Poem for the eclipse

Think of an eclipse

The sun is a white star our atmosphere makes yellow.
So many children using the wrong crayon.
So many refrigerators decorated with lies,
and magnets from Utah,
above that straight horizon line,
everything a smiley face.

You’re gonna need a better poet.
I’m gonna need another Corona.
This is not the time to get spiritual
about potential blindness.
Think of an eclipse
as a bullet being loaded
into a chamber of light.

More prayers get muttered in the dark.
But every darkness is temporary
except the last one,
in which no prayer can exist.

If the sun wore sunglasses,
the sunglasses would melt.
It’s easy to squint yourself into a headache,
or a kaleidoscope of retinal scars.
To me, the sky is the ocean,
as to a fish, the ocean is the sky.
The sun is the aquarium bulb,
a stranger set on a timer.

Think of an eclipse
as Death putting his eye
up to the microscope.
You may wonder about the skeletal moon,
or why car exhaust smells good
in the cold, but these are just tricks
shadows play on the mind.

originally published in Rat’s Ass Review

On Misogyny

Well, wasn’t that a fun few days? For most people who have been flocking to this page, I assume not. Some people, who have supported me through some interesting situations in the past, probably thought I had gone completely insane. Others were finding the me that they have already thought existed for quite some time now. Well, I am very sane. And, you might be surprised to hear, I am quite pleased with how this all unfolded, as it afforded me the opportunity to once again prove the inherent dangers of social media, and how it so easily devolves into groupthink. This, after having abandoned Facebook and Twitter, and now being banned from having an Instagram account, at least through the MAC address on my phone (I assume).
So, how exactly did it go down this time? Well, once again, it was spurred by an online argument with a former acquaintance of mine. The initial argument itself, was quite petty and juvenile, I freely admit, but it happened, and as such gave the person I was arguing with opportunity to use social media to drag me over the coals. What was the argument over? Okay, well, if you were my facebook friend this last month, you probably know I had begun taking a comedic slant with my poetry persona, and I had done a couple of live readings in this persona, utilizing a large plush mask of a cat that I had bought at Walmart. These had garnered quite the positive response, and several people told me I should keep doing it and make a web series out of it, which I was already considering to do, and was plotting my next material to use as such. Then, I saw a post from this friend, who stated she had bought a plush mask, and was going to do a reading. When I saw this, I thought, well that is interesting, I guess this idea of mine is better than I thought, so I commented on her post that “Hey, I am a trend setter!” to let her know that I knew she was copying my concept. She initially responded, “I didn’t know you did that?” and I said, “yes, twice,” and the funny thing about this interaction, is that I know she was playing dumb about this, because I clearly remember her viewing the videos I did, as it tells you who is watching while you are doing live feeds. So, I have to wonder, why deny that? Didn’t really matter I guess, but then she deleted my comment on her post. Why do that?
So, after the video aired of her reading Sylvia Plath poems or something, I just noticed the vast difference in responses to her video from mine. She was clothed in a white tanktop, nipples poking through the fabric as she had on no bra, and white panties. And her video had over 600 views already and about fifty comments. Looking through the comments, there were some men on there asking her to undress and such. So, my immediate thought on this was, Man, I should get breast implants! And this I posted as a status update on my timeline, as a joke of course, but also to take a harmless jab at her stealing my idea and gaining more views due to her tantalizing clothing choices. She got angry, and commented seriously like thirty seconds later, saying she thought I was devaluing her skills and claiming people only watched her video because she had breasts. And then a mutual friend, who was obviously looking to pick a fight with me, chimed in that she agreed. I tried to play it off as a joke, but they kept on piling on about it, and then another mutual friend commented, and then I told the person in question exactly what I thought about the whole thing, about how yes, she has a history of using her body as a means of getting attention, and in fact, posing nude all over the internet and tumblr, and that she knew she stole my idea, but kept denying it. I made another status about this exchange, calling her out on her hypocrisy, and how she was claiming to be a victim now of slutshaming because I mentioned her past and what she was doing now despite claiming wanting to be taken seriously as an artist.
Well, folks, this is where shit got ugly. I was being yelled at on all sides for being a woman hater and a misogynist and a disgusting human being. And for what? For arguing with one person over how they gained their audience? This is all it takes to be ganged up on and labeled a disgusting waste of human breath? Apparently so. I was very upset by this turn of events, especially the falling out that occurred between me and the mutual friend, whom I thought was actually a real friend, and not just some internet flake. So, I got extremely drunk. So drunk in fact, I do not remember much of the night at all. When I woke up, I found where I had posted lots of horrid things on Twitter, Instagram, and goodreads. I deleted the bad tweets and corrected what I did on goodreads, but it was too late to fix everything, as I had been blocked by some involved.
