Thursday, December 31, 2009

A count down and a kiss

You get to the bridge just in time to see that it is burning. All flames and fumes, the startling tactile fizzling of an inferno of steel, blazing bright above the callow mirror of a winter sea. You know at that moment, the heat and hubbub all the sibyl needed, you are never going back. The calendar is spent, so much for candles flickering with secret wishes, so much for chores put off without faith or regret. Everything that is done gets done today, or it gets lost beside you in that relentless tide of tomorrow. The last year only can last so long.

So quickly you sort through the memos and the margins. The well wishes sent you in rose colored envelopes, the smoke you spent in want of virtue. The one you got and the one you wanted, now all but forgotten, mingling in the burn of re-entry and the tell-tale vapor trail. The bookends of dusk and dawn, the faltering signet star, the day creased with the entreaties of some fabled rebel angel. From frost to swelter, to the gray leavened plains of the autumnal pause, the finger laden scale of spring always behind your eyes. If only you had the means to measure. If only you had saved something bright.

What happened to all that we waited for? All the changes and completions, all the finales and curtain calls and triumphant returns? The firmament spun by above us, changing little but the drapes, all the cluttered constellations maintaining a safe distance, all the asteroid collisions near misses for decades foreseen. We drank our coffee, scribbled at answers. We walked slow paths and short streets and to that one place we always liked. The clattering of cutlery, the rustled trust of a morning paper. All is lost, save the vague resolve that time begins its count again. A count down and a kiss, and who knows what way this one will turn. The ache settles again in well worn eyes, the world again plays innocent. We toast our varied fortunes, so famous and so scorned.

Monday, December 28, 2009

the red line writ

I am mostly still through these days of travel, mostly silent in these crowded and celebratory days. My fingers sting from the cold dry air and the mischievous ink, cracked and rough and numb of the finer tense of touch. Icy fog parting slightly for bright and blinking lights, a chilled rain pattering upon windows and roofs. The closer some truths come, the further the living gets from the facts. The humble boil of this reckless blood, slowly toiling away at these varied wounds. The sickened call of distance, the aimless prisons we call homes.

These are old wars, slight discrepancies between measures, conflicts over the propriety of the ratio of portions. Ten thousand tipping points into failures that seem like glory, a handful of hobbling paths that lead to that resolution of greatest goods, seeming like ambivalence and loss. Stupidity is blessed in the absence of self-reflection, cleverness hobbled by the line check and the mirror. Simple wisdom and capacious foolishness our only hope. The days I have burned, tentatively on the mend. The nights I have scoured, in glee and excess. The balance only works itself out in a scale of years, those wasted and those looming in the shadows of tomorrow's tomorrow. These garbled poems have weaponized my shrift of wit, every admission an omission of perilous intent, of fabricated honor in the face of work-a-day duty. Nearly a year of incapacity have whetted my edge, and claimed a direction for my aim.

Our oldest stories are of invention and of wander. Claiming lands lost to our distant kin, honing our vengeance upon the stony road, slaying our hidden fathers over the right of way. The sagas tell of threats and of journeys, of the necessity of strangers and of the sanctity of blood freed from the servitude to the flesh. Gods and ghosts make up map and motive, beasts and birds strange alliances. We are the maps, we are the stories. The sins and the gifts of the oldest glimmering revenant arrive in our dreams to guide and deceive us. Tricks and treats indistinguishable at this point in our endless sojourn, we imprint our hearth and our exodus upon the surface of every day. I rest, as stones rest beneath the river. I wander, as the river does, blanketing a bed of silt and stone. The change is upon me, another day settles in, ready to be the last.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

so the pot calls the kettle

Come in from the cold, that first breath of transition from chilled starlit air to the bruised seepings of a dusty furnace seeming such a revelation. The gifts of culture excreted so clearly this once, electricity and gas heat at a finger's beck. Much of the labor of living spread through vast conspiracies and layers of cunning machines. The blood so imbued with intent that it spreads its hungers into the landscape and the mantle, bleeds shine up into the firmament, reaches for every bone it may break towards this ancient sacrifice. Life ekes by and boils on, but the ghost binds its tinsel to everything that is. Warm this coincidence of flesh upon the cusp of all these penny-ante eternities. Thread the needle of meaning with every held tongue and spent word.

Life is that wished for kissed constantly in the act of consummation. It is the wreck and the reef, the eggs offered up to the greater truth of the omelet. It is the plaintive note sustained despite the direction of the song, the beauty of the song in how it changes while it stays the same. Life chases its tail, it races the moon, it lets us drown gorgeously inside it for a time. But it is the soul of motion, the rapid transitions that birth further change. The distilled wisdom of existence is always pulled in every direction at once. These words are seeds, nurtured only by more sentience. Reflection is always ultimately a kind of weather.

This is not ink, rather the idea of ink reinterpreted. A kind of stage magic where the art and the truth are known by the depth of the shared deception. Just as words are not letters, language not symbols but the simplicity of breath itself. That the universe acquired the mirror where before there was only light passing through matter, that the stories have compounded and become more stirring, these are only natural for the speaking beast. We refine our notions of settled questions, create arguments where there is nothing but the world. It is silly and sorry, sad and devastatingly beautiful. Red blood and blue veins, singing songs of stars long ago shed from the icy sky. These brittle gifts, these gleaming boxes bound to break. Lean back and linger a little longer. Feel the warmth, and watch the lights as they change.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

the parable of the broom

The work of a push broom on cold pavement, the work of a lawn rake on a sea of leafs, the labors bereft of love that long ago stopped costing blisters. The sweep of a tidal gray sky, the geese honking their way somewhere warmer, children bundled in their games of shrieks and scrapes. Saturday morning traffic, swift and idle, full of stung intent as it careens around the blind corner. Something of the gutter in this life. Something of the weight and the fall in these hours passing by.

Coffee comes after sunset, while I mix my potions and my media. Television shoves some romance past me as I pick at a paper, finish a puzzle in ink. The dogs fed, the cat condescended to, the porch light on and the neighbors keeping to themselves. Weather forecasters mention a little rain here and there. The aches swaddle this drift of bone and momentum, a spike, a moan, a clearing of the throat as the mind grows cloudy. It is the alchemy left between mirrors, these moods and hungers. Vision growing sharper as the shadows come home to roost.

The labor of the blank page and the key stroke, the labor of synthetic souls and inscribed spells unfurling, the work of a life of determined omission dragging chains beneath these dreams. The sway of unseen stars, vast conspiracies of desperate passions colliding with the impartial substance of creation. Poems and stammered sagas, the comical vanity of artless art enduring despite oblivion. The secret of life left to the spaces in between the telling, something about style that imparts the insubstantial with the unsettling heaviness of fate. Something gracious in this dedication to detail, despite its cracks and devils. Something of the river in the consistency of all this change.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


It is these ink-stained fingers, never deft enough or strong enough, but endlessly working still. It is these halos of light and fog, the dull lift of vapor parting lips, the endless accommodations to the workings of this most native tongue. If you could fly, the world would swallow all your other possibilities. If you could speak, the world would listen, rapt and breathless in the longed for spell of voice. The questions beg the question that the answer can't evade. All these riddles unravel, leaving you like the clinging of a cotton robe shed before the bliss of a steaming shower. Everything washes over you at once.

The text itself is at fault. There are never words explicit enough for the glaring eyes of absolute truth. They approach life with caution, drawing scent from the air, nerves seething at every flick of shadow unspun from the moon. Language bolts when it is too close to being the thing it describes. The implications of this complicity in being is more light and heat than any comfortable fire ought to provide. Escape is the only option that will not wind up singed. So the explanations always need further explanation, the seduction of culture the closest the human heart may ever get towards the eternal. Sentience finds mirrors hiding everywhere.

So the words turn you, they scrawl across the heat and earnestness of your flesh, scratching every itch with dense, luscious hieroglyphs. They open up your thoughts to the notions inscribed upon the glimmer and drawl of your life. They mingle with your blood and ghost, becoming only yours. This, then this, then the next, then the other. The very alchemy of being suspended then enriched by removing every detail. Expunging the evidence being the confusing proof that faith requires, becoming special through the compilation of endless denials. Someone whispers that god is only the kindest of coincidences. Someone once says your name, and forever that whisper is upon your lips. Every sentence needing that one last look.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

the tinsel and the shine

The first stars were simple and pure, too fey and thrifty to give much thought to mass and matter. It was of the stars that followed the death's of those earliest beacons that we are marked, the heavier elements arriving in time to craft our hearth and kin. The crawling accumulation of chance growing into fact, the fiery carnage of heavens ending birthing our quiet little corner of conceit. Our favors from the stars, our heritage chemical and contingent on the gathering of error and substance, on time so deep that there is no clock that can contain it. Time so deep it is only measured in the stretch and spin of galaxies, on the blush and burn of atomic half-lives. Against the broad swathe of improbability that seeds our past again and again, the immeasurable millennia of sacrifice it took to find us here, our seasonal myths seem silly and quaint.

The deafening silence outside is in part all of those collapsed possibilities destroyed utterly so just that you can be just there at just this moment. The lives burned, buried, devoured and negated for the sake of this absolute moment shared make the charnel house of history seem like a gracious conceit. Starlight funds this terrible profligacy, this conflagration of life consuming life, the rich fecund soil built of ash and death. This gift of purest luck is the sweetest morsel of existence, the bewildering improbability of creation's bounty. To be here, in the great bright empty, with all its teeth and steel, is a beauty unequaled in all the deistic machinations that people have ever spat and proffered. Right now, right there: each and every one of us.

I am a construct of culture as well as essential acids, a product of engagement as well as of pre-programmed call and response. The language of a contentious Germanic tribe seeded the one my writing is rooted in, a language weighed with cultures witnessed and robbed, bent with conflicting ideas. Messiah myths from the Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans, Greek thought mingling with Norse heroics, blended with the cycles of the Celts. I grew up with a ghost called God watching, and a strange sort of multiplier called Jesus that lived in my heart. The image of this loving hippy cysting like a tumor beneath the workings of my pulse was a very real childhood religious vision, my native tongue conveying the concrete much better than the abstract. Then there were the masses of ghosts and monsters, Satan and Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and assorted spacemen and aliens. Frankenstein in the closet, a whispered voice that awoke me paralyzed in the depths of the long, terrifying nights. That the darkness was watching felt more real than all the hosts of heaven and the hordes of hell. Though most of these feelings have faded to vague transparency, these threads of myth and sensation never fully fade.

