Sunday, April 15, 2012

Silence dogs me on
Goads me until my ears will explode
With the sheer unresponsiveness of it.
“Come on, you can do better than that,”
It seems to say,
“Chin up, you’re almost there!”
But in reality, silence is just silence.
The emptiness of a head,
The emptiness of any given four months of life,
But these four are the most silent.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

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The Latter Nights

Dark carpet
And the hum of a heater
That has somehow harnessed the power of a volcano,
Pouring air that might as well be magma,
These things keep me awake.
I can hear my footsteps scratching their way
In my flat-soled shoes, to my car,
The rainforest,
Before they even scatter across the asphalt.
I can hear them, but I choose to ignore them,
And stay here, where it's warm
(Although too warm),
And try to ignore the unalterable colored pencil sketchings
That inhabit the east wall.

Goodnights and stolen glances stack up like a game of Jenga,
Teetering at the weight of their faulty framework.
All that is required is one breath,
Or an overexcited dog, with his tongue flapping,
To knock them over, to throw them into every corner,
For a grumbling adult to clean up.

I'd rather watch boxing.

Every night's a drunken fighter,
Threatening to fall,
Threatening to knock your teeth out, or
Swing wildly for a moment, slowly forget what the altercation was about,
And wander back home through the dark, but sometimes
You're the one to drive him home, and tuck him in.
These latter nights are seldom.

"We'll talk tomorrow" rings like a broken fire alarm
At three in the morning,
Then again at five,
When the bastard rooster across the block
Steps up to the karaoke bar.
And it sinks into the eyes, the lips, the hair
With every second stripping courage bare
Until the shoes are heavy on the feet
And clouds of gray in heavy washes meet.
One door closes, and so does another,
Until the house is safely locked,
And the four-year-old is snoozing
Next to a black heap that may be a shirt,
and may be the dog.

The ever-present Former Nights, will barge in
Uninvited, with an insatiable thirst for chatter,
And choke you to death, erasing every step you took to school,
And every worried glance in the mirror.
But latter nights fill up my prospects and dreams,
And help me brush my teeth in the morning
For the thirteen-thousand, eight-hundred-and-seventieth time,
And help me put on my shoes, comb my hair,
Say my prayers.
Through the winter, latter nights will wake me up, and
Keep me on the frozen gravel road that leads to the eternal unknown country.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

From Christmas

Raving About Avatar

If these walls could talk, they’d say: “Quiet down!
And use another phrase, don’t bother us.”

Candy apple hurricane
As if some frenzied wall-ophile kissed every inch of their white faces
With sultry lipstick on.

Red pumped a little faster through me when,
One night, interrogation light above,
I asked you what your favorite color was.
And judging by the nature of this verse
Three letters served to nurture your response.

At Christmas, from a Las Vegas motel bed,
I stepped into my head:
Searched through my coat pockets until I found a rusty key,
Its tacky gold coating invaded
By little copper freckles.
After a resounding KNOCK
Which keys make when a lock
Is heavier than it ought to be, I leaned against the door of my skull, which,
Having forgotten how to open, from lack of use,
Fell from its hinges like a tired old tennis player
Who had just discovered his old racquet and tried again to play
Like young remembered days.
It clanged, thunder lumbering its way along the corners,
Then dashing back to sniff at something passed, for thunder-smells,
Tiring out its legs, slowed to a walk,
Then a crawl, then curling up, silently snoozed.

I had shut my eyes as if it stoppered up my ears
But eyes and ears are separate, I’ve learnt with all my years.
I pulled the drawstring on my shutter eyes
Looked once, then twice, around the dusty room
Its cubist walls with battered shelves were lined,
Containing yellowed books stacked stiff, entombed.

A rustle caught me,
And I started like a guilty thing surprised,
looked back to check my exit, and wandered further in.
The gloom of the complex into which I had traversed
Was melted into the rouged light of the thirty dollar motel
Light which snuck slowly along the walls through the open door-frame,
Like melting molasses.
I approached the rustle, following my shadow that, like a thirsty alice,
Shrunk and shrunk until the molasses-light consumed him.
There, where the rustle had been,
Came a breath, the kind which only comes
When traveling affections are brought home.
Accompanying this breath were:

1.    Two sweet eyes, of brown and green, filling up her countenance like sunshine through the trees.  Eyes that filled me with words, words words.
2.     Two legs, longer than a marathon, that made my heart beat as fast as if I were running one.
3.     Golden hair which sat in waves around her face, recalling some half-remembered memory of a summer dawn above the frost-capped mountains.
4.     A body, a frame, which encased a golden spirit, the kind that seeps through the cracks and fills up everyone she meets.

You stood, you stretched, you stepped across to me
Till eyes had filled me up with forestry
Burying your nose in my neck
And wrapping yourself around my waist,
We stood,
Steeped in molasses-light,
Listening to each other’s breathing.