Monday, December 31, 2012

Tarame never had a daughter (Anomaly)

Tarame never had a daughter (Anomaly)

Tarame never had a daughter
who loved him
with understanding.

But he could sit on the beach
watching the ocean
and imagine her:

She was named Anomaly
and she was unlike anybody
like him unlike anybody.

There in common
their uncommon
they recognized.

Tarame never had a daughter
who loved him
with understanding.

But he could sit on the beach
watching the ocean
and imagine her understanding.

intimacy (men&women)

intimacy (men&women)

the things that matter most
fall through the gaps between
the universes of men&women



i am walking across this planet
concentrating on not floating away

to keep my feet touching earth
i imagine this plea from me to you

you lie on the couch and read a book
a book i have read and given you a copy

you rest your feet in my lap while you read
and i hold them bare in my hands eyes closed

and ride that moment on the couch with you
somewhere between dream and imagination

we each in our own separate worlds together
travelling through that book’s world together


for all the words i should have said and didn’t
for all the words i said and shouldn’t have
for all the things i should have done and didn’t
for all the things i did and shouldn’t have

in this corporeal existence in the time of not us

when i have no idea what to do or say ad infinitum

i buy you every book i read
building a library to you and for you

i read 1Q84 in hardback
yours is a collection of paperbacks
three in a box and still wrapped in plastic


i imagine a future
with your feet in my hands

you are reading 1Q84 book 2
we are silent on the couch

i am listening for everything
i failed to hear before and now

Sunday, December 30, 2012

to lie in bed (appeasement)

to lie in bed (appeasement)

“Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves.
So anyone who’s in love gets sad when they think of their lover.”
OshimaKafka at the ShoreHaruki Murakami

maybe these were all acts of appeasement
gentleness sculpted from arcs of imbalance

we found moments to share our other worlds
despite the gravity of our efforts against orbits

there was a time like many many other times
i visited your apartment and spent the night

you insisted i share your bed in a platonic truce
so we arrived between sheets anxious travellers

to lie in bed side by side you doing crosswords
i imagine my face between bare shoulder blades

you have the room cold because you know me
and then you drape your left leg over my right

you are smiling and concentrating on the puzzle
and we both remain silent in the chilled bedroom

we found ourselves there in layers to lie in bed
to lie to those who did not know we were together

to lie to each other as we ignored shared longing
to lie to ourselves about the world we had missed

to lie in bed was precious like a translucent marble
treasured by a child in wonderment for a cat’s eye

that night and other times when i pressed my foot
against the sole of yours they fit perfectly perfectly

Sunday, December 23, 2012

cautious (resignation)

cautious (resignation)

we were cautious you & i
calculating & careful
about the possible us
about the brief us
about the forever us

instead we should have plunged in heart-first
made a mess no one could have ever erased
left a mark bold & deep & permanent

resignation to caution is the feast of the living dead

i am reading my third Haruki Murakami novel
when the word resignation begins to haunt me

and then there it is several pages after i recognize
i am thinking incessantly about my fear of resignation

the narrator mentions Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony”
so i re-read that story finding again the word resignation

is the tragedy of being human our resignation to resignation?

that night
my dream is a dream
of resignation to sleep

i am driving and it is night
my car doesn’t run as it should
i feel myself drifting to sleep
embracing sleep while driving

i struggle awake or in and out
of that precious sleeping to coax
my car to work to propel me forward
as it will not in this heaviness dreaming

i do not struggle once awake resigned as i am to caution

he found himself awake
standing at the back door
staring at broken gnomes
figurines blown off the railing

he stood there quite awhile
the thought of how to anchor
the collection against the gusts
held him still as the car in his dream

Friday, December 21, 2012

calculating (the erased)

calculating (the erased)

someone always runs the numbers
simple addition can confirm a massacre

but for each person and in each home
loss is a tale of subtraction without zero

we calculate risk and how the body count
came to this blood-stained thing before us

we fret over whether our days are numbered
like tiny children gone saved only in memories

and in the end it becomes what we can count on
what human costs we will endure when multiplied

these are the products of our formulas fabricating
a world where the erased never leave our ledger

Thursday, December 20, 2012

filled (a second heart)

filled (a second heart)

it took him a very long time
and even when he found
a heart surgeon who’d listen
his story sounded fantastic:

“Hold on a minute,” the first surgeon said,
holding up a finger before leaving the room.

He returned with a colleague, another surgeon.
“I want you to listen to this with me, please.”

“Let me get this straight,” the first surgeon said.
“You don’t need or want a heart transplant?”

