Monday, May 31, 2010

talking to yourself

You lock the door, but the wind still slips in. Loose pages flutter at this trifling breeze, some poor acknowledgement, some nod of assent. Little moments dissolve, bitter slips of that last sacrament. The dust dozes in the false brilliance of this electric light, the bottle opened and the djinni freed. Animals doze all over.

You think to that moon this morning, drowning in a tide of mottled clouds. The sky like a stop motion infection, fungal fruiting in each gray peak and dull blue shimmer. It is the danger of the disease analogy-- casting death sentences and murder ballads by the ease of simile. It was only the moody weather you were walking under. It was only the tangling of memory and this bruised and sullen feeling of a night falling too fast. Chimes on the porch, insects beating at the light.

The movie you were watching ends with every one that had a name dead. This to tell you that the story is over. This to tell you that it is only credits left to roll. The wind stirs the air, cools that waxen look on your face. You close your eyes, thinking of someone singing. You close your eyes, afraid to be so awake. You think of something you have to say, of someone who would understand. But the movie is over, and there is never anything to say. You might say something just the same. You might speak aloud, to all the dust and light and moon-sworn swarms. You may speak to the sleeping animals and the wandering wind, talking to yourself again.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

that arrow, loosed and bound

Sun and dust and vitriol, blue sky weather and ribbons of hatred souring the air. Salt trickles down dirty faces, glowering into the broken earth. Radio waves and worn through winds, information seeping through the open veins of the world. The core of the day and the thorn of the rose. Some portion saved for every purpose, some purposes withheld until the end.

Some days you choose why the skin will break, a fist dashed knuckle first against the many bones a face has laying in wait. Other days it is all scuff and scrape and blood let surprise. A loose nail, a wanton plank, the barb that gives the wire its name. Pierced or cut or smashed into pulp, the flesh airs its grievance as the day claims its price. The offering is always on the altar, the altar livid and diffuse.

Once the portion was offered before the feast. Now it is spattered upon the fields and the streets, spread into every gaping lack, made from every haunted want. The sun takes its measures and the earth shares that wealth. So the shovel splits the worm, so the needle takes its taste. Waste and greed and everyone claiming to own everything as it crumbles and rots. The price is paid before it is over. The bill came due before the bargain was ever struck.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

decrescendo

That poem's last line, so moving and intent it seems upon the undoing of every line before, comes close to finishing this thought. The anticipated is often all we can see, remaking the world in our second guesses and heart felt confessions. So when the work is finished and only leaves a hole, the ache it paints is our own. The burden of extinction always upon us as the moments we savor pass into the myth of remembering, each blink another canvas, each nap another life. The sleepless nights, the passionate toiling, the smell of the living soil after a day wrought with rain. The rewrites never end.

Art and life seem so close because we have learned to choose the confusion of one truth rather than the chaos of living amid so many. Our oaths and entanglements often alive only at knifepoint to one another, we feel we fail because we feel so wholly apart from our own ideals. It is that disingenuous pose, the duality of mind/body or body/soul, that sense that we could separate the sunlight from the greenery or the bird on the wing from flight. We have lived, kneeling at the feet of holy fools, confusing their convictions for honesty, and their crimes against being for the truth. Every puzzle is more than pieces, every picture more than color and shape.

Breathless and sweat soaked we mingle for these few moments. We pass the days in earnest contemplation and intent. We kiss with emotion, we kiss with our whole life, we kiss with fury and dull invention. All tooth and tongue and steady gazes, all evocation and mystery and furtive exposition. We part in words that can never capture the lovely ache that parting brings. We part in lessened selves and greater souls, somehow never close at all, somehow never able again to leave. All the phrasings of passion, all the notes of heaven. The air soaked with the heady scent of human hunger. The night full of moonlight and bugs.

Friday, May 28, 2010

dead skin

Pain is never the lesson, though it tends to teach those it doesn't impede or destroy. The tensions in the atmosphere render changes in those of us made of transitive matter, energy added to the system, the back-masked track of living becoming so much strained sensation. Skin cracked by the whispered secrets of the unbound wind, nerves exposed and flayed by the world they can not ignore. The electric tongue of so much touch, condensed into these alarming stings and warning sirens. These fingers that feel unreal, honest substitutes for the ones lost long ago.

The fist made slowly, seeming to spark and crackle with the fire it has learned to contain. Somewhere blue plumes jet out and sear this pantomime of human grasp, this manifestation of other sources and distant heat. Somewhere the flesh cooks just from being held so closely to the center of so much want. The inferno earned through ache and toil, the burden of any true power the crisp insistence of the work needed to maintain it. This pain that is the song of living, the music of all the gaps and the extinctions that continuity has chosen to endure.

