Friday, August 1, 2014

spoken (we swallow words like cyanide)

spoken (we swallow words like cyanide)
“We know of course there’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless.’
There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”

i did not want to be the one to say it
of course

we swallow words like cyanide
inoculating ourselves against the world

never spoken
never thought
never done
never shunned

these are the poisons that paralyze us
leaving us mute and fixed like an accusing stare

our sanctified commitment to silence
and the busy busy busy hustling of monks

filled nearly to bursting with all the unspoken
a smile painted across our closed lips

we imagine other worlds where holding hands
and laughing light up the rooms where everyone

and i mean everyone

talks freely and often like rising balloons
and huddled children so excited they can barely breath

i did not want to be the one to say it
of course because now that i have spoken

i have made you uncomfortable turning away
to find that place without me or my words

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

teleportation, time travel, & dreams (the empiricists have no clothes)

teleportation, time travel, & dreams (the empiricists have no clothes)


only two weeks on this planet
my granddaughter appears again in a dream
me now 1500 miles away from her

in my absence she laughs for the first time
in my dream i am holding her and she laughs

teleportation and time travel are not whimsy
resigned to our science fictions and fantasies
but the devices of our dreams reaching always


i drop into sleep and then into REM
where time and distance disappear
because the heart is a powerful engine

there i return to you again and again
to relive in order to live and breath awake
discovering in those unconscious recreations

the empiricists have no clothes

Monday, June 16, 2014

hello

hello


i very quietly, gradually & then suddenly became
an entirely different person:

the person i always was
& the person i never allowed myself to be

not a single person noticed
especially those closest to me


i believe that if you were here
you would be the one to notice

you knew everything all along
& that is the entirely different me

the person i always was
& the person i never allowed myself to be

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

summer poem

summer poem


i love you like the world is blue
temperamental storms

finger tips & ocean view
the way butterflies swarm

if lightning can part the sky
blink against the night

i can whisper why & try
to see you in that sudden light

i call out to summer moons
that waver in darkness & heat

thunder is a comforting tune
a Siren’s song that we again can meet

i love you like the world is blue
temperamental storms

i believe in incantations chanted true
the way your hand my heart warms

i love you like the world is blue
temperamental storms

so to mountain tops i climb for you
where i offer this summer poem

what if roses had no briars
forests had no fires
humans had no liars

in the din of driving rain & wind
everyone could hear me shouting

Friday, May 23, 2014

anniversary ceremonies (the things we cannot incinerate so we lie)

anniversary ceremonies (the things we cannot incinerate so we lie)

Why would you shatter somebody like me

My memory drives the people in my life crazy because I remember everything, always, in exacting detail. My memory was a gift until it became a curse, until no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t forget things I desperately needed to forget so I might survive.
An Untamed StateRoxane Gay


this weekend returns each sunny May
billowing smoke that forces me to lie

#

first i had to gather everything
in order to shred it all carefully

i formed a frame with six sticks
where the pyre smoldered to soot

the smell lingered reminding me
of melting 1000 pennies or dreams

this is how i turn from year to year
collecting ash to ash for the rising

because there are thunder and storms
in springtime leaving a blanket of hail

#

the heart is not flame retardant Kevlar
and memories never work as kindling

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

miracles & dust

miracles & dust

Don’t talk to me about being alone.
“Fretless,” R.E.M.

I may have been a lousy painter, but what a collector I turned out to be!
Bluebeard, Kurt Vonnegut


when i fell
in love with you

the gods & faeries
with their miracles & dust

never showed me
the whole picture

i’ve glimpsed it now
well after the fact of us

a giant mural hidden in the barn
at the end of a novel


in this smoldering aftermath
the calculations do not add up

to any other possibility
as if free will matters to a heart

because except for the end
i would not have it any other way

the truth of a detailed painting
fixing everything right their to behold

exposes the sincerity of a relinquished heart
in the body of a frail & flawed being

hollowed out by the inevitable subtraction
of the human clock we couldn’t stop if we tried


i am walking across a parking lot
where years ago you yelled at me

“Hey, old man!” standing with your mother
who apologized embarrassed by your rudeness

all of us then were unwilling to tell the truth
to ourselves or anyone else especially in a parking lot

now when all those truths have been buried again
i pause listening before i look over my shoulder

just in case


i hold on
tight enough not to let go
loose enough not to strangle

now a patient monk
tracing the images i designed carelessly
conjuring tomorrow today on our yesterday carefully

meditation at last
on all the ways i could not handle before
blinded by your miracles & blinded by your dust

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

withering plants, bloat kings, & hangovers from dreaming of you

withering plants, bloat kings, & hangovers from dreaming of you


Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:
Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed
Hamlet to Queen Gertrude
Hamlet Act 3, Scene 4, lines 181-182

