Table of Contents 2
Title Poem. 5
Every while in once, 7
Story strains 8
The Peddler 9
When The Rich Are Dying And Buy Organs From Nowhere 10
How You are Responsible 11
Plague/Cure Dilemmas 12
hands intertwined 15
Souls revealed by art cascades 17
Sing a song of blue 18
Encountering a soulmate 20
Memory boycott 21
Of the sea 22
Mr. Summertime Love 24
Ten pieces are missing 25
If you can own a season, 26
A lover who failed 28
July 17th 29
Case study: A Happy Life 32
City lights 33
It is out of the question 34
Containment theories 38
trickle, hurricane, and a sweeping of the curtains 39
Genocide and other such dark things 40
drifting souls collide 41
the movement of the stagnant people 42
Shadows of someone else’s joy 43
Novice errors 44
casually bursting into flames 45
rabid images running loose in the city 46
Register the . . . 47
The light has many forms 49
Wars inside 51
whisper this 52
Sketching the model 55
The young will be old, too. 56
costs (unintentional?) 57
Observations in Chicago 58
The habit of breathing 60
Fiction meets Bach 61
Ninth and Rosewood 62
Recognition of needing 63
Who wins in this petty war? 65
Heart rebellions 66
Villains and Lovers, Madmen and Clowns
There is texture where you least expect it,
textured eyes running over textured thoughts,
running over rabbits on the pavement.
Sometimes there are people riding bikes
with large carts of ice cream hinged to the back
explaining which is most flavorful,
to the weary passer-biers.
Chocolate, strawberry, vanilla
Selling ice cream to the tourists
while they casually examine the graves in the cemetery,
Poppies, peonies, carnations.
Are you the only one,
who walks slowly when you are cold,
chewing on your lips
tumbling around champagne on your tongue
conscious of the dancing of air?
Is this enough? Are you satisfied with this?
Does your life surprise, are there
any more twists? Any more secret plots to be discovered --
villains and lovers,
madmen and clowns?
1. a wicked or malevolent person
2. (in a novel, play, film, etc.) the main evil character and antagonist to the hero
3. Often jocular a mischievous person; rogue
4. a criminal
Every while in once,
They insist on a siege.
Throwing the faces and striking the wise,
Over the boughs and into the seas.
Churning of words and wicked prowess,
Flaunting the everlasting with so little taste,
The masses decide the air is not sparking with
enough strains of gossip and flair.
Gypsies pound impatiently on corner doors.
Tarnished half-souls desperately try to collect
And make one identifiable whole.
Lambs are lost; rabid dogs grin.
Off come the masks,
It is an old story, yet we are surprised again.
If there is no choice or alternative future,
you take away the hope of redemption.
Who are you to spin story strains out of
the quarrels of great men?
Deciding the hardening or softening of men's hearts
in accordance with past or future inequities.
Who is allotted the coveted grace?
Who is denied the privilege of choice?
Vacant minds meet vacant cities,
houses and souls abandoned on hills and valleys
the casual abandonment of trust
the beauty in this is not apparent.
This is how we discuss
the war and the dying and the
children crossing borders in a desert.
Quietly, in a warm room, hushed voices.
We sit here, holding our lattes, sipping
flinching as our tongues are singed with
chocolate and milk, cursing our misfortunes,
and feeling our soft bellies tighten with the pain.
How do we solve the problems of this world?
We decide that we are qualified for such things.
We know how to satiate the screams, evidently.
Dressed in corduroy and cotton, cashmere and denim
Leather shoes, diamond rings, hair that is long and conditioned with
oils of the dying animals (cows and beasts, monsters and similar such creatures).
Then we tell them to believe, they do, and we cite our own God’s victory,
when it was us selling our souls.
(Have we been bought?)
The peddler sells trinkets, saved souls and peace, on a golden chain, with charms.
Cows and beasts, monsters and similar such creatures.
(What was the price? did we ask?)
But he won’t stop the screams (is he responsible for the crime?) and he won’t sell us much but the leather shoes and diamond rings.
When The Rich Are Dying And Buy Organs From Nowhere
Putting the perpetrators of
ease of life, and ease of infliction
-- put the pain in the arms of the other.
no eyes, no mourning breaths, no pleading.
a simple transaction to save the wealthy
the inconvenience of a guilty conscience.