So the sun settles its debts. It breaches the gulf between day and night, sinking into another dawn just around the corner. Sinking away from these dreams and promises. Flesh and bone and blood remember. The stretched limbs and the yearning blossoms remember. The sunken ship, the bloated well, the action that endures after other actions have made possible what once was but a notion. The wind laps at the open hand, some cells extinguished because a system of endless limits had to close a door to open this hole in the universe. The conflagration of conversions, the prayer meant to transform crime into feast. The steady enduring ache of being here, enduring despite the primacy of change. Every wisdom ending in only questions, birthing dead air.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

wished

Amidst the recent blue sky rain, that merest shimmer, that furthest thought was lost. Silver indistinctions pasted into that scrapbook mind. Songs for shadows, songs for buried breath. The song of warm water flowing over flesh. That flavor of spring so bountiful and so longed for, at last running down the throat. Whatever grasping that my lips remembered long gone once the word is shaped. A mist that is ever hinting it wishes something else.

This is that last wakeful ache, the just lost notion as it escapes the map of the world. A pain or a promise, a wish at last found out. All sorrow just that narrow revelation, all pain the press of all we aren't. Some closed eyes, some creased photographs. That tremor behind it all that says, please once again. Wanting to linger, to learn to savor the fire after it is all cold ash. Awash in the latest intrigue of a fickle atmosphere.

I lean towards sleep, as if that were any different. This trust of mustn'ts, this integral false faith that there is any ease in dreams. The depths held back by the light of harsh awakenings, the uncertain nerve of any course correction. The dreams of you are hard to capture, words always failing the most true. You lull at the moment, and the moment is no more. The seething reach of description lost in your haunted light. That glaze of eyes opened wide in want.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

the bride of the creature

A crow heralds in the dawn atop a foreclosed house, the dawn sculpted in blacks and grays. A few short minutes earlier the sky was dark, glass-clear, littered with those furtive constellations. The great bear six blocks away, just shy of stepping on a satellite dish. Damp streets and porch lights, an owl cutting circles high above. Now the facade of a rainy day as snails finish their abusive rounds. Slick streets and morning faces. Everywhere the work of birds.

Another ten minutes, it is blue sky blues and the morning paper in the drive. Words picked from a barrel of back-shot fish, music from gravel and gutter pipes. Nothing left right enough to read, the works spent so long ago that even meaning is no longer meant. All us wise old inheritors of the childhoods of our elders, stuck imagining that worse is truly better.

Had I a pen-pal I would write a letter. Had I a rhyme I would untangle my verse. Instead it is the bitter principled sameness of every different day, wearing the mask of last week's loss. Instead it is the rivers of difference all adding up to this plain ocean. The insistence of each instant, the futility of all this clinging, the further uselessness of this earnest abandon. Bound to the world just by being, the victory of countless strange ancestries and several orders more oblivion. Bound to our own limited egress and uncalled for aggressions. The seething victims of these automatic rituals and pyrrhic victories of life as of yet unending.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

such a lovely desolation

A lone crow flies against that last blue left of the sky, seeming somehow like it is leaving only me. I would claim the dark clouds to the west and the latent slab of night growing in the east as well, but the melancholy even of seeming seems enough. The sky drawls on, the crow is gone, and I am the same thing as ever. The pull of change and the weight of sameness, an old saw but the teeth still bite. Wound like a watch, spilling like sand. This is me, every night. Would that there was news, dusk or dawn.

That last light is loveliest as it dwindles in the swaying of the pines. A mocking bird pitches and twirrs from the side of the chimney, spinning music and gossip, rumor and joy from the heights of this dying day. Something precious about the cacophony falling across this shambles. Something of the riot between storms, the contentious feel of every waking moment. Somehow knowing this lonely is the only way I would ever be.

Hours past, left in crumbs and litter in my small human wasting of the night. Television and a hot shower, ghostly chatter and the flickerings of passing traffic. Every day each night unwinds, each night I dread the dawn. A whole life wasted, trying to outlast the times. Every day met in a hushed wish for rain. Such a futile remnant, such a tranquil inferno. Each day a last word spent on such a lovely desolation.

Monday, May 24, 2010

dog eat dog

I wear the mantle of rendered ash, the loud palaver of pots and pans, that bargain bet of life for life. These tired sacrifices of flesh devoured first by unseen hordes, of ghosts given up again and again, talking to brush fires and following corpses. Vampire wine and savior cookies, the rituals we save to hide our crimes. The cowl of common confusion, the bindings of dog eating dog. I speak in circles, always out of turn.

Was I waiting for the wings to find me? Was I watching for the risen to return unscathed? The packed dirt and the dry dust despite the rain. The sky cut to ribbons and loosed to the wandering wind. Learning the words does not make you part of the chorus. Knowing the language does not mean you are not forever foreign to the tongue. The world turns, and I turn with it. I'll make up anything else when it looks useful. I'll play along until something useful arises.

