Thursday, December 8, 2016


[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

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.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


Dusky hues are cast into
The purple latte froth of eventide ,
Twilight stars sparkle and shadows are thrown
Over where the flashes of night lights  can't reach
And he fishes in his pack to breathe smoke out just
Past the gutters , glistening with hoarfrost ;
And she lays her head in the golden , cooked
Crisp dead leaves of winter and it's a wonder
Her tears don't freeze before they reach the earth.
Together , they exhale frozen breaths and songs
Of absolute silence , every exhale a fan of frost
And forgetting ,
Together they occupy a narrow band of time and space,
A pocket of exile in the continuum , every bend of every
Wormhole funneling the prismatic starlight onto them,
And they drink in the moonbeams .

She jabs a finger into the crust of the earth and calls out
To no one in particular , her words and her breath freezing
And fading just feet from her face ,
She tosses short hair across her brow and sighs ,
Her bones howling for just a touch ,
Just a touch too much ,

In the distance , a wolf looses its lament ,
Howling a dirge into the atmosphere ,
Into the folds of
Around this pair , and
He calls up his pack ,
Bids them to strike up a dance ,

And he howls back , another ghost
Another nocturnal lullaby ,
Smoke and ice dripping from his lungs ,
He heaves a note into the sky ,
Aimless troubadour ,

And she's paralyzed , fingers raking the crust of
The only concrete evidence
Of any existence
For just
A single
Moment ,
In time
And in space
And the world seems to be getting smaller
Around them ,
The shadows pool in the alleys and the edges
And he lays down
With her
His arm and hers
His eyes in hers
Reflecting the night
Reflecting each other,
Drinking up the moonbeams .

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Saint Elise

[first to the fray, but frail
be cavalier,
don't disengage,
and time will tell,
time has told
this is real enough]

Some years ago, I saw you running with some friends,
You were so nonchalant,
you were well on your way,
On your war path, on your way into the night.

And I remember less than I might like,
So come on, let's chase some memories -
Last time, as I recall, we held up all our expectations.

Since seventeen,
I've had every curve and every line memorized;
Every turn, every shape of every surface,
but your face now, it's no surprise.
It's just as I expected.

It was no surprise to find you in all the time apart;
the time apart that stands to serve as a hard
reminder that , to no surprise of my own,
parts of you were unchanged, the only sights
are lights reflected from another camera's lens,
but behind pale skin, cast in sunlight,
in a kodak flash, beyond the freckled flesh
wrapping your bones, there's still something young,
there's still something burning in you,
curling the tips of my feathered wings.

Before a flowered urn, you could ask me just to watch
from afar, you could ask me to see and sing and write along,
and ride along on the trick horse parade,
but never have asked me to explain -
But it's these new photos, these new memories,
binding us.
The new fruits of our lives that
we can harvest in the dark, and talk
just to the stars, waiting for their burning light
to untie us,
to unite us,
but first untie me for now,
 and let me in.
If not unraveled here, if not here,
just where do we belong?

Not in another's arms, not frozen in another night alone,
chasing the silver serpent in the crest of a tsunami,
seeking my reflection in the weathered waves,
seeking my reflection in the glass of your bedroom window,
and I'm tap, tap , tapping at the glass, shaking icicles loose,
shaking in my boots, and it's nothing but a little expression,
just please, open these windows and these doors

girl let me, let me, come on,
before it gets too cold, and all
the words on the air will just freeze and break.
Open all the doors and the windows, let this natural daylight,
nightlight,starlight in
and - Let me touch,
and trust
that I'll touch too much,
that I'll hold on too hard
wearing out all the bones in our arms,
     15 years apart
     and in one moment,
     lost in you,
and girl, believe me - I've had you on my mind,
and at times we floated too close for comfort,
and I watched you and your and friends ride on by,
and I watched all my chances come and go,
and I'd daydream, skip stones across silent ponds,
and I'd always catch my reflection,
and get the impression you were in it somewhere too.
and it's nothing but a little expression
I promise I won't live this life out
and miss another chance to hold you.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

new church.

