poetry, prosetry

just deserts

If deserving matters then it must be a matter of not anti- but non-matter like aridity and openness and that’s all, starting there in minimal sparse-seeming but full life teeming and lit up neon sun subtle as whispered nothings meaning everything glowing warm in deep dark spaces after sunset words, following and preceding, follow and precede and sometimes most times in between persisting, arid and open, persisting to subsist and subsisting to persist sometimes barely more than barely, sometimes feeling only clinging for dear full life, at times clinging to and at others tumble-blown across parched surfaces but nevertheless delved deep with élan, don’t forget, delved deep and diving into mirage pools like we’re alive and barely there, really, ever, only sometimes passing through on no name horses, slow and sun-drenched and soul-scorching and feeling fooled for having hung hopes on lucky herradura, hopes that rain will come and come down and pour and run into all the cracks and ravines on time lapse like science and there’s nothing to do but slow down and soak up, soak in to exquisite, raw in between, never all but most, at least some, almost free from before and after, and at least we have that, at least, that to almost look forward to, at least at last, looking through heat wave distortions at far-off mountain horizons like backdrops dropped in to place us, to locate, offering a silent reference reminder that time thieves each seemingly motionless, progressless step toward away and stakes are high and rising, they say, with each moment traversing the sublime, teeming wasteland, they say, as if there’s a course or a goal in mind and the steps count but no matter, no matter that each moment of precede and follow might be the last in between, the last steps out away down and around where the jackalopes roam and electric desert butterflies flutter

out where eyes shutter snap capture dichotomies seen felt known in roam and flutter, sun to one side, clouds to the other and no idea what’s next for nom de plume I visible in cracked mirror and strung together, figurative-like like these figures of cacti and coyotes as silhouetted and representational as I am.

The desert we deserve—sounds clean-slated and Cartesian, something as if something for the first time something and you do, are, easing in and that’s why we’ve been found in the midst of the rainy downpour deserving desert season,

that’s why thunder and lightning strikes,

that’s why flash floods and grey-black skies

hopeful and daunting, promising something, promising relief and replenish, promising something big because you didn’t try to earn it and it just is just like you, rolling through, alluring lonesome you of the always undone and unfolding in between but not lonely, never truly but just meandering along beautiful and on occasion dashing for the cover of daydreams or standing in a swoon for exposed sky-watchings while I try to speak through storms we fully secretly believe we’ve caused, remembering storms I’ve been and bringing, been and bringing but no longer being, no longer being brought but just bringing and bringing everything

and I know I deserve—

but what?

The chance, right?

The chance, yes, because chance is all there is, mostly, the chance of the good bad everything in between with all its electric energetics behind it, coursing and moving and holding on for rainy seasons like these and I defy those who tell me it can’t be lived this way like deep desert crossings under storms rolling with pen name You joining me in visions of oases and real mirage mood pools for full life feeling, arid and open but soaking and soaking, soaking up here today and there tomorrow and all time felt in flutterbies and shutter-flies captured caught and for the time being I feel I’m no longer catching the heat of the devil’s kiss like I earned it.

And the grey-black and flashes and rumbles closer getting closer and the heavens part and down it all comes, with you.

 


This was written at the end of July 2016, published on Art & Insolence.

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poetry

twelve lines plus one

If I sit down now I’ll never get up again and then we’ll never know.

If we never know we’ll never go.

I know.

(This isn’t what I came for, this isn’t what I need.)

Well now we’re settled in.

Yes we’re settled in again.

Again.

That old woman across the way mops her bedroom floor in her nightgown each morning.

You say settled in, I say emptied out. And the clock overtakes us all.

Maybe she’s cleaning up whatever comes out of the woodwork.

Your grip is slipping again isn’t it.

We’ll never go.

I know.


Originally published a long time ago on Art & Insolence where I usually hang out. Bringing it back because it’s been on my mind lately.