The meal is finished and the dishes are soaking. A froth of soap bubble cradling grease and oil. Labor and respite folding into labor and respite. Never mind the army, it is all hurry up and wait. This sphere finding the middle in every twist and turn. The mind will wander into ruin, into realms of gods and devils, into threats and magic spells. Unhinged from the body the mind is a ghost among ruins, a specter in the wastes. Unfurl your wings and bear forth your flaming swords. Every feast begins with some degree of slaughter.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

the story shared

Something whispers from behind my eyes. A door opens when the windows shut, candles blowing out with a startling hush. The days of dreaming rush back, revealing hidden secrets, somehow unwound with-in my existence. I seek to reveal the meaning I seek. Unbidden, I claim every symbol as that revelation. Blinded, everything points in the direction of my schema. Strange how the mirror is always lingering in the sight lines of the truth.

I did not invent the language, I did not tell the story. I am not the first to fall into these webs and wires. Irreverent, I become the referent, carefully wearing all of these unseen emperor's robes. I sing the song I have heard since before I recognized singing, I repair the story with whatever happens to be lying about. I see the martyr and I see the hero. I see the bodhisattva and I see the christ. The native tongue and the haunted cradle have tricked my eyes from before they were opened. That lean towards blessings and enlightenment mostly the software of ten thousand extinguished flames. The machine hard at work minimizing the vastness of experience.

I am like the flower, though not in radiant beauty. I am like the flower, though less rapaciously sexual. We are distant kin, the flower one of many solutions that life has grappled in search of that most perfect of variables. The problem of continuity, of the proper acknowledgement of self and other, the difficult wrestling with the best way to be, the assurance of existence in this world. The flower is counting on the extant insect or bird or bat or wild wind to spread its seed, mingling in the right ratio for this form to endure. I am a dead end, a bluff combination of gene expression and mangled culture left to guess and trumpet. Like the flower, my ruse and tactics end. We play the brutal odds, every being a gamble life has taken against the void. Dumb or transcendent, loud or as secret as some distant star, that is the story shared.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

empty grave

In the dream someone follows the flier, they both rise slowly into the air. They rise above the rooftop, spraying chains of plastic beads and mystery creatures as they rise. Soon they are out of sight, and I am thinking that I can not wait for them to come back down. It rains, and I awake to rain on the rooftop. The street slick mirrors and plumes of spray.

In my heart reside the usual murders. Brutal beatings, the ragged work of an angry knife. I have watched people speak their last words and go on living, as I proclaim that my bad day ought not be the burden of the world. The dry calluses of the shovel, the stiff givings of the earth. My monastery airs are largely the ministrations of folk remedies that keep murder waiting in the wings. I breathe away these storms, given enough atmosphere. The cherished metaphor drowned in cleansing blood.

The empty grave yawns beneath the grapefruit tree, full of dirt and leaves. Before we count our blessings, stipple the flowing sky with miracles, and bow to worship the risen dead, we need to count causes and check the windows. Work away all the reasons, wish away all the wounds. I never reclaimed the ashes. I never rested the remains in the hole dug on a ruined blue dawn. The body never met the bed made for it, instead becoming the rendered plunder of so many broken prayers. Rain and thunder fill the sky, shedding tears upon the disturbed earth. The day bled away, with no dream to leave behind.

Friday, May 21, 2010

tomorrow run aground

Turn around and the whole night is gone, moon and stars and all. There is the dawn, bright and blue, all awash in sunlit wonder and lists left undone. Open the blinds to let the light feather in, turn off the porch light because the moths have other places to go. Hands in pockets, counting keys and knives. Hands in pockets, counting fingers and the change they made.

The stray cat no longer lets you take a step alone. It traces figure eights around your ankles, walking infinities to your every cautious step. Unlock the doors and take in the paper. Watch the flocks as you try to name each bird by its kith and its tribe. Watch every wing, pretending you have outgrown your envy at their ease. They linger, they feed, they fly. Watching them leave, you know the ones that God has truly chosen.

The questions come unbidden, as burdens and holes in the truth. Yesterday it was the things you put off tomorrow. Today seems like the perfect alibi, tomorrow still another sun away. Your hands are awake, too dry and too empty to carry anything but these daily aches. You speak your first words as easy as breathing. You say something you forgot before you spoke. First words are always lost in the early shambles. Last words never recognized until recognition has unwound. Every answer only a place holder, keeping all the unwanted questions at bay. What beauty to have lucked into--. What a wonder that it can not last--.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

photograph

You would love me if I were a camera. A dead eye only opened to reveal your truth to the waiting world. A passage to every paid for blessing, the breathless adulation, the thoughtless wonder your beauty must command. You would love me past these scattered words, past these fitful premonitions. Were I a camera, you would see me as the light shining in your bright eyes.

Light is the last measure, the first to leave its mark. Light contains the feast and the morsel, the source and its extinction. It is reach and touch, the fire and the breach. It is the ache of the world without you. It is the whole hearted prayer of the sunlight upon your face. You have seen too much too quickly to see me even as a shadow. You have seen to much to ever see me past the casting.

