Boiling

Your head has been boiling
for some time now-
is it time to taste the plague
you’ve cooked up?

No-
the bones that you trust
sing a song of tomorrow,
tomorrow,
unending,
to die with the light-

your everlasting shipwreck
all over again

until time intervenes for you,
forgives the stones
you could not move.

 

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Sonnet (2014)

‘Tis told to me that I must heed the rule
of older poets blessed with larger pens-
to cherish all the forms I learned in school
and practice sight through imitation’s lens.
But I in my foolhardiness do balk
at being led to water I’ve not found;
at being steered to join an ardent flock
whose homage to their elders does resound
like thousand year-old hymns, always the same,
rife replicas of patterns proven true.
As worn-out wood cannot support a flame,
so sonnets and their like breed nothing new.
Except to boast a new flow’r on my bonnet
I see no reason to write a sonnet.

Love In My Sneakers

I didn’t know then that I was California-bound
except the fibers on the back of my neck
knew something was wrong
with where I was

and love didn’t make me stay.

I was levitating in the rabbit hole,
pleading for someone to choose for me
because everything I wanted
wasn’t enough;

it was love in my hands
but it was also love
in my sneakers.

And it let me go
just like I watched you go,
tired of holding my feet
to the floor.

I had love still dripping from my shoelaces,
dragged wet traces across the whole country.
I stained every sidewalk I found
with the love that I left.

But I was California-bound,
I was always heading here,
and the love that I couldn’t keep
steered me on.

The First Try

On the first try I had
too many kids
and couldn’t get them all
to sleep.

The second I looked down
at my pelican legs
and thought
“Now that I think,
who are you anyway?
Who are you
to have this many kids?”

Last week it was
fussing at a wedding,
you can’t play that song in here,
and since then I’ve listened to it
twelve more times
and that’s just one more
troubled kid
I dredged up.

If they ever sleep,
they live to wake,
oh lord,
no rest for me.

Yesterday it was #5,
today it’s back to #3
and the time in between
I didn’t learn.

If only I’d been super then,
sober then,
saner then,
safer then,
smarter back then.

I suppose I’d have
different children now,
baby elephant legs besides.

On the third try
I remembered that
and here we are,
look what I can do

’til the next,
oh lord,
child wakes.

Day 45 – Welcome to the Junkyard

It only would’ve lasted
until I knew for sure-
fascination ended by
an answer, at last-
a thirst for the truth
to settle things
in their right place:

“What happened?”

The gears would turn,
try to paint it in different lights-
the liar, the troubled, the confused-
which mask would it come down to?
But I didn’t expect

the least interesting mask of all.
The least helpful, least true
this mask of spared feelings-
to dishonor with lies
for fear of the hurt.

“Was any of it real?
Was it always in my head?”

A half-truth implied for protection.
A flimsy excuse to keep using.

I placed no blame on the blameless heart,
but the mouth who said nothing
and kept eating, who kept
accepting gifts, so easily
erased…

You were just an open box
I couldn’t pack away
because I didn’t know what
to put in it.

No friend should ever lie
so effortlessly;
no one who needs
should use so much.
This, now
I know.

I put a flask
and a pack of cigarettes
and a mask-

Be well
and

welcome to the junkyard.

 

 

Day 44 – Exhale

Sure some things are going wrong
but if I forget about all that
a lot of things are good

I try to exhale all that poison
but the well comes up dry
and if there’s still a couple drops
there’s no harm
and who needs to know?