Monday, December 31, 2012

to whom it may concern

The Blood/Ghost Ratio will be on hiatus for January 2013. Instead of the regular entries, I will instead publish older poems each day for the month's duration. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Happy New Year,
                        Murray Perrine

Sunday, December 30, 2012

a little off the top

There are always going to be adjustments. The game can change as long as the ball is in play. One day it is all want and promise. The next they say what they really mean. At least maybe you can run for cover. At least maybe this way you can cut your losses. The dream must end when you speak the truth.

So young to know that you are beaten. So young to know you outlived your time. The records spins, somewhere in your past, the one that hissed and spat. The old poems lost in their boxes. This shuffle of words and dust dissolved in the bright winter sky. An oath sworn on radio waves, a promise made to vapor trails while the sun burns and burns. The children laugh and dance in circles. Their worlds still too green to burn.

The papers talk of impending endings. Doom cast in the shape of the ancient incantations, hell made from the sweepings of broken spells. Somehow the magic keeps happening. Somehow the illusion abides. The way the world is always posted in anticipation of its changing. The way all the words are wasted while someone waits their turn. The last days spent rooting through the sales bins. The last days spent sharing every ache with strangers. Every romance left you just confused suspense.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


You trace your scars like constellations, you sweep the street eyes loaded and ready to bear. The night comes with its compliment of stars and ice all hidden by the bright and bloated moon. There is an itch the nails aren't reaching, there are pieces of a broken pot lodged inside your heart. It hurts because it is still beating, it hurts because the lights are on. You pace the yard and cast your shadow, then turn towards it and tramp it down. You know it's you because who else could it be, here in the middle of all this busted scenery. You know it's you because no-one would be inside this mess if they didn't have to be.

Again the wisdom of the knife, the preaching of the hammer. The murderers deny each time their tools their share of glory. The blind spot never entirely in the eyes. The critique the lost blaming the map. The cold thinks it is invited because you let the fire die. God always in the margins, messing with the doors and windows. It isn't the recipe that is the disaster when you consider the ingredients.

You write it down like it was gospel. You write it like the origin story of an open book. The words forget their purpose when spoken of so wrong. The mantra is the open vein, the dogma is the loaded pistol. Your heart will try to tell the truth, but language always takes its cut. The pain is measured by the distance, the stretch of light along the horizon, the sky speckled with ancient shine. The empty is so wide we make up things to fill it. The empty is so vast it is all there is. Painted pretty like those pictures in your childhood fairy tales. Painted pretty like your love before you bury it forever in the cold dark earth.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


It is the same icy wind blowing through me, the same afternoon no matter what the calendar says. The same gray light drowning all about. The same sad sinking invisible sun lost among the clouds. The rain making rings in the puddles. The smoke seeping from between my lips. This dull refrain, this crushing ubiquity.

The dogs all track the mud in. My fingers make no sense. Yet another brace of letters. Yet another posit to disprove. The rain pounds down through the pines, making needle and leaf dance and glitter. The deluge falls in strings of syntax, the argument spatters across the leaky roof. All I hear is the tapping of each retort, the din of this debate. I suppose we all have our reasons. I suppose I might even have one myself.

Each syllogism is a symptom of these symbols. Each philosophy a stitch in my breathing, every contention something caught in my throat. All my words gather in puddles and empty pots. All my stories left outside too long. I write the same lines, the way they fell from from heaven, the way they first sang it all into being. I draw another breath of smoke to keep the embers going. All this wind and ash only to keep this fire alive.

Monday, December 24, 2012


This is the song of salts and solace. The near window left open to frame that farther star. This is the corner of gathered shadows, clinging to this obscure phrase. You cross yourself to make right by heaven, muttering out your breathless oaths. You promise the moon, you claim forever, bared shoulders and warm flesh. Her voice the music you are somehow always after. Her kiss the symptom and the sign.

The storm cracked open a hole in the sky, the sheath of stars glimmering like frost in this wide and early winter. The neighbors dogs loose their throats, wailing like the sirens that set them off. You watch the clock and mind the time. The hours settle like snow drifts, the hours seep and pool. The quiet street, the darkened windows. Christmas lights catch the eye like nearing prophecy. You wish on her as if she was the only star in sight.

The magic is always in the seeming. The moon in the tree top, the frost on the roof. You look to the sky to settle your bet, the earth to cut your losses. The streets swell with an empty they cannot contain. The sky seems to spark and shiver. Outside you watch your words gain shape, speaking her name aloud. The season looks the other way. You were marked before you got here, changed with one look into her eyes.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

every single day

This begins back in the days of the unsent letters. This begins before the era of private hand held worlds. Back before the age of detachment, back before the bubble burst. It is longer than the stretch of memory, further away than all these useless dreams. I start to follow, then it eludes me. I see the passage right as the passage is gone. They say history ends because they can't stop talking. They let you speak so they can think of the next thing to say.

There is nothing new about this fleeting purchase. There is nothing new about the words unmoored. The language always marked by great scars and faint striations, always tattooed with the rope and the lash. The adjusted  definition always a tumult to some dull soul. The witness always close to the victim of the crime. This sea of twitches and little regard. This illusion that this confusion could be cured by more words.

Again I get lost out here in the tall weeds. Again I lose my way out walking in the rain. These words and words that allow no transit. These lights that only serve to blind. Because they forget, there is no history. Because they forget, the meaning is gone. Nothing ever gained from attempted communication. This dismay my only purpose. Only as good as the very last thing said.

Friday, December 21, 2012

cast your spell

The change is so subtle you hardly notice, the fixed blue sky gone gray. A cold breeze spills down from heaven as the world around me is engulfed in shadow. The rain of daily prophecy awaits no invitation.There is this breath of hesitation, you so distant, my hands so cold. There is this pause in the atmosphere as the storm arrives. There is a hush that feels like the sound of your voice before you speak. In your absence you are everywhere, my world so wound around you.

You are the sound on the roof when the rain starts falling. You are the light in the sky when the storm relents. You are weight of stones and the song of water.  I see you picture on my mantle. I see your letter on my desk. You cast your spell of lively eyes and native graces. I feel you spark in the trace of my senses. I feel you savor my every breath.

You won't be here when the sun goes away. You won't be here when the dawn comes again. The world is shake and shambles. The world is painted on pot shards, the world is scrawled on the walls. I haunt the same old hallways. I sing the same old songs. My voice rough and clotted. My heart a hunger than is never sated. The word falls hard and so short of your measure. You are absent from all but my appetites.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

this least quintessence

We walk these halls where once walked our fathers. We haunt these rooms where our fathers' ghosts still loom. This bent inheritance hung with medals and hope. This inevitable scent of something rotten spilling through the walls. We strive to answer our honor against their failing kingdoms. We long to be the way we thought they were. The alarm rings out in the dead of night, an apparition dread and sorrowful looms in the fire's glow.

You wake from dreams where your father does not know you. You wake held tight in some ancient aspect of your blood. Tears burn hot as in your own skin you are a stranger. Outside there is something waiting for your questions. Outside the stars will give you all you're owed.

They sit in silence, the worn walls and split towers. They sit in silence, these sullen monuments to lost wars. We scuff the floors as we pace and pace. Always this abandoned hour where our fathers are breathed into candle wax. Gone forever though their voices ring out. Dead so long though their judgement still clings. From the bird in the sky to the ghost in the corner, this least quintessence, this shattered crown.

Monday, December 17, 2012


So much for sacrifice, the gray surrender of every street. So much for daylight, the tethered chain of rain obscures the sky. The words spent for words once more, sad equivalencies and unfaced truths. You fall and fall and fall again. These sticks and stones that bruise and burden only there for laughs. These mistakes that happen just to make you.

My hands are cold and the room is dark. The television tells its jokes and sells its wares. All my clothes are old and worn. I am lost in the ways of your world. It is funny because I am deadly serious. It is funny because the pieces just won't fit. There is nothing left to give away. The curtain falls and I never made the stage.

The pratfalls are fixed but the pain is certain. Every spill and every laugh leave a little less. The show goes on until it doesn't. The clown may strive, the clown may struggle-- it's only funny when it hurts. There is no art, there is no magic. Only broken bones and baggy trousers. Only the hilarity of your dreams beaten to death.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

the feeling

This feeling comes a-calling, again in the dead of night. This feeling comes a-calling, again in the hollows of the heart.  The sadness sawed free of the sad old song, a nest made of notes and ice. The weary blur of tears let loose like hounds, chasing sorrow down the flesh, hunting nothing but respite. The sorry list of failings that howl through the empty and the cold. The sordid story told out of school, the moment when misery's only company is you.

There is the dark room, there is the hour. The labored faith of a fitful rain. The air that claims each breath as steam. The door that crackles with the threat of opening. The sounds that assail you when there is no-one else there. How strange the sense that sense is leaving. How full the sound seems when the hollow is all you know.

We wear our sadness by the hour. We carry our sorrow in decades gone to seed. The echoes within echoes, ripples entangled with the skin of the water. We sing our songs and dance out circles. We all hold hands and guard our hearts. The small joys that hold us earthbound while we circle. Spin around and shed our frailty. Spin around and answer fast. The night comes calling with its burning questions. The night comes calling, this ache all you ever know.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Comes the sun that we cast down in ashes. Comes the day we list our sins in steam. The sun all squandered in drizzled beams and bright lies. The sun all spent for some other season, the price of some other world. The sinking feeling sacrifice, the cost of finding fire is watching all this smoke. Every stone sings out for solace, every song drowned so long ago. The evidence is absent, but all they can talk on is the ever after. Riddle our babies with bullets, pretend that the question is why.

The word is wings and whispers, it is unbottled lightning, it is swifter than thought. All the prophets all ears and grave proclamations. All our leaders all thumbs and fear. The word is loosed and we pretend we do not worship death. The word spills free and grief can not violate the sanctity of the instrument. The killing hand will find its fit, whatever death happens to be convieniant. The killing hand is sacrosanct when it is blessed with extra ammo and spits death in droves.

