Thursday, September 30, 2010


The heat lingers on the skin, long after the lights go down. Ambient fire trapped in atoms glutted with action, the effervescence of these fleeting mutations. Vultures rise on the updraft, measuring the exchange rate in the atmosphere. All the murdered darlings that gather upon the cutting room floor come home to roost. All the better angels, their work wasted as heat and light.

The things I swept away, the slaughtered hopes and erased progeny. The litany of indiscretions left bruising your dreams. The pages torn from the book just as it was about to get good. The evidence and the precious mementos altered in the scribbled genes. Fists and footfalls and the river of thirst. Dry bones to keep banging on the same old drum.

There is the color of your eyes and the color of that flower, the one that seems to just bloom there in your hair. There are the smoke signals beneath your thoughts, the margins full of scars and numbers. All the reasons that you cherish left in the woods to be raised by wolves. My burned flesh, your smoldering gaze, the secrets left hanging there up in the sky. The country of the hunt, long after the feast is finished.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


No matter where you go, there you are-- the t-shirt wisdom read through heat bent air. The flesh lends its dissembling to the whole of the mess. Rivulets trickle down my temples, a deluge between shoulder blades soaking through my shirt. It is always off beat, out of focus. That precious fall, that beautiful mistake. The certainties always waiting on faith to fall through. The ephemeral always measured best in blood and bone.

We share the air, the tender vagaries of the weather. Sun on the skin, ice on the tongue. The clotted boiling arteries of lapse and transition. The bruised reach and the ever-after endings. We are renamed and reborn, mouthing these pleasantries that seem like fruit. We pretend after the way of treasure, know all the things found out from the ruthless devouring of sanctified flesh. Tell me your price, tell me if this is your chosen card. Tell me why you can only love me in these leavings. Tell me why I can only know you once you go.

We have this day, there are no others. The past is shed in all but the clinging of scent and favor, tomorrow wound so tight it is bound to break. Dusk wanders in from the shallows, bringing every single startling depth. Dusk brushes your hair just to see your face as light loses. The pretty words leave your pretty lips, spilling into the silty dark. Give me a reason amid all these wasps and flowers. Give me that last gift of fever, something to feel before all the feeling turns.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The heat threads its long sharp fingers beneath my flesh, slowly opening all the gates. I plod through the day in a damp daze, my eyes cooking at a low boil, the world all painted on the glass. A day of bellicose air and poor choices, sullen children wanting nothing more than to run wild. A night of long curves and closed lanes and light after violent light. The moon melts away, and the heat has it all.

Now I drowse at these familiar keys, tapping out my nightly grievance, my daily complaint. Bitter and blue, that faint scent of dying somewhere caught as I wander. With the cooker on high, every recipe quickens towards rot. All of my tenders of false affection, all the gathered letters only able to render every slip into oblivion, all the forfeit words long since consumed by some fire. Another sentence ends somewhere between tenses, now and then, now and later. Each translation is a transition, every fall a taste of flight.

Sweat soaked and weary, it all seems desperate measures. These bones groan and creak as the meat clings and pries. All the debts coming due in the bruised and tattered portion of this season. The failed missions, the blown kisses, the prayers and lamentations that have hosted these hollow devotions. I stretch and yelp, I pause and stare, I tap out another set of imbalanced ends. Beneath this swelter and these biting swarms, I place my bets.

Monday, September 27, 2010

last year's model

If I could walk backwards through your dreams-- the cold sweats, the dark of night. If I could step welcome into this fever, this passage fraught with hearts. These are but the least of wishes that sink me, just seeing you. There is a door way and a light bulb. There is the thread of evidence I once was here. A fingerprint that you could read and read. The bramble bound to over grow.

Only the wounds would weep, these lists of masteries, these numbing depths of useless notation. Only the memories would wait for the fires to burn. The dense forays out of fashion, the scars listing out of control. These flowers that only bloom when the skin is granted. So the hours left to kiss. So the words only lips can lose.

