Sunday, January 31, 2010

folding

Not so much the stories as the gaps, not the virtues but the lapses that persuade, feeding my time to the blue-gray distances, dropping my luck into the jukebox one sliver at a time. The sky empties of excuses, the streets fold into the background, we drive and drive. A whole world of want and waste abounds, crowned with clouds and stars. Crowned with all the invisible legions that help me look away. Some days bleed away, and I never hold my name. Some days grant little but ash, and there's not a word to say.

It is in the coffee seeming too hot, the sky too dark, the light too artificial. It is in the pain in the eyes of strangers, the distance we build in twitch and brick. The proof is in the conspiracy of blood and sense, of flesh and ache. The press of humanity that much heavier in the isolation of these made up monuments, these machines of selfish speed. An open book never read might as well be a stone dropped in a well. Not enough too much too often.

I cough into my sleeve, feel the foundations buckle with a raggedy breath. The music made by dead men plays bright and earnest, so much sweeter when listening through the loss. I shift my center, easing the complaints of the worried hip. Benign neglect of a certain kind is inevitably the same as enmity, only harder to fight than any wind or shadow. I have had my sweet days, had my small glories and the slow roll of peace. The rest is uncertain, bit parts in a handful of calamities. A beauty so boundless that it can only lead to ruin.

Friday, January 29, 2010

f-stop

The big damn moon posts halos in the thinner, wispier clouds, scrolling an impermanent O above us all. Not a trial by fire, but by smolder, this last ash hour held tight, balled up inside my heart. Wind chime music with so little wind, spattered asphalt with so little rain. Preposterous people doing preposterous things. All the world a stage just when theater is becoming a ghost town art. All the words in the world will not change a thing. People stay what they were made, and think that this is freedom.

After awhile the burden has to leave old Doctor Frankenstein. Bereft and cast aside, there is still the rest of the world before the monster. Wreck and ruin are only one choice here. The law of the jungle was written in towers safe in the pretty distraction of the city. Alibi written for an appetite for crime while the beasts survive together, with heart and mind and eye as much as tooth and claw. Hobbes and Rousseau both coddle far from the ruckus of the working soul, adding silt to the river of inventions, words estranged from the wheel of the world.

I idle, inflicting each particular poison in its favored dose. The sickness creeps through me, shadows cast out into the light. The hour changes, the light shifts, the aperture adjusts, but the picture is never pretty. Creases and scars, blues and fervors, love letters and salty laments. Smoke curls, leavening distance with bitter kisses. The moon casts its spells of madness and angels, making beautiful music before drowning in another measure of rain. Talking to myself, still speaking out of turn.

what to say, when to go

The night doesn't love you, and the day only stays up to see you break. Time's bitter river flows right through that hole you hide inside, tears and ashes, broken toy's and dead pets. Cold fingers fumbling with your clasps and buttons, you heart full of snubbed out cigarettes and the aimless applause of the rain. The nationless flags of empty plastic bags unfurl before you. Somebody ought to salute.

All the wounds of the open-mike poet are opened word by word. The weight of solace in the crowd makes for a curious science. The press of attention, the absence of honesty in so much urgent truth. Bombs and babies, the greedy thieve from the hungry, so many fathers and their busy hands. Earnest ink aging suckling flesh. Everybody's a comedian.

Dawn waits to wash over the eaves and trees, the moon on a tear in the scattered clouds. Eventually the need of these strays owns you, and empty of anything else, you try to be that useful thing. Watch the clock, mind your manners, try to strike first with the open hand. The virtues of this palace of bandits and devils worn upon your weary shoulders, word after word strung together, pearls for swine or popcorn for the birds. Hard to measure the current that flows through this currency, the cup turned over before the first round is done. Another day shows up too early, after again you waited too long to leave. Someone asks "hot enough for you?" And you smile despite the hour, the rictus owed to ritual, the price of omission.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

ravish

The aching hour arrives unbidden, separating autonomy and automatic into their own spheres, casting that common magic of rinds and resin. The upright bass bowed for a moment, the unstrung sentiment the tone of shadow struck flesh. I follow the usual revels, the idle hands, the bitter dregs. The songs of cobwebs and caterwauls, the impressive weight of your absence running through my veins.

