Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Grabbing someones arm you thought was your mother's

When i see the king and his men
step into the room with a bland podium
and they look into the camera
they smile like a cat that broke into the bird cage
broad, black iris knowing that it doesn't matter if they get caught
because they already drew the blood

When i see them defending
the shutting of the door
pretending to not say that they hate me
and my mom
and my dad
and my grandfather
and my grandmother
and my aunts and uncles
the ones who lived and died on this land
and slightly further south
the ones i never met
and did
not one of them ever did anything
that was unforgiveable in the eyes of the law
except live

They say, its about safety
and they look like wild coyotes
laughing louder at 3:30 in the morning
startling me awake, and my wife
and we worry about who they got

I never thought about myself in that way
But now I really do wonder
if all of those smiling faces i've encoutered in my life
were lying to me all along
and I feel as helpless as
I was when I was lost as a child
in a cavernous grocery store
when i accidentally held
the hand of a woman
I thought was my mom
and I felt embarassed
and not wanted

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The imperfect vessel of your love

It is difficult to keep myself from constantly questioning a permanent choice
like love
To say, this is how I feel and will always feel
when every week I change
and think different thoughts
and have different interests
like diving link by link
through a late night on Wikipedia

My eyes turn so red from the lack of sleep
the clock working against my desire
to know something well
and to have another thought to consider
where there had been none

I used to wonder if I could mold you into
what I had previously thought of as an ideal partner
but increasingly
I see that it is impossible
and unethical
and wrong

You don't care about things that are less than immediate
to a fault
you see the world like an endless reel of images
instead of a static wall
every instance is current and in need of being addressed or avoided
then and now

It is like we live on two different planes of existence sometimes
I don't ever want to talk about my day at work
and you seemingly only want to
I want to aspire to a new reality
and you want to set dates for likely plans

There are things you can never be
the limitation of any person
but now I think that is ok
It is not always exciting
but when you reach a certain age
so few things are

Do people talk about music anymore
song to song
now that every musician is known
and accessible instantly
will the collective memory cease
to feel music?

Will absorbing lyrics be only a running commentary on reality
a non-fiction story
that needs to be "important" or it is functionless?

Will two young people be able to speak to each other in
the way I used to, with the few bright lights
I stumbled onto along the way

Now i realize that I am the most imperfect vessel for your love
a restless, impractical monolith
who strived when there was a future
but struggles when there is only the present

I am not a comforter or empathic in an obvious way
I am unemotional about my own life
in nearly every aspect

But some times I do feel overwhelemed
when I see somebody else
in existential anguish
but I don't know what this means
or why it happens

I don't know when I lost my emotions
and replaced them with constant, quiet

It's comical how emotionally intelligent you are
speaking about eveything and understanding everything in those terms
and I am like
the stupid stuffed animal on the bed
a slight smile always on my face
but nothing but fluff underneath

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Quiet conversation

We spoke to each other last night
with tired voices
and I closed my eyes because the lights were off

You were weary when I came home
feeling the weight of another week
and I hoped you could slough off some of the burden
by this point in the year but you just
piled it all on

I made a joke
and you teared up
trying not to cry
remember when you claimed you never cry
and then spent the next five years becoming emotional
seemingly at every little thing
while I could only watch
like a cat watches nothing
sitting on the windowsill
understanding nothing

It wasn't an argument
just an acknowledgement that I knew something was up
that somehow fear and despair
had taken hold of your life
causing you to lose feeling in your fingers
and your feel for sunshine
on your cold hands

It scares me
to think that you may not recover
the way you struggle to cope
with simple things now
it isolates me
from you and from other people
a silent struggle

You started crying again after we talked
and I felt sure that I had found a way out
saying the obvious
that you needed to understand yourself
and find what your life is all about
and that I was encouraging
and would be there for whatever changes or goals you needed or had

But you lobbed it up on top
of the comical tower of worry that you
carry with you
and I heard your shoulder joints crack again
under the weight