All the gods of murder and jokes are there staring at you. They lurk anywhere your flesh subsides, sifting through the shadows, lingering in your heat. This is our vigil, this is the tide of my appetites. Fingers made from sweat and pause. The only touch you can not abide. The night idles in this wide tangle. A line of silk stepped through in the dark of dreaming. Something broken in choosing tomorrow.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


The flesh is always burning, eyes worn red from seeing too much missed. Midnight and the sun is still weighing in, radiating from this riddled skin. Whether the meat or the bone, somehow the bite is off. Teeth out of order, every choice another hesitation, every thought another slip. Whether the touch or the taste, the senses lose their sense.

The hours curdle, so far from the clock. The eyes grow lively, so far from this distant light. Sunburnt and sullen, crowded by my usual retinue of smoke and mosquitoes, I watch whatever the sky will show. Stars dapple the ache of incomprehensible distance. So much space only time can tell the tale. So many stories I don't even try to hear, out along this narrow ledge of the Milky Way.

I could talk for hours, I could sleep for days. Heat and breath, the slow uncoiling of every savored plan. A train wails, dogs bark, traffic troubles the streets nearby. Each day lingers in my hands, chance and plot and utile objects to grope and ponder. Each hour ground to dust by the measuring. Every clock broken by the work it means. Beneath the ragged pine and the powerline stretches, it is all I can manage to hold on to this world and its endless turnings. Beneath all these stars and wires, it is all I can manage not to shine.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

puzzle peace

Here fit the pieces of longing unresolved. The livid skin, the brush work of fingertips, the light that yawns and gapes. The puzzle scattered across the calendar and map, mystery hidden behind the simple act of want. The electric fan, the rhyme scheme of the dust. The hopes that must be abandoned when we act in faith alone.

There is a swathe of starlight to be remembered while the sky burns and the nights grow lonesome and long. There is a bright moon left to wash away the constellations, figures and myths too far away to calculate the cost of their absence. There is the steady breathing of darling children, too loved and safe to know the world will never want them. Such sweetness remaining unresolved, the tear salt, the trembling flesh.

This night will know no thunder, all smoke bereft of an abiding flame. This letter will know no comfort, read as it is so far from context. All of the pieces always fitting, relying entirely of when you find them. Time unfurls its reasons, a slow kiss good-bye that could only promise deeper passions. A restless night so close that it is all that touches, dark and strong and always shaped like certainty. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat until you are sure.

Friday, September 24, 2010


The angels of my better nature left, too unnatural to follow the obvious course. The open road closes in, a hunt for hope, a wish for wings. Tail-lights and near misses, the constant bombardment of brutal motion in all this imagined stillness. Lessons are not learned early enough. The truth is out there, waiting at the end of some path, lurking in broad daylight. The truth is out of luck, invisible and wholly besides the point.

The flesh leans on the precipice. The song arrives from some place bewilderingly lovely. There are the usual collisions, matter to meat to impulse to thoughts to thinking. The abridgment of these flawed pathways and dubious senses. The flesh aches and pauses. Some lilting sentiment, some fragile truth. The music almost makes it okay. Almost turns out to be close enough.

Hours too late, comfort comes. Small and unyielding, subtle and alight with flame and doubt. The old wounds, the new aches, the sad tendencies of nature, the too typical failings-- they all voice their opinions. They slowly subside, becoming hints and memories. Directions overlooked on a crumpled map. No kiss, no respite, no sign of better days ahead. Just the graceless nature of weariness. The levity of mortal limits the only path left.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

poetry trap

If it could begin again, I would find your fingers on the keys. I would feel the pen and the paper, the ease of the ink, the resistance of the writing. I would listen to the sound each letter made, the halting scrape of punctuation. I would rest my hands over yours as you wrote, feel the reasons left unsaid in your every bone and tendon. These things I would do, if my imagination lived closer to the truth.

I always want it to be night, or nearing. I always want the sound and smell of rain. There is always time in these dreamings, time that you would waste with me. I could find my voice, I could feel my way back into sentience. You would only know me well enough, not too well as history had to have it. I would be someone close to this, but not this. It is the only way for the fantasy to work.

