For you, the Unnecessary Dead of the American Dream

You were unburied

10 years before I was born,

pulled from the Arie riverbed

the day Nagasaki burned.

You died like a samurai

in your daughter’s arms,

bowels flowing,

head severed cleanly,

falling to the water

amidst the silence

of dead human trees

with their bark skin turned inside out,

among the screams of the living

realizing that not even water

can stop their burning away.

 

You were unburied

65 years before I was born,

killed by the big guns

with Conestoga wheels in the

ravine near Wounded Knee Creek.

You died running with your nursing infant in your arms trying to touch the flag of truce,

your child still suckling long after

the Great Spirits call—  still suckling

as you were piled in the mounds

of mothers with no ghost shirts.

Others children’s children still

Ghost Dance and tell your lore.

 

You were buried

32 years before I was born,

shot in the back after

you had dug your own grave.

Shot in the back after

you had watched your house

burn in a kerosene blaze.

Shot in the back after

you knew the children

were safe in the swamp.

Shot in the back after

all of Rosewood burned

from the fury of white rage.

Shot in the back

until you were erased

from existence

except in the memory of tears.

 

What am I meant to do?

It’s summer and the

magnolias are blooming,

the cherry blossoms are ripe,

the black hills spruce

admits its forever mildew stink,

reminding harvesters not to

ever make it a Christmas tree.

 

I call out not knowing your names,

giving you invisible ones

that will reflect your death and life.

 

What am I meant to do?

Your unburied ash, spirit,

your buried charred bones

exists in wretched longing,

your names bleed into

the riverbed, the ravine, the clay.

I mourn as I freely travel the spaces

that others had trampled over you.

 

What am I meant to do?

Everything

Everything’s broken, diseased, sold and resold.

The pandemic’s breath blows on us.

Everything’s is devoured in a hunger never filled.

So why do I see a glistening in the distance?

 

In the day dream, a forest appears on the border.

The scent of lavender and lilies exhales out.

In the nightmare,  the zodiac is sucked into

the black hole of a distant dissolving galaxy.

 

You wonder the miracle, if it comes,

will arise from darkness or dawn.

Will it arise from the first

natal nightmare or dream?

Seeing Jaws Again (A Movie Poem)

Her name you may

or may not recall.

It was Chrissie,

the body in the sand dune.

 

You do remember the shark,

the blood on the water,

death spreading like

a virus in the town of Amity.

 

You do remember that

the beaches should have been closed

but Amity was a summer town

that lived on summer dollars.

 

You do remember the shark

doing what it was built to do—

killing Mrs. Kintner’s little boy

on that beautiful July 4th day.

 

You do remember Mrs. Kintner’s

cold blooded slap

on police chief’s Body

warm blooded face.

 

“You knew there was a shark out there.

You knew it was dangerous

but you let people go swimming anyway.

You knew all those things

 

-BUT STILL MY BOY IS DEAD NOW!”

 

“She’s wrong,”

the mayor says.

“No, she’s not,”

Chief Brody acknowledges.

 

Suddenly you remember

reading a news piece

that Mrs. Kintner (Lee Fiero)

was a victim of the pandemic.

 

You realize there is no

police chief, scientist, grizzled old salt

banding together to do the right thing,

uniting to triumph over disease, death,

 

Only the orange hair President

standing deep in the drowning tide

smiling and waving and

telling everyone the water is fine.

 

“We are all Mrs. Kintner  now.”

 

 

Note:

 

The final line is a quote by Mary McNamara,

the obituary writer for the Los Angeles Times.

Prayer on Walking a Small Part of the Trail of Tears

What is the land

but dust

but mountains

but forrest

but mud

but lost sorrow

 

What is sorrow

but torn soul

but wounded skin

but a trail of tears.

 

This day

the Chickasaw

Choctaw

Creek

Seminole

Cherokee

 

wipe the

white mans dirt

off their right foot

with their left foot

 

wipe the buffalo’s blood

off their right hand

with their left hand

 

walk bloody

bare right foot

to wounded left foot

on the dust

of their ancestors

their sacred hills

 

walk away from

The Great Spirit

to the not greater

white man’s God

slow sad right foot

to slower left foot.

 

Walk dragging their

dead still right foot

to still left foot

far away from the sun

of their monumental land

 

to this country

of bullets and blood

marching, running

blue right foot

towards gray left foot

in a frenzy to erect

bronze monuments

to all their dead

 

And when they cry it’s

the prayer of the white man

buried in Indian pain

 

May the wind

that is blowing

now and always

the dust of our memory

blow beyond your

fear of us

and all different

colored spirits

 

May the wind

turn from you

and only return

until you love not

the scars you

put on our backs

 

May you open your

eyes to unbuilt land

and see finally

The Great Spirit

calling every one

to share the

sacred hills

even the dust

with all that

have always walked

right foot to left foot

 

Cancer

It’s a fizgig, a gadding

of damp powder

hinting to explode,

assuming your surname

without any legal ceremony.

 

It flip flops you with trust

burrowing into the one

perfect position,

sleeping ahead of you,

waking you when you fall behind.

 

Not at all heavy, yet the

heaviest thing you’ll ever have.

Every breath heavy with airy death

that stunts your budding

wings from taking flight.

 

You measure the weight of

every thought until it always

pulls you down and your soul

takes flight jut to live…

 

…and you don’t t bother to chase it.

 

Notes:

a fizgig is both a flirting woman and a

firework of damp powder that fizzes or hisses when it explodes.

 

gadding is to go around from one place to another, in the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment.

The Logic of Up, Down, Hell and Death

Up

 

A seed is a forest-to be.

A rock is a mountain-to-be.

A drop is a river-to-be.

A river is an ocean-to-be.

A cloud is a sky-to-be.

Clouds are an aspiring heaven.

 

 

An apple is a pie-to-be.

A brick is a house-to-be

A house is a city-to-be.

A city is a state-to-be.

A state is a country-to-be.

 

Down

 

A country is a war-to-be.

War is a bullet-to-be.

A bullet is a death-to-be.

Deaths are a city destroyed.

Death is a house fallen.

A house fallen is just bricks,

apples not grown, pies never eaten.

 

Death

 

Death is

the hell of  war,

the hell of the bullet,

Death is

a city, country fallen to hell,

hell is the fallen house,

bricks tumbled to dust,

rotten apples,

poison pies.

 

Death is the hell

of a heaven never found,

clouds never made,

rain never falling,

oceans never formed,

rivers never to be,

rivers dry from a dam of bricks,

forests never grown,

seeds never planted.

Defining Moon Glow

The moon was neither

voiced into creation

nor was it defined.

 

It was just parted

from the dark ink

of God’s voice.

 

Alphabets don’t

exist on dark vellum

just illuminated papyrus.

 

God doesn’t have the power

to banish those things

that have always existed.

 

He can’t create the perfect night

just pull crows out of it,

really, the simplest of magic tricks.

 

The small orifice below the cheekbones

exists to project the whiteboard

scribblings of the human mind.

 

Man is sad because he knows

that his words and thoughts

fall short of God’s magnificent language.

 

The moon witnesses what

is below and above its light

and keeps both their secrets.