Time unwinds, and want becomes my name and nature. The emptiness of forgetting all things save those I can not know, slipping away from this world of stares and whispers. Slipping away like the warmth of lost breath, like a bullet losing everything save direction once expelled. I am all aim though, and you are nothing but the distance of pictures. Light shaped against dead lenses and the crippled count of either/or. Everything of seeing except the sight, the fast finished save for the flavor and the food. Everything of loving except the absence of a heart to beat.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

sinking

The stones are still out in the yard, comfortable in the dark, satisfied with the night. All the barking dogs, all the devil's watch enmity eludes them, quiet for all their burdens. Settled and in place. Unmoved by any calm or commotion. Their level found, and resolutely held. For my part, I am still sinking.

The wind has its say, and the trees are whispering to the tune of too typical chimes. Birds are already singing their ubiquitous cycles, dawn still a handful of long hours off. I sit in the dark cool air, stinking up the calm with my lit cigar and various resentments. Smoke tethers itself to the whim of the wind's speechifying, coiling and clouding, rising towards the stars and falling at my feet. In the distance the unfurled calamity of a cat fight in full swing sounds, all spit and scream and fraction. I watch the sway and sling of the tree above me. I watch the cloud part, revealing cautious stars.

There are all the usual tatters. All the skulking corners, all the vicious truths. I am a plume in the night. I am a rumor, a scuff-mark on some path full of mysteries and oaths. Aching with the changes in the weather, wounded by the sameness of my heart. Waiting for a hint of rain or some bright idea. Waiting for the names to come back to me, now that the stars are out. Some constellation to warn away. Some myth to savor as I sink.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

these brittle glimpses

I watch the sky go through its paces, from strips of gray to streaks of blue. I watch the day break over roof and tree, scars of light across the steeped fields of clouds and stars. The night fades away in bits and pieces. It breaks into headlights and birdsong and promises unresolved. Mostly, it just breaks.

The night sticks to the teeth of the senses, long after sleep devours. It lingers on the breath and figures in every flavor. These small shards, these brittle glimpses that reflect as they fade, they are the patchwork of the soul of this threadbare day. All the grays and all the glimmer. The dust and sweat and bite of the day is only seen clearly from the shadows that are left behind, the hunter's blind that serve the night.

Now dusk has left me, and the world is silent, an ache or a trap. Careless wings and silent feet seem to be there, just out of my sight-line. Something tender and true left in the remnants of the failure of day, something startling and real just out of earshot, waiting. I breath in the cold air, another rumor of another storm. Spring so blue and warm and distant. All of these pieces that never seem to fit. All of these moments, wide awake.

Monday, May 17, 2010

inheritance

We received these gods and symbols, the shape of unborn cites, the color of our eyes. We arrive with this rush of the certain, the confluence of blood and history only leading to us here. It is the leaden taste of victory, the august grace of raw survival, the mingling of every slip of chance that feeds the day. We see and are saved as we have learned it was meant to be. Chains of ancestry, all the translations of conquest and theft arrive here just in time, our bad hands and lucky stars.

The rain falls just as the forecast claimed. The sky the gray of striking eyes, the rain as soft and furtive as the whispered oaths of false tongues and good hearts. The chain of relationships and intersections in between chest and t-shirt, a mosquito lands on a shoulder to sample such storied blood. The storm has settled in beats and hints, as our cutting prophecies raise their eyes and claim their cut. Being born alone is beating the odds.

I arrive in the tangle of language, peripheral to every intrigue save the one that binds us all. I arrive with the clatter of metal and the roar of jet engines. Here upon the cusps of fluid economies and migrating populations, heir to the mantel of all these wars and crimes. I float upon contingency, fluent in all the forms of tangled chance. Lucky to be here, where these bets come due. Blessed to be lost amid all the lost tomorrows I owe to this aimless life.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

details

The spring sky has surrender to the clouds, streaking gray across these gaps of blue. The wind whips its warnings through the streets. The usual habits of flocks and strays accelerate, the scramble for warmth and security running at double time. The garbage cans line the curb, standing at attention as the light leaves yet again. The night finds me beneath its measure.

A night without stars, a day framed with sleep and dust. I watch these unbound grays gather, linger in the chill shadows, listening for some distant signal, some unknown call. Hands finding pockets, eyes following any hint of shine. Inside, I switch on a single light. Inside there is little left to see.

Mark the day and write the number. Lift the cup and breathe the steam. The small details must be remembered. The small details are all I can afford. The coffee on the burner, the books stacked flat on the shelf. The measure of what I once was, the stories I will turn to some tomorrow I have saved. Somehow I trail another sentence. Somehow I remembered where I am.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

the crow unfolds

Before the bees enchant the bottle brush, before the sun illuminates the heights of the crooked pines, the crows reach the sky. Raucous upon the swaying cypress, spreading their shadows across the eaves, always calling. The glide and fly and dive and soar, mingling the wind with their whims, aiming their swift ink towards feast or threat or declamation. With a cry and a flutter, a crow bends the bough above me. I scuff the pavement, and wander as I must.