How You Are Responsible
It becomes harder to ignore the ugliness and
when the nameless are Named.
So they want the luxuries you have dangled.
Your vacant words become their lifelines.
There was a plague called joy,
and a cure called apathy.
The plague grew and spread and
Everyone began to laugh and the tears flung down their faces viciously from all of the laughter,
And no one realized that there could be anything more than this.
Then they brought the cure one day,
Educated people, with degrees and diplomas and slips of paper that represented years and years of life,
Insisting that nothing could be done to sustain the happiness that had been cultivated and spread so rapidly to so many people.
“The world will only get worse,” they said.
“You are happy because you have not known pain,” they said.
They were concerned, and so they ordered them to stop laughing and crying, and to remain still and stoic and quiet. No stirrings of the heart or mind.
And so the plague was cured, and there were no tears at all.
They began to understand, then, that nothing could be done (nothing) and they were devastated, from the inside.
Their hearts became a maze inside a locket that hung from the neck of a woman, who never cared to love again.
1 a : a person in love; especially : a man in love with a woman b plural : two persons in love with each other
2 : an affectionate or benevolent friend
3 : devotee
4 a : paramour b : a person who loves someone or is loved by someone
stay as long as you’d like,
because it is yours to give and yours to let go
and no matter what they cannot take it away from you
colors and sound and lightness and tears and pictures of so many
beautiful and terrifying things
that all the words there are and all the combinations
that people can spill on the paper
cannot come together to describe what it feels
to look into those eyes and think without words
and not really believe
that you exist.
voice a little ragged
like it had recently been shredded.
“I miss you.”
the words shot through the thick cold
darkness and landed on me
fluttering down from the trees
the red, gold, beautiful
rested there by the bridge
the man with the grey jacket
touch her shoulder
and whisper that
the leaves looked like stars
floating down the river
they watched the stars drown
they watched their breath imprint on the
drifting into the coldness
drowning in the falling stars.
There are not enough
they slip away from my long slender
as if the way I held them
bruised their wings
like the tenderness of nectarines
writhing under the feet of horses
who did not know they were crushing
the hearts of many.
Souls revealed by art cascades.
What if one day those who have cradled the same experiences cease to be
a holder of your days anymore?
Remind me that
there are those who won’t destroy.
Thank you for
your unintentional kindnesses.
Art and music,
are not forced to be emotionless in their call for change.
They do not appeal logically, with reason and planned out rules;
they appeal by revealing pieces of who we are and who we may have forgotten
We recognize ourselves in the cascades of sound and color,
We are reminded that the way the world is isn’t necessarily how it should be.
Appeal to them, with your colors and pianos and voices.
Remind me that
there are those who won’t destroy.
Sing a song of blue.
Smell colors and
watch sound dance across
Taste the thunder on your lips,
drops splattering crisply on
smooth, ready paper,
quenching the thirst of invisible seeds
planted in white soil.
Watch the words sprout
from the page, lima beans and daisies.
Pick them up,
devour them until your mind bursts,
flinging seeds, all over the place until
they know the truth.
Here comes the sun.
She flung her legs casually over the
side of the wicker swing
and watched the spider crawl down the metal chain
and onto her arm, the tiny hairs raising in response
to the faint touch of spider legs
sipping on diet coke and watching
the laugh lines deepen on her father’s skin
and the light dance in her mother’s eyes
as they drank win and talked nonsense
that secretly meant more to them
than all the world.
and they sat on the front porch,
watching the storm ascend
little pieces of the sun fell through
clouds who’s arguments filled the sky
with shades of gray.
sheets of rain fell in the sky,
marching closer to her swing
like an army ready for battle
the cornfields were full of angry little fire-flies
protesting the storm with their torches
lighting up the ground like
flashes of lightning lit up the sky.
and there she was,
her mother’s arm around her
the laugh lines in her father’s skin
the light in her mother’s eyes
brighter and warmer and stronger than the storm.
Encountering a soulmate.
So this is it,
the first part,
The part that is exciting.
When there is a new soul to see,
to meet, to inspect with sparkling Curiosity.
Well, hello there. Where have you been, I have missed you,
I have been sitting here, sipping away at all the pleasures this life
incites, waiting for you to join me.
So here you are. You laugh at my jokes, and you have deep secrets,
and there is nothing more I could ask for than this.