Messing With the Sky

The light was so bad I made some clouds—

little cotton balls taped to helium balloons

drifting up to the heavens.

 

The first were the standard balloon animals:

dogs, sheep, horses, giraffes, lions.

 

They folded conventionally but

became much more creative creatures

with more cotton piled on.

The orange poodle became a bison,

the sheep a yak, the horse a hippopotamus,

giraffes just puffier and more absurd giraffes,

the lions awesome saber tooth tigers.

 

I added man, men, woeful enough that they needed a woman to tell them what to do.

Later I made the men sheep and the women lions.

I gave the dogs rabbit ears.

The sheep were now wolves.

 

I made the sky ark a canopy

to cover it from the dissolving sun,

a fluffy river to slack its thirst,

filled it with cotton candy gold fish

glittering bottle nose dolphins and sperm whales

echo locating each other’s existence,

populated its banks with palm trees and oaks

to shade all the other animals airy heads.

 

I created and created until the

creation created itself.

Lions became oaks,

sheep became mountains,

dogs became gods

wanting only attention

and belly rubs,

demanding all cloud creatures

know themselves only through

the smelling of each other’s asses.

 

It rained the last of the rain,

the last bit of piss left in their bowels,

rained until they could only poop.

 

I was irritated by the smell.

I was irritated by the noise.

I was irritated by how

they didn’t let me play my piano,

or continue creating my house

or not let me go to bed.

 

I was locked in place

and couldn’t look back.

 

I wanted to cover my ears

but my hands were gone.

I wanted to cover my nose

but it had broken, fallen off

into a pillar of salt.

 

I shouted until someone

or something heard me

and covered my mouth

with a primate hand,

stopped my ears

with a canine paw.

 

Creation

had stopped my creation

knowing that I hadn’t been satisfied

with what I had done

that very first day

and needed a reset.

The Poet’s Gun is a Rose

The poet makes his gun out of any old thing:

sticks of words,  bird song, the swish of trees,

the pitter patter of the growing city around him,

 

The poet’s gun is never just a gun.

His poems are never just words.

 

Today, the poet’s gun is a rose—

thorns of wounding,

warnings to admire its scent and beauty

from a respectful distance.

 

He fired it in the air knowing

that a gun that is a gun

is a little brook of death,

but since his gun was a rose,

it was dangerous and beautiful.

 

His verse exploded

blooming petals

shedding its crimson

like dew on the water.

 

It felt like rain.

It felt like pulsing veins.

It felt like life being knocked over.

It felt like love bursting through.

 

The gun was a rose

and the gun was not death.

Out of anything he made it.

Tomorrow, it would be water.

Soul Cleansing

The soul is not a drip-dry thing.

It’s needs constant washing and wringing

to function cleanly.

It needs to tumble on high heat

to wear just right.

Hand wash it and it will shrink in protest.

Line dry it and you might think

it will smell of heaven but

it is the rancid smell of tussle and

toil that will stink the neighborhood.

And, oh, by the way you should never

bleach a thing that is already bleached.

Don’t use stain remover for that’s its job.

No starch, please.  Stiffness is not needed.

The same goes for heavy or light ironing.

Follow these directions and

the soul will last your lifetime.

It will protect you from

all the stains of the world.

My Voice Should Die on Land

I am not a sailor.

I am meant to die on land,

ashes spread above sea level,

or in a coddled urn above the hearth.

My voice is paper and

where I choose to exist,

a white world that is not sky—

this voice of mine.

I have no ensign.

My heart beats soft, beautiful words,

a language of stars,

that knows that the twinkle

was once magnificent suns.

Still Lfe

It’s in the shading.

It’s the way the light is written.

It’s the way the observer takes it all in.

It’s the way it convinces one that the world will last.

It’s the way it plants a seed in the mind,

the way it touches one inside, lives inside

the streets of memory, inhabits one’s emotional house,

sunsets, harbors, all the great perfect things

that exists in the brief eternity that loop eternally,

that convinces one that the extraordinary

is the purpose of existing in ordinary time,

that every moment lives for the perfect still life.

The Killer Poem

Poetry can kill you

when you shut

yourself inside of it.

 

It doesn’t want you

looking for better words

in other poems.

 

It wants to cage you

to the corners

of a sheet of paper.

 

It doesn’t want you

to breathe the thing

it won’t allow.

 

It wants you to use

just enough imagination

to finish it and

throw the overflow away.

 

For the time you write it

it has its own imagination

that refuses to acknowledge

that yours exists.

 

Until it’s done

you are it’s prisoner.

 

Only then will it open up

and let you breathe,

let itself breathe.

A Helping Hand

The seed planted with our small help

becomes a crop.

The flame carefully kindled by us

ignites  civilization.

Now we must

weed our blighted hearts

to feed the moral fire

of our hungry minds.

 

 

Wings

Man has

a map of the galaxy

for his body,

a map of his genes

that are his universe.

He has

a defense or attack

for every chess move

housed in Watson’s memory.

But precious of all,

he has

the ability to

grow crops,

to put water in the

hands of the thirsty,

to make

the right screws

to fit the peace machine

that makes our

better angels fly.

 

The Last Piece of Cake

There once was a race of cake men

equally divided between

birthday and wedding types,

each born into whatever flavor

was selling that day—

usually chocolate or vanilla,

but towards the end Neapolitan-

whose faith was strong.

 

They succumbed to the next door

country of cake eaters,

who reveled in their two week

long cake eating festival.

 

The eaters would line up with

their forks and plates

and slice off a big piece of

cake men as they fled to

the nearby country of pie people

who granted them asylum and citizenship

because their people were

mainly rhubarb and mincemeat

and we’re suffering through fruit blight

that was destroying their fabled variety.

 

Soon the festival yielded

to a full scale invasion.

You see, the cake eaters were

tired of waiting in the sample line.

They ate the cake men to the last crumb.

 

With all the cake gone they ate the pies.

But by then the idea of cake was a lie.

The cakes were now  mostly pies.

 

When the last forkful of pie

was in the cake eaters mouth

it screamed:

 

I will not be eaten by anyone

who can not see my beauty.

 

The eaters never thought that a cake

could be admired and never eaten.

They had no sense of the art and beauty

that was the filling of the cake/pie men’s faith

 

That last bite of pie became poisonous

and from then on the cake eaters

(who were now forced to make their own)

could never fully have their cake and eat it

without throwing up or dying.

They were now forever doomed to eat

their meat and vegetables.

 

 

 

Dead Poem

What will happen

when we

stop writing poems?

 

What will poetry become

when we stop inspiring

and the beauty of words

is silenced or rejected?

 

We will leave the writing table

and descend into the valley

to find new sounds and laughter.

 

We will drink the last water

from thirsty mountains.

 

We will listen

to the resounding

music and laughter

of our own dark forests.

Eating Sky With Henny Penny

When the giant bagel fell from the sky

everyone complained when it blocked the road.

Even when children cut it into pieces

and passed it out, lathered with shmear and lox

the town folks refused to eat the manna.

A host of angels descended to clean up the mess.

The town folks rushed to the angels,

still neglecting the heavenly bread.