There are mysteries that infect my mind, simple truths that only your flesh reveal. The brush strokes of your unbound hair, the riddle of your fingers, the lavish persuasion of your grasp. The depths of refraction puzzled between your thoughts and eyes, how your bright lenses seem to luminesce with-in the tension of the object and your gaze. The music of your spine, the heavenly press of your hips, the casual elegance of each limb left to its own spells and hungers. That spent breath kiss that shares each emptying, lips and teeth and tongue. Such secrets can only confound distance, held so long so tight.

Outside there are stars and foot falls. Outside there are locks and doors. The rusted chain sound of a cat climbed fence, the chime and peal of ordinary things bewitched by the wind. Everything is overwhelmed by the space that you will not imbue. Frayed nerves, unsent letters. The imagined expanse of your skin passing through the fevered explorations of rough hands and hungry jaws, thoughts passing like prayer beads into vapor and the strummed-on bass. The haunted comedy of human existence, how empty is so much more than full, you thread through everything loved less. Untouched and ravished, you never let me bear this loneliness alone.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

position

The moon tangles in the tresses of a winter-limbed tree, the sky a humble cusp of dusk blue. The street cluttered with dry shadows and the screams and scrapes of children. A pick-up game of hoops just around the corner while skaters posture and practice in and out of traffic. Seniors stroll along the sidewalks, carrying their sticks and staffs, ready for trouble. The pavement dries in places, awaiting the next rumors of rain.

Coffee steam and starlight. A cool breeze and a sea of frozen lights. The smell of wet earth and the sharp tang of hot bitter coffee mingle with the hard stamped stillness of the fresh night. It is the tilt of the sky, the deft leanings of constellations. It is the press of breath, the ache and the absence. The weight of work against the wheel of life, the moment before the moment, the insistent flavor of the anticipated.

Waking, it is the ache and the breath. The diminishing truth of the fever of dreams. A longed for touch, an awaited arrival. The strange distance between lives and wishes, between the longed for and the fact. This legacy of secrets, the ancestral roots of religion. From the remote geography of slumber to the reasons of blood and bone. Sense and sediment. The position of the satellites, the creased and tattered map.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the waltz

You laugh to yourself as this lonesome sound subsides. It is like that old joke, the song plays backwards, and you get your dog and you get your truck and you get your wife. Moving away from the pain, from the hapless dusk and brutal night. Away from the spattered pavement and the flooded gutters, away from the screen and the page. The unseen owl drifts further away, the startled dawn sifting through the rain and the gray. The shotgun thoughts fade, following the trail of memory. Bittersweet remnants of better days, that intermittent re-enforcement that makes so many burdens bearable. Maybe tomorrow will be more like yesterday than today. Favors need not flee us forever, you think.

Somedays you forgive yourself your worst, somedays you know you will never know how bad you can be, most days you struggle and strive, blind to the history and the memoir ink. Motive is such a precious precipice, the bare edge, the trusting sentiment that leaves no villains writing diaries. You wish ill on a stranger, you pay penance towards some disaster, you talk casually to the drunk begging for change. You do the work the day requires. Everyone left doesn't mean no one will stay. Everything finished doesn't mean your job is done.

It may end bloody, it might play out quiet. There might be speeches and fanfare, a flourish of friends and flags. There might be a series of diminishing beasts getting their bellyful. A future for some archaeologist, piecing together a puzzle of tea brown bones. Questions left unanswered, letters laying furtive in the remaining mail. You might have mattered, you may have been a monster, you might be the founding kernel of yet another dumb faith. No-one knows who will tell you. The truth abounds though the facts are hard to find. You laugh though, because every piece is a kind of freedom. You laugh because it is all funny from far enough away. Whatever the debates that rage, whatever the jokes that float in and out of sight, that last laugh the one argument settled. The mystery always easier when you start with the end.