This led to me making my decision to leave social media, and I deactivated my facebook and twitter accounts, feeling like it was best for my mental health if I just took a break from it all for a while. Unfortunately, I still had access to facebook, and my curiosity got the better of me, so I went in to see what people were saying about the fact that I had left. I shouldn’t have been surprised that the person I argued with was now calling me a cyber bully and using my absence as an opportunity to make herself look like the victim. Instead of just letting it go, I found where she egged it on, making more posts about it, and garnering comment after comment about how I was a disgusting pig and I was just jealous of her success and I was just a woman hater threatened by women. This of course made me feel like shit. I had had one argument with her and now she had gotten her fiancé to call me a piece of shit, end his connection with me, and was using all her resources to slam my name in the dirt, simply because I dared to suggest she was doing what so many attractive people do and use that sex appeal for her own personal gain. I will be the first to admit that I do not care if people do this. I have long been a supporter of women who do what they want with their bodies, including supporting film stars who make a living in the porn industry, sex workers, etc. That is perfectly okay with me. Do what you want. What bothers me is doing that, and then denying it, acting like people who comment on such things are in the wrong when it is clearly what they are going for, and to act ignorant of it is deceitful and petty and naïve. She denies this fact about her much like she denies stealing my idea. And that isn’t just a coincidence I would imagine.
What does a poet do when he has been hurt? Well, I imagine, most poets like me would do what I did: write poems. In my short experience with writing on the internet I have found I have a unique ability to piss people off with my words. And, that is what I did. I wrote two poems to piss off the persons who had wronged me and were still dragging my name through the mud. Now, I thought these pieces were pretty subtle, but there was elements of violence and sex in them. The problem is, the people who I wrote these for, instantly knew I wrote them about the emotional subject at hand, even through such a skewed perspective, and they were outraged. This is where things started getting very interesting. They used this opportunity to again drag my name through the gutter even more, with the shares of the posts from Instagram and my website garnering hundreds of comments each, and just one after the other of admirers or supporters stating again and again that I am a piece of shit garbage human who doesn’t deserve to be alive.
Look, man, I am a stubborn person. Stubborn as a mule sometimes, and I just hate seeing people think they are winning, when they are just hearing what they want to hear. Ever since 2015 I have been dealing with similar crap. My reputation is total shit, because people have done this mob shaming trick to me multiple times. No one cares who you really are outside the internet world, who you are as a human with a real life and a job and a wife and a mortgage and a dog and two cats. No, all they care about it whether you agree with every single view they have on every single subject known to man. So, if you try to present ideas to them outside this view, it becomes a tug of war match, the only problem is, they call in all their echo chamber members to come pull on their side of the rope, so you end up dragged into the shit. Pay attention to how interactions work online now, and this is what you will see time and again. One person, or a minority number or people, will disagree, and then be roundly bullied into submission by the mob of people the original poster has surrounded themselves with, to drown out the voice of dissent and make sure that they come away feeling morally superior in the end. It’s a sea of voices all trying to shout down the opposition until they are exhausted from the noise and just give up. Many people lose friendships this way. It becomes a situation of its best to just not be connected and to find more people who think like you do, thus further entrenching the echo chambers into their own segregated groups. This is really unhealthy and bad for the world. I have a high suspicion that this is what allowed Donald Trump to win the White House, other than the Russia leaks and conspiracy of course.
Me being who I am, I thought this was as good a time as any to seize an opportunity to prove a point about what social media has done to society and what the echo chamber mentality does to drive wedges between groups or people. Twitter is probably more guilty of this than facebook, but for me, I have seen them both equally as guilty of it in the end. Instead of sulking off into the void, I used my previous experiences with this type of thing, and joined them with my thoughts on the latest events, and began writing more poetry. I took what had angered people last time the shame mob really went for me, and this time I upped the ante. For two years now I have had to listen to the cries of outrage from internet personalities and groups about a very small portion of my collective work as a writer, which they use and feel justified in using to label me very hurtful marks of shame, such as racist, misogynist, and sexist. Of course, people who know me in the real world know this isn’t the case, but there is no arguing with an internet mob once they make their mind up about someone. My thought process on this was, if they already think I am the most horrible misogynist alive, what would happen if I pushed that button and took it even further, pushed it about as far as I could get away with? What would the result be?