Such a cold blue, such a fitful wind-- at such a moment spring is only rumor among the winged and the wild. Only this chorus of black feathers are honest brokers along the borders of the sun and the season. Ever the early bird, they beckon to their numbers, noting enmity and chance as it is strewn through out the streets and landscape. Glide past the solar panels and ancient aluminum aerials, soar above the palm fronds, chuckle coarsely at the fleeting gods. Heaven is only in this moment the firmament to drape their shrouds, common and as eternal as any loose assembly of mysterious heroes. The earth is the lamentable tangle of feet and ankles, the crowded lanes of the fallen and the banished, where they only pause to feast and revel. Their long hall bends past the lightening horizon, Valhalla brushed with wicked laughter.

I fall below the long gaze. I scramble with the children of wolves and the last chimpanzees. The day beckons to blossom and sparrow, to all the furtive hungers and flitting nerves. Speeding metal and the tide of tarmac that never subsides. I live among the prayers for folding paper and the statues made for ideas long after our tribes abandoned understanding the world. The rising of the plastic bag, the migration of the herd of fast food detritus and unslaked appetites. There is a host above that knows us, skimming above the mystery of whispers of radiation and below our blind eyes just past the atmosphere. We are the marks of the long con, the meat for the last best feast we will ever attend. The crow unfolds the map that exactly matches the world, and without a glance, leaves it behind.

Friday, May 14, 2010

of sun kings and bleeding saints

It feels the same to tongue and tooth. Just another syllable, slipping from the mouth. Just another word, too bitter or too sweet to not be spat out. The breathless phrasing, the subtle jibes, the saying for the sake of being heard. It is all the same to the meat and machinery, lip and lung and ligature. The mind folds the phrases into their tiny pretty boxes. In the end, the mind always takes the blame.

The snails have taken all but the stem and bloom of the freshly planted marigolds. There is no telling how much damage they will do before they are done. I say nothing, not surprised, not proven right. Some garden and groom, their feeling for growing things clear and resonant, green-thumbs up and so on. I am of the weeds and the wilds, unkempt and resigned to let the world accomplish what it will from my own designs. I spill words, numb and imprecise. As for the green and the seeded, I am always at a loss. I plant a lot and let the world decide. I always try to settle up before closing. Leaving nothing for last call but a tip.

I am always writing in the dark. I am talking out loud, but mostly to myself. I can not help make sense for anyone who overhears. The world works things out one way, minds have their own ideas. There is fact in every flavor, but no accounting for taste. Give it up for God, save a prayer for later, drink one for the darling dead. My hands are empty all the same. I leave these words behind me, doing whatever it is I do. I might stumble, I may smolder, I might seethe and radiate. Every burning isn't for the brightness, every light is not a guide.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

smoke

It is like using your imagination
only everything is real--
the dry certainty of the paper,
the scuff of fingers straying
off the mark. Even the warm wax
surety of your own flesh
feels plastic and resolute
as the dusk sinks in.
Reading out loud, only the words
seem so out of place, made up,
lost in the machinery of breath
and hope. So be still
while the ashtray is cluttered
and the smoke boils away.
Be still while that far horizon
sinks into the remembered and
the lost. Those fires in the distance
never meant for warmth.
What comfort is left belongs
with-in that sacred act of burning
rising above the ruins of the world.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

i misunderstood

The morning so cold, then the night so warm. One thing seems to follow another, another thing seems to happen just to happen. It makes for buckets of explanations. It makes for hours of bluff and chatter. My feet were interrupted from their rhythm by the traffic of snails; above my head, a stippling of stars. Time can crawl as well as fly.

I never manage to miss the moon until it has gone, daylight just that much more filler, moonlight just so many more myths and poems. Shaved down to a sliver, I can feel it melting away, even though I know it is only bathing in our broad shadow. It is deigning to share our night. Somethings are there until they are gone, only to echo and ripple through the holes left in the world. Somethings, unlike the moon, do not bother coming back.

So goodnight to dreams, all of you left dreaming. Goodnight to the sweet heart kisses you might covet and the secret faiths you blaspheme. Night settles gently, night falls so hard, night is toasted in the broad bright halls of our dead fathers, night is cursed in the depths of our mother's unlit street. You grow further the farther along I go. Tracing these maps full of mistakes, these charts of stars and misdealt hands and spent bullets. I blow a kiss, I save my breath. I never knew you, and I never will.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ritual

The yard is littered with the victims of the wind-- leaf and limb, the scattered debris of that last unyielding breath, a fledging dead and mauled past recognition. Always the danger of flying too soon, the threat of falling too far to contend with, each ragged night, each shining day. The sound of lawn mower engines and youthful braggadocio, the relentless affections of our distant star, heat and rhythm and ribbons of steam to litter the sky. I am itching with impulse, laden with awful truths and pitiful labors. Even the peripheral life is busy with daily burdens it would seem.

This lately loosed sun has its admirers-- they sing and clutter the world with their nattering swarms. Safe from the weight of shadow, from the lingering of the uncertain, and those shambling fears that settle in the base of the imagination, they march in multitudes. Never truly at work or at play, they flay their flesh and choke the skies, every twitching whim a command of the highest order. Mingling with them forces me towards hurtful etiquette and the theater of familiarity. When the weather is harsh, their glad tidings stay happily indoors. When the weather warms, their infections fester and bloom.