The two surgeons faced him leaning forward.
“Right. My heart is fine. It’s just filled. With her.”

“You don’t care about anything else, right?”
The first surgeon asked, turning to the second.

“I can’t care about anything else. No room, none.”
So the three sat there for several minutes pondering.

“You need a second heart,” the first surgeon said.
He nodded with his hand over his heart, sincere.

With time and several tests, in the end, they proved
his heart in fact was filled with her, entirely filled.

what’s a person to do so filled with love
to care about anything else was theater
pretense and only gestures and fanfare
as if anything else at all could matter

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

layers (stranger in my own dreams)

layers (stranger in my own dreams)

"Can you say that for sure? Without a doubt?" she asked, pressing me for confirmation.
"Yes, I can say it for sure. I'm going to take you home."
The Wind-Up Bird ChronicleHaruki Murakami

i found you in a bar

a bar where i was lost in a strange city
a strange city buried in a long dream
a long dream like a gift of your blond hair

in the real world or what we call the real world
the real world is closing in on the Winter Solstice
the Winter Solstice prepares us for the coming Spring
the coming Spring is dream is memory is warm hope

i am filled with the eternal emptiness of having lost
having lost now defines me by the thing i am not
i am not sure i can step beyond the shortest daylight
the shortest daylight pushes me against walls closing in

we speak of the heart as if this part of us is a separate thing
a separate thing that makes more sense shaped by metaphor
shaped by metaphor the heart breaks longs turns to stone
turns to stone in a desperate attempt to survive long nights

in a dream in a strange city at the bar i turn to see you
to see you and your blond hair and know i don’t belong
i don’t belong in these dreams or in your waking days
your waking days break my heart longing turned to stone

i am a stranger in my own dream and i know i am lost
i am lost in this city but i recognize i exist at the edge
i exist at the edge of everything that warms my chest
my chest is a hollow cage with no bird and no song

we used to talk you and i because we knew we knew
we knew some things fit together without any effort
without any effort this world tied us in a forever bow
a forever bow around a forever box wrapped forever

Thursday, December 13, 2012

half-life (weightier than plutonium)

half-life (weightier than plutonium)

even radioactivity decays
a permanent state of half-life
dissipating always toward zero

like a stagnant puddle of water
silently, diligently evaporating
back to dry dirt and exposed hole

they inspected these bodies for decades
the scientists themselves grew old and died
replaced by new ones always in protective gear

ninety-four bodies eradicated by the nuclear end
everyone had feared and predicted and caused
forcing humanity to study radiation’s plight

the race between radioactivity and fleshbloodbone
wound down to the end just as the math predicted
“Looks like we don’t need the suits anymore”

the first one holding the data said to the second one
but the second one reached out stopping the first one
beginning to disengage and remove the precious helmet

“Look at this” the second one said nodding his head
toward one of the piles of bones and pointing back
at the chart of numbers he tapped with a shaking hand

“He’s been dead since, well, you know, the end”
the first one said scanning the charts to look himself
“But we don’t know anything about this sort of thing”

“I suspect” said the second one “we’d better keep
the suits on for quite some time around this one”
and that was where science wasn’t sure what to do

etched in the bones beyond decay
flesh stripped by atomic blasts
and beneath all their calculations

radiating from him eternally
was something immeasurable
and weightier than plutonium:

his life without her had been his half-life
but he still loved her with all his heart
and what on earth could they do with that?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

time travel (in this time after the End)

time travel (in this time after the End)

It would liberate me forever from this hopeless prison, this pain of being me.”
Letter from Lieutenant MamiyaThe Wind-Up Bird ChronicleHaruki Murakami

it is 2010 i fall back to
tumble fully and deeply
unlike any SF film or book

i am sitting at a bar
in Savannah, Georgia
it is loud and i am tired

i am with cycling friends
but alone on a single stool
at the corner of the bar

exhaustion and beer cloud
my mind steeled by noise
until one song opens it

i shout to a friend beside me
who sings this song?”
he answers wrong but close

my search for “Frances”
finds Florence + the Machine
to lie buried almost two years

that was before the fall
but very close to the End
i did not and could not see

when i listen to that music now
i trip and slip back two years
and look at my empty hands

Florence + the Machine pulses
into my chest a soundtrack
for all my time indistinguishable

my past my present and my future
have blurred like a Tralfamadorian
nightmare—“this pain of being me

in this time after the End
no different really than
before or during or after

i am reading my second
Murakami novel all alone
sitting at the bottom of a well

i wake each morning now
to negotiate with frailty
insolence and calcification

i depend on strangers’ words
sung and written and spun
keeping a dead heart beating

and i am a time traveller true
fixed at no point in time because
there is no point to time alone

i touch the cover of the novel
and test its weight in my hand
before beginning to read again

i plug the iPod into my car stereo
and choose Florence + the Machine
to wrap myself for returning to you

