This little guy joins the canopy.
In all its fragile immediacy.
I've gone as far as I can, for I lose my way
Some days I want to make time slow down
Like the time you beat me in ping pong
Or the night the amber light of the hotel bar
Filtered through your wind swept hair
And caught the completeness of your essence
As we held hands and laughed
And listened to old jazz songs.
Time is relative like everything else,
Contingent on one’s perspective.
Blast into space and hit the hyperdrive
Or spiral around the outer cone of a black hole
And, from someone else’s vantage point,
Time seems to slow to a crawl.
I’ll never approach the speed of light
So I’ve been looking for something heavy,
An object of infinite mass
That we can circle at our leisure.
Each step will seem to take a thousand years
Each kiss will last a hundred kalpas.
But for us, it will be as before:
After maybe a minute has elapsed
Our lungs will burn and ache
And our lips will have to break
And we’ll return to a world that has long since passed:
The extinguished sun, this frozen dead earth.
Alas, the obstinate constancy of relativity.
The best parts of the Bible are the ones unwritten
Like the time Christ was cutting his nails
By the quivering light of dying candles.
Or the divine piss that pooled
Around the roots of trees
While the dawn birds chirped
And the crickets sifted in the grass.
The sweat, the spit, the holy shit,
The rhythmic reverberation of His snore.
I saw Christ Himself today on the surgical floor.
This sunken chested old lady,
Skin like closeted leather,
Colostomy for an obstructive cancer
Bulging with gray sludge and foul gas.
She shook her spindly finger at me
And pursed her cracked lips.
Her yellowed eyes caught
A glint of the morning sunrise.
Why so early young man?
I’ve just begun to freshen up.
For the first time in my life
I knew exactly what to say
But she’d already fallen back to sleep
And the words became too sacred to speak.
Don’t wait for your skin to bronze
On the beach while the arching waves
Are accelerating in to shore.
Strike fast, strike now.
Seize not the day
But the thin wisp of what is.
When it’s over you can sleep in,
Eat hot cereal doused in brown sugar
And then meticulously wash all your bowls.
Let your gravestone be not
A staid resting place for flowers
But a graffitied slab some drunk once kicked over.
Sometimes you get tired of having to defend
Yourself from a ceaseless onslaught of attack.
Get the puck and chuck it to the other end;
Catch your breath, clear the slate,
A momentary reprieve before the pressure comes back.
I want to find a lake with ice ten feet thick
Surrounded by hills studded with pines,
Away from all the things I hate:
Creases, cross checks, red lines, blue lines.
Give me a frozen void where I can just skate.
My poems have too many trees without leaves
Like I live in a suspended place
Where it’s always autumn,
Not completely dead but never in bloom.
These poems are too much
Like day after blizzard slush.
No longer a powdery snow
And the last thing to slake my thirst
Here’s a meal when you already ate.
Here’s a warm coat when the fire’s been lit.
My halfway love is an incomplete verse;
A dollar short and half a day too late.
If the flower doesn’t turn to the sun
Then how do you know it’s a flower?
When the liquid doesn’t freeze at zero degrees
You’ve mistaken the ocean for fresh water.
That time your shoes wouldn't lace up anymore
Was because you were standing still in slippers.
When your dog stops barking when someone's at the door
You're comforted by a cat purring in your lap.
Everything is just happening.
Life is action,
One event after the next,
Even when it seems like nothing is moving
Like this clenched fist on a hypersonic jet.
If my boy can’t chase that puck
If my girl isn’t allowed to be kind
If I can’t finish this unrhymed line
If I can’t go on loving you
Then what am I?
Who have I become next?
The boy darted out between parallel parked cars
In front of his south side home
Chasing a ball or a squirrel
Or maybe chasing nothing at all,
Just running, running aimless like a child.
The van caught him flush and sent him flying
A hundred feet down the street in broad daylight.
They brought him in to the trauma bay
Comatose, cold and pale, with a wobbly tracing
Which quickly went flat.
We split open his chest and his left lung
Spilled out of his empty chest like fileted pink salmon.
Last gasp, we explored his bulging little belly
Hoping to find something to fix or stanch
But the entrails sprung out in a mass
Of diaphanous deep sea anemones.
There was no blood and we never got a pulse
So the chief surgeon declared him dead
Right then and there, just like that
And then stuffed everything back inside
And whip-stitched his open gashes in silence.
I stood to the side and waited for the void
To be filled with some kind of noise---
Wailing sirens as the ER doors opened and closed,
The searing lamentations of a mother, a father,
Waiting down the hall for the worst news of their lives
Or least the beeping of monitors, the whirring of printers or faxes
But no sounds came.
The parents hadn't arrived yet.
Everything had been turned off.
There was just the rhythmic ratcheting of the needle driver
As the boy was terminally closed.
Once you’re exposed
There’s little incentive
To cover yourself back up.
You feel it’s too late;
Took everything you had to hold it all in.
All those lonely years,
Layer upon layer of protective gear,
All for naught.
That part takes love
Which isn’t something
Anyone can control;
You need help.
The next time the suitcase
Came round unclaimed
I stepped forward and covered it
With an old white tee shirt I’d pried from my bag.
No one deserves to go round and round
Flayed open, naked and raw and true
For all the world to see.
It’s hard to get out of bed when it’s cold.
Splash some water on your face,
Run barefoot across the frost
To fetch a package from the mailbox.
A shot of bourbon just before you shave.
November mornings don’t fuck around.
They wait for no stragglers.
Get your boots laced,
Choose a bold tie,
Pick a proper face.
But the deer find a way to disappear
Even in the stripped down
Skeletonized winter wood.
Use what you have;
This broken stick is a wand.
The sky will clear, the sun will come.
Just be patient, just wait.
The haze will burn away.
Soon, arthritic knuckled branches will be flush
Again in green leaves and white blossoms.
When the wind hisses and pierces
Be the one who laughed
While everyone else scoured and scrubbed
A perfectly clean glass.
And that may be enough.
If anyone asks
You'll say it's just witchcraft.
Like Smerdyakov, down on the floor,
Drooling, while his legs and arms thrash.
She’s the first one on the scene,
Kneeling, quiet and calm, she takes his hand.
We should all awake from such chaos
To her almond-eyed serene.
It’s October and everything falls;
Empires, proud men, midnight drunks.
Everyone wants to see the changing leaves
Before it’s too late.
The leaves don’t make a fuss,
They escape like silent thieves,
Like someone trying to slip from a party unnoticed.
You can’t turn your head for an instant,
The branches are bare before you know it.
Winter then comes and the snow falls
And the browned leaves on the ground freeze
In a crusted thatched matting.
The falling never stops.
We never stop falling.
When we venture off the wooded trail,
Crunching across the quilting of dead leaves,
Hidden branches and holes lurk unseen.
I’ll reach for you when you stumble
And you’ll reach for me.
It’s always been better to fall together.