Now the nights will roil with clamor and scandal, errant gun shots and foolish tells. I am forced to be witnessed, a simple ritual raising the animal stirrings, whispers of dead ancestors to twist and churn in careless skulls. Manifesting sudden flesh as an answer to all the steaming piss and fearful yelps. The old ways wind through my blood and bones, that sharp sliver of the moon, those haunted distant stars. Even third wheels and fifth businesses have duties bound in the telling and the being. Through the longer darker nights I must wander. Every absence has its price.

Monday, May 10, 2010

banished

Someone finally untied the rain, and it came in glittering beads and daisy chains, dazzling amid the blinding blue of the all but clear sky. The wind turned the rainfall into a fusillade, strafing the unguarded world askew. The windows were flailed and spattered, beads of water trickling down through the gathered dust. These long strings of water loosed, the sun so bright it was blinding. Odd that to watch the rain, I had to shield my eyes from all the glare.

Now the coffee maker coughs and sputters, spitting out hot black coffee and the heady call of curls of bitter steam. My thoughts lean against the sides of my skull, threaded with straw and silk. My mind has trawled through the weather, scraped the curbs and kissed the gutter already. I am sinking, just sitting still. The smell of coffee alone seems to be all that sustains me. The promise of that first cup of ichor, the ink black root of motive, that ritual kiss of oblivion that awaits. The wheel turns backwards, to begin this spin again.

The rain has graced the new plantings and the old growth alike, a breath of life brought by an icy wind and a fickle storm. Each leaf glistening with that engine of green, the color of sun battened to the work of root and earth. The scrub jay takes curt, precise samplings of the fauna, while a crow rides long arcs through the trembling sky. I pour coffee into a grubby, spattered cup. Steam rises, banished by my breath. Steam rises, tethered to all the bitter hot meaning I abide.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

we will never know

I bring to the table a poverty of expression, a tongue lathered with lies and shredded by the insolence of broken teeth. The broken boards of language, discarded in the dirt, stacked by the rat-claimed wreckage of the pressed metal shed. Every slip, every swallow, every single glimmer of sincerity another stone skipped into the inclement depths. Empty out the pockets, buy whatever a handful of change and lint can manage. Promise a flower from this tangle of weeds, promise a poem from these kindling scraps and fleeting breaths.

The icy wind has whittled away the storm, left its flayed flesh hanging in motley strips from the lichened limbs of spring minded trees. A storm dried to jerky, a storm mummified in small measures. The wind saps the strength from duty, it parches glib throats, stills the tongue of the unbirthed epics we will never know. The shell of this world grown bitter and brittle, dappled with gray clouds, dowsed with the bright blue certainty of the flailing sky. Our failings so shovel ready, plated so precious you could eat them with a spoon.

Laden the sands with the sparse promise of flowers, the colors bent towards spectrum we can not see, all these lovely shapes and perfumes built to seduce libidinous insects and the occasional bat or bird. Pummel the clay with pick and spade, shape the soil after whim and wanton delight. The egregious assaults wound us formally, but the small losses seem bruise pretty, even sweet. The slipped grip of fortune, the story falling prey to the usual second act foils, loves ministrations suddenly nothing but proof of some ghastly pantomime. We are not what we once were. We never were. So goes the pattern of these words spat out at the first featherings of dusk. The burdens shed that weighed nothing all along.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

44

Slip into sleep with your eyes still open, fall asleep sitting there on the sofa, television telling you its stories, the world moving unchanged through the cosmos. You awake a stranger, awake later than you thought it was in the wrong room, the wrong movie dully playing, the world having spun its way into night. It is the sharp sameness that makes these dull differences. Another year, all the worse for wear. Another year, clasping some absence, waking up alone on a couch in the dark.

Outside the wind is up. You make a note of it, as you measure every change in the weather. Like you had flocks in the field to tend to. Like you had crops in the row to worry. Hands in pockets, you slide into the ragged slippers you must have shed in your sleep. Knotted feet and rough toes tangle with fabrics you never bothered to identify, and together, feet and slippers, you shamble along the mystery of the floor. Open the fridge, swallow too much cold water. Will you wait until now to founder? Will this be the moment you choose to drown?

A slice of cake, some cold pizza. Take a moment to draw the blinds. Never stand backlit by an open window. Always know how your shape might be noted in the night. You sit down again, out of ideas and impulses. You turn on a light, scratch the muzzle of the sleeping dog beside you. You watch a beautiful, brutal film. There is something there, in the muddle, out in the drawn distance. Something out there that is of you. Another year, this is where it finds you. Another year, with the winds on the rise, billowing through your ordinary flesh.

