Thursday, December 29, 2011

nocturn or nocturne

The hour is early, the sky already given up for gray. It is a time of kitchens and electric lights, of dinner plates and piles of lies. Families entangled like the rat king's tails, gnashing and writhing away in the usual style. Ordinary forms and trying exchanges, the lives lost to strangled chance and surrendered roads. Here it is still, a sort of formalism made from gathered books and the unyielding attentions of dust. Here it is quiet, just that hint of music, the morning songs of night birds. Barking dogs and car alarms blow reveille, calling out to the army of roofs and fences.

The roads lay down just where you left them last, stretching farther than perspective would allow. Running through field and over hill, reaching from town to town and from light to light. Asphalt poured all across the scenery, travel spilled all over the map. They are always coming for you, and always running away. The days savored and those despised all wander off to die, leaving only notions and past tense as company.

Night settles down to stay, asking very little and taking less. The reckoning of weather, the weight of an unsettled sky. The drizzling of incidentals, background noise and inevitable collision. The mismatched parts and the missing pieces all whisper away, like prayer escaping a church yard or music falling from the heavens. Ring your bells, fire off that respectful salvo, blow the last solo of the day. Share every confusion you can. Something will arise, nocturn or nocturne, to serve the absent day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Before the last light goes out, before the gathering shadows engulf us all, before the day dwindles down to a fine and distant glow you begin again. You slip into the material, wearing the coolness of autumn over that endless summer flesh. You shed the very season, all stride and song. The night races down the lonely road, chasing after the rhythm of your heels. You take in each star and every cloud, bound to share the skin of heaven. All alone with the night all but ignoring me, I wouldn't be surprised were you wearing wings.

I am always talking out of turn, the words always squirming their way out of my mouth.  Speech a power wound in curses, my breath always running out. Seeing you, I say too much, and all the words are never enough. You obliterate all answers, outshine every sense of splendor and finery. You are beyond the scratch and scrape of language. Even your name cannot meet your measure.

I don't know what road you've chosen. I don't know what skies you bless. It is hard to find any landmarks when the weeds all sway in tandem.  It is hard to trust the marker when the odds are so astray. You arrive from behind the veil of matter, binding your grace to the material world. These cold nights and empty rooms rattling in your wake. You rise inside the impetus of every thought, always the first breath and last word. Yours is always the prayer I offer, you the prelude to every day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


The day dropped the ball, the gray painted sky swayed blue and gold, all aglow from these atmospheric coincidences. The dusk a little closer, the fleeting clock, the falling earth. I limp along, high strung and bottomed out, eyes having settled on the puzzles of terrain and stride. I plod across dust and stone, sticking to a routine, knowing my place. I play the part, another of the assorted selected background talent cast to fill out the scene. Not much is expected, and do I ever deliver.

Night arrives a bit too early, porch lit moths spending energy finding all the wrong lights. Quiet houses stand stoic before the ruckus of the street. Squealing children and speeding vehicles, the combination always worse than it sounds. If there are stars out, I don't notice. My eyes watching out for the sort of troubles you can step over. My eyes watching out for something that will match the map.

I make some coffee, turn on the computer. Check whatever messages that arrive at some associated address. Turns out there are still things left to buy, and they are making more of them. Turns out I have been chosen, again and again and again. I dismiss most of it without a glance, this being that sort of day in that kind of age. With such an accommodating ocean, why bother with bottles? What washes away but these small attentions, in a sea so busy and vast? Questions that get along fine without any answers. A world that isn't looking for company at all.

Monday, December 26, 2011

moving pictures

The credits role, and it's the same old song, though a good one and a favorite. The cat stretches in my lap, dragging its claws across the comforter. The dog on the sofa is thick in his dreams, chasing something in his sleep. The movie's over, midnight's come and gone. It is always the hour after, once your number comes around.

Steady yourself against these conceits of slumber, the comfort of these inky depths cannot be sustained. I wouldn't want to wake you with some message you'd dismiss. I wouldn't want you to wake with your dreams in tatters, my voice the first trace of the world to be. Still, this stillness will not last. The world will not allow even this least respite.

The song fades out and the music changes. An elegant glissando threads through the empty air. The cat purrs, the dog stirs and gives up the chase. All the hours gather, pressed against shine and shadow. The credits end, the image fades to black. The night crawls on, and you are nowhere near. The night crawls on, an all I see is you.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas lights

It is funny how the season passes. It's so strange the way the feeling fades. All the lights strung out one after another. All these constellations made from wire and plastic. The mood light amusements and the meager givens. The blunt recoil of the schedule meets the muffled retort of the heart.