So the holiday lights go up, and I like the tinsel and the shine. I believe in none of these inherited ethereals, none of the clamber and bleating that makes up the stampede of scripture and tradition. The smell of pine trees is better than the stories of the Christ or of Mithra, better than the fly agaric mushroom colored toy-slinger or the brutal price of wisdom through sacrifice paid by Odin or Hercules or Horus. The crisp and distant constellations are better as nuclear fusion than as ornaments to human selection by the divine. The work towards meaning rather than meaning revealed is the course I favor. Still, sometimes I speak to God, and the Devil, and the dead. God supposes this argues for His existence (the inherited God I got stuck with is that buff, bearded fellow from the Sistine Chapel ceiling, thus the incongruency of gender on a self-creating cosmic judge and sustainer), but I think it is more the residue of nurture and bad chemistry in my poor brain. Whatever the mystery might be, it is something very different from all those seances and revival meetings. Watch the tree do its work in the forest before you condemn it to be Santa's tree or Jesus' cross. The decorations are bright and fine, but they are there to please rather than as proof. I say see how the house was made before you go and haunt it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

a chill in the night

You think it feels like waking, though you are certain that you are awake. The slow unraveling of that dirty bass line, the voice so light and sweet and yet somehow smothered by the shaping of words. As if that flavor of redwood and rusted nails had seized the tongue, and shorn beauty of every pleasure. As if the god that abandoned you had marked you on the inside, your mark of Cain a tumor or disease. The music feels so sudden, so strange that you are momentarily both of and outside the world. Waves of abstraction slide up your cold fingers, notions of identity and impermanence cloud and clot your thoughts. The song ends, you think, but it has done its damage. There is no language like awake and alone at four in the morning. There is no calm like that arriving once every spark subsides.

The routines that usually contain this all fail, the television blunted, the words all too vain. The excessions of soul you thought could save you if only you could endure the sinking feeling of empty that all that feeling required have left you cold and weary. Haunted by invention and indifference, you braid sickness and sin in your mercurial drawl, jabbering aimlessly beneath the tide of your breath. Steer clear of mirrors, stay off the phone. Every evil of survival has a price. Every habit that sustains steals some secret value, some measure of hope, some taste of freedom. Nothing as sobering as an urge towards the impossible.

The world seems plainspoken, stripped of these coddling myths and whispers. It has its shimmers and its fires marked more clearly than any road, more honest than ten thousand bibles. Energy is spent and it wanders and stills. The fever bright of fire, the dull calumny of libelous ice. The sky salted with all these stray dreams and wings, storied constellations and hunting owls, nothing of note in your ambling hopes and wounds. Another song is playing, and there are tears flowing hot and quick. The tricks of these idle moods are so clever and varied that you manage to feel yourself spread thin over the course of your life, from womb to whisker this soulful sustain. Time contains all these changes to mass and mien. The boneyard stirrings of loss, the feasts full of surprise, the sway of calm and violence. You weep for all the losing, cry for all the joy, embrace tight all these attachments. The chill night air will teach you this lesson, skin tight and too close for dancing: embrace this suffering. There is only one direction ever. Follow it with each splinter that poisons your heart.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

after ever after ends

It is in the chemistry of the moment, these long chains of ache and sighs. It is that keyboard full of lows and highs, dark bass and bright treble. These worn through shoes tired of walking on water and eggshell-thin ice, tired of the framework and the wood. Chimney smoke and the soaked leavings of sleeping trees, streets lit with the haphazard intensity of holiday cheer. Even in fields where anise and thistle grow, these wayward thoughts of mistletoe. Dawn strikes with lingering seabirds and the lurid fauna of the marsh. Dusk falls minutes away from coyote and caribou I never venture near enough to see. I am too awake not to worry, too tired not to love it all.

The magic is built not so much in the boundaries that the wandering mind broaches, but in the seal that remains unbroken in this peerless focus. You can drug yourself into parody, drink yourself oblivious, and still remain upon the road where you pace and strive. Stupefied long enough, you might see yourself clearly, without apology or deceit. The crimes of passivity, the sins of commitment, the lies of omission and wish fulfillment all there, bright and untroubled. The scars, the wounds, the blanket of hubris and heresy-- the itch at long last home to roost. The strength that arises from digging all those shallow graves still surprises.

I slog through the remnants of this latest storm, walking too quickly through mud and shit and detritus, letting the long grass paint its portions of water upon ankle and shoe. Letting the weather leaves welts and soak through clothes. I parse the stars still visible between my coiling breath and the faint smattering of clouds drifting above, looking just long enough to catch that hint of sparkle, that vast conspiracy of shine. It might be that my blood has infused a will with-in me towards ruin. It is likely that all the obligations of inheritance have been wasted upon me. Beauty costs this much, and more. The dedication to distance, the need to arrive very early or far too late. I carry all these blessings bound as a burden, the borderline set as definition only good for obfuscation. Everything I say meant in opposition, everything I see so painfully clear. Culture works on a molecular level, crafting the story even after ever after ends.

Friday, December 11, 2009


There is a path crafted of salt and resin. The scent of every prayer tainted with pine tar, each emulsion vaguely crystalized. The itch of division mounted brutally upon you, the scratching of this passing rain some kind of call to arms. Identity becomes chemistry left out long enough. You are what you breech, the siege engine, the trumpet solo. Love and war, and art aping everything in sight.

I clear my throat, I stay on the porch. The rain falls in spits and spatters, making drum line patter from the roofs and streets. Gutters clotted with water, cluttered with deadened leafs, the dead end notions and balcony glamours all pass. I am the steam, I am the fog. The water as it flows, the ice just freezing. Give me a kiss for luck and go. Every good gift ought to have a shelf life. The radiance of life is only the most vested recipe. Live well and life grows sharp and slow. Live like I do, everything blurs and blends.

In the end this is molecular, atomic bonds pushing and pulling becoming fluids and solids, the seething and the massive passing to the left. The poetry of this particular poverty, the paring down, the parsing of linear liberty. Evaporation and consummation, fire and fuel, every one sings. Oh music, oh stutter--. The fingers slip and the words are altered, like that story of Beckett taking notes for Joyce. "Leave it in," he says of the mistaken interruption. Even art is bound to laws that are more than our native suggestions. Even this story is owned by the reasoned readers and the absence of wealth. I follow the smoke, I follow the water. In the absence of hope, I hope the rain will do.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

reasons left to leave

I don't know how you measure your portion. I don't know how you remember your name. I stay close to the curbside. The houses sleep while I pace the streets. I loiter near porch and stairway, smoking slowly, embracing the cold. Night falls, dawn rises. I only take the stranger's share. I only leave alone.

My sickness is such that every blessing is cut with poison. My sickness is such that I leave these pieces unmarked beneath the cold and sleeping ground. The skin I shed is draped over every shadow, following my every step and turn. I tire of the telling, and that is all I do. I wear, I burn, I tire. The sky is beautiful, the rain is cold, every color is a fresh argument for the invisible hordes. I swallow bile, hold my tongue, and litter the icy sidewalks with hints of weeping.

I linger, though everywhere I pause sheds evidence that I should leave. Go because the light is too bright. Go because every crowd is a conspiracy. Go because there isn't anything to be said, nothing left to gain. Go because you will always be the highway kind, loving the leaving most. Cherish every gift you demolish, treasure every love you have betrayed. I hang on, just to see what happens. I wait around, because the show isn't over just because you have left the stage. More color, more continuity, the feats of the maddening and the wrong. The motion of the host, and the absent answers given with each breath. Hands in pockets, I stay here so far. There is always a little more nothing to take.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

pain management

The ice settles into the earth as the day drains away. Our breath erases the windows, as it rises it paints the night. Soft, coiling gray, feathering the skin of the sky. Our measure only the moments we linger, exhaust blending us with the atmosphere, our press and pull between self and the rest of the frozen world. Nothing owned, nothing lost, nothing more to say.

Cracked fingers and hot coffee, the idle waste of time of typing spreading these missteps into spark and cypher. The power of culture, allowing all these scraps and weavings, things we are and never can be, all our flaws and fables stitched into these external impressions of our passing. The ice broken upon the steel buckets of water out in the yard for the dogs, the tangle of dusk and streetlights skimming the flattened skyline of the schoolyard just past the fence. Faint notions and clipped awareness, scratched out in clay and ochre.

This time is not mine, nor was the last time. Tomorrow is as unlikely as any star, as tenuous as any fresh recipe in a clumsy kitchen. Errors compound, possibilities close and compound, evidence is left to refute every alibi. I cough steam, I clear my throat. I can feel the bitter blade pressed into my side, a seething stone kissing bone and kidney. I consider the unleavened truth, the certainty of rumor. There is no fear, no horror of another sorry ending. Steam and stars, the sparkling of unseen eyes. The only bitter that gorgeous alkaloid hint of coffee, the only beauty everything left.

Monday, December 7, 2009

further still

My aging bones sing in the cold, the stars so bright and far. The lingering shine of evening lives, the icy rain still painting the pavement. My breath rising like the ghosts of old-- like a savior from beneath a stone, like a bottle trapped djinni. Time grows heavier as it learns to move swiftly, bleeding one moment into the next. The lonesome earth seethes with soulful moments, all the more beautiful for their brevity as they pass. Almost worn through, broken in every important way, vision at last exceeds these eyes. This sunken stone making lovely music for idle fishes. This forgotten shadow existing only due to distant shine.

We all receive our portions, nature and nurture, birth and breeding. We begin as beings of staggering brilliance, dense with love and power and all manner of beauty. Slowly we wear our ways into the world, into each fast and feast we earn or are allowed. Some have kin, some have passion, some have the fortunate road. Some have glamor or intelligence, courage or the common touch. We age according to our states and our leanings, wearing the marks of pain and bliss accordingly, of kindness and cruelty our bones are shaped. We lose that factory gleam, through ordinary wear and tear, through acts of god and sham romances.

