Monday, January 31, 2011

Saturday, Sunday

I'd like to say it began with the rain, but that would be skipping ahead. I'd like to say that all this looking back followed a path, went from incident to incident in a slow meandering stroll. Instead it was me sitting outside, Saturday trending cold and gray, smoking a cheap cigar, reading a very good book. Rain was forecast for the evening, and it certainly arrived once night had fallen. But as I smoked and read I felt the barest flicker, something small and delicate touching my bare shin and knotty ankle. That feather's breadth feel of a mist so fine I couldn't see it as it fell. I realized its gentle pursuit only after thinking for a moment that the texture of the paper had suddenly changed, delicate flecks spotting the text. I moved to the porch, and smoked and read until dusk.

The whole cigar thing started for me as a strange sort of affectation, something I did as empty gesture, though one I largely kept to myself. So I would finish a cigar outside, long after midnight, trailing smoke towards the pixilation of stars. Sometimes drinking a bourbon, sometimes just staring into the sky. Instead of the swagger and indulgence of the business sorts or the tone-deaf victory march of those that are declaring to the world their raucous joys, my affect was more aiming along the lines of the Borscht Belt comics or Bender from Futurama. A sort of obnoxiousness of ritual, a coarseness of form. Now I smoke in part for the nicotine, but mostly because smoking is one of the great techniques for embracing the raging loneliness I can not seem to avoid or escape. I smoked Saturday until the real rain arrived.

It rained through the night, falling hard past midnight, tapering into a spatter come Sunday morning. I fell in and out of ragged dreams well into Sunday afternoon, reading another book, finishing it a little after night had begun. Cold wind and icy stars, drying the tears of the weekend. Biting at my weary bones. I skipped writing that evening, figuring everyone who reads me has enough stories in their head for the both of us. I would have skipped it again, but this writing is like smoking, a nasty habit without noticeable benefit. Just another habit to indulge while I wait for the rain to come. Just something to do while the lonely aches aloud.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

dissolution

Blessed is the morning star, lit with myth and circumstance. Blessed is the sharpened sickle moon, hanging like threat above the sleeping trees. Blessed is the raccoon clatter and the dog alarms. The bare limbs of trees reaching towards the next season, caught in the diffuse light of vigilance. The police prowl and the addict roll, the street filled and emptied again and again. Blessed is that profound absence, that ache we name divine.

I offer this promenade of wounded limb and tattered rags, this shamble of pain and endurance. I offer this bright burning, this rank smoke, these trailing ashes. The fire that marks, the smoke that falls, the ash that remembers. Hunger and thirst and the clambering notions of what comes next. This clumsy moment, bled of every hope, free of the slow dissolution of dreams.

Blessed is the world that devours, the world that sustains. Blessed are the scarred hills and the thoughtless architecture, the winding roads and the stilted breath of this penitent season. Blessed are the angels that deny us and the demons that would swallow us whole. Blessed are the trails of stars and the tracks of slugs, the shuffling footsteps of the mendicant, the hubris of each hallowed victory parade. All the words that claim, all the words loosed into this emptiness. This careful dawn bleeding into another faithless day.

Friday, January 28, 2011

gray world

The gray world endures the worst of us, our rages and calamities, our speed and weakness. All fog arising from the icy earth, all cloud cover and blind-eye sun. The ragged hills are hidden and the whole world ends just beyond the reach of our headlights' reach. The chill takes me by the shoulders, and everything is in swift decline.

The job is taking a heavy tole. A knot kicked into my left thigh, a knee beat and bunged by hard floors and harder heels. Scrapes and scratches from mad thrashing, and the sad persistence of evil antecedents wrapped around a child's mind. It has no claim on me, it is not my calling. I am simply laden by a sense of duty and the need to act despite the odds. Personal loyalties that push my buttons and my limits. No satisfaction, no rewards, and very little compensation. All that, plus repeated assaults.