The streets stretch out, yawning through the stillness and the frost. The sidewalks pause and reflect the gleam and glow of street-lamps and passing traffic. The gutters still cluttered with leaf and trash, as the strays work out their schemes. The night almost free to be like any other. Cold and dark and threaded with loneliness.

It is particular to this species, all the dreamy longing. Never alone in any given moment. Never at ease when tomorrow is in the works. The dissatisfaction that comes from being a little too easy to satisfy. The discontent that arises from keeping eyes on the unfolding road. The world all aglow with the least of feasts and the fitful scenery. Treasure everywhere, and still it is the sadness speaking softly in all the squandered rooms. Listening for a word or a voice, some small measure to make it worth all this waiting.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


In this dream one of us is having, you are always almost there. The hour is upon me, and I can taste your kiss from around a corner, feel your flesh press from afar. This is the dream of us I keep having, the trick of the mirror, the narrative power of the editor's credit. Your name just there, slipping down my tongue. A breath and the clasp and huff of pronunciation, and every prayer comes due. Sleep is just lousy with these sorts of tricks.

There was no knowing either question or answer, the whole point seeming that certain straight ahead. There was no truth in telling what the world had already shown. From feather bed to fever dream, from over kill to after glow. Was it that moment from that other world of fitful glimpses and deep recall, or the shimmer of altered metals settling into that amalgam I know by heart? Was it the flicker of candles snuffed or the terror of wishes granted? The reason or the go-between.

The change is that much more astounding, from dream true to truth told. Waking on this pavement made of mistakes. Waking in the world the way it wore me, from music to the score as it scans. This faith a kind of satiation, finished by a bellyful of this same old world. Cold air and bare skin, the scramble for swaddling cloth. Candy canes and Christmas lighting lingering in the slow stretch of longing. The stark naked certainty of your arrival in this life we'll never know.

Friday, December 23, 2011

either or

I wake up nowhere in particular, some fuzzy hour in some shabby room. I turn the joint over top to bottom, and still can't find the will to begin again. The blood won't answer, and the ghost doesn't know. Adrift on the wind swept edge of nursery rhyme, casting shadows, kicking stones.

There is that vague whisper of wanting, the clotted breath in the icy air casting shadows on the yard. The flesh grows cold as it presses through the hours, placing its faith in a room always nearing. A fire always ready for the failing light. Some smoke soaked future always fleeing the inferno. Some drift of instinct into the frame of the flash, that instant mistaken for the mold.

The ache is earned like afterglow, the echo of some cherished repetition. The photo tattered and creased, the feeling clinging on and on. The days labor away at each stillness, devouring the creeping spaces between every blessed act. Rare bird or cactus flower, I can not find you. Some made up name, some bet on number. The chill in the air and the saw stroke of stiff joints. The distance between me and the knowing of your name the distance from wolf to dog.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


This is no mistake, no random act of happenstance. The flowering of every fissure, the bloom of each crack and line. Bruised bones and twisted steel, the indelible impression of the moment of impact. It is the moment that every ache and impulse was birthed, the root and branch of this life. The weary weight of limb and tongue. The bleary gleam of open at last. This is the sense in the season, the marker on the map casting its shadow into the world. This is your life, written on the back of a matchbook. This is your life, written in leaf and stone.

It can be hard to fathom, all this spilled instance. It can be hard to watch, all the evidence gathered. The wrecked spells and the broken oaths. The clipped witness of each misstep and mistake. The fierce derailing of the most carefully laid plans, sounding out louder than any bell or chime. The calamity of firm belief meeting fact head on, that mad collateral of the empirical weighing in. It is quite the journey, the distance between said and done.

I don't know how I got here. I don't know where I am going, or much about where I've been. The sun and stars all perch along familiar axes, the journey of the chariot and the music of the spheres all lined up just so. Day and night, and all the business in between. The word works according to its mysteries, the clock works according to its parts. The news imbues every devil with its details. I arrive dead center, in the middle of the road. I begin in the same place, no matter where I am. The moment of impact all there is, apart from all I miss.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

the prophecy

The stars have done their part, shining all bright and sparkly. The cloud all milled about, as if they had a say. The night came only to go again, never failing to disappoint. Don't bother to ask about the day. We make our wishes, we take our chances.

