December 21, 2015

Star Drops

The streetlight filled the raindrops on the windshield,
Making them burn like orange stars.
Rolling constellations
Dribbled down the sloped glass heavens,
Forming pools of dying light.

He saw tracks of fallen star-drops
Streak in shadow across the dashboard,
And he waited for a sign,
Wondering what was written in the stars,
Something had to change.

But nothing spoke,
And rivulets of drizzled stardust
Reflected on his temples,
Making him wish he could cry,
Making him grieve the numbness of his eyes.

Some deep nebulous gloom
Refused to shrink into a star
That could perhaps trace the lines
Of his aching face
Or at least become the unwept sparkle in his eye.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
No one wonders what you are.
We have other things to wonder about
Because when it rains, it pours,
And when it rains stars, it pours galaxies.

October 23, 2015

Ocean Drops

Salty currents of time grind away at our spirits,
And the fathoms beneath fathoms of sweet dishonesty,
Of fondly misheard promises,
Of desperately misremembered smiles,
Fill our vast capacities for affirmation
Without rendering a drop
To our parched aches for love.

And the drops that do assuage our emptiness,
Falling light from frugal heaven,
Taste pure and rare
Behind our unmet lips.

But the rain fuses eagerly with the tide,
The salt and heavy cloud swirl together unchecked,
And the fog trickles through our hungry ears,
Unable to writhe into any shape
Other than the drops that crouch behind our eyes,
More dismissive than patient.

However,
Do not think a drop can betray the course of an ocean,
But savor it for its own worth.

September 16, 2015

We Children of Daydreams

Leave us not stranded,
We children of the sea,
On barren flats or windswept shores,
By slopes or haggard trees.
The swelling dunes, the aching plain,
The furthest crags of rock
Cannot swell and ache as we,
The ocean’s rolling flock.

Leave us not swaying,
We children of the earth,
On distant waves or briny coves,
Over fathoms or in surf.
The bitter depths, the biting gulfs,
Cannot bear our feet;
We long to walk the untried shores
And tread untrodden fields.

Leave us not marooned,
We children of the sky,
On stinging rock or foamy crests,
In dirt or salty tide.
Let us glide above the cloud,
Where birds would quake to go,
And soar through gilded sun-born rays
Toward starry peaks untold.

Leave me not entrapped
In earth or sky or sea,
But loose my spirit from my will
And set its daydreams free.

August 17, 2015

Embers

Promises are dangerous like fire, he thought. Once you start one, you have to see it through. Otherwise it might rage unchecked. It might consume you instead of keep you warm.

He had flame inside him. It was scorching his insides. He needed to set something ablaze. But he was frightened by the flames. He knew how they could burn.

Once when he was boarding the subway, he saw a girl. And he saw a glow in her eyes. The soft glow you see from a campfire or a candle. He walked toward the train. She stepped off it. They glanced at each other for a moment. You might say sparks flew.

All the unwhispered promises charring the corners of his lips.

All the unheard promises searing her ears.

They walked past each other. Maybe it was for the best. Probably nothing could have happened anyway.

But sometimes you want more than embers on a cold night.

June 18, 2015

Flood of Consciousness

The boy - or was he a man? - was leaning against a street lamp with a cigarette positioned carelessly in the corner of his mouth, letting it burn as he gazed off toward nothing. Smoke drifted idly up and dissipated in the tangerine glow. His eyes were focused on some sightless dimension. Then, as the street lamp flickered a single time, there pierced through his mind a moment’s worth of blistering thought, here transcribed.

