Wednesday, June 30, 2010

take the cake

She is a mystery, but it isn't the puzzle that you ache to unwrap. She is a glory, but her halo is not the radiance you wish to embrace. All the tricks of language, all the perceptions of intelligence, all the storied actions of art and creation-- they are the icing, not the cake. Flesh and breath and the lingering touch. She is a storm you can not wait to weather. She is the cataclysm upon which you would wager this life.

Every place has its lamentations, every bone is grown upon riddles. The tangled tales, the haunted hopes, she arrives amid a tide of ghosts and tears. She paces the worried hallways, she feathers her fingers along the lonesome walls. You trace her steps, and savor her stride. You prize her presence, you attend to her limits. Her arrival is your only destination. Still you go nowhere.

There is the night, and there is this garden. There are these dry tides of a constant wind seeping through the screen. Beasts sleep and dreams idle, her wanderings a fixed point in this beguiling blank. The moon in the leaves, the possum on the porch. She is not a problem ever likely to be solved. An unkind end, professed annihilation. A mouth full of cordite and spent brass. That kiss you would kill for, bound to be the last.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

gray to blue

Daylight, and I am the only stranger here. The gray slate gradates, full of birds and blues. Cement grays and asphalt grays, blues full of shadows and exhaust steam. The moon floats along some strident lines, swaying on transient hinges. Headache and the blur of distant voices. The radio crackle of these bookended days.

Cold sweats and looks of bewilderment. The shuffled deck of the book of ghosts. The sharp end of every sight, the rough side of every sound. Everything so out of place that there is no way of noticing that anything has moved. This is the world remade every day. This is the world, floating on a melting dream.

I drift on, a vague agent of the irrelevant. The lay of the land, so distant from the sky, so far from the offset ocean. The waking measures of waterbird and headlight, the broken rhythm of heavy feet. Nothing remains save these faint notations. The pull of a shadow, the heft of a light.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Even if they play the dreams backwards, you still awake the same. The journey loses a little something when you never arrive. Slabs of metal, chunks of stone, green fields where harrowing favors are grown-- all these myths are skinned and eaten right before you. Everything that lasts bites back.

You awake when the fiends are upon you. You awake with teeth slicing through your flesh. The nightmares linger in the hot dark room, no one to call, no light to entreat. Your breath and your sweat and your loitering demons, the ache of your flesh mingling with the feeling of created terror. Find your feet, find the light. Find some distraction, some artifice to find a little ease. Set your mind upon some gentle words. Trick yourself with any believable lie.

Watch the moths battling the porch-lights. Watch the mosquito as it leans towards your glistening skin. The light from the television, the air from the fan. Watch the spider on the ceiling as it goes about its work. Slow limbs and the shine of fresh spun silk. Let the cool air cycle through you, the glow of stolen light sink through your being. Relax and let the next wave set upon you. Relax and shed this peaceful flesh.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

the heretic

The breath spills, it seeds the shadows waiting furtively to consume the world. The breath sighs, it mingles with the wind that falls and falls. Heart beat, heart stop-- the slumbering flesh awakes in blinks and twitches. The heat that aimed to devour the day won it all, and yet it fades a little with the leaving of the light. The heat that binds us to our stillness and cooks the meat on the bone infuses ever sop with the signature of fire. Breathing easy, the shadow slowly devours it all.

It is the weariness that does not leave, the heavy heart and the staggered hand. Sunlight and swarms are all the day would offer, and that leadened tincture never left the blood. Age and misuse leave their marks, and that dead-eyed blue that never really leaves takes hold. All that is left is the rocks and the sinking, the autonomy of wreckage, that surety of the eventual slip. Work through the pain, because laying down is not an option. Keep on working because this world is all there is.

A hot dusk made all the hotter with coffee. A sore spot made all the sorer with feeling. Wings are not about to sprout, and there is no use swearing at the falling stars. The night holds back its multitudes for just another moment, this latency granted by these lasting mechanics and settled bets. The night grows slowly, spilling out from the dimming east. A bright brand of fire lays upon the horizon, cast silhouettes and shadow puppets from its flames. Another traveler settles upon a home, yet another sets out on the road. The coffee is strong and dark, and it is hot, and bitter to the taste. Sweat and dust and flies upon the front porch. The memory of something left to the moon.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

glass half-full

I thought I was done with drinking
though the glass still has farther to go.
The tree bending with the wind,
the sun still harboring the work of ants.
Our labors are eventually all that is left
once we get to leaving. I can only stay still
so long, then everything has to have a say.
The paving stones, the broken bricks,
the sway and skip of so much green
lost in the creep of dusk.
Steel and ceramics, so many small birds
feeding on something scattered in the street.
This is the life, daylight so slow,
sleep so fleeting. This is the life--
so much lost still left to lose.
Cracks in the pavement skipped,
honoring the lay of the rhyme.
Everything over, and still so much
waiting to hate and favor.
Another portion yet lit so suspiciously with-in.

