"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff



Monday, July 8, 2019

The Silence of Wisdom

There used to be noise
to fill the void.
Like an audiophile I would collect
the unspoken word
and pipe it in as my own.
But no one recognized the voice as mine.

And when that fault cracked,
wider than a Richter could measure,
my thoughts became so loud.
They argued,
and the debate was more than I could stand.

Like an audiophile I would collect
song
and sing it as my voice.
But it pointed fingers and boasted things,
untrue things.

Silence
Please...silence, solitude, peace

My world became soundless,
because I made it so.
I began to let the void be void
and allow the quiet to listen,
let the silence speak in settling tones
you could fall asleep to.

Soon the time came the time when silence
had no need of infusion,
because even the pregnant pause overflowed.
Silence
became the loudest thing,
and in its eloquence...
such wisdom.

2-5-19

New Years Dread

There is a sense of dread
like soot from the fireworks
in wobbly descent,
landing on my journal.

I swipe at the mark
and smudge the new page,
once sharply white with dreams
and unblemished with the disappointment of failure.

The new year is presenting itself
like an open book
but my fear...my dread
is that the same words will be penned again.

Progress seems so marginal
excludable
and yet I wonder.
We are only dead if we are stagnant,
so therefore I must have moved,
progressed.
I am alive.

My father is stagnant
dead
and yet his heart
beats another year
into being.

1-1-19

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Guilt Pool



I see it shimmer in the distance
like a mirage I should aim for...
because I'm thirsty,
parched for that which I am so closely acquainted.

So far removed....the reflection is
beautiful!
I know I'll see myself there...
as always, the familiar melancholy of the guilty apologetic smile,
never reaching the eyes
until tears ripple the water and force the curve upwards.

I do not know a more powerful cement
than guilt.
It is the most heinous gift we can bestow,
and like lemmings...
we gift ourselves just as easily
(good little students that we are).

Today is different.
The mirage looks dark and deep,
not a surface reflection at all...
but bottomless.
Could it be worse that what I see
every time I trust a likeness to my eyes?

I run
with the purpose of an athlete.
I jump with legs at full power,
crash down...cracking everything dusty
into the shrapnel of lies.

Even as I fall, I know this is better.
This is honest, as honest as I can hear God tell it.

I reach the bottom expecting to drown there
"deservedly" echoes.....echoes.....echoes...
And it is the last lie,
because there is no more water here.
My plunge has displaced years, and years, and years,
ad now I trust the earth.
I stand on solid.

Why the hell had I only lived the surface before?


Friday, October 20, 2017

Post Era



There is a car
far in the distance,
an after thought of sound.

The birds have claimed this space
this tree
as home.

What do they fear...
the birds?
Flight seems so easy
until you have legs.
Then your feet leave prints
and the floor boards creek
and everyone knows
you just aren't capable of stairs...
and you're sneaking out
the best you can,
dropping gifts like horse turds
(at least that's how they're seen).

"You left me with shit!"

I tried to leave you everything...
(but me).

And that's the crux of it.

I have driven a painful road,
not unlike your own,
just a pendulum swing away really...
and I tilled a field by hand,
blisters, then calluses, then
the supple understanding of human skin.

How frail we are. How needy.

I can't drive on that road any longer,
pot holes dug with anger and unforgiveness.
I have no more need to journey there.
It's memorized and lebotomized
by redemption.

I hope I see you on the other side.
It's an idealists notion,
but I've always been an idealist
for the kids.




Tuesday, August 30, 2016

New Day Darning

                                                                                                                            

In my mind
I can see a hand
stitching, like my grandmother's,
her weary eyes squinting
in concentrated effort.

The thimble makes the slightest
yet completely satisfying
*tink*
rhythmically against the needle’s eye.

I fear there’s not enough line to finish
and there will be one too many knots
and stops and starts and tired tired tired.
Yet the thread pirouettes,
reversing with the same planted spaces,
familiar X patterning coming to roost
along the hopeless halves of a torn dream
surgically reuniting
whether they like it or not.

In my mind
I have the power…
my grandmother's chalky bones
scattered somewhere,
gathering
into an intravenous potion
injectable through that needle

darning a broken heart
that will not mend.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Politics of Peace


I found the one sunny spot
in a yard, long with gray.
Sitting here, the warmth envelops me
as if nature had the arms of a mother.

The fountain bubbles on
practically frothing with intel,
spouting tall tales of long fish
as the starving minnows gather
for tidbits and trivia, peddled as evening news.

Crows hold heated debates
that course through me in stereo
right ear, left ear, right, left, wing.
Politics was never really very clear
and I haven't the temperament to care
not with the sun...just so,
the air ripe with nurture and the lettuce pushing up
as proud and determined as any armed guard.

I leave you the city
if you'll just leave me the yard love!
Everything we built, all the structure
the inroads paved, the fortune...
the square footage, and our four high top bar stools.
Consider them bequeathed.

I've never really asked for a single thing
that came from the part of me that so needed to make requests,
but I'll give you everything that came with this nomination,
Your Honor.
Just leave me the garden.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One-Two Punch



They say it's the old one-two punch.

THE JAB: Something horrible happens, or has been happening, or is about to happen. Maybe the dreadful-awful-very bad thing has been happening so long that you assumed it was just the way life happens for everyone...that it was "normal" to feel stuck and trapped and small...that the panic that lived under your first layer of skin was the very smallest part...and all the gory details and horror flick frames were actually lurking in deeper sub dermal layers, cloaked in some kind of anonymity that posed as faulty wiring. And then one day maybe you realized "normal" was anything but, or you reached the point where "normal" was gonna be the end of you so you might as well leap from the cliff and grasp at the rope swing. The miss and fall was always a possibility, but you never thought the rope would reach out and hang you.

THE CROSS: You decide to hope...a sliver beam of "if I tell, it will end" and this last possibility grows like a sunflower until it is tall and strong and facing only light. Maybe you ditch school and hop a bus. Maybe your fists are clenched so tight you can barely release the quarter. The sound it makes rattling down into the receptacle is so loud you flinch, thinking it will sound the alarm. "The" alarm. You notice that "the" alarm is always poised to strike. Flower to sun. Flower to sun. Flower to sun. Turn. The bus stops and you manage the longest most hopeful two steps taken since the first moon walk....at least it feels that way. With the heat at your back...the sun..the strength..you are propelled.

The building is imposing. The elevator smells oily. The secretary is startled, having seen your photo gaining height throughout the years but never expecting the image to open doors. You are ushered in.

Afterwards, as you lay on the floor, the wind knocked out of any sail that stupid sunflower had dared to unfurl, the boat begins to sink. The bitch of it is, that it really was easier before you thought there was a boat. Before hope...before the only person who might hold the magic power turned it against you. "You are at fault. Therefore, it is."

Only decades later did you realize the weakness of the power. It shrunk in the presence of evil, and evil was all there was back there. The only power available to you had been in re-writing the story...until you ran out of paper, or ink, or metaphor. Then evil catches up and the power has to come from your broken bones...reset....healed...stronger. Maybe it was the last time you went to your father for help, and rightfully so. You can get your punches elsewhere, much cheaper.