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prosetry

Flights

Rode the elevator up to the 20th floor from somewhere in the middle, the doors parted and I stepped out into a field of eyes and a sea of sound, a small podium before me like a restaurant check in, and they looked at me and I knew it was wrong, knew the 20th wasn’t the top, afraid it might be where I belong.

The black-suited man at the podium informed me of where I was before I made my fifth step forward and I heard the doors roll softly closed behind me, dreading the around turn coming that’d leave my back alone by itself to hold their stares, their thoughts thinking “here is yet another” in cacophonic unison like some discombobulated orchestra.

But I did, I turned toward the brass walls of the elevator bank, shimmering, reflecting that distorted roomful of eyes and I did my best Houdini and closed mine and pressed the bottom button like it dispensed nonchalance but all it did was illuminate.

A few silent toe-tapping seconds later the carriage came down and the walls consumed its doors and inside stood a man, generically older, and two women, younger than he but not springly and who I realized were not together as I got on and pressed the round plastic “1” button with greater firmness than I felt, glancing at him, glancing at them, thinking what accidents do befall us in elevators when the doors close.

And in I step and close they do and down the elevator starts and the down start turns to what feels like a fall, smooth and gliding, and I wonder when we’ll hit and what will break first and why they seemed so distracted, so consumed, continuing their piecemeal stranger exchange of looks and slight eyebrow shrugs and effortful non-engagement as he said

“men are more romantic than women, I know it” and he looks at me for confirmation like I knew he would before he did and the she against the back wall of the falling box forces out an “I don’t know about that” in the most non-committal manner imaginable, like a kid put on the spot by other kids she likes about something she doesn’t, or like a grown woman cornered in an elevator and uncertain about an older man’s burgeoning chauvinism, feeling for shreds of history or experience in his sentiment, abstaining from anything further or firmer and he smiles with only lips, cheeks, and

eyes and says “oh I do, I know, right?” and back at me. Right? but no, I shrug, joining the pensive chorus, smiling a little, saying nothing, releasing his gaze. No, I don’t know what you’re getting at, sir, or where this came from or what you mean or why but I do wonder,

I just got on this elevator, just got in here with you three strangers, just joined this fall, and I can see she wishes that the doors will soon open and we can all get out and go our separate ways and I know somewhere inside me despite everything, despite rises and falls and soul and spirit and passing strangers and idle fancies and prejudgments I know I do love the world and this life and

even those eyes back upstairs and these strangers and this awkward moment and this drop, this too-fast but nevertheless controlled descent, a few kilos of friction and resistance short of perfect freefall, and we finally decelerate like some mischievous deity hit the brakes and I cringe instinctively and brace myself out of

well-practiced fear of long drops and the dark things at the bottom as the elevator slows hard and stops soft and the doors open and I see that I’m in fact alive, still alive, again alive, and here, more alive in some unknown way than I ever thought I knew before.

We’ve stopped unevenly, though, confirming all my suspicions of transcendence, stopped a step or so above the ground floor and he gets out without offering a hand or a farewell to anyone and I look at them and say, relieved by all this fallibility, all this imperfection, “If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the drop to the bottom is lined with misperceptions”

and they smile and shrug a little less uncomfortably, knowing I mean no harm though I want to shake them by the shoulders and point and say “there’s light outside it’s bright outside!” but all I do is help them down to pick up the slack he left behind and after helping walk away on my way to nowhere, maybe everywhere, for that matter, I imagine, in this city,

and head through the brass- and mirror-lined marble and tile foyer and push through the revolving doors and step out into the rest of life and the first distinct sound I hear amid the din once I’ve maneuvered through traffic to the wide busy anonymizing sidewalk across the street there beside the lush garden park and short stone colonnade wall is one man saying to another that the fish has no knowledge of the water, none whatsoever.

If they only knew, I thought, shaking my head, and walked on, thinking I did, emboldened by this newfound semblance of freedom, imagining who’d drown first.

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