Come the end there will be no comfort. Come the end there will be no answers than mean anything at all. Say whatever prayers your custom dictates. Kiss your children and hold them tight. The day will come of no tomorrows, the madness wanders reckless through our dreams and streets. It's just like living in a movie except the bullets are unkind. Fill your hands is the national anthem, while howls of sorrow ring out loud and true.

Friday, December 14, 2012

the star that never sets

The road turns to slow sweeps and sincere flurries, the attention always wanted one thought over, the world so stubborn and in the way. You watch for trouble and read the signs, left to drift in this corridor of fraught notions and frayed nerve. The road drives the rhythm, soon you sing and sway. Here so thick in the skin of e moment, somewhere so very far in the story of your heart.

It is first gleaned from some crushed horizon, the embankment a gray slab silhouette glowering over the interstate. These bleak reminders of the bones that gird,our glittering worlds. The words to the song lost in that memory, the singing that lingering of day despite the night. Then the whole thing flickers, the lights they come alive. Piercing through the rearview, shimmering through the hills. The exchange of brightness a change in inferences, the dialect a gradient of some flavorful shade. You spark the incantation as you shift between these worlds.

Home is always another moment. Home is the faith of skipping stones. The long crowded crawl passing tentative exits. The strange dislocation of your will captured by the tide. The ritual a kind of amends made out of rocks and maps, the road that snakes and crosses. The traffic that can not settle, the star that never sets. You glide amid these seething masses, steel and glass and gathering mass. The path always crafted from the edges of disaster. The destination always felt in its ebb and flow.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

cold old overcoat

They keep alive these ancient faiths while sinking in this ache, the moon melted down like flavor. Burn the torch and light the candle. Blaze into the black. The choice where language loses purchase, expressed in fits and coughs, the jittering of pinched nerve as signals are sent aloft. Give away all these hope and bones, shared with no tomorrow.

The words blend with the sunset. The language escapes the the fetters of lines and letters. It slides between the world and all this want. The darkened hall, the drape of shadows. The seams and stitching that can never hold repair.

Again at last it is empty but for the hanger. Again at last the wear and tear. Cold fingers and open windows. The talk all gone, like lights so fast. The wall so brief and unforgiving. The weight so whole there is nothing left to lift.

Monday, December 10, 2012


The moment drawn to these cold dumb fingers. This hour slowly bleeding into dust. The suspended breath long since cast off, another web, another shadow. Your silly trick and treats, the pause beyond the windows, the grit teeth of creeping feet. The story on the TV swimming in such pretty conceits. The real world small and aching for approval. Another clumsy line, another vague regret.

You think it is somehow printed on the inference. You think this sway is words and weight. That slow misspell always my undoing, the stuttered thunder of the absence of that gasp. Like the feel of keys is what makes the open. The written word as the warm close breath.

The thought is all that is left of the essence, not a treasure chest rattling but a thumb on soft wax. The searched for scars and the hearts hard preaching. The missing tooth always the lost god of tongues. Today is this much less again, tomorrow maybe never's name. A ghost of a bite, a clasp of shadow loosed in this triumphant regret.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

night fall

Give away that crowd of stars, give up this pile of wonder. The gathered stones won't give away the grave. The thought slow going, patches of drought flowers. The parched throat left over from the dusk. Wear away tour heels on the bones of the dreams that drowned you. Render a feather, thether down the lightning strike. Worry away that last morsel of the night.

The day resided still and calm, covered in dollops of melted light. Grave still and grave sure, the day is painted on the glass. It holds the shape until the last of the light is drained away, dusk along so quick the sun hardly has a say. Nightfall arrives like a cat, down the fence and up a tree. Bones ache and flesh trembles, a lone dog barking out his frustrations takes on another color when the nightfall comes to call.

This is the story of the poem unwritten. This is the story of the story never told. The night and day swap outfits, feelings running wild and hard. The heart at last so breathless, the mind so far still lost. Only things and the skins of things. Dark thoughts and bad omens, trip over the shoe string, catch your toe on the rug. The sky drops these feasts of lights and longing, the flattened out constellations, the cycle of hiding and finding the moon. The shadows push out their limbs and roots, thinking in deep absences and stark limits. The window turns to blackened glass and the shadows crawl and plot. Give up that last sliver of hope, let your heart feed the night.

white hot spark

It is atmosphere that bears the the lash, that boundary burned to feathered ash with-in the fog. A line of fire,or inference, the shine worked into the sky. The breath of harsh particulates crashing into ice.The seamless transitions and the meaningful pauses. The smoked skin of vision, some candle that burns as a strike. The blaze upon the moment the rush towards dusk begun. The white hot spark at once extinguished, that place to hold the hands long gone.

Is memory the map or the disillusion? The marker on the white board, or the words that hold the weight. The thought that crossed that instant resurrected or reformed. How long to hold our hearts expression in impressions based on blackened pulp. How far to see, should you render the breath just right. Cold rooms and borrowed fingers. Sin abounds when the only language known is demands.

Early today I witnessed the star fall. It is still all I can do not to confess a wish. Cold fog, and I warm on your wild blue yonder. Ice bites my face and you shine away the night. Everything is only how each thing leads to another. A bite of light and the world was put on backwards, the fall exclaims the climb. The sun also rises, so goes the saying with the seen. Matter there and in an instant gone, while there are no bounds to all this untold absence. Everything thing placed so curt and careless, this single note again and again.

Friday, December 7, 2012

before the sun

Once before the sun came up the day began as rain. There were ripples in the road ways and ribbons on every windshield, the sky coming down in woes. Every trifle was a trial, every ghost the most. The words so thick it seemed a parody. The tangled feel of scene and sound, the rain dangling braids of gray. And all the wish, and all the want washed steadily away. The empty chimed its favorite curse while the water whispered and schemed. The dream is all but undone says this tide of secret bones.

So they chart the course of condensation, they paint the sky with eyes. The numbers gather and hone their suspicions. The words awash with reach and root. The tether of aprehension and the texture of unknown prospects. These haunted halls worn raw through work and care. These hopeful nets stretched across the deluge, almost running into someone they ought to know. The nuance all in the fret and breath, the press of the world that our limits allow. Forever this kiss of flesh and precipice. Just because I missed it, doesn't mean I do not know. That graceful placement, all the ways that saying might make it so.

I know the laspse and feel the phrasing. Like it was almost made to say. That strange malinger language insists at every edge, these licenses always the purient  conceit. It takes a cliff to ask a question, a tiger to truly disagree. The life that spontaneously generates, arising as much out of custom as out of skin. The adhesion of thoughts that exceed to the material enchantment. The spell that silks between us and all, this simple thing said aloud. We are the spell that comes from speaking. We are all the lies we hide.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

do the math

I live in the land between the rains. I wait on the shores of receding dreams. Day to day I drift these soft extremes, the brittle teeth of the atmosphere, the broken hopes of the earth. The garbage truck and the dinner bell. The streets ring with the racket and the empty. Just as you begin to feel them, the moments up and flee. So we cross the vast expanses, name the rivers and count the stars. So we abide our islands, always mindful of every storm and sea.

It's alright to move along. It's okay to cut your losses. You just have to do the math to know I am done. The little withered portion is all that is probable. A few more passes, then all is dusk. You know that the victory left is in how slow you lose. All time and proselytizing, melted candles and dancing flames. The ritual induces the pattern, the shadows come into play. This is the known world at work. If it won't do, what is left but to find another?

Somewhere there is a sea of wings, Somewhere sleeps a broken heart. The world is all wailing and wonder, I know. The dry air here seals the ceremony. The shocks and starts, the small pleasures and tiny horrors that work their way through the cracks in sky and sense. It is all too much to take, the dull threats of the ones that play at playing for keeps. The strange laughter of the heart as it sees its end. The blank stare confesses as the song shows its colors. The dead eyed smiles that make every breath question and swear. Bound to lapse in imagination. Caught in the grip of this grand design, once counted, never reckoned again. I bide my time and watch the sky, my life always the next world away.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

mind the time

The sky fills quick, the streets are drenched. How low the head, how heavy the heart. The rain applauds the spattered earth. The back aches so you take a bow, this burdensome deluge. This strange delight.

How we drown this side of winter. How we pace the boards  and play to the balcony. Once a poem, and then a prayer. The startled flavor of this sentence as we engage our eyes. Our repertoire blunt repetition and a talent for making due with cheap thrills. Every letter that invocation. Every word the promise kept.

The rain drums on in dim insistence. The rain stomps around outside and whispers through your walls. The ghosts of voices in the hollow from the thunder. The rumble of surprise when all the gods show up at once. A call to arms drowned like the moon, this kiss to set aside the calm. The rain falls down my stubborn refrain.

Friday, November 30, 2012


The rain moved from rumor to roof, this gray tide of sky  arriving as the night. The trees all sway and the wind chimes sing. That life full of golden moments is here, without any resounding brass or fanfare. That life pieced together from books and movies, the lasting magic you won't let go shows up as well. All night you tried to sleep, weeping in your pillow. All night you tried to sleep, losing count of crimes and sheep.

I can't escape this dark escarpment, I can't contain these throws of dusk. The mask becomes a map of your evasions, the mask a looking glass you won't stop walking through. The stories you share with your tethered heart, a lightning strike or secret spark. All the brightness there and gone, at once illuminating and obscuring this bitter business. This tiresome telling that they call a soul. Every lapse another favor, every torment a tell. It might be hard to find heaven, but it doesn't take a tracker to stir up a little hell.

I wait out the day for the rain to get here, them I sit outside to watch it as it falls. Night arrives in festive grays and black shadows, the sort of shabby entrance I usually make. I sit and smoke, thinking the kinds of thoughts that you can skin your knees on. I sit and smoke, watching the rain wash it all. The streets grow slick and the gutters brazen. Wanted or not, this is the life I am living. Asked for or not, all my blessing count as curses. This moment, and others lived quite like it. This is the spell cast like dice in the dark. The consolation of words ringing hollow, every sin comes home to roost.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I know the words, though the moment's still uncertain. I read them again, though I only just let them go. The books on the shelf must know the feeling. Someone finds something, or someone finds nothing. Say the word and somebody will say it again. Recitation as if it is an answer. The repetition it takes to know you're lost. You miss the magic of these incantations, or you thieve the meaning from scraps and shards. You know how the words ring hollow. I can't even answer any questions of my own.