Monday, January 25, 2016

Occupy thirty

When I think back on the past 12 years
to 18 when I felt compelled
to finally express

I feel unfamiliarity
with the young kid
lying on the bed of a dorm room in
Wichita Falls
where my government appointed roommate and his friends
played rap music and left the lights on
as I sat there writing
into some letterhead with the Air Force insignia
that I purchased during basic training
to write to people
only to use it primarily to write to myself
exactly what I felt

What I felt about the girl who was at home
not waiting for me
because I never said anything to her
because I just couldn't speak

All i could do was feel that she wasn't there anymore and maybe wouldn't be
and true to form when I returned home, my feelings were the only thing left
of whatever the last few months of high school with her had been

And the mire that I waded through for years afterward
trying to find myself in myself
working it out in private
working it out in silent public
jumping from one bright flame to another

I grew up, but lazily, I let time and opportunity
afraid of what I wasn't
and what I looked like
or how I sounded
hoping and crushing and being crushed and losing hope
and still
trying to find myself as I approach another round number
while my friends say to each other "we're so old"
but I roll my eyes
because I don't agree with them
Its just something people say to help them cope with the loss
of whatever their dream was, I think

But I also wonder if it's because I'm bad at being an adult
and they're normal
or that I'm selfish - and I am -
and they aren't
or that normal things like houses
and savings and vacations to Cancun
not only sound impossible but in some ways
undesirable to me

I wonder if I'm just kidding myself
and rather accept my situation
I'm conducting my own pointless protest
like the militia in Oregon
basing my primary argument on
half truths and uninformed opinions
and my love of myself
and my friends all see me as one of those Bundy patriots
wearing a weird mix of camouflage, fake gas station bought Oakley sunglasses, cowboy hats
and NASCAR apparel.
A ridiculous caricature of the person I thought I wanted to be.

I run every other night around a dark path
and come home sweating
but I'm no better for it

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Planning out the rest of your life

Trying to put into words how I feel about you
shouldn't be so hard
but they don't flow
onto the floor
like glass
shattering randomly
like they used to

We met
and left
and met again
and left
and then stayed

Never left again
You are everything now
but i am an empty vessel
walking through life
like in a haze
as a countdown
marks away each day

each day is the same
each week is the same

I used to hate that
now I don't feel any way about that

I used to want so much more
and now I  have more than that

I used to feel anxious to live
feeling like a molting
adolescent bird
trapped in a nest on the highest tree

But growing my feathers
I find that I mostly live on the ground
not able to reach the nest
or wing high enough to start my own

You soothe me
like the harp did to Saul

But like his darkness
the soothing only masks a temporary sanity
waiting to burst out
daily it seems

I feel strength from you
but in that there is inability

we are in love
but I don't trust myself

to be the thing you expect of me

When i look back on my life
I was so affected by the opposite sex
so wanting
so influenced

and now I have myself
and somehow I have you
but ahead of me

is blankness
maybe that is okay

You are afraid of everything
and I am afraid of myself
But we survive
in inadequacy
in love
in uncertainty

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Constantly trying to connect

The world is full of people trying to connect
and all their behavior
connected to that

Their hate and their shame
their denial of those things
their compliments
and cries for help

Through comment threads
and self righteous posts
through social networks
and @ mentions
and meaningless words

We were designed to connect

When we walk in each others paths
at a grocery store
and say excuse me
and apologize
for mutual incidental

The internet is constantly trying to connect
even when walls go up
and demands for justice
and demands for freedom
and arbitrary rules and philosophies

it is a form of connection
like a modem
like a USB cable
like a magsafe connector
pulled from it's socket

Even the fringes of society
feel this pull

Its what pulls lost souls to a fight
in across the world
or drives jets into mountains

Its what causes men to kill other men
to fit in
to feel a cause
to feel connected