Monday, January 25, 2010

labyrinth

You wake to the incandescence of cats,
you wake to the unwound rain,
all the dreams you saved lost
in the torrent of the times.
You move amid the song of bones,
structured by their secrets,
a hidden tower of ache and years.
The magic you cast with empty pockets,
the spell unspun from the threads
that dangle and tease fingers.
The clues to creation to worry and to pluck.
Set your face in the mirror,
hide your breath and your scent.
You center your eyes at the end of your story,
the one that is so clean and pleasing.
The empty building, the haunted orchard;
the buried stairs, the graveyard of stars.
Everything settled in the labyrinth of sleep.
A warm shower, the the cold rain.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

false baptismal

The water moves slowly, seeping into the earth, finding the table, leveling off. It condenses on tree limbs, pools in the pottery, drips freely from leaf and eaves. Rain comes and goes, leaving its muddy markers. Foot prints and drowned worms. A sky that cannot help but change its face.

So it is black coffee blues and time on my hands. Feeding strays and nudging shoulders with ragged shelter. Watching how little my works matter, as the usual suspects trample everything without a shade of concern or reflection. Watching how easy the mind drifts towards murder, moving from idle to apocalypse in the batting of an eye. Another cloud burst runs scattershot over the streets and houses. A spattering fusillade needling pockets and explosions out of sheets of falling rain. Ripples reaching out towards other ripples, pavement washed clean again and again.

Vapor trails and accosted exhaust, breath and jets and impromptu poolings spreading water throughout the system. Dusk, aimless and furtive in its mission to conceal. Passing time like any measured fire, I burn slowly. Another conspiracy of myriad biologies, plant and animal and in between, caught in the headlights of the claim-making self. Creation myths and stories of boot-strap individuals and skies riddled with angry thunderers and gracious placaters. Call me a criminal then grant me confession. Amnesty and amnesia mingling, all the ways made up to control the payback they have earned ten-thousand times over. Every system just apologia for giving away what can never be yours, friendly-fire and unconditional surrender to the one with the most murder handy. Blessings for the flood or the drought, the water always working for its own.

Friday, January 22, 2010

bruised

I awake after sunset, and every little light feels like a fresh bruise against my eyes. I squint, I stagger, pulling drapes and flicking switches. No mail, no messages, no sign that there was anything I missed. My vision adjusts slowly. I stand on the front step, watching the rain drizzle down from the eaves. Cars shush on past. No one notices, and neither do I. It is going to be one of those nights.

I plan my idles as I plan my labors, thinking and rethinking my possible courses and provisions. Placing tools and weapons at opportune places. Making schedules to break, deadlines to miss, ways that I can turn some little thing into the end of the world. Most martial arts, the first thing they teach is how to fall. But mastering the fall, that takes years of devoted self-destruction. If you really want to break a few eggs, you can skip the omelets.

My hands ache quietly as my fingers work the keys. This habit of parsed documentation, of rejected texts and lingering moods dissolved into words, needs to be met. The night awaits, full of rain and strays. All the small neglects and violence left to perpetrate. The workings of broken words, left out too long to use. Wasted words still too dear to throw away.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

the Holy Ghost moment

The heart skips all the least important beats while the head tries hard to keep heaven on its mind. Lips touch, sweat mingles, hands linger with-in the music of skin and fingers. There are moments of bliss, flickers of belief. The ecstatic and the carnal gather their plunder and lead the call, shudders and visions, spills and thrills and late arrivals. Prayer words tangle with the profane, the animal steam and certainty this favored path upon this angel's plane. Rushed breathing and curious vapors, the steam of being sharp in this tangle of want and name. Worldly pleasures await the soul's curious shine.

The bruised limbs and the cold street. Nothing really is meant to last forever. Cars blast past, vibrating the air. Bass lines built for cocaine and trickster chemistry, rhythms meant for gracious trails of smoke. That long walk, the fallen feeling of again being alone and too human. The terrible distance from the altar, the frightening immediacy of the rate of change. Wing shorn shoulders ache and burn. It is immeasurably cold, just being you.

Mortality works in weights and measures. It works in parsed words and bitter doses, bright nights and bitter leavings. The mended bones, the thickened scars. The lover's touch so hungry and fevered in each caress, so much stronger in its absence. The felt, the remembered, the feared and longed for-- all threaded through the poetry of forces that converge and exceed this being. We kiss and couple, hoping to double our chances. We are invented and created, and disposed of righteously and with out need. The muse comes and goes, our hearts still and quicken. We love and we lust, creating these blue moods and pensive spirits. We swear on our books and bibles, praying with each furtive breath.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

the river of streets

What I don't know I divine, from the birds in the trees and the water of the window, from the brittle dawn and the ponderous dusk. The revelations often arrive late, rain-soaked and hunched of shoulder. Nothing beautiful is allowed innocence for long. Nothing true is without its risks and balms.