[Give me your breath,
I can't hold everything above water.]

i think of all of our notes
and messages
and all the other instruments of love and hearts,
and i think
i need to be acknowledged by some touch
and that's the key to calm
and i'm alright the moon is
right across the sky in the canopy of old oaks
but my mind is out in the dusty plain
and you just stand there at the glass looking at me.

you trace my constellation in a sparkling chalk
outline, and wonder how our stars ever aligned
or if they'll cross us.

despite the overwhelming odds we still smile
and i watch the patches of pink bloom in your cheeks
watch the rose color merge with freckles
a collision of stars in the dark
and i don't mind watching from afar
i don't mind the cheap seats
in the mezzanine
and the nosebleeds

but together we move farther
leaning more toward where the spirits roam free,
saturn's outer rings and galactic dust,
bridging the monumental distance between us
and the next us like us

we move farther into the light of stars
that died long before we ever even knew
our names

and we take to the skies.

the pupils dilate
some believe we can
just lay down to sleep
and the eyes roll
and the eyes gaze up and fix

map these faces in your star charts
infinite stars dispelling broken prayers

infinite pupils of starlight gazing back

behold the progenitors of love,
behold the stars
gods of the new church.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


[A dozen hours into my day,
and I feel like I'm finally awake.
Twelve hours of sun-up,
and it's threatening to go down now,
but it's not concerned with me.
And I'm fine with that, I'm fine on my own.]

There's talk and chatter of death; consequently of a service I'll miss.
There's the tittering of old maids, the weeping of widows,
and the muted musings of mortality from the young; who for a day don't get to feel invincible.
There are men of no consequence, whispering through the steam of overpriced lattes, passing a carnival in the tar-slow procession and lording over stilted conversations in black and blue.

A silent body passes in a gloss black hearse, shining hubcaps rolling over oily asphalt, and I salute.
Whether by heart or bullet or fire, I can't tell,
but a flame of alarm rises in my chest and boils my lungs and my blood and my beliefs; and I can't
believe how I've gotten stuck in the halls between these walls, and I'm trapped, and I'm fading to black like the tinted windows that follow the silent tracks of the dead.
Eyes from this macabre parade gaze on, gaze out, gaze at me through windows,
and I gaze back from mine, knowing, but unwilling to climb out, even to pay respects.

Automobiles creak by, herded by the oscillating strobes of motorcycles, and within a hundred thousand turns of light, they are all gone and passed. In moments, they are shepherded forward and into some sacred dirt yard for their loved one, or friend, or boss, or loved one's loved one to be interred with the bones of a hundred others that pioneered the way for them to return straight to the earth.

There should have been a talk over a casket; a service I missed.
There's the eulogy I never spoke, never wrote, and there's the struggle of a hundred hearts to swim in a panicked wave of grief; but not me. The service is not for the friend I miss.
Funerals aren't truly for the dead, and maybe the service was beautiful,
a rite of passage,
but I almost always miss
because I'm not sure I'll come back.

Thursday, June 30, 2016


[ i must not talk out of turn
i must not talk out of turn.

we know, as we should, that
things could be much, much worse.
and that the best is yet to come.
we're all chasing something.

there's no rush. ]


through the cruelty of the desert heat,
she's dressed to keep on,
she's dressed to keep up,
just to keep going.
and she hums a short tune to the blistering
fever of the walk she's on.
she hums to you,
to be caved
from your soft touch.

but times change as all times do,
she left all her signs unsigned,
better to move forward and leave all her
sighs unsighed,
walking alone,
in the desert,
toward the stars;
stars better left to shine
in their own corner of the sky.

she awoke this morning to her heart,
beating itself dry,
and the caustic cough from
her parched set of lungs,
half empty, arid like
the floor of the sandy wastelands
she walks.

and the day changes, as all days do,
as the night excises the fire from the sky,
to exorcise these notions from her heart
and her labored breath,
and while she sleeps beneath of bloom of cacti,
she misses the rise of a king,
she misses the fall,
she misses a stellar evolution -
a war of gas and light, but
kings wouldnt be kings without arms
and wouldn't have queens without hearts,
the one she carries forward like a torch,
on this march,
she walks.

she's always quick to count the stars,
the way she'll count the times that you've done right.
on any given night,
she's of service to a silence she can't name,
drowning in vanity and star-rises, blankets
of velvet night and speckles of distant light,
it feels like it should snow, and this
she walks .

she waits to be of service again, to fill
her lungs up with the icy air near you,
it feels like it should snow, and she
waits to be of service again,
to fill her heart with this warm blood of yours,
to fill up her nights,
instead of this walk
she walks.


it takes us so long to say goodnight,
though we rarely do.

when the lights get low,
i can still see her shape,
the way the shadows of branches play
and dance across a freckled face,
the blue moonlight on a clavicle,
or a neck, or a wrist,
and there's silence between us,
but i know
she knows,
tonight -
we won't want for much,
just the two for hours,
it's just us.

when the sheets turn back,
and i see her shape,
the way the hands can play
and dance across these plains,
the salt taste of skin,
there's no silence between us,
just the two for hours,
just us.

we won't want for much.

i guess this will be
our last goodnight,
before we're sitting on shorelines,
before we talk about growing up,
all the empty pages before us,
waiting to be written,
all the empty stage before us,
waiting to be played,
but tonight, just one night
for now
it's just the two of us
just us.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

adopted son of war.