Instead it was the freeway, then the dozen chores. It was the midnight trap of feelings and the morning glare of too much work yet undone. I lost the words that I would leave here. I lost the reason I can not abide reasons at all. Cat fights. Rat traps. The dull litany of this poem that won't have me, and all the poetry I can not escape.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The afternoon took a somber turn, a gray shroud covering the blue blazes, children turning in their skins. The poetry of loss and distance, of the people who should somehow failing, worried hands that will always be a little too empty. Busy work and sickness strung out on wire and doubt. Asking nothing of those who have failed the tests of trust. Asking much of the placeholders that try to make holding back the flood an everyday thing. All the tears that burn, all the loss that will follow.

There are crimes that will not be resolved. There are losses that will never be recovered. You could look at the numbers and know the odds. You could look in their eyes and know that every percentage has a name. Nothing much that you ever do will change this. Even the best of us can not give enough to help. I walk in the door with my swagger and my empty, and bring a measure of calm. This might be a crime as well, a hole made out of habits, a wound that will weep out into the rest of a life. I walk in the door knowing I might as well turn around and leave.

The night leaned in, leaving a hole for the moon to shine through. The drive home was safe and rapid. I made it up the drive way before midnight found me out. All the kids managed to smooth out what little bumps and bruises found them earlier. They were all in bed with their lights out early. No fights and few tears, and no setback that would settle on them hard. Tomorrow the day resets, and all the comedy and tragedy plays out again. I will walk in the door with my shock and my stories, and will make what I might of the day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I track your hauntings with wax and candles. I follow your absence with pen ink and lined paper, curving these rough notions around your paces, trying to find a chain that fits. You dissolve, moon bright then closet dark. You linger like a fever then disappear like a promise sworn. I take your measure with tape and rough fingers, I taste your meaning in the words you scatter like funerary ash. Somehow I always use my teeth, finding you in these pervasive syllables and endless nights. Small bites and strange flavors, the story of your life as I would write it down.

There are always labels there to read. The smiling scars and the delirious curve of your spine. The way your skirts would cling to your thighs, the way your eyes would follow mine while I stared and stared. Rain on the window and the Christmas strings of the freeway winding on and on. The way everything you wore was in love with you, how your clothes would sigh so softly as you shed them without a second thought. The map of you beneath my touch, the only reading I can not forget.

I remember your doors and your stairways. I remember the street lights that shone too bright and the car that was always broken into. Cigarette glow and smoke unwinding. The wish I couldn't stop making just seeing you there. I drive past the places you abandoned. I ghost through the business of my betters, a hollow gaze, an empty threat. I see a light on, and you are always there. Time left in the back seat, time watching me through my rear view mirror. I touch the air where you should be. I write it down, the mystery of this empty. The fullness of your insistence pressing against my senses, even when you are gone.

Monday, September 20, 2010

between seasons

The fence is painted in shadows, the deadfall tangle and the smoky overtures. There are sky blues and white clouds and the usual procession of crows. I drink coffee, smoke a cheap cigar just for the flavor of the burning. The smoke curls away, finds the wind, rises through the tattered trees. It is another measure of the atmosphere, here where summer has all but burned itself out.

I lean back, down here in the dust and detritus, the pine needle carpet with the dogs hard at work. The heavens have no hold on me, the earth no need. The day dawdles as the shadows stretch and claim. I take a sip of coffee, a slow drag on the cigar. Idle amid this stir of habit and affectation. Idle amid the gears and teeth of time leaving its mark.

All the names I have forgotten, all the roads that lost my cause. The sky is portioned out between tree limbs, flecks of gray ash litter the dusty ground. I stretch out and watch the whole of the world, passing by and static and always changing. I linger where my limits no longer matter, free to be at fault or loose ends. Beneath the trees, between the seasons. Memories scattered to the wind, curling away like that taste of savored smoke.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

burning angel

The angel begins as burned, a flash of vision then nothing into flight. Your wings a substance I favor, some color of after thought laden with hints and acclimations. Never the kindness, but the levity of every wish denied followed your star, fallen and left to some apothecary claim. There once, and never again. Your absence the only count of forever.

Why the width of this evasion? Why the clock unwound of grammar and the ant line history always wallowing on? I look towards the poem and always find the prayer. I find that flag unfurling, planted there first in longing. The tears allowed of every old sad song, the old sad singer oblivious to the truth. All the work of wanting such a song, only to have it all made up before you ever arrived. Somehow the ideal is always the way we unyieldingly wander. The fright that allows us relief, the ghost of never would be.

