Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The flesh fills with whispers, the light betrays the eyes. The music of creation burns on and on at broader bandwidths. I made it this far by choosing lesser devils. I made it here by reading between every line. It is this ordinary illness, this abandonment of all delight. Midnight nears, and the sickness shines in green wishes and gray dust. Midnight passes, and I am alone with this litany of ill will. Another day almost there, and I cannot tell you what the hour holds. Another day closing, and I cannot begin to try.

My heart still holds me for ransom, though it has stated no demands. My heart still struggles on, though it fears my hand for some rash act. I make no claims for grace to favor, I call out strings of blasphemy and invective, I am at liberty at all hours measured and almost always out of sorts. Dig deep into the hungry earth, leave me a place to hang a hole. Dig deep into the furtive soil, let the spade offer all the alms. There is a place for everyone.

Sink me in the ocean, swing me from a tree. The harm doesn't even register beside the healing. Fortune still wagers its favors, the future has its abundant charms. There is a point where the ledger makes the case. There is a point where the debt exceeds all the potential left. Blade or bullet, it hardly matters. 1:41 in the morning, and every outcome seems the same. All roads taken end as one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Gone are the days of rain and windowpanes, sleeping in after staying out, the insistent afternoon sun and the sunday newspaper. Gone is the tooth and touch of life's pull and strut, the bodies inhabited once by these hungry ghosts now gone back to the sea. Hands claps and heels click, the curtain call never lasts forever. The rooms empty, keeping their hands to themselves. The dismal moon set sail for another country, the shades are all drawn down.

There is no mystery. Life goes on until something stops it, then life starts up somewhere else. We are worlds slipping upon the skins of worlds, a drizzling of latent faith, a smattering of cheap applause. The starts and stops and gaps and continuities are all works of constant interpretation, pins placed at random on a featureless map. I missed you then as I miss you still, a longing that is part memory and part apology. A greed without redeeming features, a hole without hope of repair.

When the gray reaches come to ground, I ask after you. Your name sweetens the scar of my voice, speaking to the ice in the air. Your name binds the stars to my watch, this witness of clouds and weather. I reach again that sleepless hour, I speak again that weary word. The skies abide my indiscretions, the world continues sliding beneath my feet. The night keeps falling like a wishing star extinguished.

Monday, November 28, 2011


This soul is a thing of stone. This soul is the press of soil, it is the weight of a grave. It bears the rain and the cold, hidden beneath the roots in a forest or sitting in an open field tangled in the weeds. It does not guide the way, it does not part the waters. It is shaped by the gears of years, carved by the workings of the world around it. It keeps its secrets, sunken beneath the earth and mire. It keeps its place, while the world winnows away the chaff.

There are no secrets. There are no mysteries, no hidden reasons. Everything lurks out in the open, the blue prints all written on the architecture. The rituals all written in the wind. We linger on the precipice, trapped by our own limitations. We guess and plunder and accuse the world of duplicity. We ask after the timing of the tides, our lives the dance of sea and shore.

What light do you require? What faith will you find to sustain you through these cold hours and bitter truths? Life abides, life endures, life is the whole drift and draw. Our fingers trail through sand and water, grasping after something that can not be held or touched. We are legion and the burden of such dense assembly. We are the host and the battle field, the fecund farms and the wastelands where we gather all our gods and ghosts. The revelations await us like the reflections that mirrors afford. All you need to do is look.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

smoke trinity

The hush takes on the color of every color extinguished, the bleary burned through gray cold fingers of fog. The sense of smoldering, the scratch of matches finding spark, the dense air leaning in so close. A few distant lights brushing at your flesh, the glint of embers buried in a sea of ash. The atmosphere thickens, like secrets slowing breath. All night long, this roaring silence.

The sun lights the dawn, the glow of distant fires curling at the edges of the sky. The day clings to the dense silhouettes of chimney smoke and the persistent reach of tree limbs. Flocks stir, rising like ghosts through the silty air. Wings whisk by, whispering mysteries that linger, ringing in the glittering gray. Even the slumbering earth seems ready to burn.