I awoke to thunder jumping on the roof, a fury that passed without effort from the sky into my soul. The rage settling like a sickness, a shroud that clouds clear vision, an illness that takes its cost in years over a few short moments. So the storm unfurled inside me, adding a dose of gray and a measure of bile. Choking all the words, extinguishing every flame. The rain passed, but inside me there are conflagrations and lightning strikes. Strangers take liberties that aren't so civil, friends act as if they longed to be ritually sacrificed. Once weaponized, it hurts not to lash out, just as it aches to strike.

I watch the river of streets as it flows in every direction, a tide of steel and water and light. All those wants and wishes, the wild boys riding the thick beats, not yet knowing that they are victims and not predators. The wild turkeys of Monday morning giving way to cats and addicts, the rain storm having shed rainbows for distant stars. Life is tricky that way, how it is often exactly what it seems. The gamelan of ancients gods telling their stories for newly imagined ones, the lush clamor of metal and wood, the swaying branches and the scuffling shoes, cutting each new stride from timeless antecedents. The dance of beauty and creation, the dance of ruin and extinction. Every wish ever granted, flowing away in every direction. Mud and kisses, blood and ice water. A witness for every alibi, an innocent for every crime.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

affect

How does the mirror bear the burden of your reflection once it leaves? How does it fair having held your gaze and your features, how does it pass the time drained of that improbable perfection? How does the wish for your return ease its pain, or is it tortured in the way only objects are by the brief admission then extinction of love? Blake's fearful symmetry does not account for the metrics of the glass and the ablutions of light. That you shine is evident, weighted as you are with so many delighted eyes and abrupt attentions. This brilliance you exude marks you upon any map you loiter near. Beauty winds up a word spent of intent aimed at you. In your absence I know what the mirror is missing.

This is part profane animal rapture, the kindling of desire and that spark of passion that is love's fuel. It is also the grace of these curdled cultures built up around instinct and deception. The words that tumble are meant to win and persuade, to pursue and convince. They indulge in an alchemy that is the foundation for art and religion, the rapturous sense of excession that implies completion. It is the boundless complexities of nature, the vast cold universe seeming to twinkle in your eyes. For others it would be God and fate and the bindings of eternity. But these smoldering embers are the work of time and biology-- the wonder of the mixture of happenstance, staggering volumes of finite time, and encyclopedias of random strategies for survival. I see all my tomorrows written in your smile. It is devastating and disturbing, the pull of the sway of your spine. It is poetry and it is play, an inferno of improbable collisions and the certainties of blood.

How odd to be such strangers. How odd to never know the names and the measurements. Your beauty evades me as it compels, as my words confound and diminish exactly the mark they suppose to make. I move through the world in masks made from my own memories, emotions learned slowly in the lessons of mistakes and mirrors. You move and you are persuasion, though as to what you never know. Everyone is convinced before they know you, every intimacy an act of barren faith. And this is how faith hinges, belief despite evidence, truths despite the lack of facts. Every touch, each kiss, a step into darkness. Every mask a mystery, every mirror the proof.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

black ribbons

Between the long strung beads of rain, the silvered chains of water falling, the night admits some small assent. Beneath the burble of the drowned gutters full of litter, the blind curbs and the choking sewers, shadows tangle unfettered by the fresh winter river. Darkness stares as dreams and weather mingle, the parsed streaks and inky fingers of this blessed absence of light. The roll of storms allows for umbrage. Mudslides and flooding, the deep thirst of the land needing to be slaked. The striving against extinction always in danger of the brutal answer of all those loosened prayers. Life is always bound and beholding to these unseen threads, working towards and against this deep oblivion.

