I wrote this in the dark.
Because the last poem stripped
from the book binding and ripped
from my chest was not valued at
the utility company's worth; a two-hundred dollar bill is not easily disbursed when each
poem nets zero cents per word.
A candlestick will
dematerialize faster than
a wax seal on parchment -
one that establishes the epoch of
Civil Rights -
this is a correlated falsehood
of fixed rents in a gentrified neighborhood.
The plus-side of fucking
the poor to cater to the wealthy
is that when the new occupants
move in, and the stainless steel
refrigerator is moved in, the empty
box is placed at the curb, and with
the right imagination it can easily
become a home for two.
If I had known that I was going to
be the last man inside you, not long
before your last breath left your lungs
and escaped your body along with
your tortured soul, I would have saved
us both the time and trouble.
Let love be!
Oh naive me!
Of course we both knew the troubles
your mind conjured, and maybe my
lack of intimacy was torturous, however, not all of the sweating and
moaning could be forsaken,
as foreplay was eased into,
which was wrongly confused as
a careless flick of the wrist.
But I suppose you knew your body better, and could take yourself
places that no one else ever could
without having their arms
pulled behind the back
and secured tightly, because
when you flicked your
own wrist and became
wet and flush,
the only moaning you did was accompanied with wincing
eyes and curled toes.
Now I'm reading the newspaper,
and your name sticks out, screaming
at me, exclaiming riddles that you can
never answer. And the one that leaves
me the most unnerved is the one right
before me, becoming moistened by
What is black and white
and red all over?
I ask you,
but I know now
that you can never again
answer my call.
So I'm left with only one of
two options, both of which
feel like a handful. I can delicately
place a flower atop your new
home among the rest, or
I can palm dirt as you are
slowly lowered down and
covered with the mound
that lay beside the congregation
that finishes their final goodbyes.
If rock bottom is melted ice;
diluted whiskey becomes the last
drink the goes down far too easy.
Red eyes stay dry because of a cap
left off a bottle that succumbed
to evaporation, and squinting to read
the ingredients is as useful as calling
the Sandman for a loan. That's proof
that sleep doesn't cure all ailments.
Try biting into a cactus for a drink
of water and swallowing with a barb
lodged in your throat. You would have
better luck winking with both eyes and
smiling with no teeth. Hope for an
eye-patch and set of dentures, or a
gun to the temple loaded with blanks.
That's the amount of sense everything
makes when you're stuck between a
rock and a hard place, or thrashing
in quicksand. So when you set fire to
wooden bridges or cut cables of steel
the width of a forearm you're left with
a cracked foundation and the body of
a home carried miles away by a cyclone
of wind. Just hope you're not a continent
made of ice that melts and swallows the rest.
A perfect inadequacy, in theory, is
inconsequential compared to an imperishable
half truth. This is calling a clear plastic cup a glass,
using a smile to implore that the contents are
half full, when in all actuality it was a full cup
tilted to the side and slowly poured out.
One can be morally sound as well as be pathetic.
But any man would prefer not to be both, and as
a Man's dignity starts to feel like a half empty cup,
any truth stretched has the ability to seem
palatable even if the fabrication is deemed
inconceivable. That is when listening instead of
speaking forms golden silence, because
confusion when dealing with humility makes
the act of prevarication go undetected.
Word for word will become word against no matter
how indefatigable the liar is. Time will always
uncover falsities, as only truth can stand the test.
This is why the pathetic poet begins his endeavor
writing in pen, and as insecurities infiltrate intellect,
a pencil comes to be appropriate, which is an
afterthought to be read through smeared sentences.
And after the last period is placed, adhering to
a correct structure, the only way to regain
integrity can be attained by poetic justice.
Which is lead poisoning acquired
from a number two pencil.
The firewood kept beside the fence post was soggy, surly was the evening weather, and Mother Nature was redefining the word torrential
A drop to the eye, rendering it senseless. On one side of the spectrum, a crystal or a rock comes from dirt. Although that other side, the side of the spectrum that enlightens by color. A yellow or a blue or a red are useful.
So by that exploitation will become the
puzzle pieces of which the artist creates. Imagine having a thought cross and be ignored. Saying that, maybe the Earth isn't flat, and maybe a Christmas card is not as commercial as it is ceremonial. Perception is one side to say, but the gentleman pouring gasoline on a fire is far from the man asking for a drink shaken, not stirred.
When the fire becomes everlasting, water will not quench a thirst for destruction, and that is because there has never been an accident that could ever be everlasting. The man that knows that does not exit the house with a helmet. He simply raises the proverbial glass and swallows what is in front of him. At times the end brings a sweetness. The only other times are consumed with a bitterness. One that an artist knows as he takes his shot of whiskey, but not of the man that is readily available to set himself on fire. That is a drop of rain on your tongue. At the beginning it is too fragile to become a warning, but at the end it is what separates lands and lives. That is why saltwater and tears aren't that much different.
In a moment of weakness
My heart begged to lean on you
Searching in early morning darkness
I reached for your shadow
Fully expecting to be caught, I fell
Caught only by my broken hopes of you
Realizing, at once, that it is in fact I
Who is broken
Minimalist, short form poetry,
At 18 you are not who your parents perceive you to be
At 18 the mistakes you make are yours alone
At 18 you learn life's lessons can be brutal
At 18 you think a broken heart is a mortal wound
At 18 you don't know who you are
At 18 you have dreams
At 18 the world is yours
At 18 you CAN do anything
At 18 you can be who you want to be
At 18 you can make your own choices
At 18 setbacks do not defeat you
At 18 you are free
At 18 there is always time
It must be raining yesterday
because of a present tense.