The frost seizes the gold and the green. Hands crack with each stress and clasp. Heat leaves, as life leaves, as love leaves. The fled energy only looking to balance each portion with every other. Fragments linger, though the night grows cold and bright. Farther still, that froth of life and beauty. Clearer still, for all the distance. Knuckles inflamed, wrists sheared from the joint outwards, that sharp metastasized illness expressed with every breath. The resounding sadness of a soul unsuited for rest, bones grown thick and tired around old vines and fraught barbed wire. The unyielding beauty of this gleaming empty husk of creation.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

cold rain

You find yourself when your limits arise, the boundaries of self, the end of the world. The road fades, the lights go down. All the contagions follow you home. The sick, sinking feelings that endure through these days and dreams. The cycling of every slow descent.

There are no notes, no flowers. Just acts of broken kindness, acts of misspent time. The snuff film of everyday life playing on and on. Every reason spent but one.

Shed these spells of smoke and stars. Shed these ribbons of aimless belief. All the best intentions burned and buried, seeds planted for fire and ice. Reach beyond these bonds, pretend that the words and the world will ever meet. Watch the road as it fills with travelers, all those nested intentions and directions. The cold rain settles every argument.

Friday, December 4, 2009

romance language

How is this whispered smile a direction? How is this heated pursuit more than a rate of change? How does the song on the radio become the song in the heart? The exchange of oath and fluids, the raising of surface tension as if by spell. The certainty that all other certainties were best intentioned mistakes. The knowledge that there is no such thing as an original sin.

It is as full as the manic moon, as empty as the waiting box, this hunger built in to the wager of our blood. The drizzled words slowly dissolving on the heat of another tongue. The periphery of scent and work, the animal magic of life as it is lived. The word begets language which begets culture, which invents origins and reasons that can not be reasoned with. The shallow grave attempts to hide the beast of chemistry and lightning, the creature that arises from the slab-- beautiful and bound for glory. Every angel an act of creation, every abduction the stunning truth of the hunt. Love burns brightly, entombed in shadows and skin.

The signal grows strong, painted with the hollow places, the stark insistence of beauty we grow into god. Surety and appetite, the tilt of a head, the steadiness of that smile, the burdensome mesmerism made from hip and sway. Alone in the crowd, famished at the feast, mortality stalks and swoops its fuels and its fires. Kisses nuzzling a bare, expectant belly. Stars that fall in no particular order. The ghost drawing its icy breath, thirsty for the flow of blood that binds it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The moon is chrome and halogen, burning so bright that it nearly washes away the gathered shadows longing for midnight. The pavement is cold, the color of dirty snow, of tainted salt, of weathered bone. The night looms in the sway of leaves, in the spattering of stars, in that sound of footsteps never quite placed. The night waits at a distance, aloof and as useless as any quiet witness. The moon tugs at numb blood, at battered dreams, at a will so chilled it may as well be buried. Another dead pet for the stoney soil, another unmarked grief.

It is the creep of hateful strangers, the glacial speed of humors meant to be on the mend. It is the ache of absent tattoos, the gray breath of unspoken words, and unresolved woundings. It is the cracked flesh of little used hands, the feeling of sharp buried inside the joints, the feeling of burning arising from the cold skin. It is that sickly shining moon, like a searchlight hunting convicts from some conspiracy helicopter, seeping through the trees. All the sad songs so far above this. All the blue moods so soaring and breathlessly better.

A beauty so clear and kind it can only hurt abounds. The blissful miracles that surround, the lucky call and the stolen kiss, are too sharp and real to feel past this pain. The glowing smiles, the sympathetic words, the gentle attempted touch-- a world of rot and ruin. The feast is in ashes, all the bridges bright with fire. The ache of every hour, the call of sharpened steel. Another sleepless night. There is no escape.

Monday, November 30, 2009

all sizzle

The mistake is mostly in the way we make things real, we touch, we taste, we talk about the feeling and the flavor. That we might build from blocks gives us the sense that blocks make up everything, that maker is the meaning for all that we might see. We are restless, we think in pieces, mostly missing the whole. We are small, and we are petty, and we rebuild the world with words in our image.

Grown from seething seeds, from a coupling of elastic molecular chains into such particular animals, from an absurdity of dust to an absurdity of hubris. We retain and shed, matter and the ideas born of matter. The culture preserves, and the culture deceives. Thousands of years of confounded mortality, whispering promises towards the fickle winds. We think ourselves divided: body, soul, and mind. It is part utility, part urgency. The truth is so huge as to be unwieldy, lies being so much more palatable and portable. And seeing intention lingering behind every twitching shrub and sudden bird makes the seeking of separations natural. Gods and ghosts and apparitions, the sizzle from so much steak.

It is the sizzle, this being, this living. We try to parse and separate, try to exchange our long spattered history for the urgency of transcendence. Pretend that the world and our selves are different. Pretend that the borders are impermeable, and that creation is a series of errors longing for improvement. Hairy thunderers and bodhisattva, shadowy planners and heaven's chosen kings. We are so much more, and even less still. This moment, then the next, and all the time spent and longed for. Contingency seeming like destiny once all the cards are dealt.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

these stairs go up

The stairs had convinced us all that they led somewhere, so we followed them into the dark. It was a lovely mistake, to be sure. The wrecked room at the top of the lonely stairs, the smoke and the kisses. All those people speaking at once, all those people moving too close. Sweat and the stained eyes of passion, the fitful pitch of the treble, the dense vibration of the bass. Ashtrays and smudged glassware, rooms that were never empty. Even limited to the usual usage, the fretwork and the failings all glowed.

It was nothing then to sleep alone, though the novelty of it had hardly settled in. Different schedules, different lives, the residue of compromise settling earlier than any sort of hope or compassion. Everything is stories when you are so young. So bad at the telling, so good at the making. Too foolish to realize that you don't always choose the endings. Too bright to allow that things might happen despite your aims. It is nothing now to speak of endings, though not every door is closed.

Set out upon the night with all your hunger and your glee. Devour and partake, swept away in whatever circumstances must allow. Laugh without mirth, fight without anger, love without passion knowing your name. Doze in a corner, pass out in the street. Follow the stairs, though nothing good will come of it. Follow the stairs-- the story was written before you had a name. You will arrive as someone, and leave only once you are someone else. Change is all that awaits.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


The illness holds you from the inside out, closer than any lover, closer than any rumor of god. The slow gray tide of a dying afternoon drains invisibly into the hectic green field. Breathing is the ensorcellment of the flocks, walking the languor of the herds. The cold water, the hot coffee, the fleck and wheeze of every tortured cough. Raise the fence, thinking of the settle couch. Raise the fence, the warm bed like a dream long ago dissolved in the essence of the day.

What was witnessed in the tide of wild winds, the rough embrace of the livid world set upon the static remnants of the world once seen. The precious images we swaddle tight in our myths and longings, a house, a hearth, a family now lost to discord, memory, and time. Dreams of dying tangling sweetly with the terror of a fleeting shallow breath. Dreams of belonging, of happy tables and glad hands, all swallowed by the soul of the storm. Nothing lasts, nothing lost-- that dense conundrum felt so acutely at either bookend of night or day. Everything is alright, seen from enough of a distance.

Commit a dozen temporary solutions, little pardons granted by urgency towards clarity, and so many small flaws seem pardoned. The hands that clasp tight heart and lungs a measure of a love so deep and brutal it seethes in the beauty of your blood. Cough until the stars are all you can see. Make a wish. Remember the moment when the light was just right. Remember how bright the flames flicker and shine, in that precious moment before that last candle is blown out.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

empty prayer

The phone pole woodpecker scans the sky, vigilant between meals. Problems of a halo of blue still gray rather than a crown of thorn and leaf. The skint offer of hills humoring scrub oak and eucalyptus when the only woods left near are either park or cemetery. The handful of places left here where trees can crowd and whisper. The woodpecker abruptly swoops north, and a crow mounts its transitory throne. The world has ways we can neither drown or fathom.

The mild morning climbs atop my respite, stealing my smoke and steam. Coils of gray rope trailing that Jacob's ladder draw of an open sky. The restless air stirs and shifts in its shoes. An early stirring of drowsy houses, as feast work abounds. That hurried, blissful baking, the urge to comfort and provide. I spit some sour remnant of my wicked idle tongue into the dross of leaf and needle. I swallow cool water, every moment the ritual ablutions of equal measures. Bitterness and pleasure mingling, pure and eager knocking darkly at these deep ancestral chambers.

Quietly I call the names and the markers. I call the beaded greens and the burial blues, I call the heedless and the removed. I call the flesh of the vivid living, I call the shroud of the shimmering dead. The stricture of language dissolved into symbol, the analogue of analog and digital kneeling before the feast of history. The frisson of withheld words a hail of static upon the skin. I call out the cursed pleasures and the glowing wounds, the worthy errors we cling to, the pitiful victories that will not let us go. I call to the fields and the forests, the sea wracked with foam, the cliffs swarmed with swallows. I call for the blessings of the uncaring world, and the burned edges of sickened mystery. An empty prayer of wing-clipped thanks, sent curling up into the light of early winter.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


At the border of silence and barking dogs, at the edge of night and awareness, in the moment before it all boils over, it slows. Light takes on the traces of honey, propriety blending with the sweet and the still. Those words you wear closer than tattoos. That ink of breath and savor. The air around you gathering, close and cold.

The clink of tin, the scratching of unkempt claws. The gradual warming of the malty head of the brew, dissolving into heat and bubbles. Moisture gathering at the stress points of cuisine, spice and hunger covering many ribald holes in tradition. The tension between tooth and smile, between unshaven appetite and the stippled reasons bound to the atmosphere. That glass smooth night, that mirror of warmth and steam. The black gaze of seeing forever on the burn.

I clear my throat, I take my measure. The gleam of carbon string and habitual ash. The dense embrace of absence amid every earthly persuasion. The empty plate, the suffering despite all knowing, the chair that will wait forever. Craft and objection, the simple scripture of the kiss that will never be. A toothbrush and a dim blue light. You awakening despite all the advantages of naked dreams.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The sky just stares, a long hollow lack looking straight through. The vice and the victims, the boards and the body count. The same daily scrapes, the whole world indifferent to the whole of the workings of the world. Turncoat gossip and heated invective, and the sky is far away, and empty as any pocket of anything of worth. The clock plods, the night falls. Everything is more or less the same.