What do you make of a story like ours? What lessons are there to learn when you knew the moral all along? Our story is a forbidden kingdom. Our story is a lost weekend. A comedy of errors mistaken for the triumph of will. The accumulation of terrible mistakes taken for destiny.

The world we know is all but new. The stretch of hundreds or thousands of years, either the latest craze or the earliest city, is but a cosmic blink. We believe in what and where we were born to, or in some convoluted rejection of the same. The gods of our elders become the gods we know are true, and we love and hate accordingly.  A time and place for everything, the prophecy fulfilled.  How blinding the beauty, how lovely the song.

Monday, December 19, 2011

good night

The night will find you. Whether you cling to your bright rooms or stick with those wandering stars. Whether you sleep warm and peaceful or toss and turn in the teeth of winter. The night will find you out. Dream on, or wait and worry. The night will know it all.

The dog days are gone, the chill that once perched upon the dusk now burrowed into bone and earth. The sun brushes gently against your shoulders then is lost in the depths of the gray. Children huddle on the corners, yelping and squealing out their location for any interested ear. The light gathers where it is lost, called by the weight and push of shadows.

The end closes in, without fanfare or pyrotechnics. It cries out from these intimate failings, groans and declamations rising from limb and joint. The visceral dimming of every sense while the brain beats alarm and tattoos dances of doom and attack. All of the evidence awaits while the heart turns the whole of the world into a series of crime scenes. The night falls on plan and happenstance. Ready or not, the night is here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

bar room girl

The world gives up all but the smallest of blessings, the day down the way now, the dusk just settling in. The light that slips and plies, the music that blares and grumbles, the concert of glassware and urgency stumbling just below the watermark of breath. Quiet conversations and hales of laughter loosed. The whole world just the gleaming of the gutter. The whole world just waiting to begin.

She is the dream of the woman she should have been, the trap of passion and the tripping tongue. Staring into the blur of her own eyes reflected. Seeing through skin and bone, the blunt wishes of the flesh never sparing the washed out wanting of the soul. She watches her own eyes, seeing someone else. The bartender and the door that never opens. The next drink and the demon in the bag.

As if the night could disconnect from the long drag of daylight. As if tomorrow could detach from the tendons of tonight. The moment dozes beneath the seamless surface of each last drink. The moment drowns there, somewhere between breath and speech, somewhere between the eyes and the heart. All consolation prizes and cheap tricks, the day that you never wanted becomes the night that never was. Everything done once even the wishing is washed away.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

the most

It is cold, but not as cold as the night before. I spill smoke and steam into the gray haze, sifting breath and pine needles, staring hard away from the light. Street lights and traffic noises creeping up beside the house. The cat above, and the dogs run riot. The coffee cools quickly, every bit as bitter as the ruins of a dream. Just as much the feeling as the fact.

It is always a tangle, searching for the source. Always either knot or almost knot. Either the sparrow of providence or the same in waiting. The clutch of atomic bonds and that vast abyss of probability meandering in the immeasurable in between. The nature of language always veering harder towards the almost, meaning needing to be more the near miss than the sense itself. The snake chases its tail, the dragon guards the gate. The myth lingers in every moment. The myth is always just ahead of the path.

I wait on the weather. I watch for sign or rain. The stars obscure the depth of distance. The lights conceal our limits, the tethers and markers that allow us to know our worth. Our broad conspiracies no more profound than the business of any nest, hive, or anthill. This tiny corner of creation so much greater than we can comprehend, boundless detail hiding endless devils. I witness what I can, missing everything the most.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Your hand is impressed upon yellowed paper, elegant and aloof. I can feel the press of your fingers flowing through the pen, witnessed with ink and proof. I can hear the lilt of your voice in the kink and sway of each word you chose. Just a few lines left to puzzle after, just a few sentences left to serve the rest of memory. Word after word drizzled onto paper. Every meaning long since spent.

It is the romance of the moment that I miss. The certainty of this hand-crafted missive, the soundtrack casualties and the play-list misses. Memory mingles with this worn out evidence, the notes left beneath the wiper-blade, windshield letters and rainy-day eyes. The windows flecked with self magnifying droplets, casting vague shadows from window to wall. The rain that came staying all night long.

