Toys

Toys

Inevitably, we fall out of love.

With things, with other people…

with ourselves. We take big falls

off of rooftops, and trees, and jungle gyms.

Fallen, broken, splintered, fractured.

Patched together by doctors; arms

and legs in splints and plaster casts.

Don’t worry, you’ll be as good as new in about

twelve weeks. Like it never happened.

Forgotten, and free to roam again.

 

Old worn much loved and used toys get replaced

by newer, shinier models.

That once valued action figure now gets

strapped to an M-80 fire cracker and a

homemade parachute, to be tossed from

a boyhood rooftop-just another casualty

of war, that we so often dream of as children,

that we constantly fight as adults; imagination

and make believe transformed into the

perilous mundane.

 

We fall out of love and we discard.

This is our crowning achievement as a species.

Some things just take longer to throw away

than others. But don’t worry,

something bigger and brighter,

and tremendously more distracting

will never fail to come along.

Our minds, technology, psyche,

sex, drugs, and rock and roll,

other people, animals, religion, the planet.

 

Toys.

 

 

Dry Season

Dry Season

The rains have not fallen for many weeks.

Turning everything brittle, and prone

to crumbling with the slightest provocation.

The tall grass has yellowed, crackling

in the hot wind, that also stirs up

a choking dust from the earth,

that used to be soft, rich, clay.

Throats that once sang in harmony

underneath the white moon

are parched, unable to vocalize their

desperate need for water.

Structures, built so long ago,

once tall and proud, and

full of activity, have been abandoned

for the shadows of tree branches.

These structures, and those trees

crumble down as well, leaving faint memory,

dim recollections, that they had

ever even been there at all.

 

Nothing grows in the dry season,

no fruit to bear seed.

Nothing grows in the dry season,

except a prayer for rain.

The Darkness Beyond Town

The Darkness Beyond Town

Streetlights flicker, orange, the halogen

hum illuminating asphalt, black now,

black as the night, black as the sky-

no longer the dusty, dirty black

seen under the sun, but a new degree,

a new depth, impossible, breathing,

patiently waiting past the edge

of town, out there, beyond sight,

beyond the knowledge of us,

silently crouched, observing our

feeble attempts to grasp it,

to harness it. To attempt to understand

this darkness is the fever dream of the mad.

They clutch at straws, answers always leading

to more, and more impossible, questions.

The streetlights flicker orange on the edge

of town. They throw out brief halos,

born to burn without understanding

a thing. The darkness from beyond presses inward,

closer to town, past the walls, past the houses,

past the lamps. Its shadows stretching like fingers

around a pliant throat. The darkness breathes,

pulsing, it squeezes our flesh, the wind builds,

in the desert, beyond the edge of town, it howls

with the voices of those who have lost

themselves within its roiling clouds. The streetlights

flicker orange on the edge of town.

The lamps in the houses sputter out,

one at a time down the avenues

and lanes, one right after the other,

like dominoes toppling. Look out beyond

the edge of town, you can see the darkness

building there, impossibly black, and,

inside he orange flickering of halogen,

you can almost see it smile.

 

Penumbra

Penumbra

I have a confession to make:

I hate poetry.

So this is how it plays out from here,

I am going to write down some words,

and you are going to read them.

When I say things like:

purple, or cavern, sunset, daffodil,

estuary, cosmos, ejaculate,

rainfall, placenta, you will

form an image in your head.

Similar, admittedly, to other people,

but this image will still be wholly

unique, formed by your subjective

experiences, and perspective.

I might tickle some memory out

with what I say, and it will

come tumbling down your brainstem,

and it is yours, and only yours, and

no matter how hard you try,

or how well you describe what it is you

are experiencing, you will be unable

to perfectly convey that to others.

Maybe you will get close, here and there.

Maybe some shared sense of love, or hope,

shame or dread, will sprout in another mind,

but will it not be a pale reflection

of what lies in your heart?