Spoken aloud, the poem escapes me. Spoken aloud, the spell is cast. Beggar's rags and gnawed on bones. Sounds that savor the flavor on your tongue. Sounds that ring out over rooftops and root through shabby rooms. Your breath entangled with cheap meaning, your heart savage, beating out each hope. The gleeful ignorance another unopened cupboard. The willful deception only favored in the flesh. Line by line, you look for reasons. I forget everything but the rhyme.

Gnats are resting on my sleeves. The sky is thick with threatening clouds. The rain slipped by for most of the day, a break here and there for some sunlight, a steady release until the storm relented. The sun falls in torn up sheets, the limbs of a tree, the front of a house. Traffic creeps past in ones and twos. The hour lingers in the air, cool air and chilled skin. A simple set of signifiers left on the line, word by word I waste away. The change is slow but unforgiving. The context shifts with your breathing. You mouth the meaning, then spit it out. Reading the problem as the plan, moving the reason every time you engage.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I don't mind about the time-- it's always midnight somewhere. I don't mind about the hour-- another is always about to start. You may as well say it and see what that gets you. You might as well play the hand you're dealt. Enough of these strained translations, the foggy mornings and the bitter blues. Mosquitoes are all I attract, a buzzing near the ear, a bite upon my ankle. A cup of coffee while the sun goes down. Time running down like everybody else. The magic drags as well as draws. The torch burns on and on.

It catches up, the moment held too long. Always the past  taking its best shots. Always the camera off the mark. That seeming feeling that you never forget or find again. That whole heart wonder beaten down to blood and bone, the ache of an absence of something so sure and sweet. The empty that allows only one lost hope to assure the vastness of the lapse. The weight of matter and the myth of sin both kiss your open mouth, stacked so precarious upon the past. Your breath says something as it leaves you, a line you just can't catch.

The dusk descends and you linger. A notion in a wallet, a wish wearing a frame. The hollow touch of a camera flash, something always missing the mark. This desolate intent to smolder, this certain resonance of calm and sorrow, this little torch left lit. My life pretends it is something other than chance and remnants. My life a sound after dark down an empty hall. The sun is gone and you still shine, another world, another era. This limit only you could exceed, this moment I could never quite grasp. This fire that cannot reach its shine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


The world is shaped from the inside out, but still you shouldn't close your eyes too long. You pitch and spout, seething fervor into every flesh. You twist and shout, gravity always having its say. The sky is gray silk and sunken light. It hasn't always been so pretty, painted like a picture, lingering like a kiss. It hasn't always held your crown so close in sharp detail. The day alight the moment you open your eyes. The world awash in your life.

The cock crows some encumbered number. Hinting at spells only fairy tales know. Those pinches of salt or avoided ladders. Evidence of direction given with every hesitation. The global position another given name. The clock slows down, the words all stagger. The moment slips from spokes to bones, from incidental wit to naked appetite. Traffic and animals make bells of bare air. Fog sticks to each raw syllable. Something missing from everything you say.

Just like that the magic happens. A thought unfolds and you are mingled with each map. Sense and invention, the rumble and the roar. The thankless tasks feel like forgiveness, the weary burden the press of the destined.  You covet the cough and sputter, the mutterings of breath and blood. Your tomorrows seem to come unbidden, like love comes along if the movies are right. This trembling rush becomes existence. The fierce and the fleeting, this deep sigh of the vast romance. These leaps and freedoms all spider and fly. The meat that is the meaning.

Monday, November 26, 2012


It takes time sometimes to get to the end. Tell it enough and it will turn into a story. Tell it enough and the tongue will measure out a tale. True love or second guess, saved day or made mess. We are generous with our follies, while we ration every grace. Life has no shape, it holds direction. Life is always about what gets us by. The whole wide world, straight up to the sky to claim, and every time you take a name. The big picture from the very first play, and all you see is the mirror.

The moon is up there, if anybody's asking. The moon is up there way ahead of the spectacle. Just a tangle of trees, a stretch of power lines. The rooftops lit for a whisper by sun and moon. The rooftops the heavy minded silence that soon ascends. The twilight two parts dark to one part quiet. The dogs all over stirring up a ruckus. Voices rising in twos and tens. A lonesome repetition, a sounding in the dusk. All the lights just waiting to turn up.

You never knew the wrong road, never learned a lesson when ten more would do. More than half the falls you took you still mistake for flying. It would take more than words and maps to find you. Every touch you make leaves a mark. Every day begins with this ending. Every night starts to stall right when it starts to get good. Never worried whether pole star or satellite. Being lost mostly about a change in intention. Being you mostly about agreeing to be gone.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

along for the ride

It is a little too late to watch the sunset, a bit too early to count the stars. I post up on the back porch, the twilight bleeding color away to shades of gray, the cement cold and unrelenting. A cup of coffee, a glass of water, the world as it turns taking me along for the ride. The words will wait I say out loud, as if there weren't enough to worry after. The words will wait I say, because it seems I am never ready. I miss the mark because it needs missing. The dark and the empty touching the edges and coloring outside the lines.

We may yearn, and we may reach, but we really only ever do closed sets. The scheme of things all remembered maps and bits of string, the wary witness and the weight of vision. Experience of this skin and bandwidth an unlucky  pin. The borders of our minds much more impassable in the breach of fiction, the brain telling its stories, swearing they're the gospel. Belief our only strength and our main undoing. The heart always some wild country, full of trees and secrets.

I wear my years like well-worn shadows, I while away each hour like a fool. I slow the moment with a swallow of coffee. I find my place at the steel rim of the cup. Outside the air carries some small commotions. A yapping dog, a clinking fence. The sky painted in dim stars and dark needles. The trees spread to touch an absent sun begin to breathe in reverse. The earth spins, dragging my whole world with its whim. The words course on, weathering through each root and vein. The words return me to my place, along the long and narrow. They take the meaning from me, and take me along as well. The world vast and empty, save for a breath or two.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


They say it is your nature, they say it is all in the cards. Your play built into bone and sinew, the tussle and take of the animal you are wed to this unseasonable warmth. The sad facts draped across this frame, indolence and ignorance signing a treaty of mutual defense and growing a sample for distribution. You close your eyes and feel the sunlight brush your skin. That touch sparked deep with-in this tumble of blood and breath, the story spoken and the cherished faith. That warmth the only divine favor you can confess.

Then the rest all comes out, the reckoning of constellations built upon myths you do not know. Star after star named after forever, time after time the clockwork unwinds. The weight of the words you will not speak all lead and fire burning beneath your heart. The lilt of unfamiliar instruments tuned to some alien scale, music once so certain tatters the fabric of the song. The wheel turns and the road whistles and you travel all the places you marked on the map. The story goes, and you are still and silent. This is where you wound up, in god's plan or where you were placed by fate. Tell it until your face turns blue, this is where you are.

The sun burns low, the hour lingers. A cool breeze spills across your skin. Dogs bark, children shout, birds keep themselves busy between earth and sky. The world does its business while we play at make believe. The world doesn't need you, but it will miss you when you are gone. You make your case to the starlings on the  power lines. You make your case to the crows in the air. The words fall down on the muddy earth. The words lose purchase mingling only with the sun and sky. You speak the names they taught you, you work the spells and precautions they way they do in your tongue. The firmament only allows for so much change. You speak aloud, admit this sickness. It is heaven to endure this tired decline. It is heaven that longs to isolate.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

find you

So you say the story's over. So you say you up and quit.  You only mean it by the mouthful, those breathless moments there and gone. The crunch of arrival calls from  the gravel drive, moonlight and mosquito bites, dogs barking out the hours gone. The motion lights come to blind and buzz you. The engine cools as the electric hiss cicadas away. You know well enough any promise can be broken. You know it doesn't matter whether you wait to make your bed.

I clear my throat and sip my coffee. I counts the cracks and sing to the rain. Lost for hours to smoke and shadows, waiting for the dusk to come. Trading faith for anticipation of another waking. Trading answers for the wearisome world of ever-asking, unknown soldiers and unmarked graves. Breathing the air and minding the tide. A plane up high almost sounds like thunder, the romance of the rain on the wing. A car menaces the distance, the tools at hand only every will there is. The magic of tomorrow the only spell that cares.

Call me what you want to, I'm up most hours. There's usually an excuse to be found. A coincidence of weather and location. The clouds crowd in, so you might as well stay. I can't tell what will matter, or what will mean. Come along in your cloak of nightfall, come along trailing braids of rain. Unravel the shadow that tries to confound. Water spills down from the eaves, and I am watching every way in. Just because I never see you doesn't mean that you're not there. I find you on the curb when the storm falls down. Just because I am wide awake, doesn't mean this is not the dream.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


This is the root of history, the clinging breath of the senses. So close you can almost taste it, so very near to this beating heart. Forget the spell of distance. Forget the words that worked our world this way. This is where you step a little closer. This is where you reach the limit. All the words there to say and savor. Your desire at last in your native tongue.

Speak aloud and forgive the witness. Speak aloud and shake the reign of time. The willingness of each mirror to be a window, your eyes suddenly some other beast. The wish to find out who is the fairest, another revel of entangled whim and need. The slick repair into another brief departure, the flight that joins the heart and mind. Subjugate that greedy inquiry, the wonder giving way to the way. Hard as stone or soft as water. The confession remits only the need to shame.

It is always the moment of your arrival. Clad in light and draped in shadow. The mystery alone left to tend to its business. The mystery only the closing of doors. The work of words all saving and shedding. The weight of flesh against the winter. Winding roads and beating hearts. The scales turn, and teeth bare. The spell cast in rib and rhyme. It can only answer as you ask this question, want and wander and this vast penitence. Say the words and meet your maker. Earn your skin and speak your mind.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

ghost story

There is no reason to lock the doors. There is no cause to close the blinds. All eyes are shut in the end. The walls breathe deeply as the rain comes down. Every room left to its rattles and its songs. The water gossips against the windows, the drains tumble to their depths. Alone seems a letter that arrives already open. Alone seems like a sentence spoken too soon.