We are not all killers
most of us anyway

I watched the explosions
at the marathon again and again
and saw the old man stumble
and white smoke rise into the air
like steam from a subway vent

I watched each person's expression
I watched some people run
and two others walk quietly

I saw the pain and surprise
and the need to connect

The two brothers with each other
connecting with an idea
the one brother following the older one
now standing trial alone

Next to a group of jurors
a television camera
connected to a satellite truck

Does the current move us
or do we disturb the water

Could we endure a standing puddle
if it meant not moving at all
toward each other
away from others
to a concept
an idea
of escape from loneliness

Monday, March 16, 2015

Incipit via nova

Here begins the new life
the super nova that begins
this universe
of realization
where every word matters

Where the trees blow with a hot breeze
and flags whip at the violence
whip with violence
fearful of old

Dancing in the water at the beach
skipping over white caps
in the bay like
a stone propelled
by an unseen force

This is the change in the season
where spring has become summer
before winter had a chance to sprinkle
white dust on brown branches

this is mostly nonsense
but sometimes a bloody nose
feels good
the deep red that lets you know
there are operations under the skin
and synapses firing
with pain
I am alive
they say

A man ran down the bridge with a middle finger
toward all of us sitting in traffic
all because of a red light
hes not wrong
we are
and he is free

free to be angry
and to love
and feel the pain I am isolated from in the car

A pinch is freedom
a cut is ecstasy
a gash is like an orgasm
of Life

But without a mind
these things are meaningless
without a sense of self
these things happen to no one

so we remove ourselves from it
and concentrate on the immediate
but sometimes the scar
is more satisfying
than the blood

Scraped knees are called a raspberry when you are six
how many times did i have scabbed knees
so much that my skin is bleached white
in sections
where new growth took place

I took a step into the inferno
and walked amongst the fel saints
who chose nothing to something
but it wasnt who I was

In that way my shortcomings
as a person
my lack of success or common sense
has saved me

I spent four years with bruised forearms in high school
and soon it became who I was
and felt good

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Long Beach block party

Far from vaulted ceilings and matrimony
and white walls and white balloons
and untouchable society
exists a dry
hot heat

Take away the boring conversations about
or right or wrong

and go to the beach on a sunday
where the water is mixed with grime
from the ships parked off shore

Long Beach like an industrial monolith
colored green and red cargo
containers stacked high
like a cathedral
to the economy

in the distance a fake waterfall
covers op an oil rig

the smell of pot and cigarettes
the sound of hip hop
and Mexican music

of people having a good time

(ghetto ass beach) a kid says as i walk past

Black and brown, some white

and me

I can pass through this scene
relatively unnoticed though
that is the power of
being some sort of minority

though in reality im only tangibly welcome
but also
I realize that in some strange way I do belong here

And that no matter what I do,
I am just like those little chubby kids
wearing T-shirts in the water

The other day I ate with my fiance
amongst old people, Mexicans, black people
the same group I see at the beach

and the funny thing is
I remember being a little kid here
and not in a fancy building with beautiful people
or in dingy nighttime art venues
or healthy fancy, delicious home grown restaurants

I remember the smoking section at Spires
and my grandpa disappearing after we ate
and coming back smelling like cigarettes

or my uncles backyard parties
on 90 degree summer nights
that smelled like cheap beer

I remember running through a lawn sprinkler

 I may not be like them,
but I cant ignore that
I am less out of place there
than most places.

