Son/Sun

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There is romantic love 

There is familial love 

There is love of animals

There is love of objects

There are loves I’ve forgotten

There are loves I’ve yet to experience 

These may very well be branches

Off the same beautiful tree

None of these compare

To the love I have 

For my three year old son

I think conditions have to be just right

Like moondogs, rainbows and eclipses

I’m all too familiar with ice crystals 

With gravity’s claim on water droplets

And with darkness overcoming the light

It’s with this well learned contrast

That I view the world a few steps deeper

Into the gloom and out into the gold rays

It’s there—in the sun

That I find my love

For this little being—so true

He’s both my anchor and my buoyancy 

He keeps me connected

To the world outside my head 

With a single look or softly spoken word

He can resurrect my tired soul

He knows I love him

I hope he will never know just how much

If so, then the dark has stained him too

And I have cursed the very person

Who shines light into my darkest corners 

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The Elephant

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     Try to think of something else

     Easier said

     Spiral slide at hand

The sun! The glorious sun!

Stand at the window’s warmth

     There are those that—

     STOP IT

     —are kept in base—

     I SAID STOP

Go for a walk and count the steps

Touch the street signs in passing

Talk about the weather with a stranger

     How many people can’t—

     KNOCK IT OFF

     The flashlight can’t reach the bottom

     The spiral slide is too deep

     IGNORE IT

Do a pencil sketch of a tree

The leaves are backlit stained glass

In mother nature’s cathedral 

There is hope in a child’s laughter

     The color red and purple’s blossom

     Tear trails on dirty faces

     The door is too far for her

     FOCUS ON LIGHT

Roof over head

Food in belly

Decent paying job

Family that loves—

     Not all families love

     Refrigerator box

     Days without a meal

     Dead end jobs

     YOU CAN’T HELP EVERYONE 

Watch a two hour movie

Entertain guests

Read a book

Write a poem…

Ice Age

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You have a book inside you that someone will love so dearly that, when everyone else is burning anything made of wood during the next ice age, they’ll hide it and read it in secrecy…lest it be taken for a moment’s pure bliss of warmth. They’ll lose toes and the tip of an ear just to feel the resonance of your soul. 

451 reasons to one. But that one reason, oh my god, that one reason…

Just keep bleeding out, until the edges of your heart blurs and your vision narrows. Until you vomit the bile of your genetic inheritance, of your fractured roots. Ride the leading edge of a wave built on generational success, but also on deferred dreams and compromises. This push and pull…this give and take is the tide you dragged yourself out of. Primordial soup for the writer’s soul. So when they try to sanitize you, you march right out into the yard, roll in the freshest pile of shit you can find, and howl at the hunter’s moon. It’s that very madness that’ll carry you through, that’ll get you and your reader through the long, harsh winter. 

Penny wise…pound foolish

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Imagine..if you will

A razor sharp melon baller 

Glowing white with heat

And you scoop a perfect little ball

From the inside of your thigh

The wound cauterized instantly

The smell of bacon permeating the air

The admin, at your place of work

Holds the jar’s lid open for you to deposit 

That perfect little ball-of-you

The price you pay for your paycheck 

But you continue on

Filling your tech pocket

With an iPhone X

Wrist covered in a 2nd gen iPhone watch

All so you look less like a golf ball 

And more like, well…everyone else

Now we could certainly discuss

The scoop value of your gaming PC

The loss of blood was so great

Getting that goddamn Lexus 

You had to pay in installments 

But we give of ourselves in many ways 

When your partner drags you out

To the company clambake 

And you’d rather just read a book

The decision to compromise 

Is certainly worth a scoop

Don’t you think?

The day you threw away 

That copy of US News and World Report’s

Ranking of the best colleges 

Your fingers worn smooth

Running across Iowa’s Writers Workshop 

So you could sign mortgage documents 

Sliding five little you-spheres

(The first of many)

