Did you ever wake from a very frightening dream only to be sorely disappointed that the rest of your world was right where you left it the night before?
Last night I was washed out to sea. I floated on a sheet of old siding and was borne out to open ocean. For a great long time there was the changing topography of the water, and then the current granted me a gift. In the neighboring valleys of the sea there were others just like me. And if we were lucky beyond hope we might find ourselves desperately stranded, broken, without our lives or families but at least in uncertain company.

It was about this time that I woke, alone, in my darkened bedroom, under a somewhat deflated down comforter and shivering like it were a cold ridge-line morning in a leaking tent. I knew it could not be later than 1 am, but the decision to rise from bed to get another blanket was never more difficult. My only desire was to shut my eyes and turn again, back to the unreality of my dreaming sea where perhaps I could justify my shivering cold with the wet and exhaustion. And with that beautiful destiny in mind I steeled guts to amble down the hall and collect from the closet an underused 35 degree sleeping bag. hurriedly and still shivering I tucked my feet into the bottom leaving it unzipped and laying on top of me before throwing the comforter over as well. But I continued to shudder, harder, almost convulsions. Seizing an extra pillow I hugged it to my chest and feverishly pulled the edge of the sleeping bag around me, I need more insulation. All this for getting to bed a bit too long after the heat turned off for the night. but then, as I began to turn a corner in the real world, my mind rolled over my right shoulder and back into the water.

The sky is grey but the water no longer rushes and heaves my fellows and I have landed a few together here is a place unfamiliar, but similar in its brokenness to the one I slid from. The hills are steep and the buildings are short their doors, their windows, and some of their walls. On the beachfront I am wary of my fellow castaways, but there is nothing to know, there is nothing say and nothing to fear. With new eyes we explore a destroyed neighborhood seeing the great boon of all this easy material and pre-made shelter not the despair of its great loss.

On the second floor of a house, the street-facing wall removed, the center hall and bedroom now a great open-air balcony, I spy two others. I and my three fellows approach the house, we offer our assistance. No names are exchanged because what could they mean in a place like this? We can trade only kindnesses. And soon we sit, provisioned and warmed by a fire. As the sun runs out we clarify our new national project, in the morning we will look to find, help, and cheer who we can. Sitting closely by the young woman who had been on the second floor of this house, a laugh rings out from us both and I suddenly recognize her. We had met before but I never could see her in this way, we talk of the future and not of the past, not of loss but of our find.

By a fire with sweet closeness, and dear warming in her eyes I have another date with a woman I always hoped to see in the yellow light of nostalgic love. Our small new future in the light of this fire and new family. Terror, wariness, shivering against hope is all toothless connecting of past to present as the stars make themselves known and a new world is born. A utopia is born from hell.

Then the alarm rings and I am adrift and dry in a bed ill equipped for the world so well appointed. I cannot bear the loss.

Brooklyn Rooftop Stargazers

I used to weep when we made love,and laugh out from our rooftop when we sat and watched the stars
she used to look out on our future with an awkward kind of distance

we were Brooklyn Rooftop Star gazers
and we suffered Choctaw losses in our souls
for we never really saw the stars.

My trail of tears turned river down the backs of her thighs
laughing mountain brook turns tallest waterfall,
quiet, meandering, then a path chosen, plummet
into the darkened forest where all things begin
THis is how the world turns

This is how the world turns
in “Come on Baby, give me one more chance.”
turns in, “Sorry, I’m not sorry.”
Turns in, “lets go, weekend, cheap offseason sea side motel, and I’ll run with you every single morning”

This is no Niagra, this does not thunder out its coming
does not proclaim its grandeur.
This is how the world turns,
Brooklyn Rooftop Star Gazers who suffered in their souls
never Learned what they were missing,
in just a little turn of world.

turns like,
“I really wish I could have”
“Maybe not this weekend”

Come On; another poem in progress

Come and touch me warming in the dark.Touch me listen to the rain,
touch me summer nights turning spring mornings.
Pour me in a glass, I’ll tickle your tongue and burn in your throat
Before plucking a heart string and sitting, pit of your stomach.