When the last crumb had reascended to heaven

and the angels began to flap their wings

and take flight, the town folks begged them to stay,

but they would not. Instead, they left behind

a talking chicken to remind them when the sky fell.

Soul Tailoring

I asked the haberdasher

to make me a new soul.

something inexpensive

and lighter than 21 grams

with a loose fit.

 

He made it,

draped me in it

then disappeared.

 

I went home

and hung it in the closet

.

The next day

I couldn’t figure out

how to put it on.

So, I left it in on its hanger.

 

Overnight it got darker

and had become a shadow.

 

In the light it went white.

I draped it over arm

and went for a stroll.

 

It feel out of my grasp

onto the sidewalk,

picked itself up and

followed perfectly behind me.

 

By twilight it had become invisible

and was complaining loudly

that it wanted to go home.

 

I took it back

to the haberdasher

like it asked of me.

 

The store was closed

and empty of every soul.

His tools had been left out.

Sadly, the master had gone home.

 

 

 

Opening the door

I am scared, mommy

like I was in the summer storm

many months ago.

I tremble in my feet and hands

as I was in the deep puddle,

eyes open, screaming, shaking, mommy,

dark words want to come off my tongue.

Mommy, I am shaking as I come

down the stairs, light as a ghost.

Make me some milk, mommy

milk, if you see me there.

The Minotaur’s Triumph

Gone in the labyrinth

of dense words

is the thin golden clew

that is the salvation out

for the gathering of lost poets.

The thread doesn’t exit

to the center,

to meaning,

just a thick grove of forest

where they meander forever

in the definitions all around them,

each footfall erased in

the revision of those before.

The Deaf Listening to Their Poetry

The poet signs his words to the deaf.

The screen behind exposes his faulty hands.

He is silent.

His hands a fire.

 

He knows there will be unintended words,

new meanings to old and familiar lines.

The muddle is his creation,

their new meaning, new poem,

both treachery and rebirth,

their dawn and twilight, their light and moon,

both hawk and silver fish gliding, swimming

high in the silent moonlight clouds and sky

of the noisy rewrite of their imagination.

 

He reads his words on their shirts.

Cloth sells better, than ten thousand books.

The swift river of lines comes in their colors too!

His restless words settle in for the show.

He feels like a naked stranger in an open door.

 

 

When his hands stop, the applause comes.

The deaf are enthusiastic clappers.

Something about getting off on the vibrations

created by their hands, he figures.

He’s happy when they come up to him,

signing new syllables

to be printed on upside down books.

 

Remembering Prayer

There will be a time when God leaves you.

Maybe summer. Maybe winter.

The last thing he will say:

Keep searching.  Keep finding.

Seek me in the trash, the womb

lungs and heart.

He will leave you agape and stirring,

just a memory prayer

to say as the sun rises

and you wonder whether

winter or summer

has the holiest months.

Dig, Dig, Dig

The long way to heaven is to dig through the earth.

Walk with me.  Fall with me.

Be the helmet light in the tunnel.

Hold my feet less I fall into the abyss.

Shackle your friends to you,

foot to foot, arm to arm.

The long way to heaven is to dig through the earth.

Pull me from hell, while all the others

jerk us to heaven’s salvation.

El Lenguaje de los Fantasmas

Mommy, esta di descubrí el lenguaje de los fantasmas

Ghost talk? What are you talking about, Jonny?

Si mommy.  En serio descubrí.  Escúchame.

Ghost talk? What do they say?

Para saludar dicen: hoo hoo.

Para decir que sí, dicen: Hoo

And how do they say goodbye?

No lo sé.  They haven’t left yet.

Mama, today I discovered the language of ghosts.

Line 3:

Yes, mama. Seriously, I discovered it.  Listen to me.

Line 5:

To say hello they say: Hoo hoo.

Line 6:

To say yes they say: Hoo.

Line 8:

I don’t know.

Earth’s Trick

The world is the ultimate trick

It grants man thunder yet steals his lightning

every time.

It makes him think he has the sweetest smell

of every thing

even that his shit does not stink

that taming fire was his best theft

of all time

that a caged dove heralds peace

in our time

the best of love

that time is a curse and not a gift

that the wolf is the enemy of pigs

that the world spins straight on its own axis

that he has a mind of his own design

that the red rose blooms for him to smell

that cancer is part of its mortal revenge

that nature taught man how to frown

that it would steal his nailed smile, if it could

The world is the ultimate trick

and it poisons him to think she’s his motherland

 

BTW

I gawked at her nine mind years

hooked three heart weeks later btw

f’ed a year before the day btw

three dogs, no kids

but she can really cook

so we lived happy btw

friends, church, family, dogs, house,

night, day, time all slipped away btw

yes, we aged, grew old-er btw

fell into cancer,

bad weather, lost it all, but well insured btw

no perfect couple, marriage but still around btw

until our slow last gasp,

last glance in the sun’s cast btw

on our old back porch with no one

Blindspot

God,

do not send the sunshine

down in thoughtless

torrents.

Please

do not obsess on light

falling on all of your making,

graciously falling

everything on earth.

For  we

are things of the shade,

and the light falls too

hard on eyes

Blind

to all your light.

Bless

Bless the blessings.

Bless the moon

for bestowing dreams

that illuminate the soul.

Bless its beams.

Bless the way it reveals

revelations in the dark,

black letters inked on white vellum

daring to be read

that release the heaviness of the mind

in the lightness of eternity.

Bless the idea

that frees, not oppresses.

Bless words that shed

their flesh for the revolution.

Bless the protest sign

that replaces the trigger.

Bless the chalk mark that teaches

and not outlines a body.

Bless the creative mind

that marches with determined feet.

Bless the gravestones never needed,

those living bodies never

requiring  homicide reports.

Bless all the never used bullets,

the limbs that remain whole.

Bless all those who die

in their right time,

their memories properly recorded.

Bless their smiles.

Bless your laugh.

Bless the eye

that sees, believes,

that still has vision and faith.

Bless all the prophets

who were right.

Bless the heart

filled with good emotions.

Bless the choir of our tongues,

the hymn that uplifts.

Bless all the times

that God has granted us

the chance to do the right thing.

Caught in the Pryer Storm

The hot night rain drenches me in sleep

opening a bow to prayer

amidst the lunatic birds swarming

in the dark heat.

Magnolias are split in dreams

heavy with bolts and tears,

flowing in the cascade

of cracked mirrors.

All is unmoored from my memory,

surviving on communion.

Dear Jesus am I not more profound

than thy mad swirl?

In Praise of Difficult Names

Wise are the parents who give

their children difficult names.

 

Names that are a chant to God,

a sacrament with every utterance.

 

Or names that light a fiery rebellion

in the mulling brain.

 

Names that speak of the glory

that was before the slave ships.

 

Names that display the wonder of sky,

the Eagle, Buffalo, Wolf, Deer.

 

Names that should hurt and choke

when mispronounced.

 

Braves names spoken

by brave and unafraid people.

 

Names shouted loud by those

who fearlessly, openly love.

 

Those who dropped their names

in the easy English soil, reclaim them!

 

Speak it in the accent of the old country,

the tribes of the African plain and rivers,

 

the screech, rumble of the clouds, creatures that gave you your forever sound.

