She

She invades my every notion
like a conquering force
stealing my ability to
articulate any single
cohesive thought.

Her voice lurks behind
every corner of my mind,
the loveliest fucking woman I know.

Her words drip
from technological advances
and linger like whispers in the ear.
I speak in semicolon pauses
whet with angst.

She’s a little sprite,
who fairy flutters my heart
with her fresh cut
lime and honeydew aroma,
reducing me to 9th grade poetry
and adolescent fear.

So I turn inward,
carrying myself to the river
that’s never failed
to quench a creative thirst.
I wade knee-deep into the
black and white.
But she’s beat me there
by a country mile.
Her laughter echoes
through the forest trees,
amplifying and projecting color
throughout my inner peace.
It’s a strange brew of pure magic
and uncensored truth.

I want to drink of her
until she’s a part of me.

Back Monkey

Leftover garbage pail pies.
Boysenberry flies.
Saturday morning imaginary cartoons.
Tree fort farmer tans.
We fought wars. We fought peace.
My unalienable friend.
My ultimate foe.

Rains come torrential.
Forrest flood archipelago.
Broken land ruled by broken boy soul.
Cool water for to quench our thirst.
We swam. We sank.
My buoyant friend.
My anchoring foe.

Then come Suzy Lee.
Pigtailed freckles on pale palette.
Study hung in halls of heart.
We married. We fell apart.
My understanding friend.
My loyal foe.

Black dank decomposition.
Gut rot worm food smorgasbord.
Six feet down.
Be buried deep with me.
My admiring disease.
My contemptuous infection.

The Walmart Rose

We made out to Elliott Smith.
Electric blue passion kisses
from a Basement on the Hill.
She was about a minute-thirty shy
of becoming an all-out chain smoker.
Breath full of beer and menthols,
she tasted like Rock N Roll.

By day we were wrecking balls
bulldozing small talk.
At night we became archeologists.
Adorned with hard hats and flashlights
forged from longing and loneliness;
we went searching for our
heart’s forgotten muscle memory.

The great discovery of our time
ended up being her proclivity for lust.
In the pre-dawn soft pink
she uttered a five word confession:
“I’ve been seeing other guys.”

Any anger I felt was afterbirth
to expectation.
I could taste philander
and smell restlessness.

She tried desperately
to project the perfect portrait:
Ruby lips smiling.
Single mom strength shining.
But everybody knows
her Dorian Gray
is weak and wilted.
Like cheap wine
and Walmart roses.

The Edge

We crawl and we cry,
we live and die,
and everyone relates
because these are
dog eared hallmark emotions
of the human condition.

Some of us, though,
are far too damaged
to shed a tear.

We lay awake at night
counting sheep and sirens,
breaths and cobwebs
spun from spiders who
dampened our spirit
with soft silken shade.

Sometimes we laugh.
At times, we even inspire.
But it’s not from talent or practice
or anything that could be
perceived as trade or trait.

Those suppressed few of us
have mastered the art
of hiding in plain sight.
Anywhere else just feels
too much like a sorority.

We’ve endured the hazing,
we’ve shouldered the ass-end
of others cruel comedy.
And don’t think, for one second,
that we didn’t notice
how your name calling graduated
from snot-nose to PHD blows.

You listen to the murmur of our hearts
with gold plated stethoscopes,
and label us with names like:
Clinically Depressed,
Bipolar, Cutter,
Suicidal…
Hoping to push us
from the ledge,
with your projected psyche
and Molotov cocktail
of anti-depressants,
but you won’t succeed.
Because we’ve been
standing there,
toes dangling over,
staring at that final dive,
into the unexplored unknown
for so long now,
that we’ve become
the very edge you
so cautiously fear.

Reverse Charge

river stars

The moon is up
and laughing loud tonight,
at all the lonely trees
whispering at her feet
like homely chambermaids.

Her twinkling stars,
suspended and bright,
pine for a sun that
exiled them to the night.

But it’s my own remorse
that ripples their reflection
on the riverbank where I lie.

It was here
when you first told me
of your wanton affection.
We danced bare-skinned by firelight,
our shadows frolicking over the hills,
like a pair of star-crossed ghosts.

The only dancing I do these days
is with the devil at midnight’s chime.
We do a little glide-step in ¾’s time.
It’s ring around the rosy cheeks,
a pocket full of lonely weeks,
fix a little hit by and by,
demons learn to fly so high.

His butane lips
whisper in my ear,
kerosene thoughts,
setting ablaze
the autumn of my life.

When the ash settles,
on the blunder of
our temporal alignment,
I’ll come crawling
through shame and squalor,
back to the feet
of my desires.

Winter may call upon me then,
with her cold smile and false finality.
I will accept her collect.
Eyes to close.
Thoughts to cease,
on all that was
and all that could have been.

A Sailor Went to Sea

graham
Art by: Graham Grecken

I know it’s not easy being alone.
Your little girl heart hopscotching solo,
trying to gather her scattered pieces
from the compartments you’ve made.

You’re muddled with self-doubt,
and a constant nagging voice,
comfort-nestled in the back of your mind,
whispering: this is my fault,
and
at least he loves me in his own way.