Come on, this is what life feels like.
Tin roof or tent fly give me you and a front lawn made from sand
You slip through my fingers but I feel you burned into my arms,
An ear on my chest, you listened to my heart
I guess you didn’t hear it because it was so busy skipping beats
Now I run and I listen to the rain,
Today my cardiovascular health is remarkable,
Just in case your ear meets my chest I will be sure this time,
Come on, that’s a standing invitation.
Because this is what lives feel like.
I want you to define me,
I will whisk you away, somewhere neither of us has ever been,
and let’s discover what life is like,
Just come on,
touch me leap of faith,
touch me lilac scent,
touch me listen to the rain,

And I can hear your arm laid cross my waist in the rain that’s falling past my window…

Bone Flute: a poem in progress

Please make flutes from my bones,
I’ll play an organ to your rib cage.
Color me prolific like you would paint my portrait on the asphalt
Red and orange yellow, paint me in the fallen leaves on a rainy afternoon.
but you’re not missing from the treetops

You’re not missing from my heart,
You’re missing from my shoulder,
from the crook of my elbow
Your ear is missing from my chest.

Listen close but won’t go further.
I don’t know when I’ll see you next,
I sit so quiet I can listen for you in my blood,
Faint windy whistle in my bones,
Sit so quiet I’ll invent you.
Play you woodwind slow and even
Invent me in your blood
Dry red pine straw on the floor of your heart
I will nest in your bones.

Walk with me down to the shoreline,
A new kind of night time,
Taste the stars in the air.

“I’ve been tasting stars before you knew they were there.
Give me a scratch on the bone to wake me up-
None of this new coffee has been strong enough”

I’ll make flutes from your bones,
Sit and listen to them whistle in the reeds.
I’ll invent you in the wind.
If you drink me from your rivers,
Nest me in your marrow,
And hold me up to star rise for standard.

Brooklyn rooftop star gazer never knew what he was missing.

I would weep when we made love,
Scratch a notch in the bones of my bed,
She was a cradle for dreams.
I never knew I could see everything I was missing in just two days walk
and you could wake into your dreams,
find all the things that you were missing
and hold them tight to now and always.
listen to feel her in the wind,
watch and see her fixing in the stars,
summertime thunderstorm and windless rain.
the way it flowed down her spine, and tickled out her smile,
She made fluted all my bones
She stacked me up and left me in the corner.

But now I wish to be an organ,
and play you woodwind slow and easy,
Melt like like apprehension in the windless rain
So I sit and listen for you in my blood,
If you would only stack me back to human,
and pour your smile down my spine.

Bottom of the World, a poem for the sea and land

I am Muscle and bone,
At the bottom of the world,
I stand feet shoulder-width apart,
One arm, reaching
Eifel Tower to the heavens,
I saw her face among the stars.

I knew this is where I should be
And I have stood here,
For 25 years,
Knowing this was the bottom.

Muscle and Bone,
I would one day grow tall enough
And step off the world,
But I am Muscle and Bone among stars
And I am still reaching,
I have come here to stand on your shoulders,
I will stand on your shoulders to ask,
Where have all the flowers gone?

I’m looking for her face in the stars,
And I will never stop reaching for a woman
who showed me I might discover myself through the stars in her eyes.

I am reaching for my daughter,
from under melted icecap’s rising water,
I am still reaching for my daughter,
I will raise her from the earth,
listening for the new world’s folk tales in her breathing.
she tells her children of a man,
Who saw her mother’s face among the stars
And stood beneath the water, reaching into dark
he held his breath until his mind began to flower
like the earth that bears us over,
under water and still reaching for the stars,
alone and unafraid at the bottom of the world,
and she tells her children that they stand upon my shoulders above the rising water,
he was muscle and bone among the swimming stars
when he saw his lover was was the earth,
not floating far above,
truly flesh and bone and dirt.