The written word wears through, seeming weak and hollow after everything has been said. It remains creased and folded, tucked away as once precious, discovered between the covers in a book read a thousand years ago. Some vain respite to all the usual wounds, hurt feelings and broken hearts. A small memento of the way the world would be. A steady hand and an earnest oath, the dried up blue gone as brown as the dust, as wrong as any bet I ever made.

Monday, December 12, 2011

ice and loam

This is the story once it is over. This is the play after the curtain call. All dust sleeve and ghost light. All punctuation and after party and the pages given up for blank. The dry aching hands of work yet unfinished. The resolute bitterness of a tongue stilled for good.

Life idles on. It sleeps in the cold and the dark. It bides the time and the weather, the gray pacing and the golden moments. It endures and adapts, always changing, always holding the course. It doesn't care for status or secrets. It doesn't know how unlikely it is that it continues to thrive.

And so I scatter these words like ashes. So I write these words in the condensation on the mirror. Dust and steam, ice and loam. A whole continuity seems to hedge its bets, eternity running circles around the sky. Castles made of sand, oceans of possibility breaking again and again. The story is over. Everything left is epilogue.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


The moon didn't melt away. It didn't dissolve like resolution or fade like faith. The curtain was pulled and all that glow became muted, the moon submerged into obdurate shadow. I saw it cut an evil grin in west heaven, then it was a dull stone hung above the dim horizon. It waited there in stark relief as the darkness descended, daylight hinting away from the east. I watched it there as it surrendered to the hills and rooftop obstructions, dawn always somewhere in reserve.

I am faded and I am fallen. Weary and slow and dull, I know I should leave soon. Yet every time some bad hand reaches for my throat I am again that flurry of gleeful destruction and vicious rage, too weak to let some stranger decree me through. The light finds me less and less, the words all sorted into sortie and apologia, the devil's due and the levity in God's grand joke. I am all but gone, but I can not offer gracious surrender. I am mostly ache and tears, but the ache and tears will not remit. The fire is leaving but the embers still stir hot and bright.

It is essential to the integrity of the whole story that every piece does its part. It is crucial that the puzzle has its fits and starts. The mystery nuzzles up to some familiar cycle, leaves fall and the moon holds its breath, the earth casts its shadow from some other blazing day. I stare up at the sky through trees and over fences. I watch the stars and the moon while most folks are still asleep. The world turns, shifting its weight from hip to shoulder. The world turns, making the best with what is left. The day comes, and I melt away like some made-up moon. Always less, never letting go.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Save it for the golden measure, save it for the Holy Ghost. All these words that you embrace outside of meaning. All these threats of hell and heaven waiting down the road. All these fables of ache and fear, crystalized as breath cooling upon your pillow. I stand still for a moment, all the stars spilling across the skies. I stand still for a moment, taking in your gods by the eyeful. I would have moved soon after, but it turns out I was never there.

There is a poem of nerve and bone radiating with-in me. Waves of perspective hung out to dry, more meat for the smokehouse, more tome for the ghost. The words that rise and rot, the words that step and trip. The poem remains a facility of blood, the rocking horse tide, the frothing sentience of breath giving meaning to the tide. The poetry remains unwritten, scarcely remembered in the hunger and the fury. That abrupt interruption, the knock in the middle of the night that shoos the mind off course occurred before I was born. A life that feels like the missed starter's pistol, waiting for a beginning that ended long ago.

The season is the story of the world slowly dying. The season is the story of the world rocking itself to sleep. Us little pigs building our houses out of lies rather than straw, because we have learned that lies endure. Us little pigs stringing up our made up truths, that our freedoms come from killing strangers, that words from on high outrank the squealing of our hard little hearts. We use up all our fire wood building pyres to burn those big bad wolves, forgetting that winter is on its way.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

cold comfort

The moon lays down an icy stare, glaring away at roof and tree. We can only blame ourselves. Abandoning our elder truths for bluff science and book sanctioned deities. Forgetting its name amid so much frenzied prayer. Forgetting just how far away far away can be.

The air rests in stolid umbrage, crisp on the tongue, freezing to the touch. There is ice in the sky, the dark continuity of the complicit reply. Sparkling inferno that gleam with the certainty of extinction, conflagrations so bright and distant they defy belief. The night bites at faces and fingers, spun upon the wheel of the world.