I want to feel you close as smoke, thieving kisses and stealing breath. I want to taste your salt and bitter, that curl of burning that always tastes of sacrifice. The clamber of flesh finding flesh, the subtle friction of the familiar. I want your warmth as it consumes me, your fire more than worth all future devoured. Wanting this darkness, longing for the light.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


It was bound to happen. The things we said and the things we meant eventually would
intersect. The crossed stars that abide these collisions are never around when the check
arrives. The truth and consequence of the material overrun with the fierce remittance of
the ghost. Words all pile on and on, making mountains and digging deeper holes. The
words gather despite every mouth being full.

Some claim the grace of humility, some the grace of stone. Some speak as if the world
will listen. Some speak as if heaven was full. We thank the gods, we thank the room. We
thank the fields and the harvest. We thank the feedlot and the slaughter. Life is work
and ache and luck. It is too much wonder not to wallow.

Gather those you love in close. Gather your wits and keep an eye on all that might love you. We always toast the tomorrow that we think we want. Those bothersome blessings
served with a twist. The turn of fate and the turn of phrases, the senses fail and the
distinctions blur. Fortune is fickle with its favors, grace paces the floorboards searching for escape. Everything is temporary. Tomorrow calls no one by name.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The lights go out, save a few sparks crowded by spiders and moths. The air slows all around, each breath pressed tight against the last. It seems like there should be something to say, the moment so swept and furtive. That motion just beyond the silence. This mind not so much still as frozen by a thought that just eludes.

I take the winter as a given, thought the season is still shaking out as fall. The chill with each key stroke, that strange fire of freezing fingers bothering the alphabet. My beard and gloves worn longer and without pause. My eyes sifting through all these golds and grays. The ache of light just as it is loosed.

It is really all beyond me, the mundane to the extraordinary one unceasing shrug. The details all mingle, exchanging names and numbers. I don't even try to keep track of where I am in the story, let alone attempt to follow the plot. Just a sense of loss, a sense of error. Just a memory the color of ice.

Monday, November 21, 2011


It isn't that I can't see it coming. It isn't as if I don't recognize the flag. You wave it until it is in tatters, a flash of color, the sound of rags snapping in the wind. You wave it as if signaling surrender while you spit and fume. I pause a moment as if in reflection. I slow while the words fly away. Crows scattered across the hush of dusk.

Night arrives on silken wings, the air cool and clean, stars sharpened on the reach of tree limbs. Chimney smoke crawls and clusters, catching naive lungs unprepared. The spun globe of chance always landing beneath the same heavy finger. The burden of freedom a creeping ache down the spine, a churning nausea in the belly. The questions are all painted the hue of the asking. The limits are legion.

Our mistakes brought us here. Our only virtues are found in how we carry these sins and errors. The telegraphed blows so antiquated, the brutal slurs so foolish. You ride this tide of rage and stupidity, a lemming if lemmings really could commit self-slaughter. You cry for blood and violence and some dumb host of angels that would see you through to victory. The world is boundless, full of breathless beauty and gibbering horror, and more mystery than any one lifetime could discover. The limits are real, and they are yours.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I can not say how long I have waited. I was waiting before I even knew what waiting was, eyes cast towards the horizon, gazing at the sky. The day slip by, expanding into weeks and months and years. Decades spent like mad money, spent like the candle left burning or the moon wound down. It could have been mere moments, it could be this lifetime devoured by what never was. It could be that there are never words enough to say.

You are invisible here, that ghost that lingers, that scent in the air. Another light lost behind the hills, another star lost in the clouds. Each breath I shed is flavored with your name, each step I take chained to your absence. I speak out loud, as if you could hear me. I speak out loud, as if I wasn't alone. I lost my chance, hands stuffed in my pockets. I lost my way, waiting for a sign.

There is romance in the air, driven by tireless wings. There is romance in the air, gathering like smoke by the eaves. There are windows lit, there are fires burning. There is warmth to be gained away from the slow cold of this night. The skies are gray, the rain is waiting. Everything wishes to fall and fall. The rain waits somewhere above and beyond me, and, down among the mud and leaves, I am waiting too. I would say it seems like forever, but forever has no meaning to the very temporary. I would say something better, but the words are never here.

Friday, November 18, 2011


The rain spatters the rooftop, the rain kisses the windows. The rain bursts and dwindles and then the day is gone. Nothing left but the odd notation of dirt and water, the bundles of mud and mystery, the worms on the pavement and the birds on the line. Nothing left but light switches and door hinges, a life squandered on knobs and locks. Not even a letter left to say good-bye.

