Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Mermaid (rewrite)

Nobody remembers how all seven seas belonged to you,
how both fish and flesh knew your shape.
We have forgotten the true names for the tides,
paving them over
out of the childish need to conquer and ruin
that has marked Mankind for the lost animal
it crawled out of the seas to become.

The moon tribes knew the water songs,
but there aren't enough voices fluid enough
to sing them now. When the shimmering skin
of your waters was cut by the first sailing boats
no one could wonder why you fled that open wound.
Sounding deep for a place to rest you reasoned
"Water-skimmers want to play" you said.
"What real harm could they do?" you said.

But it was a serious game mankind came to play
and they played to win. When the rainbow
of their poisons spread out over the waves,
at first you didn't worry. Your body was vast,
unknowable, seemingly inexhaustible;
too late you realized this danger was too big,
that you'd never lull this to sleep.

You remember sailors used to call you with songs
the most beautiful woman to ever swallow them
whole. Nowadays we laugh at them, mistaking
manatees for mermaids, their want spinning
the salty yarns. But the truth all sailors know
is it was you, riding sea cow-girl above the waves.

Phoenicians and Norsemen, Polynesians and Portuguese-
you had many lovers court you across the centuries.
And every virgin race you took shyly in? You were perfect
and passionate the lover every time. Your only mistake
was you were yourself: giving and abundant,
while also moody... as they say, unfathomable.

Mankind is a spoiled brat. You learned that soon,
but it was already too late. Greedy hands grabbed
at you, taking anything they could find, cursing you
when they lost themselves in your depth. Not seeing
or caring about your thousand, thousand wounds.

When you awoke, you were imprisoned in an aquarium.
That's a place mankind built to exhibit the dying
before they are forever gone. And you are gone,
from ocean and river, pond and puddle, gone or going
quickly. And all mankind can do is shuffle past
your water tank, and mutter "Sorry"
but never once look you in the eye.

And now the oceans are dying.

It was like, once they cut your sea-legs
out from under you, they put you in a bathtub,
helpless. And the rotted drain-plug can't help
but let the water slowly out.
It is in this way, left up to Man,
you would drown on dry land.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Thursday, April 6, 2017

30/30 #7 also #4 of Revision Series "My Stupid Heart" (2011)

There is something living inside of me
too fast. My heart forgets limits. It falls,
it falls and loses itself, rising and dives
like my favorite song, and I am dragged
behind it- unwilling passenger with all
my baggage. Surly actor in my drama
series. I carry a cane because I have to,
I want to. I want something to anchor
me to slow movement; I want to come
to a stop, safely. I want to live a while
before my body wears out and I'd like
to be able to enjoy the scenery as well.

When you accumulate age, things shift
around, but it is the gathering inbalance
that convinces me everything else hasn't
settled. It's just change waiting to move
around, because nothing is tied-down
to the ground, everything I am is bound
to everything I am. This is not life-web,
it's a web of fuckery I wove from whole
cloth. It's something i wear like a suit
made from lost chances, absent friends,
and missed signals. It is the loss I need
to feel warm in my own small, isolation.
It's the candle I use to curse the darkness

with; the flame I moth myself towards.
In the end, this is just another life story,
unremarkable; one of billions, and not
even one built of great accomplishments.
You could say that it has heart, but that
heart beats too fast, races over too much
ground to ever anchor itself to anything.
You could say my head is full of theater,
say the balance is thrown off, say I flew
too high and now just look at me: a man,
a cane, a heart that has taken me flying
all the way to the age I am, where I dream
of moving slow; my heart, a stable thing.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Blurred Photograph of Sharp Memory

I ran for years off the pain of memory. It's been
30 years and I marvel at the freshness of the hurt
I hold on to, harbor, treasure; the scarification
tells a story all it's own, fills in details as I recall

them. I have done this for years with out a photo
of you. Not one. My memory's still sketching
with a brush that exaggerates both the good and
the greatness of that love. It set my stars in circles,

overhead. Someone shared a picture: all of us
that summer, group photo, memento, a keepsake
I never kept. And although everyone is blurry,
caught at a cheap camera distance, the photo still

refuses to lie. That is you, standing next to me,
struggling with leaving. Us, holding on so hard
to each other for the last time. Time has frozen us
in the moment of counting what time we had left.

How to Become an Elder in the Slam Nation (a 30/30 haiku)

keep writing, don't die,
you give back, and try not to
piss everyone off

Monday, April 3, 2017

30/30 Revision #3 "This House is More Than Empty" (2012)

Radio carries ghosts in certain songs. Screen-door, left open, is unhinged, slamming, fickle with the wind. Food on the table, left mid-meal, goes cold. One chair askew, one chair knocked over. Phone is cradled, mute. Radio chooses that moment for Daryl Hall singing “She’s Gone.” There are two piles of mail, only one of them grows, calling for her. Lights stay off, day and night. Internet is desperate to please, will show anything, anytime. Dishes beget

more dishes. Refrigerator speaks in beer and microwave. Bathroom is a sad mess. Bed is half-haunted and hasn’t been slept in for days. Radio bargains “Come Back and Stay" for good this time..." Magazines get trashed. Who wants to be reminded? Porn no longer does anything. Radio sings louder, radio howls. Batteries died days ago. Radio rages “Ooh ooh Baby, I Want You Back,” Radio weeps “Until You Come Back to Me,” Radio surrenders...

“Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.”

Sunday, April 2, 2017

30/30 Revision #2 The Clock-Cutter Confesses

Time is vital. Bricks are important. Both
of those things can be stacked. You can trust
things that stack well. They are reliable, possibly
very tall. Time uses the sun to cast shadows.

I have a job I do. I work with time. There is time
layered on my hands. I work in a chronos-mine.
I pick at time. Digging into a deep vein. And
stacking. Stacking, always. I am keeping time.

Time is tactile. I am paid a stack of days. I work
for time. It feeds me. Time to eat. Time to grow up.
I make things with it. I make a bed. Time for sleep.
Then there is dream time...

I have this dream. Time is in my veins. My blood
 is ticking. I need a doctor. I say something in time.
I am given pills for every hour. Time for medicine.
I have a job. I work in a mine. Until I got clocked.

I killed time. There is time on my hands, big time
and there is little time left. I run out of time. Now
it's time for justice. There are 12 jurors. One each
for every hour.The jury is stacked against me.

The prosecutor is on the court's time. The verdict
arrives in a timely manner. I had a job. I worked
with time. Now I'm told to do my time, hoping
I receive time off for good behavior, someday

to return to the mines. I've grown lazy, off
the clock, there is so much time left to waste.