Welcome to the table, we have been waiting for you. There are feasts to be had and countries to explore, colors to create and games to be played.
And we have already won.
we decided that we should not take
the time to document the happenings.
We should, only once or maybe more.
Watch out for the edge of our carefully constructed happiness
and simply be.
No photographs, no journals, no home videos to show whomever
would one day watch them.
We are, after all,
Of the sea.
I live in a landlocked state. With houses that look the same, and roads that are laid out perfectly in a grid
by someone who hoped we would not get lost.
The shopping malls, with stores selling pretty things, conveniently at every corner.
The gas stations, selling candy and soda-pop and things to help the journey in the cars go faster.
So faster we drive,
Our lives, quite eloquently and effectively sanitized of the miraculous.
What of these dreamworlds, at night? They show us in pictures, and perhaps on the news, of the sea.
But we are landlocked, you see. How do we know such things are real?
The strength of waves, crushing down, over and over, onto a sand-filled beach. Creatures we really do not believe exist, shimmering in the waves. The sun sparkling on the shore, tiny tide-pools a whole world to be explored.
And here, we can see the sky. We look up casually, at the changing ceiling of our lives. But how could it possibly go on past this? We know, they tell us, of far off planets and galaxies, with swirlings and hopings and no endings, colors beyond what anyone could ever put on a canvas.
But we are landlocked you see. To these bodies. Trapped, in a world sanitized of the miraculous, while
to our great surprise,
The shoes clicked the cement
in tune to his rapidly beating heart,
and his hands shook slightly.
The music played in his mind
as he walked faster, keeping up
with what he should be hearing.
He watched a father squeeze his daughter’s
a slight smile tugged gently at his lips
seducing him into joy
that spread into and around his eyes
and finally holding him,
steadying his shaking hands
turning down the music
blaring in his head,
slowing his beating heart,
brushing his pale cheeks with
something like peace.
Mr. Summertime Love
Well, hello Mr. Summertime Love.
Why don't you take me
to a dance
and toast the cicada songs and firefly rumblings,
the burst of heat against cool skin,
the smacking of sweaty skin,
and the shavings of cut grass flipped sideways and forward.
Show me the embers of freedom celebrations,
wayward diamond fire beams sizzling in the heat,
quiet men you adore more for their silence
children in braids and shimmery eyes entranced
with the displays of firecolors in the July sky.
Afternoon lunches with cool breezes and sweepings of hair
against our cheeks, secrets and joys and laughings and
the slippings of love that so easily are given
a quick squeeze on the shoulder, a lingering hand.
Mr. Summertime Love,
love these; with me.
Ten pieces are missing
from the puzzle.
So we laugh and are happy
her lips split into a smile
as her chubby hand spreads the picture across the carpet
her mind was filling with the sounds of the picture
lullabies and poetry.
The room smelled like wetness and tasted like crushed violets
and felt exactly the way yellow
bright and warm and two-dimensional.
Anything could happen now.
Everything could change and the sounds could become
nightmares and bitterness
the room could become cold and tired and if we find
those last ten pieces,
it could become colorless and real.
But for now,
her face is bright,
ready for warmth and violets,
wetness and yellow.
Ten pieces are missing
and so we laugh
and are happy.
If you can own a season,
This is my season.
Red wagons with smiling children, vegetable gardens full of things I cannot exactly pronounce. The slight mist that settles in the hair, and makes it dewy with expectations and when you look around, the world sparkles slightly, holding its breath.
Music and art in the streets that make you take that breath in once more, and gasp at the beauty there. Water flowing over songs, and portraits of people you have never met but that you inexplicably love more than anything you have ever owned. Will ever own.
The exhaustion of this, the bubbling inside of you that threatens to become more important than any plan, the excitement of recognizing the living; the vitality of every place you look.
The power in your words and expressions, the way you can take someone who is fragile and make them whole with a single action. The winter struggling to become something more beautiful.
And all the words, all the feelings, all the prayer, all the insecurities and hope emanating, at the same time, from all the hundreds of thousands of souls. The quick smiles and quick laughs and the individual struggles of what it means to be human, the tracks of life struggling to become something
Savor this moment now, take it all in because this is fleeting and worthy of your hope.
Somehow, once maybe, or more
that all the cities and experiences and exotic tastings
of exotic lives,
do not match the warmth and filling and completion of
laughing at our own nonsense here.