They've all been called up to heaven. They've all been returned to the earth. These dreams that waver and fade beneath the slow burn of this awakened day and blunted night. The dreaded whethers and the fond tomorrows dissolve, clouds caught in the flooded gutter, tattered by the flood. Hopelessness and mindfulness synonymous for a moment, the mirror another tide loosed on the world.

The slate is never wiped clean. The new world is always mostly rendered from the bones of the old one. The creep of continents, the crawl of life, the clambering vulgarity of language. All the motion that slides beneath the senses, the truths that enchant and confound. The crush of perpetual mountains, the call of all these runaway stars. Nothing new under the sun. Nothing but beginnings that never end.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

all the labor

The storm blows in the distance, the day surrenders to the breadth of shadow. The hours trickle sweet and slow, honeyed lips and soothed throat. The moment won has long since dissipated, hands and pockets both notably empty. I breathe the silty air, blowing smoky kisses to an instant long expired. The world just turns on and on.

The sky boils, clouds and a freezing rain sweeping in through the gaps in the terrain. Skin chills, gooseflesh rises, the night stretches and pouts. I wait as the sun slips away, I wait as the weather chooses its weapon. Watching the world diminish to porch-lights and glowing windows. Watching the world as it waits to pass me by.

The world will leave you without a word. The world will swallow you whole. It isn't personal. This life is only what you claim and cling to. This life is all wonder and fume. The instant is hidden in your roaming blood. The moment where everything is waiting. The moment when all the work comes due.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The colors all give it up to gray, dusk settling into the wide reaches of the parking lot. You cross with caution, brake lights and back up lights never entirely indistinguishable. The coffee shop crawls, clientele bearing the difficult burden of choice. No-one knows you here. When they finally get to your order, they ask if you want room for cream.

You slow as you cross the lot again, trying not to frighten any shoppers with your speed or bulk or dishevelment. Not that there isn't the potential, but most citizens are poor judges of horseflesh, and their antennae never seem to be scanning for intent. It doesn't matter that you are just another consumer, coupons and shopping list at hand. Fear and nightfall go hand in hand.

You enter the grocery store, and all the colors have claimed sanctuary. These convolutions of need and want, stacked high and sorted into rows of like and convenience. You shamble through your list, filling the cart with milk and coffee and laundry soap. Everything searched for found, in order and in kind. You complete the ritual of revelation, and they ask you if you found everything alright. The question has to be a trick, but you just smile kindly and say yes. No-one needs to know any better.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

museum piece

The song plays out long before the song is over, the cluttered track and the worn-through voice. All this singing despite the bird on the wing, despite the words buried just below the earth. All this music despite the gear tooth clatter, that grind of bone into blood drenched bone. Each break placed just so, club to gut and limb. Each bruise another rainbow claiming skin while the soldiers do the work of the world.

All these kings and bishops, these fatted moon-calves and desperate potentates. They slash and burn and strike all around them, they thieve and scheme and invoke gods they cannot name, then cry fowl at the first sign of resistance. Money talks, people talk back. We know the story before it begins. We know the brutal truth. Forget the crowns and shepherd's crooks. Every stone will have its say on these long dog days.

The tale is simple, once it is sealed behind the glass. The fable is always founded upon some hard sharp truth, the heart of the telling all the proof that language will allow. It becomes a museum piece, safe from dust and change. It becomes part of our journey and a road we think we will never travel. Then one day the guards all raise an alarm. The tale is gone, the case left empty and open. Forget the crowns it goes, take back the kingdom.

Monday, November 14, 2011


There is a lost star hinting after the horizon. There is a dark horse lathered into a froth. Put it all on the assembled devils. Put it all on the gathered teeth, so small and sharp and lovely. They will shout and they will name. There is no one turn where it was all lost. There is no one moment when it all went wrong.

We are called by love, we are called by gravity. The bare essence of a conspiracy, the raw bones of some kind of trust. We avoid the ordinary orbits just long enough to wear the face of the stranger, we drift with undue pride and purpose, touching each and every soul we pass. We are lost soon, at home in the mass of other people. It is so dark and cold out past the ordinary orbits, we pretend that there is nothing there.

