my button down heart

I implore you…
Penetrate my creature

and love what is not disguised.

I implore you…
Be so anesthetized you could amputate from the knee down and still know happiness —you are beautiful; a drunk and handsome big bang theory.

I implore you…
make me your love and not your habit.

Could you do that? Could you get to the bottom of me?

Could you…
help me find my spleen? My vestry? My sputnik? My grotesque? My proviso?

My spirit is sagging off the hanger.
Will you tend to my button down heart

on a gentle cycle
single rinse
hang dry

like a gauze blouse you abuse simply by wearing?

Small Revolutions

I will bear the bullets, searching for freedom.

I will go harshly and be firmly bold.

I will buy a rose and feed it to your rifle.

I will speak with another of the importance of ME of being given what I did not choose.

I will write poetry with so many obscure references that you will have no idea what I am saying. But you must remember, these words are mine.

I will pick up and go, and join the inmates of possibility where mundane men, modest but free, find us to the enemy and bring the thunder down.

My friends are mountains of support. I want their ridges framed in soft silk so I may tenderly encircle their fair shoulders like small boulders

These are the small revolutions

the first REAL kiss,

actually winning at something-at anything.

At being more than our father’s were,

nodding to strangers,

turning down timeshares,

picking up hitch-hikers,

appreciating the humor of children

and subtle colour differences.

listening to shared opinions,

thinking before answering

accepting beliefs,

acknowledge shortcomings and asking –

all the wrong fucking questions.

almost October…

I don’t really try to understand what’s going on but
My obituary is in the paper
Came those who had the audacity to say,
“good for him. he’s dead.”
they say “Rest in peace…asshole

Yeah, those were the days of my disloyal youth.
Lord, I know dancing with ghosts is no damn good.

My shirt is wet because I sit here sweating and I don’t have any reason other than being nervous that I will almost die again-

because there has not been enough time between now and the last time I almost died. Because its been two long years, but its only been two years, ya know what I mean?

I was born in June and I almost died in October and now I carry it with me wherever I go. I felt the presence and pretense of death inviting me into the confessional where my sins might be eaten like the bacteria phage of the holy river Ganges whose source is glacial from high atop the crevasses of those immaculate white mountains.

At first, I was hungry for death, so I fed from its very hands. But my hunger was a vile beast. I was unable to see the beauty in all that is living and manifest.
Find me. Find me here shaking so that I may finally be able to create the peace I yearn for.
Help me. Shine your rays on my changed face. Recognize that my strides sometimes hesitate.

I want to renegotiate with the brokers who sold me this shitty “boy in a box” plot of life.
I want to be real and eternal and all things good in this world and finally get inside the hemic guts of who we all are.

I am often by myself, but I am never alone. I am wounded but I will heal.
I could walk out into traffic to die, but my family will share its pain elsewhere.
I even out my life in the garden, making the most of my time, watching the colour drain from everything before October comes again;
my place here getting farther and
farther away until I can
barely see the crown I once
nearly touched.

blue raspberry.

Abbi was quite a special thing.
She was young, and kind of chubby, with strawberry blonde hair she wore up like a crown adorned with silk neon hibiscus flowers. She had freckles and wore glitter and her chest, and was never ashamed of her body. Not once.
And she looked different from all the other girls. As chalk from cheese.
She was that girl that everyone had an unbelievable crush on.
Back then before I foolishly allowed mass marketing, advertising, commercials, beauty pageants, and pornography to alter my definition of beauty, I saw her for the person she was: bold, aggressive, and beautiful.

If a boy could have a girl as a best friend, then she was mine. I nicknamed her Hope, and she nicknamed me Faith and everywhere, Hope and Faith were perfectly content, for they had each other.
But Hope was killing me.
Slowly poisoning me to death.
Not from her foul mouth and perverted sense of humor,
but her obsession of me.

+

She and I were introduced as teens when her parents were still married. Her parents would throw these huge annual summer neighborhood barbecues, and all of the children would play with water-guns and run through sprinklers and the parents fed their fat bodies with enough meat and liquor to cater a platoon of marines, while Abbi and I were always off somewhere, sometimes in her father’s tool shed smoking pot and fooling around.

We grew up together in many different ways.

At sixteen she went to live with her father after he and her mother split up. Her father was miserable over the divorce; working as a limo driver who slept all day and worked deep into the evenings, over-medicated after a botched spinal surgery. He lived in a tiny apartment, in the worst part of town, above a pawn shop owned by the glass-eyed Vietnam war vet amputee who owned a wolf-dog and always had a shotgun in his lap.