Friday, May 7, 2010

sun and soil

A bruise bright sky and the sound of shovel work scrape at the skin of the morning. The house stray lays in the tall grass, ready to pounce on the finches and sparrows that feed in the street. Unknown flocks dot the distant horizon, spattering the tree-line, moving to a music everything seems to hear. The sky seeps through branch and leaf, eking yellows from the lighter greens. The foliage is a-fire, spring running at a frolic from root to stratosphere. A blinding rampage trampling the heights of vision.

Now there is dirt beneath my finger nails and spider webs at my throat. Breaded with fine earth and seasoned with sand I am ready for the fire, should my text tinged critics prove right. Or at least some further baking of that more impartial counsel the sun. Life is a mystery, yet everyone has an answer. I will dig one hole to fill another and let them fight it out in prayer and cursing. I will set another bed where no-one will sleep.

This long last year has cost too much already. Too many wounds, too many graves, too many infected with the certitude of ignorance and the fury of confusion. It is only nine in the morning and I feel I am up too late. Everything has long since started, more than a few things are over. Bold strangers try to tell me the story of the universe and of all the dangers to my soul. I offer to tell them something about Spiderman, but they quickly lose interest. I offer them what blessings I can and show them to the street. They walk off in sad certainty, and I linger here where the earth and the unknown mingle. Sun and soil and trillions of varied appetites, the world lit and burning bright.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

painted by numbers

Night says goodbye like a stranger, with barely even a gesture before shrugging its shoulders and fading away. Trees are hung with the usual flittering ornaments, late bats and early birds, shimmering with the aura of a relentless wind. Traffic glides by with that bleary-eyed purposefulness of coffee-steamed commuters and jangly nerved thrill seekers, accelerate and brake in quick succession. If there are stars, I can not see them. Heaven feels like just another hammer, looking hard for defiant nails.

The sidewalks play tricks on the uneven eye, first the color of shadows, then the color of cement. Feet scrape and stumble, a day laborer huddles in a sweat shirt, waiting for a bus. The skim-milk moon has turned to butter, melting into the morning's mood. Windows come alive with the shamble of electric light and alarms I only imagine. The flashing lights, the sudden buzzing rumble, the snooze-bar slapped, and the radio suddenly full of its crisp burdensome gossip. The pavement is pitted and cracked-- one can only imagine how mothers' backs must suffer.

Another day breaks right at the start. Shards and seams and stitches gnawed and ripped at. The flesh takes on some fitful living hue, the birds on the wing blown bright and lively. The colors of new cars and weary houses, of run-off water moving the gutter dirt around. The colors of mute cats, and abandoned shopping carts, and quick feathers too. All painted by numbers or written by fate. The day unfurls, a flag without one anthem for a nation out of bounds.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

nothing left to show

Half a moon gone already and nothing left to show. It just sits there, hanging there in the midst of sunrise, loitering into day. A cold and sulking stone, lingering amid all those melting stars, waiting while that old world keeps turning. Seeing it stuck up there make me think that something should be done. There ought to be a law, and so on.

Crows mobbing a palm tree, probably startled by an owl headed home to roost, but the reasons are the purest form of speculation. A stunted short-cut based on experience, the written word, and that heady human race towards reasons. Hunting for a causal relation, chasing after the smoldering trail of word after word, looking for that riddle that we are so sure must exist. I make up the kernel of a story I more or less believe, only to walk around the block to be scolded by a solitary crow on watch from a telephone pole. So goes the heart of this apostasy.

Whatever dwells in the distance, whatever hides in the stilted language of our host of holies, whatever we shape with our illusion and mistakes, it is always the heart we are hearing. Not the poetic heart that burns with love or the metaphoric heart that beats the brushes and the fields with its true and vital core. The heart of meat that is the rhythm of our breathing, the bolts that hold the cycling of atmosphere through our living blood that tells us these most basic tales. Life so urgent and clear that we see its earnest shape in the landscape and the firmament. We dream on, telling our ever changing stories. We dream on, the heart beat so imperative, the stars too far.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

over the rainbow

All the colors seem colder,
boiled down to a stammer--
that tin-pan alley purity
feeling so hackneyed pressed
against such bitter teeth.
Still, because singing is your best
bet left, you might as well sing.
Never mind how far you have fallen
out of rhythm, so far
that each step trips before
all the trippings have rung.
So far that every breath is forgotten
the very moment of breathing,
that each heartbeat is beaten
even before it begins.
This morning, so vivid and blue
it bends the green all a-glow,
burns brightest in that memory
you will never meet.
Where the singing colors
the sun like candy, and
every bird on wing is blue.

the calling

You chase sleep long enough, soon everything takes on the quality of dreams. It becomes hard to differentiate between thought and act, conversations blur and blend. The restless state of a busy mind that will not slow down, that blunt dull feel of waking death that soon tinges everything around. The fear of that unyielding insomnia arises when sleep becomes hard to capture, anxiety spinning its own web in my worried mind. Waking, the worry begins again. Such a lot of hubbub in pursuit of a simple dream.