Dead wood holds the hallways closed, dead eyes gaze from the pictures on the walls. Once was one, and now is nothing. Once was here, and now is gone. Boxes buried in the backs of closets. Shelves heavy with books left unread. A house holds down the gravity of the matter. A home lives only in the heart and mind. The mildewed tiles, the damage done by tooth and claw. Such an awful silence, so much worse for the sound as it speaks.

Something stirs within the darkness. A chill clings to the naked air. Floorboards creak down a dim-lit hallway. Footsteps echo in an empty room. Shed the flesh and wake forever, pace these rooms until no legs will help. Step by step all sense is abandoned, walking through this world alone. This dull fear the first glint of awareness, the story told only breath let go. This life spent looking in every wrong direction. This vacant shell empty even of ghosts.

Friday, November 16, 2012


The ceiling shifts as the hour passes, up in smoke, gone to seed. Rain pelts the rooftops, it hangs gauze on the distance, casts a hush through the trees. The sun took a personal day, the storm just eases on down. The world remembered is the world erased, these sins of soil washed clean. The rainfall draws down the atmosphere, every drop an intimacy. Every single breath might shake the sphere, every single word renews that measure of wrath. Rattle the shingles, drizzle the trees. I pass unnoticed into darkness.

The shadows fill the landscape, the shadows steep the sky. The world sways and billows at its seams. A hush of rain, a kiss of night, the dose of stagger and chill. Things move on, scuffing shoes and burning bridges. Things move on, with you or without. The future mistaken because you misunderstood the past. Your life story at long last all postscript. Blue mood madness and the steady shedding sky. The measure only in inches until it is too late. I miss it by a finger width, it may as well be miles. I miss it as it passes, it may as well have never been.

The puzzle isn't in the pieces, but the pacing. The mystery isn't in the being, but the asking. Gods and makers and the mistakes of the tongue. Clues and cyphers found by eyes meant to find the trail. Invisible hands and ghosts with the most, the imagination is made to run wild. We place our faith in figments because once there was someone behind a curtain. Now every cloud and bush is scoured for great and powerful Oz, or poor worm- feeding Polonius. Every move and shift some secret in the trees. Heaven emptied save for stars and plucked harp strings, I sit beneath a drowned twilight, feeling my years. My prayers unspoken, my sorrows my own.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


You waited until the moon was new. You spoke the words aloud. Prayer or oath, credo or promise it is too late to take it back. The lesson of the candle as it flickers. The lesson of the clock as it crawls. The straight line still has a path to follow. The geometry doesn't ever ask. Was this pause all you had wanted? Did you think you could escape your senses just because reason hit the road? You spoke the words, so now you are in it. Every inch of skin enchantment, every single breath a spell.

I waited out to find a star. Lost in the landscape, still in the dark. Houses shining all around, the stretch of fences, the school at night. I thought about you, feet shifting on e cement. I thought of you walking, shoes scuffing the earth. Placed upon this stirring world, the day speeding by, the night always climbing. The very thought of you, spun out of whim and the hour. The unholy notion, catching your gaze. This abrupt promise. This plaintive report.

This how I always see you, your skin lit from the light of the open doorway, your back the tension of commitment to the lines. Your eyes always asking those sane questions, these repetitions sinking through my flesh. The swiftness of tooth and eye, the fire your smile implies. The sweetness of direction, a straight line still lost in intent. Is there rain against the window? Is that a shadow I saw? The magic sudden and without meaning. The moment there, the moment gone. The wishing only makes it fly. The sentence only serves its ending.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

all flesh

Again I wake to sheer bewitchment, I sup on sacrifice. The days unravel from monotony to amusement, from shock to terror. Come morning I am papered with wrappers, nightfall I am plastered with shadows. Nothing gets much traction, out where things have ended. I begin and then it is over, I finish and then it all starts again. Is it any wonder I keep checking the clock and the sun? Is it any wonder that I lose my place so often? Time entangled with all this life. Pick the number and say the line. Hope gets sorted out on its own.

There is a brace of sunlight upon the shards. There is a stirring in the atmosphere, a presence in the tense. Each branch keeps time, the music silent and unceasing. The sway and weave of the world as it turns. Each tree casts its shadow to mark its place in the sky. I still to listen, and only hear my my heart stagger. I slow to think on it, and only hear my thoughts caught on the wire. Broken chairs and dirty windows, nowhere to sit, nothing to see. The broken bough lies in the dirt and rocks, its sickness crystalized on severed stumps. Stretched out in the soft autumn sun, everything reaching for the sky.

Someone else has cast this shadow. Someone else has walked this path. The sun in its socket, the moon beneath the tide. The century ends in beats and reason. The calendar turns to its tables, the worm turns to its task. The dead clamber at the latches, they press the hasp and the hinges, popping screw and pin. Such stale portions, served without question. Such dull answers, pretending they were never lies. These horror stories we keep in the tide of feeling flesh. This dark comedy every time I open my eyes. Hope another placeholder, waiting for a play.

Monday, November 12, 2012

the bones and the dust

A breeze stirs the still leaves, chilling the air with an icy silence. A touch of the unsettled spilling down from heaven. That grasp of winter once the seasons seem to slip. The sky so bright, the day so clear, some remainder of insolence and salad days. The cold so close it whispers while the sun rollicks in the dust. The cold so close the skin trembles with its misgivings while the bones spike and seep. One more word, I am on my way. One more word, the season will remember.

The pine tree dangles sunlight from its needles, keeps the cold swaddled in its shade. The wind sweeps the roof, the wind rocks the cradle. We already know the bough will break, and baby will come down. We already know the spell we hazard, speaking out of turn. The sky surrenders to the work of crows and gulls, swept clean of any cloud, swept with wing and feather until the wind  is the only broom left. I wrote it down before there was much of anything that happened. I wrote it down because the only rule is the sticks and the stones out past where the words will matter.

The magic is cast, tender phrasing and ruthless melodies. The world holds its breath, as if there was something to it. The world holds its breath, waiting for the wheels to come off. The stunned blue in transit, the weight of wings as they push the sky away. The stopwatch speeches and the clockwork reasons cling to the walls and fences. The sun as it sinks, the stars as they rise. Nothing but usual suspects and casual sentiment. Nothing but back alleys and locked doors, missing the moment as it passes. All the words gathered with bare fingers. All the words shed in a single breath. The wind rises as the sun goes down. The season always speaks first to the bones and the dust.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

punch the clock

The crescent moon, the morning star, wherever you look it's a symbol. The weather should step in, some clouds at least, a little rain. Instead the night fades and the  cock crows, the words all trail as steam. Look at you on your lonely planet. Look at you with your lucky stars. It is out of bed and into the story. Time has its tread, the telling its reasons.

Scuff the dust as you go through the paces. Mind your manners as you makes your rounds. The clock points put this current failing. The lapse the pain of frost to the touch. Habit will carry well past the reach of reason. The routine binds these sticks and sign. You cast your wishes to the wind and wear the veil of ritual. The ease  of seeing how things work out the same. The load no lighter, whatever burdens shed.

The thing is, time does fly. Fun has nothing to say about it. Once the days were too long to be counted, when there never were tomorrows, and the angels had room to dance. The days stretched and the years reached, we carve all these notches and marks. Scoreboards and grudge keepers, we measure first to race the moment, then to try to apply the brakes. The count is always going on, always a little off. We speak aloud of little wisdoms, the work always the same. You stand there as if you were waiting for your turn. Read every sign that says something. Punch the clock and take the blame.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

points of articulation

After the day turns gray, after every wonder had been pried loose, after tongues twist and lights trick, what is left unsaid? The words all gather, perching in their places along each line. Slow wings stir, the air sifted for a single question. A charge to spark and follow, a grace to gather dust. The clock spins its pitiless circles, grinding minutes and spraying hours. I save my dark glasses for another day. You turn to shine and forgotten sayings, changing your stance amid this sweep of meanings. I reach towards your shadow, clutching empty air.

This isn't the only story, just the one I always tell. I kick up some dust, I stare at the stars. I leave nothing but mosquito bites and ashes. It isn't the path of sacrifice, just the depths of this tireless feeding. A meadow shrinks as the forest swells. When everything goes missing, you count your portion in pockets. You say I tell you nothing, though I have told you all I know. You say I'm a broken record, so I have to turn the tables. Scratch though I can’t find that itch. Sing though it isn't a tune I carry.

The lights go out, and we know nothing. Things recede as our eyes lose purchase, the crunch and bite of objects in the dark. We fall out from our promises, our bright and iron compromise. Smoke trailing into distant skies. Heaven held only by the cold and the dauntless swarms. Lost between this want and these words, nothing I say can move you. So I work the world around you, every axis and articulation, every spin and stretch towards your direction. Points and pieces, I crush and sway the puzzle. Always that extended grasp, the reason so very near.

Friday, November 9, 2012


When the only law is make a fire, burning down never makes it to the courts. Air and fuel eking out some rule, the cough and sputter yet another of the sacred rituals. The strike and spark always the tool picked to take the day. The supreme calm of flint awaiting spiteful steel. The blinding brilliance of that stroke of lucky flame, dancing along the edge of the irrevocable. You must either burn or go out.

Then it comes in fits and drizzles, the tide of eyes before the teeth of the storm, the breath and prayer of the insolent atmosphere. How bright the sky before the tense deluge. How surprised the glove when the gloves come off. Empty so long of anything to feel except fists. The rictus of the submerged structure all the draw and set of any equation. Empty of move or motive what words will do? The thirst you suffer has its roots in the restless heavens. The rain nothing answered, only another result.

So I tend a few small dim fires. So the winter is always in my fingers first, that frost sharp on the skin and rough on the bones. The sunrise, the sunset, a dense remark, a pile of plates. I stray from the tongue I have attended, each thought a reflex pretending at reflection. The angels all weighed with surface tension, the wings and inferences at a loss on this scale. All the wishes in steady sentences read as served. I stretch along this laden plain, only ever ready to spark. The night its chill, the fire its burn.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Breath by breath we scrub the sky, the wind in tiny fragments, the machine of too many pieces to count. We stroke the strings until it is music, we wear the season  until we see the bones. The way each object rolls slowly through your fingers. The way each instance slips through your hands. We are open to the atmosphere, draw and spill, scrimp and save. We are caught in the speed of the shutter, painted by this deluge of light. Pictures on the mantle, moths to the flame. We cut ahead  in the line, always holding a place open. We are incessant invitations, virus and bacter, angels and bad actors. We fill and empty, pinpoints upon the flow.