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Ralphs Among Whole Foods

When I catch my reflection in a dirty mirror
and see that I am not the same
as them
I get sick
and break out into a cold sweat
harassed by the noise
by the image of the guy who is talking

He has straight, combed hair
he had a new orleans themed wedding

I miss hear what he says to me
and I blurt out Anaheim
and say it again

And then I understand my mistake

But the whole while
I think how we aren't really all that alike

He looks like a normal, clean
healthy man
and I am sweaty
and balding

and my hair is frizzy and curly and thin
and my face is bloated and red and dirty
My blood is confused
and lost

I look around the table
and I don't belong
I look around the bar
and I realize that I don't belong

I avoid looking at myself in the mirror
I avoid looking at all the people who are not like me

I want to be clear that they are not wrong
and that I am

Though in my head I know
that they are closer to what i'd want to be than I care to admit

We drive home and talk
and I think about my reflection in the mirror
I feel shaky
and sick still and I miss the onramp

I think about my reflection

I think about buying a package of Kraft Singles from a Ralphs around the corner from my house
and wonder if whole foods is secretly a subsidiary of Kraft Foods
marketing to the healthy sect
of society

From head on, i don't hate myself
From the side I nearly die

The time is coming when I will have to become my best self
to give up the Kraft Singles
and beer
and Lays Vinegar and Sea Salt potato chips

and eat a plain salad
and go to the gym
and get a haircut

But even with all these changes
I will still be an alien
masquerading as a normal human male

This was a better night than most

There is a video of Sufjan Stevens playing a banjo on a fence on what looks like a farm
and in my heart
I wish it was me

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Breaking the silence

when you sit alone
smoking a cigarette
knowing that these things can't go on forever
and the helicopter flies over
shining its light

and two police cars speed up behind you
or pull up to look at my face
when i'm running around the block

when these things happen
you know that change is coming

that it must come

When the world is full of hate
and it seems like nobody knows
what to do

when God is watching
everyone play god
and the people who have no god
are playing god

and the people with guns are speaking for god
and the people with pens are mocking the idea of god
and the people with pens
are writing legislation for god

and the people who don't participate are watching it all
happen on TV
or reading it on reddit

when these things happen
the only truly right thing to do is
stay still
and silent

and sit alone
and watch the helicopter and cars pass you by
while you smoke a cigarette
knowing that this all cannot last

like this

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Finger fall off, wagging empty

The chorus
screams for blood
every single day
emptying out their hollow vessels
in shallow tears
shallow emotions

Genuine hardship
genuine regret
purchased for someone else
prostituting themselves
out for causes that disappear in just a few days

Like a child crying
the chorus knows there is a problem
even if they can't articulate it
so they scream
and turn red
and try desperately to be heard

Finger wagging
falling off
empty anger
this is the legacy of the chorus

Who enjoys tragedy
because it feels so good to be right

There is blood on all of our hands
but the fingers still point
while plasma beads and flows to the tip
of our finger nails

We just buried a body
time to bury another one

Don't think about it
don't ever think about it
lest you be buried too

Don't think anymore
it isn't worth it

Monday, March 10, 2014

Used to be one of the rotten ones

Thinking back to cold nights
learning how to smoke a cigarette
crushing so hard
confusing cool friends
for potential saviors

It's hard to regret even a second of it though
freezing air seeping in my jeans
and nervously adjusting and readjusting
to hide the whole time

Everything from then smelled like ash
But it was sweeter to me
when I was young

Reading magazines furiously
forming in my mind
the things I wanted to be
And mostly missing the mark

But I wasn't sitting on my hands
at home

Remember blogs?
When somebody cool told you about one
and they seemed so amazing
to a suburban boy

And now they're all gone
or something might call itself one
but for anyone who remembers that short time
it just isn't the same

I remember driving when I shouldn't have
where I shouldn't have
sleeping on couches
and having the privilege of seeing the peak of a
time and place
and person

Those girls
those cool girls
They were my teachers

I remember them now
differently than I did then

Just the same way that smoke is more annoying
and headache inducing these days
It has to end

I only hope to make something as bright and good as that again

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Navel gazers

At once all the wars seemed to blend
together screaming
out at each other like a bloody antelope
coming to grips
with the lion's jaws around its neck.

The world was falling apart
in a constant stream of terrible tragedy
and bad becoming good
and good becoming bad
With the weak an downtrodden
now crushing a new minority
and somehow not remembering what it was
like to be crushed.