One particular summer we stole menthol cigarettes from the Texaco up the road from me, slept on the trampoline in my back yard, in the thick heat of July, Bacardi black out drunk, waking up with mosquito bites all over, and playing connect the dots with neon gel pens, pretending our legs were undiscovered constellations.

She taught me the word “Ricochet” in English. “Ricochet” It felt velvety on my tongue. I used it over and over again until the word lost all meaning for me. And eventually I didn’t need a reason to say words at all.

“Ricochet”, “Palindrome” , “Choleric”;

We were drunk and high all the time and we were instinctively running from something remarkably bigger than ourselves. Something unmeasured in the meters and miles of our pedestrian days. So much of our time was spent doing things we imagined would anesthetize our sad little lives, even if only briefly.

We built rooms from the floor up, and made disastrous messes of yarn and felt and sequins, we had bedroom mosh sessions where we shoved each other around to speed metal. Those would more often than not turn into outrageous tickle fits on the floor, where she’d have to kick me right in the liver and knock the wind out of me to get me to stop.

We lit incense. Wrote angsty teenage poetry. We would cut our hair on a whim in the bathroom sink with a box cutter. She’d shave her eyebrows to draw in stars, and I always put so much eyeliner on I looked like a sun-starved raccoon. We’d drink her father’s blackberry brandy, which smelled like ether and fermented orange peels, until we would both pass out. We made bongs and pipes out of anything we could conceive of, and smoked so much that I swear I will blame her if I ever get lung cancer.

So there we would sit,
it would be bloody early in the morning and we both had not slept.
Stayed up all night watching Gore flicks and sappy French films without the subtitles so we could replace them with our own dialogue. The coffee her father made was strong enough to give you a thrombo but rather than having any, more often I would have a couple pep pills that Abbi had traded cigarettes for with some assholes at school.
We came to learn later we had ingested amphetamines. After a while I began to have strange reactions to the pills and couldn’t take them any longer.
Abbi however, loved them.

I adored Abbi with all of my heart, but I hated the way she treated people. Namely her father, who was always trying. Abbi would beg me to break into her father’s room when he was gone, so she could sneak in for his pain pills. She knew I was tremendously crafty at picking locks which I suppose is a skill I shouldn’t be half as boastful about. I refused, and I refused, and she always broke me by promising that she’d blow me as soon as I unlocked the door. And I always did. And she always kept her promise. I did everything for that girl.

One Halloween, she was suspended from school for wearing her skimpy costume. So, she left school and came straight over to my house. She told me she was dressed up as a zombie schoolgirl, I told her she looked like a gothic hooker and she punched me in the chest. She had brought bags of candy, and made quite clear that I could have as much of the candy as I wanted, all but the blue raspberry dum dum suckers and the ???Mystery Flavor??? dum dums if I could tell through the wrapper that they were blue.

Blue always meant blue raspberry.

Blue was rarely blueberry.

As sometimes green can be both lime, and green apple,

but sometimes green can even be watermelon, when watermelon is usually pink,

but pink can mean strawberry too, even cherry.

At that moment I knew that defined exactly her and my relationship; that I could have as much of the candy as I wanted, all but the “blank” …and the… “blank.”

She would let me take and take from her, but I could never have exactly what I wanted.

The blue raspberry suckers were and always have been my very favorite.

Grozny, Chechnya

I endure recurring visions of war phantoms
looking my way with their jellied, all-knowing smiles.
I know I am going to rip open my heart
and force you to read every line aloud
so that we may both know our salvation together.
I want to scare you with all I have seen
and hold you after you’ve collapsed from too much fear.
And if I have learned anything at all,
I’ve learned to be what I am not.
I have died so many times before death will ever greet me.
There, I stepped into a pitch black world.
Instinctively, my hand rose to pull a light and I caught it.
No one was beside me; I was expecting an advancing silhouette.
I flinched and yet again I considered the strength it must take
to soldier in this unforgiving land; exposing it to the light without fear.
I find myself on a path that defines obscurity
a long stretch of through deep Chechen woods,
ending at a coal mine that had been abandoned many years ago.
Mozart does not play here.
Instead I see a boy discovering new rainbows on oil-slicked asphalt.
I see a nine-year old amputee
Kalashnikov weighted around her tiny shoulders –
Pressure on her back, throwing her dead brother down a well.
I see bloodstained knives dripping in the hands of young children;
Clutching, wicked, hands. For further creation is not allowed here.
They did not live.
And I did not learn why I felt so ill or so senile and full of disability.
But there I was, smelling of rot
and this is the scent I carried as I crawled away,
never to return.

espial

It is not by accident
that I have been well removed
from the living parts of me
and what is left
remembers so much more than
your closeness on desperate nights
that warmed every coldness I possessed.
Things break and I think
There has got to be some indestructible someone.
Like, I don’t believe in any “invincible” but I want to.
Even when I see your pain is discreet
I try to touch it
and every touch has a stilled sound.
Pit-pat-pit
a dozen
paces away.
Yeah, The ultimate revelations in life are never glacial
they are so swift and they burn
into my skin like a serial number,
some thing that must identify me
if not define me entirely.
Personal histories don’t make the books
No one here I know is impressed by fossils
that aren’t of animal and plants in the strata
of remote past
and history only remembers you if you’re Caesar
Jesus or Columbus or whatever.