Across the mahogany desk

The banker immediately fashions into

One of those kinetic desk sculptures 

He pulls two orbs-o’-you back

They swing, hitting with a soft

Wet

Sound

But the middle ovoid sits still

The fourth and fifth spheroids 

Taking up the trajectory 

You suddenly realize

That all these times

You’d given up

Parts of you

You’d given up

Mass and subsequently 

Force and inertia

Soon there’ll be

No more

Pushing

Back

At

All

Breadth of Existence

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It’s in the valleys and the coolness of the shadows that I’m held like an infant to breast, nestled in the crook of an arm. The colors are bled to grays but the air is thick and damp. The smell of decomposing leaves and pine needles is a long remembered lullaby that ushers me off to a torpor only found in the middle of a fairy ring. Don’t despair for me, though…my friend. As I do, on occasion, climb my way out of these valleys. And when I do summit the peak, surveying the landscape about me, I see the colors of the world in a depth of saturation few are privy to. The emerald green of the canopy and the azure of the midday sky taste like mint and saffron on the tongue, while the sunlit clouds hum an aria whispered by angels. Alas, I can’t exist long on the mountain’s thin air, having become accustomed to the valley floor, so even the most wondrous ascents come to an end with the setting sun. Even weeks after returning to my valley and it’s muted colors, I can taste the sky and canopy on the tip of my tongue. This carries me through. 

Show me

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Make me forget

For even just a second

That I’m going to die alone

Make me want nothing more

Than to wipe away your tears

Forgetting my own

Knowing our sorrow’s tributaries 

Share the same source

Jagged disappointments smoothed

By years of melancholy currents

Our very roots penetrating 

Dense, ancestral, red clay 

Laden with heart’s blood

Distract me

From the need to crawl 

Into some dark, unknown corner

Surrendering myself to the stillness 

Show me that our words

Even the desiccated ones

Are tumbleweeds

Rolling across lost landscapes

Leaving seeds of inspiration 

Show me that today’s atrophy

Is overridden by tomorrow’s triumphs 

That your faith in me

Was warranted

That love

Was not wasted

That stillness

Is irrevocable 

That light can penetrate

The deepest of darknesses

Show me…

Matador

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When I was young

I played a game

Walking through the city

I’d dance with cars

I was a capote de paseo with

Toro bravos made of steel and glass

The closer to the rear bumper I got

The more points I earned

I was stepping off of curbs

Before the car even passed

Still, as an adult, I’m longing

To feel a candy apple red paint job 

Pass across my fingertips 

At 30 miles per hour

Small Talk

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How’ve I been?

I’m dying

To be fair

We all are

So why do I

[We]

Languor on like this?

Am I truly howling mad?

For screaming out

Into the void

Hoping that

Even as I cough up blood

From the effort

That more than empty echoes resound

To be honest I don’t know what I expect

Validation? Keys? $200 for passing go?

Maybe it’s this pathetic fucking malaise

This stench of depression

That’s colored everything yellow

Like a fuck-all-poor-me-patina

There is no meaning

There is no plan

There’s just the next breath

The next obligation

The downhill momentum

Pay me no attention

Remember the next time you complain

When someone talks about the weather

And you yearn for heartfelt truth

THIS is a distinct possibility

I’m good…it’ll pass

Just like this shitty weather

 

A match

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Drunk from lack of sleep

Thoughts are rats scurrying in the walls

Of a long ago abandoned building

My head snaps to the muffled sound

Of wiring insulation being gnawed at

An almost coherent thought

Waiting for the spark of epiphany

That follows the arc flash of insanity

Despite my bare feet standing in a puddle

Of my own urine

I know myself to be well grounded

I try to concentrate on the task at hand

But emotions are a cloud of gnats

That just won’t clear away

No matter how much I flail my arms

They crawl into the corners of my eyes

Into my nose, ears and mouth

I’m overwhelmed

I breathe in and out

I need to get to the now

I sit in lotus

What was urine is now gasoline

I’m a Buddhist monk

At a crossroads

Dropping a match

Childhood

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He spoke the secret, shared language

Of identical twins

Despite the fact he was an only child

You could find him at any time

Smiling and nodding in agreement

In a room alone

He played the harp on spiderwebs

He whispered secrets into heater grates

Walking out into the sun

He would sneeze almost every time

He’d mastered lucid dreaming

And tried to make the waking world

Bend to his will, unsuccessfully

He thought being half Native American

Would give him the ability to walk silently

Across leaves and twigs

He knew, comparatively, that he was poor

But mom was there for him, growing up

And that made him rich beyond compare

He wept the night his friend showed him

How to kill ants with a magnifying glass

He wondered if the ants sneezed

Before they melted

I missed that boy

Until I had my son

Together

We will make

The waking world

Bend to our will