This chill is upon me. It is a cold that does not linger in the weather, it is not the cold of sea and stone. This is the slow feathering of lost hope, the dry creeping ache of the soul dissolving slowly through the flesh. The clipped wings of distance, the resolute fall of flight boiling down to feathers and wax. The week is over, the day is done. The gray world remains unmoved.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

the world without you

I end my day much as I began it, behind the weather, my bones a song. The slow creep of icy fog, the otherworldly glow of a shrouded sun. I dragged along, strung on words and will. My thoughts all snips and shreds, my mood a little colder than blue murder. Another series of little slips and deadpan failures. Another day swathed in smoke and cloth, smoldering in artificial light.

You are more story, thriving somewhere out of sight. You are that litany of wishes always wasting my breath. That bird in flight, that wishing star. That formidable endurance of addiction, the sickness of reason dying in longing's light. Something in the spill of the hair of a stranger, something in the distance so livid in other eyes. You are sword and stone, some country made of myths and loss.

Night is seeping in through the walls. Tendrils of vapor mark the graves of fallen rain. Cats fight and spit, shrieking the substance out of my last nerve. Dogs bark over the droning of the tone-deaf television. I follow the words to their evening roost. I follow the weather, just a few steps behind the forecast. Here in the world without you, nothing is news.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

the break

Up too early by hours, the fog is there already. The world sunken in vapor, swaddled in mists. The slubby fit of water condensing on tree limb and exposed steel, the sound of a troubled faucet trickling away your sleep. I pick up the paper, wrapped and ready for the intransigencies of the weather. Cool damp plastic, the curled up contentment of this morning's stories. More details spread fitful, presented for the depths of forgetting.

We enjoy our hunger in small doses. The heft of this world of plenty letting us choose both fast and feast. Breakfast on last night's remnants, luncheon on whatever communal bounty is allowed. Famished for vanity, empty for science and all its sequels. Appetite returns to consume its corpse. The blood beckons and the beast obeys.

Hot coffee in a travel mug, steam blown back with morning breath. The mirror as blunt and artless as ever, confronted with this continuity of a vast decline. The face both sharp and shapeless, much of its retained value forensic. Pocked and creased, dotted with all manner of malignancy, this is the mask I offer the waiting world. The alarm goes off, and already I have been awake too long.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

bone

Night ebbs in the darkest moments, etched in the these myths and frailties. The fault-line obsessions, those trembling edges. That hint of yearning crafted from the precipice, the rough endings, those unknown depths. Cold water swallowed in gulps at the extinction of that cosy dream. Warm air swallowed in gasps, the waking world somehow always so demanding. This is that hour, blunt and enduring. This is that moment, tattered and alone.

We grow accustomed to the weight of this ruin. We learn the country of these mindless relics in our hair and eyes. It is the story we carry, swaddling our shoulders, hunched against gravity's sway. We reach and we wander, we touch and we spurn. These proud virtues rained down in litanies only the history within the glimpse of sickness in hot pursuit. This continuity that last fuel we find, that desert wandered, that covenant rent.

It is the twist of these meanings, the settled village where all mystery begins. The darkness that eases, this light that aches. All the hints left hidden in the bare distance. I write as we all do, to the leavings of indifference and habit. I write that story where I watch it unravel. Stroke by stroke, stitch by stitch. The questions gather, settled on the line.

Monday, January 24, 2011

touch

Rust and dust and cracked cement. Our particular music, all fingers and frets. Our typical song, callused kisses up and down the neck. The moon sinks into pools of stars, nothing left to jump or fall. Fences made of chains, fences made of splinters, midnight just leaning against the eaves. Every lock slides and clacks, every door huddling in its frame. Our usual tune always clattering with gravel and trash. The rough road, the lucky gutter.

I hold you too tight, pressing down the distance between bones. I hold you too close, pinning down your wings. Ribs and breath and appetites flexed with the tide. Your heart beat speaking through your shoulders and your throat. Some slip of the tongue, some rigor of the lip, that taste of teeth and salt. Fingers taking each measure, hands abandoned to the duties of livid flesh.

