Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eleanor Rigby

You arrive still a list of broken things, dead pets and broke notions, those dismal displays of faith. Your pockets are empty, save a knife and fire. Those old skill sets still a dull murmur in your bones. All the roads as yet unchosen. The sun low every morning, midnight given to the bust belly moon. You weren't asked to be here, but you show up with your wings and your medicine bag. No-one asked, but you shoulder your way on in.

Six geese turn half a wheel above a field, winging straight through a roil of swallows feeding in the morning light. They honked along some other seam, flying fast and low. The swallows rise and fall, seemingly pursuing glints and flashes in the bright sunrise. It's no big secret. There's something screwy going on. History's best lessons always start with something screwy.

It's not like you kept the old ways, more like the two of you caught up a little somewhere on the road. The complaints of age and the retorts of ache are there in every stay and stride. Footprints on the beach, paths marked in the sand. Always a little further from the fire, always a little farther down the shore. Time huddled up and gave you the play. You always feel like you forgot a reason, finding another day. You always feel like you're out to sea, wrestling down another crowd.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

the paperwork

It's been a dry spell for all the rain dogs, the sorties of spring and the summer's retreats. Every bit of steam stole from some sliced up indignation. Every bit of bile choked out the hard way. This illness is always overtime. This sickness stays up nights. I write a little less every time. There are only so many words that stick around.

Every other story is stuck in some desert. Every other mouthful is thick with dust. The dry air slows down the cycle, rot crawling in seasons and alongside pipes. The history buried already, without the impetus to dissolve.  These desiccated places always leave something. The treasure that nothing living could stomach becomes the proof that providence meant. The dog sick in the tall grass becomes the god of all tomorrows. The garbage heap kept far from the river the halls and barrows of ancient kings.

All my thoughts rot away like fruit. Everything I ever said is lost on the wind. The dust bucks and the shadows lean, the air painted in sparkles and shit. The sky wants to take its toys and go. I lose word after word, spilling them into keystroke. I lose words to sentences and lines. Each impulse, each touch, each abstraction. Stuck in the spark before the fire. Stuck in the anticipation before every open book. Always the lost that somehow linger. Always longing to skip all the paperwork, and go right to the end.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

like hot wax into water

The whole scene is too familiar. The whole scene is something I have down too pat. Kneeling in e examination room, the old dog sprawled on the blanket right before me. The old dog a bewildered skeleton, his body a series of cruel betrayals, his mind scattered to the wind. I scratch his head on his favorite spot, trying not to feed his fear with my own sense of sadness and failure. I don't even bother trying not to cry. Tears flow while I talk casually to the vet and the vet tech. Hold the old dogs chin and scratch as the vet finds a utile vein. Hold the old dog's chin as the plunger draws that first bead of blood into the syringe, dog's blood that floats and coils like hot wax into water, blood that is slowly forced back into the vein. The slow and steady compression of the blood and amber liquid, to stop the dog heart from beating. The steady depression that ends the old dog's life.

I am sitting and smoking, watching the wind kick up the dust. I am sitting and smoking, listening to music with headphones on. Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer singing a song by Bob Marley. Two dead men sing a dead man's song, redemption so far away it might as well be another country. Redemption so far away it may as well be from Mars. It is the way love leaves us, one way or another. The way our love leaves us, even when it stays. The list just grows and grows, encompassing all we lost. The wind just blows and the smoke whips wildly. The wind blows and everything snaps and sways.

It is the same each time, save for little details. The twitch of a leg, the weight of the air, the strange heat of some stranger's consoling hand. They shuffle the numbers, they shift the dates. Each small collapse closing up some doorway. Every tiny flicker another era past. Fingerprints pressed among the ashes. Toothmarks scratched upon old bones. So surprised at the prayers that found and failed me. The dog still warm as the blood stills and breath fails. Sitting in a parked car, watching traffic pass.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


They could try to find me, if they had a reason. They could try to find me, if they had the nerve. Look all they want, it wouldn't matter. Look right at me, I'll still be gone. The trick is to stand on the seams of your shadow. The trick is to leave nothing they would want behind.

I am always out of sorts. I am never where I am supposed to be. My reaction shots read like stock footage. My lips never sync up to the things I say. I grumble though the days and slander every night. I never bet against the house until I've seen it. Every time I call a bluff I lie.

