coming into contact

September 29, 2015

i stand on the busy corner
watching the people file past
breathing in the exhaust
feeling the rumble
as large busses roar past
an almost neverending
stream of everything
it is all new and novel
i try and take it in.

maybe you can see past it
see what is behind
maybe not.

i suppose it is a struggle
worthy of you
looking past the green leaves
finding patterns in the flying birds
coming into contact
with things massing in the distance
larger than anything else
senseless in its passing
the crowd
the many, many eyes
the millions of lives
passing each year
coming into life
leaving quietly
torn apart
in heartless brutality,
anything you can imagine
is real and happening

and maybe you can see past it
see what is behind
maybe not.

melville calls it the mask
he had ahab strike thru
stab at the whiteness
an eternal white plain
and even though we stand together
and try as we might
we cannot see the end.

we have built
trillions of digital worlds
we weren’t satisfied with one
so we extend ourselves
further into a space

[and where exactly is the internet?
what space does it occupy?
like conquering explorers
we send our electronic phantoms
out onto the seas.]

and maybe you can see past it
see what is behind
maybe not.

but whatever we find
i’ll walk behind you
and glance over your shoulder
and try and not be afraid.


my car dies alone

August 30, 2015

the car cuts out on the highway
the accelerator pedal
stops working, and i’m doing seventy-five
i’ll turn the car off
let it coast for a second
and then turn everything
back on.

alexander crosses the koroglu mountains
in autumn, in the mist
the highlands shine
as the sun pours down
the eurasian heavens
and i worry
about my car
and will i die
the next time
it cuts out?

armies like cars
combing the dirt, looking
for enemies.

cause armies fight
and cars die
me? i’m not so sure
i’d like either–
options like those
have little by way
of social leeway.

pale mornings
the slow rise of the sun
a creeping warmth
in the air
in my hands
and the day
and the march
and the masses

sick at night

August 30, 2015

my gut hurts
no real surprise,
since i had taken
to chewing pine gum
i think i read
that early settlers
would chew it
to relieve muscle aches
the sharp astringent
chemical tang
fills my mouth
my nose
and the sap
sticks to my teeth,
maybe it was willow bark
in fact
i am pretty sure
that it was willow bark.

when i stand
it feels like gravity
grabs my innards
pulling them down
and i panic
things occur to me
in rapid flash file
yellow smoke bleeding under the door
gel smeared on the wall
grey steam filling the window
the building swaying slowly
like a ship on calmed seas.

i stumble through the short hallway
i retch on the bathroom tiles
bilious sounds
coming from my throat
i wonder if my noise
will wake the kids
wake the neighbors
wake the world
cause it feels like that
the ground shakes
beneath my bare feet.

its two fourty three
in the morning
and i am lying
in sweaty sheets
shivering in the moonlight.

there is a copse of trees

August 24, 2015

there is a copse of trees on the rise
just past the fork in the trail
where the silence falls
in the thick undergrowth
moss and pine needles
soften the blow
as the stillness
crashes to the ground.

i could try and describe
what it is like to breathe in
the cool air
i could try

the air is adundant
bountiful and heavy
it feels green going down
filling up my lungs
an exuberant living thing
reaching into my chest
i can’t stop taking it in

pollen and pine gum
acerbic and astringent
draw it in
makes my head swim
hawthorns junipers and maples
poplars and pines
and huge bay willows

all this happens
all this lives
i draw it in
it fills me

the shining gates

August 15, 2015

the clouds towered in the evening sky
through jagged breaks the sunlight made pillars
golden shafts
masts and minarets
amber colonnades
shining monuments
temporary as the wind
shifting the clouds.

close up though
you can’t see the masts
of sun, light, and shining gold
the straight and gleaming pillars
are gone,
and what you see
is the aubade footprint
the shape of the cloud
as it races in the sky
is mirrored
in shadow and light
on the ground.

i say all this
to say this,

you and i are like
sunlight stabbing through
the stately clouds
two sides
of the same coin
mirror reflections
black and white.

“you are such a load!” she said
with a cruel mocking tone
meant to please me.

“okay, but you have to admit,
that sunset there,
that is amazing.” i plead.

we sit and watch
while the sun falls
into the earth,
into the everlasting gates.