You stare at the dashboard as the engine idles. Head lights pooled upon the garage door, the driveway marked by warm tires and stray paper. You ask yourself these midnight questions catching your eye in the rearview mirror. Is this me? Is this it? Is this the map or the wake of days? You talk to all the ones that are never there. The voice of your heart the tinny euphemisms of storybooks and old movies. The story of your life a movie you make up as you go. The seedy theatrics as your flesh impels you. The embarrassed revelation of who you are as you shut off the engine and go inside.

It is the breathless edge of this brittle thinking. Check the book and bang the gavel. Repeat it until you call it law. Stray from your notes all you like. We spill and gather, following smoke and circling the drain. God closing doors and each exit being an entrance. We pass the word in whispers, hold it close and tight. We thread the world in our sacred habits, pull the cork and take a swallow. We grow upon our heaps and mendicant dreams. Seeds and fruit, work and fallow. We spin and reel, taking our joy from the next one over. The bountiful harvest, and each hunger it ensures.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

the wanderers

What seam is stitched with your ragged pattern? What sky will fall from this disrepair? The morning comes along, scrubbed and combed and pinned with those certain stars.  The coded moment when the myth meets your eye. Staring from that expanse of oblivion, what wouldn't make a light? Starting the whole thing from scratch, who knows what sparks you might shed?

Venus lingers on the cusp of dawn. That blazing chariot about to reach the rise. The stick work trees hold heaven in its place, as the world stirs its particulars.  The shadows sink below the skin, the day another etiquette to remember, the night another puzzle to misplace. Direction cued by compass and by banging cans,  the streets set upon by garbage trucks. I clear my throat to speak my peace. Worlds just tumble away.

Come the morning sanctimony, come the bedtime prayers. This ritual of remote witness and fever swallowed, this evidence of salt and heat. Stretched sheets and tangled clothes, all the sins washed away however deep they were hidden. The crown of blue and birdsong, the cloak of drum and siren.  Stones in your shoes and crow on your tongue. The stars are stricken from the sky, no marks of their remittal or erasure. Just another wanderer trading fairy stories. Just another traveler worrying the path. These misshaped questions, these unleashed dreams.

Monday, November 5, 2012


The songs carry, the lights go out, the hour comes and lingers. I open my eyes and cast my shadows on the inside. Geese call out from up above, dogs bark from every other yard. Mosquitoes hang in the air, guided by the rebounding shine. Eyes glow so very slightly, hit by that contagious burn of vision. The stars are dim, but getting brighter. It sounds as though the geese are gone.

Sundown by every instrument, tiny wings and blood-tinged  kisses. The tone changes depending on the flesh. Wear every smoke, skin every song. Watch the night fall until  the stars follow. I cull each instinct from the air, your flicker and your feel. The atmosphere repurposed, to every fuel a fire. This dense reflection, this series of frequent shines. Speaking deeply to the skin of the mirror, as scary as any fairy story. The obvious endings of the well worn tale, the reckoning always in the telling.

Sight blurs and words slur, some other slipped up time. The hours never start or end on time. The sigh of traffic passing, lights sliding along each skin. Pause beside the porch, moths beating at the bulb. A chill arises just to remind the flesh. The touch of distance to sting the fingers. That rush of breath to pass as prayer. Something there amid this absence. Something that the picture will not tell.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

the way things play

I say your name until you're steam, breath on the metal, dew on the bloom. The flowers haven't started their story, and already it is fall. That dream of clotted dawn, stray stars and dishwater clouds. That active transformation when the day changes worlds, the shimmer of wings and the itch of punctured veins. The trail of shoes that leads through the seasons. The crisp press of solid steps, the rustle of bone and leaf. I speak aloud to make my reason. I shed my empty into the cold still night.

It is a sentimental structure, fingers wag and wrists stiffen, that window the soul lets weep. Bible flowers and bee's comb, the old antenna listening for god as it bends beneath the weight of idle birds. Heaven bends beneath those same wings, the work of angels mostly pollination and damage control. These words stray, soaring high, heading home. The words roost along your bright song and sharp bones. To say that no-one knows you is not the same as to be unknown. To be born lonely is not the same as to be alone. I speak to your frequency, I tune the rest of the world away. By faith alone that last prescription. The rest of the mess just follows suit.

Can you find me when the skies say smooth sailing? Can you hear me once the bad weather breaks? The rain beading on the window, the trees scraping on the roof. Your flesh swift and bundled, your lungs full of scrapes and scratches. I feel the rough brick and the dull ache, the will of the fern, the resiliency of dust. The nail tacked into the plaster, the crooked picture never what it seems. The mystery revealed, and so the machine takes over. The gear-work winds down, your heart racing, chasing my pressing voice. You reach and stretch, some venture of limb and ligature. You stop and listen, I spill your secrets. You hear me speaking, the room a shock of silence. There are no accidents, just unfamiliar mistakes. There is no magic, just the strangeness of the way things play.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


We can do this by the book. You can wear your ring, you can ring your bell. That golden note held too dearly. That golden rule wrote too broad. Dismiss the mirror by the way it marks. Dismiss the spell by the weight of your failings. We can read the rules in the shameful remission of ourselves. We can read by the shine of these most recent shells. Never quite read the way it was written. Never a rule until the hammer comes down.

Then more things, though I forget the order. The names and markers and storefronts all change. Every stolen glance, every nested oath. Your word so much that you say too little. These claims you make that your will is not your own. Tension holds at every surface. The sun slings color through the dawn. Feet grow uncertain, learning which ground to stand. The steps seem so many, and the light will diminish in the depths. Your clothes piled off in a corner. Your gaze raw and vivid, your flesh set to smolder. The reflections tend to dim the reasons. More forest, fewer trees.

We were closer once before. The rainy nights and the opened door. Sitting talking on the floor, the clock was so thick and useless. We'd tell our stories straight to dawn, our dreams so bright and painted on. The crow flies stark, the sparrow sings. I talked of winter and of wings. You leaned against the doorway, waiting for the walk to wear off. The rain came down, and you waited without a word. I reach through years and seasons. I touch your warmth in your scattered words, those moments missed, and luck sent. Those chaste regrets and kindled wishes. The day falls down, you build a kind of fire. Not to heat these long cold passages, but to light the looking back. Broken up and written down. Scripture always stricture in the end.

Friday, November 2, 2012

past perfect

What of the dust once the mud has swallowed the earth? What of the dusk when the day has burned so bright and slow? The sound of sirens ring the streets, the wild yearning and the empty threat. The pleas of these fresh emergencies, open wounds and the tang of dying blood. Dried black on the pavement, the crimes called out from the contentious pooling, every swarm and mob bear the dense alarm. The dogs dig for treasure, the flies gather, thinking only of posterity. Injury only another name for opportunity. Illness another paving stone on that march of progress.

One day we open up and have become our elders, words sounding so strange and yet so much the same. Lessons spilled into the boil in our blood, the work only remembered for the burn. Muscle memory and the rough and tumble of those ancient curses. The poison always mingling on the sweet side, the bitter best left sifting through every breath. Always future tense and past perfect, the things that once were until they end, the things that will always come one day. The charm of your reflection always in the reversal of events. You never seem to see yourself until you are inside out. You never seem to know until even the wreck is in ruins.

What is left contends with appetites and inclinations, the drift of intuition and the leaning of the map. The world so drastic and unchecked, it only arrives full scale. We guess and bet, declare stout allegiance. We bleat and rut, always returning to earth before it is over. Sold again and again, purity and privation, or blood and indulgence. Written down in nesting cups, folded with-in some suspect skin, the story sneaks right by. I knew it until I had found out for sure, there was no longer certainty. The words spoken to forget, the dogs pause to sniff the air. You whisper but forget to listen. Then ambulances everywhere.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

out of sight

For days without end I washed the smoke from the bowl, the color of the sky trailing the color of the wind. The weather came and went like fortune's cat, quiet as a ghost, easy as the night. My hand crabbed along that aging paper, spider scrawl shuffling along the page. A spilled ritual of bone and toil, the stubborn ligaments and every twitch and tic. A promise so gracious and labored it seems it could only say something else. I whisper some dank periphery, some dash of secret toward this dearth of interest. The ragged graveyard of things unsaid, your skin touched by this gleeful breeze.

A long slow afternoon, and every one comes calling. Every stranger has stories to share, once they see see how much you're missing. Every shadow knows its ease comes spilling from the light. The sunlight left falls from the leaves in the trees. The day lingers off in a corner, the weight of heaven always felt in lash and absence. The unseen stars map out blind constellations. You stare out the window, blinded by the horizon. You close your eyes against this choice morsel. Warmed by the passage of sun down all these steps. Other stairs fall somewhere a little further out of sight.

Your name has changed the nature of my tongue, so burnt bitter, so chocolate dark. It weighs its absence along each spring and gear, the machine adrift in the breathing and the blood. There is no resolving these stains, these teeth marks and swallowed feathers. There is no ablution for this theft and hunger. Spoken soft, as if a secret. Spoken slowly, like it was a spell. The magic in the stitch that mends the wounding. The saying that portion I never see, your empire awake already.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

open book

All at once the open book your life was slams shut, no marker or memory set to tell you what it was. The pages thin enough to cut all flutter and fly, caught upon the next wind, the next weather up. The streets are swept with sirens and headlights, the tricks and treats now few and far between. The porch light swarms with spiders and moths, some small comfort left in these clear reasons. An owl pierces the sky, shrieking its signal unseen from above. Forget your place, or even trying to find it. No-one was ever going to read that thing anyway.