I awake to a hush, to lights left on and blinds drawn tight. Some loose conspiracy of bone and blood dispersed by the unsettled mind, the faithless chase, the brutal hunt again flying through the woods. Eyes open, and the tense shift of seeing as all these thoughts are dropped against walls painted with spider trace and artificial light becomes the word. I awake to a mouth full of teeth and words never shared. Every song buried in some dusk of crows and photographs. Every touch another star falling in smoke and cinders.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

sleep it off

Don't let the world in, let the bed stay warm and the cat sleep on. Don't venture out into the cool blue light, with the sun awake and in everyone's business. Don't check your messages or answer the phone. No good can come from any of it. Sleep in for another couple of dreams. Sleep in and see if waking makes anything better.

Work only gets worse, and the weekend doesn't fare much better. The dry bitter air scratches every breath. A tattered flag, a dismal rattle. Living is always an uphill fight. The sad cacophony of beasts and birds, threat and invention. The heart swells and sputters. Another collection of aches and misgivings. Another set of unsettling bets.

The clock clunks and hums, leaking mechanical sounds into the post-electronic age. Times deserts us before the battle even starts, flying away before we find any fun. The dreams are gone and the moment is heavy. The day burns out and the night doesn't seem interested at all. Tomorrow lingers just around the corner, here in this hour where all dreams have gone.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

bend and burn

The garage door crinkles just a little once the wind blows correct. The lights flicker, strung along the ceiling above smoke and dirty cement. Cracks and dust, the cacophony of ash that we must make each stride. The fire always slung in some direction, abiding by some axis, the wheels all spinning true. Burn in or out, burn up or down. It is the only clock tic I can tell the truth. The world is only bend and burn.

I would whisper it, if I could whisper it to you. Your hair held back, your neck all strength and need. The words heavy breath coiling against your lips. These sayings all paths tracked back upon you. Passing these signposts and thresholds again and again. This way you always haunt my hopes. The way all these words are wasted in your absence.

I watch the skies as they tilt and shine, leaning with the season, steaming through pale skin. I watch the sun burst and break each day. The birds on the line, the rats on the rooftops, the cats and kids sharing up the gutters. The smell of dog and the weight of laundry. A life defined by longing and ache. The sky so distant, the earth so hungry and near.

Friday, January 21, 2011

ink

The calendar empties out, a day then a day and then another. There is nothing there. Scraps of paper, heaps of numbers. Dust and the rigor of dreams, the sunken surety of ink. Word after word after hollow word. The wind picks up and gnaws upon the moon. The swaying trees, the sound of sirens drifting off.

There isn't room enough, all of these nights , all of these names. There isn't time enough, all of eternity unwinding past the horizon. It doesn't matter, awake or sleeping. I can only see what the light has hounded. Moonlight, starlight, the painted firmament and the discarded sun. I can only see to the end of my eyes.

Every thought is lead and steel. Blood the only currency left to wager. There is a howling threaded through my lungs, a rattling held within my ribs. The heart idles, the heart tries to beat down each door. It was written, it was read. The work of bones, the drift of fingers. The evidence that there is no proof left.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

more moon

We slowly dissolve, just trees and moonlight. The pale slab of sky, the dense hush of earth. We all but whisper away, driven by the thrill of cold air on warm flesh. We all but boil down to bones, awake and adrift in all this empty. Something in the story of a razor and tap water. A scraping of the face, the steam from the spout.

The split sidewalk, the dismal chain fence. The depth of the night measured by the light from the door, arms outstretched, wishing for return. That lonely frame, that figure within. This life burned down like any bridge. This life always endured as smoke. That cusp of the light and the fire. This one moment when even heat surrenders.

I wake in a fog, I sleep with poor directions. The crackling of bones and intention. Something was lost that I never found there. Something was slipped away in the night. These mornings that drawl on and on. The voice of reason driving too fast too far. The honeyed tongue of hope slowly melting into just so much more moon.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

deep enough

At five in the morning it was already too bright. The swollen moon blazing through the vapor, playing at halos, casting habitual spells. That ordinary magic counted down, dawn soon peeling away each star. The moon another stone calling up the ocean. The moon another goddess raising her skirts to the sky. Her altar another lifeless slab left behind.