 

Gather your jewels from the ashes.

Mine them until they get their attention.

 

Collect the pieces of your lost continents

from their miscomprehension.

 

Your difficult names predate centuries

of their arrogance, ignorance, prejudice.

 

You are history

not their rewrite.

 

Don’t explain your name’s meaning

to those who have forgotten your story.

 

You are the original and

they are the stereotype.

 

Bend your syllables, vowels

into a new understanding country.

 

Keep your difficult names

proudly unassimilated.

 

Keep it

your home.

Today, I Will Be the Promise

Today I will be

an apple bringer,

a sower of Job’s tears,

a healer of grief.

 

Today I will be

the tarty sweet fruit

passed hand to hand

in the peace caravan.

 

Today I will be

the cooing melody

among a flight of doves.

 

Today I will be

the candle of the night

that shines the best

of my country.

 

Today I will be

the wind that spreads

the camphoric cries

that can not be blown out.

 

Tomorrow the world

will grant justice

for the obstinate tears shed.

 

Tomorrow God will

dance and sit amongst

in the wake of his beautiful moon.

 

Tomorrow the residue of his love

will turn the screams into almonds

that we will eat with him.

 

Tomorrow we will witness

the miracle of all fallen songs

blossoming into tulips.

 

Candy Button Land

I want to go live
in Candy Button Land,
for the news everyday
gets so out of hand!

Chubby bubbles of color,
round like mandalas,
where squeaky clean lanes
lead to five wooing hues.

I’d first go hug peach-
she reminds me of the beach
with umbrellas,
and those doughnuts
that you blow up.

I would rest my head on violet,
add some white, how I’d desire it!
Pastel softer,
like fluffed pillows-
he just mellows.

I’d flip, melt, big dot blue,
then shove off in a barley canoe-
would go wading after paddling,
with my feet a’ splish, a’ splashing,
and throw back into the water
fish who’ve stranded.

Next I’d bask by gladsome yellow,
like a resting, rock-perched turtle,
take in dynamizing rays,
-Vitamin D drops had their day-
recharged chakras, freely flowing,
guide my way.

I’d lay atop of green
search the stars for craft unseen-
this one bubble,
points skyward Hubble,
readied to discover
for crop circle lovers:

who took the trouble?

I want to go live
in Candy Button Land.

                                                                                                                          Writing poems for children is calming for me, as is coloring for adults. I wrote this on 05/27/20, as we near the end of the quarantine in NYC, where I live and work in my community as a clinical social worker in private practice. It was written for 9-14 year-olds, but when I read this to an adult I know, she said “I want to go live in Candy Button Land right now, too!”

 

Facing It

The tears fade in

the screaming inside howling brick.

It is our cancer

swirling around,

stone, flesh and home.

Our history is in its eye,

our profile in this wild night of carnage

slouching towards mornings. We turn

away and the brick frees us.

We turn back and are inside

our granite selves forming in the sculpting wind,

erring in the perfect sad light,

different, broken-whole.

Our names are erased from brick,

letters spreading like smoke

in the all defining wind.

It drops in the field of its birth,

a flash in the silent mud and clay.

It shimmers on my wife’s white blouse,

and when she walks away,

settles in memory.

The wind chisels a robin

falling, dying in my stare.

The cloud of my neighbor

floats towards me, pale eyes

trying to define me

but I am not a window.

Her face is lost in the brick

and the wind erases her,

the street, their signs,

the names of those in houses behind.

 

Souvenirs

In the Charleston marketplace, a boutique auctions off

detailed limited edition replicas of black history: a slave

who hugs his chains upright over his porcelain hands,

is sold for $1200.00 to a man with a black Amex card,

a horde listening to the Emancipation Proclamation

goes for the same amount, Malcolm X gets $1000.00,

MLK just a little less, the OJ bobble heads sell for $60.00

in the store’s gift shop while the white Bronco in

slow pursuit complete with flashing police lights

and breathless live commentary garners $2400.00,

Rosa Parks languishes at the rear eventually getting $300.00,

Eric Garner, Treyvon Martin, Rodney King are

part of lot sold for $500.00 clearance and a free

Black Lives Matter T-shirt, George Floyd gasping out

“I can’t breathe,” enshrined in a porcelain halo nabs

the same price, while the last figurine, of his murderer

being embraced by a very happy Donald Trump is

purchased by a man in a MAGA hat for $10,000.00.

 

 

A Day for Love

Pick a day.
The random date generator chose:
January 13, 1835
There are still generations formed
from those that fell in
love, married,
birthed sons and daughters
on that day.
Each an unrepeatable existence.

Family lore and crests
enshrine the first kiss,
the birds that soared the sky,
the color of flowers in his/her hand,
words spoken and written in the heart,
the dress she wore,
the beard he had
and discarded or kept,
the Fahrenheit/Celsius of
the exact hour, minute second
of their first heat,
the time that their fingers
stopped accidentally
brushing against each other,
the number of teeth
shown in the first smile.

Count the time
from first hello to last goodbye.
Enshrine that number
of seconds, minutes, hours,
days, weeks, months, years,
in the tales told about them
by their children.
Knit together
all the overlapping
welcomes and farewells
into the colorful threads
of all the houses born and fallen.

I look at that history
and I love you
solidly in the echoes
of all the past.
You fill my time,
even my sadness.
I have gazed too long
Into the light of you.
I only see
the burnt-in after glow
of all the whiteness.

Wind Shear

The oaks perceiving the assailing breeze shiver off  their nuts, swallows and squirrels

 

upwards to a dark fearful sky

that camouflages broken peace in the wild promises

of the swirling winds.

 

Night breaks night—

smashing every compass point in impatience.

Bricks stem to snow, the wind ghosts every leaf

in mournful woe.

 

The wasp tail shears enter in breathing

a final winter to her old house.

 

Inside her chest the wind hornets sting her,

with the loneliness of the yet and not yet to be.

 

The sofa pillows fly down the stairs

saving her small barking dog ascending the dark.

 

She hears black birds caw to her in the chaos,

the bully air stabbing in sharp awe,

stabbing her aware.

 

She knows it now.  She sees the reason and agrees.

 

Waiting for the Hungry Ocean

I am oxygen for you are the sky.

We exist only
because rain has formed the sea.

Our memory is buried
in every tide.

It waters swim inside
the roots of our blood.

The fluid of our language,
rippling stories in the school of words.

The bits of dreaming
are collected in clay pots.

Our thoughts are birds skittering
in the branches above the swirl.

Existence is the milky fish eyes
floating lifeless on the ocean’s surface.

Our kisses evaporate in the air,
not even dripping onto the
silent sea life nor sinking into the marl.

Our love is a bowl of feathers
waiting to form flight.

Until then are only meaning
waits in the icebox for the oven to warm.

Underwater, famished mermaids are eager to eat
the dreams and hopes of our sated angels.

Shelter in Place

My dog finds a conch nestled in the sand-
half dead, half alive- in the foaming tide,
She paws at its exposed pinkness
ignoring the hermit crab seeking shelter.