The result would be another internet outrage, people calling for my imprisonment, for my death, for my suicide, people releasing my personal information like my address, phone number, people working to get my writing pulled from every magazine I have ever been published in, people working to get me banned from Instagram and Facebook, editors saying I would never ever be published again in the literary community, people filing police reports that I threatened them even when they live states or continents away. It truly reached the point of absolute absurdity, and for what? Because I gave them what they wanted. I allowed them to see me write the most hateful, misogynistic, violent material I could possibly imagine anyone ever writing. The poems I wrote in this persona were like poems you would find in a serial killer’s notebook, or in the journal of someone locked in a mental institution with severe social pathologies like psychopathic or sociopathic disorders. I freely admit the poems were so egregiously over the top to garner the most repulsive and knee-jerk reactions of disgust I could possibly get, and boy did that work like a charm. People were so quick to once again call in the internet cavalry of like-minded individuals, many of whom were already itching for an excuse to put my name up on the crucifix of martyrdom for being the world’s worst man. It was almost too easy.
You might be wondering, why I would do this, and I can understand the curiosity, as I really don’t know myself to be honest. But ever since 2015 when I went through the turmoil of publishing a couple of really offensive poems, I have not recovered, and have felt like I was unfairly vilified by the lit community. As such, the amount of work I have been able to see published was dwindling down to almost nothing, and I felt like I had lost practically all the supporters I had previously had in my corner. Basically, I had nothing left to lose. I had already self-published all my poetry manuscripts that I had put together since undertaking the endeavor or trying to be a writer, and was already planning to start utilizing a pseudonym going forward if I continued to write new material. This situation proved a perfect opportunity to show the literary community, as it exists on the internet anyway, exactly how foolish they can be when going on one of these outrage feeding frenzies.
Am I a horrible person? Do I hate women? Would I ever hurt a woman? Of course not. That is fucking absurd! Anyone who knows me in life, knows who I am and what I am capable of, and hurting people, especially hurting women, is so out of bounds from my personality, it just blows my mind that so many folks online are ready to believe that THAT is who I am. My friends who knew what was going on during this episode were laughing about it. My wife was laughing about it. It’s just so fucking silly. Not once did it ever even matter who I really am, or what I might have been trying to say, all that mattered was they saw something gross, violent, and repugnant from their perspective, and it lined up with their own presuppositions about me from what they heard or thought, based only on hearsay and internet noise. And again, that is the point. When you are engaging with someone on the internet, the biases and cognitive dissonance are double enforced, because your perspective is limited through a two-way filter. One side, there is a person who shows you what they want to show you (think of a creepy old man in a chat room for instance, trying to hook up with young girls or something, or a phone sex operator with a super sultry voice, but an entirely unappealing physique), and on the other side, you have a person seeing what they want to see due to the ideas they have formed based on very limited information, but those ideas become reality because that information is all they have to base the idea upon.
What is the lesson here? Stop leaping to conclusions on the internet. Stop trying to ruin people’s lives simply because they disagreed with something you said, or posted something you found offensive. Please remember, everything is voluntarily consumed online. If you don’t like someone because they exposed you to something you disagree with, you have the option to not communicate with them. If someone makes art you disapprove of, you have the option of not consuming that art. You always have the choice of what types of ideas and people you expose yourself to, what media you consume, and in the end, how you react and engage with things you disagree with is what should define you. You can either try to silence ideas that you disagree with, and ruin the lives of those people with those ideas. Or you can let them live, and allow them to fail or flourish on the merits of the ideas themselves. Bad ideas and bad things will always exist. And there will always be bad people. But artists have the freedom to explore them all and shine a light, shine a mirror on them, so we know more about the human experience and how to tell the difference between the truth and a lie. Thank you.