The gods change their names and faces, soap opera actors dying and rising from the dead. The gods change their portions while we learn how to measure the great and small. This quintessence of dust all trick and labor. This brief and brutal life all riddle and rule. Tides of steel and murder, lives pared down to cartoons for children's sentiments while these youth are cast into the fire. We fail our kin their very descent, and then we burn the evidence, thinking it is our words that need mending.

Dusk falls, and I already know the news tomorrow. Night comes, and I already witnessed the fall. I am no match for my portion, my head against it and my heart built wrong. The moon tonight will shine on blindly, over love and crime and misery. The stars will stretch out their candle flicker and their ancient will. Children will murder children and no rod will be spared. Children will be lost forever and they will claim it all for God. Heaven can not be buried deep enough.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

internment

It is that stopper loosed from the bottle, the sense that just once this revel should end. It is the press of ink and the scrape of paper, the pen losing it's art in the words. Blown kisses and swept ashes, that flavor of loss chilled over ice, green glass and white white teeth. A few years adrift and a lifetime of pictures. So few years left this side of the rainbow. The party long ago finished, now everything left the picking up.

It is how the shelves surround, dusty and cluttered with paperbacks and tricks. The same song playing with a wink and a twang. Not a mean spirit or a pure heart for a thousand miles. Not a word left loose or a fist let fly. These remnants and alibis, love letters set adrift, reasons run to the ground. I lean into these glib whispers, wandering through your words.

I said it then because no-one was listening. I say it now for some more of the same. The way you wasted all that paper. The way you mistook every smudge and line. The pages crumpled, for grip and measure. The pages lost, the writing a scrawl on a stone. Midnight somehow always about to arrive or just gone. Poems meant for nations of lost names. I say it now because the empty can only grow.

Monday, January 17, 2011

commutation

There is no mystery. The chill settles in, everything painted in shades of gray. The cold air, the hills swallowed by the fog, the asphalt and concrete and sky all painted the same. Traffic lulls and speeds, it gasps and swoons. This arms race retinue of bigger and bulkier, every lane almost overflowing with steel and plastic and ire. This collision in antecedence, this awaiting tragic turn. Nothing here forgives.

The hours seem to slow, drowning in these strings and diamonds. The clock seems broken, counting for so little so long. Every pastime swaddled in this fog that will not burn away, this lingering air of coiled vapor and skinned ghosts. Time rides this tide of burning oil and suspended dreams, each day made from the last one's scraps. We wait in a blur of speed and stillness, our destination ever further as the distances thin.

It is all mystery. I write in snips and stitches, this dissembling my only certain act of faith. I write in sad dull circles, always turning away from some reason, towards some missing point. Guitar and mandolin, turntable and fader, songs are everywhere. Fog in the ditch and birds on the wire, it is all music that I am missing. This ritual of one road, driven twice. This rite of abundant forgiveness, rife with crime.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

mass

What use is sunlight when the world huddles, shrouded in gray? What use is starlight when the stars went out long before any thought of wishing was born? The coffee has gone cold, sitting there in the cup. The dust has clabbered into totems of beasts and bugs, cluttering the corners, falling with the light. I woke without knowing the day or place of this existence. I woke without any thought other than the work I imagined I would miss. What use is this name, crowded by epithets and invective while the word can go away?

Every sabbath has its labors, every holiday its rituals and mass. Weight will change depending on how things stand. Location depends on the relationship of markers and landmarks, everywhere this aggregation of objects and reflections. This aching limb, this worried mirror. The songs played so often they are bereft of music. The poem recited from heart losing every least flavor of blood.

I wrote it down because I have that sickness, that need to say. I wrote it down because I long ago mistook words for work. Names and places and dismal images shaking in the rear view mirror. Thoughts and glimpses and longing endured so long it feels like the press of gravity upon my shoulders. Tricks and treats, carnival feats. Each atom restless, swaddled in odd attractors, squirming in each seditious state. Every word mistaken, spat out in a bitterness that has nothing to do with taste.

