And we’re the gates of Stonehenge.
Who knows why we’re here
or how we got to where we are
but we’ll last for goddamn eternity.
There’s a sort of sheen,
belonging lends to its subjects.
They have bright eyes and pink cheeks
and they never fold up in on themselves
like cubes collapsing into space.
1, 2, 3,
Lost things become flat
and then they slip into the aether,
more beautiful for having once been here,
but now vanished.
We’ll never learn
to love what we have because
loss is the birthplace of love.
We have roots
that are deeper and more intricate
than our polished broadleaves
and smooth bark.
Under each facade
of grainy perfection
truth that is only ever
underground and twisted.
Weight is just gravity pulling you down
and the more of you there is
the heavier you grow
and that’s why when we’re children
we can still fly.
Am I making sense?
I write when I’m lonely
so I don’t accidentally forget
They promised there’d be snow falling
outside my window
but all that’s there
is the crusted-over remains
of last week’s flurry
and that’s how you make a metaphor.
When I pull into the driveway
after work, in the dark,
my headlights pick up tracks.
They’re hoof steps or fox paths
unless I draw close
and they’re only prints
from the neighbor’s dog.
There’s magic in mystery
and a bitter taste
to sated curiosity.
when I closed my eyes,
instead of black I saw a smokescreen
and for a moment I was certain
if I opened them back up
I’d never see again.
My eyes still find
silhouettes of monsters in the dark
but I haven’t the sense
to be afraid anymore.
You’re floating in your own little world
and we’re all in bubbles
drifting about and praying we don’t pop
but can’t you pause for a moment
to look through that soapy barrier
and see that beyond that
rounded rainbow shimmer
we’re all in pain
and you are the center of a sphere
but you are not the center of the universe.
Your hurt does not eclipse all hurt
and our soothing words
aren’t balm for our own battle scars.
You walk so carelessly
on the dreams of others
their fallen bodies stepping stones
to a destination we should be humbled
to help you reach.
I want to ease your fears,
allay your grief,
but I wish as I spoke
you might take your focus off
that hazy spot in the distance
as if you’re a soap opera star
delivering lines beyond the camera
and notice I am bleeding out,
“Is there anything I can do for that?”
We’re writing about real things
and we’re talking about sadness
and that hollow pit in your stomach that grows and grows and grows
till it feels like you might collapse in on yourself
till it feels like you’re a 2D person,
you are made of paper,
you are tearable
and quickly swept away by things
and the soft breathing of strangers
who have fallen asleep in your bed.
You are stretched
and your center
is a vortex
and a void
that sucks in everything within
its gravitational pull
yet somehow reveals only
Your organs never see the light of day.
From birth to death
if all goes according to plan
your heart beats in
a wet black cavity
and all your blood
which makes it to the surface
which catches the sunlight
is expelled from your body
like the heretic
exiled from his place of birth,
its unpaved paths and thatched rooftops
fading in the sunset
as he takes all he can carry on his shoulders
and looks back, eyes filled with longing, just one last time.
And am I hoping for some sort of absolution
beyond that next hillside,
or the chance to be overtaken by
drugs or sex or strong drinks
instead of paralyzed by heavy eyelids
and heavy limbs
and a weighed-down mind
which operates on indifference
and thrives on the dispersion of emotion
except for the one that gnaws at your belly,
the very root of the evil
that cannot be numbed by
aloprams or oxetines,
that appears to sleep
but rears its ugly head like a mange-ridden lion
when it is least expected
and thought to have become myth
(or worst of all an elaborate lie)
that never existed at all.
Breathe in, breathe out,
exhale what is dark
and inhale what is good,
break free from your chains of suffering;
if only, bodhisattva,
things could be that simple.
I want to run like mule deer
and swim like sailfish
but I’ve never wished to fly
because all that emptiness between you and the ground
and the realization that world is so much bigger
than you ever dreamed
is nothing short of terrible.
Birds will fly and
I will run,
hooves stamping trails into pine needle forests
and broadleaf-strewn carpets
and the dust will swirl about my feet
and tree trunks will flash by
in dizzying shapes and colors as I move
too quickly to be caught by even my own thoughts
which seek to tie me down.
If only I keep running
they cannot tie me down.
Disclaimer: Literally nothing about this poem has anything to do with me or anyone I know, so I honestly don’t know where it came from. But I like it!
The heat of
the brick oven in our local pizza place
the hand warmers we stuffed in our mittens and socks and hats and jackets in the winter of ’08
the beach bonfire where our lungs filled and sputtered with smoke and empty beer cans made the night sky blurry
rubbing two hands together on those precipice nights when summer became fall and the frost froze outlines of dead leaves and wove its way into our blood
our exchanged looks in the corners of confined spaces
the habaneros in our tomato soup
the watery salt-trails along your cheek mapped like the Oregon Trail
the burning flushing stinging heat of the words you left on that crisp, flattened note
I meant to throw in the fire
but I hung it up on the clothesline in winter
and let the cold do the work instead.
The curves like burgeoning mountains struggling to grasp new heights,
like a saddle swung sideways,
pouches fighting in awkward lumps against fabric meant
to lay smooth and flat.
Like even savannahs interrupted by
the clamoring of fleshy hills
that ruin the view from baobab to horizon
with round, bulbous objects
that shatter the sharpness of a geometric plane.
There is nothing beautiful about mountains.