Friday, June 25, 2010

i wrote it all down

There are bruises forming between my words and my meanings. Even those that I can never grasp show the effects of the speed of my missing. From root to limb, from leaf to sky, from green to blue-- I lose a little something in the journey. And each loss leaves a mark, the brutish grip of my flawed intentions. These foolish slips rendering each flawed thought a wound. Mistakes never the less still taking.

Most are content to live by lying. The hard leaning into beliefs that change one matter into the next. Ideas that claim sides, blind men and elephant style, to edit and oblige some narrow hope or hobbled thought. Stories made about absolutes and dreams, notions clung to with more fervor than life. Hundreds of millions plunged into brutal desolation because lies are so much prettier than the truth, levers for thieves and monsters to pry away each diamond, to snatch every dollar and devour every last sop. Look on the bright side, look into the abyss-- favor whatever fairy tale you have a stake in. Pluck some aspect of desolation and smile benignly at your gorgeous error.

Though rich in luck and favored with clever and loyal friends, my portion is mostly waste and lapse. Having labored with mistaken ways, picking the wrong words and the lost causes, little was left but loss. Scratching at itches that can not be reached, the wrong flesh sings and sings. The pen grinds the paper, the fingers thump the keys. Words hung upon the line, placed out of order and out of time. I wrote it down, thinking that my feelings were what I saw. I wrote it down, thinking that I could see.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

the antithesis of alibi

All the stars are falling, wishes wasted, candles spent. The glass is a slow tide, trickling away in the artificial light. The winds moves the trees, the whole sky sets its hips to swaying. The limbs of the cut down tree scrape the wall, sounding like a broom upon the walk. Midnight stills, then overflows. The lights are out and the door is left open wide.

You wrote your name in lipstick, in kisses and hyperbole on the empty page. You drank too much and picked a fight. Wild times I would have said, had I not been adrift in the breakage, words the only constant I'd allow. The good old days I would have said, ignoring the wreckage and the ruin that could only make me laugh. Spattered blood and broken bottles. Poems that were supposed to be about love.

It is in the moth beating away at the bare bulb. It is in the claims laden with sweat and dust. The night drives, its slow engine all gasp and sputter. The mood dives, blood having to have a say. I muscle through shards and artifacts, careful to bury the lead far from consecration. All the stops and pauses, the line breaks and lover's aches and failures of punctuation. These trifles trail along the quiet walls and crowded pages. The physics of every broken bond written down, the antithesis of alibi. The sky a swollen river, full of drowning dreams.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

human voice

Suddenly the sky has eyes lit through the unusual cover of crawling clouds, seeming to stare at me with disappointment or contempt. The illusion is unsettling, the story of my limping mind set free above these sleepy streets. The vision burning between power lines wilting, these dreams that wander frantic as I stumble into another day. I hear a braying conversation a bit behind me, startling considering how empty the block was as I walked through. I realize that the speaking was only geese wiling away from their wintering grounds. That human voice a distant stray, erring in the ebbing of the night.

This early I always imagine you waking, though your morning lived some time ago a world away. Still, you slip from cool sheets as I stagger over curb and asphalt. You slide into the steam and breathe of a hot shower as I gauge the intentions of commute traffic and water fowl. Something in the beading of water upon your bare flesh. Something in your reflection revealed as you wipe the gray haze from the mirror. A damp towel, a slender thread of dawn. All of my mistakes seem sweeter in these waking fictions and vague conceits.

I clear my throat, I spit into the too green lawns. They arrive in strips and patches, these verdant emblems of membership in owner's clubs and neighborhood associations. Song birds flit and natter, crows stroke bold traces across the sky. Headlights shine and exhaust fumes spill and doors slam and lock. I cross street after street, thinking in post cards and jokes. I imagine something we would talk about as the sun rises and the coffee brews. I imagine talking about nothing, falling into another off beat rhythm. I ease through these travels and transitions, carefully moving through this day ignored.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

the high ladder

The day has no direction, save the tendency to lean into the west. Dawn shuffles across the tree tops, it slides alone the roof. Brick to brick the shift is in. Sore limbs and hazy eyes make their varied adjustments. The fauna slips from bats to birds.

