Sunday, September 25, 2016

Never Peace

Here, in the country of Never Peace, deep
inside where the heart inventories its hauntings,
I found love, just not the kind you get to keep,
just the sighting of, the hoping, and the wanting.

Love like a trick question, love bereft
of any stable landscape, any anchor mooring.
Love in the guise of someone that left.
Love like a love poem, or something as boring.

Here in Never Peace, the streets are a mess-
awash in tides of undelivered confessions.
Cupid's Ok when he manages to stay sober,
which is never. One drink and it's arrows all over.

Love like a tax audit, love like debt
without the chance of a repayment option.
Love like collateral damage that I caused.
love like unmothering and false adoption.

Love like an exit sign, that rhymes with done;
Love like a weapon with a hammer and spike.
Love like a planet where gravity has won.
Love like failed similes- like, like, like...

Here in Never Peace, the streets are a mess-
awash in tides of undelivered confessions.
Cupid's Ok when he manages to stay sober,
which is never. One drink and it's arrows all over.
It's been raining love's missiles for years in a row
how he keeps missing me, fuck only knows.
there are wounds all over Never Peace, big as the Moon.
I hope to be leaving Never Peace soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Awful Potential

Don't tell me the sins of the Father will be
visited on the son. I know this already. It is
my story, full of hatred and frightened villagers.
They have howled of my Awful Potential,
and called me "Frankenstein's Monster"…

... they are liars. They lie.

My name is Adam, and I know I am
not lovable. I am too unsettling to gaze
upon. My skin is not like yours
of the living, and I’m a stitched puzzle to God.
My flat skull, they say, is because 

God looked down at me and said "Man
is capable of both right and wrong. But this?
This is a sin so original in its arrogance
that there was no plan for its punishment.
"This," God said, "Is NOT Mine!"

Well, let God hate me then, I never asked
to be born. But assembled into this world.
all I wanted were the same answers, same
questions as anyone: Who am I? Why am I
here? I was no miracle of motherless birth,

I was a mistake; stolen into being, lightning
in my blood. My Father was hailed "The
Modern Prometheus", but look deeper within
the myth: Prometheus was a thief. Rejected
by my father, by God, I wandered by night

or deep forest. No one would believe me
if I told them about the young girl I found
kneeling in the field and picking flowers.
My heart was moved. I did not know I could
feel it. Absolutely unafraid, she smiled at me

and all my strength went weak before her.
We threw flowers in the stream and laughed
as they swirled... until someone in her family
screamed! Then out came the villagers,
every torch and pitchfork one of them. All

howling of my Awful Potential, of these arms
that could break them, a body that doesn't bleed,
a creature that feared nothing...except for fire.
So it was behind fire they found their courage,
and as they drove me back, I stared them down

and saw the truth in their eyes: when they dream
it is of miracles and immortality, but awake, they are
sons of Caine, they kill because that is what they
do; even murder their own dreams. But then
these are people who worship a God who allowed

his own son to die horribly, just to prove a point.
A God that named every Angel He ever burned.
In great irony, the villagers drove me back home
to my father's castle, in the shape of all his sins
revisiting, come back as my hand at his throat.

I look at the villagers: all torches and farm-tools
of hate; I look at my father and all that came about
because of his Science and mad resolve; and I look
straight into the eyes of God. I know there is Awful

Potential behind all of this... but it is NOT in me.

One Moment, Replaced By Another

(after Yusef Kombunyakaa's "Thanks")

In his poem, the soldier describes the bullet
that didn't kill him. How it happened to miss
it's chance, mere inches to one side of dead-
center, hitting a tree that grew in that place,

He wonders what it was- Wind-Drift? Grass
Rustle? Light-Glint off Gun-Metal? Any one
of which might be the angel that saved his life.
He barely mentions another story of survival,

this one, a grenade that failed to explode. I think
we can only come close to Death just so many
times, so we assemble A Story to Tell, including
all the other almost-times. I won't dishonor him,

thinking I know anything of what it's like to be
someone who has served. My story is different
altogether, except it too is a ghost of "What If?"
Young kid, I was visiting relatives in Florida,

swimming off of Grandpa Frank's boat, close
by the Gulf of Mexico. I don't remember
the charter fishing vessel, the people aboard
shouting at me; I don't remember any sound:

just the wet weight, as I pulled myself out
of the water, looking over my shoulder at
the hammerhead, furious at the fishhook
in its jaw, how I didn't scream as it burst

from the water, big as Death. What I remember
was the fishing line, marking its path towards me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Any Given Bottle of Beer, 1981

(after Sharon Olds)

Fully informed about the vintage
of my parents and how they failed
to be even that, I decided, as a teen,
to never follow in their footsteps,
never recreate their mistakes. Meaning

I wasn't going to drink. College soon
put paid to that, (the best camouflage
is fitting in). So, I learned a great deal
about the glories of excess, and how to
make any tick o' the clock happy

hour.  In fact, it wouldn't be for years
to come that I would fall into the deep
end of the glass and not be smart enough
to know when to stop sinking myself.
Three decades decayed away my hope

of ever feeling normal around alcohol.
I try to forgive the dumb kid now. Pride
in my sobriety is tsk-tsk-ing a beer radio
commercial at 8 a.m., while humility is
admitting that's not the earliest I ever drank.

If I were to blame it all on the missteps
of that self-made stupid student, I would
also have to admit he never set a foot
to print that wouldn't lead straight here
to the shoes I put on, one at a time, today.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Diameter of Things That Are Not Circles, or, Sleep Relaxation Tape No.2 "A Strange Bed"

As with anything else in the world, begin
right where you are: the floating, fixed-
point that is the center of the universe that is
the inside of your head. You. Now circle

the bed three times like a dog that does
things not completely understandable
to itself. This should make you tired, or else
you may start mourning a long-lost pet

from your childhood. Either one
is pointless because what you want
is to sleep. Not to be selfish, but sleep
is simply too personal to believe

what works for everybody else fits
your needs. You are far from home,
tired in a strange bed, lonely in the way
you always are before sleep arrives

to join you. Think of something else.
What is the diameter of a square?
A triangle? Rhombus? Parallelo... stop it.
Diameter is something about circles.

You remember that from Math class
in the 8th grade, where you sat behind
your ex-girlfriend and the new boyfriend
she found after you. At least you think

it was after, but then you remember
the angles of her face the last week
of your relationship. The way ripples
don't build from nothing. All of a sudden

you two were no longer you two, just
another two people after a love that turned
the corner to ruin. Ever since, nothing
has changed- corners are still things you fail

to turn and instead, find yourself backed into.
Come back to this bed. Listen to the circle
of your breathing. You turned the coffee-maker
off, before you left on this trip, right? Yes.

Of course you did. You always do that.
There is every reason to believe you did
this time. Sure you did. Remember, circles
are things with no ends that mean nothing

other than exactly what they seem: lines that are
endless in their ability to turn on themselves; more
cutting edges that startle you awake; places
with no corners where you can find sleep.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Impromptu Haiku

Thinking back to one
year ago. Weird. Memories
are weird. I forget why.