Yet still with all this noise
flooding my ears
I can't help but wonder if it has always been this way.

Is there a tipping point of no return
or a circular, repeating saw
with each sharpened tooth eventually making a cut
while on the opposite end
another blade wonders if it will ever have its turn.

Is it like watching a sunset and saying to ourselves
that it was the greatest sunset of all time
because of how we felt
in that moment
from that perch
ignoring the fact that
even on a cloudy, rainy day
that same sun still displays its splendor
out of our unfortunately limited view.

Does an ant know what is happening on the other side of a grassy field
or have concept of creatures under
the water in a pond?

Does it matter?

Is our attempt to connect all corners of the globe
and right all wrongs
and feel all pain
from the west to the east
and north to south
not just in vain
but vanity itself?

An animal might gather food for a
cold season
because it is necessary
and even in our own complex world
we must ask ourselves
what is really necessary?

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The ugly haze

The morality of the crowd
is a yellow smog
that creeps under doors
and around fences
into our souls

It is strengthened by hate
by ambiguity
made powerful by it's numbers

There was a man who blew smoke
in a woman's face as he walked by her
on the lake bridge
and he didn't care
because the haze is uncaring
but a product of human nature

The frenzy of self righteousness
is inhaled
like a noxious drug
it feels like the high ground
but it obscures itself
in itself
and deceives those who believe in it

The morality of the crowd is like religion
with no rules
a god
whose only rule is to stay out of the way

preaching happiness
we find that
nobody is happy anymore
because nobody cares anymore

Just like that man on the bridge

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Burning the trail

Smoke between your ears
you judge
and protect yourself from judgement
but like an approaching fire
the heat will eventually
inevitably march on

Burning your skin
singing your brow
until the little beads of sweat
start to boil
and bubble
cooking your skin
red faced

You hide from reality
too easily
you hide behind made up words
and supposedly deep philosophical
that come out of your mouth as awkwardly as

The worst part
is anyone who really loves you
can see how far the fire has come
charring your heart
of its former green

You lose yourself daily and hate
hate hate hate
everyone who doesn't love

and in that hate
you find shelter

Like a crustacean taking a warm bath
in a boiling pot

Friday, October 05, 2012

An expected failure or fork

Am I really such a loveable loser
that my flaws disappear
in the glow from my heart?

And these things are always on my mind
moreso every day they become more real
when future plans become procrastinations

Like my future is school paper
that I should have started weeks ago
and it's due at midnight
Will I even have anything to turn in

Or to show for it

And you
so willing to allow yourself
to be carried along by me
convinced that someday
I could lead you
to a place uncommon
a better place

And I admit
feeling that myself
But it was easier
when failing to do so
would have resulted in
lost potential

But with you
it is so different isn't it?
And you willfully ignore it
or brush it off
don't you?

I guess sometimes the future is either too hard to predict
or too scary to look at?

Is it really so hard to know the destination
when my feet are set in this path?
Or should I have faith
that somewhere
a ways down
there might be a fork
I never could have

We are two explorers
in an increasingly dense wood
looking for a clearing
but you are just
looking at me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The special ability in youth

When my mind races
At what feels like 1000 times
Faster than it should
Time seems to slow down
And it's hard to concentrate

It used to happen all the time when
I was young
Like a special gift
I was given and had no
Control over

But I know that things like that
Have left me since getting older
Like being able to
See many colored dots before I fell asleep

Or knowing that wasted time was
Mostly time for self exploration
Like the electric swirls I learned to control
Or the anxious dread I can
Force my body into on command

And it all shaped me into
A very tightly controlled
Defensive machine
Where all my attributes became defense mechanisms
And my tastes became closely guarded secrets

Putting others around me into the
Position of being threats to my
No longer special traits
And instead imprisoned
My mind in paranoia

Of a nuclear submarine out to sea for months
Pinging the ocean
And mistaking schools of fish
For foes

