1.30.2004

Looking Past Winter

It's never been our place to think
The trees might rather keep
All of themselves intact,
To think they might suffer loss
When their leaves wade into the arms
Of the waiting earth.
Really though, that grave,
That threshold tired feet must cross,
That end of a beginning
Begins an end
That brings the beginning back.

P. O. W.

As he returns from long-awaited days
To lovelorn dungeons buried deep in the smoke
That curls from cigarettes like locks of hair
And fills every recess of burning air,
Winter's touch having only just awoke
The cold and bitter TV-static haze,

He screams against the truth. It isn't right.
He wants to turn around. Nothing lies
Ahead but pain. He passes through her door
Back to reality, back to the daily war
Fought against the ever-resounding cries
Of love, ringing hollow in the mounting night.

They're everywhere and yet they don't exist,
Echoing in his footsteps up a flight of stairs
And through familiar rooms, past graffiti
Scrawl but when he turns he finds them empty
With posters strewn about that no one cares
To read. If they were gone, would they be missed?

Would he be missed? If he were taken down,
Crumpled carelessly, and thrown away,
Who would notice? Who would say a word?
Would he pass screaming, his muffled cries unheard
As they are now, leaving more to say
About life and love? Yet now without a sound,

A breath, he concedes that life and love are unfair
To leave him stranded in this land of unconcern.
While affection is daily borne from heart to heart,
He finds his own more often shorn apart.
Can one reach the point of no return?
Can one truly love from out of nowhere?

The night falls heavily beside his feet
As he sits in darkness at his desk, alone,
Waiting for another day to bear
The sun to radiant heights, in burning glare.
Perhaps tomorrow's seat will be a throne
And love will offer more than just retreat.

These Awkward Things

1
Not all fish
Are created equal
And when minnows
Latch onto us,
Practically jumping
Into the boat,
Sometimes it's best
To throw them back.

2
How does it feel
To sever an infant
Flower from its birth
To display in a vase
For a day or two,
Knowing you've begun
Its slow
And agonizing death?

3
People who live
In antique shops
Shouldn't tickle other's
Porcelain dreams
Or behave in ruffian manners,
Especially when
The value of their antique days
Is being appraised for auction.

4
We speak along tangents,
Sometimes parallel,
Sometimes askew,
Always simply fingering
That fragile ball of glass
With a feinting touch,
Like Adam reaching
Into distant ceilings.

Gravity

Where the rolling tide
Washes up against the rocks,
In bursting foam, kissing
The painful jaggedness
That seemed a mighty distance
Away, where it finally crashes
Before its sinking return
To the uniform expanse
Of all the oceans,
There the moon has brought it,
By no idle hands,
In no idle way;
There it leads it on.

The Way I See It

All I am escapes me.
All the world escapes me.
Just a glowing ball
Like the frail glass
That hangs from my Christmas tree,
Just a single match,
Burnt and crumpled
To the fingers
Waiting for something to engulf,
Just a single thought
In a lexicon of ideas,
And still, it is that itch
Just out of reach
That no manipulation
Or contortion can remedy.
I am hopelessly lost
On a straight path,
On a bright day,
A futile nomad in my own house,
Seeking echoes in crowded corridors
And dust balls
In closets stacked with boxes.
A new dawn traipses
Across the horizon
Spilling little drops of
Gold and red and purple,
While I stare blankly
At my cream-colored walls
Like a cryptologist mathematically
Analyzing absent patterns,
Reading strategies into their bleakness.
The sun knows the place of its setting,
Ages distant from me,
But alive inside me.
It is the chilled breeze
That ripples across my goosed-flesh,
The rich breath of coffee
That swirls from half empty mugs
In the morning,
The frail October tide
That bites my feet
As I stand and sink deeper
Into cold, muddy sand,
The implied melodies
Wrestling through the autumn grass,
The slowly disrobing trees,
And the sundry hues
That warm the morning dew.
Despite the tangible reality
Of all the things about me
That I can't escape,
Somehow, it all escapes me.

As Time Slips By

Though time, for now, may rest its head with me
Its calling, soon, will lead it other ways,
As years slip by, all too easily.

The gifts I found beneath my Christmas tree
Have faded into foggy yesterdays,
Though time, for now, may rest its head with me.

My younger years, a vivid memory,
Live on inside, but only as clich├ęs
As years slip by, all too easily.

My closest friends, the scent of potpourri,
Have melded into long forgotten days
Though as for time, it cools its heels with me.

The coffee spoons I use to stir my tea
Have rusted over time in dead cafes,
As years slip by, all too easily.

And as I sift through the rubble and debris
Of years that fill my lungs like a dusty haze,
Killing time still rests itself with me;
The years slip away, much too easily.

Facing Misfortune

May all the sky settle into your lap
When the time comes.
May the sun draw close
And bend down and tie your shoes,
When momma is just too far.
Feel the fall alight on your shoulder
And bury its claws under
Your stretched skin,
Drying like paint-film
In the sun, the sun that tries your shoes;
But they are too big.
You ride them out your door
And down the street, beyond the rainbows,
Into the storms, saying all the way,
Pity me! Pity me!
And the passers-by look through
Spotted spectacles and don't seem to see you.
May the storms have mercy
When they see the rainbows beyond.
May your rainbows stand tall,
Sticking out their chests in defiance,
When the rough and the tumble of every day
Wash up on your shore.
Among the flotsam, can you pick out
The gold and silver,
The Viking treasures that cast them into the sea?
Can you salvage the scars
That threaten to return, with the waves,
To the ocean and slink
Into the rolling blue-green expanse?
Can you mend the proverbs you discarded as insults,
That you dragged up fishing for advice
Or will the wind carry their stench away
Before you have a chance to gut
And eat them?
Your hunger will return like a stray dog
Who has never known anything better,
While the cruel sun
Steals from the night to feed itself.
It towers before me like a great citadel,
Housing apathetic nomads
That keep no time
Or wrong time.
Their banners sleep in the wind
And dance in silence,
And sometimes sing the disenchanted
Songs of once summer.
It's too late to save the headless chicken
That beats its breast like a cave man
As it tottles off to a place
We can only imagine.
Savor the chances Custer never had,
And let freedom be the soles of your feet,
Even when the concrete makes them ache.
When you leave your home in haste,
Don't forget to put on your pants;
Don't forget to let one foot go
Before the other,
And smile when the sky descends
To spread out a chessboard against you.

Driving Ohio

We have no mountains
To dissect out evenings for us,
To peal off orange skins
Into darkness.

I thought our hills were something.
Driving west
I thought they were mountainous,
But we are just a pubescent girl’s chest,

Peeking up slightly
Into blue atmospheric fabric.
If we are David,
Our Goliath lies south and east,

Stretched vastly
Over a thick southern dialect,
His hand extended toward us.
Like cancerous lumps,

Our terrain is small and soft,
Built on soil, not on rock,
And when the floods come
We often fill up too quickly.

Given enough gravity,
We drown in our own shallowness,
Like hollowed-out toy soldiers
Left in the bathtub,

While the stripes of morning
Jump early into our unexpectant arms
Past the stubby knees
We thought would shelter us.