The conch shrivels beyond its lip
the scent of dead flowers pouring out,
my dog in a frenzy to taste its exotic flesh,
this beautiful creature sheltering in place.

Resisting the urge to pluck it from its shell
I pick it up and toss it beyond her scent,
beyond the fear, disease, the quarantine
I must always return to in silence.

As the shell sinks back to its home,
I now know everything dies in the sand.

Hymn For Our Past and Future

For my reversal and recovery,

For my wife’s lost womb,

For a future free of cancers,

For the old brick house

toppled in the wolf tornado,

For the new cradle being

raised on an ancient cry of earth,

For the mothers who died

never seeing their children wed,

For rescued memories stuck on cardboard,

For dawning days of gray hair

and salt crusted smiles,

For all the altars yet to be built and crossed,

For all the twisted trees floating on rippled tides,

For all the roads, maps, stains and travails

that forged our life, created this prayer,

this hymn I sing.

Waiting on the Promise

Wait, I spoke
to the highest star.
It winked
and bowed to dawn.

Wait, I spoke to the low sun
that set.

Wait, moon.
It just glowed on,
gracing, gifting me with bright words

Wait, I spoke to my sad heart.
It beat as a heart does,
disobedient less it stop
trembling and just soon die.

Wait, to my brain
questioning all the high lights,
the bright horizon near,
all the lunatic noise.
They looked forth
changing faces, never silent, stopping.

Wait, I spoke to my love.
She answered,
Yes, heart.

My Preop Wish

One night when skies have donned their stars

And parted the lunar drapes

Scattering silent bats to afar

To huddle with their mates,

We’ll fix our eyes northward, my dear,

To distant lush Spring realms

Where musicians play songs with cheer

And nothing overwhelms.

 

And we shall travail lovely streets

With restaurants and bakeries,

Serving all your favorite treats,

And just your recipes.

Here we shall build a homey manor

With ovens to bake tarts,

Rooms I can pen my psalters,

Hearts sharing each’s art.

 

 

On Seeing My Old Crooked Tree Uprooted After the Tornado

I loved this old crooked tree

that refused to grow straight

with the sky but willed itself

to stretch with the horizon,

limbs resisting what every oak

near it wanted— to kiss the sun.

 

It had a brother, long since cut down,

its stump never uprooted, ground to chips.

Decades of weeping, trying to caress its kin,

had left it defiantly stunted, a hunchback

to its grief, its refusal to be another proper tree,

limbs desiring earth’s comfort to cloud’s hope.

 

The tornado swept south and

my old brick house was

left a blasted finger to its whims.

The old crooked tree was uprooted

like all the others oaks, yet granted the mercy

of caressing its waiting brother in its final fall.

 

My wife spent the time after the uprooting

like all the others after the storm,

dealing with the adjusters, collecting

the ashes, saving the memories that remained.

No thoughts of trees preoccupied her

and I was convalescing from cancer surgery.

 

Before we moved into a temporary place,

before the winds of rebuilding where beginning,

I asked for a quick drive by to see the damage

because I only imagined the destruction

from the aching confines of a hospital bed

and needed to firmly root it to mind and soul.

 

The reality was a little worse than the imagining.

The roof was gone, only an L of bricks remained.

The PTSD, anxiety, the sheer exhaustion

was already planting in my wife.

I cried for her. I cried for the last sight

of the old tree hugging stump, earth beneath.

 

Collecting Beach Glass After the Storm

I never thought brick dreams could tumble in the wind.

My wife collects our scattered memories in a undersized bin

like a child on the tide line collecting beach glass and seashells.

She listen for the sound of blood amidst the dying wind

mistaking rustling pages for her breath cycling in and out,

her pulse beating on the surface of paper, cloth and wood.

She searches for artifacts that match/mismatch my cancer-

the progeny the tornado left scattered in the brick and wallboard.

 

I listen to the wind and rain ping on my ward’s windows

unaware of her scavenging, unable to sleep in the harsh light

that doesn’t erode the pain or the glitter of memory,

the constant Kabuki of nurses, doctor and blood drawers,

the chant of machines that make me mistake

the sterile for the sacred, the soundtrack for the profound.

I see my wife in the mud, inches from my eyes,

putting away the jagged, clear granules of our life.

I WILL WAIT FOR YOU

 

I will wait for you
when the need for me
make your thing stand
like a sword looking for what to stab.

I will wait for you
when you are done
feasting with Felicia and
holding secret meetings with Hannah.

I will wait for you
when the need for me
tear through your boxers
and you beg like a child
promising to run on volcano.

I will wait for you
when Aisha close her shop
to reopen it for Sulaimon
and you run home
like a man demented beyond redemption.

I will wait for you
when your numerous adventures
make me turn to face the wall
and you complain how badly
my sleep took away your sleep.

eyes

eyes

more like lies in disguise that cries every time

they dare open

so is it not better to keep them closed?

no,

instead i decided to ice them

with my prose

red as the rose

that fell apart as it grazed my cheek

and didn’t smell so sweet

anymore.

liquid oppression

liquid oppression

define a suggestion

that brightens up the day

or night

you come without a single fight

reminding me of what time it is tonight

and might never be again

droopy suppression

causing infection

on the forefront of my brain

the pain

keeps me grasping at the insane

telling me to look into the darkness

whenever i need a mirror

pain and sin

what if i twisted further

for you, than anybody else ever  had

and what if i replied faster,

for you, when you talked to me feeling sad

what if i smiled and laughed

for you, did all the things to draw you in

and gave you what i said was love

when it was really just pain and sin.

green

green

is a color

of money and luck

of gambling and rambling

but saying all the wrong stuff

green is the color

of life’s unripe fruit

and what covers the world

after the flowers have bloomed

but green’s also the color

of envy and greed

of terrible torture

infections unseen

green is the color

we can’t live without

but the color that many

wish to be without.

sung, their last song

young, deliberately sticking out my

tongue, at the creatures sitting by my window who’ve

sung, their last song because all

along, the crash was

wrong, the fears were

right, and now

tonight, we take up the

fight, against the

one, who knows all

and will always leave us behind.

lonely gray

love not love (lonely)

lust not lust (lonely)

pride not pride (lonely)

make every teenager’s phony heart cry

black not black (gray)

white not white (gray)

here not there (gray)

remember when colors didn’t feel so far away?

lonely gray horse

stands by the very edge of the fields

and reels in pain

against the fence posts trying to contain its brain

in shame

it crumbles, like the cookie

you’d think it was a rookie but

its seen this charade in far too many parades

so it stands there some more, a slave

to the lonely gray

that prays

to the silence

that surrounds it.

Silver Linings

Through disaster she stops her pining

There may just be a silver lining

Her lifeblood no longer quickly drains

From her old and deep and weary veins

No longer does it hurt to breathe

No smoggy air to make her wheeze

Regaining sight and through the tears

She hadn’t seen the stars for years

Skin once wrinkled begins to heal

And younger she begins to feel

For a while, she thinks, it will be easier

As Mother Nature sits and takes a breather…

That Night

THAT NIGHT

That night

I was lumbering like

a tired leaf
fear mounting in my breasts.

You came in with a smile
like a hunter
carrying the biggest game.

