we are december

while we were away,

winter happened.

 

i came home to fresh

frost on the grass.

 

we share this set of days,

this slow creep toward

 

the center of the snow

globe maze. at any moment,

 

a child’s hand can scoop

up the glass and shake us into

 

oblivion. her delight is

our delay. in the falling

 

flurries, i find you: wrapped

in your mother’s red scarf—

 

holding the hand of time.

we are the child, the snow,

 

the mother, the scarf;

we are december.

 

 

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ride

there you are

up on the north hill.

 

i can see you

through the veil,

 

embarking on our

beautiful horse.

 

we share that

mustang machine;

 

we groom her,

we love her,

 

we feel her power

under and through us.

 

we take her down

the same paths:

 

looping in, around,

up, between.

 

but we can never ride

her at the same time.

 

across the time-miles,

 

i feel you in the saddle,

in the reins, in the hard

 

handle of the brush as

i bring her to a soft shine.

 

i manifest you in the

flowing grass, the

 

wild wind, the

impeccable trees.

 

we move seamlessly

through the falling leaves

 

as if coated with fluid.

 

with each ride

we lift the scrim

 

a bit more

to see within;

 

we speak our

vision into being.

hush and hum

the poem is a

prayer

 

you write all alone

in your closet.

 

it fights

you;

 

it demands

a blessing

 

from the

shit.

 

inside time’s

attenuated tip,

 

you wrestle

with the

 

wooden chest

of your heart:

 

all the

kindling,

 

the hush

and hum,

 

the red

sharp,

 

the perfect

death.

 

deeper still,

you move

 

through the

electric blue

 

darkness, the

great lost-ness,

 

a tiny sign of life

hunting another.

 

you see the

silver sparks;

 

they brush up

against you—

 

but you cannot

feel them.

 

you are here

but not here.

 

you remember

your father saying

 

every thing is

going to be okay

 

with his ragged

breath and big

 

chemo eyes.

even then,

 

on the edge

of death,

 

he was full of

hills and hopes.

 

now, the

big banyan

 

and creeks and

deer and wolves

 

tell you: it is time

to move into your

 

own life. it is time

to stop inhabiting

 

family history,

family religion,

 

family memory.

put whiskey in

 

your coffee and go

out into the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the opposite of time

there are no synonyms for

you; you are one of a

 

kind. in my dreams, it is

so clear: what i want.

 

it is the meeting of

body and mind.

 

my mind does not

leave my body; she

 

takes her along,

loves her the whole

 

stay. being asleep

is the real awake:

 

the opposite of time.

 

while not asleep,

i’m in my own way.

 

i hold my blueberry coffee;

i stand in the hospital corridor

 

with my throat shut. the

sickness perseverates

 

in the mouth, jaw,

throat, chest, gut;

 

the non-words

in duress.

 

truth

is terror—

 

a forever

pain.

 

but in dreams,

it is made into

 

beauty: alchemy

as it should be.

 

i go to sleep under

a November tree,

 

between the

bright carpet

 

and brighter

hangings, and

 

meet you there.

real heroes

a guy named barry at cvs keeps

calling me love, looks at my id and says,

 

don’t worry; you still look good.

i know he’s messing with me, but i

 

just want to get my wine and toilet

paper and go home. it’s the same

 

guy that tried messing with my girl

last week. i feel like i should make a

 

scene, but i don’t. i think the words

me too as i angrily shift away.

 

religion claims to save you from

the abyss, but religion is the abyss.

 

thank the gods for the creatives;

oh how we need the creatives.

 

we came out of the beautiful black

water—wet and fresh and squeaking:

 

a bull’s eye in the midst of the

mess. babies don’t have to care.

 

years later, i’m wearing my suit of

wet clay; i’m swinging my rudder

 

to wide extremes across a wide sea.

at the end of the journey, it’s just me.

 

i can feel the light shedding;

i can feel the need to flee.

 

real heroes don’t

feel like heroes

 

 

we will have words

there’s no room in my life

for new men; because the old

 

ones keep creeping in.

at night, they get the lay

 

of the land. still, after all

this time—they inhabit the

 

dreams of both body and

mind. every now and then

 

a new man will arrive on

the scene: in real life.

 

a good man. a man who

makes me feel alive.

 

we will have words;

so help me god.

 

we will have a new life,

a new touch, a clean rain.

 

and i will be reminded:

you are not your pain.

each time you get better

i will never forget what it feels like to fall

in love—because i feel it every year at this

 

time: the deep stillness; the wind; the wait;

the open sky; the crucible of cooler air, shifting

 

leaves, things coming out of the cracks to play.

it’s a final act; you can feel the beauty in the

 

urgency. it’s everything you’ve trained for—

happening in these few months—at a breath-

 

taking pace: the sugar build, the fullness,

the vivid colors, the dance;    the fall; a giant

 

hinge turning in a door as you watch it open,

smile, take a huge breath, and then close.

 

in those precious moments, everything

tastes better; everything feels brighter;

 

music sounds better; you feel lighter.

but everything in this life is temporal:

 

everything changes, everything dies.

even in the middle of your love, your

 

cells are singing right before their final sigh.

each time you get better at saying goodbye.