Human touch is so distant
“Metaphoric Diary,” Sally Wen Mao


(i)

plants wither
drawing into themselves

the absence of water
impossible to hide

if we care at all
we can see what needs to be done

(ii)

humans on the other hand
inflate as we age

puffing up against the loss
in bloat arrogance & denial

like kings pilfering their brother’s wives
as if they shall not rot

(iii)

prone to drink
i have often risen in the wake of hangovers

but all that practice
(and there has been ample practice)

could not prepare me
for the mornings after dreaming of you

no hair of the dog or pints of beer
can still the staggering swirl of you there

arriving angry in my dream
at the inevitable me who fails you even in sleep

i swell with the absence of you
barely able to lift my feet against this headache and dry tongue

(iv)

if we care at all
we can see what needs to be done

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

everyone believes in god (on the paradox of being wholly human)

everyone believes in god (on the paradox of being wholly human)


of course the religious believe in god
my god is better than your god” is their god

but atheists believe in god as well
there is no god” is their dogma and alter

and agnostics believe in god
worshipping “i cannot know if there is god”

in the end there is no way to be wholly human
without the very human believing that divides us

Monday, April 28, 2014

colors (the rainbow you)

colors (the rainbow you)


(i)

i am blue
in a world washed gray

after the thunderstorm
of me and you

and having known the rainbow you
who walked away

(ii)

you used to worry when i cried

but now because i cannot tell you
i know why tears are colorless

Saturday, April 12, 2014

warning: pay attention

warning: pay attention


we become the thing we do
whether we pay attention or not

pay attention


he found himself, of course, living two lives

the one everyone saw like a functional alcoholic
and the other interior paying attention to recreate

at this point, however, he had only memories as artifacts
how did she smell? what sound her voice? and her shoes?


more than once his reveries were interrupted

Man, are you even paying attention?”

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

j was young&happy (and everyone hated her for it)

j was young&happy (and everyone hated her for it)

Happiness hit her like a train on a track…
Happiness hit her like a bullet in the back
“Dog Days Are Over,” Florence + The Machine


j was young&happy
(and everyone hated her for it)

everyone was old&bitter
as a sock worn for 37 days in summer

when j smiled she was radiant&beautiful
and j always smiled

everyone noticed and assumed for no reason
j often broke into song&dance

j preferred Florence + The Machine
but sometimes she was making it all up

everyone complained and it was a fact
j caused more than one wreck singing&dancing

although no one was ever inured
and cars can be repaired relatively easily

j was young&happy
(and everyone hated her for it)

and this was something j never knew
because happiness is a bullet-proof vest on a warm&sunny day

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Photoshop® (the shortest novel imaginable)

Photoshop® (the shortest novel imaginable)

I die fast in this city, outside I die slow
Everywhere I am is just another thing without you in it
“Fashion Coat,” The National


Prologue

i tried to Photoshop® myself
back into the picture
from which you cut me

the process was tedious and slow
because i work from dream and memory
haunting me like welcomed ghosts

Chapter 1

i have been hit twice by cars while cycling
and i cannot remember anything about them

Chapter 2

i remember every moment
from the first time we made love

every detail of your apartment
the position of your bed in the room

the Salvador Dali rose poster i gave you
hanging on your wall near the door

the flush along your neck and face
and every word shared between us

Chapter 3

i remember The National concert in Asheville
and that you were not there beside me swaying

Chapter 4

i remember reading At Night We Walk in Circles
wanting to highlight in blue this sentence:

“Nothing is more deserving of one’s respect,
he told Monica that night, as they lay in bed,
than two young people who’ve found each other.”

i remember i could find only an orange highlighter
and that i could not share about any of that with you

Epilogue

i have discovered that Photoshop®
cannot fabricate the things that matter

especially when the things that matter
are no longer possible and no longer there

Friday, March 21, 2014

she was risen

she was risen


she was risen
round full and glowing

full as a throat with song
risen like bread in an oven

and once again it is spring
risen from the ashes of winter

she was risen like the moon
round full and glowing in the sky

and like her we too were full
she with child and we with hope

the death of us (redux)

the death of us (redux)


“You are reporting what?”
the officer stood in their living room

“The death of us”
they said in unison like a chorus

“But you’re standing right here…”
the officer held out his hand for emphasis

“Not us the people, us, you know, us
the wife said sweeping her hands over her head


there was nothing else they could do
so the forensics team inspected their home

“I think we have found the culprits”
a detective said tapping a notepad in his hand

“The empty toilet paper roll in the holder”
the detective kept tapping the notepad

“The passive-aggressive laundry”
the detective gestured to the folded clothes

“Happens all the time, I’d say, almost always”
the detective shook his head and looked away

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

i am the voice of reason (breathing you breathing me)

i am the voice of reason (breathing you breathing me)

I wore the clothes you wanted
I took your name
If there is some confusion, who's to blame?


i am the voice of reason
only when i laugh
only when i cry

if you stop to read the words
you are lost little lamb
you are lost lost lost

we sacrifice childhood on the alter
of everything we say
in order not to see

tra-la-la-la
tra-la-la-la

lips wasted telling all those lies
are best for kissing
are best for kissing

shhh
shhh

come closer please closer still
so close there will be no need for words
breathing you breathing me