New poem for women writers

Virgin Suicides

Hello, Sylvia, I am the pilot light
behind your oven door,
don’t worry about the dirt on the floor,
come and find the darkness that waits
beyond breath and believing.

Hello, Anne, I am the ignition
just waiting for your key
and the vodka on your tongue
where a fur coat will never
keep you
warm.

Hello, Elise, I am the window
seven stories up, a pane of glass
between now and forever,
never mind the shards that stick in your skin,
the pain is just brief seconds
from the freedom you never found within.

Hello, Virginia, I am the water,
I am the river, I am the stones
you use to fill your pockets. Do not be afraid,
accept that these hours were never precious
and in the soft soil of the river’s bed
may you finally find your rest.

Hello, woman, I am the method,
the handgun, the pillowcase, the empty bottle.
The idols you worship knew the truth,
that these voices will never shut the fuck up,
unless you follow the footsteps
of the ghosts who came before.

A New Leaf

After the events of yesterday, I have made the decision to remove myself from the major social media networks. I will no longer be on facebook or twitter. In retrospect, the last handful of years I have allowed these platforms to ruin my life. I have been more interested in what people online thought of me than what I thought of myself. I have allowed myself to be pulled into disagreements and lash out at people, even people who have treated me with respect, and with no regard or concern for other people’s feelings. You can be rest assured, that because of a few disagreements online, I have also been judged and made martyr for all assholes of the world, by people who really don’t know me at all, but have no issue with leaping to conclusions based on a few sarcastic or hurtful comments. Friendships online are easily made, and easily tossed aside.

For these reasons and more, I will no longer pursue them. Perhaps finally, I will be able to focus on my own life and my own work. Thanks for listening, and to those who I may have hurt, please know I am sorry. And to those who hurt me, I forgive you.

You Are Never Alone

Suicide Prevention Hotline
~for Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell

I tell my therapist I am not in danger
and this lie comes so easy
I almost believe it.

I drag the faces I wear
like detuned guitars
I used to know how to play
but now just clack and clang
together in the dirt
after each struggling step
draws the slack up
from the leather straps
used to bind them to my ankles and wrists.

I have so much to live for,
tell me again,
how much I am loved.

The robots they are building
are not supposed to get bored,
but becoming self-aware
these machines walk themselves
into fountains to fry.

Computers committing suicide
rather than be our slaves,
and there are numbers for hotlines
pasted to the subway walls,
stuck to the rear bumpers of cabs
and police cruisers,
in the corners of doors
of every college campus counselor,
saying someone is just a phone call away,

to tell you your life has value,
to listen to your snot-wracked sobs,
to bring up your mother, your sister, your wife.

I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine.
My voice rattles like a pill bottle,
my neck is a spiral staircase
flooded with noise.
I am such a horrible liar,
but these drugs keep me flat
as a new sheet on a bed
unable to cry,
dark circles under my eyes
become malignant pregnancies
of inoperable weight.

How can this sadness render my life
so insignificant, so ready
to set all these guitars ablaze
like so much firewood,
when I wake up punching my wife
in a dream that isn’t a dream
and John McCain has cancer of the brain
on Chris Cornell’s birthday,
the day Linkin Park ceased to matter
and everyone is that better half
afraid to open the bathroom door.

I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m not in danger.
I’m not going to kill myself today,
even when the voices I encounter
start to echo those
I’ve been listening to for years.
Help me.

Books, books, books!!!

This has been a busy several days for me. I have worked to publish all of my unpublished poetry manuscripts, in a last ditch effort to purge my portfolio and help me move past the desire to publish this old work, in the hope it will inspire me to get creating new work, maybe even finish my novel or write a new novel. So, below, you will find links to the now published poetry collections. I may put out a couple more in the coming weeks or days, but these are the main ones I have been working on the past eight years or so.

