Fancy

Dangling Earring
Photo by Malcolm Garrett

why
yes
you are splendid-
ly sin-drenched
in my knee-jerk
to glimpses of you
stolen in moments
distraction from what matters
have been trivialized
in the wake of your
alarmingly arresting
attention-thieving
suspension of my dreams
unraveled
traipsed over and
through
done
undone
congratulations
you have one
more captive
mind
for a brief time
now what

will I find
in this new dream of mine
to keep
me from waking
behind the walking by
of the next fancy
passer-
by
?

Scar

Belly Scar
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

Living in the midst of this bull
and his shit,
I find myself blind to the crime
of all the fine china
smashed into shards—
fragments of artistry
making the point all the more sharply
that beauty is a risk.
And to move through this beautiful world
is liable to split
your skin
again and again,
at each step,
until you bleed out all that’s left
of all you were…

but to become yourself,
empty and clear-eyed,
envisioning new ways to ride
the waves of blood rushing out of all of us. Tide
is rising; let’s swim to the sky!
Gonna live high, and not just die trying!
Gonna imbibe
the spirit of life, so each breath we
guzzle or sip
will bring us closer to the rest we
earn the peace we
learn we
are
observing
that every wound we receive
becomes, ultimately,
a scar.

Soft

Old Hands
Photo by João Jesus

Is it my fault
my best days are gone?
That I strive more fruitlessly
with every effort?
I wasn’t enough.
I guess I could have been,
if I wasn’t so busy
pretending I was good
at pretending.

I know you knew —
since I’m making admissions —
knew I had more
to give.
Did you know I knew
too?
I held on to things you wanted.
You called them my gifts.
I know I’m supposed to be sorry,
but I can’t feel anything about that
yet.
Anymore?
There were “gifts” no one would receive,
which came first —
the questions:
“What are we celebrating?”
“Again?”
“Do I have to?”

Life is hard,
I have learned.
And I am soft.
Or just exhausted.
I have found my limit.
And even if I defined it for myself,
I learned where to draw the lines
from you.
Did I misunderstand something?
Probably, I suppose.
Inevitable, with so many questions
unanswered… unasked.
It kills me,

but softly.
It kills us, really
slowly,
like long drags on short breaks
not wanting to rush,
tip us off,
like frogs in the pot.
Nothing to get excited about
here.
But the heat is on,
and rising,
like we’ll learn to deal with it,
like it’s just a phase
and can’t keep going forever…

Elephant

“My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.”

— Audre Lorde, “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”

It’s tight
in my gut like I swallowed
something whole and
have been holding it intestinally,
unable to will myself
to let go. This grip has
grown strong over long years
of winding my way
of being around
and around it — a string
of silences balled up,
filling my belly with empty

promise.
There is no ignorance
sufficient to escape
the elephant
I fear, who walks within me.
Obvious and unstated,
pressing me out into oblivion,
it goes its own lumbering way,
without saying
so much as,
“So what?” Immune to challenge,
my deep-seated diplomat
swims
the river of my life,
daily
drinks its weight,
as I wait
for my fear of elephants
to dissipate.

I am mourning
the words I searched my soul for
in vigilant silence,
which were found
too heavy
for a world so
unbearably light.
They would fail
me and fall
flat, as
their gravity requires.
Who would risk being
crushed to catch their meaning?
Will my writings paper
the walls behind the dancing lights,
the blue-haze
graffiti we graze upon,
blindly chewing cud
over water coolers and
what dinner tables have
survived into
this new age of reality
televised
to advise our communal ruminations
and measure us
into herds until
there is only one?
Don’t you
get it? There is
an elephant
wading in and damming
the river of life
that would flow out
of me,
but doesn’t
dare.

This Is for You

I’m scared. I have been for a really long time. Reeeeaaally long. I’m scared because my heart is full of desires it seems my head just can’t fulfill.

I’m a grown man, but I fear I’m ridiculously immature because I haven’t yet figured out how to do the things I expect grown men to do, like provide for my family’s financial needs, create the relationships I want, and write simple sentences. Continue reading “This Is for You”