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.