Conversation (poem)

Conversation

There’s a camera in my soul,
you told me over Chinese and
too many bottles of wine.
It records the bad things I do,
and God will watch the film when I die.

What about the good things?
I asked, more concerned about
the leftovers than your immortal soul.
You smiled and touched my cheek.
Sweet boy, you said softly.

Later, we stumbled into bed
and told jokes in the dark until
you fell asleep, breathing deep
and slow, like the rhythm of a dark
ocean I knew one day would drown me.

I Bloom Darkly (poem)

I bloom darkly at your words.

Such nice things you have
on your tongue, silver and
gold that sink like liquid into the
mouths of my hungry children–

these thoughts are my children,
you see, the flesh has all but
abandoned me for better coasts
and cleaner air and heavier gravity–

but in this holy space of darkness,
petals like forgiveness float in the
breezes of memory where we walked
slowly together after a sad day

and searched all night for your fear.

The Pretend River Flatters Me, Plots My Demise (poem)

I’m deeply distrustful, and often terrified of, water.

The Pretend River Flatters Me, Plots My Demise

“Did you think of me as someone handsome?”
I asked, “someone capable, strong, with vibrant eyes,
quick, sure smiles, and hardy handshakes?”

“I certainly do,” Old Man River said and winked,
its banks rife with flowers and redolent with miracles,
its rocks glittering under a made-for-TV sunset.

“I competed in the Depressive Olympics,” I said, “and I medaled
in Free-Floating Anxiety and Abandonment Issues.
When they played the national dirge, I hid.”

“That’s the saddest thing I’ve heard,” Old Man River said.
and I know from sad. People dump their tears in me.
I’m more salt than freshwater at this point, did you know that?

“I often wring myself out like a murderer who regrets killing,”
I told Old Man River (which was masquerading…it was actually
just a creek with a over-sized ego and a penchant for flooding).

“You’re a golden man, and I’m deeply in love with you,”
the pretend river sang, but I didn’t believe one gurgling word,
because water lies, and it waits for the right moment to drown us.

About Me (poem)

I should use this as my writer’s bio.

About Me

I’m scared of leaves on Sunday,
and egg whites chastise me often.

There is exotic fruit in my backyard,
which is an unknown planet.

I made of video of my time
in the womb, but it did not go viral.

My core body temperature
is hotter than your wife.

I can’t understand colors,
so I call everything I see black.

Have You Ever Been to the Grave? (freewriting)

I’ve been on a creative writing break for about two months now. I didn’t plan to take a break, but I’m glad I did. Doing so frees up my creativity so I can write more music…it turns out I have a hard time spending energy on both pursuits. I’m sure the pendulum will swing the other way in time.

I still engage in freewriting periodically, as is my wont. I usually go back through it to find a theme or a few lines for the beginning of a poem. I’m not sure if there’s anything here worth saving, but it struck me as interesting nonetheless:

Do you ever want to speak about the funeral? No. Of course not because you were all, “Uh, I can’t stand dead people!” and then you went somewhere and got drunk. Do you think it was easy for any of us? The rest of us had to sit there and take it, deal with our pain. We had to listen to that idiotic preacher spin a story about a man I never knew existed. It sure as hell wasn’t our father, which you know if you’d bothered to stick around.

Have you even been to the grave? God, you’re so disappointing. You have some pair of balls showing up here and expecting me to forgive you. If I start forgiving you for this, where does it stop? Am I supposed to forgive you for everything? Is that how forgiveness works? Is there some kind of statute of limitations on forgiveness, like a certain number of crows that are allowed to gather before they officially become a murder? Don’t look at me like that. Jesus. I’m making perfect sense, but you don’t understand anything because you’re so focused on yourself. If there’s a god in heaven, which is highly suspect, he doesn’t care anything about you. You were a tragic mistake, a slip of the pen, a scribble in the corner, an accidental union of chromosomes that somehow managed to make it out of the womb and draw breath. If I could go back in time, I’d kill every single one of your ancestors.

Well then. (ahem)

Regret (poem)

I’ve been looking through old journals lately and found the first draft of the poem below. I thought I’d posted it before, but it seems I didn’t.

Regret

I lie to my atoms,
telling every electron
that you’re still close,
not a million stars away.
Fooling my system is easy,

but I’m still hungry for your pain,
the sky of confusion in your eyes,
the quiet hurt on your tongue.

If you slept with me again,
you’d find my angles and lines
are knives ready for cutting,
my first blood ballet.

But you’re kind: you’d never
sell me to the Traveling People
who would replace my fluids
with bitter paste so I would never
understand water again.

Come back to me,
my mysterious cloud.
Let us eat blackness together.

Comparing Hands (poem)

I’ve been on a writing break since around Christmas and am just now easing back into daily writing, editing, and testing the creative waters. Instead of writing, I’ve been focusing on composing, studying music theory, and learning how to tune a piano. I’m hoping to turn the latter into a career; I’m done with traditional classroom teaching, both on the public and college level. 19 years was enough. I’m still teaching English to Chinese students online, but that doesn’t feel like teaching at all…it’s more like encouraging.

Anyway, here’s my first poem of 2019. 

Comparing Hands

You tell me fix my hands, like they’re broken,
as if they’re useless stems I just happened
to be born with, not finely-tuned instruments
for giving love, back-rubs, applying pressure,
or anointing, whichever the situation calls for.

You pretend your hands are perfect when, in truth,
they’ve written reams and reams of lies,
and still you brag that they helped set the stars,
soothed the earth’s waters until they calmed,
the record of your work preserved for heaven’s sake,

to make the angels scratch their luminous heads
and wonder how a creature such as yourself merited
favor, taking secrets bets on who you slept with,
which principality or power you blew to in order
to win cosmic favor, to be the fairest in all the land,

and all that shit that fills fairy tales…but this is life
on life’s terms, the hard and the harder, the blood
and the eye that sees the blood, the scream and the ear
that hears the scream, and all the while you doze
in a patch of sun, the world burning down around you.