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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

we are always building

i miss the feeling of shaking

from something other than

 

anger, other than fear. i go

to my window and look for the

 

little flowers of hope. they are

every where; fragments amid

 

very long sentences: the swallow

tail, the barn swallow, the migrating

 

monarch. your energy goes where it’s

needed; there, it meets the energy it needs.

 

fire is friction.

imagine these are real:

 

a tiny wild child on your knee,

a tired dictator on the other, the

 

view of your own face from the

inside; they are all in the arena

 

with you: daring greatly.

we are always building: bridges,

 

portals, spirals, spaceships—

without knowing. all the

 

water droplets are being

summoned into one

 

stream, here at the

intersection of all things.

 

 

i think i missed you

we wake

to create;

 

we carry some-

thing from the

 

night: thick

on us, in us—

 

a thousand stories deep

as the crow flies.

 

we were meant

to meet there,

 

you and i—

but

 

i think i

missed you.

 

i think we are

living the before.

 

—or—

 

this is my body,

broken for you,

 

like in the

hereafter.

 

we are here

to make some-

 

thing new:

but we know

 

it has all been done

under the heavy static

 

of sun. we traverse the

taverns, ear to the ground

 

for a philistine,

a dervish,

 

something royal

to stir us up.

 

we become the swine

digging in the pearls;

 

it is our

communion.

 

we sit on the dock

and wait; we believe

 

something is on its

way—a ship, a revolution,

 

a stay; a drunken glacier

swaying toward us with glee:

 

to allay our fears, our need,

our repeat existence.

ii.

the view from in here:

the curves, colors, corners—

 

forming the anchorage of

you. the angled wood running

 

down hallways, dreaming of

being trees in a time before

 

scarcity. she didn’t want to grow,

to move, to change; she knew:

 

something is wrong. she crept into

the wall and fashioned herself in-

 

to a knot: good for the slaying.

from beyond she is still saying:

 

throw me a line. it continues

to feed our gibbous infamy.

of what could not

your whole body lied

to me, for years. and

 

now, my whole body

lies in the quiet, lies in

 

the darkness, lies at

dinner parties—especially

 

because it doesn’t go

to dinner parties: it

 

lies alone in the cool

blue din of the tele-

 

vision; thinking of the

sun on the lake, on the

 

rich red paint, of what

could not have been.