The details are slowly sloughed away. Forget your place, forget your wounds. The weather is all  they talk about. When the storm, then when the sun. The whole world written as flood or drought. The whole world  written off as conversation, a few words to ease the tragic gaps between. Settle in amongst your latest strangers. Settle down between the seasons and the signs. They paint all the trains, they call down the rain. They know you as the ground you stand on. They know you by what they can take away.

The road ahead is slick with rain. The road ahead is lit by the moon. There are always other stories unfolding. There are countless wishes wasted every living night. The stars are out, the clouds abound, all the shortcuts and collisions of the transit between tongues. You have run hot or cooled down, placed amid these uncertainties.  Nothing to know of the unwritten, nothing left to say save what you know. Open the book, some of it might as well ring true. Open the book, there are bound to be blank pages left. Feel it in your heart like god. Feel it on your face like rain.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Summer goes just like the wind, autumn settles in your skin, the days just fall and fall. The shell game starts again, stops again, arcane rules for an ill-wished craft. You never guess what is inside. From photo to caption to another contested acre. From year to year, the same idle report. You spin what spell is left, a haggard magic, threadbare and writhing with root and worm. The storm warnings fresh on your breath, you dig up a cache and shuffle the map. All these bright and fading treasures. These desperate measures in sacred trusts.

You might be that rare cut above them, you might be a girls best friend. The shine gleaned from exchange rates and gaffed numbers. The rare air all that luck allowed. The muck and dreck make you think there was a way there.  The blood and thunder make you think you are blessed to still be standing. Then there is the rough and tumble, you with your sunny song and dance. The old ways and the deep trough never want to drown me. The stressed syllables of the invocation more poor etiquette than power play. You bare your teeth, I don't know whether to smile or bite. The day breaks upon our backs again.

The stories weep and fester, they rage against each stitch. It is the work of telling that holds them together, the business of life and belief that allow our ignorance. The world is never words, no matter what your grimoire tells you. The spell is not the incantation, any more than the constellation in any way contains the stars. Things come and go, with their own reasons, at their own rates. Talk to any god on duty. Talk to the birds on the wire. You mark the inclination like you would the high water. You bear the weight of the inundation like with any cross you carry. The stiffness of the ritual, the flex of the weather and the claim of climate. You are the magic in the counting, your number always lucky when you win. I am the dull remainder, the wreck that is left once all the counting is done.

Monday, October 29, 2012

come crow

Come crow, come black wing, just leave me my dreams. The day can only go on so long. There is no ghost on the radio. There are barely any gods in the wind. The kicked-up dust or the coming downpour, the work is all the same. Eat when hungry, sleep when worn. Such a stodgy old dharma beat down all these years. The promise all dried up, it still rains on my bones. Call down the day, cough up the dusk. Measure me a little treat, and I will cleave the time.

Sweep away the day with black wings and jagged songs, break everything down to shards and scraps. The full moon coughs up light enough for the journey. Everything wandering to every place that stays. We burn the day to bless tomorrow. Our crowded altars sizzle and drip. The stars slipped and slid, slim purchase upon the dizzy firmament. Fixed distance and broken cues. The clue of clock and calendar, the proof of leaf and cloud.

The cock crows thrice beneath a full moon, the spell is broken. The cock crows more, another spell is set. I keep the time, adrift upon this gentle tide. I watch the signs, turned yet again towards the coming day. The west obscures and the east reveals you. Sunlight kisses each forbidden limit, traffic stumbles down every avenue, cars seep out every street. There is a train at last in the distance. The whistle trails, it pitches and wails. Stretched against the world's sweet side you listen for these words I have left you. You read these words and you hear a crow.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

storm bringer

We look to the sky to find our future, we look to our feet and see the ruins. Missteps always steps just the same, the open door and the darkened stair well. I speak aloud just to set the record. I speak aloud just to settle the bet. The poem undone meant for the bowl on your dresser, the rain unspooled in the abyssal mirrors of your eyes. I crack my knuckles and the clock unhooks, the earth unfolds its faceless plan. I speak to your bones when I speak of the song. The rain the only gift the heavens will admit. I lean towards your dense confession, the breathless kiss, the ache inferred from such a distant sigh. The world weeps and trembles, reaching for your skirts.

All night my breath draws a bow across unseen strings, all that note saws on. The melody pulls its resonance from the certain sky. I taste you in the air around, a whisper almost manifest. Awake I reach for the bidden dream, asleep the dream eludes. My spine creaks and pops, daylight only another symptom. I see your face in the long dull empty, my blood just sings and sings. The earth shifts and rumbles, the ocean stalks each island and every coast. The season tugs at every seam, the fabric so lovely and worn. Daylight and my bed is still and unsettled. Daylight spills on your shoulders, bare and touched by light.

The world still works how it wants to. Life still is all break and beat. I spit out the sweet with the bitter, swallow the fire with the feast. The poem leaves my lips in little kisses. The window stays wide open all year. I blur the boundaries and wreck the clock keeping count. My fingers thread the words as if for each brush stroke. My fingers press the letters as if to touch your skin. Nobody is getting any better, no-one is getting fooled. There is no story, only detail. There is no seduction, only eyes and flesh. Press the petals between the pages,  fold this letter beneath your dreams. These are only idle appetites. The magic you inhabit in these darker stretches of earthly desire. The purchase you earn simply placing your feet upon the wreckage, and quietly walking away.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

night and day

This is how you find the poetry out here in the field. This is the tiger for its stripes, the forest for its trees. The words glide on that lovely tide of tongue and throat. The words settle into the skin of these unsettled thoughts, lithe and unrelenting. This trick of tenderness, the wind and water carving away the obligatory stones, the gentle and the calamitous sharing their shadows with the wall. This task of endurance, the sentiment sharing your flesh for as long as it is yours.  The moment might have just slipped by, it might be a thousand years buried, but it is alive in your blood and breath as soon as you take it in. The song changes partners, but it knows the dance is all there is. The poetry knows you by the names that never were. The poetry knows you when you see it.

The song spreads over the landscape. The song lights the inside of your skull. It knows the longing, it knows the lonely. The poetry pressed from that distant light, measuring the empty and the flow. The music written in some trembling hand, the words captured alive, so tender and true. The heavy footprints of these passing fancies, the deft brushwork of life feathering every art. The daft promise that dreaming brings, the furtive ache that ignites with every waking breath. Another time, another place. Another word let loose, hoping there is something to all that bible talk about reaping and sowing. The human heart the seed of all these native dreams and earthly hopes. The song runs along the surface of my blood, the poetry my chosen ghost. The song unseats every god and king, the world burning temples and trailing words.

Another time, another place. Cocktails and evening clothes, the sound of singing coming from the party inside. The changes made to the pronouns to protect the secrets of flesh and intention. All the pieces to the puzzle this map of hits and misses means I will never know. Weather shifts skins and changes neighbors, words carry their baggage across the sea of time, sleek and fearless and unyieldingly flexible. The brightest of the morning sun, the dazzling contrast between starlight and the night, this human burden the only blessing we enjoy. We are the rain drop and the deluge, the beauty and the beast. We are the devilish details and the sad refrain. I hear an old song sung with craft and art, and I am transported to another world, and am at once rooted to my own location. Wanting that one who will never know me. Wanting nothing but this ancient beauty, alive and free in the days and nights of this indifferent earth.

Friday, October 26, 2012

factory town

Take what you need down from the shelf. Take what you want right off the vine. They only keep the count to hold it against you. They know your numbers because they think it makes their case. When it comes to self-destruction, it's mostly a factory town. Pour the coffee, note the bubble on the surface. Watch the sun set, see all the stars in the sky. Someone says something, someone else says "it matters." Nothing is wrong strung with enough words to qualify. Everything is connected, the sentence eventually says.

The night waits out the stoney moment, it lingers gravel gray and blue. The wan horizon pressed between imagination and observation, the measurable spectrum rife with dirt and leaf. The moon gets out too early, lingering on rooftops, hiding in the trees. It swells and tempers, poems and prayers all flying loose to meet it. The words wait out the usual temptations, dark eyes and languid hips. They wait for the changes in the atmosphere, for the markers hurled to earth. They slumber in the blood, waiting for the spirit to lead the way. Sweetness and sorrow, they take the sky in flocks and storms.

The darkness seeps in through the windows. The darkness walks right through the door. The moon is out, the stars are loose, the count goes on and on. Every word comes like a pulled tooth. Every word and the cylinder spins, each empty chamber another ragged breath. Trigger and hammer, an end to all the ever afters. Despite what they tell you, nobody beats the odds. Even the best of souls may go astray, and you are far from the front of the pack. Someone nods and someone speaks, the movie starts all over. The streets empty and the skies alight. There is no inscription, but every ending knows your name by heart. There is nothing written. You already signed it all away.

Monday, October 22, 2012


All at once the lights go on, the story already started. All the sudden the phrase just turns, and leads the road away. Follow the smoke of burning bridges, the sooty trail of the star in falling. Ribbons tangle, ribbons untie, her hair is loosed and wild. Spilling down her shoulders, sliding around her neck, all slender care and suspect shine. The days flow like wine, pouring down the bottle, filling up our cups. The days burn, soft flames and tactful ashes. Some spill, some are sundered. The blessed wonder of the words undone. Imaginations run wild, the way they often do.

The night makes its case first to faces. Her hair spills free, her eyes are hidden by her halo, the weight of suggestion lit from behind. The catch of the camera, something is held back. An aspect the poorest eyes find evident, the least glimpse rife with proof. The lividity only speaking from the glass and chimes, witnesses left unstruck and ordinary, just the light as it leaves. The way shadows fill the windows, the night's only cloister at first glance inside. The way the door is left wide open, lost looking for keys and locks.

The sun sets on all sorts of business, the most always unfinished, the endings all start over again. Empire's reach exceeding freedom's grip, fragments stick and fester, the future read out in pus and blood. Each wound the beginning of a journey, every road unwinding in the breath and in the beating. The least of us abridgment, elliptic between the story's motions, the details best left to innuendo and the imagination. We say too much to not say less. We speak aloud to give the spirit to the spell. Letters sticking to every line, the vague suggestion all the rest. Letters written on torn time, her absence all they reveal.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Once you'd put your troubles in a bag, then smile all they way. The old songs did not get that way for nothing. We fight the world to change the lessons, but the world will only teach its way. We learn in by the replay, the ritual and rhyme. We learn it in our language, the root of breath and tongue. We learn to say in such a way that what matters comes undone. So comes the breadth of the proposition. So comes the con dug in deep and done long.