A lover who failed
crosses the street, decidedly alone or unalone
depending on the time of day or unday.
He touches the soft hair of pretty girls, blue eyes and brown eyes and eyes that have decidedly shut.
He whisks them along with stories, and champagne, and an arm to lean on when they tire of simply
The lines around his eyes give him away when he looks down, out of the stench
the whole world of fruity smoky perfume and names he has stopped caring to remember, as he glances at his worn leather watch,
every once in awhile considering the time.
Our clothes smell of burnt charcoal and soggy marshmallows,
small nats and nighttime creatures dart in and around and on top of the skin of my arms--
we pull the blanket closer.
There is laughter and banter and the subtle sighs of late night stars, content with their bedtime whisperings of our joys.
We do not know, that this:
The bantering, the marshmallows, the stories of volcanoes and stars,
the thick and thin flames quietly bursting from the ground, flickers and reds, blues, oranges--
are our great joys.
I am bound to the hopes of this generation.
We want change.
Am I wasting your time, the way hair bursts into colors,
and you think about,
the chains that silently prevent you from moving [your world?].
The warm liquid underneath your tongue and surrounding your soul,
tries desperately to keep you sated with comfort
with the small joys [bribes?] that await you if you succumb to contentedness.
if you let the lullabies of the modern sirens lull you into believing
that there is nothing wrong with embracing
the privilege [earned?] your birth extends to you.
Place and time and color and language,
Are you really willing to let this be what
will be the separateness?
If you memorize the textures of things,
with your eyes instead of with your hands,
the textures of walls and lights that make shadows on these walls,
then you will understand.
You will understand how the emotions and the twitches in peoples' eyes have textures too. The quick and quiet flinch of pain that briefly precedes the smile that is supposed to be there.
The light that leaves the peoples' eyes, the darkness that swirls around the thin skin underneath those eyes.
You will understand the texture of the sighs, and recognize the lilting music and the notes that raise just a little bit off in the voices,
like a piano that needs tuning.
And then there is the joy,
or the excitement,
or the passion,
or all of these things.
When people cannot get the words out
fast enough, or they stumble and let out too many,
and catch themselves.
Like they have accidentally revealed too much, too soon, and want to take back all of the things that they have given
All of the people, everyone, have surprises in their movements
and not necessarily the answers themselves but
the way in which they respond to the questions.
The way in which they crinkle their eyes,
or look away,
or mask themselves with monotony.
This is the way in which I love people, knowing these things.
Case Study: A Happy Life
Crinkling of the eyes,
sharp quiet intake of air
[sharp quiet pain]
a propensity to be drawn to the discomfort
a tendency to be intrigued [with madness?]
anger at sufferings, perceived injustices
bridges lined without[in] luminosity
the reflection/distortion of glowings in the river
a reaction to the wisdom of the old men
wine on the rooftop with lovers
the palpable words; striking.
righteousness, spontaneity, a leaning towards hope
erring on the side of mercy, kindness, & life
walking steadily, slowly, in the rain, savor.
the recognition of the miraculous
striking down the temptation of the stoic
umbrellas, sailboats, the sea.
a proportionate sharing of lives.
embrace. question. wonder.
talk to strangers.
be completely, utterly known. break, live broken. fix what can be.
never take away possibility. encourage.
sing, dance, with someone you love.
play games. Listen to the stories.
city lights in five different shades
mark the skyline, flitting & sparkling & disappearing
at inconsistent intervals
each a petty representation
of the life marking them
lonely cars on a solitary road
towards or away from home
& I understand, here, the joy & sorrow that accompanies
each of these
the immensity of the responsibility
of a million wandering souls; searching.
Waiting, praying that they will arrive.
it is out of the question
it requires too much emotional investment
it might hurt without you,
but not as much as being with you.
see, it is about this point that I realize
the allure of all the lovely things
can never measure up
the pretty lies
fill your emptiness with
something worth your life,
make your life worthy.
A man who is or seems to be mentally ill.
You walk into a room,
and have no idea that the world begins to burn
silently and intensely,
beyond human control.
You smile, and the little potted marigold sitting on the windowsill
bursts into brilliant flames,
all that is left is a charred stem.
Your silky silvery hair melts into the quiet of the wall,
turning cream with blue flowers sprinkled throughout,
and your face becomes shadowed by light.