Friday, January 14, 2011

fatuous

Was your spell woven in whispers? Did you leaven your magic into my sleeping skin? I drowse through the workaday world, I toss and turn across the bridge of night. I can not count the amount of times I speak your name without thinking. I can not remember a time when I thought of anyone else. I don't want to watch you and I miss you when you're gone. It is that same old song, played past the reasonable expiration date of dreams. It is that same old song, your name nestled on my tongue as the night wears on.

I only ask to beg the question. I only ask to pass the time. The wisdom implicit in these gray whiskers lets me know there is no knowing. The knowledge etched into my worm-riddled brain is bleeding out slow. I catch sight of some constellation, Cassiopeia a letter scrawled outside the lines, Orion leaning on the eaves. I eyeball one of the wanderers trailing onto dawn, thinking morning star despite the inaccuracies and the hour. The depth of the night as I linger on this bereft street. That name that will not leave my lips no matter how many times it is spoken.

It is so lovely and so ephemeral that even thinking it might dash it into dust and fragments. It is so rare and unlikely that it can hardly help its unendurable beauty. This thought of you that is so unlike thinking. This notion of you that defies the odds and all explanation. All these hard lessons learned only to abandon them. Old enough to know better, knowing that time runs like a river in a rage, I think of you like the wings of forever. Your name rising, carried on my every breath.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

broken wings

The world is made of broken wings, dead birds and ruined angels. Rain spatters the afternoon, fog seeps through the morning. The sun shows up when it feels like it. Feathers shining like fresh ink, littering the wet green field. Flight only the measure of those who have fallen. Heaven mostly a story about finding a way back down.

The crow in the sky maps out this measure. Another name, another town. The street signs that pass by too quick to read. The street lights that flicker, then fade as the dawn unfolds. These streets that are written in riddles, these streets that are stitched into the scenes. The crows rise as the sun is settling. Their roost waiting just over the hills.

Tell me the story that waits outside the window. Tell me the story about the road that runs and runs. Wake me before the sun comes back. Wake me without unraveling these brittle dreams. There must be a way we can follow these reasons. There must be somewhere left where we can go. The road a river as black as the sky. This mourning another name for life.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

direct pressure

Somehow you are always just down the hall. Walking through the kitchen, feet bare upon the hard cool floor. You are never here, though I always look. Some ghost of hope, scattering winter dust. The touch that still clings, the weight that is still saved. The room is empty, only clotted with mistaken thoughts. The room is that bell that will never be rung.

The layers each soak through, the blood free though dying in the embers of solicitous air. Life being these strange compellings and odd cautions, the press of flesh holding our dreams by the bruises and retorts. The slow stalemate the best guess playing to this strength, this each day owning its own tomorrow. Hold on, because sometimes it is only you.

The truth is I could not have seen you. The truth is I don't want to look. The gray skies and hairs, the dwindling day vacating for the night. Looking too long I lost my purchase, staring too far I fell in search of flight. I wake up knowing that I am falling because you drift into distance. Every feature and glimmer I found upon your face only stories a fire would tell a moth, warning of extinction. Just the curl of aching fingers trying to hold it all in.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

hyperbole

There is nothing left to understand. The fingers slip, the meanings slide, bullets find their destinies seeded in these final contexts. Every appetite written away, every dream and all the rest of sleep just gone. The rites of rage and rictus, the smattering of ashes drifting down like snow. Something happens, then the world is all worn through.

I resurrect you in fingertips, in subtle midnight stirrings, branches scratching glass. I bury you in invective, in the brutal transition from thing to action, these blunt translations like kisses filled with such smooth teeth. There is no art left, no prayer, no constellation. Just the whispered convictions into air weighed down with poison. That bitter thirst, the hateful prophecy of all these days alone. This leadened atmosphere fading black, your absence keeps you here. So terribly quick, so awfully wrong. Only the rest of time that is.