Temptation to return may be too great,
when he finally drops to bended knee.
So you will go back to him and
time will swell like water in a lock,
unfurling its complacency
beneath the surface of your seasons.
Why can you not see?
He’ll always be your sailor at sea,
never fully loving you
through his own duplicity.

But I know your beacon.
The one you no longer see.
It shines bright
along the shoreline
of my surrender.

Tripartite Poetry Regarding the Human Psyche of the Emotionally Inept Girl

human psyche
Photo Courtesy of Edward Salas – Deviant Art

I.

Come one. Come all!

Step right up
to the greatest show on earth.

Stare into the eyes
of our Emotionally Inept Girl!
But don’t let this Medusa
turn you to stone.

We found her back in ’85,
after white coat men
whitewashed dirty deeds.
Her prescription hooked
comatose mind,
running endless
rat race maze.

Yes, this pickled punk
is dead inside!

A true wonder of creation!

Oh, but she was alive once.
Before trepidation,
familiar and cold,
nightly fed
on callow innocence,
pure as snow.

II.

Judgement casting
jumbotron spotlight
searching every corner
for a piece of the
emotionally inept girl.
You won’t find me.
I’m nowhere thin air
four star boxcar.
I’m everywhere
here nor there.
Hidden in plain sight
paint by number
Starry Night.
Arbitrary mimicry
finicky facsimile
of love/hate
happy/sad
right/wrong.
Tip toe running
through your
deep, dark well.
Tickling doubt
beneath resolve.

III.

From a road show, fear came crawling,
with her clenched-fist apocalypse
and pocket full of temptation.

I watched,
paralytic and feeble,
as my shoe box heart
was dissected.

With steely eyed surgeon precision
she extracted all of my well wishes.
Sold them like a 2am junkie
looking for her midnight fix.
Being but only nickels and dimes,
she went to market with my
freshly harvested humility.

Now my two tone personality
only has a sharpened greed
and ever aching envy.
I stand here
a coward and a thief.
I’m a liar and a cheat.
A better faker,
you’re likely to never meet.

But I was alive once,
before frailty,
familiar and cold,
nightly fed
on fleeting beauty,
lily-white and bold.

Death is a Dirty Houseguest

dansemacabre2

Death mocks my living
by wearing the neglected faces
of all the people
I could never save.
Her many voices
whet with despondency,
have taken up residency in my home.

We share breakfast every morning
while divvying the Times.
She loves lightly toasted Italian Five Grain
with the morning obits.
“Drink your OJ,” she says,
as her forked tongue licks the jelly knife,
“you need your vitamin C.”

Death is a dirty houseguest.
He disrobes in the foyer
upon returning home from work.
A trail of crematory ash follows
as he slinks down the hall.
His bloody scythe, repulsive and mean,
Pollocks the walls of our not-so-humble abode.
I’ve tried to have him evicted,
but Death claims Squatters’ Rights.

She keeps strange company, too.
Just the other day,
Death had Time over for tea,
whereupon they discussed
the morality of Brer Rabbit,
and whether or not
a tar baby would work
on the absent hearted.
And just last month,
she employed ex-pantheon members
in an elaborate pyramid scheme,
designed to trick elderly retirees
into investing in cloud front property.
Death diversifies.

Sometimes, late at night,
after I’ve drowned my sorrows,
Death delivers a cold cloth rag,
and seltzer tablets.
“Still your heart,” he whispers,
“I’m breathless without you.”
His bedside manners
are quite delectable.

We’re familiar strangers,
this Grim Tennant and I.
Spectators to our very own
dance macabre.
We writhe and shake
through empty corridors
where he tickles my fancy
with the beckon of slender finger.
Who am I to deny
Death’s carnal calamity?
I’m his favorite toy.
He spins my crank,
dances to the anxious tune,
but never, does he ever,
pop my jack out of the box.
Death is the ultimate tease.

Paralyzed

wheelchair heart

It’s always the same.
There’s no one until there’s someone.
You appear like Napoleon, 1799, out of nowhere.
Staging coups and exiling her better senses
with good-guy tales of misfortune,
like chocolate dipped delicacies,
always ending in the same
but that’s nothing compared to
what you’ve been through

script.

Her father taught her;
when she was just a top-knot,
to never trust explicitly.
It’s not lost on her that sometimes
beneath a candy-coated exterior
lies a dark and bitter center,
but longing never met a truth it couldn’t erode.

Now your heart is beating in her chest,
and what she doesn’t know
is just how deep your malice grows.
How you move from one forever-love to another
using their affection like a needle and spoon,
to satiate the prosthetic spirit within your shell.

Tell me; was it a game for you?
Did you eeny, meeny, miney, moe?
Or just mark your prey by the wheels on her chair?
You’re like the clown in a dunk tank
crying “Virgin mobile, here! Virgin mobile!” all the way down.
You’re the carnie whose joints are never quite rigged,
just bent bottles and tilted tables,
tipping odds in your favor.

Now her tears trace their tracks,
as you’re off projecting new-life comfort,
flaunting your glamour shots debutante,
hoping the pain you inflict
will, somehow, finally break her.

But what are you?
Compared to phantom limbs and catheter tubes?
What are you, compared to walking memories
swimming through nightmare undertow?
What are you, really, in the grand scheme of all things,
compared to the permanent loss of maternity?

Answer: Nothing.

Just one more little boy paralyzed,
watching her walk away.