Win some, lose some seems to be the formula. The broad gestures and fitful failings, the stink and the sickness, the mirror full of weeping wounds. The percussive plyings of disappointment, the gentle shiftings of good fortune. The candle changes into smoke and melted wax. We are all such uncertain fuel, wasting so much as light and heat. Pools of the possible, the flame dances and sputters, then drowns in a spitting hiss. So much contempt wasted for the inevitable. Waking alone, words askew in the dark.

So the season crowds and gathers, brittle grins and all that make up humanity. The plaintive longing for the communities you buried, for the family you burned. The urge toward proof that we still are capable of loving, that we are full of something besides brutal longing and a litany of scars. Its cold outside so the heat is on. The cold inside is outside our ken.

Monday, November 23, 2009

the vigorous declarations of the speechless

I am always at a loss, lapsed and stammering here at the cusp of event and reflection. Words flee, thinking fails, the usual palaver becomes quaint reliquary here in the churn and foment of deed and grail. The seekers chatter, the lost wail. I check my watch, then check the mail. It isn't the easiest, but it is pretty easy yet. Forgetting and forgotten, I slip between the shadows of nascent states. The weight gathering just before my tongue, I sigh and swallow. Quietly I linger with the vague glimmer of each dynamic inaction. No choice being a choice after all.

High tide tunes, a wistful calypso swings and strays. The singer so much more beneath the breathing of the song. Dusk idles, terse and delicate upon each curb. Traffic towing paper and plastic in the wake of all that light and carbon. Bass lines rattle windows, remind the guts of that last fated call of the gods. Apocalypse, Ragnarok, Gotterdammerung-- all the usual suspicious fevers dreamed up with a sore head and a sour stomach. Everything vivid in the auspicious shine of all fades, all blooms. The music winds through these sweet dreams and rough truths, sometimes I try to sing along.

All the education for a sixth sense and a handful of clumsy allusions. The tang of the visceral on the skillet, the acrid rush of smoke. All this ache and urgency for the bell toll of weathered bones. All this spill and plunder for a stolen kiss and a crumpled note. I can't quite follow the conversation, I can't see the meaning in the movie, or the message on the canvas. I clear my throat beneath the icy crush of so many idle stars, watch my breath materialize like some ghost out of literature. The poisoned father, the baleful partner more gravy than the grave. Last lines and curtain calls, while the world's stage mothers applaud and holler. Every exit parceled inside out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

the map

There is a reason all those old maps were full of monsters. A reason for myths expected to be met, an inking in of the unknown with all those hopes and fears. That lapsed passage, that hold of memory so deep that it mingles with departed dreams and notions of breath and grasp. The place where thoughts go so deep that they will not be measured, changed as they are by the darkness and the depths. And so your hands remember what your mind might have lost. Your lips are painted with all those salted secrets, things your tongue and teeth know, though your history denies. The layer where flesh and fable mingle, where I linger with-in you now.

All the morning mirrors will tell you, every warm shower and cold meal. All the steam whispered from murky coffee, all the kisses evident on the rims of cups and glasses. The press of weather, that weightlessness the moment before it rains. Something flung from an umbrella, something lingering on a windshield beneath the rhythm of wiper blades and the seething of the rain. A gray condensation where your soul is slipping against a frozen window, a handprint sticking to skin of the well worn door. My touch lives there, between your skin and that first hint of clothing. Beneath that tide of sensation, in the stretch and yawn of every living day. Fingerprints in the unshared depths, red ochre marking your secret walls. Feast or famine, the shadow of devour always waiting to arise.

There is always a way for the familiar to fail you, a way to get lost inside a well worn path, a thickening of the cosy wood, a density to the change in the weather. A verse forgotten in a familiar song, the close embrace of that certainty of other eyes. The world was written without us, making us up along the way. In pursuit of solace or passion or safety or risk, we are entangled irrevocably. The sleeping stash of neurons, the electric sensation of the ever other self-- the watchmaker, the time-keeper, the wish-stealer-- forever whispering just out of earshot. We are tattooed in invisible ink, the stories of other senses, of wants left inside from the other travelers that abound in the rooms and roads of our cluttered lives. That furtive claim your flesh aims towards moonlight, that taste of salt and heat that lingers between dreams. I live still in those hidden places, barely breaking surface. The tension upon the waters, the hungering in the wind.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

green for blue

I never knew those eyes were green when they would stare right through me, color blindness being the least of my afflictions. I mistook them for blue, bright and shining, lucid in the deepest portions of oblivion, kind even in the inferno of too much feeling left. It wasn't caution I ever erred beside, it wasn't that the heart would ever know the limits it lacked. I wrote you into my poems and dreams, wrote you into the fevers that inevitably overwhelmed my flesh. It was a kind of erasure, replacing you with shiny words. An exchange of prosthetic beauty at the price of enduring the honest kind. It was an equation I always worked, against the bone and blood of what I wanted most. Against the crosses bourn and promises extinguished, drenched in salt and water.

The poetry has long since crept through me, living only after-hours and transcribed poorly upon scant lines. The fires that found you have smothered in so much earthly weight and earnest time. Smoke and ash, the useless crucible of sanctity gained through the extrusion of time from flesh. Eyes that change color constantly, always dull and translucent, only seeing clearly that furthest distance from the greedy self. Seeing that surpasses belief in every solitary way. Words expose even this hollowness, trying to find your hallowed heart.

Love letters become leaf and ash, the futile compost for the next budding true love blooms. Faces lined with the knowing are lost to those carrying the fevers of faith, the touch of gray the warning sign for all the truth youth can not yet face. The work of the world, career and home and family. The burden of human connection that last beauty that exceeds and eludes me, that passage into mortal meaning, filial continuity. I labor lightly, the witness, the placeholder. The hard measure meant for pitiable times. My dry hands ache and fold, empty save for grasping. Seeing your green eyes still blue, holding that place open, the wound that never heals. The door I could never step through.

Friday, November 20, 2009

torn joinery

The torn joinery of creation sighs ever so slightly, breached at the stitching, corner work loose and pluming splinters. The weary work of being both effortless and beaten down, stepped on and carried and always squirming fitfully beneath any touch. Spit a little blood, rinse the red from the basin. Watch the window settle on the mingling of gray, green, and blue.

The world creeps past and it gallops, jay and sparrow and the grim repose of a neighborhood stray, wearing hunger in his whiskers. Children staggering home from a week of school, full of bluff and stagger, blustering against the gusting winds. The pavement spattered with a handful of rain, birthing plumes of dust from the never sated earth. Such love and cruelty, and the bulk of all a vast joyous indifference. Beauty falters on in starts and fits, sickness only another note in this hectic composition. A bow laid into the catgut, a plaintive note held for a few lively measures.

I abide my own roiling weakness, my grasps and wails. Slips and shards, indulgence and ruin. The most enduring writing I ever committed was my own epitaph. Then the workaday world, with all its crime and offenses, marches past in gaudy review. The aimless brutality, the wanton greed, the tropes of hurt and hate it holds for all. And all this illness makes sense, the pain and the slow decline. The spiteful masses, the slapped and the spat upon, the sanctimonious and the venal and those that thrive in all this pretense and make-believe. All these stories of heavens and hells made from mistaking all those hammers for nails.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The dawn tells it all in silhouette-- the reach of palm and oak and cypress. The silver measure of autumn upon the rooftops. The stretch of orange and yellow and boundless blue. The framework cut in puffs of breath and motion, the horizon abiding bright.

A train wails just then, a thunder headed west and south. The rattle of the rails, the clamber of steel and wood on earth and granite. The sounds echoes through the waking streets, blithe reverb upon cold windows, the press and low upon each wall. The train yawns, dopplering on across the cold curbs and frosted asphalt. A draw in the distance, a call to every waking sense.

Commuters idle, melting ice off their windshields, casting clouds into the gutter and the drives. Coffee cup meditations, the sounds of restless dogs and breakfast battles. Lights go off and turn on, illumination surprisingly easy and inane. The bright blue day begins its stretch and grasp. The world continues its brittle continuity.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

one last beautiful thing

To awake, still swaddled in the trappings of rain and smoke, and to be loved yet. To wander through these shards and remnants, and still owe something to another heart. This song does not wane, it does not fade in the noise of crowds or beneath the crushing weight of loneliness. This music is the leaf crush of the unkempt gutter, the piss stink of the corners left to ruin. Like any form of devotion, it lays in uncommon regard for the aimless self, cunning and wicked and as hungry as any stray. Like any rumored poetry, it ends in swathes of confusion and pride. The longed for comfort of arms that ache to hold greater than this common longing to be held. It is this ruinous moment, again out to sea amid the dense peals of a dry and silent town.

Missing the moon, gone despite the callow gathering of clouds. Missing the rain despite the sheen of these sprinkled streets. Missing a love that was lost, a lover that never was. The usual melancholy suspects, mumbled after with a mouth full of ash and hubris. Ghosts spoken of only in the past tense, tensions arisen between language and the very act of naming things. Oh blue mood, black dog, rotted haunted heart--. Oh wailing train, ambulance tear, worn through mask--. Bitter that the predictable works according to expectations, that this deep bitter draw produces only the acrid air and sooty fingers. The absent miracle that makes one spit and curse, reality always showing up uninvited.

The sky glides by, a murk between me and the stars. My heart skips and stutters, another sickness driven forth from empty hours and bad living. Foolish and shameful, letting these lapsed kisses dissolve too slowly beneath a clumsy tongue. Silly and racked with flocks and strays, I watch the clock chase its tail. Sleepless night, dangerous dreams, with eyes aimed skyward and a cat at my shins. Kindness wandering off its leash while strangers press their every point. It all bleeds out, and I accept these meager vicious ends. Just one more, I whisper. One last beautiful thing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

in all madness, faith

That threat of rain passes just out of reach, leaving only a chill wind and a gray air seeping through my nested bones. It moves to the west towards the south, dark and graven and aching just beneath the tide of breathing. And it is gull and crow, the gliding shadows and the sinking sun. The whole drowned town sensation whetting the bone-blade of the horizon, the clamber of words stuck between my teeth. The lost conversations that come and leave us while we are alone.

