Sunday, February 24, 2013

fist (under the rug)

fist (under the rug)

poured into a frosted pint glass from the freezer
the beer ribbons amber-brown billowing a head
caramel-colored like a Dr. Pepper ice-cream float

sometimes my childhood rises before me in a glass

everyone is home and i drink alone as usual
waking to a fog-wrapped morning replacing
the sudden blanket of snow from a week before

i have lived my life
like a fist raised in protest
denying my palms and fingertips
the world they desire to hold and touch

my arm numb because
once a secret you cherished
i am now dirt swept under the rug
as you have begun putting your house in order

sunshine rises like a gentle hand
to wipe away morning's fog-mask

and the day warms like the promise
of spring waving just past winter

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

crinoline (&)

crinoline (&)

“As if that was the only thing you could do with quilts.”
“Everyday Use,” Alice Walker

“Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.”
“Lady Lazarus,” Sylvia Plath

i collect the tattered remains
of shirts & pants worn with you

now threadbare & out-of-date

fashion passes like stones in a well
woven fabric will fail under weight

i too soon wore out my welcome

still i gather needle & thread in hand
to piece together cherished remnants

quilting is recollection crafted into use

blanketing the ticking decay of living
under a menagerie of resurrecting you

no longer jumping through crinoline hoops

Monday, February 11, 2013

tarantulas sharks black mambas zombies & witches

tarantulas sharks black mambas zombies & witches

i am afraid of flying
but that isn’t quite an accurate confession

i fear the idea of flying
the raw physics of engines acceleration & lift

we manufacture fears
tarantulas sharks black mambas zombies & witches

things unlikely to happen
things that exist only in our fabricated other worlds

while quietly & doggedly
the heart spreads its vines searching for another

fearless against the brick wall
surrounding each of us alone at the bottom of the well

Sunday, February 10, 2013

scales (homophones)

scales (homophones)

he was forced finally
to wade into the question
heavier than anything
he had ever weighed

if you are unable to show in action
the substance of your heart
is it truly the substance of your heart?

scales could never measure
the weight of the answer
he couldn’t wait to hear
pressing on his chest and mind

in the end he would not weigh
the options of heart and actions
or the way her words couldn’t
walk across the room to him again

Friday, February 8, 2013

bruises, horns, flakes of dried blood, & new books

bruises, horns, flakes of dried blood, & new books

you always bruised easily
would tell me about each new one
how you had no idea when it happened
or the moment you knew you’d caused another

bruises blossom through a rainbow of colors
black purple green yellow
expand before blinking like a lake
freezing in winter & thawing each spring

if i could write you a song
it would have a horn section

the music would rise electric
like a morning sky somewhere

among pink & orange & red
reminding you of the word joyous

the morning shave left nicks across my face
flakes of dried blood dotting my skin

i never noticed & no one said a word all day
until i saw you & of course your hand rose

to my cheek to wipe away brown flakes
as if that was the most important thing ever

i open the cardboard package of books
a bouquet of Murakami bundled

into a neat brick of new worlds
that i cannot share with you

i hold each one briefly rubbing the cover
regretting one corner is bent from shipping

Thursday, February 7, 2013

wake (i will try)

wake (i will try)

“But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck…”
“The Cave,” Mumford & Sons

i lie in the wake of ships that have sailed
a creature of water and a being who failed

when called to walk on water
i cannot

though as a young man and life guard
teaching children to swim in a pool
i had to admit i cannot even float
water accepts me and pulls me down

what a silly thing to be called Aquarius
as if aligning stars reach out to mortals
dialing up our lives like winding a watch
or rowing a boat across a freckled universe

rain like falling stars teases earth-bound souls
floods remind humans sculpted from dirt
that everything can be washed away by gods
baptisms imposed by cloudless celestial storms

i lie in the wake of ships that have sailed
a creature of water and a being who failed

planets turn on their axes as their orbits erode
elliptical spinning determination to hold course
water birthed me and is my living grave you see
swimming and drowning are my perpetual wake

an axe cannot split water and dust rises under footfall
while through dreams each morning i return to day
star light star bright may be a planet long since gone
like listening to the orchestra’s music close-eyed

i believe in starlight and the sound of the ceaseless tide
filled with the fear of never walking this beach again
tasting salt water filling my lungs against this peace
of stars moons planets rivers lakes oceans and sky

when called to rise from this drowning
i will try

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

in the absence of you (men are crude)

in the absence of you (men are crude)

men are crude

prone as we are to objectifying anything
even the things we genuinely love & admire

prone as we are to being violent & callous
especially toward the meek & vulnerable

i as one of them
i as a becoming man
often find the mirror
a mural of disappointment

while i cannot deny
i ache for your smell
the touch of only your skin
what others would call base longing

i will not deny
i am a lonely man
desirous of you & no one else
hoping that somehow this can matter

above everything else
this is eternal & true

in the absence of you
there is nothing more precious
than the presence of you


there is much to talk about

Monday, February 4, 2013

sadness (dark chocolate)

sadness (dark chocolate)

"Then I hugged her one more time, to etch her warmth indelibly into my brain."

sadness has a special sweetness
not in its occurrence
but as a state of being

i do not feel sad
nothing makes me sad
i am sad therefore i am

but inside that sadness
sits like a yolk in a shell
this moment of happiness

that otherwise would have been lost
inconsequential as rain or snow
and just as ephemeral

the last time i was happy
occurred nearly two years ago
but i know the moment

i know where i was sitting
i know what you asked of me
i know the week that followed

and all of it remains like you
dark chocolate on the tongue
of my memory and imagination

i whisper to myself alone
prayers and pleas and longings
for you my sadness and happiness