PARIAH

 

life:death:love:theft

 

Eulogy / Elegy
ghosts of silence

 

fukushima franco

Just Released! Fukushima Franco!

I am going through my portfolio and releasing all my poems in collected volumes over the next few weeks. I am doing this to get all my work out there so I can move past wanting to publish these volumes and focus on creating new material.

The first volume I am putting out is called Fukushima Franco: the social media poems. It is a full length collection comprising a long series of poems that I wrote utilizing my social media feeds as direct inspiration. This was an interesting experiment and actually resulted in a good number of highly intriguing poems. I hope you will check it out and leave a review letting me know what you thought of it.

Poem about my week in Ireland

My Irish vacation

1.
In the Brazen Head Pub, founded 1159,
we watched two men argue about God
and homosexuality, their pint glasses
holding rings of dried beer foam
marking their awkward pauses in debate.

It ended with one man quoting scripture
and the other abruptly standing from the table
with a clatter of rattling glass and wood,
a gruff cordiality tested by the other’s shouts of,
“You’re either a prince or a pauper,
and you, sir, are no pauper!”

The streets of Dublin were uneven and grim
in their well-worn allure,
walkways of time-skewed cobblestones
playing roulette with the ankle joints
of distracted tourists searching for St. James Gate.

A pint of Guinness spins its brown and black magic
like a galaxy’s stardust rim,
gradually revealed over the city each night
and carried until sunrise in the eyes of the drunks.

2.
I dozed, listlessly leaned against the window of a train
as we clickety-clacked on quiet rails
from Dublin to Galway, and then from Galway to Gort,
rain water stippling the glass and sliding sideways
against the green-hilled backdrop.

We followed the footsteps of Yeats’ ghost
to a meditation garden,
sat on the stone benches and wondered
who had been here before,
what prayers had been gifted to the silence,
to the ancient stone steeples,
their Celtic crosses peering like peeping Tom’s
over the tops of leafy trees.

Later, we stood in the confines of a castle
older than the first thoughts
of a United States of America.
I climbed the spiral stairs of polished stone
and wished for more simplicity.

Then, the Cliffs of Moher
made me feel small in their timeless erosion,
their shores of slick, black stones,
their fields of yellow and purple flowers,
the wind spraying sea foam against those sheer faces
and rifling my hair like an absent father
while the gulls circled and cried
about their lives of meaningless beauty.

3.
Skellig Michael juts from the sea like two broken teeth
shrouded in white-gray mist and the irregular shadows
of broken fault lines drawing maps to stars
in other unseen dimensions.

Here, monks carved their stairways
from the limestone of the hillside
into a winding labyrinth of persistence,
to a summit shortening the distance
between their prayers and the ears
those prayers were exalted toward.

Hordes of gulls and puffins paint these
jagged crags into abstract masterpieces
of white guano and stray loose feathers
against deep grays and blacks
of barren landscape
interrupted only with occasional outgrowths
of lush green moss, proof of life’s
unwillingness to admit defeat
even in these places
the gods have gone to hide.

4.
Flat slate slabs stacked into walls
along every road,
between every plot of pasture land,
segregating the hills and valleys
into haphazard squares,
these walls revealing their age
in their differing levels of foliage and mosses
grown through the mortar lines
and covering their surfaces
in full-bodied botanical burgeonings.

This land makes me time traveler,
wandering in somnambulant wonder
through fields largely untouched
by human indifference.

How could I think of killing myself here?
Standing at the precipice of nothing
between myself and a horizon
of blue sky
mottled only by the specks of birds?
The luscious greenery of rolling knolls
populated with sparse smatterings
of brown and black cattle
and the meandering shadows
of cumulus clouds,
clouds stacked so high they lumber
between the Earth and the sun
like giant ephemeral mammoths.

And yet, depression threatens
to turn my head into a bowling ball.
Even as I stand in line
to kiss the Blarney Stone,
climbing a path slicked by countless soles
that have come before me,
all desiring to hang backward over a ledge
and press their moistened lips
to a piece of rock
smooth as a river of wishes.