I am stuck with the broken record of my own false prophet, playing over and over through those sacrificial hours, adding every flat certitude, summing it all for a loss. I am left with these bitter remainders of hollow faith and reckless assertions, the prattle of madness wearing the mantel of the holy. Every misstep a careful calculation, every intention for the common good. All sin has fled that failing flesh, while I remain this vessel sundered into shards. One voice divinity while mine is archeology, pieces to be put together to solve the puzzle of all my mistakes. The world delivers to each a portion, never measured, full of surprise.

I am to witness the empty pockets, the slaughter of tomorrow. I am to paste my warnings upon the vivid mirror, to comfort and cajole, to render these rabbits and holes despite their fevered onset. I am to speak until my mouth is rested, to be silent until the spirit heals. Nothing works, but the work is all. Nothing is said, though the deluge lasted days. That made up saviour burns all the evidence, setting his alibis aflame. I await the night, and the weather. My hands safely at my sides as the inevitable conflagration begins, consoled by my latest failure, watching the sky fall down.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The door is held open, despite the hour, despite the weather. The door is held open, and all manner of things leave while the wind pours in. Every asking is like that, something escapes striving for that lack. Something is exchanged is the transfer of flesh and feel. Every exit an entrance, every harrowing loss still yet a gain.

They have made machines of all of us, with their closed eyes and explanations. They have made us subject to the objectionable, inventing better mousetraps, creating timeless vessels. Cold hands hold us down as we stir in the depths of dreams, bright wings beat against the blackened windows beneath the mad dead light of the voiceless stars. Ours paths have become calloused in the wan daylight, our treads artificial scars falling upon the fleeing of shadows. Passion is pale reflection, love artless commerce. The scales we topple, the torches we burn, our bitter secrets buried in shameful graves. All the lies lived, all the towers running away from the earth, all these painful separations meant to bind us to flag and faith.

I often outlive my usefulness, walking some little dog, lifting some child upon my shoulders. I nod, I listen, I weigh in upon some madness. I offer a stiff shoulder and a glib tongue when this measure of misery spills. Internal and external, the blur of method, the disregard of intent. Own your actions, make your story. Build your own bridge back to the world. Never mind the meaninglessness. Never mind that no-one will know. I serve these dead cults of works and wings, gentle and brutal and nearly always wrong. Something must be bartered, something must be given. In the dismissed absence of sense and mercy, in the abandoned hour, I hold the door open, holding the heart of this pitiful barrier until something better finds takes my place.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

mortal coil

Cherish each and every piece, forget all the parts. Life only grows larger as we age, unwinding in lovely humbling ways, night and day forever intertwined, precious and aloof. The murmurs upon the wind, the palaver of stones beneath the tide, the rumblings of heard, flock and swarm. Too many tongues for any one life, too much hardship and beauty for us all.

It slips the mind as you count the hours, the clamber of thoughts up the blind well, the notion of that unknown depth settling silently around. Work the fixtures, dust the frames. The pictures change while inside we never age. Disease and ordinary wear and tear grind us always, but what precious dust we become. What we will never name always outweighs all this knowing.

Words become idols, ideas perfect forms. We are enmeshed in the mistakes inherent in our language, caught in the web of our compounded lapses. From the breath of rarity we assume the weight of the inevitable. From the compounding of coincidence and an unfathomable passage of time we invent creation, and root our reasons from whatever is left behind. It is this, and only this. But the gift is this will always be too much to take. The gift is this, and it is always another measure more. Tomorrow until there isn't one, the rift of dreams until there is no waking. Bear witness, and tell no-one what you missed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

object permanence

These busy hands sometimes stay empty for days. These greedy fingers are never too far from the choicest plum. The vagaries of some mythic skin, the lost notions of your face pressed into my palm, the ghost of tense and tension go clambering through my brittle nerves. These chains dragged up hollow stairways, each link a bone, a tooth, an instance of blessed flesh. The feelings lingering so long after even memory has gone.

A finger to your lips though I want everything from you but silence, precious breath condensing upon the traces of my fingerprints left. Words that turn the silvered mirror a soft enduring gray, oaths that dissolve like sugar dolloped upon a restless tongue. The scent of your hair whispered with sweat, the whole of you glistening above the drift and twist of those abject sheets. A kiss upon your throat while you softly spoke, the shelter of a dark room, the luster of the rain. Your voice moving through my set teeth, some small flavor nesting in my lips.

It is only puzzling in this plenitude, these strong bones and long stares of yours that live still in the tomb of my wrecked and savaged flesh. Steadily I untie the knots and string the stars through the stretch and pause of your spine. The sky rollicks and weeps, its freezes and sparkles and goes about its business. My hands cleave and crease, their myriad works and schemes wrought from earth and ether. Yet you wrest these fevers from beneath the price upon my eyes, your electric presence always here in the empty air, in this tale of age and weather. So vibrantly entombed in this worthless shamble, you hold your breath in that blessed smile, proving something about love or sensation, or the way we sway the shape of this hapless world.

Monday, November 9, 2009

give up the ghost

The last act is written in the sand, awaiting the close reading of the sea. The final chapter is buried like treasure in those weary folded hands. Prophecy exudes like steam from the warm flesh of each finished day, every starry night freezing secrets in frosted grass and spilled light. There is a shine to the truth when it falls from your lips, despite the tripped tongue tumble, despite the error towards the cautious providence. There is a light in your eye that dies a little, with each and every lie. The spirit moves through us all, but its business is anything but honorable.

Sift through all this aimless hatred, all these wars of ill-chosen words. Dig down beneath the dry skin and the sharp tongue, vivisect that one kernel of honesty amid all this craven disarray. Find the angle hidden beneath angel's wings, the profit beneath the spat parable, the hunger feeding the scalding prayer. Kiss the beads, bow down before your god of dust and plagues. Deny that there is a heaven by the heat within your blood, murder your savior with your sins of usurping his domain. Flay the unbelievers with chapter and verse, making meaningless all you claim to believe.

It must be the burning fires, the additions of tradition that you love. It must be the wounds weeping, the spattering of all the blood you lap like wine. Fold your hands and whisper venom, give up the ghost with every hurtful breath. Tell me which tomorrow I will rue, tell me the law you claim today. The unyielding exclamation of creation drowns out your tea weak palaver. The universe seethes through us and you think the word is in a book.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

however far from home

The gray streets and the green weeds, the cold smoke and the hot steam rising from the sewers. The long narrow lanes lined with cars and shadows, the trash day memorabilia scattered against each curb. The winsome smile, leading the way long after the end of the day. The clatter of claws on the sidewalks, the jingling of the tags that hang from the collar, the ruckus of all the other dogs, jealous of their fenced in territories. Here I listen for erratic traffic and the sound of my heart. Here I speak wordlessly to the dog in tandem, out where this careless world abounds.

The signal strength changes a little with each step, lexicons held in the drape of my shoulders, magnetic directions in tow of my seething spine. We move, we we wait, we adjust to the flow of feet and cars. I nudge her attention towards our mission-- the trot, the lope, the gait. The bouquet of stray moments and molecular transactions that beckon her nose are all side-bar and subtext. We are a traveling music, we own the margins and the swift transitions, however far from home.

Turn a corner, leave a block, cross a busy thoroughfare. The street lights buzz and flicker, the lit windows watch us as absent as any distracted eyes, and we sway amongst the weeds and trash. Plastic bags lift and speed through headlights and bitter grills. Leaves crunch and shift beneath our stride. Last night it was owls and strays, this morning a confluence of vultures and crows in the thin crisp dawn. The corner boys huddle in the stairwells, distracted teens converse loudly with unseen conspirators upon the pulse of microwaves passing through almost everything. We transmit on a more narrow bandwidth, the dice that Einstein's God doesn't play with. Our indelible mission, dismissing creation with our brisk and fearless wake.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

any dying fire

Somehow I missed the rain. It barely fell at all, just a sheen of glisten, just the breath gray upon the mirror. I watched the sky for the first signs of the conspiracy, saw the creep and draw of the weather. I watched the dawn light blue and gold in a strip of sky held tight by drifting clouds. I waited for the rain, as still as any dying fire. I fell into a furrow of sleep, and I missed the drizzling mist as it touched down.

The heart has its reasons, its lapses and its truths. The heart will seethe and want and draw down deep the silvery smoke of romance. The heart can not count all its wounds and scars.

Days pass by, and I do not say one thing that matters. The wheels all turn, the stars will shift, and I don't say a thing that is true. My hands too dry and empty, my bones sing of complaints of a forsworn grave. I lost my way long ago, in some fever chill or sweltering bed. Lost amid the drift of letters and the plain honest wonder of the world, I allowed each stranger their myths and stories. I allowed myself the way of the broken vessel, the tao of the burning bridge. All weeping wounds and the light that leaves the ash.

Outside the day is bright, a vivid blue unfit for the season. No leaf turns, no branch sways. Chalk marks on the pavement, graffiti marring every other fence. An open sky and the sound of motorcycles in the distance. A feeling settles in, like that of every dream lost too soon. An embrace broken while the body still longs for enclosure, a kiss swept aside like a startled bird, rising where flight is not a gift but a curse. A depth of longing that lingers without a single thing to want in sight.

Monday, November 2, 2009

all the dreams and wonders

I couldn't watch that last light paint silhouettes above the horizon line to the east. I couldn't stare as the moon lay fallow in the sprawl of bare limbs to the west. I lost north and south in the usual way, stumble and sway and the spun map bleeds colors I can not see. Night arises whatever my bearings. Lost or found, or run aground, I am grounded beside this easy grind. All the shapes and shadows that gather like the songs long ago lost in the murmuring of our hearts. All the dreams and wonders swept away in that sea of indifferent stars.

My mind dawdles, a river buried in a flow of dross and dreck. I never could remember all the things I was supposed to forget, so ghosts glow and simple stone light my way, lost between stars and things I should have said. How bright those teeth, how sharp that smile, how inevitable that bite. Skin broken in a ragged circle, two grins drawn by dull scalpels, cast in opposition upon my dusty flesh. I wouldn't bleed out the poison, or let the wound heal clean. So goes a life of letters, folded pages and pressed flowers. Hours left unsettled.