 [  be still, my still-beating heart,
      by my side,
        i miss my fifth home,
          but i am home   ]

 got a sucking wound left in my chest,
 where there's the stress of all the sharp
 shrapnel fragments,
 pinned right to my leather heart.

 we've seen the seasons change,
 we closed all the doors to the storm,
 but we sit outside,
 and we're high,
    on the porch,
 trying to read the rorschach,
 trying to read between the lines
 as the lies and those parts of me die;
 but, i won't be laid low by this day.


 the shiny face of the gun
 in your hand, it's chrome, and hard.
 it's hard to say if it was ever really
 never real.
 never realized that you,
 the religion you,
 combat you,
 saint you,
 is so beautiful.

 there's a spark in you
 i've never seen before,
 either do it or don't
 don't waste our time.
 let the thunder roll above us, and squeeze
 your aching hand around that trigger,
 don't try, just pull pull pull.

 consequences here are no worse
 no better than average.

 and so here we are at last,
 one night, one shining silver bullet,
 through my spirit, the spectral
 shreds left behind.

 trying to scry in the crystal ball
 trying to read the bends in the lines
 crying over the stove
 crying over the cocaine
 crying over the dust of bones of men
 my lust for nonexistence was either sated

  finally escaped
the hole you left in my chest.

we either do it or don't
don't waste our time.

Friday, June 3, 2016

campfire stories

[do what you will, else you're better not doing it all.]

I always make it a point to laugh it all off, 
all the things inside me and out that I can't figure.
but the loving mother of mercy knows mystery and misery love company,
and off between these offices I wander, between the skyscrapers I wonder; 
I pound the pavement underneath my life. 
Have I seen it all, or haven't I? 

Beneath the ghastly yellow light of the arc-sodium lenses plods a dog of war; 
plod I , clutching my words, promising and dividing, 
grabbing what's left of my pride to scribe, 
to scratch into these paper skins the solemn oaths
 I'd never had the power to abide before tonight,
 and I ride the interstate out between the lines 
for forgiveness and forgetting.

I've lined my shelves with books 
and empty promises,
just to prove a point,  but
That's enough.

I've never been accused of giving my love too easily, 
and tonight I've been watching it go over covered bridges 
into parishes and countless counties unknown, 
through skeletal ghost towns 
and I've watched it sink into swamps
over and over and over 
in dreams.
But god damn, I can't sink, 
I can't drown 
,and from beneath the mire, 
the brackish water brining my lungs, 
burning the words of my tongue,
I can feel you,
just like I can feel my sore sense of pride. 

  I was wrong, I promise.

I promise, then divide myself
And there I am, standing.
I'm standing way on the other side,
Free at last, 
To feed the mouths I want,
and mount these wings to the stars

some cold shiver
behind my eyes
says that someone is dragging the waters,
and why, why am I staring at myself,
staring right back at me,
reflecting right back from below? 
I'm raptured by this frozen image 
tangled in mangrove roots that 
bow under the weight of all the hanging moss,
under a drape of hanging stars 
on the warmest southern sky. 
Is it love?

Is love back in my veins
after a borderline suicide?

The earth is faintly turning, 
but ghosts slide right by me
 in the heat of the night, 
n the haze of the evening,
Am I alive again,
or am I the heart of some
of these campfire stories?
I don't know,
I've never died before.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

light at the end.