So you soar in every sunset, in every night bourn in joy recalled. The ribbon of the road at midnight. The meeting every leaving seems to mind. It is the hex of reflection, the orchestra of careful mistakes. That turning of meaning inside out to mean it. That shocking revelation that there is really a real. That stain of memory in the way you wear me, that I can only know you as insistence, certain in every way. Cold water slips over warm flesh. Everything left is miracles and the rain.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Leave it all to the dustbin of history. Leave them for God to sort out. The music does not change just because it isn't playing. The song won't stop just for silence. Roll down the window and feel that imitation of wind. Don't even bother to keep your eye on the road.

The typical day closes out a little poorer for the exquisite recipe. The dreams a little rougher because of a pretty face. Typing out these sparse manifesto, these letters to never and a half. The drum roll and the lipstick traces. The way that sunlight slowly fills up the moon. The cat makes a few puncture marks in my right leg. Another paragraph laid to rest without a single reason.

Sometimes I say too much, but mostly it is too little that I whittle away at. These blue moods and dry heave benders. These weekends full of a longing for emptying. Driving in a haze of smoke and wishes. All the stars I puzzle after, the keys I touch and touch. The habit of writing becomes a spelling lesson. Grammar a handful of pebbles, my heart lost on some midnight road. Everything ends left behind.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Cling to the skin you were given, whatever tender miracle, whatever feckless gaffe. Hold to the course of the ephemeral constant, that flare and dim of every impact. The sound beatings and the drizzled kisses, the dead endings and apostasies, the dreary fantasy and the startling fact. Endure these dismal words, and the duller ones to follow. As long as there may be more, there is might.

The wide open hours tend to devour the less than ready mind. I am always a couple octaves off, always a few steps behind. The slowed clock and the blue mood will team up on me, beat me down with facts and conjecture. Nothing pretty can happen from assessing the self in impasse and upon precipice. Count the coins in the pocket. The notches on the bridge. Watch airplanes drift across possibility, satellites fall and fall. The only memories that come to mind are brutal at best.

I close my eyes and the tide comes in. All the silly trappings of self, the bright ideas and the rude awakenings. The trials failed again and again. The missteps and the calendar girls, that wound that will not heal. This is what is made of mostly water. Gifts squandered and blessings undone. Know that I would still hold you, though I am ruined. Know that there is no reset, but the life left is still sticking. Just because I'm no good at the game doesn't mean I am done playing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


You can teach yourself almost anything. Another language, the names of long dead stars, the card catalogue or the Lindy Hop. You learn to feel, you learn to fight, you learn to love or at least when to stop. Give me a map and I will make a way. Give me a corner and I will take the whole damn floor. I learn slow, but deep. A photograph that feels like a whisper. That shine some stranger's face finds inside me. Tricks of habit, the subtle language of light. You'd think I would have learned.

Say that there was something other than these weeds and tethers. Say that these fallow fields were fit to work. Could I make the case, deliberate and untainted by this creaking heart and these longing bones? Could I find the facts when all my buttons are pressed and my wishes swept out the door? The tar smoke reaching across the lanes, time ground down into gravel and light. A little sick, a little sad, a little too old for this sort of leaning. To want is to lack anything but direction. To long is to deny each calamity of circumstance.

I imagine the wind, I imagine the sea, I imagine the sun and salt scent of your skin. There are armies of tomorrows I may yet face. Years of grizzled visage and broken wings. Still, I carry this gentle notion, something sweet and true. A picture in a frame, a myth of luck reborn. There is only the change on the dresser, the books stacked askew. A ribbon that once held back her hair. A sense that what was could be.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I fold the pillow in half, finding a cool side once hidden, finding some solace in the drowse. Not much happens where I wander. The little details tend to expand, the silence never much opposition, meaning never even a bother. Toss and turn, daze and dream, work and those moments waiting for work to begin. The freeway prison and the locked door liberties. When I wake up, the mystery is all but missing.

I step into the middle, the night suddenly hectic and bizarre. A battered man wearing nothing but boxer shorts and a hospital gown pan handling in a gas station. He smelled of puke and old booze, a hard and grizzled fifty-something digging through the trash. Scarred and dizzy, he took me up on an offered ride, but had nowhere to go but away. Away was good enough.