Ease me into this indistinction, leaven this wound with a press of earnest lips and the scent of flowers dying in the night. Leave me to settle into versions of metal, endings spelled out in steel and tungsten, in smoke and the loud retort of chemical thunder. Let the shadows drown out all the noise of mistaken hands and certain aim. Let the horizon slide away again and again, as I idly spell out oaths and epitaphs, my dry finger tracing each letter upon your empty belly as the moon glows bright and mad. The things I can not see released suddenly from their bindings, alive at last in different skins. These fevers and discontents settling into the herds destined head long for cliffs, words another pathogen looking for a host.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

the ballast of clouds

The white flecks in the blue of the sky's eyes mirror this restless gaze, watchful and wanting in the new measure of things. The fields and lots are crowded by these residual ghosts, candy wrappers and paper bones hidden by the mist. As if the feathered fog was a flag planted, the wispy battle standard laying claim to the season. As if everything relied on the ballast of clouds, our weights and tethers holding us fast to this world.

And so rise the crows and the surprise of a flock of ibises, dangling strange from the odd-colored dawn. And so glitters the gutters clotted with glass and plastic, lost candy and the usual host of needle and leaf. The dogs bark and a few stray cars idle, awaiting some sort of Sunday morning ritual, church or fishing, breakfast or the hair of the dog. A hint of frost, a clutch of vapor, all the open secrets that reveal the soul of a place. Something to witness, something to watch for. The world shaped by these leavings and this claiming.

No matter the hour, I arrive late to the party. No matter the chorus, I am always at a loss for words. Sieved light, the scoring of tinder still branches, the touch and stretch of the shadows of wings. I am up before nearly everyone, yet I go to sleep while drowsy beds stir and society lights its contentious obligations. Sensitive and oblivious, a dreamer bound to extinguish the cling of dreams, walking hand in hand with dusk and dawn. Another wanderer from a lost tribe, my identity born to the swathe of names and rituals that my blood ignores. Bound to the unwritten calendar, held by ways older than witnesses, knowing beauty is the only language of all this resonant steam.

Friday, October 30, 2009

surface tension

Forever settles as the sediment of all the stars greased by eyes, all the reasons that words must fail. Feet clamber through the warm mud, boots crunch the dry leaves, the moon always up to something someplace in the sky. Our stories pressing us into the inevitable soil, grinding us into that biblical dust. The skin yawns and itches, trying to conform to the mortar work of these restless bones. It is easy to mistake the moment for destiny. Looking backwards, what else have we ever known?

If there is a direction these lines will find, it is neither fate nor choice that frees them. My aim is a thing made of a ravaging incessant will, bent by the portents of wind and gravity, bent by the broken clockwork of my own mistakes and longings. The brushwork of an errant mind, the unsteady strength of a greedy hand, the intimacy with fury that makes weapons of so much of the idle world. There is a grand magic on the job in these simple mechanistic minglings of desire and physics, but it is like the power of water. The inevitable course of something settling, an alignment with the most likely direction seems prophetic when choice becomes flesh and blood in these bites and kisses. Things are bound to happen, whether motion is ever invoked.

There is a moth idle in the circle of light cast upon the ceiling, a mosquito awaiting its taste on the wall above the door. Forces behave differently based upon proximity and scale. Gravity manifest between things and beasts greater than the tug of that midnight star you long for with heavy eyes and a heart burning blue. Surface tension greater for the insects clinging to the walls that the mitts of gravity fumbling after their missing mass. Life with its directives, us with our stories, all the crowds and swarms coveting every direction and hungering for anything that moves. The words written inside the riddle of your flesh, whispering its revelations in secret while everything blossoms and burns.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


It is in the broken light dangling amid a halo of moths and beetles. It is the fetid water lingering from the last rain, clung to by the brittle legs of mosquitos. The sharpness of the stars, the drift of restless spirits across the deep gray sky, all the writhing of myth and promise that your memory evokes. Dark, tear laden eyes, shining with the knowledge of all that light leaving you. Everything that was thought forgotten, alive and listless, walking naked down the middle of an autumn street.

All those days of rain, all the dreams of wandering, lost roads and imagined houses. The lay of the earth beneath your feet, the quiet doorways, the lonely stairs. My breath so bare without passing through the revel of your hair. Each new breath a fresh exodus beneath the wisps of clouds and lost constellations. Everything strangely broken in your absence, the indifference of objects another exclamation of distance traveled and time spent. Even the solemn silence telling volumes apart from you.

The collage of empty bottles, the shards and scraps and stones. The clotted ashtrays and the dismal sink. Each day a lost poem, whispered to the unkept sky. Every day a prayer spent on hopes as dead as your covens of gods and ghosts. I write your name upon the looming dusk, I trace each letter beneath the seal of the ravening night. Your name, written on the back of every stars. Unseen eyes, welling with aimless tears.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

nothing lost

The constellations leaned hard upon the roof tops, shedding their dense mythologies off the eaves. Their stories mingle with the fecund dreams rising from the drowsing rooms and the sleeping windows. Some rise like vapors, some fall like leafs, nothing lost or wasted. The world will use every piece, a value for every part lost or discarded. Life shimmers, changing states. Life moves at odd angles, shining all the while.

Wake before the sun sets sail, your days are curdled in the dawn. The lingering stars, the fervid planets, the glow of the earnest horizon. Your dreams break, and the silence leaves you slow. It leaves as if it loves you, in fond theatric reluctance. The romance of it never quite fails. The bonds of days and the abandon of night, being rapt by the show but never part of either. As dusk drowns the last embers, the clatter of other lives abrupt and slick in the vast periphery, you mark the margins and leave your thoughts. Sleep is a distant nation, lost here in human works.

Late blooms and aged patina, the luster of experience and the vivacity of passions yet alive, the autumn aches and pleases. Blue skies and baking smells, backyard barbecues and the teeming works of ants. Even out here, in the stones and bristles, in the squandered and the meager, you still glow. Sickness coils through the clockwork of your guts, fresh pains and palsied feelings new every day. But the streak of a falling star, the lift of flight, the dark timbre of a vulture perched beside a satellite dish-- simple moments still draw your smile. The story line is tangled and knotted, but it continues to travel just the same.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

art for art's sake

The blunt air presses hard against the walls, spilling fumes and discontent. The sober light hangs in slabs, stretching the window, cracking the seen. The stretch and pause of what will be will be undone, as the intractable tumbling sets to its work. That roller coaster climb of night awaits just behind the horizon. The argument is tabled with the rebuke of dusk, only to seethe and snap beneath the foundations and between the lines.

The collapse is nearly audible, when intentions fail to find a mooring. The longing and the lingering, the partitions and the aim. All these angles and directions that seemed so certain become the apostate to every reasoned thought. Plans receive little absolution removed from outcome. The right choice is only right until it isn't.

Somewhere in the rubble, in the crumble of sense and lucre, in the gap between remark and reward, the urge to replace the pieces, the struggle to retell and reveal begins. The notion to create is primal and civilized, the result of culture and of blood. The song, the story, the painting, the poem-- these are all our birthright. The idea to strive towards them without a social context is somewhat new. Trees fall, and without witness they will make a sound. The work undone at the end of each completed day is work just the same. Every thought an arrow, released without aim. Every failure yet another castle built at the mercy of the roiling sea.

Monday, October 19, 2009

brittle thinking

They're singing in portuguese and the sand has all but settled in your shoes. The songs pass through you, confirming the worst suspicions about what matters. You take a knee, hold your corner. You await some whistle or bell. The fight is in the rounds, and someone is always buying.

What passes for comfort burns in your belly. What stands in for medicine scorches your voice. You speak in slips and tatters, so fragmented by the speed of this drowse that you can't figure out how to get back on the conversation that threw you. Bucks and belts, and songs so heartfelt that even the words you don't know nest right there in your blood. Hectored by your brittle thinking, the shards of thoughts pierce the calm with a native fury, leavening your mind of any reason or rhyme. The sorrowful draw built into your heart smokes and coughs this illness out into the night.

It is always someone else's party, the laughter that rises from some other room. It is the shadows that are obliterated by the turn of a corner, the lovers leaning their secrets into each other, huddled against the resolutions of brickwork and want. It is the glass and then the bottle, and the hole that never heals. It is the dusk and this sickness, the staggered steps towards shelter and the shock of the roadkill cat. The gutter and the remnants of all this rain, the quiet lost so readily when all manner of troubles remain. Losing in angle and intention, losing when the hands are no longer steady, when even the voices in your head quit calling. The flocks that suddenly seem to abandon gravity, leaving the still bones of autumn to linger, endurance always the answer left.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Dawn toddles along, tugging at the chains tied to your heart. Every breath is full of dishwater and unseen wings, flight another version of sinking, buoyancy all you can ask. The gray swathes and insects, the dead leaf and the dry eye day, heaven flecked with flocks and swarms every time you look. You have wandered the distance, from names to regrets, from spark to ash. You have opened your eyes despite the dreadful weight. Just because every box has a prize inside, it doesn't mean you won.

And the shelves are full of buried books, and the cat is calling from the eaves. The sun rises so slowly that it feels like persuasion. Daylight coming on like seduction, like the inevitable that never arrives. The desk full of love letters, the notebook full of poems. The windows lean in, but they'll never tell. The doors open up to everyone, but they can never know.

The answer is in the reverb, the answer is in the bridge. Each verse seems worse than the one that made you love the song, but you can't help but listen, can't help but hope. All these questions pressed up against the glass, all these secrets pressed in sleepy pages, everything cut off from this glimpse of your world. What you crave could be just around the corner, what you want might be hidden in this meager portion. The day begins again, all blank slate and crib notes. This might be that fresh start they talk about. This might be the day you win.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Grind the black beans, fill the basket with the dark loamy grounds. Pour the water into the reservoir, flick a switch or two. Technology does the rest. Idle in the air as the aroma spreads through the empty rooms. Such promise, such a portion of all that fickle resolve. Pour all that heat and steam, curling scent and trailing vapor as it burbles into the waiting mug. For a moment, all is well. Hot black coffee in a shiny steel cup.

