If I were to tell you that my heart was putty in your hands

would you mold it to fit yours?

Or would you mash it flat, pound it into the table

drop it on the ground to pick up all the detritus

you walked through before?

If I were to tell you that I don’t know if I can get close

would you live and let live, trusting that I  will find my way home?

Or would you get angry that you cannot possess all of me at once

On your terms?

This depression spreads more like a slough or a valley of barren dusty bowls of tinny wind chimes and

wind that whistles through a crevice or two in trusting minds that all will be fine if one just keeps on

through just one more day and one more night

Really?  Another day of this muddy cloud?  Another hour of active, yearning boredom for comfortable satisfaction?

The arid sunset promises another day of static from mortality

that whispers in that bare murmur of voices that grow louder

with every death of a past lover, a beloved relative

The tongue of grief is sharp, lashing out wildly while

soft righteous regret smells like burning natural gas from

an iron stove that used to bake biscuits and boil stock pots

of beans flavored with tasty bacon grease

Hang on just one more day, I say

slog through one more hour

chew just one more kernel of popcorn

that tastes of tears and stereotypes

 

In between here and there lies a place of quiet

a place of no longer yearning for others’ attention

or affection or respect

It’s a place fully alive to absolutely everything in the universe that exists

to know the mysterious workings of things

It does not love or hate or boast of arrogance

nor bow in humility

to be fully alive and quiet in the now

In the flow of a silent eternal rhythm

 not watching

clocks or calendars or seasons changing

The essence of unbottling this quiet

belongs to nothing and everything

but exists on fairy wings, those mythical sprites

that flit in the gloaming of life that possesses

more yesterdays than tomorrows

The Columbus Chronicles, episode 4

 

We can still smoke in the bar

a relief for the reprobates

Pretty soon the pine smell is obliterated and a

blue haze floats just above our heads

We’ve become animated, my barfly friends and me

outside the sun creeps down the west side of the street

and brightens the inside just barely

we play liar’s poker, crack peanuts so stale

the shells are rubber pellets

popcorn is fresh, though

The woman with the Lucy eyelashes and smeared lipstick

laughs out loud with a bray that donkeys envy

I see black molars and bits of popcorn falling out of her mouth

A younger guy, maybe 25. slips off his stool and staggers to

the men’s room.  We laugh and catcall at his stumbling

silently vow to make sure we don’t do the same thing

After all, it’s only 7 am and real people that do real jobs

are prancing down the sidewalk

and we aren’t there

This is the third piece in the series “The Columbus Chronicles”

 

The guy on my left a couple of stools away smells like

aftershave, the strong and cheap kind that comes

in a pickle bucket.  He apparently bathes in it.

Not as bad as what I imagine the little guy on his left smells like

that dude looks like he was put through a wire winder

his hair isn’t curly, isn’t kinky, isn’t anything but

black springs that have been stretched beyond their capacity

and they are just. . . there  His muscles are thin and visible under

his rayon knit polo,  a topo map of hard living

He drinks whiskey with water on the side

he sips and talks and his voice rumbles like a diesel

truck, one of the ones that rattle over the potholes outside in the not-empty

not-busy street

My sour draft is cold, at least

but the taste is perfectly hideous

I consider quitting drinking for the hundredth time

The Columbus Chronicles

At 6 am I watch them, the men, one woman

They stand on the sidewalk in front of the alcove and

they don’t talk much but their bowed heads and their

shuffling feet, cigarettes puffed quickly, speak to

not who they are but what they are

They are thirsty

They are anticipating liquid breakfast

They are uneasy from a night spent dancing

and drinking and making connections with ghosts

They get out of bed with a mighty thirst to ease a

banal existence.  I’m not dead yet, might as well drink

They look down at the sidewalk and tap their heels or shake their heads

an unconscious gesture, shaking off regret, depression, lost chances

but the “Open” neon sign lights up, the door unlocks

and all is right with the world for just a few hours

Don’t mind me–it’s just another day to avoid

reflection, to engage in deflection

not answer the phone or check the mail, because

it’s just another day of the same questions over and over

from the same faceless drone in an office

200 miles away, getting cocky with impatience

It’s not my fault you don’t know how to frame a question so that

it can be answered correctly

But I swallow all those elegant curses that would pour

so eloquently from my lips in order to

maybe, just maybe

get that pittance you withhold with apparent glee

I hang up and feel the flush start on my neck and my arms

get prickly from repressed rage

Is it too early to start drinking??  Is it too much to ask

that you just stop with the “i” dotting and the “t” crossing

for the tenth fucking time?

The house grew dark, heavy with portents and omens

Not a breath of air stirred outside in the descending gloom

a pause, a holding of the world’s breath

Thunder marched with cannon booms from thirty miles out, then twenty miles out

and then it was on top of the house, descending with a majestic roar

Hissing rain that slapped gleefully on the roof until it dripped energetically from the eaves

what a roar.  what a smacking of hail.  It’s a symphony.  it’s a battle of elements that bring

me to my primordial knees in awe and fear of the power

 a gauze of memory  wraps my day in a warm cocoon

when it gets too shitty outside to keep putting up with shit

I remember how the sun coming through the oak leaves made bright splashes

on the grass and how they would disappear like magic when clouds floated by

I remember the oozing mud at the bottom of the fill dirt backyard and the oily

sheen that seemed to be liquid rainbows at low tide

I wanted to build a little raft and float down the marsh to unknown parts

explore like DeSoto did, see things for the first time before people were around

That wanderlust grew into an unbearable sense of desperation to escape, to run,

to be in a place where nobody knew me and I could be who I was

Then I turned 9 and real life smacked me right between the eyes but the desperation

just buried itself in my intuitive sense of powerlessness to do anything just yet