He tucked a cigarette behind his ear and stared at the blinding sand and the sad, blinding, dead-end strip of sand stared back
It knew it would win in the end
I watched his boot trace a silly amoeba, then dot a couple of eyes with the toe
and the sand stared back
There’s a silence in the country that pierces deep and dark and fills unsuspecting hearts with historical grief from hundreds of years of spilled blood and screams and ripped out hope
‘Stay here and suffer’ the silence begged. ‘Let it eat you alive, this soul stabbing pain’
He let the old rage come in and fill his body with pulsing red He felt a high pitch of keening sorrow as it pushed aside the rage
it stabbed his lungs
He fell to the sand, the eternal sand
the wondrous grounding of soul came to quiet
He dipped a finger into the sand and tasted grit tasted salt tasted what was
what is what will be
the beating of his heart remains connected to the sand
He felt dizzy and heard a drumbeat of the elders passing him a mantle
in the passing of a low rider
I’m full up, kids
To the edge
The salty brimmings
Move like a swimming pool on a cruise ship in heavy seas
You don’t see the source of the motion
Only the effect, which is the only thing that matters
Boats rock. Lives rock. Rain falls. Tears fall. The pool fills.
It sways to the edge and falls back
It undulates so gentle and easy
No way it could over spill
Every day it rolls, edge to edge
Rolls all night and rolls in the sun
She stubbed out her cigarette a few steps outside the doctor’s office
a defiant finger at good healthy living
her legs were cratered with sores, scratches, wrinkles
Her thin body spoke eloquently of liquor and smokes and hot dogs and hostess cupcakes and uncontrolled diabetes and a failure of an old man and boys in jail and girls with a mess of kids and who knows the daddies
The daughter was her twenty years earlier with a kid on her hip while she stepped on her smoke
I smelled old smoke, tiredness, failure to find the good life anywhere beside the sweaty validation of sex
It made me sad
The waves of seed puffs shimmied up heat columns and committed their souls to the air gods
I bet it would be fun to go where the wind carries me
I imagine landing in an algae pond floating on warm tiny waves
or skimming across the hot sand to surprising green oases
I could hear nature music
a symphony of ancient humming
or land on a speeding radiator that struts importantly to
big places, important places
to be rendered into junkyard dirt that rises in the fall rains maybe
I sling words with feeling without skimming on the surface like a cockroach across a puddle.
I get drunk and cry with my pen instead of writing about my tears. Anyone can do that.
I drag myself through a slimy alley of darkness and live to keep it a secret.
I don’t have time to spout pretty words and platitudes and cocktail party phrases.
My life, my existence is this: every word counts.
Every stinking drop of sweat on this table is a poem. Every lamentation for lost vices pushes a limit. Every painful sunrise is a testament to being laid bare every night.
Every click of the compressor motor on the refrigerator counts down to the end, closer than the beginning, and I am alive to feel every second of it, taste every bitter dreg of it, lose myself in all the places where I don’t matter.
I took a walk in the woods one day on a well-worn path dappled with shade and sun
beside the path, a quiet creek made its run
to the ocean, you say, but maybe to a thirsty belly or a still
The earth felt alive and laughing at my puny existence as I ground out the miles without a real sense of distance,
but miles went by.
I heard a hum, like the twang of a lonely banjo that slides in and out of the mountains after a midnight rain when the fog settles low
The hum of the earth, the world, the sentience of startling rocks that pace my path, not as stumbling blocks, but
guides to the secrets of the ground
If I only listen and dissolve my barriers of skin, mortal skin
When I walk out to the mailbox in my ratty shorts and the wrinkled shirt that I slept in
three days in a row
And my hair looks like I combed it with a leaf blower from the back
That’s when the neighborhood cop comes by and wants to chat about
just anything at all, because I look sketchy I guess
I don’t want to be rude, because there are times when I AM sketchy
I might need the goodwill, or even since I looked sketchy last week and
wasn’t, I’m not likely to be sketchy this week
Mental gymnastics are the most exercise this ole girl is gonna get any more
keeps the kitties in kibble and me in tacos
They say denial is not a river in Egypt.
Nope, it’s not. It’s a cracked door that I hide behind, listening.
The easiest thing to do is nothing if you need to do something.
The hardest thing to do is nothing if you need to do nothing.
Yesterday is about as useful to me as tits on a boar hog.
A decade ago? Now, that’s a goldmine.
The two greatest smells are brewed coffee and fried anything.
Even liver smells like steak before it gets to the plate.
A cat can be a porcupine and a throw rug. At the same time.
keeps the kitties in kibble and me in tacos