Friday, March 23, 2012

the whispered line

The days grow slow, the light it lingers, as spring is fresh upon the breath of the earth. The last storm  finally disappears from the gossip of dirt and leaf. The sky burns blue even as the cold winds rise. Shadows creep and sway in the dust. Another storm is coming, too far away to feel. Another storm is wending, to wet the lips of spring.

The dogs raise havoc, kicking and whirling about the yard. They run and bite and bark, playing chasing games of keep away and skirmished tests of strength. Where their paws find dust, the rain will paint mud as again, only a blustery night away. They strive the same way rain or shine, in the ice of winter or the fatigue of a burning summer. Beasts bent and bred after human concerns, they pace the whispered line. Blood and breath, and these fitful words. Fur and tooth, and the story always told again the same.

I walk the cluttered path between two fences, the old one built by my father, the new one built by myself and a friend. The new fence is tall and strong and a few years fresh, the redwood still choosing its color as it seasons beneath the sky. The old fence is squat and twisted, an after-thought to guard a garden that died not long after my dad. Half its posts have rotted away, and it leans and bucks in and out. It is no more than stray timber and patient moss suggesting an intention. What is left of will once its wielder leaves the world. What is left of labor once the blood is only dust and ash. I feel the warmth of the sun and the chill in the air. I pause for a moment, then I walk away.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

our day will come

The world is unsettled, the shuffling of the atmosphere and the reeling of the soil. The day turns over and the night disappears. The gray traces of the shroud become pale shadows stitched to heels, the stunned complicity of the sky allowing the chance of rain. It was almost all there, the puzzle known by its piecing, the blade by the resolution of each cut. You step there upon each breath. You turn away, towards another rhythm. Walking into the end.

You sang the kindling back from the embers, brought sweetness out of the ash. Smoke and honey, brimstone and treacle, you wrung life back to the limb. The old songs mingled with the liquor on your breath, they tainted the blood with tears. Art at best is grace, you engaged with the sad sustain between these bitter means and ends. You are the angel of the stress fractures in the firmament. The beauty of both dove and crow.

I am waiting for a storm, waiting with the engine idle. I am sitting beneath a tree, watching droplets spatter the glass. You are singing beneath the framework, your song trickles don my tongue. I would sing along, but it is too soon to say it. I would say it is sad, like some stranger who can not endure such silence. The darkness did devour all the difference left. Between you and all the old songs stuck in my heart. Between you and the voice that lingers when everything else goes home. The molasses black trickle of vinyl pouring into that unseen sharpness, the lilt of your voice spilling over and over into the dark. The rain will fall, our day will come.

Friday, March 9, 2012

broken records

I should have seen it coming, the day broken off in the middle with only the rough edges to show. The usual afternoon coterie, blossoms on the branch, all the birds and bees. The telephone pole and redwood fence casting their steady measure of shadow, the sun so warm brushing  the back of its hand against my cheek. The warmth so near that of flesh, it should have told me so. The too-blue sky mutes for a moment as I gather beneath the lassitude of the scrub pine. A mocking bird watches, like it is going to tell.

I stagger along, lumping it every step. The reach of spring so full of youth and promise it is bound to leave a bruise. I am stretched and racked with such dull melancholy, it is all I can manage to stay upright. These dirty streets and historic markers, tagged by paint and trash, threaded with sad animals and fury. This broken record of my bad moods hissing and popping behind my beady eyes. Only the losses linger. Only the shards glint and shine.

I feel deft wings pass near me. I feel the wind begin to buck and dash. The weight of the moon is aimed at the gleam in my eye. All vision is limit, connect the dots, count away the hours. All vision is suspect, once you start with all the words. Such a pretty picture they left it off the map. The cat calls stripes, the dog takes solids. They don't bluff their way into the game. I pause, like I might play a part. Then I remember just what I was, and where I am again.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

to blazes

You look into the camera that I could never be, passionate and insolent, weary and all heart. You wear the face of intimacy, used to guileless whispers and the casual press of flesh. The clock face blurred, the hour unkempt except for the shine you shed. All the depth of passion, all the ease of love. All the record left, scratched and clotted with hissing. All the proof there was, only aimed another way.

Time has chewed my bone to bits, my thoughts always adrift on some oblivion, my deeds catching up with their tails. Wrought with ache and dumb violence, the heart skips and paces. I just stare at this picture. I stare into the eyes of some stranger I tell myself I know. Without your eyes, the world unwinds. WIthout your gaze, it all goes to blazes.

In your photo you are deft and lovely, the light just billowing from the heat of your skin. In your photo you are the very heir to every subtle love, the face of blessed charm herself. A smile that hints of rare consolations, a graceful humor, a claiming of space. The time I spend, the time I wasted. The shuffling of cards, the winding of the clock. A little sizzle of electric light, a sensual pause, and whole worlds that I map that can never be. Like a kiss blown into a roiling legion you know is meant for only you.

Friday, March 2, 2012

mysterious ways

We give the names to absent grace, the promise busted, the faith played out. Ashes dance to articulate the intracies of the wind, we name to express our other unknowns, father sky to mother earth. The smoke goes, so there must be fire. The story always trips itself on the tongue that does the telling.

Our conscripted intercessors must pity our silly prayers, screeds against nature, claims against death. As if every minute had to decry the clockworks. As if every point could only end in daggers. Calling for someone to focus because we wouldn't wear glasses. Calling out the law because we can't get by without crime. Holy and hell just some bluff got out of hand, the stakes raised just because we forgot to fold.

The scrub jay riddles its way through the pine tree, so arrives this wish for wings. People whisper and hush, the silty incence slowly stifles. The air seems to take a seat and wait for the fated wind. A fatwa of roads and deisel engines, rumbling at the foreground of the call of some far off lonesome train. All this written on the walls of each vein, the blood signing off before the finger feels the prick. The miracle the noticing at all, our minds so full of mysterious ways.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


The word itself becomes the echo, painted upon such bated breath. Comprehension left to the shape of shallow tracks, harder than running in the dunes. Nothing to grant purchase, save a vague trail of history. Mystery birthed the moment you opened your mouth.

I am always a little unsteady, slipping between phrasings, abruptly leaving the sad sustain. I try not to confess my confusion aloud lest it hears me. It is one of hose things that ends up looking right in your eyes, seeing you as meals and parcels. It is probably best not to think too long outside your lines. The mirror was there before the glass, the reflection lurking in every flesh.

It might be that I misspoke. The poem is always riddled with teeth. These brief suspensions, the rush of blood at last. So much pent for so long that it rushes out too fast, the stress upon the strings such a sweet relief that the sense comes a little late. I speak in stains and furies, spit wounds and bolts of blue. The reach always exceeds, the measure spent and still something is missed. I say it anyway, wrong and wrong again.