I wake up tired of waking, tired of the blunt edges placed upon rough dreams. The light is silt and gravel, I scuff the pavement, I gather the paper. My eyes yet too bleary to read, I carry a handful of blurred words up the drive. The stray crosses my path half a dozen times. Step by step I slowly approach the porch, a linear waltz paced step step cat, step step cat. It is cold for a warm day. The air is worried with chill winds.

I turn on the lights and open the blinds. I feed the dogs and wave away mosquitos. The compass is spun, the stones are thrown. The morning creaks with foot pads and radio crackle. I limp along while the sun climbs the high ladder. I pantomime habits while the world is lit and bitter. I pretend at work while the world falls blindly into another unwieldy day.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Oh but the light is always leaving,
our prayers wrung so hollow,
crumbs stuck to the plate.
Dusk only settles when the reckoning is wrong,
those lingering persuasions of sun,
the unintended blessings mentioned
as the passing of tired burdens.
The palette chooses grays and blues,
the black coffee bitter,
the moon but a husk.

The bassline beats at blood and stucco
the plaster all but peeling
with these painted metal fears.
Night arrives with out an escort.
Night arrives without hope or spite.
The dogs are always barking,
all strangers their neighbors.
Warning through fence and shrub,
calling out through window and wall.
The light has left us here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

this intimate dust

Make enough mistakes, a few are bound to be beautiful. Nature takes its time, but we are wound on different strings. The mirror tells it all, the race is on, fate is fleeting and there is nothing won without losing. So we cut corners, we burn bridges. We sever all limits and sting the only thing that might save us just to know the nature of the sinking frog and the cold muddy depths. She takes the cake, leaving us all barely breathing. She is the cat's meow, once we shred the pajamas. After all these shabby errors, you'd think we'd hold still long enough to see.

The guitars are scratching at the glass, the dogs just bark and bark. The tv shines just for pretty pictures and a little electric light. The itchy skin leaves and the hair stands on end, and every thought is imbued with a slightly blue cloud. Those slippery sadnesses that wind the clocks and count the minutes. The press against each pleasure, the knowing what is known, and the being who I am. How long the kiss, how perfect the promise, how deep the sighs--. The sweetest relief is carried at the cost of this grand transubstantiation, the measure of the self as these sets of leavings, as the remainders left of love. The music dances, the pictures burn. This flesh only knows the fade.

Watch the stars as they flutter, watch the moon as it weighs graven wishes in the night. The sun slips in while we are weary, steals a glimpse or caress. The night settles down beside us with every intended forever allowed, dropping every pretense upon the floor. Slivers in the finger, blisters on the hands. We shed our work in a slow fury, we wear our skin like excuses. The music will not save this breath. The fire will not contain this witness. Even when I arrive I am leaving. I miss her before I even show. This intimate dust, this evident remnant.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Somehow the light does not leave when I close my eyes. The glow has nestled there, close to my flesh, caught in refraction or burned into the essence of sight. Sleep strays, and waking is always strange. A few words harbored from some unfettered dream, some absurd certainty that was all but true several breaths ago. Vision is all but broken the moment I switch on the lights, yet seeing seems so clear and right. The explanation left is all stammer and sigh.

I wake on the sofa, a dog curled by my feet, all cramped muscled and bone threaded with ache. The talk from the television squandered what was free of dreaming, words that do not fit the limits of these pictures, stories borrowed from the ether and transplanted into this storm of blood and want. Standing feels like yoga, and in walking each step seems something new.

It is still dark, and the stars ripple through sheets of cold clotted wind. They flicker in the fickle atmospherics, they sparkle in my astigmatic gaze. It is that four in the morning feeling, where the night can not be short enough and still you can not imagine its end. It is that feeling where the awakening is the message, sheltered in a bottle and tossed into the tide. The insistence of sight when all the light is cast at angles, and the flesh only is able to list every failing. The persistent starlight, dancing like candle flames, cast upon the rollicking wind.

Friday, June 18, 2010


The sallow breath of the sea sat upon the dawn, the broad hush of gray, the soft kiss of wings as they rise. The wind, so soft and cool, caresses it all like a lover readying betrayal. This gentle ruse begins as retreat, and spins so slowly upon its heels you hardly notice the turning. There was a promise, and there was a plan, and then there is nothing at all. Even the memory evades the reaching of the sun.