The days lump and crawl. I played ping pong with a kid with gouged wrists and a nickel sized burn on his arm. I took another couple of kids to a park where they chased frogs and seemed younger than their thirteen years. I played rummy, I played Monopoly, I made kids buck and shout. A child talks to his mother on the phone and goes into his room and cries. Horror stories walk the halls, rubbing elbows with chores and dinner. Muffled tears and nightmares. Hours dowsed in dim dissembling. I sleep so sweetly, huddled against this wrecked and wasteful world.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

little wing

Even now, in these hours framed by street lamp and starlight, I find my fingers tangled in your hair. Even here, alone in the quiet pallor of electric lights, I find my fingers tracing the creases made by sheet and pillow pressed into your flesh. As if touch alone could call your forth from these moments overgrown with doubt and bitter. As if my hands could summon you, so deft with-in your absence. The eyes decode the symbols as the paper drinks the ink. This message abandoned to the bottle, this letter left hidden in the tide.

It is the taste of my teeth, the weight of my tongue. All pearls unstrung and left scattered in the sand. For a moment there are footprints filling up with water. They pace down the shore, past kelp and driftwood. They wander away from the comfortable spark and cinder of the bonfire. They walk as if they were departing these clumsy bonds of the earth. They wash away, just as you begin watching. They disappear as soon as you begin to think to ask. The flavor of so much wasted speech.

It is the usual morning misstep, writing when there isn't a thing left to say. Dirty thoughts and clean sheets. The scrape and scuff of being wearing out my skin, my head unshaven, my eyes a blur. I smell of sweat, of the lingering season of smoke to come. I smell of bad timing and poor choices, clinging to the dust all around. As I drove home, my hands wandered across the dream of your skin. I drive home, watching the stars over the hills. The strange gatherings of scrub oak clustered against the bleeding neon outposts hidden from sight. Islands of light and commerce trapped behind smudged glass. All of these mysteries, and it is you I can feel. All those oceans and that distance between hardly begun. All this time, and all I keep is distance.

Monday, September 13, 2010

the calling

There is a light left on long into the night. There is a light that shines to show the way. A window lit, a candle flickering, some curl of heat and smoke casting shadows for you. A place swaddled in stars and life. A place awaiting your soul and hard luck. Somewhere that knows you as only home might. There is a light shining somewhere out there for you.

Somehow you have lost it. Somehow through the fleeting years and the endless nights the stitches have loosed your shadow. You travel without touching, you move without change. The articles you read bleed black words and blue smoke, every thought completed your life undone anew. The words you spat out coming back to kiss and bite. Somehow everything heals around you, the world a series of strays and cults.

What comfort is left, is left for you. What solace is there, awaits your arrival. Some levity given gravity by the way it lands. Some fool given the keys to the kingdom for the way he falls. The wounds that will not heal, the hunger that is left with only dust to soothe it. How the stones have suffered in silence, how the wind would steal each gift. The earth spins and heaven rises and falls. The prize was yours before you could even think to want it. The light was left on long before you were born.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

well enough

I can't count all the evenings that ended with my asking. Eying the ceiling, pretending at heaven. I couldn't list all my selfless sins I engaged, looking to rejoin the world. Talking to someone I am so sure isn't there I can't help but hope I am wrong. Beneath a blue sky the longing only gets worse, sweating through this early shroud. Out in the open I start from the last place looked.

Staring at the patchwork of blue and green, the sour tongue of imminent refusal lingering like these constellations of sweat and dull choice. Smoke billows out from my indolence, evading the shade and curdling knots of ghosts and worry into the color field art that awaits. The grating voice of an irritable crow strikes the high mark, that place there where every choice is in error where the heat idles and the traffic coughs. I can only see so much however hard I look. I can only see so far before it is only my limits I witness.

