poetry

The Spirit Prints No Timetable

Someone else
once described poetry
as the practiced revelation
of subjects ordinarily marked
for concealment, but no one
buys it so why bother
sourcing the quote. “It” must be
ok for me to steal, I excuse myself.
Time and time again
I excuse myself.

Let’s say
for the sake of shaky
foreshadowing that the door
to everything I didn’t do in life
is straight across
the footworn hall from everything
I did—that The Did and The Didn’t are
lifelong neighbors, occasionally
getting each other’s mail, riding
the same elevator or climbing
the same stairs, walking
the same corridors and sidewalks, passing in
the same streets, noticing
one another, exchanging
pleasantries perhaps, talking
about the weather
since the weather
is revelation but you don’t have
to take sides. This is the way
things are, they each announce
once the doors close behind them, so
might as well have a little sneaking
peering peek through the keyhole
at what the market will bear, actual
and imagined.

When I
finally saw the sun, it was
far more _____ than it had
ever been in crayon. Condemned
to see the particulars, I’ll think
about the rest of my life
later because tonight my steps
for once feel firm across
the wood floor with its
creaks and cracks, a substantiation
that inspires me in a flash
of poetism to affect a posture
of gracefully uncertain, fatigued
defiance—this is everything I have
left at night as sleep awaits.

Sleep awaits
and choice has brought us
here, I think, the actual stupidly
collapsed in a corner after banging
on the walls all day
because the imagined isn’t across
the hall at all, he’s next door
carousing, suffering, enjoying, lamenting,
enduring his own facts with
the volume up too high. Time and
again
in the midsts of revelation and
concealment
and it’s here, back to sleep, done
in action and coming undone
in speech as I playfully murmur some
solipsisms about having met most
of the people I could’ve been.


Originally published on Art & Insolence.

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Standard
poetry, prosetry

fading out under the ashes of the night

For the child, time stretches out immeasurably in all directions, and it’s as if nothing more is needed than unencompassed possibility. A little blonde girl walking down the sidewalk with her father makes eye contact with me as I sit myself down in the couch by the window in the deepening sunset evening to read. She gives me the warmest little girl smile and a friendly wave as if fanning simple kindness my way through thick summer air and I hear her say “the neighbor” to her dad over the cicadas’ divertimento, without hearing what came from him. Did she come from him? I wonder about her future, and, in doing so, think back to what was once mine and I remember the way it looked from the interior, seemingly infinitesimal like looking up at stars projected on the dome of a planetarium. For some of us, the ceiling is just another direction. For others, it’s a destination.

My friend has been dead for six years though I only found out today and I’m not at all sure what kind of friend that makes me but I am certain we once shared dreams like young friends do of being more than where we came from. Some nights are defined by lack. Some nights are just thoughts. Some nights are like tonight.

Standard
life, poetry

All Roads Lead To Seven Sisters (2)

All Roads Lead To Seven Sisters (1)

(2)

I will be reborn
several times in my life.
I will be many different people
and wear many different faces
and I will get a thousand chances
to be better:
I will even take some of them —
when I’m being brave, I will pick
my chances like cherries,
roll them between my fingers,
undertake inspection for any imperfections,
and then (once I know that
the chance is a goodun)
urgently devour the possibilities
that dwell within the skin
and try to be better —
better at this business of living.
But other times,
when I am feeling weak
and tired from the fight,
I will gorge on the ugly ones:
I’ll wear the juice of those cherry-chances
like lipstick, let all the wasted opportunities drip
down my chin, and spit
out the pips and, knowing that I’ve
missed a chance to be better,
just try my best
to not to get any worse.

Standard
prosetry

Put Your Heart in the Hands of a Cynic

You’re a marvelous being, he says to her, eyes squinting for a better view behind the smudgy rose-colored lenses of his spectacles, common sense folded neatly on the white linen tablecloth beside the sweating half-empty/full water carafe as he reclines in a slight wicker chair on a warm, impressionistic day outside the café he’s only just imagined could be the setting of a turning point in a life story called I Missed the Good Stuff.

Possibility isn’t just enough, it’s all.

Standard
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.

Standard