All the bounty is scattered among chance and animals, all the mystery left beneath the flesh. Just the rhythm of feeding, just the singing of bones enduring work. Only so many, only so much, and the living reveal their last splendor, their latest last words. So it is with the fleeting gray, so it goes with these fits of green and these rumored blues. The story is not the depths of competition, but the slow attrition of lovely wonder. The story ends with the story in full erasure. Every mirror is a near miss.

At last no prayers, at least no immediate woes. The change in the pocket, the dirt upon the shoes. Tread so softly, soon all worry and grace lay in expressions of existence. Breath so softly even the air may forget. Too late to learn that it is not the mark upon the map or the prints in the earth, but the making of the map that commits us to our being. Too late to find that sleep is needed, but it can not be enough. Weary of this unremarkable grace, belly full of wonders, eyes close as if to dream. Eyes close, and the story supposes all the rest.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Somedays I awake having lost my name, the self only one tether, a figment of stability awashed in possibilities. For a few moments I lose all the rumor and strife that bind me, that brightest brand alight in the simple joy of not being this one, that dead-ender adrift in such exquisite freedom. As if identity was that certain doom I have thrown so many empty words towards. As if I would do any better with another face and a fresh set of deficiencies. It always comes back to me tinged with your average package of disappointment and resignation. It isn't right; it isn't just; it isn't even all that much: but it is the only way I know.

The world seems too full just yet, all the furor and strain addressed in that bowl of night-- once brimmed with shadow and star-- emptying out at the broad and bright horizon. Long streets running into or away from the sun, limp eaves and fallen branches. My footsteps too certain for any probable outcome, my stride too slow for walking and too ungainly for a stroll. I stagger out some familiar route, nearly dragging the old dog like a pull toy while the young dog all but champs at the bit. Mail box, then enclose an awkward circle. These wan completions we accomplish that are never done with us. The brickwork of small habits that will laden down the day.

I plan to pause and smoke awhile. I plan to learn to focus through the mesh of gnats and dust while the sky takes on a little color and the birds turn to their trades. Even the least of my plans have little to recommend them, and even less chance for success. I will scratch any itch, riddle the drama away from any scar. A few hollow actions with-in this hallowed world. The abrupt brush of intentions meeting their inevitable ends. There are lessons assured for learners. There are reasons enough to fill in any unwieldy blanks. Always more names than things, and nothing left of consequence to neglect.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

over yonder

It is only that least touch of light finding flesh, that tiny fire you ignite exposed to the household torches and window shine. It is that soft breath captured upon a pillow, that scent of lingering contentment you trail in your dreams. It is that sense of rapture you reveal, glancing out a window in the hum and rattle of a morning train. All these little things endure, in the dense empty of your absence. All these small facets glow, in the temper of these luckless rooms alone.

I sift through failings, through the liquid insistence of sweat and blood, that absolution sea water wishes upon the gutted beach. All these shells and detritus, the tide pools squirming with lost consensus. The sun falling upon open gutters and broken glass. The stars are farther now, the earth caught in a tail spin, every waking moment full of shelves and spiders. Your name escapes me last. This distance is complete.

You will wake to strangers voices, to strong coffee and warm sheets. You will sort through details, news stories and inside jokes, photos fielded from far away by close friends and alien worlds. You will love strongly and laugh for free, in this other life you have nursed back to life. Once timeless, now you tremble, thinking of the meaning of my name. Once won, now you win simply by waking. Your eyes fixed and distant, some star guiding lost travelers countless thousands of miles away. Your eyes alight, through that brittle window, in that pale lamplight.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

a certain crucial blue

The sky was the color of sirens, or maybe it was the color of a trumpet's wail. A certain crucial blue that always seems upon the verge of some great change. A prophetic hue speaking to just that perfectly honed portion of soul, that margin where every mistake is made. Painted by this collision of spectra and inference, the sky seeming to be saying something, just to you. The conclusions are varied, but all land in the sharp fragments of the meaning of your name.

So many ways of knowing, you think you have them all figured. The earth's bounty, the providence of heaven. That better blooming that arises from all manner of disaster. These gifts of lemons, limited to that potion of added sugar and water. Tricks of definition, tricks of release, the treats you adorn with this placid thinking. It is only natural, this magic. You are bound to be resigned. It may as well be towards the best of all possibilities.

