It’s too hot outside to go bare footed


Words are extroverts
Supping on fornication 

Silence is a girl 

You overlooked in grade school

And years later

Reminded of her tight braids

The color of caramel

You seek her in crowds 

Like a woman without children

Will hesitate

Ever so slightly 

On a babies wispy crown

Half thinking

Her baren hands

Unworthy

We carry our pains

Wrapped in butcher’s brown paper

With yesterday’s headlines

Bled on our feet

As rain purges the feeling and night

Grows trees of velvet

In the deep inhalation 

of a closed door against 

Night storm

For Paul

016_imogen-cunningham_theredlistIn the other place of keeping

afterward when door is softly closed

and light extinguished

where flowers bloom without need of sun

perfuming air with unseen stamen

at last you are unburdened, free of torment

we sit at oiled wood table

eating buttered toast with fingertips

you tell me of  real things

that time you fell into a river as

you reached for tires swinging overhead

just one more inch and you’d have been saved

from submerging with oily fish

and yet you say, it taught you

the value of sinking and how quiet

beneath the world can be

where creatures with opaque eyes glide past

watching you try to breathe

they called it a near drowning

you claimed second-sight

we shuffle our checkers, mindful

it’s your turn to win tonight

 

for Paul

you were a brother of sorts

sprinting ahead of jostling crowd

lean and bronzed by effort

your heart a flutter of machination

once you said, now I am old

and I laughed and reminded you

there’s so much time left

except you knew

and I did not

time can collapse upon itself

just as it begins so it can end

all the days we spent waiting for the next

better to live now and climb

that tree to sling rope and dangle seat

children long after us

will come to the river and watch

each others fear and then wonder

jumping into the void

and as you are gone

I clear away the plates and ready for the next day

not sure it will be free of rain

I hear you outside among the trees

you are laughing at me

for my fear of things I cannot know

remember, you say, it’s not about control

it’s about having the courage to try

I watch you walk toward the river

you are straight and lean again

no scars, no pain cross your way

I want to go with you but you have told me

it is not yet time

we’ll play again, be patient

master this moment

live now in the warm rush of water

watching overhead

moving clouds turning from blue to white

and then to grey

 

For Paul. You counted, and you mattered.

 

Less

165549735_cd2d7777b5The future will not decide, I decide

if I find myself alone in possession of these feelings

at an age when the cliffs stand a little deeper in the water

the sea will recede and return the next day

less me

for it is my belief

we can make choices

based upon empty doorways

standing between the weft of things

knowing, our time

though it goes blurred into fathomless future

need not defy sense

and us born with less

we don’t want trinkets and rooms of wrinkled souls

talking about the caucus of the world

we want to live and burn

in that bright solitary

and when those we love

are no more

our place is not to wait for natural means

but take to surging waves

walk through a mirror of water

regaining in emptying out

those painful places we hold

dear and near to us

all these years we inhabit life

like a nervous electricity

will wait to strike

just once

and leave the deed

blackening the tree

long it stands marked

for future generations to remark

I wonder how

I wonder what

caused this burn

she lays her hands against her pulse

such a little flicker of life

and then

one blow

one determining

and it is snuffed out

to join the star dust of our might

you think me cowardly or without insight?

I hear nothing now

but the swell and call of shells

hypnotized by the whorl

of their ever decreasing

circle

returning to

sand

You begin me

vvvvLay your hands on me

braced against bad weather

what a welcome

coming in from the cold

It’s every time you gather me close

all I can hear is your heart

beating like

Gabriel’s drum of skin

at the beginning of the world

you

begin me

with each

breath

forming laborious as

fatigued children

stubbornly persist

to dance

with half sleeping limbs

slack and graceless

In their abundant honesty

unguarded weariness

not intoxicate enough

to peel them from an ache

for music reveals

your song

If translated

portioning day into ribbons

each wreath a moment

pressed behind slide

to reexamine in mind palace

the sound of life

cymbals beneath earth

flutes and oboe forming wood

paper as soft as hide

writing our language by intoned key

first a rise, a fall, a swell

contagious momentum picking

up trained netting drawing flickering

into chalice

drunk deeply by fingers of pyre

dipping their ember quills

thirsty ducks carving water

coming up for air

gleaming plumage

reflecting our shape

silhouetted love

It’s every time you gather me close

all I can hear is your heart

beating like

Gabriel’s drum of skin

at the beginning of the world

you

begin me

Her kind

ccccWhom she learned the art or dissonance of protest from

Whether it was ingrained or born on hot kitchen towel like fresh bread

Rising, the irresistible urge to devour all whilst fresh

She couldn’t say

But catching herself

Playing little shadow games

It became clear

Like the women before her she was not

A straight talker

For she was unable to speak plainly

She hurt all over

Her whole self would have confessed

Oh timorous Lord

I don’t seem capable of much

It is enough to keep my head on my shoulders?