Drums broke into the room
and voices waiting
for the crimson stain
on the woolly fabric.

I am the river
you the swimmer
diving deep into my root.

I flushed as you pound
lost between pleasure and pain
till you arrived safely inside of me.

My heart pound with a terrible quake
as you searched in vain
for the crimson stain on the woolly fabric.

Immaturity

Always have been looking for

Running about tirelessly

My messy feet

Disturbed many people

 

My immature enthusiasm

Blown up by hot dust

Hanging from the treetops

In front of passers-by

 

This fire of youth

Burning with the utmost sincerity

And with a great bang

Looks a little reckless

(And at the same time

A bit shabby

So can’t reach the moon and flowers)

The end is nothing more than

Into a silent smoke

 

This flag of youth

Now at the end of the road

After many setbacks

It has become ragged

Night Hunters

Squeezing through this conceited darkness
Over tired auricles and some sacred places
Wretched demons flapping their nonsense wings
chanting incantations and their idiot songs,
Callous prongs of a thousand raucous rogues
Unleashing torments like a gang of thieves

Twirling and cussing on my crabby couch
The cruel night sneers at my skimpy slumber
I hear these conversations trending everywhere

I hear it deep down in my confused reverie
Said my dear blood is as sweet as nectars
So they came with their greedy temperaments
Impertinent strangers seeking wars and mouthfuls
Protruding proboscis piercing painfully through
Sucking hurriedly, like impenitent leeches

For these ambassadors of misery,
Purveyors of some ninety-nine plagues
I have beaten myself in honour of them
Burning incense of unwanted sacrifice
but they’ll pity me not, their obstinate souls
So I am out for you, O night hunters
I am out to crush your wretched bones
And strike you down till you leave my home
What shall I do with you little rascals?
When my children cannot play with you

she

people always ask if she means me

but she is what I want to be

she is she who speaks to me

the person I am in my dreams who

it’d seem doesn’t quite have life figured out but

she tries her hardest and speaks her mind and finds the words that want to rhyme

she is me when I’m awake

she is me when I’m not fake and

away from the thoughts of society and culture as it swoops down on me like a deadly vulture and I

find myself different than she wants me to be

am i?

Sometimes I’m still unsure

Do I really feel what i see?

Or have i gotten so good at hiding that i don’t even

Know what’s still actually me

Sometimes I’m still uncertain

Am i hiding behind a curtain?

A melody of words and phrases

Devised to make you think I’m going places when

In reality I’m just sitting at home

Maybe doing work, maybe on my phone

maybe doing everything and nothing at the same time

By pretending that along the way i learned how to rhyme when

In reality i had to stop myself

Put the words back on their shelf

Or else they’ll manage to find their way out and

That would be disaster, without a doubt.

Sometimes i still wonder

Who will look between

Look between the words and see

That in reality

I’m really just me.

you’ll find

speaking speeches softly so

you’ll find you don’t quite hear me

because I’ll hide in a place that you can’t really see me

I’ll hide in your darkest memories

that you tried so hard to keep from the world

behind all your deepest secrets

everything that makes you cold

and icy, and bitter, and cruel

around this world I’ll rule with

am iron fist as you smile softly so I

softly tighten my grip on the soft innocence of your heart because

God knows what’ll happen if

I break it apart

so that makes two, me and you

except you don’t know anything apart

from what is blue and what’s not true

pain’s your only friend

so take a step and catch your breath

before they catch a clue.

insane brain

I don’t trust myself

With speaking my mind

I’d rather close all the doors

Leave my lies locked inside

I’ll staple my tongue

To keep paragraphs out

So I can smile and laugh

Without having a doubt

But the tips of my fingers

They’re starting to bleed

With words that the world

Was never meant to see

And as I grabbed a sheet of paper

To mop them all up

All the stanzas and verses

Decide to interrupt

They begin to organize themselves on the page

Probably just playing

But I’m screaming in pain

Trying to stop their saying

Because now I have nowhere left to hide

Except for this insane brain of mine.

a reading of the soul

She opened her book

Slowly at first

Didn’t really like how it looked

But she gave it a verse

And inside her brain

Next to the secrets she’d hid

Was a place they say sane

Could never comfortably live

Driven out by the notions, implications of joy

When asked where it went, it only stood there annoyed

But back to the story

Her mind was in awe

Trapped in a web

Full of character flaws

But halfway through the book

It all screeched to a halt

The words stung and they burned

Like a wound full of salt

The pages all laughed

As paragraphs cut like knives

And she wanted to stop

But control had long left her mind

So she read until the final page was wet

Dripping with all her sorrows and regret

And she’d vowed to never make a mistake quite the same

But to be truly in love, sometimes mistakes must be made.

ashes

They’re built from the ashes

Of a world far away

We beg and we plead

They still refuse to stay

You can’t call them people, or pictures, or sounds

Not even the feeling

When the soul runs unbound

They’re not made of words

The human head hears

But rather compiled of the whispers

The human heart holds dear

And the words that you’ll find

They both equally fear.

the c-word

Every day exactly the same

Nothing different

Simple and plain

Monotony seems to be the key

Living for all of eternity

But what is life without the chance?

Living in fear, stuck in a trance.

But in walks wonder

And she doesn’t like what she sees

Showing me colors, finally free.

I dance in the wind

My cares all behind me

But what I can’t see is consequence, creeping up behind me.

what do we seek

She was the dark during midnight

And the light before dawn

The deep breath before a secret

And the sigh after it’s gone

She was crashing ocean waves

As they came and breached the shore

And a tiny little river

Knowing it could be much more.

She was the smell of rain in the spring

And the ashes in the air

She was laughter at midnight

And the sound of deep despair

She was howling winds by the coast

As they swept throughout the beach

And a breath in winter weather

As you search for what you seek.

november meoldy

Her hair was made for windy days

Walking by the coast

As you sit and watch the summer waves

Play and breach and boast.

Her smile made the stars all stare

Shining extra bright

Wishing that they could keep it there

Even come the light.

Her eyes shimmered like dark stardust

Chocolate in the night

Such deep and brown and thoughtful depth

Ever full of delight.

midsummer music

We see the stars up in space

Marvel at their fate

And it seems we tend to forget

Our own endless chase.

It’s easy to forget, looking up at the night sky

The people who’ve wronged you, those who made you cry

And it’s easy to remember

How those you love are so close by.

But if you find yourself too often

Looking up above

Remember by the time their light reaches you

Already darkness they’ve become.

what can you do?

A fall of your breath, an ache in your chest

A desire to run, to jump, maybe jest

Hope abounds in you today

Gone are the troubles, the fear of yesterday

It watches you close

Keeps you near

But then, suddenly, enter the fear!

Will you quell the river? Or will it quell you?

They offer you a choice, but what can you do?

For even if you fell the river, you lose what is true

And gone will be those you considered close to you

But if you take the fall, is it not better for them all?

No worries for them, but misery for you.

Tell me please, what is there to do?

Nothing can be done, you and pain are now one

Watching through a broken lens

Aching inside, but happy friends

The world is good, the grass is green

The water’s clear, the air is clean

But the sun burns your skin

It hurts your eyes

The water heals your skin, but it breaks you inside.