***

I always thought I would die young I never thought however that my youth would die when I was not yet old I’d like to be alone for a while I remember him saying and he never stopped for more than a day again

He was always walking always away always toward somewhere else I wish I could walk like that I wish I could escape from meaningless nothing into some greater meaningless nothing I wish my life was a series of vignettes in foreign places with foreign people and foreign truth but truth is always familiar why

Because what if those foreign people are the sides of your personality the breathing facets of a flesh and blood diamond a consciousness sentenced to solitude with some sides battered dark and some glimmering next to light and only one visible at once

He was a heart always in motion always replenishing always alive but I am a hand calloused and worn with fingers numb from holding on too tightly I am not brave I am not brave enough to live I am just too cowardly to lose my own life because everyone everyone has a name a color I have no name no color

If our souls were bare I think they would fit together but we are clothed in this wolf skin these carnival masks this never never ending bullshit

What will I look like when I am old wrinkled and tempered and wrestled by age with lines on my face like lines in a torn and yellow book do not let the words of that book escape through your mouth do not paint them with your tongue with the false colors of your mind that guard your dignity with their hue do not let the words form letters let them remain ideas shapeless pictures beautiful sensations unable to be shared

It doesn’t make sense but what does it’s not perfect but what is

Driving driving remembering the past the present the future the people you love the feelings you will never share and you can no longer perceive the division between mountain and cloud instead you see some far off kingdom born of a hundred rainy daydreams old and sunlit a forest growing from ancient pages ancient trunks growing from worn paper bark encased veins rushing with ink some northern country unattainable by foot aching aching aching to join the stars

Her her we were together lying in streams of dying sunshine ripples of light from elsewhere pouring into the memory worn spaces of our eyes we were in eastern mountains in daydream in hope in distant memory but these words are tainted the painter cannot paint with colors that exist only elsewhere and in her eyes

She is my absolution

God damn you said his reflection and then he walked and walked and never stopped and maybe someday I will follow him maybe someday I will do the same but for now I let my reflection do the talking talk talk talk I hate over and over and over and clean me purge me wash me of my sins and

***

Then, for a moment, everything was clear, and he heard the softest rain falling through the trees.

February 11, 2015

Contradiction of Contradiction

Can you untangle the fibers
That twist and intertwine,
That overlap and mask each other,
Pressing against bone and rushing vein
To form your mind?

Even as you pretend to discount them,
The things you feel deep in your gut,
The things that wait beneath your thoughts
And grant solace to your frustrated acceptance
And subtly prophesy the incarnation of themselves—
These things too will fade.

When ignorance becomes a comfort,
And you strike out against sense,
Welcome the skull that restrains your mind
And the mind that restrains your soul
But do not abandon pursuit.
The triumph of contradiction
Is a contradiction in itself.

February 6, 2015

Light from Dark

During the day,
The city is all rushing bodies,
Ceaseless whispers,
An assortment of lives streaming together,
Spilling over each other,
Flooding the streets
With an urgent vitality. 

Faces without names
Crowd into the subway train,
Names without faces
Glance at you from pages and signs.
Humanity is restless, tireless,
A feverish burst of energy
Imprisoned by flesh and cloth and lipstick
And the cruel tick-tock of a thousand watches. 

Beneath the city’s asphalt skin
Something low and old and ominous,
Some death knell,
Rings.
But the telephones ring louder,
Echoing through the labyrinthian veins of cubicles
In the city’s concrete atriums.

During the night,
The city is softer, friendlier.
Antique memories pace
In empty buildings,
Letting the streetlight melt
Through the windows
To reflect on their ghostly eyes.

The shadows of the people
Who have walked the now-abandoned halls
Gather in the corners,
Beneath the windows,
Sheltered from
The blinding industrial glow.

Crawl into the shadows,
Lie by the memories,
Feel safe.
Alone, resting, tiring,
Momentarily freed from
The cold metal hands
Of a thousand clocks,
The cold metal peals
Of a thousand church bells.

February 1, 2015

An Unaccompanied House

An unaccompanied house.
Nothing but dark grass,
Darker clouds, withered air
Around.

But the house is warm,
Full of breath and voice,
Full of tender memory
Wrapped in old blankets,
Trapped in the soft glow of lightbulbs
And the stacks of dogeared books.

The rooms are small,
The doors are locked,
The walls keep out the cold shadows of night
And keep in the warm shadows of people.

I stand outside,
Looking in.

I would smile once more
To see one more breath
On the breathless air.