Not a part of the sea but a
Drowning island within it
Like Atlantis
Or the colossus at Rhodes

And since my mind continues to
Lose touch with the freedom I
Once had no control over in youth
I've become trapped
In a system of my own invention

Unable to love freely
Unable to think earnestly

Just a torpedo barreling
Toward a blind but plotted

Monday, September 10, 2012

The thunderstorm and the clock and a Beach House song

Time to me
is like a sad melody
putting us in a place we could not reach otherwise
a fleeting imprint of emotion
that will

The song is precious
like a gold dust in its impermanent perfection
raising the spirit like a natural act

Yesterday i watched the splendor
of God in a thunderstorm cloud
in the darkness
lightning flash after another
incredible pure energy
caused by the most natural process
on our earth

Just warm air rising

I watched the time on my watch
rotate and felt stagnant
and immutable

Unable to fathom another day like this
a day where I did nothing
and was no better for it at the end
than when I first awoke
a natural process
a rhythm that a needle drags accross
until my melody is over

and I want so bad
for it to be something great
and not a metronome

To see the seemingly chaotic
blasts of light
in my own life
from nothing but warm air
exhaling in
and out

like the inaudible tick
of my watch
rounding out another day

One that begins in pain
and ends in addiction
my addiction to avoidance
to stagnance
to giving up

An hour later the lightning had ceased
but i still looked east
to see if it might
strike once more
for me

A supernatural nod
from nature
to me
letting me know it was ok

But the storm had passed
and I know some day soon
I will too

It seems the only things which are eternal
is the rounding of a clock
and my unexplored

Friday, September 07, 2012

Tuning forks and empty wine glasses

Saying things to say them
is like getting drunk
to throw up
It's all vomit and mess
and the result of going to far
away from yourself

Hiding in excess is despicable
its meaningless
like wandering in a circle
hoping to find a new path

We live in an age full of intelligence
smart beyond our ancestors
arbiters of millenniums
of compounded knowledge
so self aware
so far reaching in our mental scope

So worthy of praise
so enlightened

So void of wisdom
because wisdom cannot be learned
through a browser window
or a professor's word
or pastor's for that matter

Wisdom comes from life
life we seem intent on not living anymroe
because a selfish pursuit
is an empty one
and a crowd of cheering people
is like a row of
empty wine glasses
humming their resonant frequencies
when touched

And is that all we are?
tuning forks
to whatever randomness abounds

A sad arrangement
of instruments without a will
who don't even know
how rigid their lives
will be

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A forgetful goodness

Sisters and brothers
come near
witness the birth of
the new Right
the new Good
the new Morality
the brightly colored prism
of a new reality
a new judgementalism
fearful of debate
afraid of
the disagreeable
Proclaimers of reason
doubters of dissidence

A new society
formed in ideal looking forward
forgetting the past
looking on it with the regret of a long 
night and wobbly morning

Once again
drunk on the idea of a new way
filling up 
chugging and chugging
the rhetoric of a confused
but deeply religious society
worshipping many more idols
than the Athenians at Mars Hill

Endlessly streaming consciousness in public forums 
spewing thoughts on each other
until something sticks

This new era is perfect in its own way
moving together as one
gaining momentum
like the Facists in the 30's
we are swept off our feet
by the inherit rightness of our leaders words
Impressed by the prosperity of our minds
blown away by our potential
always thinking forward
never dwelling on any moment for 
very long

This new society has a strong hand
which sweeps swiftly
removing the inharmonious chorus
trimming and pruning
with impunity
unsure of what we are creating
but striving for it

For the ultimate end
for that perfect sunset
for that long night
for that wobbly morning
and for the long nap and medicine that follows

A perfect people
standing on the imperfect lattice 
of old
While the vine of a new morality continues to creep
twisting and branching
like wild ivy
unsure of where it started
covering up 
what doesn't belong.