Thursday, November 22, 2012

thank you (& tales of a nude man)

thank you (& tales of a nude man)

we part at the coffee shop
diverging again into our separate lives

turning i say "i love you"
later you send a message:

"thank you for saying 'i love you'"

many months pass
even years
november to november to november

i slip off my clothes
sit there


and no one comes

no one

& like the present

i am not in it
i have the mirror to prove it

my reptilian brain (beware the buffalo): anniversary of my sorrow

my reptilian brain (beware the buffalo): anniversary of my sorrow

I know you think that I shouldn't still love you,
Or tell you that.
But if I didn't say it, well, I'd still have felt it.
Where's the sense in that?

your presence sates my reptilian brain

your absence tramples my soul
like a heard of stampeding buffalo

like the last day itself
the anniversary of my sorrow
passed before i realized

but realization is a luxury
lying in a warm bath relaxing
not scrubbing away the grime

the reptilian brain lies beneath
layers of other ways of knowing
blanketed by limbic and neocortex

and yes i smile and even laugh
but memories buried are not faded
these masks evolutionary camouflage

a sorrow seeded by circles of secrecy
a sorrow like a Sisyphean boomerang
a sorrow born and one year gone

and now my ritual of being is me
i am my rite of sorrow and recollection
at least that is what i think deep down

hoof-battered and caked with dust
sand in my mouth and across my lips
the desert floor has made up my mind

the bones of birds and dinosaurs pressed
so deeply into stone that we have forgotten
how to love the imprint of life in fossils

your presence sates my reptilian brain

your absence tramples my soul
like a heard of stampeding buffalo

i am a flying dragon
i am a flightless rhea
my sole performance
pretending to be human

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

dragons (R.I.P.)

dragons (R.I.P.)

There's a ghost in my lungs
And it sighs in my sleep,
Wraps itself around my tongue,
As it softly speaks…
“I’m Not Calling You a Liar,” Florence + the Machine

i am in no hurry to slay the dragon
these beasts lurking in my mind
occasionally stalking a dream
but mostly my ever-present demons

i am in no hurry to slay the dragon
these beasts lurking in my mind
whether with somnolent pills
or perpetual sessions on the couch

i am in no hurry to slay the dragon
these beasts lurking in my mind
because on that other side of slayed
the only thing i’ll be is rest in peace

living you see for me is this waking fantasy
a quilt a collage a paper mache a cacophony

without the dragon and beasts i might forget
and walk into this room or that as if i belong

novocaines of sweet therapy and tranquil pills
remove the ache yes but erase my longing too

i am a bachelor committed to boulder and hill
always wed completely monogamous to you

who became only the memory of you and us
lurking in my heart you fire-breathing dragon

furnace of my alienation my desert dwelling
cavernous are these depths echoing you you

i find a slip of paper and a pen
and i write frantically
something i long to share
with you only only you
rendered gray and hollow
and solitary as a dragon
there like shattered glass

i force myself to sign this note
like all the others

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

the lesser of two evils (2102)

the lesser of two evils (2102)

Post-apocalyptic ignorance hid their civilized past,
but there remained a trace of this thing called Democracy:

They all had two days—
one day to hunt and protect,
and another free to choose.

After these sacred days
their new King would be chosen
and a certain peace declared.

The choice was in fact simple
because the numbers were clear
for White53 and his family.

The GreatD promised to eat equally
black, brown, and white babies;
this was his pledge to the land.

The Great R promised to eat only
black and brown babies, the custom,
for he believed in the White traditions.

Deities, I suppose, or historians and archeologists
far, far in the future may wonder about slumbering babies…

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

choice (Vote!)

choice (Vote!)

Circus was a festive land, especially at Festival.
Every citizen was proud to be part of the 3Rings.

This day the Tent was snaked with lines to vote,
and he had learned the slogans by heart as a child:

“Your Ring, Your Clown, Your Choice” and
“A Choice Is a Terrible Thing to Waste.”

So he waited his turn to choose between two cards—
Ring 1: Barnum Party Blue, Ring 2: Bailey Party Red.

Either choice he already knew, but dared not utter:
When he chose his card and returned to the elephants,

he remained forever Carny1691 with a shovel because
nothing was ever different behind the paint of a Clown.