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 dragged these boots through the mud for months
Through the beating sun
Through biting flies
Through circles of swamp and lonely cold beans in the can
Through dusty nameless plains of cactus and snakes
I fell to my knees
I stared at cool stars until the fever broke and rest came
I am, I go on, I am empty, I go crazy and try to touch the sky
I chew on solitude
It tastes like old leather
And aches of a sky so blue it snatches my breath away
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
There is no turning back from these atrocities. There is no “I was just joking” minimizing.
This is the pivot point. We either reclaim our humanity or we continue down hell’s path.
I spoke to a woman who was nonchalant. She said, I’m legal. I stared at her. She was engulfed in “I got mine.”
I shopped today, minding my place. White supremacy. It hangs on me like a spiderweb.
I don’t know how to shed it. But I can do something. I can be one among many.
I can be non-centered. This isn’t my world. I just live in it. I can speak out as a human.
I make it an awareness and a yoke.
It is. It is a sunset in the finite understanding of tarot card readers and icy cold beers drawn from a
What is inside curls like smoke to the air.
It bends in the darkness that has settled over this big, brawling country.
My tiny flame, other tiny flames will form the fateful lightning of a terrible, swift sword. And truth will march on…
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.
The afternoon breeze whipped a fly-spotted curtain into that peculiar fabric dance of letting go
I sweated and smoked, blew rings that vanished honorably like poets from decades ago flicked the same ashes as they thought drowsy thoughts and contemplated what words,
what words, what words
There aren’t any words. There’s just the bottle that drips time down to the table.
And soon, as the sun sets with orange and purple twilight chomping at the bit to bring its brief blaze of glory, a glorious interlude between sweating and swearing and yearning
to cool streetlights, nature night sounds, rustlings of words that sneak by in the dark
little thieves of time and comfortable existence
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