Processing

Dusk obtains and breezes shift how?
Your eyes note the adjustment but not the transition
You’re left struggling for something to say

How to paint this marriage of devolving light and insight evolving on some canvas of noise with extant oils and powdered pigments made only of the invisible machinations of your mind

Your ears perk as this babel of birds now ebbs like the slowing chorus of corn kernels popping in mother’s ancient microwave before those anticipated movie nights, those nights of ancient anticipation

“Is this not the finest onslaught of metaphors you’ve  grappled to obedience?”
Your mouth is discovered smiling
The mysterious construct of your ego, pleased
“No one will ever understand but I understand and it is good.”

Night triumphs again and you commit your fingers to the dance
Drawing letters in patterns that bind us and propel us and disgust us and seduce us
Reduce us to the frail persuadable dummies we convince ourselves we shall never be but all
All fundamentally are

Your dancing continues and succumbs to your spasm of limbs
Beating at air as if pounding the tribal drums that signal something like strength
Something like the ever-moving matter seeking a place to collide and then I guess see what happens
Like you did with the dregs of your experiments in chemistry class clandestinely stowed in the back of the locker in the slowly filling test tube which one day just might end this all
Or cohere to useless sludge
Or satisfying slime
Or simply birth
A chrysalis

You dance and you bray like a jackass because somehow this liberates you and somehow it does always work
The puzzles remain before you but the familiar frenzied fever to fill in every last empty square has taken leave
And so now you seek someone to kiss and molest and hope they molest you in return in the wild jackass abandon you just displayed on the disco floor
Perhaps the flailing inspired another who will meet your pattern and ride the waves with you to the shore
You cry to them: “What’s poison for Pete may be manna for me!”
And you laugh
And they laugh too and the wave. just. does. not. want. to. end.

Well,
That’s the dream anyway in these nights you are reminded of your persistent exposure to a vastness that cares little for your rituals yet the indifference makes the rituals and reminders all the more resonant to you 

It feels awfully good to sweat through your nice clothes and to drink the cold sweet concoctions  that provide momentum for your howling

It feels awfully good to fall in a safe soft place and surrender yourself to unconsciousness muttering an echoing refrain of our  Lord’s Prayer each heartbeat further depressing  the wah-wah pedal in this fading concert of a night well spent

To know time and duration but feel none of it as it occurs
To know
O

Come morning, you cradle coffee and stare at trees

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Happy Anniversary, here’s a poem. What? This year is crystal? Oh no.

I asked your daddy for your hand in a letter
Every warming year we got better and better
Our droughts got hotter, our floods got wetter
Like you, the moon’s a riser
Like me, the sun’s a setter
A clenched jaw in-your-face fretter 
A jilted lover’s torn-up letter (strewn across my dorm room floor that night,  remember?)
So, yeah, we only got this rusty water in our oily red rusted kettle
And nothin’ else
But it’s enough 
It’s enough

In this calamity 
This vapid loud city
Messianic mess most definitely  
Like you, it’s real real pretty
Like me, the poetry’s real real shitty 
And barely witty 
An ugly unloved bitty
A sour off key ditty 
But it’s enough 
It’s enough

And it’s enough I say enough
Deeper than pink fluff
Softer than sand paper rough
Like you, it takes no guff
Like me, it’s besieged by stuff
Silky but tough
Tethered to you in this paper handcuff
And it’s enough
It’s enough
Cause I got you 
Yeah I got you
And

I I
Love love
You you you you you!

Mwah!

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‘20 to ‘21 (note to self)

All year long all year all year!
We were all unable to leave all
Unable to breathe all
Unable to grieve all
All year!
And we’ve been holding
Off holding off
All year!
The floods heavy
The fathoms blue
The ballooning fear
The agony and sorrow we’ve lived through
It is a dark time and it is.  It is
Past far past!
Time to acknowledge the hurt time
To let in the pain time
To exhale
The lost rhyme.
The lost rhyme.

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Stella, in lament

Oh Sam, I don’t know about you
You’re just out here looking for something to confess and be ashamed of
So someone like me will rub your shoulders and tell you you’re ok
And oh don’t you work so hard and ain’t this world so unfair
What an unfair place
All the oozing love and comfort to further conceal all the shortcuts you’ve taken
And handouts you’ve indulged from day one of your privilege
I know too many men like you
And it ain’t gonna do for me
God no not for me
Let my loneliness resume

- – -
More Stella To Be Found Here

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Opening Lines To Try At That Generic Irish Bar In Mid-Town Manhattan. Seriously, go for it.

Show your way to me
And I’ll squeeze you
Teach you
To be free
You’ll be confined to the infinite wonder we share
Bound by the limits of our biological needs
The weeds
Ensnaring our aging skins in wonder of What is right? What do I need, really?