There is no call for the rest of it. The hours dwindling, just lights in the sky. Just that bend of air that stalls before it plummets, rushing away without so much as a whim. Just that crease in the breath that lets you know someone is listening. Footsteps clambering down the distant street, voices touching the leaps and the bounds. The world that is and the one I want so close that every lie is precious. Every error beloved and exquisite besides the dull drums of truth. I can't begin again every time only to tell.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


The words all weigh the same, pressed against the windows of the heart. Always looking in through the steam of being, looking for an inkling of the mystery, looking for some silvered shore. The stand on tip-toe, they crawl on their bellies, the kneel and they strut. They gather a glimmer, a slender tether that binds them to that torrid blood. They leave as smug strangers, empty from imagining being fulfilled.

She is so pretty on paper, so eager to fold and cling. Line by line, she echoes some slim perfection, the lyric and the carnal in delectable collision. She seems to stretch and shine, seems to purr and boil. It must always be everything, huddled at a distance, lingering in purest flight. It always goes from vulgar to charmed, from kiss to crumple to that blissful rictus that always leaves alone. This work of idle hours and restless hands. This sense that somehow ache will provide.

This comes up, with the blend of dashboard constellations and spattered glass. This comes up, because every fresh thing is always the same. There are limits to the instrument and a world bent on proving that true. There are hiccoughs in the mix, some startled pause between millennia, some insatiable appetite that can only long for more. The revelation owed to an improvement in the machinery, a favor felt in flesh and fuel. So still, so lovely. After ten thousand times, the same prayer must change. After ten thousand times, the words learn their names.

Friday, September 10, 2010

mark my words

The stars fill up the margins, the ink stains every wish. Words standing on each others shoulders, words buried in the sand. I read a little and mark my place. A tiny crease tells me I have been too rough on the pages. Heavy hands, hollow hearts, and this restless appetite read in between.

I have been neglecting my reading. Slips of paper awaiting my attentions as I favor urgent reports. My writing suffers its congenital defects, neglect and fervor too often intersect. I make schedules and I miss deadlines. My work suffers mostly from having only me to complete it.

Already I forget the list. Already I am too tired to mention. I scatter some shavings of charm and chance, trying too hard not to look into the light. The sky turns in steps and measures, we fall away from every little dazzle. Tar smoke hides the constellations. I hear a strange animal, its breath ragged and labored. Listening to the raw painful wheeze, I realize it is me. Only art can tell you when it is done. Only life has a say in this undoing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

asleep and alone

It is the odd momentum, music walking down a hallway, a shadow lingering in the door. It is the slow changing, one state of matter leaving for the next. We slip from from one sensation to the next, touched by the air, riddled with grief. Breath grays the silvered mirror, sweat beads upon the graceless skin. It flows, and we follow, the stillness all ache and release.

There is a path that winds out into the darkened garden. There is a map made of remembered stars. All that warm flesh scored with flecks and scars, caught forever in that light, holding that glow. The words spill out onto the sharp the sharp stones, they spill on the hard floor, they rend their clothes and scrape their knees. We gather them in twos and threes. Some we hang from the line to dry. Some we place in our mouths just to feel their press upon our tongues. We speak soft and solemn, as if in prayer or plot.

The house must speak to itself awhile before it goes to sleep. A creaking of floor boards, a clanking of pipes. A lost moth in stubborn contest against a lamp. So the music may pause while it wanders, leaning against a window or crouching on the floor. The stray shadow may mingle and conspire. The beaded sweat soaks the sheets, dreams creeping close. There is that river that washes over, that debt that comes due. We follow these footsteps unbidden until the hands of silence find us, asleep and alone.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

dead ends

I don't know this country, I don't know this crime. The well worn rails, the time smoothed stairs. The clock has lost every inkling of keeping a straight face. I slow and stare, and my vision blurs. Every revelation is a dwindling, every limit another world. I spend a little too much time with the flea gnawed gray cat, opening doors that are not mine. I look to the sky instead of for street signs. The stars are cloaked in wisps and distance and I can not find my way.

Every time the weight is lifted, it gets a little heavier. Every time the day ends, I see less and less of light. The change of shifts, the change of the seasons. Tar smoking on the freeway, lights blinking and swaying across the lanes. I drive in a dull set of hunches and reflections. The radio waves colliding with the inconstancy of the hills. The road curves and roads cusp. You can know your destination and still go nowhere.