There are poems of blood and thunder, fierce reckonings and rough songs. There are worshippings etched in ink and flesh. Art and longing, this broken clock of this is who we are. Sleepless nights and emptied beds and children lost forever at the whim of a phrasing of aim and intent. The words leaning so hard into oblivion, aching to fall at last in a direction, to adhere to just one law. That lamb bled so dearly, only to refuse all sacrifice. That need for reason, that lamb that will not lay down.

Monday, January 10, 2011

ghosts at the wheel

There are the ordinary airs, the sets of spirits, the confessions and endless ruminations. There are the switches and the lights, the keys and the locks, the doors and windows and endless combinations of the opened and the closed. Lists and lamentations, aches and pains and sad songs playing again and again. The words we exchange in reckless incantations. The words we save as if our secret souls depended upon them. There is nothing left remarkable enough to earn a remark.

I have no means and little magic, empty words and warrantless searching that aggregate in the still hours. I have no calling and little courage, nothing to summon in sorrow or dismay. These dull weapons and blunt urges. The poetry of strangers and the dead that I shrug off my shoulders despite the chill that is upon me. I play out each day, every side scratched and skipping. Most days there is nothing so bad that I cannot make it worse. Most days there is no-one but ghosts at the wheel.

Loose the dirge at the first sign of daylight. March slow and sway, playing sweet and sad. Step light and solemn, let fly any flag you favor. The world might still want you, hungry and alone. The world may still need you, its shroud stretched wide open, offering its gaunt embrace. The cold will settle upon some of us, lapping at what tiny flames flicker in the marrow. The cold will take some of us, gentle and without one merciful spark. Luck might hold out, and the monsters might forbear. Maybe you have a little longer. Maybe the world will give you a little more.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

mitigate

There is that icy blue that arrives with the twilight, huddles in the horizon. That color that clings, bitter to the fingertips, cold to the touch. It lingers long past the dusk, pressing thorns through the delicacy of flesh. It burns well past any ash or ember, nuzzling in the corner where heaven holds court. It shines like the prettiest of teeth, radiates that most earnest of threats.

It is of a kin to the cold, this hour of dismal engines and hanging lights. The lush expanse of the unraveling air, the color of the drowning sun, these clipped and distant kisses we devour bones and all. Every kingdom witnessed in golden tatters, every shadow a draping of secret shells. The shuffled deck, the muffed deal, every card culled for some special cause. Winter another kind of burning, shedding heat and light.

We move into darkness, we ride the slow falling into night. We scuff and mutter, we scrape and plod. Wrapped in cloth, swaddled in our inherited bundles, we range and strive and ache. Wings take to the sky and shadows pour forth from every corner, and our work is never done. Seasons spin and days fly and there is never time enough. The color lingers before it leaves, leaving us with only words to cover all that we have lost.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

estrange

Will that morning ever be here again, warm and slow and shared? This from the first forage for the papers and a glimpse of the sky. All the stars forsaken, all the pavement cold and the color of the fog. Hungry cats and tattered clothes and fingers numb with the chill. This morning by the thousands while that other one is lost to memory and myth.

Even now the fingers slow, each stroke of the flat plastic keys another meditation. Every letter an eternity spent waiting for a gift. The cool air seeps into the dark room, the computer lit, the bed a shambles from poor sleep. The moment obscured by all the things that are missing. The hour so early and so abrupt.

I would watch the day as it arrives. I would wait for the change in the air and the difference in the light. There isn't much help available. For the clock and the doorstep, for the longing and the sun. Things wind through these brief passages and stilted prophecy. Things move and things settle, the earth a riot rolling in the depths. Adrift on these dark continents, sailing on the cherished and the contingent. Waiting for time to lap itself at last.

Friday, January 7, 2011

the distance to dawn

That cold first breath, steaming out the door. That clasp of grays and shadows, that whispered threat of ice. Walking the world before the sun grants any favors to the season. Walking the world so that my feet will feel their way back from the clotted pose of sleep. Soon it will seem that everything has a story. Soon every ache will seem a poem.

