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

Sunday, March 16, 2014

i still lie (he thought)

i still lie (he thought)

And in my hotel room, I'm wondering
If you read that story too?
And if we both might
Be having the same imaginary conversation
“Cologne,” Ben Folds


i still lie imagining

he thought when he woke
on a tuesday morning

unable to recall the difference between apparently and clementine
although he felt certain they were entirely separate things

and where ever words no longer connected with meanings
he could see and even feel as if recollections were experiences

his thumb sliding and pressing
into the curve of her palm
and then with his finger squeezing
the soft pad below her thumb

these conversations wordless as a man trapped in forgetting
that echo like memories projected into an endless cavern


how could a jet plane that large disappear?

[like the meanings of words]

he wanted to ask her
as they held hands quietly

but when he turned her way
she was already gone

and that meaning he knew
with the solidness of bone


it was golden and too thick to be water
but he thought he heard her whisper honey

in that wordless othersphere of memory
where meaningless meant meaningful

apparently and just ever so briefly
he was happy as a clementine

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

something i learned watching a young 20s couple at barnes and noble

something i learned watching a young 20s couple at barnes and noble


i am sitting at barnes and noble feeding off internet access and working. welli am writing, or more accurately editing, and i am sure not many would call that working.

a young 20s couple sits close by, and i watch over the top of my computer screen as i write. she is nearly crawling on him drawn physically, and he seems almost oblivious leaning slightly away.

it is then i realize something i could not admit before: i have been this woman in every lover relationship i’ve had.

one was a perpetual begging for her to long for me; the other, i sent running anywhere except with me.

and what was my daughter to do with this woman for a father as she stumbled and flailed toward her own womanhood?

damn i think well damn as i continue to write resisting the urge to tell the young man won’t you please notice her, knowing as i do that if i did and if he did, the spell would snap, and freed she would leave him there, her seeking another aloof for her ache to be drawn physically once again.

[NOTE: Thanks to Peter Kay, for "this."]

Friday, February 28, 2014

shaving over scars (the art of not falling backward)

shaving over scars (the art of not falling backward)

I'm tired of fighting
I'm tired of fighting
Fighting for a lost cause

the fingers of my left hand
trace the Braille of scars
across the back of my head

etched by all the times i have fallen
inspecting the hairless landscape
left from my shaving over scars

an act done blind in the shower
my head bowed slightly as if praying
and my eyes closed in concentration

i have committed more than most men
shaving my head and part of my face
(leaving a Van Dyke as decoration)

like a woman caving to convention
conforming to properly shorn peers
i shave my legs as well for cycling


who am i sculpting
who am i looking for

not me not me not me


there is always blood from these rituals
usually felt and then revealed on my finger

scarring the scars that tell the silent story
of a man shaving away himself searching

for someone else looking back at him in the mirror
who has perfected the art of not falling backward

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

glimpse you

glimpse you

High as the light of day
You're falling down across your lost highway…
Your eyes get stung by the rays of the sinking sun
“Heart Is a Drum,” Beck


the South will glimpse you spring
even summer

in the unfolding aperture of winter
promising warmer days

i pause walking across campus
turning my face to the sun

the warming rays denying the cool air
of midday in February


you are hundreds of miles away
i am no longer in your thoughts or heart

standing in the bright promise of longer daylight
i feel your hand slip into mine

these seasons of us shuttering my longings
like a dream or a photograph

the World will always glimpse me only you
winter spring summer fall

Thursday, February 20, 2014

misfire (trigger warning)

misfire (trigger warning)


Michael Dunn pulled the trigger

Jordan Davis just one in a car of four
playing music loud and black died

justified? we cried

the verdict lied! we cried


in a black and white video from 1963

Baldwin speaks with his hands and determination
a white wisp of cigarette smoke crossing his black face

"Well, I know this,
and anyone who has ever tried to live knows this:
what you say about somebody else,
anybody else,
reveals you." …

“We have invented the nigger.
I didn’t invent it.
White people invented it.” …

“But if I am not the nigger,
and if it’s true that your invention you drew,
then who is a nigger?
I am not the victim here.” …

“And I give you your problem back.
You’re the nigger baby.
It isn’t me.”


Dunn’s hand held a gun
aimed at a thug he invented

three fingers pointing back
a trigger warning
a misfire

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

criminal acts (black&white)

criminal acts (black&white)

for Jordan Davis, February 19, 2014

in a white rage & armed
he felt his life threatened

by their criminal acts
of simply being blacks

he shot into their fleeing car
to stop them in their tracks

later much later he wrote a letter
in black&white to tell the facts

what had he done within his rights
wielding a gun as a criminal axe?

was it a mistrial or miscarriage of justice
standing his ground between whites&blacks?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

you have asked me why i walk so fast

you have asked me why i walk so fast


You better save yourself
From something you can't see
Follow it where it goes
Follow it back to me
“Don’t Let It Go,” Beck, Morning Phase


you have asked me why i walk so fast


this is the story of the real me chasing always
the me i want to be for you

i know the real me there only a step or two behind
a shadow darker than a black hole

the real me cannot enjoy even a single moment
and has never known peace or quiet

but he believes those possibilities exist somewhere
so he too is relentless anxious and swift

you have known us both of course

the real me incessantly in manic pursuit
the frantic me trying to put on a happy face

in the end
however
you were better

than us both

cut to the quick
fleeing
able to save yourself

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

do you

do you

And you will learn to survive me.
“Learning,” Perfume Genius


i am doing sixteen things
at once
as usual

most people would try
only three
but not me

but that’s not the problem

i cannot find the number
to help me forget
this one true

the only thing i ever want
to do
is you

Sunday, January 26, 2014

a bad day (not the worse part)

a bad day (not the worse part)


most days anxiety and OCD
surround me nibbling at the edges
like pilot fish

but there are days
when they are an anvil
anchoring to paralysis

i had a bad day last week
driving to work before it hit
fear that i had left the stove on

i had spent the morning
doing six things at once as usual
including heating a pan of water

unsure and almost the entire way to work
a drive almost an hour long one way
i turned around to drive back home

the stove was off of course
and that morning trip became
almost three hours driving

but that was not the worse part

i had no one to tell this story
to confess how embarrassing and silly
i felt a prisoner of these compulsions

although that isn’t entirely true
i could not tell you
and that was the worse part

i imagine telling you
and knowing that you know
and maybe you take my hand in yours

you would still see the me you care for
i could say i was embarrassed
and in the end hand in hand remains

i am alone however and i sigh

most days anxiety and OCD
surround me nibbling at the edges
like pilot fish

but there are days
when they are an anvil
anchoring to paralysis

Friday, January 17, 2014

small sad songs playing in my mind

small sad songs playing in my mind


(1) prone (magnetic north you)

i am not the person
you think i am
i cannot be who you
want me to be

i long to be the person
you return to
every time we part

i look in the mirror and see
a hollow man
no longer filled with you

when you return
you will recognize this shell

a man prone to lying
in the sunshine coming through
the front window
on cold winter days

he is drawn to you
his magnetic north

(2) blue moon (filled with you)

is he good to you
is he true
does he still leave you blue

i am too
i am too

without you
without you