Now my last cigar is smoke and cinders. Now the finches all invade the pines. I listen as the wind releases. I listen as the diamond dies. The sky dies down, like love  or speeches. The light leaves just like they said it would. They'll never find me, though I mostly mark the map. They'll never find me, though I think I'm in the book. The smoke runs circles, and the little finches don't mind. The dusk seems certain as I slip right past.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


The day breaks hot and thoughtful, you wake with the birds and the dog. You begin again because all the dreams have left you. You begin again because any other plan is lost. The dull footwork of repetition. The plodding march of every single day. The heat will not relent, the day already sacrificed to the flies and the dust. A breeze slips by, stirring leaves and shadows. The sky seems blue enough, despite the burning world.

It is a young man's game, all this dirt and dreaming. It is a young man's part, sleeping to the sweep of the fan. The gray days came along quickly, the change all you can see once you bother looking. Another summer, bones clotted with gravel and engine grease. Another season, blood slowed to a seeping song. The crowds, they creep and sprawl. The crowds, they plot and heave. Play along or pass your turn. The day will not be moved.

Truth is, you might lose the day. Fact is, there is no big win in sight. All the ache and all the longing only roads to wander and winds to ride. All the pleasure and all the plunder just pictures glanced at from the window of a passing train. You might repent your sins, you might defy your judgement, you might take a bullet for your ghosts or take one for the team. Crawl along beneath the beatings of the sun. Call out your complaints of devotion and of duty. The bells keep tolling, nothing to do with you. Mind your business and scuff your shoes. Your number is coming up, counted out or not. Your number is coming up, however broke works out between you and the day.

Friday, June 15, 2012

the incidentals

The night pretends to fall and I pretend to notice. It is enough of a plan for the incedentals. It is enough of a map for holding still. The light as it’s leaving, the heat as it lingers yet. I write one thing and then another. It seems a listing with each veer and lean. It seems like sayings once you settle on the words.

Where to go to empty all your pockets? Where to go to shake off all this shine? The top of the dresser withs its matchbooks and bad pennies. The table near the front door with its magazines and lamps. What door will you open? What window will you watch? The lamentations of ancestors, the laws of bitter kings. The breath that holds witness, the breath that lets fly. All these pens and knives.

You take one chance and then you take another. You win and win, until one day you don't. This is the set recipe, the only sure commandment. The lights, the paint, the press of flesh. All these stars so long in the sky. The first road the one of intention. The first telling much like the last. A box, a bag, a shouldered bindle. The abrupt departure much the same as the long decline. It is where there is to put the pieces. I make a wish and then learn to let it go.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


There is ruin stamped into the day. Even my thoughts draw flies. The hot coffee sits, cooling in the cup. Each notion sprawls like morning shadows, light and long and losing all the time. The drift away from meaning as the words all take their moods. A bumble bee buffets the wall beside my head. Language another color in the spectrum. The geometry of tongue and time sliding off the map.

Whatever our story, we eventually surrender. Abandoning some narrow hope, accepting some bitter faith. Always the trouble of the process, the ritual of shards lost to steel. Despair and wonder become mere habit, the rote litany of shoes filled and paths taken. The weight of the wind shifting on its feet. The blue of the sky we never bother to describe.

I slide my mind outside the telling. I stretch my back and crack my neck. This pirate leaning, a heart set to stray and plunder. The set of tools always overstating the problem. The trouble and pain always out sizing the job. No lie too sorry to believe on. No star too far to escape our tired words.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

the king of no tomorrow

The clamor of strange weather wore down the day, the words spilled as free as contempt. The bright blue crown did little more than blind, while the gusts of thick dust choked and spun. Some sign post missed, some marker spared the terror of acknowledgement, while eyes strayed from the road, running wild over every scale and skin. Somewhere a party sparked and sputtered, a lone beauty curling up with so much smoke and distance. A mocking bird wove the whole sky into a song of flight and fall. This much music, that much missing. The rough coils of a lost romance rusting in the sun.