Preference takes its toll, this likening of the wisdom of creation to your toiling tastes. Settling upon this sediment, you ignore the source of the stream. Loving this silt, you forsake that long cool drink. Natural is no nobility, and invention is not all blessing. The best we manage are our over corrections, careening into the mountain instead of hurdling off the bridge. The world is as it was though it changes. The sky the color of whatever atoms are prevalent just at that bandwidth of light. Your life some preposterous story, written and amended as you go. Your mood the cloak creation wears while you watch the prophecies dissolve.

Monday, June 14, 2010


The claws work the flesh, plucking shreds, drawing blood. With the dulled vision of fever heat you watch your skin flayed, scarcely feeling an interest. Asleep, awake, the story unwinds the same. The sound of gear teeth meshing, that rush of electricity mingling with living meat. A face the color of turned milk, eyes afloat like bruises at long last free. There is a voice, or maybe just a promise. The only wonder left is that they bother.

You shuffle the deck, deal out your usuals. Pretty picture that fall just short of winning. The story started left undone. These cards are a comfort of continuity in the rest of the bluff and shambles, the boiled shadows that spill and spill. So devils and angels wander the halls. So the dead just can't settle down. They have said their peace. They have made their deals. Now they can find their own hobby, or they will have to do without.

You know the nightmares are losing out when you don't know it was a nightmare until long after sleep is over. Every medicine seems to suffer the effects of diminishing returns, every poison seems to lose its sting. Fingers linger in the substance of your heart, making oaths and spitting lies. Strangers making claims over dead letters and turns of phrase, ghosts that moan and wail, never closing their mouths when you close your eyes. You can take their worst and then some. You can take it twice and then write it a note for teacher. You are through pretending, and they are haunted through the ruins you have made of your life.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


They move in clusters, though each moves alone. Dust brown, a tiny crowd settles in the shadow cast upon hot asphalt. The small birds sort through the gravel, pick at twig and leaf. One lights upon a chain link fence, then another. Soon the flock fills all the empty spaces between leaf and limb, rising through the reaching tree, rising into the sky. The sparrow's flight another certainty I am stuck to.

The fields of my youth are largely lost, like the pop songs and hair styles that will never come around again. Tract housing and screwy churches where horses were boarded, gated apartments where thistles and milkweed once grew. I walked the gravel roads and fence lines long before I knew they would be gone. Whatever is always seems like it is going to be forever, what has gone seems an inevitable fossil. Things come and go. Our lives are all renunciation and clinging.

The heat of the day seeps into all the rooms, cats and dogs laid out drowsing on the floor. The heat seeps through my flesh and soaks through my shirt despite all my stillness. I laze in the cooler shadows, watching the finches, jays, and sparrows. Flight and fall, hunger and escape. I take a breath, and then another, the day all languid greens and burning blues. I watch all the familiar changes, another season almost over. Another season almost due.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

one word

The stars all settled in the ceiling, and the wind was all out of breath. The moon was hiding in some haystack, and the night spilled down the stairs. I thought I would pause to count my heartbeats, but my eyes soon filled with smoke. Always a fire, always something burning. Always some new pen awaiting that last stroke.

You would think that sleep would be forgiving. You think that dreams could be fantastical and kind. Sleep though is only a seance, and my dreams keep bringing the dead to life. Not for portents, or for warnings. Not for sigil or for sign. Just awkward parties and clipped conversations. Just the realization upon awakening of all the depths and measures I have lost.

So the clock turns and time does its stepping. I am here while midnight has the floor. Every prize lacks consolation. Every wish is another battered door. The moon long gone, and the stars all settled. The words come round just to roost on the wire. Something wanted is a bet yet taken. Something lacking never needs a finish line. Asleep, or startled and awakened, my life leaves one word at a time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

iron mask

It seems slow then all at once the gray wall shifts, color spilling from every surface of each once worn shadow. Brighter all at once the world loses just a little, all that solar nurture a sudden blinding to tiny blessings. Eyes dull their focus, or chase everything that is bright and lively. Eyes lose their reason, swallowing so much light. The face given and the face witnessed separate ever so slightly. Fitted to that distance, the mask weighs in unseen.

Shape given up to shine, the portions that have blinded reside in their stories. Radiance makes a mess of once clean object, bowing and tuning the light that strikes just so. Photons plume like wind swept smoke, spiking and curling in vivid cloud. Giving up facts so careful they are fictions, secrets that seem like divination that ought to be taken as simple asides. Matter caught in such bothersome press and orbit always an addition to all the besides the points. Leaving to much to imagine, too many words loose at once.

