Language/Love

©2018
I talk too much
And usually people tune out
Or walk away
Or say,
“I need to work on my own shit.
It’s not you; it’s me.”
Or say,
“Come on, get to the point.”
If I knew what the point is,
Maybe I could keep it in my head
Long enough to get there.
My ideal lover simply listens
And when the words end
Is still there
Saying, “I know.”
Making love
Is the absence of words
The only time my soul is quiet.
Words just won’t do.
Words come too easily with solitude
Because they’re all I have to love
And sometimes I can’t stop
It’s like the floodgates
Went south for the winter
And in the river’s path
is my broken heart.

The Fallen

Last updated on March 5th, 2018 at 04:02 pm

©2018
The walls of love can’t do enough to
keep the bullets out
But maybe they can keep the slivers of hope inside and safe
No stories different here
Than the ones we are told yet again
In a blinding flash of rage and angst
And hoaxes
Splayed like blood stains on the memory of
The fallen

Drifting across an endless ocean of condolences
And “What the fuck can we ever do to change this?”
Is the memory of the fallen child
Who you used to take to school
In the carpool with the other screaming kids
You hadn’t had your coffee yet
And it was hard to go about your day
With all that wild maelstrom in your head
And then you arrived at school
And they piled out, running fast to join their friends
Except your kid, who turns and looks at you with a “Yeah, I know” look
And it’s all worthwhile
‘Cause they’re safe in school
And you’ve rediscovered the gift of silence

But it’s much too silent now
Except for the phone calls
And the reporters
And those who bring you food
Because there is crushing silence now
A silence so loud that there is
No place where you can simply prepare a meal
For your family
That is now missing a place at the table

Where do we go from here?
How do we place a setting at the table when we don’t know
How many fewer people will come
Those walls of love are now
Here to hold our hearts in place
So we don’t break
Till the next time.

In the darkness and quiet of the house of the fallen
Is a door that leads to answers
On the other side of that door
If we truly look
We will find each other
In silence

 

Inventory

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 10:32 pm

©2018
On long car trips
There are the rituals and games
My family played “The alphabet game”
We were supposed to look only on license plates, but I looked everywhere for signs
My wife’s family used to call out whenever they saw a Waffle House
“Waffle House, wanna have lunch?”
Even when it was dinner time
Even if they just stopped for a meal at the previous exit

I call out many things as I pass them by driving through life
I point out the billboards
And all their promises
The airplanes in the sky

Or the Holiday Inns
Though I miss their iconic signs
Pointing toward heaven
Or at least a nice resting place
For the night
Those great signs
Which my father and I used to inspect
To count how many lights didn’t work

My son would tell you
I point out cows and sheep and all kinds of creatures
They are the grains of sand on this earth that I am
Called to count

Numbers are my destiny
My cross to bear
My source of fame
Because I remember them so well,
Or infamy
Because I don’t remember
What really matters

Taking inventory is my albatross
And my blessing
Here are some of my important numbers
58
76
78
My age and my siblings’ ages
2
The age my wife always used to say I really am
3206
The number of days since my wife slipped quietly away from us in the
Neuro ICU
12737
The number of days since some motherfucking bastard
Stabbed the life out of an amazing red-haired
Kind soul that I loved

1
2
3
The number of breaths it takes
to remind me
Every time I get lost in the census of sadness
That I am one privileged sonofabitch
To still be here
To record these numbers
To count these truths
And
1
2
3
4
and on and on
The number
of you
I’ve never met, but
Who I am blessed to count
As my friends
In this moment
Which may be
The only moment
That counts

Caught

©2018
Wealth of spirit
Like a woven garment
Made of gold and sorrow and listing back and forth
From the waves
of you

I once noticed
My fortune
Carried on the backs of
Forgotten visions
of you

That momentary lesson
I learned
When asking for your attention
Was interrupted
by you

I was dead in the water
Caught in a basket of laughter
And stories of insanity
But my bastions were breached
by you

Celester In Oakland

Last updated on January 21st, 2018 at 05:15 am

©2018
The bus was crowded
Sweaty
The air conditioning on the Greyhound
Broken
But the air was
Sweet
Like the pot of gold
She always hoped to
Find in the new city
Her first time there
Her first time anywhere
Outside her life
In service
To her dream
She could finally go there
Finally see the bright shining city
Near the coast
Near heaven
Near the sea
No more meals alone in the kitchen
With the lawn mower
This was her journey
Her time
Her destination
Now in that mercy she could rest
And she slept the sleep of Gods

Seven Sketches

Last updated on January 12th, 2018 at 02:00 pm

©2018
Seven sketches were all the artist had
Left in him before his death

And one by one his art pad filled with
Life passing before his eyes

Shining once again in the bright sunlight
He dove into his masterpieces

Born of his illness and his salvation
Weeping at the thought of putting down his brushes

With greatness he surveilled his reputation
And the critics who tore his dreams apart

When he knew that all that mattered
Was the tear in the eye of the patron

As the gallery announced closing time
And the workers steadily prepared for the next exhibit

The Pharmacist

Last updated on December 28th, 2017 at 07:43 am

©2017

If you fall in love with a poet, she will pen great verses of love

And elegies for an asshole if you break up

 

If you should fall in love with your pharmacist

She knows about the viagra and the blood pressure medicine

And about all the things you put in your system to get through

Another day

And if you fall out of love

Watch out for what she puts in the bottle the next time you get refills

And watch out for your heart

There’s no prescription strong enough when it breaks

To The Daughter I Will Never Have

Last updated on December 28th, 2017 at 07:31 am

 

©2017

How I want you to be known

Courageous

Strong

Sharp

Take no prisoners

Badass but kind

True to your essence

And always searching for your essence

Be anyone you want

Be with anyone you want

Become anyone you want

Even if that image is different

Than what we all think we know

 

You have so much potential

Even at this stage of imagination

You can be like all the brave women I have ever known

Whose stories may also never be told

Even though they were here

Or maybe no one listened

 

You have the opportunity to create worlds

You have the opportunity to tear down walls

I want you to lead

To never doubt yourself

To never doubt the good in you

To never let any man say you are not good enough

To never let any man take you for granted

Either as a colleague

Or a lover

Or a friend

 

Love your brother

Who you will never know

Because you never were

And if you think of me

Think kindly

And know that I tried

To bring you here

To take your place in the world

And your presence is reflected in the great sisterhood

That glass is being shattered every single day

And each shard reflects your light.

Single/Lens/Reflex

Last updated on December 28th, 2017 at 07:20 am

©2017

I need to take my camera

To a repair shop

All pictures are dark

And faded

No light gets in

As if the camera was sucked into a black hole

Where it can’t breathe

 

I see everything through the lens of death

I can’t see light anymore except as

The absence of darkness

 

The absence of you

Is what turns my eyes inward

 

The absence of you

Is the absence of meaning

And the absence of quiet

And the absence of rain upon my face

After a long hot summer day

Or the absence of applause

When the music ends

 

The lens of death is a lens that can never focus

Except on distant objects

On distant times and places

 

Darkness is sandpaper

It rubs off my resolve

To breathe

 

You were a soft cloth

That could keep my lens clear

And help me see

More than the darkness in front of me

Wide Open

Last updated on November 30th, 2017 at 07:52 am

©2017

Mouth agape

As if to say

No one is home

And you, steadily

Rocking back and forth

On your heels

Waving goodbye to me

And I

Steadfast like a mountain lion

Watching prey approach

Look in the mirror and

Wonder when my soul left my body

And why the wind blows through

My heart

Agape

But still open