I see her face among the stars,
and know my daughter could only ever stand
upon my shoulders just above the rising water.
A folktale picking flowers from my spine,
I was only flesh and bone among the stars.
But I am standing at the bottom of the world,
and reaching ‘cross forever
with one hand softly on her cheek.

She Wanted to Smell Like Lilac

I am not ready to call this finished, so let’s call it a teaser. The working title of my forthcoming collection is “Drunk Maimed and In Love” and this poem-shoot (like a plant’s shoots, but slightly more literary) explores some of its primary themes of lost, aimless, love.
“I want to Smell Like Lilac”

She tells me she wants to smell like lilac
And I say “but I’ve been breathing you dandilion”
Pretty and fun, but your roots are invasive
You’ve been springing up sunshine all over my heart.
I was inclined to believe she would just blow away, beautiful.
But the fact of the matter is she makes me want to be better.

I want to smell you, Lilac
I want to play in that garden,
We will jump over waterfalls
I don’t know what’s at the bottom,
But I know that she’s hanging there just past the edge
And I know that the air is perfectly golden
And it smells just like purple
The bruises I know will be coming
So I will ferment you a vintage
I won’t know what to call you.
We’ll drink you light headed and smiling
So you can share in my feeling of the scent from your wanting.
All bottles and labels,
Couldn’t know where we’re going,
Some rivers wander off cliff sides,
But no one ever wondered what the waterfall is doing with its life.
Our stream tracked in slowly and filled up a basin
She’s a pond in my memory, nothing grand or apparent…

Check back for more!

A Goddess Smiles

A Sweet story-poem for those who had the courage to talk to her.  AND for those who are still working on it. Enjoy, and Happy Valentines Day!
A Goddess Smiles

I’m sipping a drink and there’s a flash over there,
a face that I notice
I catch a glance, and I think, I must be Looking Good.
Then I catch another, and I think… I must be kidding myself!
So I look again, this time she’s not looking back so I have time to realize that, I am kidding myself
and I will never be looking quite that good.
Her hair, is playing in the air a collection of curls cooing among cherubim.
Her dress is black, and fits her like something Aphrodite borrowed from Athena because it, “looks better on me anyway.”
Her jewelry, I think is a bit too simple for a goddess but I would think thus of anything set next to this face.
She must be a goddess, she must be, Five foot… two
and she holds a cocktail away from her floating like southern belle with a parasol.
But instead of running with water, or sunlight, or pretension, or whatever,
the libation she holds has got the air just dripping with… sex.
And I start to wonder how her glass keeps from sweating, because If I were that close…
Oh to be a glass in that hand…

But then, just before I look away (because I don’t even know anymore how long I’ve been staring), I catch another glance.
She is across the room, at a party, a bar, a wedding, a bat mitzvah for my second cousin’s daughter, really I don’t remember.
Because in that moment, I had a decision to make,
I could either
A) keep playing this game, and hope that maybe she’s more near sighted than I am and she’ll come over to me,
or B) admit my hubris and forget it,
or C) I could walk over to her and say

I want to be black wool in the winter time
and white linen in the summer, pure, cool and light
I will be the snowflakes that linger on the shoulders of your coat
making the Holidays with your family feel like sumer love on my childhood beaches
till I am brushed away by flaxen hair.
Because if I were a snowflake, I might be fun to bring home with you,
and I’ll roll on your floor,
then I will melt and join caribbean bay water,
I will be as blue and clear as these crystalized rings of thought that are lapping at a white linen toga and I will see the goddess in you every day…
And then my peripheral vision elbows my inner monologue: “I’ve never seen aphrodite in black.”
And I realize that I’m staring… in her eyes.

And maybe I have been for a while, so looks like my Hubris is out of the bag.