The world is too bright for my eyes. The swarms upon glass colored wing, the flocks upon painted flickers. All of the reach and bloom the green insists on. Bundles of carbon and metal and flecks of what could be gold dashing on streets of pitch and grit. Everything all song and sway, every motion brush strokes and stipple, I turn away from so much light to see. Instead I plow these fingertip cyphers and raised intentions. I return to some ghost laden recipe, and get everything wrong at once.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

the measure of my dreams

It is the first light I see before I close my eyes that nestles in these revelations. It is the ghost of a moment, the breath of intent. The smooth skin and all its comfortable assumptions, the bounty pressed by bone and earth. That stirring of sheets just before dreaming is unleashed. That settling of circumstance to the stillness deep with-in. I hold your name there, like a wish before scant candle-smoke. I hold your name, like some secret that makes everything real.

I comb the globe for hints and rumors, read as much of the news as I may bear. I listen to the bass line as it unwinds the song's report. Every click and whistle is an escape or an assault, the threat of such a driven distraction, the flex of a throat before speech or swallow begins. The nape of your neck, the reach of your spine. Those wings always so ready to fly. Empty hands folded together in resignation. The smile that suggests how closely the sacred resembles defeat.

Lips curl and knuckles crack, I stretch out a familiar ache clutching at my back. Scratching after scars, smoothing out the stubble. Light touched only by air and dust. A memory of your hair, a trance-like silhouette against thin drapes. Somehow the things that sleep releases feel so much like beautiful regrets. Things that could not happen seem to grow heavier with remembering the moment that was missed. Things that always happened lost in those mysteries of lit skin, bare but for this touch. Fingers tracing promise they never could forget.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I can't wait around for inspiration. I don't sleep enough to count on dreams. So instead it is the steaming of the coffee maker, the stained lip of the unwashed cup. It is the dusk steeping through the blinds and the moths beating at the screen. It is wind-chimes and traffic sounds and the squeals of children free at least while summer break lasts. I haven't the time to court a muse, so I amuse my hands with the keyboard and the screen. The world is too large and I am too hollow-- what is left is the whims of the wind.

Outside the light is dimming. The single lamp lit does more to blind me than to reveal the room around. I swallow coffee and I sigh, a little too loud for simple breathing. The price is right and all the pieces fit, but the puzzle is all in the need for the figuring to match the picture. There is much in me that is wanting, and I am about all tooth and appetite, but my lack doesn't have much that will lessen it. I am that addict that finds sobriety from boredom with his addiction. There isn't a picture I crave more than these pieces, stirred and jumbled. There isn't an answer coming that is worth the asking.

Long ago I gave up on ghosts, though I use all manner of gods and monsters to fill in the gaps of all my porous explanations. They clasp me with their frozen fingers, I take a few to cool my drink. They wake me rattling their heavy chains, I sell the steel as scrap metal, pocketing any jingling as legal tender. I mingle with my usual retinue of strays and swarm beneath the typically cheap imagery of moon and stars. I stare up at the firmament through silhouette trees, humming some song almost nobody knows. Keeping company with refuse and other quaint relics, I file the ordinary report. Nothing much happened. I noticed it all.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

the cover

If they can't cheer the singer, at least let them cheer the song. That time soaked playlist, those favorites that you feel whatever your mood. The words you mouth without thinking, the singing that stays with you long past all the music being done. You can hear them in your silent places. You can see them written in the gravel in the road.

These songs we cleave to carry the distance between times, eras where the meaning was so vastly different that the sameness startles. They stick because the mirror smooth surfaces of our hearts cling to feelings true and familiar. There is a conversation in that conversion, a telling so fluid and feral it will never be captured or caged. The cover song sang to be quaint or ironic still rings in that place that language can never master, the unbidden intrusions of life. These songs sustain the strength of culture and the intimacy of living itself.

Blood speaks to blood, real feels real. You don't know the singer, but the song unfurls inside your veins. That warm heady draping, dreamlike and furtive, each verse drawing you out inside. That trance that opens the unseen door, the secret light that abides despite all this sin and ruin. The song goes on, resonating with the open window, playing in the light and glass. You are unlaced and bound, always so alive outside of time. So bright and obscure, that memory that serves only to make remembering automatic. Each place, each life, each bite taken-- another song breathed into a pillow. Another window lit from with-in.

