Brush the decaying leaves aside
Uncover that moss blanketed stone
Slide your fingers along it’s cool belly
Digging for purchase with dirty nails

You think you’re free
You’re hold yourself back
The tightness of scar tissue
Keeps you from reaching out

Fingernails bending over backwards
You lean back on your haunches
The stone makes a wet sucking sound
Suddenly you find it balanced on edge

It’s natural to fear pain
Fight or flight, you’re lizard brain’s defense
A drowning victim avoiding the depths
A burn victim shunning the bonfire’s warmth

In that moment you almost let go
Letting the rock settle back into its bed
A scab allowed to re-adhere to wound
But, instead, you give the slightest of tugs

What life is it, if all you do is play it safe?
You end up an unopened vintage fishing lure
You’re value tied to the condition of your box
Your hermetically sealed heart undonated

It falls at your feet with a thunderous thwump
You step on the muddied underbelly to assess
A circle of black loam surrounded by grass
The smell of childhood drops you to your knees

Hefting the weight of love and heartbreak
One in each hand you find love lacking
Your understanding of love’s gravity is false
As it is based on experience and you’re green

Centipedes scurry and worms slip beneath
You press your hands into the softness
You uncover old Polaroids beneath the surface
Your first love, your high school sweetheart

You still believe in fairytales but as warnings
Since you can’t have the devil without god
You can’t have poisoned apples
Without happily ever afters

You spread the photos out before you
You wipe them clean with salty tears
These moments were meant to be mourned
Release the ghosts, an exorcism of forgiveness

You realize the next love could eclipse all
Make all that came before mere shadows
In a world that’s become perpetually noon
No longer a cloud, love shines from above

You grab a handful of dirt and sprinkle it about
Covering up the photos, but not to hide them
Fertile soil, free of weeds, welcomes the sun
Tear soaked memories begin to sprout flowers

A bed of perennials and a stone grave marker
You wipe your fingers across your face
A warrior’s face paint
You’ll swim the depths and sit fireside

No longer afraid


[ ]

Empty spaces


I’m comfortable with

Pauses in conversations

Time between family visits

Radio dead air

Being put on hold

Video buffering

Even off seasons for tv series


However, I’m bothered by

The corrupted flash drive

My deceased father gave me

The weekends that slip by

With nothing but iPhone screen time

To show for it

When it’s been weeks

Since I last posted here

I feel the loss  of these

Empty spaces


Like those moments you wished

You could revisit

Get your ass kicked in defense of a friend

Tell the girl at the back of the lecture hall

She is perfect the way she is and

It will be okay

But this weight is a pile of shit

That I dutifully rub my own nose in

Bad dog!

Bad writer!

Bad human being!


Maybe life happens in these

Empty spaces

Unremarkable life

Unnoticed life

Wasted watching videos of

Insane MMA knockouts

Movie trailers to movies I’ll never watch

Subway performers that floor me with

Their talent

But are still busking for dollar bills

For food


I remember a nighttime bus ride

When I was a child

From city to reservation

I thought out lives for houses

With lights on

I gave meaning to the

Empty spaces

My age makes me feel

That I need to either

Fill or give meaning to my

Empty spaces

Like a Harold Pinter play

The gravity needs to be



Just know that in these

Empty spaces

I’ve thought about you

What I owe you

How you’ve changed me

And I’ll try to be better


[                    ]


Cracked lips and dry mouth

Eyes almost swollen shut

Head pulsating agony 

With every beat of my heart

The room spins, the floor moves

Drifting in and out

Of sweet unconsciousness 

The carpet is littered

A beach of washed up jewels

The couch an island

A world of horrific transgressions 

Channel surfing through my brain

I stopper another

This world…

Could be…

Should be…

So much better.

Bulletin board 

Okay…my first post of this type! If you want to share a link to either your latest or greatest post, please leave a link in the comments. If you want to leave a blurb about the post, please do.

My most liked post was about the first hug my son gave me: https://erichmichaels.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/a-hug/

Let’s show some love for our fellow explorers of the human condition!


The imprints of little feet in sand

Around a bucket built sandcastle
Snow-covered trees, snowflakes on your face

You stand and look at your first snow angel 
Walking out into the field at dusk and

Experiencing firefly magic the first time
Giddy anxiousness keeping you awake

Wondering what Santa was bringing you
The perfect rock, the perfect throw

It skips across the water…finally
Knowing with the utmost certainty 

That you were meant to be a firefighter 
That tv show you watched with grandma

As a child, her laughter was the best sound
The cool night breeze off of the bay and

The best fireworks you’d ever seen
Sneaking around the grownups stealthily

Slurping the foam off their drinks until dizzy
A sunburn, the pain, the sleepless nights

The skin sloughing off in strips
Jr. High warm-belly-feeling from friends

Relaying info that your crush likes you too
That first self-induced, full-body-orgasm

Lightening in your veins…did I break it?
Bagged groceries all week with your best smile

The owner hands you your first check
Approaching high school graduation 

The feeling that the world was yours
Your hands grip the steering wheel 

You drive off the lot in your brand new car
You walk up to the counter, fingers touch glass