Sister,
Screech your screed
You woo-woo girl
Screech your screed
Spit your poetry
Spit it
Spit it babe
You’re a babe
A ripe fruit barely there but by a thread
So insidious to all my prayers
My value statements composed in the analyst’s chair
Under the consultant’s glare
Their behest
I guess

I guess
Anyone’s guess, my guest
My quest to remove you from the crest of this earth and float you to the infinite
Subsume with you
Subsume
In this lonely, oily room
Too soon

Too soon for the truth of what this late night decision may mean

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Offsite

I’m staring this executive in the eye
He’s providing me the gift of constructive feedback
I’m listening and reflecting
Dancing the triangle of effective communication
And all that’s on my mind
Is you

We’re digging deep into this leadership development exercise
We’re learning to delegate and speak with command
Providing context and clear objectives
Standards for success
And all I’m dreaming of is your mouth
On mine

The noise around me is warm and supportive and an investment in my future
And I’m grateful and more engaged than ever
Motivated to perform, baby!
And consumed by the thoughts of my nose near your neck
The warmth and aroma of you just millimeters from me
Nearing the moment we lose ourselves and dissolve

We’re sharing our stories with brave vulnerability in this sterilized setting
Shining a light on our blind spots
Bathing in this pre-programmed artificial light
And I swear I hear your low purr in my ear
As we maneuver naked in the dark
Swimming the gentle currents of these naked sheets

I’m staring this executive in the eye
And your body is sliding on mine
Sliding, our eyes align and shine
As we disappear in the culmination
The orgasm that must not manifest
In this present environment of tolerance and mutual respect.

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Making Love As A Sacred Rite

Remember this:

As you breathlessly scurry place to place
Establishing reputation, name, your face
As you find yourself angry with Facebook and TV
Straining to prove you belong
Paying your psychic fee
While you fret your mortgage, your gardener, and the immigrants raising your kids
Your cholesterol scores – egad! – the lipids, the lipids!

Remember this:

Feed the carnal
Rub some skin
Hold your lover overtly
Take your lover in

In a dark and quiet place
Embrace our bewildered moment
Friend,
Relax your wonderful face

Let your lover learn your theistic soul
That rhythm of you
Beating minuscule but whole
Pardoning all past violence
Vibrating this vast silence
Recalling sounds the vacuum stole:
Our prayers, our farts, our tunes,
Our echoes, our burst balloons

(Baboons, baby
We is
We is baboons)

Imagine:

Whole galaxies collide
With nary a whisper
Nor hummed lullaby
Nor funeral dirge
Not even a “harder,”
Nor “I love this,”
Nor “Thank you for satisfying my urge”

Imagine, just do
Fantasize this place that belongs to you:
This thin sliver of atmosphere, perfect pressure, this chemistry
This constant flow of blood, our majestic ministry

Rejoice!

Rejoice and moan
Into your lover’s ear, moan
Moan:
I’ve come.
I’m here.
Thank you.
Oh, thank you, dear.
Come,
Friend,
Come, too
Collide
Elide
Embrace
Your face
Relax
Let go.
Allow it:

Flow

Amen.

Banff Mountains

Asterisk

For my next poem I thought I’d employ an allusion to the anthems of love, grace, and forgiveness by the rock band U2
But I hesitated
Fearing that 100 years from now
Or thereabouts
The text would require
An asterisk

To explain the band

As if.

As if I won’t be the one crying for that asterisk: clawing out the entrails of my competition, hoping against reasonable hope that I prevail and share a footer with Larry Mullen, Junior.

As if.

As if we’d ever occupy – much less use – the same bathroom
As if my summit won’t be the gutter-swamp of some marginalia
The pinnacle of my legacy some overeager grad student’s hard fought effort to illuminate the “forgotten history of early 21st Century American Verse”

My therapist says I’m too hard on myself

As if.

As if this irrelevance against the vast sweep of a universe I don’t understand isn’t real
As if my turbulence this quiet New Year’s Day isn’t somehow encouraged by the throbbing drumbeat of “New Year’s Day”*
seeping through the thin walls of this ghastly apartment

*a 1983 song by an Irish band called U2, who were once considered quite popular

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On Language and Parenthood (AKA We Speak Our Words Mostly Without Forethought But They Often Land Like The Most Sophisticated War Plans Of Our Species’ Most Strategically Brilliant Military Minds)

Okay let’s pay attention for a moment
Let’s consider how context can rapidly evolve something said simply from plain and perfunctory to pure puncturing pain
Listen!
And let’s take a quick look in degrees
Let’s say three
Three degrees of context
(skipping over some nuances, sure, but goddammit we only have so much time and space here):

“Okay, bye!”

That phrase.
Two words.
Not much to unpack , right?
Wrong!
Dead wrong.
You couldn’t be more wrong.

Let’s try it again, goddammit:

“Okay, bye!”

  • hurts little and actually feels efficient when a work colleague says so at the natural conclusion of a yet another content-filled conference call
  • humiliates and generates instantaneous cheek-flushing when a woman says so to the young man enamored of her and in the immediate aftermath of his incoherent stumbling to find the words that will finally reveal his intrinsic handsomeness and star quality
  • h-bombs the father’s aging but still child-like heart when the son says so, gathered among his friends, after the dad joke is made, ham-handedly sure, but actually quite funny to the now faltering father walking away wounded in his withering heart, head hung, stunned

Life is context
And adjusting to it.
Can you stay true and you in each new scene?
Can you, maggot?
(I’m not a drill sergeant but goddammit I dreamed I would be!
But I can’t be
I just can’t
These kids are so darn cute!)

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