The oldest riddles all cast shadows. The truest words weigh heavy in the clear sunlight. The drift of debt and obligation, learned only by rote. Trials and trails of subjugation, the worse confirmed again and again. The sins cast against our blessings, the working of our blood spoken in a crowd aloud. These deft mistakes, these broad mistimings, scatter on down the long descent. All these traditions linger for some reason-- the surest benefit or the most forsaken proof. The most vacant lies stretch across all lines of caution, these flights of legend the only violation. It is the purpose, not the reason, says the word that stills the boat.

You catch the sound of a ringing chain, the steel resounding in rising waves. You catch a crow as it scrapes right over, some pursuit that entangles every tongue. The story must contain a lesson, not word or instruction, but an editing of event. The shadows cast by curse or by chance. The better angel of our cruel greedy existence, our inheritance much more breath than blood. The answer is the reason for these oldest stories. The punchlines leading the oldest jokes.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

open book

Cover to cover, the book is finished. Page by page, the next one begun. The days start and stagger, the nights bleed and blend. These worlds are all rewritten, series and sequels, blank screens and palimpsest. Words recycled, meaning and motive always chasing tails. Alibi always the next confession, reason always stacked as the memoir is spent. Life is a mystery, dust and smoke, wet streets and days of rain. The movie playing with the sound turned down. The music always another soundtrack, a playlist of all the things you thought you'd never hear again. The songs you sing while the radio drones on and on.

Trains wailing and dogs barking. The weather leaves the atmosphere and lingers on your lips. Life is a mystery, lived in one direction, written in reverse. The butler's heated confession, the voice in the dark lit in silhouette. Time is a story we tell ourselves to believe in the numbers while the clock runs down. The metaphors meet up at the mixer and breed like wild. Kisses and gunshots and those plots fraught with comical mistakes. You watch what you say because you think someone is listening. You wait to speak while all the words exhaust. Write it down, sleep on it, read it out loud. The sense in the sentence is stitched to your heels. Running so hard it feels like flying. Flying so far, the fall is all that is left.

For awhile we will meet and measure. For awhile we will burn so bright. Alone at last we think and smolder. Alone at last the story seems clear. Road after road we miss our exits. Page after page our purpose obscures. The denouement a sad abstraction. The epilogue another shambling ghost. These lives of ours an open book. Remaindered long before it was ever written. That sound and fury the only signifier. Clues and characters and drawn out conclusions. Concussion and punctuation, and all that drowned romance. The sun comes up, the sun goes down, we tell on all our stories. We close the book on all our secrets. Life's a mystery the only thing we learn.

Friday, October 19, 2012

the price of the rose

The skin of dreams still warm beside you, you wake to the bustle and scuff of something other, everything in its place. The world in all its shiftless mystery, wine and blood, bread and flesh. The fierce leaning of each transformation, the shapes shifts, the shadows pull. Thousands of nights and mornings, countless columns of numbers that never add up quite the same. Your heart gasps and stumbles, your gait a hallway stuffed with dusk. Again to the lists and the longing. Again to the busy streets of emptiness.

You wonder as you work your tiny mercies. You wonder as you sift the details through your teeth, black coffee and brown dust. Will the wound ever close, will the mark ever fade? The labor of the unchosen all the more wearying when there is nowhere it begins or ends. The scars slowly seal the flesh, this incarnation so dull and painful. The stars tell their stories, their tongues still and deliberate, their tales lit by the burning breath of time. You are nothing but a flicker, a glimmer lit for an instant, then gone for the entirety of the show. You are always less, absent for most of forever, absent even in this livid skin.

The change is there, though seldom for the better. The change is there, the plastic bag dancing in the wind. It fills and exhales, rises and dashes and is sacrifices on some branch or thorn. Religion makes its claims, the gods cast their spells and tantrums, the world plies its familiar, brutal trade. You bleed in little measures, drops seeped and spattered, the lash of the razor, the price of the rose. Scratched and pierced and bled in flecks and sops. Wounded in these pitiful rituals, the shopping lists and greater goods. Murder comes in blue flashes for a handful, in slow portions for the rest. This is the day, the one that comes along once in a lifetime. This is the one day you always wake to, slipping quickly away.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


The skies are written down in paces, the tightening horizon, the stir of scattered wanderers. The night fills in every crevice, every corner spark and stun. The clots of stars reveal the mystery, the story spread out in billions in all directions. From weary myth to dizzying theory. The aching span of sense and thought. Words come as riot, words come as consolation. Never enough breath to speak the truth.

Sleepless so long that sleep becomes the dream, dark eyes and pale tresses. The strange entanglement of stray implications conspire with the slipping of each sense. The world blurs as we revel in intentions. Distracted by these rituals we fashion absolutes. The birds all gather on branch and line, waiting out the storm and mitigating risk. The flock becomes another kind of faith, safety always coming there once the numbers grow too high to count. Eyes barely blink as the shadows gather. The darkness rises, eyes just there to stare.

So much for that one in a million. The odds lean long as these billions propagate. Pressed in against all this air and feathers. Held down by the sky and lifted by the trembling earth. The dull mind drags as the lexicon lingers. Something to say now that the prayers have ended. Something to say now that all the poetry has moved on. The wonder wanders on, farther than that muddied up horizon. All this ache and empty, the vast expansion abounds. All this want and hunger, the magic dying slow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


The clock counts out the tedium-- hours spilled in fleet seconds and grim minutes. Machines light the room and stir the air. The tub fills with water, the mirror hides in steam. Nothing here that needs seeing, nothing here that needs saying. All these footnotes to the colloquial, all these margins smudged with grease and ink. The pretense of the lost is that there is a place to begin with. Claim the day as the night drags and draws. Write the words as you fail them one by one, then all together.

Yesterday it was a falling star. Yesterday it was a barn owl above, screeching unseen through the sky. Venus up there burning bright, the moon all but gone. The dawn shed for another day. A bottle of rum and a dead man's treasure. The clatter of glasses, coffee brewing scenting the air. The dull dispatch of daily complaints, the well slick with poison but never running dry. A sad passage, the ghost of a notion. Sleep a myth like the monsters on the map. The labyrinthine labor of a mind out of reason. The minotaur lost to the angles of the maze.

The night again, and again and again. This litany of vague motive and callow regret. Tense and meter, supplication to the false and the frightened. These aches that are life as it is, these words like life as wished after. Sorry lists and spent incantations. The troubled thoughts that make the flesh surrender. Appetite honed on bone and pavement. Stepping on lines and cracks, everywhere broken bottles and stray cats. The gaze swallows the lay of light and outline, headlights straining against the flat lines and painted posts. Stare and stare, there is no path you follow. The truth isn't out there, the facts elude the light.

Monday, October 15, 2012

fissure and fire

It is always right along the border, it always stalks the jagged edge. The moment broken off at the stitched on seconds. The day that won't come, the night that won't end. The stars all lost so long ago. The nightmare all the worse for each waking. The dream like fevers beaded on my brow, the yaw of ache, the pitch of blood. The hunt running outside the front door. It comes in heat, it comes in reasons. The dull abyss of this sudden never more.

The dawn might come if it had a reason. The sun might rise if it was asked just so. The roof hangs its head and watches the earth. Life all writhes between each mention. The world is swarms and hives and extinctions. It is steam and scars and fissure and fire. The heart steps out to take the air, beating its feet red against the floorboards. My eyes rub raw, just taking the measure of it all.

This is the hour of the last enchantment. This is the hole that never heals. Sleep is a spell from a once-was kingdom. The kindness ringing as the swiftest cut, a storm of bells, a riot of bones. The stars show their teeth to some former notion. The self as a certainty, the name as an oath. Never again the only true anthem. The empty air a tide arrows. Every step slips uncertain, every second the gears ground down. The work all passes to better heads and stronger hands. All else left watching the clock wear out.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


The sun is out, so the birds will sing. They fly and fall as the sky expects. The bright and blue painted by the work of swift deft wings. These songs of flight written upon the empty air, the music of spring stitched upon the fall. My skin is warm here in this thin shade. The wind is gentle, feeling nothing but the change.

So like scales with words we practice. We speak aloud to conceal our thoughts. Secret songs and unsent letters. We fail our hearts for our naive statements. Falseness our duty before the law. The words stack up, hollow and pointed. The mood grows desolate despite the warmth and light. Like diagrams for grammar, or those shallow college papers, we bark and bray for the music we have lost.

Would that this were true there would be some small consolation. Would that it were so this obsolescence would wound a little less. We begin as dreams and end as erasure. The certainty measured only in the lapse it contains. Sometimes I lean on the bones of old love letters. Sometimes I lean out the window and gather up the wind. Some small grace the only thing I reach for, fingers straining through distance and depth. The empty air the most I ever capture. The words line up as the memory fades.

Friday, October 12, 2012

little red book

There was a time when things were put on paper. There was a time when our memories were mostly meat and ink. A list of names, featured phone numbers. Romance always written down. Columns like candles calling down the saints. Letters and phone calls and always another tomorrow. The days shed loved better because they would never be seen again. This lonesome a little purer because there was such a thing as alone.

I wouldn't call you, even if I had your number. I wouldn't call you, even if I had a little red book. There are no more converts, no more glad disciples. I am out of practice and have nothing left to preach. I know now I am not built to cherish. I curse and blaspheme and will mock my last gasp here. The days profaned by my bitter and my illness. Your absence that hole my heart could never mend. What is there to say that you wouldn't know already? This meter and this rhetoric, this timbre and this pitch. Singing to myself, to the stars that hide beyond me. The sky gone gray, the song kicking up the dust.