The grass cuts your feet, every breath pains your lungs

And try as you might, they hurt too much to run

Then, you faintly hear them laugh, the occasional cheer

The blind can see! The deaf can hear!

But you cannot, perhaps the lighting is just bad here?

Every trouble of the world,

It all comes upon you,

The hate, the hurt,

It all slowly binds you

You fall from your beautiful place in the sky,

But no, no, they will not see you cry

And still they come, you turn away

And watch from the dark, far, far away

Trying to live in the past, and you miss the today.

Was it worth it?

They are happy, yes, it’s true

But was it worth the expense of you?

To know the joy, we must feel the sorrow

Break to the point where there’s no light from tomorrow

And then, slowly, a candle is clued.

Do you light it, or not?

It’s all up to you.

creature

What do I want, what do I need?

What are these voices fighting inside of me?

Why can’t I just agree with myself,

Not torn between two sides,

The elf on the shelf.

Sometimes I wonder what it’s like not to be so stubborn

Both sides of my brain constantly bothering the other.

“But what about this?”

“What about that?”

Over and over till I’m about to snap

Going round and round in your head

Whispering as you go to bed

Then it’s yelling in your ear

Keep it down, please, there are people here

An entrancing melody as you fall asleep

Sometimes I even hear it weep

The only silence I’ve ever had

Is when I’m good and truly glad

And that’s when it retreats inside its cage

Waiting for my feelings to inevitably cave.

little pieces

They stole her little pieces

The ones they thought she wouldn’t mind

Like her joy in the morning

When the sun came to shine

They took tiny things

Like how she’d look at the stars

Forever with wonder

Trying to pick out mars

They grabbed little moments

Like how she’d laugh until she’d cry

And how her voice rose

When she was telling a lie

They stripped her of these things

They thought she’d no longer need

What they didn’t know

Was they planted a seed

She now took for granted

Every time the sun would rise

And she’d only turn away

Annoyed, avert her eyes

She no longer found wonder

Searching through the stars

She was too old for such nonsense

Who cared about seeing mars?

She couldn’t remember how to laugh

It only wastes time

Life was moving too fast

For her to be caught in a crime

She’d made a mistake

Opening her doors

Now her pieces were scattered

All over the floor

And though she longed to collect them

She was simply too bored

Why is it all so silent?

the beginnning

from the time she was little she

longed to speak her minds in a way that speaking could never achieve,

why she signed up for choir, though her voice would always break

her mother was a poet, instilled in her a love for words

and she’d pour over the letters and trace them with her finger

though she didn’t know what they meant

the language barrier played with her ambition, but the words called to her all the same

and one day she picked up a pen and paper and

began to write her name as she also

began the difficult path of writing

dilemma

the pain, she said, that writing gives me

makes me lie in bed

million thoughts in my head

as I cry, or smile, doesn’t matter I just lay there a while

and think about the words I said and spilled on the page

barring my soul to the unknown crowd of achievers and cheaters and all in-between

but it’s better than the silence of casting it aside, making me so sick I just lay down and my soul dies as

I can’t even find the energy to cry, or smile, or think about the world

I am selfish, insecure, and alone.

the art of letting yourself go- a sequel

the art of procrastinating is also one I have mastered

in fact, you’ll never meet someone who can procrastinate faster

or harder, or better, or quicker than me

I have to be the best at everything I do, see you haven’t done work in days well

me in months and you haven’t been sleeping well lately well I can’t remember the last day that I did

be good at doing what you are or don’t do it all that’s what I tell myself as 3 am flashes on my clock because my

phone is on military time and it’s easier to just glance over then to

add and subtract and do math outside of school.

the art of letting yourself go

letting yourself go

is an art I have mastered

you stay in bed in the mornings with no will to get up or to

drink the dregs that remain in your cup and

every morning and night you wear the same thing as

you listen to the beautiful people sing

so clear, so pretty, they smile and you melt

as your souls berates itself for not being better than that because even though you’ve let go

you can’t ever forgive yourself for it so it’s a struggle

of messy rooms and

messy lives and

chaos all around you as

they all talk

and you listen

talk

and you listen

but it’s all meaningless in the end

you’re helping others when you should look inside your own head

what do you really know?

there was a point where I was so good at lying, so good at crying and pleading my case and my

parents didn’t know but I was kinda a disgrace as I moaned and groaned about the headaches I had because my friends at school wouldn’t

pay attention otherwise and I wanted the attention that I couldn’t find anywhere else

so I changed the way I talked

and I changed the way I dressed and each day I

was less and less and less to the point I didn’t even know what I would do

it sounds very sad and guess what, it’s true or

is it just what I choose to tell you?

my true happiness

it’s funny how you can go from

nothing to ten in one day as you scribble the thoughts you don’t think you can say because the keyboard feels like it’s your real home and you wish you could just sink

into the words that your fingertips now roam and

the touch of your screen calms you more than chamomile on a cold crushing day and

alliteration is the equivalent of brightening up the way as imagery floods your view and

you’re not quite sure where you are even though you haven’t moved any other muscle in an hour of just constant writing, broken only by the occasional getting up but then the

words overtake you again and you’re forced to sit back down, a slave to the very thing that makes you truly happy.

sweet chocolate

she looked into the mirror

confused by what she saw

the darkness in her eyes

that made her look so raw

had left beside a sweet chocolate

nothing there to fear and she

stood there for a moment unsure what to think

scared to even blink as she remembered the days

she’d argue with her mom about the color that she saw and

she’d say they were black and her mother would saw naw and they’d go back and forth for hours staring into both her eyes that were

filling up with tears because

she just wanted to be different.

oceans

now that the whining was over

the true writing could begin

and she thought back to the time that’d she’d

first learned how to swim now

her friends said that it was hard but as they

dunked themselves into the pool she’d never felt more at home and she’d

beg to go to the ocean so she could say hello to what she loved and

nothing on earth could compare to when the sea gave her a hug as she ruled from her fathers shoulders, walking deeper into the waters.

the place she never wanted to leave but of course

plans change and things change and she found herself stranded

having to be content with tiny beaches where she’d look

wistfully at the horizon and her family would scoff and

call her a drama queen and

give the teenager her space but if they knew that every time she

looked out across the water at the sunset

she was so happy that she was sad

perhaps they’d just leave her alone and let her cry for reasons that she

didn’t quite know why

but the beach was the place that she learned to be happy as she

watched her brothers and their squeaky voices get scared of the waves and her

mother from the towel would laugh and tell stories and she’d

make sand castles with her dad who was smiling and now

life had come for them and was trying it’s hardest to

destroy her fondest memories with pain but she’d

never let it have the memories of the same thing that she’d let go by herself

a long time ago

to keep it safe

to keep it safe from the world and perhaps most importantly

safe from herself.

i guess

her secret ambition

that she’d never bared to a soul

could be summed up in one word: ballet.