So simplicity rewards, each step taken, the familiar graciously is fulfilled. Ritual is more powerful to the human mind than all the forces it may invoke. Novelty arises, often more in the when and where than so much the what. Happenstance and accident. Justice and peace. But it is the habitual that anchors us to the self we wear, habits of hand, habits of tooth. All these habits of mind that make us us, these thoughts at these moments. Lovely when the light touches us just so, remote and strange and glistening with something not unlike grace.

I lift the cup to my lips, left hand steady and deft with purpose. The rim of the cup is hot, the coffee is hot, the steam curdling from the bleak surface is hot. So many lessons in conductivity a part of my every first cup. Without first blowing upon the hot fluid, without trying to dispel the harsh ghosts of vapor, without worrying about hot well steel transmits energy, I touch the rim to my lips and take that small riotous sip. The heat and the bitter, the instant reward chemistry this familiar flavor triggers, one of the many blessings bestowed by the brain occurs. It is comfort, it is respite. It is a small dose of blazing kindness, the best moment of my day. A small, good thing accomplished, I swallow and I smile, ready for the downhill side.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

haunt your house

There is a ghost in these small notions, a spirit spat out in the air about you like the exasperation of smoke from ash. There is a music that maligns your shadow, a sweetness that you exhume each time you awake. Every day you feed the beast, tangling memories and moments, senses and the dead letters that just trail on and on. Every day you are a poem, every evening a symphony. You trail through these myriad worlds like a comet, turning ice into plumes of brilliant light. From this entombed moment, shoots and sparks and symbol, into your living breath and blood. Whispering in your ear from another place, the past alive again in your eyes.

There is a chill upon my warm flesh, white t-shirt soaked through by a storm that crossed the Pacific to flood gutters and tear the mountains down. My eyes are dull and slow, laden with dead leaves and a thousand tasks left undone. Dead fall and acres of would be humus, the carbon trapped in the broken limbs of cellulose awaiting my blunt attention. I stretch and pop, abandoning a few layers of spent warmth, seeking the momentary respite of a warm shower. Trading one downpour for another, this apocryphal dose, this hair of the dog. Then I shed the few words that accumulated over the morning. I sprinkle a few placeholders for the voices that fall from the sky, from the songs that seep up through the drowning earth. Something sharp, something sweet. Something that will wake me from my sleep.

You have your hours, you have your aches. Your have your measured handfuls, your chores and revelations, your comforts and your joys. There is the work of this made-up world, then there is the work of living. The world goes on and on whatever the circumstances. Your hardships and secrets and sweet nothings stored away for whatever myth or truth might pursue. You might peal away like thunder, you might light a candle to bless the night. For this moment I will join you in your gardens and your jungles, mingle with your voice and stillness, settle my gaze beside your windows and your walls. For this moment I will linger in the dust and the draperies, I will steal some burden or awake your treasured dead. Here I am, another ghost bleating out visions of futures copied from the crib sheets of yesterday's cheap fictions. Here I am, to haunt your house with these brittle incantations, alive only until you deem it otherwise.

Monday, October 12, 2009

awaiting the weather

It is the absence of that one sound I am awaiting, the steady hush of an autumn rain that has yet to fall. The skies are ashen, the air slick with that first breath of storm. The streets littered with leaves and free-range children. All the animals are balled up in their measured portions, all the bird chattering on the line. But the rain isn't here, that treasured cliche of weeping windows and beaded eaves. The skies will change, the winds will rise. I will wait, watching the heavens for any tell, watching for this one longing likely to be fulfilled.

The horizon takes on that silty, submerged look of a shiny gray dusk. The air is lit with native electricity, the world abuzz as something is just about to happen. Excitement spews from the schoolyard, anticipation lights upon the skies. For a moment the heart of the world has quickened wings, and it flirts and flits despite the brooding dusk and the washed out atmosphere. Living is thirsty work, something just a few savored drops can't slake. We need oceans, we need rivers, we need forests full of glutted trees, hills green with sassy grasses. We need the snow pack for the summer, the rain for the streams and gutters, for the mudslides and the dousing of ill mannered fires. I need the rain for company, a loosing of the tethers of this glossy isolation, a flaying of the self-inflicted with gentle kisses. I need the night drowned along with my bitter aim.

I drink ice water slowly from a tall glass. My dry deft fingers moist with condensation, drops of dissonance in a warm sound room. Electric lights and digitized sounds. The recreation of human voices singing from the ether. Our entombed emotions as I cast sensations into imagined stone. I close my eyes and swallow, hearing singing that isn't here. I imagine how hard the rain will fall, extinguishing all lesser stillness, washing away all but the oldest dreams. I imagine the comfort of that moment, that ceaseless ease of these created irritations. The wind, the rain, the leaves pelted down. The company of a loneliness that will watch quietly as we abide this storm.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I hold you so close my shape blocks out the shine of the night. I hold you so tight I loose your bones from their moorings. All passion comes to the same end, that dash of danger floating upon several shots of comfort. The deserving collusion and the mistaken feeling that everyone has one. The warmth of your throat pressed snug against my mouth. The surety of your teeth at least, if not a smile. Every motion taken as a sign. Every light mistook for a star.

This is the light that survives in your eyes, the dose of miracle amid all this splendid squalor. This is the letter tucked into your pocket while you dozed, the sound of the television swaying like the tide, pushing dreams between your lips. Names written quickly, enclosed in heart-shaped ink. Names whispered dearly, as though no one had heard them before. The likeness to waking, and to dreaming, and to owning both inside the song of your startled heart. That the poem was ever written, then given away, a stone skipped across the moonlit waters. Something once was, sinking into the icy depths.

It draws your touch like a fresh tattoo, embroidered flesh with languid perpetrations of mortal art, hot and cool and stinging like something new to the notice of the hungry world. It lays upon your skin and with-in your drapings, carnal and owned and forever with you. Words you spoke, words you couldn't say. Warm breath dissolving into bandwidth and condensation as the flailing winds descended. A constellation viewed in tandem, a shared joke, a notion torn from the depths of that timeless moment that held us close with all the stars swaddled within us. The distant music of passing traffic, dawn somewhere lost in the tangle of woods and hills, something to worry the stone and sink the shadows. Stitches shorn loose before the wounds had healed, a grasping that will linger between us, lost upon these sheered off continents of time.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Finished and yet undone, life pools most readily in the shallow ends of these moments, shoulder tapped by obligations, the shotgun waiting in the closet for its work. The dry leaves doused by rake and shadow, steel tines dragging up the dust. The sun settles all its bets and wanders off to better days. Dusk then night, then the inevitable verbiage of irreducible waste.

Like the mass listening for that breathless latin, for the assured benedictions and the work of heartfelt words, the house closes off its windows and its doors. Heat, trapped in these cautious rituals, fevers what flesh is left. Heart sweat, work sweat, the meaty precipitation of this incongruous spirit. Close the eyes and there is a swaying like branches. Close the eyes and it is the life of the wind.

It all hurts, the labor and the lack of labor, the purpose and the aimlessness that ensues. Beauty and its absence, love and its application. The wounds of this ordinary manifestation. Coffee and heredity, the useless derivatives of blood and hope. Dead end it, and still you ripple in hints and essence throughout the graspings of time. The broken machine, subdued and faulty and alone, still seethes into the atmosphere. Sometimes complexity is the simplest solution. Outlaws and in-laws, and the same gracious mistakes earnestly trying their hardest. Genes and memes, and endless words clattering like shattered teeth on the floor.

Monday, October 5, 2009

prayer wheel

The residue of creation still sparkles in the blood, from the measures of passion to the calling of these bones, we are physics and chemistry. We stand upon the low hills, thinking that we can find heaven. We stare into the darkness, pretending we know our hearts. It is hard to know what heat to follow, so close to this temporary heart. Our mistake to see the magic in words originating in the names or things, and not our quizzical biology. We grind down ghosts just touching and seeing. The resin of living places divinity everywhere we happen to look.

The connections are everywhere, contact wisdom graces us at random, caught in a closed system that is complex past fathoming. Heritable inferences cast from the insight that other minds are always at work, made into the mistake that all thinking is in our thoughts. That the substance of life is something that has bound us to think so deeply of death, that our personal extinction is inevitable has reshaped our notions of the cosmos, that we need so very much to complete these actions of love that can not be completed in any scale even vaguely human has forced us to make fables out of everything within reach-- these are the sticking points, the truss that binds us to the need to be so very special. It is the weight of this need that makes us fail first ourselves, then all others before and beyond.

There is no objectivity, just more remote flavors of subjection. Every tentative relation branches out in every direction through space and time and confluence. Contingency and calamity and probability and creativity all have spawned this particular crowd of us, all alive and striving at this very moment. In these biological imperatives and the often contradictory pull of powerful memes we are rooted and we travel, mostly against the benefit of all the individuals that are this magnitudinous idea "us." So we gather in our tribes and nations, we wrap ourselves in gods and flags and strive to gain the power over all other myths and lies through the justice of our victories. Sentient and alight with so many blessings and such great habits of wisdom and knowledge, we will burn down all that we are or could be to prove that our will was resolute. Caught in a moment when the empirical and the sublime must strive to save us, we will replicate all the strongest mistakes of our natures and cultures. We will give the most weight to our most ephemeral qualities, and pray so hard to the unseen improbabilities that faith demands. We will spin the wheel without ever looking first to find a course. Persuaded by our limitations we will at last find the prophesied end of the world.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

goddamn lonely love

You wake to find the streets painted with the moon's strange brushwork, everything shockingly vivid and submerged still in the fabric of dreaming. The feathery weight of moon shadows cast in opposition to the closing dawn, you move gently, as if trying not to wake the world. You smile slowly at your usual suspects, the strays and newspapers, the harried glares of all the hapless stragglers and their handshake drugs. Your mouth is crowded with mercies rather than epitaphs, with benediction rather that cold shiny murder. It won't last, but there's the charm. The most enduring loveliness is always temporary.