I see her pass, her dark hair bound by a single black ribbon, her neck bared and elegant despite the chill and damp. Eyes fixed upon some distance, a deft smile held as if in honor of some small sad secret. As if the cause and result of heartbreak wandered along the spattered mirror of some typical street. As if the world wished to remind me of all that I am missing. She glides like a ghost tapping the pavement for effect, in rhythm to some song lost in the rain and the night. Her hips sway like all favor and fortune, weaving blood and soul into these blind dispensations, towing these idle thoughts in her wake.

Wait out all indulgences and denials, wait out the day to drown these dreams in the night. Cling to the small actions, the localities of treasure and intent, the thriving of that which will never need us. Celebrate the fortunes of those in luck and favor, work against the sufferings that will never reach us. Look back far enough, we all share the same birthdate, separated by billions of years and all the thousands of strategies that failed to survive and thrive. The churning, roiling complicity of life, rapt particulates clinging and moving matter, adrift amid these wheels of stars and timeless stretches of the void. The satin persuasion of a length of ribbon, the silken promise of hair waiting to be unbound. Aliens and strangers, isolated and bound together. Keeping warm, worming through these habits of climate and the night.

Friday, January 15, 2010

empty as the lights go out

The sovereign bonds that join night and dawn are played in reverse in the mirror, and the day goes its way. Stretched gray and supple, the sky is all but raining here at the cusp of dusk and night, here where the stars have abandoned us to the storm. Every direction is hurried traffic and birds on the line. Every answer ends up no.

So I sit here, hands aching from the weather and for something to do. I sit here, while the crows gather and the strays scatter for shelter, wanting the busy work of habit. Instead fingers fold and again unfurl, burrowing into pockets, scratching at scabs and stubble. They long for a glass to nurse or a cup to cradle, the sloppy internal magic of a lit cigarette curling its history towards heaven. Even the brief absolution of a cold and pouring rain, washing away this infliction of indifference. Even the empty gesture of an empty gesture, the notches carved from the thrift of rictus and nervous tics.

Bound in distance, bound in ribbons shredded by leaf and stone. Bound by the rumors spun from five billion years adrift in dreams. No-one ever sleeps enough to reach the ends their dreamings want for them. No-one is ever awake enough to see the direction their dreams head when they leave. Gravity always pulling harder than the sigh of levity, the turnings of the moon and the tides. In the moment of waiting the wait is all that exists. Tomorrow will come and break upon some fresh set of eyes. Upon hands too fresh and clever to fumble, clumsy and empty as the lights go out.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

hold still

The rain falls from the rooftops, the rain strings beads from the eaves. A barn owl screeches somewhere up above, like the voice of prophecy, the sound of tomorrow always harsh while living with yesterday's ears. Snails take to the pavement where earthworms squirm, drowning in slow motion. I loiter on the porch, watching the weather. I loiter on the porch, watching the sky come down.

I am always waiting for the rain. The wide grays and lover's crush of it. The threads of water and the patter on the window panes. Even when it causes trouble for me, I still want it. Dogs and children tracking in mud, extra cleaning and towels, and card games with some bastard's idiot spawn. The deep music is worth it. The sound of that ocean-less tide, a river striding across the restless dirty city.

I belong to bad weather the way I belong to the night. It asks more and less of a devotee, a certain clumsy resolution I carry between shoulder blades and stolen glances. Belong to the red columns and the wash outs, belong to the also-rans and remainder bins, you learn the long sustained notes of the song of the world. You watch with eyes loosed from the spells of love and plunder, with the eyes that carry the weight of the days of the unmet gaze. You watch because you have little bearing and so few chores. It is a conspiracy of untold sadness and luxury. The night calls, and it asks for so little, I always come running at a slothful and measured pace. The rain calls me, and all I need to do is hold still and watch.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

the spaces and the breaks

The hour leans into tomorrow, forgetting all its vows. Work spent as heat and steam bleed into the atmosphere, trailing the last inklings of soul. All of our letters turn to words, the words to writing, the paper to the message to the discarded page. We hold on to our glasses, sip our drinks meagerly, fearing we might never get another. From Sunday to Monday, the world resets and continues. I linger in the litter and the partitions, between the spaces and the breaks.