5 g0 (49 m/s2)

I was a pilot in one of my imagined roles.
My engine was all of my organs.
I was a gasping thief, a born again explorer,
the sky was as wide as my mouth and
Hinted shapes.
Red was the canyon. White, the moutain mule.
I corkscrew – I nosedive
cuz only the bored live in straight lines.
I believe movement is only acceptable if you
completely unhinge. Popping all your joints,
exposing your ankles.
Crushed by a couple G’s
Celebrating near death.

as much absence as presence.

It was in an herb garden that I first begged for the truth to be a lie. Had perennial bruises for years. Soil was famished and  I promised to feed it well but still I forgot.
You kept saying, “oh god, you killed the basil!” Your concern was an attack.

so I dumped my wallet out as an apology

and now,

I am imagining watching you crumble like rubbed oregano between my hands. Nothing makes sense when I am disappointed.

Do I have to lose everything in order to feel complete?
The answer is always
a Yes.
The answer still shames me.

But guilt also means healing. Anonymous ten-fold fear. It’s a little more like being punched in the chest than anything. A little more like humiliation. Infection. Three stories tall.

Soil still
malnourished but now there’s some green. some hope.

I am a fine comely cyborg who doesn’t need poetry to speak his mind nor love to feel complete. No, wait! I’m lying.

I wish I were everything, even then, I hope it’s never enough.
I find it difficult to keep things unpenned. To hide a half of my excruciating whole.

If I talk about love- then I am feeling all that’s white turning red where I change all my angles to catch near glimpses of this masterpiece.

If I talk about love- then I am walking beside in every tentative and immeasurable step; an optional path now a marked destination.

If I talk about love- I am using my height to look down, using my crouch to look up. I am a man who knows he can alter (never correct) his posture to appear taller. Cuz he’s pushed himself down for so long that he couldn’t get any smaller even if he tried.

He knows what small is.

Small is being afraid of the next big leap. A leap as threatening as a cliff-side. Every edge and extreme. A long tumble down to choppy waters below.

I never said I’m not afraid of pain, I just don’t fear it quite as much as I do falling in love.

I know there was a time I lived without knowing what it meant at all.

We are trying to simulate the first few seconds of the universe here- The blackness before the stellar big bang. No suns of existing. No developed moons. No civilized green. No growing bravely yet. It begins in the corners of all 4 cardinal directions. The sweep of promising seeds, the few that actually do survive storm.

Every time we fall in love anew, we forge a new world. New maps. New wars and times of peace. Forceful colonization. Treason and treaties. Unpleasant gods. Myriad lands. Boasting strange and exquisite diversities.

And with all its nefarious and malignant, its still a beautiful… beautiful… beautiful thing, wouldn’t you agree?

Archaeologists rut in the dirt right where they dig.

Rocky Mountain rain and a little snow melt from the peak.
“You can drink the water straight from the stream here.”
Make your hands a cup
“they look like a dog’s ear” you giggle
ladle into the rivulet
bring the water to your sun parched, canvas tongue,
chapped lip.
I wanna put you into a bliss.
The kinda sated luxury that only comes from total hydration.
I would offer up my veins if you claimed thirst.
Your stare is kinda sharp and it perforates me
so I may come apart easily in your pull.
You’re not even out of breath
from the hike and I am heaving with that
cold lung burn
only an ex-smoker can relate.
I need a dab of grace. A hug and a little pathos.
Bare witness.
The canopy of conifer offers afternoon relief
the deathless stare into the light,
the two little clouds in the sky we name.
Skipper and Paul.
it’s the feeling you get…
that feeling you get when you know
you’re spinning out.
Around you things turn dirty yellow,
because everything living envies your vitality.
Taking our brief rest
You lean your body into mine.
Head on my shoulder
attempting to readjust gravity.
I am so schoolboy nervous/ Lit up to love you
palpitating like the vinyl that skips, that skips,
that skips, sk…sk…sk…skips
From your backpack you remove
a pre-packaged club salad,
you offer me your tomatoes cuz you don’t like them.
sucked the ranch straight from the packet, ewww
and show me your sketchbook
All your drawings look real great!
I am fascinated by the anthropology of you.
This feels monumental.