The ordinary has its distinguishing features, the orders of favors, the flavor of the air, the odd concoctions the unravelled mind creates amid memory, plot, and sensation. So it is the chirring of the starlings, the busywork of sparrows and finches, the scheming of the scrub jays, the complaint of the hummingbird somehow indignant at your stubborn plodding existence. The dawn is pine tar and dry needles and the sound of a rake scratching out its labors. It is the washed out moon malingering heavily in the west, and the ashtray feeling of some small pleasure wished for and remembered but somehow out of reach. The star-struck promise of the curbside kiss, waking to coffee brewing, the headstrong song of the coming dusk.

The week that passed had its births and its doses, its indulgences and plenitudes. Lost in constellations until they give way to storms, lost in the scuttling clouds until they are upstaged by the virtuosity of flocks, watching wings glaze errant winds in planes and angles until the street spits out its scuff shoed children and the bitter traffic of the workaday world. The blood splits and schisms, spreading these needless genes out a little wider, the squalling child a limited blessing and a cumulative curse. You keep your artless vigil, watching over the brash strays and fresh graves. Then this too passes, and you are yet another someone, in a world as odd and familiar as any dream.

Friday, October 2, 2009


The names won't stick to the stars, such old light and distant words. Just an assortment of ancient lights and spent stories. Just the flags of buried kingdoms, the barrows laden with swords and crowns. Look all you like, what you've seen is so long gone. Watch the skies, watch the road. Tell me you won't end up in the same place.

Cold water and some dissolved coda, the songs that seem so easily swallowed. Like the armor of bible verses, the timeless curses carved into the architecture, the analogies of death and rebirth that lend themselves to every heavy dawn. How heedlessly you have loved and battled. How careless every choice seemed, drained of the immediacy of consequence.

The day does its job, sending these heartfelt dreams into remission. All the made up jobs, all the patent medicine concerns built from this shared delusion. The songs on the radio, the celebrity apostasies of love and words and addiction. The made up crimes and the intimate betrayals, the daily labors of foolishness and deception. How lovely the vultures when they first spackle the sky with their deft silhouettes, leavening the dawn with their ease and their purpose. How honestly they skin the sky, knowing what the world is below.

Monday, September 28, 2009


The bass line is a ruin, shuffling beneath the skin of the tune. The hallways glut and cough, the window seep wan light. Keyboard clicking out signals made from electric anonymity, all smooth plastic and dry fingers. The wind spills and spills, piling leaves over every surface, covering every clue. Dusk is a token of tenderness, adrift on these swells of blood and light.

Each notion skirts a word that will never be uncovered. Each thought is a stone tossed in the sea. The earth tilts and spins through the depths of oblivion, our star tethered to our hearts. The chain of reflected energy sunken and absorbed, the evidence of our dizzying freedom displayed as we whirl and fall. Pulling at the skirts of eternity, dancing and dancing with stones crowding our toes.

What remission of this disease of language, what alchemy in encoding these sounds in scribbles and digits--. The oily sorcery of poetry such a lost fortune, such a wreck sunken in the reef. The songs that spill from impassioned lips forever entombed in these strings of bare intent. Typing by a single bulb, winnowing away the laden branches, parsing back all but the least loved, the most close to forgotten passions. Bereft of everything, the spell is cast into the harrowing depths. Words lapsed from language, awaiting a vessel, awaiting a breath.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

his dark corner

Again swaddled in heat and darkness, his eyes flicker and dim. All the ghosts of his past travels, all the thoughts of his dark partner, idling in that steamy silence. The world is all astir with scent and motion, the mingling of dead leaves and cut flowers, the clattering of trash cans rolled to the curb. But his mysterious mind has faded, gone like a magic trick, lost like the earnestness of innocence. All the earth and all the sky united, this peace will never assemble again.

He tilts and he staggers, panting out his sickened heart, scrabbling for scraps and remnants. His cataracts light in the dim hallway, guided like a moth by night lights and picture boxes. What trail does he stalk, lost in the depths of shadow, hurdling through the maze left of his once sharp mind? The alien twice removed, from dog to animal to elder statesman of the strays, the remotely knowable is cast into memory and still photos. His pacing once carved maps from California, from the ocean to the Redwoods, from Fresno to the Monterey Bay. Now he lingers in his dark corner, running the marathon of fervid dreams.

We all walk blurred lines through the desert, we stroll through the frothing remainders of the moonlit shores. Our paths are obscured, our mementos cast aside, our lovers shed of our sloppy Valentines. We carry the weight of small strangers, the beasts we invite to dirty up our clumsy lives. We love the mirror, we love the moments, we fill our hearts with sand from the wilderness and salt from that restless sea. We learn to lose from that usual bestiary, only to learn that losing is half the work of life. All the rest is holding onto that stupid course we surrendered to in the vague reaches of mythic history, cherishing the lost and the vanishing. The restless stranger haunting his own gamey bones, sniffing out his secrets, only himself in his sleep.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

rise and run

How that bird bent the air beneath it, moving so quickly from stillness to flight. How the leaf gained weight falling so far, so slowly. How bright the sky bled, dawn arising out of the thin disguise of night. It is all too much, though there is never enough. It is all too much, staying up this early having given up on late.

Bones cry their petty outrages against muscle, fat, and flesh. The aches of work blending with the pain of the inert, mind and body united in their constant complaint and dissent. So it goes with most uprisings, things have to get a little better before their is room enough to break it all down. So it goes, the chicken/ egg nature of itch and scratch.

The dust rises, ionized in the thin tendrils of lofty sun that snake into the unlit room. The dust will settle, trying hard to play along with the seeming trend. Mote to mote, nature is left unsaid. The story of the soul too complicated to explain in words or numbers. Symbols may only stand for symbols, things may only be seen in bits and aspects. The human story is the story of a constant seething at reasonable limits. The human story is tantrum and tantrum, then settling for oblivion in sheafs and herds. Adrift at the edge of some happenstance galaxy, hurtling towards impact and neglect.

This is the story of wept senses. This is the nature of the soul. Not one thing, but a series of collisions. Not differentiated save by the dawdling reach of flesh bound nerve. Scratching out of habit. Speaking out of turn.

So the bird flies, and the leaf falls, and the sun rises again and again. To watch and want, the feed and flow. Words stack in spats and drizzles. Endings begin anew.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I lean back in the cooling breeze, the longed for dose wrought from the leaden heat of too much day, blowing smoke towards the stars. Pieces of the Perseus myth arrayed in slips and starts. Gray exhaust stretching towards the forgotten constellations, fire mingling with air and tobacco leaf. The tired rustle of this dark and restless street forgotten for a clouded breath. The collision of the insistent instance and the taught bow of that abundant tomorrow.

The halo gathers and disperses, that silvered collusion of smoke and breath and light, the caught ionized particulates that shine as I add another slender tendril to the carbon load of heaven. The moment suspends ache in the very air, slurring the breathing, fixing wind and branch and starlight with the rattling of dog collars and the chime of chain link fencing. The light blind skies and the rooftop stammers and the ripples that pulse and reach through the atmosphere. The flat affect of the face of god.

The cigar flecks and smolders, idle between fingers, clenched between teeth. The spark exudes its usual persuasions, ember to ash and curling smoke. Nicotine absorbed through tongue and cheek, a dozen worming poisons to light the blood and stir the settled debts of the soul. I smoke away these empty hours, abandoning plot and contention. A life lived by lottery, whiled away in stars and ashes. A gathering of words that reach towards something, only abruptly to end.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

my profane incandescence

Each thought of you is of you undressing. Never quite naked, never fully clothed. Just the feeling of clothes peeling, my hands burrowing beneath cotton and silk to find warm skin. The feeling of fingering your flesh like a bow drawn across cello strings, the magic of the music of our touch. My breath in your hair, the condensation of souls caught in their sheer creation. Always slipping something off, always easing into a grand reveal. These moments that make us real, resonating outside of time.

Your genius is your presence in places you have never been, your wonder is how you endure in tensions you will never again impress. My genius was in your ignition, in the way I could whisper all reason away from your hesitance, the way I could always find your plaintive yes. The raising of a skirt, the insistent kissing of carnal truth. My hands only ever at home riding your endless tides. I close my eyes to see your flawless gaze. I open them, seeing stars.

How the seasons pile between us. How the moon never touches the sea. I am an old man already in these middling years, more beaten, more dimmed, much stronger than these books and sums. I am a life time away from that gaudy child, depths and shadows darker than all those break bone tarantellas, rotten and glowing and carved from curses and apocryphal prayers. I am further and further from the known shores, the ideals and oaths that I used to measure in blood and fire. Still I summon you, unwrapped and enraptured, eyes as bright as burning time, smile as sharp as some sliver of the moon. Still it is you I would enfold in my arms, as proof against all darkness. My profane incandescence infused within your nearing skin. Every goodness warm and calm beneath these worn and empty hands.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the day after the last

The limitations of the wind, the dry breath of the broken earth, the surrender to ritual when there is little that is not rote in play. Bleary eyed, slaughtered, defeated in that staggered gait, in that familiar sway. Miserable heat and wicked light. Ants trail towards any spill or shock.

Habits of heft, habits of duty. The old way of having no way at all. Watching a crow fly east to west at sun rise, seeing secrets in that wish for the fleeing night. Stiff shoulders and glowering aches, the song of work in our attachments to our bones. The awful hack work of all those candle smoke intercessors, the calm that is not calm, the stillness that is being stuck in one moment, frozen where the world wants to break.

The sky fields its chosen angel, that burning blue that does not relent or regard. The music is supple and weaves its way through the patch work pieces of time bled flesh. Always in the wrong place, always keeping the wrong time. So much for the rhythm section. So much for the blessing of a bridge. Those sightless eyes staring toward some fixed lost purpose. Another day, another shallow grave.

Monday, September 21, 2009

false autumnal

The broken light bends

beyond the horizon line,

coloring the trees and eaves

that just drowned shade

somewhere before water,

somewhat to the left of cement.

There is an aquarium air

to every action, from

children racing traffic to

the submerged flight of crows.

A stillness mingles

a solemnity dowsed with shadow

as summer swallows gravel for ballast,

mouthing oaths and epitaphs

all hindered without wind.

This fire line bled of cheap architecture,

the sun giving one last glance

to sustain these dreams of days.