[im swimming in a sea of stated facts,
and i'm not sure i should bite]

   There's a light that flicks on and off at the end of my street,
   in the shade of the trees at the bend in the cul-de-sac.
   The light shines when I'm looking for it,
   but I can't be sure it's there when I'm gone.
   It seems like every time I turn around,
   the light goes out.
   My little light is fleeting, 
   nesting furtively in the shadows
   at heights, 
   there when I need it to shine, but biding time,
   saving strength, saving itself for another night;
   until it can split through smoke tendrils and lift me up,
   right below the power lines.
   Little light,
   you're mine,
   as long as I never know who's behind you.
   And maybe I'm missing something, maybe I should venture to find it,
   the source.
   Instead of looking for it only when I light a cigarette, 
   when I walk out to take out the trash;
   instead of just ignoring it when it rains,
   instead of dreaming it winks out in my periphery.
   I carve circles in the concrete with the crunching of 
   glass and gravel under boot heels, under alternating laces,
   just to find the right light, under you, before I drift away.
   I just asked to be bathed in this light, you see,
   you're not all I have,
   but I'm sinking, so just drown me.
   Just drown me,
   little light of mine,
   as long I know you're behind me,
   I'll be there.
   When you're off,
   When you're on,
   When you're on your own.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


[i got well
at the end of my last spell,
hiding out in lecture halls,
until tenured.
after this startling display,
a dazzling tour de force,
a brave dyslexic read,
bathing in quicksand with bated breaths
behind drowning gills.
as long as we haven't become what we
most dislike,
there's no better direction to go than forward.
come on. ]

i know, i know. timing is everything.
but, look at you. 
chances are you'll read this,
and your mind won't have changed.
just know that i might know nothing,
but I know nothing
felt quite so right
than skipping the slurs to shake you.
and i know, i know, it's strange, but i won't 
change my tune.
so don't change yours.
i've got tremors just to 
shake these curses
just like we rehearsed, 
at the turn of the century.
i won't,
if you won't.
just don't change your tune.

i know, i know
i falter and i drift away
sort of unceremoniously, and sort of in sync.
my mind and mouth get lost,
so navigate,
navigate me.
pave away the distance,
dissipate these bridges that hang
with this suspense.
take away another strangling season
of silence,
and i won't abandon all hope 
that these
these nights
might take away my forever feelings.

just, god damn.
god damn me,
or put me to rest,
against the stunning silence.
in the solace of spring,
i steel myself against the way
you're uninvolved and you,
you lift my anger up in blood,
and tuck it away
into your uniform,
just please
don't change your tune.

when you speak,
you speak only 
in tongues and trembles,
impossible just to 
say something sensible
or walk away;
and wander toward answering how
something so tame could
feel so romantic.
and i'm attuned,
i'm in tune with and
torn by antiqued ideas of matrimony,
when really we're bound by nothing
but this gravity.
just now getting accustomed
to this feeling of falling
before i change my tune.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


[we know there's no one-stop solution
for absolution.
the wish is to be washed
in this startling white light;
to see a resolution
for the weight of our sins.]

an eye cast to the sky
through a lens,
she said she could see
where the sky divides.
she said she could see
the star, the sparkle in
our hearts, the star
that'd been sent
to hold us down.

the star cast long shadows
in the sand, over walks
fueled by whiskey sunrises.
we'd walk across
the shoulder
where the ocean meets the land
and marvel at how flat.

we'd walk across
cracked shells and glass
and she'd say
 "the light,
    its absence
      isn't quite right, it's
she'd say
       "i'm losing the faith,
          the reason, the will
            to get you to listen."

now, i've got to walk back
through that same sand
in the same fading footprints
echoes of us at one time,
echoes at best.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

almost home

[You can't just come out of nowhere.]

i close my eyes
to the rhythm of the tides
lapping against the hull,
the clink of the anchor chain,
and the motion of the waves
almost drowns out the sound
of sirens from an otherwise silent shore.

close your eyes girl
we're almost home

i open my eyes
to the fire in the skies,
turning toward us,
the beacon of solace
and warm light through a lens
to guide us safely away from
a place where we'd otherwise be castaways.

i'd been hoping for these rocky harbors,
these sandy shores, the cry of gulls
and sensibly still stands of cypress
hoped upon hope in my quarters,
and gazing out into the night at
the southern cross

i wish i had brought you along
this whole time, but
it's okay, it looks like time is on our side

close your eyes girl
we're almost home

have i become immune to the waves lapping the decks?
or have i been anesthetized?

i think i might know,
    i think i might
close your eyes girl

i'm making thje decision i made when i left,
a decision not of will ,
but of courage,
to leave what is familiar and
put an end to what poisons me.

i haven't been where i belong
but this shining light is guiding,
i think i might know,
close your eyes
we're almost home

Friday, February 12, 2016


When you drown yourself so slowly,
coming up for air seems like an afterthought.
Laughter comes out in bubble rings,
the last laugh,
the last life
rising to the surface,
your lungs coming up empty,
you're coming up empty again.