HAUNT / food for grubs

August 5, 2015

i am
foodstock for the wasp grub.
i have been shoved
down into the burrow
waiting for the eggs
to hatch.

the early sun
over the trees
i’ve spent
most of the night
to discover
if the money
you gave me was
it seemed so
and i
really wasn’t
in a condition
to piece it

i am
foodstock for the wasp grub.

even the trees
that seemed so soft
are ragged
with rapsy edges
ready to cut
and roughly chop
the hestiant fingers
as i reach out.

i am
down in the burrow
waiting for the eggs
to hatch.

i dropped your keys
into a dirty glass
that had cigarette butts
and old liquor
it seemed as good
a place
as any other,
with people
on the floor
filling the small room
with musty odours
and stale breath.

i am
foodstock for the wasp grub.

take me home
before i forget
the colours and waves
the stars and heavy air
and the way
we laughed at the dark
before the sun came up
and made the dinginess
at the edges first
then slowly
the grime
bleeds into the day
and the eggs
and i scream.

the dark street lies waiting
trees like schoolboys
line the way
waiting for the excitement
their roots buckle the concrete
tripping the unwary and unwatchful
the cicadas buzz and drone.

the warm and heavy air
pushes past the open door
laden with gifts
a southern frankincense
aromatic with cut grass
pollen, cigarette smoke
and car exhaust

you sit in the chair
under a beating fan
the television is on
but you’ve turned the volume down
robert tilton screaming
hands outstretched
i feel the compulsion
to reach out
and place my hand on his,
but it’s late.

i can see the street
the door is open
and i can see the street
with the waiting trees
gripping the soil
hanging on in spite
of the growing din
the anxious noise
of cars
and boys
tearing into the dark
with glowing hamstrung eyes.

the warm and heavy air
sweeps down the lane
to the back alleys
where the roman catholic church
purchases most of its stock
and the cicadas eat
the sap of oak and cypress
in the growing light.

transient aphasia

July 31, 2015

that is all i hear
i know you are speaking english
i know this
in my head
i know you are speaking
loud enough
and words
that i should
i don’t

i’m stuck
you are looking for some response
waiting for me
to say something
but i don’t
know how
to speak english
any more,
i can’t say words
it is impossible
to say

so we walk
down the hall
with others
walking around us
but since
i don’t understand
any more
i can’t talk
with you.

so i grunt
make some noise
at the right time
and that
will pass for something
even though
i can’t speak
don’t understand
what you are saying
i just know
you are saying

this is terrifying
a mental black wall
moving towards me
at speed
and i cannot
see it.

this is
transient aphasia.

they were a gay couple
fat but gay
they collected
star trek plates
had a special rack for em
a line of tacky
colorful plates
up by the ceiling.

the apartment was small
tiny isn’t the word
it was in this ridiculous
apartment complex
just off of wycliffe and lemon
you had to buzz in
the security seemed pointless
there was little of value
but maybe
that was just my opinion
maybe the star trek plates
were costly.

they kept cats
three of em
the smell of the litter
was a bit much
the air purifier
was always on max
humming away in the corner
it didn’t work.

i would go about the apartment
killing bugs
looking in their closets
under the bathroom cabinets
behind their bed
and since it was
saturday morning
they had just woke up
the bed sagged where they lay
i wasn’t sure
what to feel about that.

their lives had an incidental grace
a finesse at the edge of life
dignity in the form
of a normal life
amid the anger and hate
and blood and war
that haunts
the lives of billions

the screaming
at the foreign gates
by stark contrast
made the sound of the buzzer
seem supple
and narcotic

“you don’t get to figure things out.” she said

i suppose it wasn’t unexpected
i’d not thought things out very well
i’d sooner bolt when things get tough
than sit and try and find
some sort of workable
solution to a terrible
set of circumstances.

after all
is this what life is for?
suffering at the hands of others?
waiting for the next shoe to fall?
shivering in fear of the discovery
of the lie (or lies, a substantial
amount of lies, one after the other
built up, (built over years
decades) to keep you safe,
to keep the waters calm,
to steer away from
the storms brewing
just over the horizon)

i’m not immune to exposure
i just don’t like it.

“i know, its just that I thought,” i began,

“there, that is the problem, you think and I am the one
the one that has to take it.” the grimace she made was ugly.

i stare at the wall
the off white color is stained
small pieces are flaking
and there is a spider web in the corner
it helps me
if i can keep my eyes still
stay still
watch the paint,
the flakes
the web
back and forth
from one to the other
(or rather,
i get stuck,
i run over the same set of words
thoughts and ideas
harder and harder
to get out)

a stone
dropped into the pond
causes ripples
which bounce back
when they reach the shore.