The sense of things burrows into the earth, slowing from one form to the next. Life hangs on despite the height or the hour. Wood smoke crowds the street and peeks in windows, touching everything with tiny filthy fingers, marking every flavor with its greedy tongue. Winter flings its favors and its curses without distinction. The gates are closed, the doors are locked. I settle in with all my misgivings, clinging to whatever comfort the cold allows.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


The moon swells against the fabric of the winter sky, a heavy stone hung among all the still smoke of chimney fires, a fable awaiting some once upon a time. The light slows, filling with the spare parts of the clockwork of time. Haze takes the streets as the sun gives up, shadows rolling down the middle of the road. An ambulance wails onto the block and stops in front of a house just across the way. Some stories know where they are going before the first word is sacrificed. Some stories don't take to telling at all.

Life is a busy place to live, all these scene changes, this obstreperous cast of characters entering and exiting, worse than any Russian novel. Names and faces scratching at the glass of remember, memory filling with slips and slivers, dogs and cats and friends nearly forgot. A box of photos sleeping high in some quiet closet. A song heard so long ago even thinking of it dopplers thoughts into oblivion. You weren't here for most of forever, then you were here, spinning wheels and spitting fire. When you go, all the streets roll up and the details settle, sediment gathering around the flavor of your unuttered name.

We climb that steep hill for the brief plummet back down. We wind the clocks and plant the flags and feast and starve and riot and shuffle. All the evidence never enough. We get cold so we swaddle and layer and huddle. We get cold so we gather and feed the flames. We strive and love and suffer and pass, ghosting into glory or dragging all those chains. One day the sun goes down, and we do not find another dawn. Sirens sound, an ambulance appears. Everyone asks even though they know already. Another story ends as the darkness settles, the lights so bright as the ambulance pulls away.

Monday, December 5, 2011

the fire

The shine had worn off of the dream of the world, all the heavy fruit rotting on the vine. The gleam of fresh skinned knees so quickly clotted to scabs. The grain aching away on every board and plank. The rusted chains dangling without a swing in sight. The skies turned the color of silty water. The horizon always burning down.

Cold coffee and all the lights are low. Dogs and cats and the television murmuring under its breath. Dust clambering along the book shelves, all these words awaiting claiming. Voices clinging to husks and embers. Stories lick the bones of meaning, smoldering just beneath each skin.

Is this the path, worn by hoof and heel? Is this the mark, scratched into the stones and earth? This flesh so weary, these bones so bright. This wood so dark, the stars so far. I follow the smoke. I follow the glow. The world awakens, and I still am searching for the fire.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


You wear all the right rituals, that perfect posture, those secret marks. The mask of passion, the face of faith. That reach towards always craving more. As if you were carved from all the lack and fervor shed from the exhausted efforts of my existence. As if you were always there, waiting in the wings of my idle heart.

There are less evident tricks that seem to endure. There are more artificial sources that run riot with these settled bets and shameless minds. The assertion of neutrality only another choosing of sides, either wearing the blinders of the brilliantly unaware or practicing some cheap deceit. Desire turns the best of us into deluded marks or entitled cons. Miserable excuses like my own run rampant where my stereotypical wishes are invoked. Only a fool believes he can not be fooled.

There is more of you of course than my amazement. There is more to you than the shore and the sign of my oblique mind. You are that light, and the witness to all that shine. You are the world, and all the bounty of shock and wonder so implied. I would kiss you, as if I could carry such promise. I would kiss you, as if I could ever be so right.

Friday, December 2, 2011

that final light

If you must remember me, remember me at my worst. Somehow it gained the virtue of certitude, when so much failing came as lack of faith. Somehow it collaborated with your kindness, this weight of wreck and ruin. The wasted days, the broken trust, the long palaver down the road to hell. I would hope that these would mingle with the flavor of my name. I would hope at least some lesson would remain.

The day grinds down to dirt and feathers. The cat on the rooftop, the dogs at my feet. The sky slows, and the warm breath of the distant Pacific lingers on the street and in my beard. Questions burn away, casting out silty ghosts of smoke that Coriolis away to heaven. Questions burn, and all the asking ends up prayer.

It isn't that my sins are greater. It isn't that I long for the lash. The days dissolve, all tooth and shadow. Good things are destroyed for the sake of lies and foolishness. Lives are sacrificed to line greedy purses, and the words are bent until all meaning breaks. The memory of love with eyes wide open. Amid so much crawling darkness, choosing that final light.