Again it is night, and I write as smoke is rising. Again I am outside, waiting on the rain. These cigars and this sadness among my prized addictions. A thumb smudged tablet glowing lonely in my hands. I could see your face, if I had a picture. I could say your name, with only dogs and trees to hear. I think of you still, having lost faith in tomorrow. I think of you like yesterday which I believe in even less. Happy or not, we at least all get our endings. I smoke this cigar as I punctuate this feeling. Dreams still cling, whatever I believe.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

another thunder

I weather the clock-- the rain falls down, I'm the light left on. Burning out a real place in real time.  The door is locked, the table's set with bitter draughts and worn regrets, smoothed by my touch over time. I spit fire, I eat crow, my words come back and I let them go. Sometimes it's only a song line by line. My cup is empty, my hands are full, autumn finally knocks the cobwebs off my concerns. The dry bed of dust turns to mud over time. The wings spread and lightning fills the sky.

The stars are sleeping in our graves, millions of years until our last mistakes arrive in the here and now to fill the night. The clouds all gather and abide by these odd fluidics of rising tides, the weather bends, we bow our heads as the wind slips by. The heavens stir, the storm relents, I spit ink and sacraments. The spell caught in my throat cut my breath and changed my tune. Now I am only that song sometimes. My hands fold when the beat's so bad but the bar's on time.

The streets are swept by wind and leaf, smoke trailing each sudden gust. Tires whisper, losing their grip on the real. Tensions waver and transitions occur. My skin is the stuff of ghosts and hauntings, the unrelenting sadness of a hopelessness that endures beyond all else. A single voice never meant for speaking. The windows rattle with some borrowed bass. Another time for another thunder. Another dawn comes wandering through these streets, and I am wide awake and restless. Burning long and low, out here as lonely as a star.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


You suppose it's human nature, this drift from blood to blood. The kindest cut so deep that stitches are a formality. The curtain falling fast and dark, the stage so swept with feet and intrigue no-one knows who to blame. You catch a glimpse, you turn too fast. You hear your heart go running down the street. The hour so long it may as well be day. The moment so cold you think it might always be this way. Footsteps and that sudden hunger. You remember who you really are, and all else is erased.

It's always just a stone's throw closer, a kiss missed by miles as the crow flies. The cryptic rhythm of breath  and air, the pump and power station. The form fills, the shape empties. Always some other story, the hidden signal, the letter in plain sight. This mystery of flesh and feeling.  This puzzle of time and tense. The lights go out and the hammer falls. There are no debates, no resolutions. Just one thing then the next. Conspiracy or happenstance, the world is what you wake with.

Every day you sort through faces, their grafted smiles, their shifting moods. Some names stick and others wander. Some stay close, some are never seen again. You keep your count, you cling to reasons. Explanations are the film played backwards. Motive the toast as the table is cleared. Speak your mind and hold your portion. Say your piece and watch the tide erase every last trace. Every smile conceals some stranger. The picture in the mirror another person you will never know. The sun goes down and the darkness walks the hallways. The night is here and every dream is gone.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Where in the heart do these wishes arise? Where in the sky do these prayers reside? What great abyss, what ever after? The rattle of trashcans as the raccoons arrive. The stars don't stir though the earth may tremble. The dead do not rest and seldom revive. Keep your faith wherever you might need it. Keep your secrets until they are yours no more.

The night conspires to reserve all judgement. The gutters whisper and the leaves give up. Traffic prowls and dashes and roars. Headlights cast shadows that dissolve and manifest. Ghosts in the windows, shapes in the yard. Eyes fail and vision falters. The flesh stretches towards the incredible, the mind already lost to its own devices.

Here it waits, this fleeting notion. Here it waits, this bereft thought. No ancestors, no progeny, no carved inscription marring stone or tree. The drawn blade sheathed without tasting blood, the pistol holstered still cool to the touch. No speeches, no struggle, no loyal opposition. Tomorrow unmarked by these roughs and rewrites. Tomorrow unbent by the weight of today. Reach for the stars from on top of something taller. Dig up the dirt that will bury your name.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

the one I wound up

It must be the hour, all those green entreaties, all those bathwater babes. It must be the season, the chill in the air cloying with the vague memories of sweetness stirring the quilt. All these transitive clouds and obscured stars. The grey in my beard, the clock always counting out loud. I speak to myself, as if you could still hear me. I speak to myself, like I ever knew you at all.

If I ever made the list, just strike a line through my name. If you still remember, I would ask you to forget. We all know the words that spanned those distances. We all know how far I failed to measure. Strike a line through me in bright bolts and blue blazes. Strike a line through me, curses taking the place of my name. It is a conceit to think I could have counted, with what I ended up counting for. Those bruised shadows and sharp invocations. The way bare flesh never weathered those spells that well.

Once it would have been quaint to speak of curses. Once all the gods and monsters only worried the walls in the dark. Now the whole world folds into the firmament, the skies alight with might and blight and terror. Prying eyes and pealing paint. The foundation cracked and descending into the unknown depths. Better to have never been than to wind up so mistaken. Better to be forgotten as the promises I never kept than remembered as the one I wound up being. The sullen tongue, the empty eyes. Teeth too sharp and bones too hard. This graveyard of burnt faith and buried hatchets. The line gone dead, spitting static at so many gathered ghosts. The language of my heart only fragments of greed and betrayal. The one that got away always only the one that never was.

Friday, October 5, 2012

bloody anthem

There's no clock in sight when the counting begins. Just the usual confusion of sky and heaven. The cluttered coterie of memory and fantasy, old flames and movie stars. Faces like photos spent somewhere money doesn't know. Some simple phrase, some tiny spark. A moment only there between minds and eyes. A taste of luck that gave you the ability to believe. Dust sticks to the sputtering and the coughs. The wind just winging it out where the world runs down.

So much confidence in the clatter of brass. These coins minted of slag and theft. These bullets loosed like cats in a storm. The dumb trust in the strap and the steel-toe. Pained expressions and marching orders and the hymn of I've got mine. Would-be killers decrying murder. Faith only found in the filling of each grave. God not an oath but an epithet. The heart empties, the blood comes crowding in. This rhythm of wound and ache we paint on every wall.

This is the life allowed us. The warmth of lead, the comfort of granite. Some sad romance before the streets fill with metal and rain. Dust flavored kisses and cash money dreams. Broken teeth and open wounds, prophets always sounding some alarm. There is a train wailing to the distance. There is the brush strokes of an unseen star. Of all there is to see and do, hands to give and lips to taste, we choose the spell of slaughter. Of all the songs we sing aloud, we pick the ones that would eat our bones. A wide open world beneath a wandering sky, we only love what isn't.

October 5th

There is a moon out there somewhere. The wind is all rush and crawl. Gutters skitter with dead brown leaves. There are lights on in somebody's home. The skull splits, the night seethes. Every pin drops unheard. The whole day lost to the falling sky. The last good moment the sight of all the crows moving above, the season crumpled down below.

The air is piled into little boxes. Electric light paints the walls with tricks and shades. Breath draws and pushes, stirring the thin suspension. Dust and gloom and the bitterness of life entombed. The clock calls out its silent taunts and revisions, time pretending to doze in the glass. Each hour arrives with its lamentations. Each room drowns in these floods of regret.

The television just keeps talking. The captions read aloud like prophecy. These lovely dreams and painted on faces. These false figures bathed in unnatural light. Papers full of lists and reasons pile high and gather dust. Beneath each step the change of seasons tunes the skies to lost networks. Every ache and tear glisten silver, blurry eyes and salted flesh. The world away, just spinning and spinning. Life set on replay, knotted constellations and every star alone.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

sleeping beauty

At the start we know the kingdom is over. At the start we know how the story ends. The passive press of such stirring beauty. The tangled slab where the dreamer pauses, unchanging beneath all the wandering stars. A spell cast in spite and envy. A kiss the only wish left unmoved. So we wait for the ever after. The happy ending of that fade to black.

Oh sweet lie and fevered promise. Oh tomorrow come that at long last cure. The moon melts, the moon swells. The dry eyes and scratching limbs fiddle with the windows. The night paws and gropes its oaths, bared flesh and unfastened buttons. There is that radio that never rests, that doppler always driving through. Await each promise, ache for the letter. That one true thing that will pull you through. The calendar pontificates and the dashboard clock nags. The years unspool, rattling down the rails. Everything left just wishing once the numbers come home.

The story says she will awaken. The story says that prince will come. The reward due from so much stillness.  Beauty only true when it is silent as a stone. The cruel magics and foul deceits will fail, overwhelmed in the telling. All alarms sound and the castles crumble. Patience that virtue preached by each usurper and thief.  Dream on, though the day is waiting. Dream on, though your labor awaits. A proud white horse and our golden savior. Wait for that kiss while the whole world rots.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

roots and branches

The dry pine leans hard into the hot blue sky, severed roots and broken branches. A stifling wind seeps between the fence boards, giving the feeling of a crawling motion to the stripes of sunlight painted in the dust. Sweat holds its convention on my flesh, trickling down my dirty face like unearned tears. It is a sad song rising, thirst and hunger and clinging heat. It is the still air stirring, dancing upon the grave of all tomorrows. The world in an uproar, and I only ever talk about the weather.

It isn't the ache of existence, it isn't the hurt in heart. The sickness endures every fact and intervention when it arises from the hole in my soul. Good days and bad days hardly change stances. The fight is the same, however bright the stars or blue the moon. The difference ends up only in degrees, frying pan pr fire. The world moves on whether you are ready to ride. The world doesn't worry on those that it leaves behind. It tumbles through the heavens, riding what rails it may. It spins and speeds and collides with the debris of creation, any god there is one of cosmic desolation and abrupt extinction. All the pieces might fit, but no horse or soldier can fix them together once they are so sundered.

The wind shifts, stirring leaf and needle. The sky is a fever, the day a feud. Somehow the lack of evidence still incriminates. Somehow pretending hard enough makes it so. All these fits and seizures, the speeches paused to wait on imagined applause. The dull weight presses inside my skull, the words falter while the blood ignites. I creep through the indifference and the trash, bruised and beaten and as comical as can be. The silly onslaught of this relentless poverty, an infection culled by design and neglect. Sorrow only so much shifting sand. Roots dig and branches reach though the tree is already dead. The calendar fills with contradictions, each prediction a mouth full of dust.