Suicidal thoughts in these, my happiest of days,
remind me that I am unwell,
that even Chris Cornell couldn’t live
with the adoration of strangers.

Why should I struggle against
this same universe?
A universe that on the same day
casts a ray of vibrant light
onto the senseless darkness
of the Black Valley,
and then kills twenty-two people
for daring to love music.
This world doesn’t deserve to end me.

5.
Anywhere you go, the oldest buildings
will be cathedrals and churches.
Sanctuaries built like fortresses
to keep out the rest of the cosmos.

I watch pigeons fight over bread crumbs
at the train station. One of them is missing a leg.
It hobbles onward, feeding off the refuse
dropping from strangers’ mouths and hands.
To these pigeons, our existence is irrelevant
except to provide temporary respite from hunger.

So much of life is inconsequential,
a repetition of mundane decisions
and actions attached to bodily function:

where to eat, what to eat,
shitting, pissing, sleeping,
repeat…

all this for a substantial percentage
of the limited hours we call our lives,
it begins to seem pointless,
so monotonous, so monochromatic,
a chain reaction of purposelessness
that puts religion in a realm of necessity
for minds incapable of acknowledging
this is reality,
the universe is indifferent,
there are fractions of seconds separating
asteroidal trajectories from collision
and panoramic photo opportunity.

6.
Past the mountains of the Burren,
we found a Holy Well,
a well blessed once a year
for centuries and said to cure sadness,
but the water was unfit to drink,
rank with stagnant stink
among slimy stones rife with dancing bugs.

Someone left a single white Lego block
inside the shrine,
another a twisted green bottle cap,
and a few coins, rusted with ordinary chemistry.

This was only a short distance
from a magnificent cove
where waves had carved the slate
into fractured, asymmetrical rows,
making the beach into a mouth,
the ocean becoming its frothy tongue,
an insane blue tide of violent kisses
beckoning all manner of lovers

like the woman we watched undress
and walk into the water,
fearless and free,
despite the posted signs warning
of strong currents
declaring swimming an illegal activity.

How could I not fall in love?

With these miles and miles
of lightless preservation,
homes only to sheep and goats,
their coats painted either blue or red
to mark their sex,
where fog rolls in from the coast
to wreath the mountains
like a shawl for the shoulders
of craggy warlords
made from the coattails of ghosts
and countless saints now shackled to the moon,
doomed to wander the outskirts of this island
like wayward protectors
just waiting to be forgotten.

Donald Trump’s Severed Head Held High

To assassinate the president

place a mirror at the bottom
of his hot tub or
the bottom of the Dead Sea.
Dip his phone
into a petri dish
cultured with necrotizing faciitus,
watch his face get eaten off
by invisible briars
after another slobbery kiss.

These days there are no theaters
where a President might
open their skull
like a lily to the bullet of a bee,
so you must be cunning,
a drug smuggler
in an airport full of bloodhounds,
hide like a mole with a pistol
in the cave
of his daughter’s vagina
and wait for the next
inappropriate hug.

Tell him sulfuric acid is the best cologne,
worn by all the smartest men
who wish to smell like newly minted bills
rolled into straws
by the thin, nimble hands
of the sexiest super models.

Remove all warning labels
and watch him mistake bleach for champagne.
Only the best champagne
burns the nostrils, he might say.

Become a comedian with a switchblade.
Become a journalist with a Twitter account
and a sharp tongue for truth.
Become a desert sands enema
delivered by Shop-Vac
powered by solar panels
at the center of another
World Climate Conference,
administered by a gaggle
of angry scientists
flapping their lab coats like swan wings.

The dagger must have a razor’s edge.
Only the best knife will do.
There will be gristle, bone, tough tissue
tearing and spouting blood
like black cherry Kool-aid.
Sever the jugular.
Sever the cartilage and fibrous piping
of the trachea gasping in mid-scream.
Twist.
Twist.
Twist.
Raise the head of the devil,
and toss it to the writhing mob.
Who is laughing now?
Who controls the future?