Monday, June 7, 2010


The silence is broken by the press of objects, placed on shelves and in corners. Layered with dust or smudged with the awkward attentions of too many fingers. Stacks of books read once, stacks waiting to be ever read. New technologies and time worn tools. Shoes and lamps and remote controls. Layer upon layer of accumulation. A crowd of gifts and burdens.

There is a catalogue of wishes that wade through my head. They range from the realm of the readily available to those that would require time itself to change its ways. Lucre and odd comforts, distance from nearer neighbors, closeness to a few of the further stars. It is these lists that linger, hear among the longer languid hours before dawn waddles in with its routines and its lights. I would draw a map back to the road I was almost on. I would write a poem that would settle a bet. Instead I shift the words around like blame in middle management. Instead I sift through the threads left in the hole I wore through my dreams.

Yesterday I caught the dawn lit behind the weight of birches, beneath a crescent moon and the bead of Venus. I call the trees birches because they lined the lot of an apartment complex called the Birchwoods. I am guessing it was Venus because of the brightness and the hour. The moon-- I would know that guy anywhere. The phrase that caught me then was that heart of Islam moon. I had used it before, years ago, but it had returned to me for that moment, some loitering moon and thoughtless dawn decades later. Words I had scattered somewhere before, leavened into ones I waste again. I never find the meaning, I never find the feel. But the empty in me keeps me looking. Rearranging all the words I find. Writing them down in stacks and stacks.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

your beauty

It isn't so just because I said it. And it isn't so just because it is what others believe. Your beauty is a constant, a mark in the map of the universe. It is a sign and an acknowledgement. It is the root of all roads and any places made home. It is the mother's knot of creation, fixed into the earth and the firmament, written into the rules that make us human. It is that ached for place, so long ago and faraway that it makes myths seem like trial transcripts. It is that longing left over from before all worlds were born.

I would write this to you in a letter, save that I have used up all the words. I would sing this to you below your moonlit window, but all those coffin nails have a price attached. So instead I creep like an illness, infecting each line like an idea passes. Each line an echo of an echo, a picture of a mirror in full reflection. Instead I spit riddles, puzzling out each verse as the night unwinds. You shine behind these dreamer's eyes, you dance like the light in the tide. I paste all the words I stole on a note that would ask that ransom. The price: you knowing your value in these tales of theft and endings.

You know the slow moments and the lingering losses. You know the worst places, the weight of the fist, the kiss of the boot, the work of gun barrel and knife blade. You know the burden of keeping the pieces despite each break and shatter. You know the work of holding the world together when no one else will. It is that love you have reverse engineered from crimes and atrocities, and made it something brighter than most human feeling. It is that beauty you imbue, having endured such torment and battered trust. You hold each heart bare and beating in your hands. It is your name I breathe, like any criminal prayer. Your beauty almost enough to make an afterlife bearable, or a belief in heaven worth living all these lies.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

reasons to fear

Though the flesh is weary, pressed by heat and impact, crushed by the sunlight and the dwindling blue of the atmosphere, the ritual remains. The ritual endures despite every meaning being forgotten, every reason a relic buried in hot sand. Each movement enshrined deep with-in muscle memory and the burden of bad habit. The flame is tendered, the smoke kissed, the ash cast into the sandy earth. Fire burrows beneath the surface. Fire finds some small portion of all this heat and light.

This skin flecked with ash and pollen, this skin that tastes of salt and smoke, sampled by the blood hungry hordes and other little slips of sight. These hands, harrowed and stained, following their blind courses, riddling out their secret pacts. They reach and stretch, they scratch and grasp. Stubble along a rough jaw, paper stippled with empty words. It transition and in stillness, they replay these rote dances and deathly spells. They twitch and they tremble. They find the fire just the same.

We turn and we tumble, savoring our portions, spitting out the rind. We weave at depths we can not witness, a pattern so broad and familiar it seems always to be there. We turn out these breathless spells and everyday enchantments, counting the minutes, bleeding out each day. The dusk as it settles, the dawn as it cuts. We cup the fire, we swallow the smoke. We extinguish the flame, knowing that it still smolders. We snuff the candle, making up reasons to fear the dark.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I would be that difference left when breath escapes the trance of breathing, that lapse between speech and gasp, that point before all smaller calamities ensue. I would be the broken vow and the spoiled oath, the confessions of iron left to the rain. That pause of salt, all glamour and radiance, all metal and ash. Lingering there, neither wholly solid or that blush of liquid, pressed against your lips. Passion's kiss or the finger of silence, I would be there before our myth begins.