almost more than she wanted to sing, though you couldn’t really compare the types of dream, she wanted to be a ballerina

of course when after so many years and she

still couldn’t do the splits or learn

how to move her hips she

gave up and

devoted her life to the sedentary pursuit of writing but

every so often when

she hears a piece from the nutcracker

her eyes go somewhere far away and she rises onto her toes and the one pose she remembers from her teacher Celeste

and she’d dream of the white tutus and the girls on the stage who’d fly about like they had wings while she

found ways to trip over the smallest of things

because I guess in life you want what you can’t have

even if at the moment you’re perfectly glad there’s still something

that you wish was different and it’s

sad but that’s human nature I guess.

moontime madness

quiet moontime madness

stealing sleep since o1

you left me silent in the sadness

my thoughts have nowhere left to run

but the gentle embrace of the light

it’s fragile, half-hearted smile

the darkness gives me a fright

but light tucks me away in a file

out of mind, out of sight

backwards sings the opposition

as I sit back in my chair

waiting to hear it’s proposition.

standing sideways

You saw me standing sideways

But wouldn’t help me up

Instead told me pretty stories

That didn’t help my luck

Sung me little lullabies

About what life was like up there

And when I wanted you to stop

Still you wouldn’t share

You stayed until you left

Got bored and said goodbye

You left and packed your bags

Hoping behind you I would cry

I just looked straight ahead

My own unique view on things

And finally decided

Not everything dialed should ring

You saw me standing sideways

But wouldn’t help me up

Instead used my own bad fortune

To further your good luck

And now you’re basking in betrayal

Behind the secrets you snuck

As I sit there in the sadness

Knowing I’ll never be enough

I’m no longer standing sideways

I can now breathe in the fresh air

And even though I feel so happy

Still you call from down there

There’s always something better

Something greater to achieve

So instead of standing sideways

Learn how to take a seat.

hide

she told me about her nightmares, and daydreams, things that made her scared to close her eyes, made her want to weep.

but oh my child, what’s it like to still be able to sleep?

what’s it like to close your eyes and know you’ll wake up to the light and not

to just another fright in which you can move but you don’t because

the world around you is dark so you

hide your fingers

hide your toes

hide your face

protect your nose from

the lack of light that’s watching you

from all the way across the room and you

know its not real still you can’t help but feel that

you’ll never make it to tomorrow.

there’s pain to be had

there are a million galaxies

tucked away in the skies

and as i sit here and write

i find i can’t describe

or find the words to do them justice

their face is etched into my brain

dear lord i can’t contain the pain

of being so close

yet feeling so far

the world plays with our feelings

like a guitar

humming and singing and plucking the string

letting themselves let their lies in

as i wait at the gate of the life i want to have

but still for some reason

first there’s pain to be had.

all that’s left

why are you silent when all is well

because you see, I’m afraid to be happy

and it’s not for reasons that seem so snappy it’s just

whenever you’re sad, people give you hugs

and when they’re hugging you, you can just feel the pity

oozing

and bruising you, but not on the skin where they can see no,

bruises deep inside of me

and then the hug’s over and some of them stay

but most of the time they just walk away and I’m left there all alone because now they’ve done their part and

all that’s left is for me to be happy

and I try and I smile and they say is that better and I go yeah, thank you, and it makes them happy to know that they made me happy and I’ve helped their day along

a moment of positivity in a world that’s so negative

but the truth is, if I told them what I was still feeling they’d internally die and feel inadequate and not enough

and then my sadness has spread to someone else

and all that’s left is for us to be happy

Then sometimes, when you confide in someone who you think is so strong, they look you in the eyes and say, “me too.”

and for a second you sit there, sharing your sadness because all along you’ve known it’s been true

and all that’s left is for you to be happy.

I can’t even cry

I can’t even cry

As I hear you weep

Buried under all

The secrets you keep

The voice in your head

That says you should be dead

Spilling out of you

At every seam

And as I put my arm around you

I hear its presumed peace persuade

Working in your brain saying

“All you do in life is fade

Fade away from crowds, away from sounds

Fade away from silence

As they’re buying out your violence

Humans were never made to be happy

So just give up now, please make it snappy as I

Burden your brain with images of pain that protrude out of modern society”

As it turns you into a proprietary

Owned by the choice

Death for a voice

As you sulk there in the sadness

That follows up the madness

That makes the rhyme rejoice.

If (The Refugee)

A poem I wrote after seeing so many news stories of people uprooted from their homes.

If (The Refugee)

If I stay home
I will starve
If I remain where I grew up
I will be poor
If I linger where my roots are
violence will take me
If I refuse to leave
I will be forced to do
dreadful things
If I knock on your door
It’s not because I want to
It’s because
I want to live

Snow White’s Sonnet

I'm not inclined to do your work today
 would rather sip some wine and plan how I
 could go outside, trick dwarfs and steal away
 not toil and wash and clean and sing on high

 but walk through woods alone amazed by bloom
 would dance to tunes so sweet and talk to birds
 on how the world with all its doom and gloom
 still shines so bright in shades beyond my words
 
Not eat the apple Eve once dared to take
 not lay in wait for prince to kiss and wed
 but run and jump for joy that I could make
 my way in thunder, hail and snow, not dead
 
but fierce and strong, stomp forth in boots
 without a thought or care for knight or chutes.
 


			

Area 51

He knew how to love but not how be loved or how to draw it down into his toes, down the bottom of his stomach or how to suck into the back of his mind or have his bones or brains drink it.

An accident, he’d been, that’s what his mother had said, over and over, whenever he was bold or brazen, like that time when he gulped a sup of his father’s gin, aged 7, fell over and vomited on her shoes.

You are disgusting, go to your room, wait till your father comes home, he’ll put some manners on you and whip you into shape, this evening when he comes home, you won’t get away with it, she screamed in his ear.

Deaf it was, from all the yelling, but the words cut through anyhow, and he forgot what love felt like. On his knees, he’d plead with God to teach him again and he learned how to love but not how to be loved.

He became a loving husband and doting father, tender-handed, rock-solid, he’d painted over his cracks, ignored his fractures, capitulated to the enduring frost inside, the exclusion zone no one could enter

not even his devoted wife or gorgeous kids who’d tried so hard to make him see, to make him feel, to make him grasp just how much but couldn’t melt the ice inside, enter the exclusion zone, penetrate area 51.

To his dying days, he was a shouldn’t have been, an accident, a mistake, knew how to love but not how to be loved, his roots extending way down into area 51 imprisoned there by his mother who hadn’t wanted him.

No one ever taught him how to want himself, how to eat or drink love. Make sure you learn how to let salty tears melt the ice inside, break into area 51 and how to eat bread and drink water.

Pause

Months of flying gave way to claws thawing
a greening branch, pushing leaves. We were
trailing the sun’s arms, her fingers pointing to
tepid soil, the earth laboring lightly,
and all we had to do is fall into the rays
for a long pause until the twigs came
to meet us. When deep within the trunk
still, they were already choosing
a velvet robe. They knew we’d be featherlight,
draped in plums and downs, our bodies
more weightless than the winds we’d sailed.
We were arctic tern, godwits
bar-tailed and not,
we were cranes and Candian geese,
we were curlews turning up
on featureless, tidal mudflats. We’ve ebbed
the breadth between the mud and the moon,
and now our beaks kiss crustaceans one day
and worms the next
until the sun’s limbs bare flyways,
and we’re bound over.