So there is the pause of distance. So there is this reach of want. All these roars and whispers, every one just the shimmer of static. Every one only the glitter of glass. The dust of constellations, the whole of the galaxy waving a slight goodbye. We spin in such small circles, that we hardly move at all. There is no metaphor to this kind of lonely. There is only the measure and the mystery. There is only the dark and the cold.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

close enough

Night wanders on in from the wings, the sun never finishing what it starts. You would call but you don't trust the number. You would write but the words get in the way. If anyone asks, I say I understand. If anyone asks, they are keeping it to themselves.

There is nothing to be done about it. I close my eyes, and you arrive. You gather like the slow slide of gravity, every victory just a matter of degree. You descend like the long draw of flight, every approach something like the hunt. Like some comet I burn as bright as you are near.

Close enough, you never complain. Close enough, the blood does all the work. Matter whispers its secrets, like finds like again and again. We all draw nearer, distance hidden behind our backs. These fecund galaxies amalgamate around the void of collapsed stars, and so all speed away from one another. Gravity just a confluence of small aches and ceaseless wantings. Destiny always just where you would hope.

Friday, November 11, 2011

with me

I want you here, when the world burns down. I want you there with me at the end of days. The one regret, the unanswered question. That claiming kiss, those fiery eyes, the peak and the fury of your graceful blessed flesh. To follow the last light into the horizon. To close the door and throw away every key.

The first bite is bitter, but I go ahead and swallow. I learned to take the dish as placed long before you lost me for good. These deep years have taught me to savor the seasons when all the seasoning is spent. All the lessons I need I learn last. Fevered and fallen so hard and far that only I had never noticed. Lost so long that only I believed I had a path left to follow.

I no longer know what star to wish on. I no longer know when to quit the road. Waiting for a clue like I was praying for rain. Waiting for a calling like I ever answered straight. I want you the way our absences are almost always about to touch. So close only the sky is nearer. So far it may as well be a star. I want you like a hope for heaven. I want you close when all that distance burns.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

the number

You lay your head on the pillow to nothing but the whisper of pressed flesh and all those songs that drizzle from your lips. The long day finally all wore out, the razor's edge ground down. Your eyes shine bright, even though they are closed and heavy. You smile so sweet even though every little bit hurts. The bitter draught and the slow sustain. The sweet reminder and the gleaming coffee bean. Sleep loses its own self, dreaming after you.

So I scuffle amongst the dirt and dead leaves. So I slow towards the teeth of this precipice. The sky wanders wild, and the winds pause and gallop. Night and then another. Day and then the dusk. I am only conceit and twice-thieved hubris, waiting for the hammer to fall. I am only another one, wishing for nothing but you.

You sling yourself over those smoldering bones, you stroll like some dance of sacrifice. That soulful stride of your voice, rising to the tasks of grace and wonder. That distant gaze above the sway of hip and limb, eyes that hint of heaven. All those plentiful stars in swarms without number. All those tides and fires, sand and soot clinging to the salt in the air. You move as though standing so very still, singing with the bliss of where the bitter meets the sweet.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

the moon and the stars

There is a pause to autumn, a moment when the whole world holds its breath. The jagged branches held so close to the throat of the sky, the collateral diffidence of falling leaves gathered in vague conspiracies. Breath clouds and steams, the crisp air a crystal witness to all this exhaust. Dreams huddle on the porch and sleep clings to the eaves of all these crowded little houses. Life, as always, exceeds its limits.

The stars are out far too early. The moon just looms there, scheming away above still streets and sudden urges. Shadows dissolve in the stretch of headlights, passing traffic through these plumes of night. A set of rapid footsteps, a one-sided conversation, ever stranger's voice mistaking me for home. Interrupted by abrupt constellations, stifled by the stillness that abides.

All the old aches come home. Small consolations crumble in the cold. Little left to follow, little left to find. Rooms that fill with troubled notions, windows clotted with light. Dusk seems a gentle traveler, gone off into the lonesome night. Dawn seems like a sentence for a crime I can't let go. Make peace with the senses, make this bed where sleep is lost. Remember everything is forgotten, everything lost beneath the moon and the stars.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

natural order

All the geese I see are flying to the North. North north east, at least. This is with the change in the weather. The gray sleeting rain, the chill in the air. I know the view should be inverted. I know the course I ought to expect. I don't pretend at an explanation. I don't pretend that we know nearly enough to say.