A combination of too much caffeine and the change in the weather kept me up a few extra hours this morning. After a handful of hours asleep, I am up again. Finished one project, working up the spine to start the next one, that sense of purposelessness vivid and obtuse. I know I will sleep well upon my next pass. I know my moods and rictus, the wrenches I toss in the cogs and gears just to make sure I am paying attention. I adjust my rituals, add a couple new habits, and everything will seem to work fine again. When creating meaning, one has to rely on the strength of the weakness of the mind.

It is how belief begins. Someone shows you the holy sign, they show you the secret handshake, and the game is afoot. The kata you practice aren't combat-- they are the motions that will become combat when your body forgets that you once did not know them. The candles you light are not the magic or the prayer-- they are the spells you cast by understanding the meaning of these tiny fires. Do something long enough, you will wear a hole through the experience itself. That moment opens, and all things are with-in your grasp. Your dreams are only in the calling.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

brickwork

The bricks were laid upon the ungraded earth, to ride the soil as it sank and tangled. Weeds push through between each paving stone, doing the worlds work despite us. There isn't a level stretch to be found. The patio table where my coffee sits rocks ever so gently at my least touch, craving endless adjustment. I twist and nudge it just the same, finding some precious balance point. Never under estimate the many pleasures of that measure "good enough".

The wind is high, lapping viciously at the fresh greenery, cutting a swathe through the bruised and dusty night. I sit while my coffee quickly cools, abiding the long idle, biding whatever time will have me. Sipping warm coffee, watching the work of the wind as it layers the world with junk and wonders. Earlier a barn owl circled, clicking a trill quick chirp as it flies. The stray cat came down from my roof to bully me for affection. It has given up, and is sleeping spitefully on the porch. Wonders do cease, but they seem to have a hair trigger. You never can tell when they might start again.

It feels like forever, these fleet and lingering years. All the wandering, all the waste. The bitterness and the drama and the ten thousand charms of life all itch like fresh tattoos healing wrong. The night snakes through the hole built inside of me, time bleeding away like so much steam. We are alive at an odd moment. Things are changing faster than they have historically, the technologies of our parents the antiques of today. We think on a scale befitting our temporary status. A world wound with freeways and petroleum distillates, paved over like so many mass graves, is a new thing. We argue for the eternity that the lives we live must seem, placing bets that permanence isn't temporary. I swallow the last of my coffee, and head inside. The night will fade in a few scattered hours and yet it will outlast us all. Every brick laid, every moment treasured.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

the alarm

The sun dissolves in a series of quick cuts-- one moment so bright I had to guard my eyes, the next the horizon lit in gaudy abandon, the next the thick persuasion of twilight giving way to a star spattered night. Time for strays and swarms, air thick with mosquitoes and that shimmer of translucent wings. Time for the slow roll and the satellites. Time for the clock to run down, shadows lapping at every border.

The moon is stuck in limbs and eaves, melting into its latest angle. Music comes in lilting whispers and thumping declarations, served in patches and clots. My hands are idle, itching with stillness. There isn't a song in my head or a thought as to what might happen next. There is a silence that is mistaken for peace, a quiet that precedes the most vicious of dog bites and the most brutal of endings. When nature holds its breath, this means something heavy is in the works. Nothing so striking can be said of this empty I am spilling. The less said, the better.

The greener seasons begin to unfurl and unspool, throwing leaf and bloom like a brawler's fists. More birds than bees, more sizzle than steak: just a warming trend and clouds of pollen to fill the days. Sunscreen and insect repellent, yard work and street crime abound. Mostly I am waiting, waiting for midnight, waiting for that blue mood, waiting for a message or a sign. Another month banished to the realm of words and memories. Another year soon added to the total, waiting around for those sinful wages to be paid in full.

thread the needle

Without the stagecraft, the magic is at best incremental. A bit of starlight here, a slab of a moon sinking into the drab horizon. Without the show every direction is misdirection. The silhouette in the window, the coyote in the left turn lane. I drag my empty intentions along the chilly street, stars already beating a fast retreat. The world is here, loitering noiselessly. Traffic fans the intersection, watching the Christmas tree change come over the lights. That coyote fades into the long grass, carefully watching me witness its disappearance. Nothing up my sleeves--.

The thirst clings to the window dressing of this self. The dry wind, the lapsed vascular actions that hang that first sip of water as a polestar. The constellations always in the process of rewriting. Festive fragments caught on tongue tip and window glass, which fresh need huddled in the insipid swaddling cloth of my latest burden. The glass of water even better than it seems, my destiny turns again. Deck shuffled, deck gaffed, I make space for the waste I court and spurn. If it isn't appetite, what card will I force next to top the selection? If it was always appetite, the empty wouldn't sing so when the dawn claimed its winnings.

I follow the hints, I gaze at rapt spirits. I thread the needle in the blind mindless night. Such a stage, this wily old world. Such a lot of improv for such a heavy script. I take hunger and I take habit, and with pockets full of doves and secrets, I take this show on the road. Sudden dogs cry havoc, blunt wanderers clench their fists, we all play our parts. One long drink and a curl of evil smoke rising above me. A slow numb dawn, at long last giving everything away.