The ache the screw the twist

I am tired before I have woken

Because truth be told

Humanity sickens my soul

And when you hate your own

There’s nowhere to go

 

They tried

Oh they tried

To interest her in their tête à tête

And she grew sickly

And incomplete

Only the circulated vowels of earth

Could ease her need

To be freed

Of her kind

Briefly, before retort

432a1f78aa4dbe5f9a11bd1afea97dc6What if you were?

different

waking up putting your feet over the side of the bed

with the harsh unrelenting knowledge before you think of anything else

I am trapped inside myself

these are my feet cankered and worn with little parchment lines drawn

for every regret I possess

I can hide all day from seeing them but come night, climbing into bed, still they will remind

you are subject to yourself

what if you are a raging inferno within smoked glass?

and everyone buys the exterior version that comes with a label?

choose your own go on, you know you want to

write it in permanent pen on the underside of my third finger

it is human bondage

as ad-verb the moustached man picks ‘mysteriously’

the Irishman says a noun; ‘predictable’

the Hipster proclaims adjective; ‘too old’

the Gen-X femme fatale scolds; ‘not enough visible scars and I hate how she can wear a skirt that tight over her scales’

and you? You don’t speak because you traded in your words for a shot and then another

drunk neat and with your elbow at perfect ninety degree angle

reflecting the awkwardness of ritual in bar window smeared with tarot gravy dust

you do not tell me

stop wearing hose in 70 degrees and if you must, choose pastel hues or flesh

flesh is the color of us all and none at all, for wolves come in multi-color and neon

you do not tell me

cut your hair though it has begun to trail across the bar like ivy once won will entomb even the redolent doll faces who obey without query their whiskered diviner

let’s see how far it goes before the world implodes, then we can sell it by the ounce for bonfires or new clothes

you do not correct

my pronouncement of life or the syllabus of strife I work against my sulfur state with enriching purpose

you could knock me off my slide so easily, bring your trained fist to my cheek, salt the wound pour a little rum and black call me a new blend of this and that

here drink it down and turn into tarmac

you could run over me, keep me flat or press your iced lips to my heat and have me beg

but it’s been a long B side and it’s time for the rain to ease, where drivers, previously intent, lessen up, watching for a break of light through cloud formation

you know why I stand here, pressing my hips against your side, empty me, chamber my void

you take me by the throat, lay me down in my own match book to sleep, watch the children dream, how deeply they ride their velvet horses

you bought me rings without names and names without ownership

I own the fierce tail of my pursuit and not much else

when we lie beneath the city listening to her caw

you are still as cold water washing over me in rinse and roar

it’s not your way to feel

you love without desire

desire without love

the rub and the rub and the rub

no fire will come

it is my conjecture this will end when the rain starts again and cars slow down even more to peer in

tin-can blurred faces seeing nudes vaulting tables and a man holding a gun

gentle as a lover without fingerprint

you place it in my mouth

then yours

the taste and smell of fire

would you have time to bruise?

briefly

before

retort

Chosen cohesion 


Still

still yourself

quiet that timber within

threatening to fall

weight around our necks

chains of emotion hidden and heavy

yoke and pull

hands touching earth

crumbling from once

staring upward

a tree with open branches

catching absorption 

closing in on itself

like a black-eyed giesha 

snaps her painted fan

shut

her silk bound feet shuffling

toward her purpose with dust of centuries

left in tug-boat wake

softly her emboidered kimono opens to reveal

a wooden center carved out smooth

she is a boat

carrying you over glass

aimed due west where the sun inks water crest with single bristle 

as lovers will carefully trace outlines

with thin brushed follow

as two cells divide and multiply

within the tree an echo

you stood here before breathing deeply

catching the timeorous whistle of life

carrying it into you as

a silver thrush will herald her joy

in bathing sunlight

you stood here before growing undaunted

no wood cutter can touch

splinter or mar your canopy

if your briar roots

welding with center and circle

woven by creators hand

shall purchase their faith in holding tight

the seasons passing

man and his feeble reach

like children aching to climb

unable to gain leverage

take to marbles below

sheltered from restless rain

their delight drifts high

oxygenated in relief

to be a child again and round the earth

sailing for eventual peace

found somewhere along the journey

as you take my hand and we listen

our heartbeats stilling in

chosen cohesion