There is a laxness in the architecture, a way that it always meets its limits, lashed at by the weight of wanting always so much more. I limp and grumble, looking down the driveway for more of the morning papers. I clear my throat and shiver, staring into the clipped distances of the street. It isn't really the grinding of the burden, so much as that clumsy work of keeping drowning at bay. Such faith in fiction that it is no wonder my words seem mute. Such honor held in a scattering of worn bones.

I hear chimes and distant geese, the morning still so gray and cold. The metal solemnity of cars idling in the driveway, the gleaming of frost melting, the slow dissolving of each light. The clatter of uncomfortable shoes on cement, the workings of locks and latches, the burying of dreams. I pace out these circles, stamping patterns off my shoes. Every street once a kind of singing. Always striding past the distance to dawn.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

compromise

I buried the bones of midnight long ago, in the silky earth of easy words, in the simple grave of moving on. The gray ice sky held its place long after dawn had given its all, a chill tangle of mist hanging onto everything in sight. Everything held still, the fog enclosing each hour. Everything held tight, the day just slipping away. By the time the sun was gone, I was walking on the graves of that last midnight and the day that hardly said a word. I swallow a little more coffee, and spread the words out wide.

The lukewarm coffee tastes of bitter oil and flat salty ash. It slathers my tongue, greases my throat. I would shudder had I not shed that reflex by force of habit. Cold coffee and bitter measures much of my sustenance, the nausea and disgust barely make me blink. We live in the crossing of these vast distances between what we must and what we long for, checking each chore off these endless lists, waiting patiently for something that seems a glimmer of what we truly want. This awful cooling coffee just another compromise, happiness just a story remembered out of time from the telling.

There are no records to be read, no secrets to keep. The odd jangling grays, the bright birthless blues, the wings of birds and insects colliding with the light. There is no muse whispering, no romance pressing, no reason to deny or persuade. Just dumb motion, just the feathery insistence of the blood blessing this conspiracy of flesh. Written without a thought to reading, red only another color marking meals and wounds. These small burials, this fleeting shine.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

sanctify

I leave the porch-light on, though there is no-one coming. I stay awake in a half-reverent drowse, watching the television as if I was only waiting for something more. The vision just out of sight, so welcome despite all these fables of lessons learned hard. The desire that final realization, your absence and the meaning of need. The light left on, pushing on that earnest dark.

Writing it down, even though most of it was missed. This rote comedy of mistake and adoration, the way I only cling to the least detail while the whole world won't know. The way I burn my fingers, smiling and playing with fire for the ashes. The way the cold holds me from the inside out, as I sit on the porch in the night. Thinking of you though it only doses me with ghosts and aches.

There will never be words enough, these brutal truths and rarified blessings always well beyond my competence. There is never enough light to find the time or the talent. Just these lonesome habits of hospitality, pitiful bulbs and dusty switches. The technology of uncertainty witnessed, the drift of hungry fingers across these seas of plodding ingenuity, graceless and without pause. I offer up those gifts set forth by others, just a poor man's portion huddled in a greasy tent. This little ritual all I have to find a way, heaven only living as if it were already here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

the pessimist

You can't look away-- as if that was the only rule, that one you had to follow. Even though to look means falling, you open your eyes to see. Drawn further with each vision, you fly apart by increments, just that resigned collapse near the edge of exasperation always one more step away. I would wrap you in your wings, that flicker always lighting every gaze. I would hold you here.

There is this trick and truth of it, that threat half the glamor of so sharp a smile. No birds on the line and none in the sky, from fire blue to the languor of wet cement. No song riding the wild and tactless wind. So much art to all the nothing of it, just a few strings and some splashy patches of cloth. It is all in the way you wear it, crime or crown.

It is only the weight of how I want it so, you as close as breathing, as warm as sleep. It is only the work lacked, the oceans never crossed. That sun rise always the same, another claim or tether upon some whim of enduring appetite. As if this little bit of watching would find its way back to my hands. One rule leaned towards, reaching away. That bitter pill swallowed in stride.