The day ends with scant alliances. The day grinds down in faint relief. One more, one less, so goes the measures. I could close my eyes and die and not miss much else. I could drown in my own shuddering dumb silence with no witness left the wiser. I am learning not to speak when there is no-one left to listen. I am learning that even dead ends begin as journeys.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

washed in the blood

I am acquainted with the use of force. I am acquainted with the limits things contain. I know when the bone will break, just how far an arm may bend. I have lingered long past the breakage, the detailed map of tears and bruises. Each ingress leaves me nearer to the point, blood sticking to my skin, its scent at once copper crisp and spoiled sweet in the air. Each whispered notion makes it clearer, how close to that farther star. How near to the redemptions that cling to the night. I hold the line, I bear the pressure, defying the candle and the clock. I hold tight until the hurt is enough, and the heart can work its magic.

It is sanctified, this cruel transition. The lamb hung so it is blessed with the sacrament of asphyxia, drizzling that baptismal blood from burning wounds. A thorny crown to trickle, pierce, and sting. The images enfolded in countless breathless prayers, the catechism that can only savor the lash and the spear. We choose a side and lean into the will of the world. We devour ache after ache, and dry all those tears we cause.

Cold steel presses warm skin until the flesh relents, splitting in that crucial moment before pain or pleasure win. Gooseflesh spreads that searing thrill, mortality making its claims plain upon this blessed meat. We dowse ourselves with wounds and pale light, we bind and we break. Tooth and nail, we do the work we believe the world requires. Fixed upon the pain, bent upon raw will and bleeding, we are bathed. I hold the line, calling down the border. I hold the line until the word is at last alive. The magic happens or it doesn't, and the day begins again.

Monday, September 6, 2010


The world is gone, the world returns. What happened in between, the world only knows. Anything might be true-- even the lists of impossibilities. Even the litany of lies. The facts will hold onto the traces, the devil with the details. I miss out on most of it. No-one tells me anything.

The shelves should give it away. The emptied pockets, the savored books, the notes that led to nothing right. The bar ware rimmed with dust, the fresh bottles, the coffee cups. Something settled in the initial ideas, the placement of the key volumes. The creased spines, the dictionaries, the field guide. Because I knew I was always looking. Because something was always going to be outside my grasp. There are clues, there are questions. Answers are always found in the asking.

The words are the residue, they are the remnants of the ritual. They are there when everything is lost to me. They are there when even all the words are gone. The blank page, the plastic alphabet. Something in between the absence and the ending. Something in between the search and the discovered. I go to sleep laden with questions. I awake and all the asking is gone. A brand new world, another country. From meaning to matter, counting backwards. The numbers get smaller. The countdown drawls on.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I wouldn't know an hour from any other change in the atmosphere. The ice drizzling its secrets over a fevered brow, goose flesh lit with-in the skin. The bridge ended without any resolution but the weight of steel and the distance to the sea. The stars arising high above, as moths take to the trees and the sky loses all its light. The clock blinking, as if it will never understand. Fingers wandering away from touch.

It is as if there could be instructions, wise books discovered by retracing familiar sayings, the breadth of expression measured with a sparkle and a shift. The mind wandering because their are questions, every thought expelled as if it were infection. So the instant dissolves to become manifest. So that itching on your shoulder is not just drift but drive. The best tools know the limits of their use.

I scrape my teeth against lip and tongue. There is at least the residuals of something I would say, that pantomime rife with wasted effort. My bones shift and crack, misplaced and dully settled upon an outcome. Time goes on, even if I miss it. Time goes by, even if I keep it in a drawer. To have watched those wings reach, unbidden, gliding on the release of some small hurt. Memory for memory, every glimpse of light a reason. To have seen the world rise, and all the work change. Every revelation stronger than iron, every notion touched lit with the need nails exude. Fingers always reaching for the borders of feeling.


It is freedom, though it is the freedom of a man who has fallen somehow into the middle of the ocean. Free to drown as you please. Without mark or measure, you feel the loosened tether, the world open wide. Without a worry or a thought, it will swallow. It is freedom, dark and awful and every wish fulfilled.

The words all drowse, amid the drift and heft of your heart. The words are calm and simple, you feel them bead, warm and wet upon your flesh. They sift through your fingers, they fall away. Free is the language of loss. Free is the sound of forever. These words, seemingly so far, seemingly so full. So close that the flesh will mistake them for its own feelings.