Will it not fall short of the power

that resides in it, while it rests

inside of you? Lackluster it spills

from your mouth like a promise

with no intention of being kept.

A verse crafted, so perfect, inside of you,

that it would make the angels weep,

always reveals itself as some

malformed thing. Yet somewhere,

in this penumbra between you and I,

between speaker, and spoken to,

lives something resembling truth,

and beauty, and connection.

So I would ask of you now,

despite my confession, and despite

my acknowledgement of the inadequacy

of my words, that we search there, together.

Inside that margin, inside that shadow realm,

So that we might discover some kind of truth,

some kind of hope, and reach an accord.

One where my words will be enough.

 

Martyr

Martyr

noun

  1. a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion.
  2. a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause: a martyr to the cause of social justice.
  3. a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering: a martyr to severe headaches.
  4. a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning or exaggerating pain, deprivation, etc.

 

To believe in something, so strongly,

that you would be willing to die

for it, to endure great suffering for it.

This is an old concept, with a long,

and storied history. People have been dying,

and killing, for their beliefs since there

have been people who can believe.

I tend to think, that the act of martyrdom

is a frighteningly common occurrence.

Look around you, while at work,

or as you walk down the street,

or ride the bus, or are online,

there is, by no means, a shortage of suffering.

The only differences lie in the source,

the degree (how I envy those who manage

to sleep untroubled) and the manner in

which it happens. There are some

who are not bothered by this fact;

whether by design, apathy, or a

chemical imbalance, but those

are subjects for another poem,

and they have no place, here,

among those who worry,

and help, and dream. Among those

of us who never feel

like they ever did enough.

Among those who have become

friends with frustration, and heartache,

with tears and impotence.

No, they have no place here.

They belong in golden galleries,

drinking from crystal glasses,

a liquor, that is cloudier than their

drowsy hearts. They belong on

billboards, and on the covers of magazines.

But never here.

 

I believe that this world is full of pain,

most of it completely unnecessary,

but always present, regardless of that fact.

I also believe that there is precious little

I have done, or can do, about it.

I believe I suffer as well.

And so therefore, I do what I can,

the best and the only way I know how;

I write, and hope that somewhere,

deep down in the pit of your stomach,

you manage to feel something.

Pest Control

Pest Control

It’s in the framework.
Almost impossible to get rid of now.
The rot. It will slowly spread,
and then it will crumble away
into a fine dust, taking everything
you have ever known along with it.
Look, here is a fungal bloom
on your living room floor.
Bilious, spongy, and wet,
spawning thousands of spores,
a cesspool giving birth to vermin.
They scamper forth, spreading,
eating, reproducing. They’ll be inside
the foundation soon, and
then it will be too late
to turn back. At that point,
you might as well set the place on fire,
and start fresh, somewhere new.
Somewhere that isn’t so
properly suited for breeding monsters.
Of the numerous endeavors that we
pursue in this place, that is one that we have
become exceptional in performing,
make no mistake in regards to that,
and mark my words,
they will multiply.
So burn it down around your ears.
Walk away, and start anew.

I do not wish for a world without monsters,
I wish for a world that does not give them birth.

Automata

This poem is dedicated to William Gibson.

Automata

The computer screens

went black tonight.

Cell phones produced

nothing but dead air.

All of our connections

Floated mysteriously out

into dark nothing.

Fiber optic cables

sizzled, smoked, and then melted.

For the first time,

in a how long I cannot recall,

we were left with only ourselves,

and the sound of the wind.

 

The world has changed-

is constantly in the midst

of change.

Burning chrome melting over

plastic doll faces. Fresh make-up

to disguise the bruises of

years past, ever more cunning,

but less and less convincing

with each application.

We have all become masters,

of being able to not really do

a goddamn thing. So sit back,

relax, have yourself a beer.

The machinery runs itself,

nothing to worry over.

The automata have been programmed

with this in mind.

 

The computer screens went black tonight.

And no one was able to fix it.