But she… is not moving. She just stands there. She must be used to this.
I’m sure I’m just every other asshole right now
because she is not budging.

I go to the bar, get a shield for my hubris, and color my bumbling in valiance.
Maybe I’ll be the guy, who soaring far too close to the sun,
can at least bring back some fiery brilliance.
So I pick up my glass and down it in one,
I stride up to this woman, who towers below me
and say, I’m not very good at words smartly done,
but I really would like you to know me,
because you look like a dream dreamt by thousands of men,
and I know there’s nothing so different that I’d be.
And she puts a finger to my lips,
looks down to her drink, slowly she sips. And says, “Stop apologizing. Don’t try to impress me. Just tell me what you were thinking… over there.”

So I stood agape, and followed my mouth as words began to fall out, I said,
“I was thinking…
I’ve never seen aphrodite in black, with curly-cue cupid brushing her shoulders.
I was thinking,
I want to be black wool and I will be the snowflakes that linger on the shoulders of your coat and make wintertime memories
feel like care-free white linen and love-making in the summer on beaches from my childhood.
And then I remember wondering how your glass kept from sweating like I am right now.
But right now I’m thinking… I’m quite content to be the snowflakes on your coat just so long as your hair lets me stay.”

And then She smiled

Tommy Joad, Running, Funerals

This piece is one thats been gestating for quite some time, and like anything I’m really not sure if its ready to stand on its own, but thats always been my resistance talking before, so now here it is. It is ready enough to be called whole and therefore I suppose its time to give it to the universe.  

Its a meditation on giving, in that same sense. All things are at their core a matter of social responsibility. And finally who are you not to share your pain? For it is the strength and hope of the world.

Listen first, but the text is here for you if you’re interested. I hope you enjoy this:

Tic tic tic tic tic I love to run, To Float like a ghost makes me feel like nowhere. Tic tic tic tic, I thought that I was really into it, I always felt like going Meditate on form, and soften up my footfall Ever more an apparition. Teh teh… Teh teh teh…

Turns out there are some things you can’t run from

Cause they’re everywhere.

 That’s when I learned to give. Hum bump humbump humbump

There is no amount of cardio that will give my heart the strength for what I have to lift

I was once offered as evidence of the speed of prayers. 

Instant. But there is nothing instant in me, I am pretty slow over land, but I can always keep going. there is only the swell of the hundreds of miles before and the forever yet to go there is no touch there is no hope of leaving this body changed or satisfied. 

I hear no prayers, I hear only my feet. 

tic tic tic tic

I need to learn to tell people that no one is going to save us. 

Like maybe there was no god and were all just a part of some big soul

And still I can’t lift the weapon of my heart with just two hands.

Tic tic tic

I floated past a cemetery once, a few black coats around a stone, They watched me ramble past. And knew I carried them with me. How nearness breeds responsibility, And everything I need to know of Jesus I learned from Tommy Joad who only ran when it was his only way to take a stand.

We all have our own wilderness

I feel them on my shoulders, standing, sullen, on the shoulders of the earth they are weighing on me. there is only one way to carry them THERE IS ONLY FORWARD, THERE IS ONLY UP, 

THERE IS LIFE IN THEIR WEIGHT AND I know why my skin has never been my own. there is trust and there is love in all things that turn over themselves and make the rise of the sun the terrible thing that makes the world continue on is in me. 

humbump humbump humbump

I cannot lift that weapon, humbump humbump, 

not with just these two hands,

so I’ll just keep going, just keep floating, 

Running from my given task

tic tic hum bump tic tic teh the hum bump 

keep disappearing into the distance, into the future. into the sunrise, humbump

Into the night, and I’ll be everywhere you look ma

I’ll be all around you in the dark

teh teh teh, **trails off**

In the way guys yell

In the way kids laugh

hum bump hum bump 

ive gotta go now ma hum bump