That painting all pigment and quick brush stroke, somehow better than the real thing by that slim virtue of being not it. That picture, so lovely, and cropped just so. All art is a certain indifference to the facts as they are found. Art is the eye on the crime scene, carefully choosing every proof of crime. To turn against becomes the truest worship, apostasy every evidence of the case betrayed. It is every reason to cling to the shadows. It is the thing that makes you love the locks at night.

Write your name in blood sewn ink. Tell your story in your chosen pound of flesh. Name your poison, and buy a round for the house while you're troubling that out. I have read all the mistakes into the margins, learned all the space staying negative is the reasons for the words. In between every line, after every sentence, I will whittle dash and point. I am cleansed of every motive, settled of every bet. Forever untouched by blade or blame, I remain that note of purity. That open moment when the lie began

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I want to only use the wrong words. I want to speak awkwardly and out of turn. I want this confusion to be confounded, all the archaic and unseemly palaver to rise from their cryptic slumber: zombies from a graveyard, Dracula from his tomb. Only the haggard and the hated. Only the forgotten and denied.

There is nothing gentle in a spoken tongue, less kindness left in the scratched out bones of speech. Language has all but forgotten any favor, life lost to salvation with these snips and hints. Letters fill the boxes of the puzzle built only to obfuscate and intrigue. Letters leave these plastic keys and disappear from all thought and feeling. The rough invective, the blunt and brutal blows. My only legacy, scattered into particles. Clipped and riven, sacrificed by fistfuls to the wind.

I am caught in the blistering of the unsteady labor, the wear of mistakes of experience and technique. There is no consolation left to stories, no thoughts skipping across the midnight pond of the mind. Fingers move without plan or pretense, tense flesh and smooth plastic. Dozens of fitful impacts, that gangster lean of bluff hyperbole striking that wall of impassive matter. Swift and impersonal, the touch of a contagion burning in the blood. Transmitting static shaped like a soul.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


There is no air from where I call you, no breath to sip or waste. My voice has long since left with the tide as your eyes ride the wave chopped moon. It is outside of time or instance, just a tingling on your neck, an itch that missed your skin. Every mood you shed rings out my forgotten name, alone in some soup of remembrance. Every day you wake tangled in my truth, a scent you forget from faith in sleeping. The dance continues in your crystal stillness. The dance we will forever wear, long after all flesh is lost.

And so I find you, restless in clean sheets. So I find you, fevered in a cool room. How your open eyes must paint those walls, how your sight flees out every window. The beading of the water as you turn off the shower. The gentle roughness of a towel, the brush meditating through your hair. A note written by skin in steam. The sudden invocation of surprised senses, the taste of citrus, the scent of wisteria. Those alibis and second thoughts that haunt the racket of a troubled world. The ease of your heart, slipping its way through that tangle of breath and blood. Your tongue pressed gently between your teeth. The world unwound as you have imbued it.

I speak from the ache of lapsed faith. I speak from the haunted places and the ruined schemes. You name is my anchor and my transit. It is the sound I live in between worlds and ways. It is the price of passage as all possibilities collapse. In this boundless observance I am only aimless direction. Nothing but the change of language into speech and speech into life. I would claim my place in this world in your mass of meat and bones. I would rend my wishes into your flesh, that burning kiss of ink and steel, all pain and blood and linger. My claim could only ever be a scar, that wish that extinguishes a flame. Your light forever a shining just short of the saying of your name.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Just a breath and the seeds are scattered. Just a breeze and the count is on, the multitudes shifting along the lines of fate, the possibilities taking their given chance at grace. Each shift in the atmosphere, each stirring of the shadows, each gathering of the swarms frees some taste of the inevitable. The inevitable always being measured at a backwards glance, across the safe and expert distance of time.

Certainty is a heritable trait of culture, eyes first open in the ebb and wash of language. Once the events are settled into that elder tense, once the letters have settled upon the page, the notions are set and destiny is born. History reveals all sorts of majesty, if picked at by the needful and the assured. You are here, and all that happened before was meant to secure that. You have won. So now what?

Earlier I watched a mocking bird at battle with one of my morning crows. Another mocking bird sang its dawn measure of invective and salutations, while a scrub jay worried grubs and insects along the ground behind me. Earlier still I witnessed heron and egret wading into feasts of crawdad and minnow, a duck gliding along the skin of the water, trailing duckling. The hectic assay of flock and swarm, the squabbling and the squander of all works of tidy wonder. It is not written, it is writing. Every day a blank page, every soul a clean slate.