Just a moment on the porch, and a plague of strays descend upon me. Fat and ragged and insatiable they arrive, always in need of something else I do not have, some little measure more. The blank night stares at me without eyes, a lapse in judgement gathering in my wake. Sharp teeth gnawing each utterance, each yowl and meow articulated like an action figure, emphasized like the hard hearted opera of survival played out as anime. Those that culture shaped bind us to their curiosities and their appetites, permeating chemistry and biology with the fissile physics of soul. I feed and stroke the beasts of patent strangers, another particle in flux and sway.

I watch the gleaned and golden moments rupture and dissolve. I watch the party end and the revelers awake from every spell. The magic endures, though it might elude us. The night obscures the very actions for the motives it creates. Footsteps and stale smoke. The ache of stairs, the rare and burdened engine work of the stars. I take a deep breath and lean deep into the machinery. I cast the spell of lonesomeness, the spell of fog and whispers. The hour bends and I am broken, though working just the same.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

this gray daze

The cold fog masks the lament of the icy wind that somehow found its way through the gray. Bare limbs drool spattered condensation so it seems like it is raining beneath each tree. Traffic appears only to speed off into oblivion, the gray tide swallowing all. Foot-falls seem like a countdown to some suspended surprise. Our pace a metronome to music that can neither begin or subside.

A train wails farther down the road, the flashing lights and crossbar lit within the blur of thickened air. Train sounds carrying that much further in the damp atmosphere, the crush and rattle of that massive passing finding us still kicking litter in the gutter. We continue, trailing vapor, scuffing pads and soles.

Houses creak and buckle, expanding and contracting in material conspiracies poorly considered and ill fitted for the sudden contradictions of the weather. Porch lights and satellite dishes, kitchen windows draped with cobwebs and lace. Cracks in the pavement, an armada of parked cars threatening alarm and speed. Broken bottles and cigarette butts, fast food bags and candy wrappers. The unseen gaze of furtive cats and the bluff report of jealous dogs. This gray daze billows through, seeping into dreams and wan intent, dawn hidden beneath the seams of the unyielding sky.

Friday, January 8, 2010

vivid

Her face is always changing, with the lighting, with the mood. Memory is plastic, full of durable possibilities, but vulnerable to heat and force. I see here more and more in pieces. Her smile here, her gaze there, her sway and roll in the balance found in a roiling crowd. And still, in truth she has vanished. Her absence is riotous, eternity permeable and limited inside this heart of this human animal. I might not know her now if I saw her on the street. I might not recognize her if she walked up to me and spoke my name.

Romance is always a measure of turbulence, the volatility of desire played out only half outside the head, a muddle of will, matter, and stray intention. We strive, we strut, we stun however we are able. We hide and reveal, mingling shadow with light, mingling flesh with time and the dissolution of souls. We tell ourselves stories to hide our crimes, we tell ourselves the truth to allow us leaps of utter faith. Most of all, romance is that story that we very much long to have as our own. Nothing so special in the telling, it is the living of it that makes us so vivid and real.

Time tells us where our wills lapsed, where our stories folded and moved along. Time tells us where our tricks played out, where her eyes were looking when they couldn't find this gaze. Attentions wane and charms fade, and we wade in to the depths of the life we thought we had set aside. Strangers become our friends, and our lovers become names in a story we sometimes tell. Nothing like candle light and rain stippling the windows. Nothing like the chemistry of steam and sweat, kisses spent upon the youth of this ancient world. Her name is sometimes the same, sometimes it changes. Sometimes we have yet to meet, other times we never will. The story moves and coils behind my blurry eyes, its only consistency being how much I will never know.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

the horizon line

It happens as it does, it must happen again and again. The wheel turns, the stars burn, people live their lives and sing their songs. I lean hard into an empty night, aching and breathing slow. The clouds linger in the quiet streets, the very air a suspension of belief. The depths of these deep blue moods linger on the doorstep, stand alongside me, squaring shoulders, practicing watching the drift of wit and heart. The cob-webbed wind-chimes twist and clatter, pale bells in the porch-light. Something, then some other thing, then again an old feel comes again anew.