And as much sense as that statement lacks,
it must hold some truth
seeing as how my face is wet.
Whether this is weather
or drops of salted sadness,
an ocean that swallows land is as unpredictable
as certain kinds of madness.
A river or a lake or a stream or a creek,
or a shiver or a shake or a scream or a shriek,
they all continue to develop
until the body becomes weak.
Erosion takes its time unless the current
becomes too strong.
Then the body begins to
break away like a brother's brittle bones,
or the composition of a masterpiece
that becomes a forgotten song.
So when I say that I feel the rain,
today or tomorrow or yesterday,
what I mean to say is what I meant to say,
which is that this happens every day.
And if the tears happen to cease
even with closed eyes, I'll know I
have found my mind or peace.
That which was elaborately disguised.
One would mistake it
as an introduction,
but it could only be
After my first hospitalization I began writing. I signed my name, about five times, proving to the staff and myself that I was ready to be discharged. The envelope held against my chest contained reading material, a diagnosis, and copious sheets of paper with lightly drawn animal sketches. Two weeks in a hospital, sitting at a desk by a caddy-cornered television, holding a styrofoam cup of decaf coffee, I'd sit listening to news stories while skimming through piles of xeroxed copies of coloring books. This became the precursor to many more manic months that would eventually and periodically follow.
Adolescent behavior is uncertain, but a child that runs off into a wooded enclosure to scream until collapse is significantly more uncertain. More often than not, when a child screams, an adult comes running. But when the source of the scream is just as misplaced as the child, it will only become an echo lost to the wind. When feeling lost becomes a constant what else is there to do but draw a map, or in this case, animal sketches.
Have you ever cried hysterically while laughing? Not producing tears from a belly ache caused by momentary elation, but two conflicting emotions? Imagine dowsing yourself in gasoline and running into a burning home to get a drink of water. Picture yourself flying through the air, wind caressing your face, but you can't fly, and right before you hit the ground you only just realized that you jumped. No child can prepare for this, as much as an ignorant parent can help their child clean wounds that will not scab over. Medication will become a bandage, and if the wound can never heal, the bandage will eventually be ripped off.
Art therapy before therapy was introduced was sitting on the bedroom floor, fashioning little cut-out rectangles, hole at the top, and string pulled through and wrapped around my big toe. A blanket pulled over my face, just to know what it was like to rest in peace. But you know, kids will be kids, or so they say.
Aspirations to be an artist should have been the first clue that mental illness had come and was here to stay, but the dreamers of the world ruined that. You start painting happy little trees, and two months later you're medicated in a hospital room with the faintest idea of what a tree even looks like, let alone the fact that because of these unimaginable trees you are able to breath. But you are breathing, and slowly you are able to grasp a pencil, and soon after you are able to draw these trees, these happy little trees that you not so long ago had forgotten about. And you lean your face down, nose touching the sheet of paper, and you inhale. You feel reborn. Not exactly home, because, well, you're not home, but you're comfortable in your new skin. This new skin leads the doctors to explain to you that you are manic. You nod your head, obligatory nodding, seeing as how your mind is elsewhere, many places in fact, thinking of all of the ideas you'd like to put on paper. And soon enough you're signing your name, multiple times, being discharged with your diagnosis. This is your enlightenment you're told. This is the first day of your new life.
But it's not. The cycling wasn't explained. And you failed to read the paperwork given to you that was sealed in the envelope. Instead you tore it open to procure your drawings and discarded the rest of the contents.
Those drawings lead you to college. To be the artist you know you are.
You bleed for your work. Figuratively, at first. Until you decide to find a new medium. You put yourself into your work. Red smeared all over a canvas. Curled up in a ball on the floor, losing blood quickly, eyes slowly closing. And when you wake, with tubes in your arm, and hands secured to a bed, you wonder what season it is. And what the trees look like, whether they are barren or blossoming.
Then you smile.
You smile because you remember what trees are.
If only you could find a pencil.
Wake up. You need to get up and do something. All you have done is slept. Get up. Wake up. You're wasting time. You're wasting yourself. You're useless. Get up. Wake up.
How many sleeping pills does it take to end this? Where can you purchase a gun, illegally?
Wake up! Get up!
Remember that time you were a child. The phase you had with melting pen caps on lightbulbs? I'd walk in your bedroom and hear a sizzle. You standing in front of the source. Black-handed. Sometimes red-handed. Really depending on which pen you tore apart.
My poor peculiar, special little boy.
It's time to wake up.
You must get up now.
A shot of Jack and a lager.
Scribbling on napkins.
Little one box ideas.
Multiple pens. Different ink.
Exacto blade, one that looks like a carpenter's knife.
Some masking tape.
Never deny the importance of masking tape.
Keep drinking. Keep producing.
Try sleeping in the morning.
No need to wake up from this high. Walk home. Keep procuring ideas.
Take a nap on a desk.
Buy a bus ticket.
Wake up six hours away from home.
Look for a terminal.
A heart is most likely a bed.
It stays asleep.
Home, in a bedroom.
Curtains drawn. Shoulders carrying the weight of the world. I'm tired and I can't move and my body hurts and my eyes keep tearing. And I'm curled up and I don't want to feel like this. And the incessant ringing of the phone is unbearable. And I'm being told to wake up, but I think I'm dreaming. And this reality is absurd. Any reality is absurd.
And maybe I'm not sleeping.
Who's to say I'm even laying here.
My eyes can't be open.
Both eyes are fucking closed.
Why can't I get up?