You ask where the engagement rings are
Filling out paperwork at HR

Five percent you put into a 401K…for the future
You keep the indicator covered by your hand

So you both can see if it’s positive together 
The Rent-A-Center salesperson 

Greets you with a smile and calls you Sir/Ma’am
Sitting across the desk, little arrow stickers

You initial for the 100th time…homeowner 
You place the beer on the counter

They take your money and don’t ID you
You hear a couple punk kids laughing

Your muffin-top the punchline, you’re Teflon
You let a bright-faced salesperson in 

You sign up for supplemental life insurance
You order a do-it-yourself kit

Catalog everything and make a will
A twenty-something smiles at you at the store

They move their cart and let you cut in line
Your manager gives you a little box

Inside is a pin commemorating your retirement 
The family reunion you have the place of honor

As the oldest in your family
All your loved ones eagerly visit you

As you lie in a hospital bed
You feel an immense amount of weight lifted off

Then nothingness
In the distance you see a light

A doctor pulls you out and cleans you up
The imprints of little feet in sand

Around a bucket built sandcastle…

Park bench


I sat on your bench

I tried

To feel your resonance 

I didn’t know you

I saw you on my walks

Apparently no town 

Is too small

For homelessness 

You’d disappear 

During the day

Leaving behind your


A ratty backpack and

Your tattered sleeping bag

Returning in the dark

To lay your head down

To sleep

The article said 

Your heart gave up
The fight

Enjoy your rest

As I lie in bed

Hating myself 

For never even




Take the tap

Hammerfist it into the base of my heart

Turn the spigot 

Drain the too-heavy-sludge, the sediment

Press through cheesecloth 

Boil my blood into syrup for your paincakes 

Wear good gloves

A single scratch and a mad hatter you’ll be 

Moments too heavy

They lay upon the cloth, dull like lead

My soul’s poison

Dry it in the oven’s heat until powder

Fill the urn 

Sprinkle it in the woods in a hollow log

Tethered I’ll be

Until the day the moss purifies the mecury

Then I’ll soar

Brown baggin it 

There should be limits. 

He smiled as he placed the 50 count, brown, lunch bags on the checkout conveyor. 

Driving through town, on the way to his first day at his new job, he glanced at various shops and restaurants that he had worked at previously. 

Everyone always cheered as he entered a former place of employment, and always the question of if he would be coming back to work there came up. 

It felt amazing to be missed and wanted and he was known by everyone. 

His new job was at a bottle sorting facility, that took in the redemptions and made sure the different types were sorted appropriately. 

He drove home from work that night reeking of skunky, rotten alcohol…hoping he wouldn’t get pulled over.


The next day he was completely up to speed and was able to participate in the idle chitchat with the other sorters, but quickly the conversation degraded into the typical misogynistic blathering of the clueless. 

Tomorrow his lunch would require 2 bags. 


He heard murmurs of his outperforming the other sorters and caught sideways glances, so he kept in pace with the others, but started eating his lunch at a decrepit picnic table that sat under a maple tree. 


The best that could be said was that today was Friday and he made a three bag lunch that would take the entire half hour lunch period to eat. 


He almost went to the local nature trail over the weekend, just so he could pack a lunch, but had thought better of it. 

Monday he put his deep fryer through its paces, making goodies for all his coworkers, making it necessary to double-bag the greasy contents…for a total of 6 bags. 

Friends were made. 37. 

The next week went by in a blur, as he continued to bring treats in for his coworkers and he inwardly felt himself speeding towards the light at the end of the tunnel…a fresh start.

He walked in Monday loaded for bear, looking to kill what was left of his brown bags throughout the week, already having spent time combing the help wanted ads, and heard the murmurs of a new start going through HR on boarding. 

He sat beneath his maple tree, on his rickety picnic table, and just as he was sinking his teeth into his sandwich the new sorter walked over and she took his breath away.


By the end of the week he alienated himself from most coworkers by not bringing in any more deep fried treats, he had taped a bag over the course of a couple days and by Friday he walked in with a bag completely covered, inside and out, with duct tape, but to his surprise when he got to lunch she had brought food for the both of them…and would do so for now on–without limits. 


Yup’ik: nevluk (clinging particles)

50 words for different kinds of snow

Granular, fine, crusty, blowing…

50 words for love I know

You’ve given to me in the showing

A palette of mixed hues

Crimson to egg shell blues

I use the various colors of paint that you’ve given me

Somewhere between warmth, acceptance and family

I feel the outer surface of the new word ‘love’ but can’t read it

The definition is crystal clear, perhaps it’s meant to precede it

Careful in the birthing of this new word I simply cannot misspell 

From my heart it’s bursting, as the word you’ve given me is D-A-N-Y-E-L!

Am I insane?!?

I am spending $200 on a 1915 No. 5 Underwood typewriter. That’s it. That’s the punchline.

Why?  To write the next great American novel on, of course!  Why go to this length? Two reasons: 1. I’m pretty sure there’s no internet on it, so no more wormholes of distraction. 2. I’m really hoping it’s haunted by a world class writer’s ghost that will posses me and help me write the novel.

By the way…it’s in perfect working condition and I can order ribbon from Amazon.  Crazy? Like a fox!

No, really…do I need help?