Cold water swallowed from a plastic glass. An ashtray filled with flecks of brown, gray, and black. A moon in the mood to prophesize, a cat scrambling along the roof. The weight of tasks yet undone, the lapsed gaps yawning from the past. That which will change, that which no longer can. The chance, the road, the revel, the gutter, the dawn and the again settling of accounts of the sun-- all is yet and ever. A life once opened is always pouring forth. Like her hair, loosed from a ribbon. Like these hands, freed from restraint.

Like all doomed romances, like all cold moments, this is the one I leave with. Houses clotted with faithless strangers and beaten dogs. A fog that follows, troubling my shoulders with whispers and regret. The lights that reveal just enough to lose what is left of soul and sight to shuttered windows and rumored lanes. Traffic that passes in a crush of fumes, trailing a little taste of leaving. The cat that keeps crossing what I thought was my path, breath sweet with blown kisses and secrets kept. Backlit by the future hurtling past me, I stagger ahead to the future hidden up the way. The lonesome footsteps fleeing while tomorrow is just over the horizon line.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"V" for victory

There is that fine moment, if the luck holds, if the repairs are solely cosmetic. That moment when having finally nothing left to say, you realize that no is listening anyway. And that fog that you watched roll in with that bleary Saturday dusk was indeed a house burning down. The smell of pine tar that arose so suddenly walking the dog down the dark wet street was just green bin after green bin clotted with Christmas trees. That the scraped up shoe leather in the gutter was is fact a dead and desiccated rat. Victory isn't there, not just yet. But some ending is at least in sight.

The pale bones of a winter poplar stand still, exposed to the flayings of electric light. Standing in unthinkable slumber, a pause fed by that inkling living needs of death. Seeds found in archeological digs that bloom thousands of years later, mysteries trapped in tar and amber reading us the riot act from their staged and messy exits. That winter tree, bare and reaching into the long chill night, dreaming of the pagan tides of spring. Incandescence trapped in glass, thoughts drawn from invisible into feasible ink. The statuary of Pompeii pressed bitterly against the flow of glass.

That moment when you sober to the fact that the drink was not deep enough. Waking to the shape of the phrases you spit in fury, the promises you made in the depths of love. The vivid wishes that you bent the very course of your life against. The absence that makes so fearsome and dire the kiss of the real. The everyday gifts of dogs howling and babies crying, the gentle and the uncivilized prize. Hands so subtle that they do their work without you, or are you while the illusion of you flickers and fumes. The stretch of every keystroke, words strung together like berries hung for birds. The choice is simply knowing that there is an appetite for everything, given enough time. Raccoons raiding the trash, crows crowning every fresh dawn.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

the blood and the blessed air

You will not be sanctified by your laws and your resolutions. The application of your will and your faith will lead you true or astray, or nowhere really but the eased strains of distant music and the idea that you will be absolved. You spurn all the witness to your crimes, and carry the weight of judgement to wield upon friends and strangers. Chew your food carefully, choose just the right packet of stray words, observe the revelations and the passing clouds. This is not the road to salvation. The flaw isn't with the directions, or even your fractured vessel of self. The destination is askew, a riddle made of hunger and sustenance: a lie to make light of the work of the world.

As a child, they added strings to every song. As if the orchestral complications would imbue some grace that was absent. As if just the right lighting wouldn't still hide the truth. The trends vacillate between the simple and the complex, the person and the pack. Morality arising only to murder its children with its clinging to the abstract, reality just another construct made from the abrasions of the concrete. The song is as much the singer as the singing, the blood and the blessed air in between. The singular answer arrives late and often wrong. The system is in a state of constant ecstatic collapse. Here and there, a violin will do. Now and again, the rhythm section can do without even a drum.

The insolubility of a problem leads to rich strains of invective and ill conclusions, forgetting the central lesson of all true work. The job is never finished, our work here goes on, even with our passing. We approach the wounds of failed tasks and poor solutions with our starched collars and laundered souls, and mistake the inevitable strains for betrayal. Our brother falls one thousand times, we pick him up a thousand and one times. Our sister plunges into the depths one thousand times, then we swim and swim. We have mistaken what we want for what we need, what is for what must be. Change is all that is certain, and so we hold ourselves to random choices, bounds and means. You will fail, as we all must. Amidst sin and confusion, you will never be lost for long. We will hold you, as we hold ourselves: despite and because of this world's workings.