22 October 2013


Stopping time is as easy as remembering.

Let's say you have a father. You have a relationship with him,
one that changes with your perception of him, one that changes
with his perception of you. You grow up, you do
things on your own, you listen to your own heart--
fuck him
and his nonsense about adulthood and responsibility--
and then you discover
you are responsible for your actions, and he
can't bail you out and you see his wisdom and you see his love
that only seems to match what you and he are.

And then he goes and dies.

You try to hang on to every memory you ever had, even memories
he doesn't belong in and you see his influence and his presence
and is it any wonder that God is a father? You see he was there,
always there, guiding you as a model and you clung onto every memory,
like a man sweeping the ocean towards him, trying to embrace
everything in front of him and pull it around him like a coat or a wall.

You rail and you gnash and you cry because
it wants to be forgotten, it wants to get loose
but you're trying to hug water

and you can't remember.                   And the fact you can't remember
is suddenly comforting. Maybe it wasn't him that made you this way,
maybe it was you alone and so you allow yourself to forget

how a man died without a word to you,
because he couldn't breathe enough to say anything to you,
and how you cried until your marriage broke, how you let it all disintegrate
into his ashes, how angry you were, not at him, but at your loss, at his absence.

And "your absence has gone through me," the poet wrote...

And you remember words you never expected
to attach to a memory of your father and then

"like thread through a needle:" the poet wrote...and your eyes mist up and
your saliva pools between your teeth and it's everything everything
everything...the poet wrote, "everything I do is stitched with its color."
The world stops moving.
The traffic outside stops playing in your ears.
The voices of humanity silence themselves.
The oxygen pauses

in your lungs to acknowledge absence...

and then rushes ahead to catch up and the blood in your heart
pumps hard and the tears and the saliva are released in a flood:
not a memory
of event, but a memory
of emotion,
a memory of absence, and then a stitching of your life.

And you grimace: "you stopped time, you son of a bitch,
you figured out how to get underneath the laws of physics and steal
pieces of the universe back from it, you sneaky           little           

12 September 2013


~for my wife~

The universe woke up today
and decided, fuck it all, I'm gonna make THAT one

The universe put on its dark silvery robe,
strolled on down to the Fate Machine and hit

The red light whispering into the darkness,
the hum of stars and planets churning, someone on Earth

This person looks into the sky, or into the air between atoms,
and feels the overflow of heat and tears permeate their being:

will ever be the same; I am having a realization
that I am not the best me, that I am flawed, that I am

that I have been forgotten, that I am shit on God's shoe,
that I have no motion but to finish my dinner, wipe my chin, and

Mmm, the universe thinks, good enough to the last drop.
Waaah, the person weeps, never ever good enough.

the universe is so lonely, with only itself,
and, with so many of us, we are so

We have but each other and the universe has its power.
I give us, the universe and all of us in it, a new name:

What is it that we keep losing, that it keeps hurting?
What is it that keeps hurting, that we can't give

Why don't we wake up before the universe does
and say, fuck it all, we're gonna make our own god damn

05 September 2013

Taken Toys

When I was a child,
I would pocket my friend's toys:
a marble here, a fading GI Joe there;
a half-used eraser, a Yahtzee die,
the army guy with the bazooka,

or pieces: the plastic plug from a watergun,
Barbie's shoe, the Play-Doh knife,
a Hot Wheels car missing wheels,
a jack, the Transformer missile
that wouldn't fire from the launcher.

It wasn't the stealing, it wasn't the toy,
but the need to have a memento,
a reminder of my time with them, a reminder
of how happy a child could be.
            LITTLE DID I KNOW,

that they weren't thrown away or returned or lost
in the cushions or down the grates or retaken by other children:
the other day in a dream I opened a room
and found it filled with all my taken toys.
Growing up, I'd forgotten them anyway.

29 August 2013

The Suit of Armor

The Suit of Armor

Over the shirt and tie, I've been wearing an everyday suit of armor
to protect me from the anger, the manipulation, the habits
that gave me the power to act without consequence.

It is a heavy, but blessed suit of armor,
kissed by an angel of redemption, forged
by the devils of regret. And I do not begrudge

wearing it. For now. But I hope for the day,
that my skin oxidizes and takes on the blessing,
but not the weight of this armor, its soft, fleshy

vulnerability encased in the patina
of a goodly man, able to defend himself
against the encroaching host.

my blood will no longer boil or foment beneath my crust,
but shall shine like light and pour forth like poultice.

01 July 2013

The Poem In Which I Bleed

It has been a while since I wrote.

I don't miss it. I don't even feel guilty. I think I'm happier lately than I have been and I'm not writing anything.

I keep going back to this thing my lovely, adoring wife said, "You bleed when you write." I think we were discussing me going back to school to get my PhD and I told her that I probably wasn't writing deeply enough, that I couldn't reach the level of intensity that I usually reach when I'm writing and she remarked , "You bleed when you write."

And I think I've been thinking about that because with what I've been through, I'm tired of making myself bleed for words. I deserve a happier, successful life. How long can the junkie continue his addiction before the thing that makes him feel so alive nearly kills him? How long can an artist bear the pain of creation before all he knows is pain?

To what purpose do I cut myself open and why don't I just stop and start putting love into the world?

And I think that's the answer: I started this blog so that I could ask myself how a writer can view and experience a world that does not reward him for being a writer.

I'm not going to torture myself because I can't write what I think I should be writing, or can't live the way I think I should be living, or can't see what I want to be seeing.

I'm not going to torture myself at all and if it hurts, I'm not going to indulge in that pain. I'm not going to twist and turn it and gnaw on its rusted edges and make my mouth bleed on it anymore.

I'm going to do this life up with my own special breed of quiet, awkward, elegant joy, and if it comes out as a poem then, lucky me. If it comes out of a series of good and noble acts or conversations at dinner or favors I pay forward, then lucky me too.

This life is not meant for suffering, not meant for bleeding out. This life is meant for enrichment, for fleshing out and there is a limit to poetry. And I have reached it. There remains little meaning in the act of writing for me but I am not sad about it.

There is more in the heavens and earth than I've dreamt of in my philosophy. There is more magic to be played. There is more that I can do and that which I do will not be with my words alone on a page.

They will rise, they will be born, they will live as their own and I will smile as a father and as a grandfather and as a great grandfather and my kinsmen are poets and artists and good husbands and great men and sailors and doctors and teachers.

The poem in which I bleed is no longer the poem I write. The poem in which I blossom is the life I write.