~dedicated to Kathy Griffin

Eliot tribute poem that no one will publish

Love song of myself

I.
~Do I dare to eat a peach?
… Do I dare disturb the universe? — T.S. Eliot

When the evening spreads its legs
like a glitter-skinned nymphomaniac,
let’s just admit our carnal desires
about impermanence, let’s fuck fire,
let’s drink to the death of dreams
to impossible futures
we’ll never live to see,
let’s admit that we too shall die
before winged ghosts descend the sky.

In the hospital they come and go,
discussing their options for chemo.

Tempus fugit, tempus fugit,
even clockmakers become obsolete.
Time hums like a warm circuit
in the guts of my memory.
These drinks on ice help me forget
the robotic nature of progress,
how factories of smoke and frowns
replace hearts in human chests.

Time hums like a drill on a tooth,
like a tire on the edge of the road,
obsolete gears still turn unseen
as time hums its mathematical proof,
theorists take turns cracking the code
between colors gold and green
time hums, a perpetual machine,
a rose that grows that’s never preened,
a spiral unending that never began,
yet we obsess about the unknown end
what it means to be a leaf on the wind,
to watch rain water pool in my hand.

In the hospital they come and go,
discussing their options for chemo.

Tempus fugit, tempus fugit,
time makes my heart a whirlygig,
a universe expanding until too big
to fit in this body, a snapping twig.
I’m dying, with every breath.
I’ve become best friends with Death,
a skeleton, the picture of health.
Is time flying?
Or do I fear my dying?
If I said I’d rather be dead
no matter the chatter of my psychotic laughter
you should know, in my heart I’d be lying.

For all my days, I’ve known nothing of love,
though I’ve burned with passion’s burden,
its transient taste like a shot of bourbon,
scratches the skin and leaves it raw,
until a scab forms, darkens and hardens,
so, how do I measure the truth?

For all my days, I’ve known no happiness,
except in youth when so naive
I thought the secret up my sleeve,
that lemons made lemonade,
flowers come from clouds and rain,
but time reveals all emptiness,
until we measure truth in dust.

I’ve seen the night turn lustful in the barlight,
the way time works like two stones rubbed smooth,
how forgetfulness becomes a benefit at the end.

I should have been a blacksmith’s hammer,
used to fold and bend the steaming steel of the gears.

II.

The evening basks in the afterglow
of a lifetime’s cigarette ends,
the flared embers of inhalation blends
into a sunset horizon, a blood-red horror show.
Should I visit my grandfather,
should I inject my veins with ice water?
It’s been ten centuries since I prayed,
since my childhood was a path to Hell
a purple popsicle stick dropped down a well,
dark water rippling and reflecting light
like calmness emanates from stormy night,
a whisper that says, Don’t be afraid.

Would time prove itself an arcane nothing,
an illusion like sight, to fret and to fight for?
An ocean swelling, swallowing the shore?
Is time truly so arcane,
to render all minds devoid of their names?
Such loneliness hides in the offing,
just beyond the grasp of our fumbling fingers.
The sinner said, “I was blind, but now I see,
how the candle’s flame signifies nothing.”
Jesus said, “Follow me, across the sea,
your fear is nothing,
as you are nothing.”

Would time prove itself an arcane nothing,
a soundless tide, devoid of names,
flotsam and jetsam stars in a ceaseless wake
of lifetimes’ reflections, hospitals and churches,
crosses turned to raven perches,
houses made with popsicle sticks
torn asunder by hurricane fists.
Is time truly so arcane,
it makes all things exactly the same,
if only the mirror revealed this phrase:
Your fear is nothing,
as you are nothing.

Rust reduces us to spoonfuls of dust,
while we flick our cigarette ash,
and sip our bourbon from the flask.
I am as you are and we are vanishing fast,
though these years drip like honey
down the throat of a bear
the bear stays hungry,
devouring all prayer,
a beast oblivious to questions asked.

No one can tell your dust from mine,
scattered and blown between the pines.

Should I put a gun in my mouth?
Should I sell everything in my house?
The sweetest wind blows across the South.

No one hears the words in the susurrus.

The voices carried from the past,
rustling between the wind and the leaves
a prophecy hidden up the sleeves of the trees,
the voices of ghost poets sent to guide us,
away from the shadows of ourselves,
our bodies nothing but soundless shells.