds and the pictures draw out
happier times,
and not many months ago
happiness was just a stupid dream.

but i'd dream of you;

beset on all sides by visions,
the visions reconnecting lost parts of me,
parts reacting violently,
fingers keying buttons with crippling carpal tunnel,
fingers clawing thoughts out through my hands and
my mouth, from this stunted imagination
and for the all words i'd like to think i could draw on,
i know i don't always have them for you.

and instead of drawing on what i once knew,
echoes of what i once was
instead of calling on some god
and drinking of the bitter sacrament,
and taking more and more
to curve and sharpen the words
because it helps to illustrate something otherwise
so intangible,
i'll pen this letter, these thoughts,
and abstain
because i know
there will be reproach
there will be no approaching it
there will be no redemption

i'm feeling unwitting,
i've got that feeling,
that burning feeling.

but we can get this spine aligned,
we can get these stars aligned,
we can make and take snapshots
and records,
we can archive old and make new.
we can burn, and we can build;

but you should know - at the other end of that
telephone line he's hanging from,
however disheveled,
however he be bedecked,
is a man in a dazzling fur-lined hat,
waiting only for you,
for your lips and your moves,
and any words they might make.
there's a man buried in artifacts , new and old
carrying art and artless facts, new and old
curled and crippled hands, gnarled into claws
clawing feverishly at thoughts
that can't quite break free,
to cross past teeth and jump lips.
on the other end of that letter, there's a man
reacting violently within, just to tell you that
you mean the world and the stars to him,
that the light you bring him makes the stars
look like tawdry street lights.
you should know you are the world,
end to end,
and you share a place in his heart with the
sun and the sky,
and the things he'd do for you
are virtually limitless.

see, that's me.
i'm feeling unwitting.
i got that feeling,
that burning feeling.