She wasn't there then; she never would be. The years just slipped on by. The dreams of passion exchanged for whatever dreams follow such pained consent. The life of the flesh so ready for dissolution, the life of the spirit hot grease spattering from the pan. As if her bones were forged from fevers. As if her tears were the fallen stars of her eyes. Never nearer to that faulty marker, the slab of words loosed in her wake. Never closer to the truth than the sweat beaded on her skin.

She is the itch I never reach, that present tense that haunts the past. She is the toothache lingering on the lips of the sweet. That sudden busted gate of the season, a storm made from words and restless breath. The haunted hallways of every day ring and sink, a wasted lash on a mule that has yet to figure he is dead. Her shine is the work against the world, the lies that give the empty air its glow. Strangers clamor all around me. The day burned out from the long unravel. The knife grown dull from missing the cut.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I serve no purpose but to call down these curses. I follow no path save the drive towards oblivion, cruelty the only kindnesses allowed. The days bend and bend, falling off the plot of continuity, scaling the cliffs that memory leaves behind. Flowers dying in the scenery, dust and death clotting every single breath. No side left that will stay mine, no battle that won't give way to butchery. Sickness the only steady medicine, madness the only description that sticks.

Chase your tail, call down the storm, pray whatever prayers spill from your mouth. Your belief and your reason are both bound to fail. Take what comfort you can in that you never see it coming. Take what solace you can that no-one stays consoled for long. Happiness is an adaptive response to the doom that is all that is certain. Depression the mistake of having your eyes open too long. That you will outlive me is almost certain. That my side will die with me certainty itself.

My own mood serves only to anoint me. I am this one that doesn't matter. I am this one that always minds. A head full of murder, a heart full of woe. Useless save to cull and bleed. Useless save to burn it all to the ground. Depression or elation, it is a case of elevated importance. Happy or sad, I think too much of myself. Happy or sad, I am alone with my own mistakes. The day burns down and nothing is the better. Everything so bad, though nothing much has changed. You are right if you would tell me I should end it. If I told you much the same, I would not be far from wrong.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

sunset song

The dust danced as the light dappled on and off, the strobe of sun and leaf, the glamour of wind and shine. The sun lingered, adrift in a polished blue sky. The sun lingered, squandering its grace as it might. The ache was that absence of romance, that rend along the mend of mind and hunger. The ache that was the settling of sun and horizon, a pornography known once seen. The afternoon caught in the tow of easy mystery, the daze of  nostalgia, the life long wake of that murdered romance. The music starts, the memory fails.

I gave up the last two boxes, the dusty entangling of notes and letters, diaries and roughed out poems. The last of those clung to love letters, the years of untossed notebooks and delusions of squalor. No more mementos, no more clutters of kisses and fantastic wants. The smudges and the scrawls I thought to gift to the lost tomorrows. The odd death cult some of us harbor in the husk of our dreams. Always the fire and the offering, the tumbled dice and the yawning road. Further rather than farther every time.

It is always some flavor of you. Some made-up prayer along a fence cluttered with spies, some half remembered moment of shadow devouring your skin. A tide of night and longing, a sketching of certainty and a glut of appetite. Somehow always in the air, somehow always on my lips. The inevitable correction of every wander, the wonder of you all I want. Every day the altar burns down  to nothing but a sweep of stars. Every day this same lapse of ash and cinder, smoke trailing away into a habitual tune.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Another day and the meaning is elusive. All the words lined up, birds on a wire, stones in a row. Dust all that is left of the garden, some warnings about the machinations of snakes, fig leaves and another angry thunderer. The precepts of poems and history, laid down between the readings. The vastness travelled always somehow lost in transit. These old bones, this new skin. Stories meant for telling by a camp fire. Their shadows stolen by the fleeing wind.

Their pieties arise as the masonry crumbles, too long persuaded to recognize change as distinct from danger. Too long ruled by principle to realize the presumption was wrong. The sacrifice the only sanctimony needed. The flesh always offered, whatever the ends. Forget the suspension of disbelief. Suspense itself will do.

Hanged by his heel or nailed to a tree, there is grief ground from these aspirations. The story scans the same, whether there are long allusions to yellow bricks or driven along by sharp spoken fiests. You glean the ghost that haunts you, erase all the evidence to the contrary in defense. They honor your accidents unto perpetuity, always quick to sacrifice. They murder you again and again, your blood so eagerly spent. The goat to slaughter while the wolf feeds free.