Monday, January 3, 2011

old light

The stars settle into the cold black sky, biding the insubordinance of all the satellites and airplanes that dot and blink across the dense dark night. They linger in the familiar constellations, they straggle and struggle and shine. They spatter and litter those obdurate depths, their light the very reach of time spilling down from the firmament. They are the distance and they are the clock, running and grasping from remote beginning to brittle ends. Somehow they sift through dust and day, finding the pin points of my open eyes, gazing ever upwards.

It is the way I wander through the stars, the way the night sets upon me, another predator hungry for an easy meal. It is how proud and dumb and hapless I am, this bitter critter, this numb and aging meat. These fruitful confluences, life and lore and respite, stuck out in the endless sea of night. These pitiful wishes I carry beneath my ribs, this notion that to have gotten this far is to have somehow triumphed. Another reckless beast, dull and running on instinct, thinking it has a right of way across all eight lanes of the freeway. Another mass of blunt muscle and contentious bone awaiting the inevitable impact.

The old chestnut, this sky at night, my eyes misting with the thought that you might be witness to these same stars, this same night in that far away land where you abide. That old saw, the once and future love, the world so much stagecraft between us. That idea that what burned once might be kindling to another flame. Tonight though there is only the skies and the stars and songs I shouldn't listen to when I am so close to broken. Tonight though there are only words and aches, the body warning of all these dated expirations. The old light that arrives worn thin, reaching across the chill of creation. The light that still finds you once every fire is gone.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

persuasion

You arrive at the shore, but it seems different. Everything they said, everything you hoped, now just the sounds of confusion. Everything that could have been finished by the tide. Pay the boatman, settle any debt. You set foot onto tomorrow, caught in between seeing and belief.

It is always some story unwinding, some tale being embellished in the telling. The calendar reasons and the clock longings, time drying out in the cold dry air. The bright beginnings and the bitter ends, that certainty that there is something that words can convey. Those detailed explanations, those stammered alibi, the story always starting over, the telling all that time will allow. With words alone you cross that vast distance. With words alone you know you have again missed the mark.

We spend these days weary from dreaming. We waste these hours huddled against the cold. The gray escape of rain and cold, the painted landscapes that threaten the windows in the night. Words will nest and words will fly, the sky clotted with definitions, the trees littered with remedy. The mirrors creaks with description, ragged features and ringed eyes. The river rushes past, swollen and capped in white. Waking changes it all.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year

There was that last, impassioned moment, we tangled there, my hands following yours, some tender invocation finding your flesh so warm beneath my touch. That last hungry groping embrace has been the shape of most of what I am missing, watching the radiance of this winter world. My cold hands fumble as I play at fire-keeper, some ancient tribal ache hinting at my blood as I sit and smoke. I think of your bare hips and shoulders as the rain sets a glisten upon the twilight, a whisper, both intimate and alien, some gossipy prophecy just out of grasp.

Dusk was there, almost as soon as I looked for it, pressing the light from the landscape. Shift changes are seldom ever elegant, west and east inverted from the beginnings of the show. There was a dozy poetry, bitten by the cold, choked by the cigar that fumes and sputters, smoke and cinders upon my lips. That clarity gained in measuring the self against the season, holding onto that last fire at the edge of camp, watching as the world enveloped all sight. That lucidity when the reason for the feeling is revealed, set free from the confines of translation. Knowing things best when they are about to fade away.

The rain falls, distant and steady, shimmering an armor of fluidity through the street. Cars spatter their wake with shadows and plumes, separate shares drifting through the weather. I lean towards the ground, lean forwards, towards the falling rain. Smoke curls from my fingers, smoke is pressed fleetingly against my teeth and lips, smoke rises and abates. This is the land without any bothered promise, this is the year when all oaths are kept, silence the only surety allowed of this latest ancient flag. Every map full of forgotten perfume and border markers no longer acknowledged by law. Every map made obsolete the moment it unfolds, flat and inaccurate and stunningly small. The rain just another river flowing through this absence that fills every night.