You melt into the house and the people who live there,
twisting and turning quietly,
gentling bursting their world into flames
as you smile and let your eyes twinkle for just an instant,
You watch them burn until all that is left are ashes that the wind carries along
black fairy dust shadowing the moon and the sun.
You walk into the room
and in an instant
all is gone, all is destroyed.
The ground is black, and the air is silent.
Your voices echoes mournfully in haunting song,
swearing never again to laugh or smile or be.
and you drift quietly to the next world
the next city
the next room.
we like to write of shadows and curves
because the dimensions contain us
the reflections and descriptions of physical things
make it easier not to waver sanity
the moment we begin to speak of more
they become frightened
children who realize they no longer
want to run away from home
their eyes flutter and the laughter
we are desperate to move beyond the corners and the curves
but we do not want to know what it feels like to be cold
The moon on your voice,
the vines that grow children
and lay them in boxes.
The jaundiced wings of
pumpkins and butterscotch tea
poured in a mug.
The reflection of peapods and
the boughs of sailboats stuffed
in a corner.
Three white horses scooped in the palm
of your hand and shuffled into
Everything is carefully contained
and placed exactly where they
ought to be.
sometimes the words are splintered and make more sense when they are said out loud-- trickle, hurricane, and a sweeping of the curtains
so this is difficult to admit, or say out loud, but it may be the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,
the wire twists and here the wings form out of cast iron, how will they hold in the blistering air?
Tacks and nails, and the sharp edges of violets billow uncannily in the oceans.
so you say this is nonsense, but who are you to really know? there is sense,
maybe you will see it in the pauses
or lilts of this day
I too, always wanted the security of constructed sentences and phrases, but maybe there is something more.
faulting and stepping, the eyes flicker quickly in tune to the sounds of the grand experiment, nobody told you that you were a part of.
Have you met the other pieces of you, wandering the roads in the quiet glowings the far off foreign lands that you should really be calling home?
Maybe you are nothing but the place everything seeks.
Genocide and other such dark things.
Record it and touch it,
caress it and strangle it so that
it cannot escape.
Do not let it move.
Brush it under the rug where you keep the dark things
that the neighbors
and the guests
and the people who pretend
you make them happy
are not allowed
to know exist.
drifting souls collide.
the sounds lull and twist
and here is the part where the drifting souls
collide haphazardly with the smatterings of hope
the cries in the night and the small, quiet sobs
of those abandoned by the broken hearts.
they never wanted to alarm you with their
slow sadnesses, but they envelop you without
permission or apology
citing the loveliness of your words and the
bold claims you made in your naivety.
at the funeral of wisdom and choice
you sang a eulogy of forgiveness and
hope; without consideration of consequence.
you became the advocate of the invisible
but would not stop to wonder if you could deliver.
the movement of stagnant people.
the air shimmers with the movement of stagnant people
stymied by the touches of other worlds
that crawl to our attentions
clawing at the coattails of our coaches, our shiny baubles
have you considered the alternative to this awareness,
the blissful (so they say) ignorance of not needing to
acknowledge the lack of hopes or necessity of hoping for more
in the peoples.
Shadows of someone else’s joy.
Are you crippled by the shadows of
skeletons and bones, creeping and whispering in
the crevices of you[rs].
The lullings and hopings,
The devastation of the leaving and the windings of roads that have no ends or beginnings, but that you cannot bring yourself to diverge from.
The temptation of letting the hurting suffer in isolated silence,
containing and cauterizing wounds that someone else made,
Yet knowing this will never be enough to silence the whisperings
that your joy is imminently entwined with the removal or addition of some kind of joy
[perverse games? ingenuine flauntings?]
somehow, you flew by
and forgot to listen to the whispers
shunned by you, they didn't take well to being ignored,
and became patters upon your rooftop
slamming violently down on your umbrella until
you could no longer distinguish between the voices.
they slurred and the accents melded into a wail of a single tone
this is your mistake. the flying. the umbrella.
casually bursting into flames.
stop it. stop all the burning. it is inconsiderate to casually burst into flames when there are so many frozen in complacency.
don't you understand the inconvenience of this?
you have robbed them of their ease, their contentedness. Thievery. Your skin is flushed, and your heart is flushed, and you are making the comfortable people discontent.
rabid images running loose in the city.
so who has the responsibility
to tame the reflections that get away
were you the one to hold and break the mirror