They say that everything succumbs to black holes,
that nothing escapes their selfishness,
and I like to image the blackness spiraling
into them until they are all that is left.
Then, like petulant children,
they will fight their siblings,
pulling for what the others possess.
And when only the largest, the bully, is left,
he will be weighed down by the grief
of his victory, and fold into himself.
Still unsatisfied, he will wrestle his own body,
curling smaller and smaller, until he bursts,
matter and light fountaining out
into the darkness. From far off it will look downy,
like the first dandelion seed of spring,
spiraling into fresh soil.
They say that everything succumbs to black holes,
Born without hands, or the ability to speak, he was thought unable to understand because they could not understand him. He worked and studied and created ways for the world to hear him, and when he met her, he knew the machines of his invention would tear her rice paper skin. So when she told him that she loved him, he shook his head saying, in his way, “You cannot love me, because I will never be able to hold you.” She shook her head in return and said, “I will hold myself, and let you watch.”
There are shapes silhouetted by rain, outlined
frames of spatter, that move
through the grey unnoticed.
They watch us scuttle for dry walls,
watch as we soothe ourselves
with things we understand,
listen as we chitter about the obvious.
They are silent and patient, watching
the rain fill-up the ground, rooted
until by unknown measure
they have seen their fill,
listened until the swarming of voices
is too much, and then wander off
into the grey.
Careful to keep their backs
to their undiscovered country,
they move into the spaces between things,
move deeper into the places
we look past.
On cold days, when breath came like bubble speech
of comic book characters or hurried death
exhaled by smokers, I used to worry
that everything breathed out would show
ghostly in the air, revealing it source;
that behind me, as I walked, a small cloud
would dissipate too slowly for strangers not to see,
that a swirl of mist would betray me
and everyone would suddenly understand
why the air was just a bit more blustery
and warm, why there was the faint scent
of humid compost, and why I blushed
deeper against a gust of winter air.
Trying to get back into the saddle, as it were. I read an awesome poem, by Amber Decker, and was inspired to try my hand at an “after-hours poem.”
Here it is:
I drive south, the smell of you on my hands,
last night rattling in my wheel wells.
On the couch, when your lover was at work,
you parted your legs and asked if I liked
what I saw. There was little to be tender
about, just the frantic tug of the unknown,
the small satisfaction of vanity,
You were a carnival
prize won under the amber of countless
yellow light bulbs and flashing neon
—three tries for a dollar, twenty for five—
a small victory from little risk.
In gaunt morning light, the highway is
a field spotted with paper,
and all the stations are playing organ music.
Florida is seven rest-stops away.
May 22, 2014 at 9:55 am (Uncategorized)
It wasn’t that he was made of hotdogs, that would have been weird. No, it was just because he looked like a one that everyone called James “Mr. Hotdog.” He was long and thin, only slightly taller than a boy of nine or ten, and his shoulders were barely, almost imperceptibly, wider than his neck. Atop that neck was a bald, round head. James had thick thighs, calves, upperarms, and forearms, but his knees and elbows were almost invisible. In all, James looked very much like someone had made his body by gluing four small sausage links onto one, almost man-sized, hot dog. Even his skin was the pinkish-brown that glints in the sun of so many baseball stadiums and summer picnics.
If you sing a mantra, holding worthlessness
like a babe to the breast, you will manifest
only a long litany of loneliness.
The myth you tell yourself is a story
learned from forgotten sorrows
and years of rehearsal. But, all performance
is improvisation, no matter the script.
Play the fool, lines forgotten, and dance
until you feel only the drumbeat of your own lungs.
Dance until the song becomes laughter,
and you know the undeniable truth
that you are beautiful.
Night held sky still, like a lover unready
to let go, and I craved for you more
than I should.
Like a thing wounded,
the curve of you lay in damp grey
and I listened for your breath across
the years between us, wanting to touch
the unseen part of you.
Somewhere, a feral
housecat, long hair matted and muddy,
spills the wet silence;
one body warms the body of another.
We sat just outside of the grey light cast
by a street light, in the brittle November dark.
The leather seats of the Cadillac I bought for $300,
then painted with house paint into a mismatch
of flowers and eyes, rainbows and rustspots,
suckled at our skin, pulling warmth from skin.
She told me the test was positive,
that she wasn’t sure what to do.
Her mother’s apartment called, window light
yellow against the building’s bulk and shadow,
the shape of things suddenly different.
I wanted to sound authoritative,
wanted to cover panic with hard words
of rational; unprepared, responsible,
Bundled in my terror I shivered,
and she seemed so calm.
So, my friend Melissa Rene told me that her mother swore the clock all stopped when Melissa was born, and that image has stuck with me for years. I finally got around to using it in something, and this is that something.
My mother tells me that clocks stopped when I was born; the wooden
antique restored with fine-grit sandpaper and more money
than she had, the cat clock with big eyes in the bedroom
where my crib waited to hold me, my grandmother’s
tiny faced watch. Our neighbor’s pot-roast burnt, no
timer stopped it, the lady downstairs slept
late into afternoon, school children
learned algebra and grammar past
the time to return home. When
church bells rang that day
it was still dark.
My mother claims that for weeks
everyone in town was late,
that people arrived at jobs
when it seemed right,
that visitors would arrive too early
or too late.
My mother says that on that day,
everyone and everything,
slipped slightly into the past.
Only I moved forward.