Not to say I don't have theories-- we are human and have to tell our tales. The patch work of hearsay and heresy, things overheard as children, things we say or read. All the follow and the weaving, the way we sort all this sift and seem. I watch the sky flow gold and gray, watch the geese fly north and the crows go west. I listen to the misgivings of the atmosphere. I witness this little sliver of the world.

The cold has settled into the earth and air. Every day matter slows a little more. Ribbons of ache unfold and lavish the flesh with their affections. All the bones are sorted, all the wounds displayed. The lights come on a little earlier, and, when it falls, the night falls fast. I write it down, though nothing is ever really written. I write it down, even when the words won't take wing.

Friday, November 4, 2011


The story is an old one, crooked folk meeting on a crooked road. The long leisurely stroll towards the double helping of just desserts. The words traded, the whistles wet. Some bargain offered, blood for blood, step for step. The dance before it knows it is dancing. The ritual lived by riot or by rote. The shadows scattering all around the fire.

I don't claim to know the sense of anything. I don't pledge to know even what I might mean. Everything is the matter except the method. Everything is wrong but the feel. There is loss in each reckoning, there is some small fight towards each fail. It is there for the asking, and I never know what to ask.

I say I wore you like a fever. I say I met you in my dreams. I wouldn't believe a word. I would say consider the source. What could you claim that could be trusted? What could you say that could ever confess the truth? I know what is lost because I know what I am missing. I know where it goes because I wrote it all out. Suspect and grieving, I can only take the same.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

the story that I told

The chill moves from the wind to my bones, ringing the blood from my knuckles, slowly killing the worn flesh of my hands. The rain spattered about the streets and hills, blotting out the blue of the sky, beating the leaves from the trees. Each joint feels the crush of rust, each muscle the teething of hungry fire. Time stitches together its apologies. Time catches up to every corpse.

The bitter portion is cut from these spent wishes. The hardest morsel the medallion cut from the world that never was. These elementary ambitions, the native expectations, the belief in love and exception all play out in grays and blues. This shambling exile, this spit flecked hermitage. The lonesome notion made worse by the resilience of dreams.

I wander the borders of winter, thick and dull and redolent of distant pleasures. Autumn strides across this town, trimming trees and spilling smoke. The skies fill with clouds and anxious flocks, the gutters fill with leaf and glass. It isn't only the years, it isn't only the miles. It isn't the certainty that is settling in that I am well into the epilogue, empty and bent towards the abyss. It is the resonance of want, worn through the reach and pitch of being. The story that I told myself, somehow missing from the world.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

walking in circles

Again I wake up scratching at shadows. Again I wake up sweeping these bones to the floor. Sunlight, lamp light, the shine of remembered eyes. Vision submits to the walls of the world. Brick work and bandwidth, the plodding exclamations of matter, the fluttering ministrations of the dusk. The crawling crush of evening traffic, the return of every crow to its roost.

It isn't the words that have failed me. It isn't the world that has lost its way. The days are laid out, one by one. You take their make, you take their measure, you use what you can and leave all the rest. There's no-one to blame for all my mistaken leanings. There's nothing to do but move along.

I watch the hills, I watch the sky. I wait for the weather to make a change. The wind rises as the pressure remits, that steady tide of atmosphere plummeting over every skin. Never mind this sea of strangers. Never mind the need to speak. I follow each step, the worn down path of each spent yesterday. Walking in circles, favoring fevers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

another round

It is proof enough that I never pick up all the pieces. It is point enough that I don't care enough to act it out. The shows slip past, the music flows like smoke. The mind wanders towards the lowest portions, where habit has worn a trail like hoof and heel. The mind can't remember, so it learns to pretend to itself. That better nature bent from second guesses. Those better angels only certain to make themselves scarce.

A smaller number falling slowly, another picture hanged from that misused nail. That melancholia that comes from once believing you were supposed to be happy. The drift of sentiment sunken and entrenched, a feast set before us, wreaths upon the door. It is a kind of disbelief, to be so wrong so often. It is the consolation of this rushing tomorrow and another round on the house. I wait for some calm superstition, then find another day left in me.

I find some comfort in blunt appetite. The familiar and the beautiful, the reach and all the rest. Without these mementos I could feast and feast. To the day, to the future, until the boiling of the oceans and the burning of the sky. The uxorious attention to every favor, the blank exception offered to every fault. Instead, I mind the time and keep the date. I mistake ritual for virtue and draw down peal after peal of dumb ruin.