Absence abounds, stitched into every healing wound. Absence abounds, knit into every salvaged bone. Empty fills every hunger, empty leaks from every door. All the hollow windows, all the empty chairs, the tea set sullen with dust. Unmoored and wide awake-- finally you are free.

Friday, September 3, 2010

land of a thousand dances

I would make a case for calamity, I would fill in every circle, surround every gap. I would argue past the glazed eyes and the sorry circumstance, the fear-fed shivers, the ignorance lit grins. The sweat soaked clothes left piled by the door. It is the evening made longer by the heat, the heart made fonder by this slow drip oblivion. Say that this was the hour we could call our own. Say that we were more than shadows spared shape, words spared life. I would lead unheeding in this rough moment, make a gift of this impending ache. Slowly, I would say your name.

Yes, I only seek solace when the mood is on me. Sure, I only ask once I forget my way. And you are an unknown road, a figure lingering in uncertain light. You are a rhyme and a bloom, a scar lit by moon light, a rattling at the door. You are just the day unbound and the night unwilling, a direction found by dropping a coin. You are someone I wish was you, and probably someone else altogether. All I bring to the table is a certain kind of loss. All I can offer is that notion, somewhere between belief and concussion. Nothing good ever came of a wish made past midnight. Nothing wonderful was ever birthed of watching a clock.

It is scent and salt I long for, a little friction and a shared intent. Just time enough to linger, some work for idle hands. A few more poems swept away in a passion. A few stray bruises and a tumbling of the heart. Another voice let free amid the starlight. Another set of mismatched bones to hold a little too tight. Something at long last left unsettled. Someone who knows better letting herself forget.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

first to second

I stand in the hallway and speak softly. I stand in the doorway and take notes. I sit in the living room, scribbling in the margins. I mark the actions of others, and leave little room to interpret. All the lights that should be on are on while I am there, and I turn out all the other lights on time. It is all sad endings and strange origins. It is all the work that will have me, and it doesn't want me all that much.

I drive home all rush and sleep walk, autopilot between the lights and lanes. The crush of the warm night air winds through open windows, the fast lane not even seeming ironic at the hour. Drunks and other maniacs do their best to ruin what ever it is that is left me, and so far they fail. The cops mind their business, and business seems to be booming. Old cds cycle again and again, some favored play list burned onto plastic. Some songs that I needed just that much a scattered handful of years ago.

Midnight at a grocery store, the stagey sighing of the staff as they stock shelves and roll their eyes. I proceed with false purpose, eyes already regretting the errand. Towers of food and drink and errata. All the reasons that pass for motive as the day resets and time creeps down the walls. All the secrets carried wordless between strangers, all the commerce the night can hold. I buy a little something for everyone, tricks and treats for another morning. Something sweet and something savory to greet someone else's dawn.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

one tongue

It is always a little lighter than I would like it-- my eyes never were what they used to be. I am always writing something, filling in the shadows, hedging in the gaps. Light seeps in to flesh and glass, light spills and presses and refracts. We are bound by these excesses, resonant and far too real. We are known by our obstructions, carved out in slabs of dense secrets, dowsing a little glow with every reach. Casters of shadows, keepers of smoke.

It is always a little later than the last time-- my mind is always losing track. Some breath, some spell, some whisper thistling across the globe. You can write it on your bare skin, you could read between each line. How steadily the seasons blend, night the constant chorus. How easily the stars fall, the firmament laden with debt. I could call in my markers. I could count the incalculable promenade of absence, the broken rosary of birds on the wire. The words would only linger on your lips. A dose too bitter and thick to swallow.

This is always the trick to telling, the brickwork of language so dull with time. I am always missing my mark, picking the wrong symbol or the mistaken thing. Words are only the residue of so much breathing, the resin clinging to the ash. We step between insistences, tenses shifting from past to present, the native language depending on the position of the sun and the closeness of the sea. There is only one person we wear from the inside or inside out. There is only one tongue, strong and careless, folding every moment, breaking every voice. I clear my throat, then I listen-- the half full moon running wild in the trees.