It's been a few months
Maybe a few less than it feels
Since you ripped us; your head and our heart
The leaves have gone from green to vibrant purples, oranges
And other colours you couldn't see
Your funeral was nice, quiet, simple and not made a big deal
We didn't bury you naturally in the forest though
With a proud Oak above your head like you wanted
That made me mad, you won't live on like you should have
You were buried in an anonymous graveyard
Which held some importance to the people that knew you least
I visited your gravestone more than a few times
Everyone, the whole group and I have
It's a cold gravestone, more ornate that you would have wanted
That simply reads your name
Followed by January. 30 1996- August 17, 2012
The 2 words and 4 numbers that add up to 4063
Don't do justice, don't sum up your life quite right
At least in our eyes it doesn't...
I know you would have just wanted your name
Or nothing at all since they killed the forest you had in mind
"The tree will live on, I will rot and my body will be used
To create a forest, to create life"
Is what you always said
But you shouldn't be surprised by all I this like I am,
Like the group is
No one it appears, ever listened to your muted voice
Halloween came and people celebrated by wearing masks over their masks as you'd say
"The ghosts and ghouls and goblins
Are much better looking when people think
Their being clever and finally letting them down
Because it's Halloween and no ones paying attention because everyone's doing it"
It wasn't the same without you
Everyone came over but it was quiet and awkward
None of us covered our masks like everyone else
Rather, we all took them off for another night
Sitting around, talking, laughing and spraying blood on the walls
I decided I'd give myself a tattoo
To remind me of you and something you said a really long time ago;
Keep your feet grounded and so I did
An arrow pointing down on my ankle
Just as a reminder
I did it with a sewing needle in my room
While the group watched and provided expert commentary
They all wanted one but they didn't
I don't care if my parents find out
And I don't care if it gets infected
I did it for a reason and I'll stand by it
It'll kill my dreams of the military
You told me but I can't say I care anymore
My dreams died when you did
the Scarecrow stares straight
and never blinks
he thinks, but never speaks,
just listens to the writhing vines of bindweed:
Turn the earth, sweet arteries.
the Scarecrow was once a man.
He had hands that knew
perfect flavor of skin
And had red, winding veins of his own.
But that was a long time ago.
the Scarecrow blistered his tongue
on blunderbuss barrels;
Waged war against himself,
and lost his speech when the time came
to beg for forgiveness.
That by August, the Scarecrow's
Blood forgot to boil,
or simply didn't care anymore.
That when he found love fleeting
it was indifference, not hate,
that desiccated his chest
like prairie drought.
Dear Hollow Martyr who fears not
the white heat of sparks
or dry-weather wildfires.
Stand devout in your inertia,
bleeding apathy like canyons bleed echoes.
After all, it's all you've got to offer
except dead stillness, they say,
so callous it keeps the crows away.
I miss our time spent in the shadows of mountains.
August light playing poetry I could only dream of through your laughter -
gentle bubbling, like rivers my of my childhood.
Twinkling noon light tinged with red, I remember how it looked particularly.
How would you react if you could open my heart and read like your novels?
I've played your reactions over in my minds eye.
The fan blows hot air.
Sweat beads on my skin.
Wide awake, naked and roasting in bed,
hoping the still night coughs up a breeze,
like the last chocolate at the bottom
of the box.
Photographs by Avedon
This was written in a friend's home in the Berkshire Mountains, on a Saturday morning, a few years ago. Up early, I went exploring their bookshelves and found a book of Richard Avedon's photographs of average Americans out west. Google "richard avedon photos of the american west" - then read the poem. It is always chilly there, even in the summer sun. This and other obscure references are detailed in the notes.
Join my warmth and
as the nine o'clock sun,
a 45 degree steeplechase
but still not
of the prior eve,
that hides in,
deep wooded hillocks
Join my warmth
and my chill!
head kicked awake,
entranced and revolted,
excited and repelled,
emotive, yet, stilled.
For oh so casually,
this heroic city dweller,
brave and fearless
retrieves a book,
to find a new route
thru time and space
to the center of his brain.
Photographs by Avedon,
of my fellow Americans,
the Have Nots,
These uncommon people
with whom I share
these drifters, the carneys,
the would-have-been cowboys,
busted blackjack dealers,
rattlesnake gut n' skinners,
coal and copper miners,
the hay truck drivers,
dirt so deep in
their pores ingrained,
colors and bloodies their souls,
browns their veins,
are the ones that
go off first to
in my name.
In this far corner of our
shared contiguous space
United States of America,
top of the line here
secretaries and maybe even,
But their eyes,
oh their eyes!
Words I do not own
to fair share with you,
the clarifying gaze
of measured dignity and
that marks and unites
these disparate and dispirited
vessels of humankind.
the noon suns finally,
raises my body temperature
browns my surface...
Yet, nothing eradicates
this god damn chill
in my soul
or calms my consternation,
as black and white
my comfortable existence,
as I ponder
All photographs are accurate but none tell the truth
The Evil Son at Passover
asks ever so sly,
what have they to do with me?
It is the Sabbath.
We luxuriate in our rest.
Rest is the greatest luxury
What is this Sabbath?
Heschel's cathedral -
in space and time,
and one enters
when and where
Do my distant,
(both in space and time)
share my Sabbath?
Are they allowed
or is it endless exertion,
severity and deprivation,
all and every day
of their lives?
Constant risk every day.
Who cannot fail to see the
precipitousness of life
edged in the lines of their
hearts and minds?
Day to day hardens them
and teaches the
Is the prudence of
their morning bitter pill
they must swallow
to carry on?
Among the resolutions
to claim a
life fulfilled is this:
How to end this poem,
close this can of worms,
accidentally kicked open.
Will sunset end these
of which you have
more personal variations?
(what about the ...)
Perennials flower everywhere,
along the Tigris,
even in Kabul and Somalia,
along the highways
to the mecca of
Perennials flower everywhere.
In warmth and cool,
in time and space,
they flower in my heart and
my brain and in
my prayerful tears.
flowing down my cheeks,
as I lay me down to sleep,
to dream these of
even celebrated tween
holy and common,
light and dark,
the six weekdays
between sacred and secular
between me and
my American Brothers
of the American West.
just one thing
to be true:
The Sabbath Cathedral is
open to all,
you choose to
I await you,
my American cousins,
with wine and bread
holy of holiest words
of comfort and sooth.
I will wash your feet and
lay you down to
in my heart.
we will be joined,
in warmth and chill.
August 29, 2010
* "In The American West" by
** many of the phrases in this stanza were taken from an article "The Few, The Proud, The Chosen" in Commentary, September 2010
^ Abraham Joshua Heschel, a modern Jewish Philosopher. Elegant, passionate, and filled with the love of God's creation, Abraham Joshua Heschel's The Sabbath has been hailed as a classic of Jewish spirituality ever since its original publication-and has been read by thousands of people seeking meaning in modern life. In this brief yet profound meditation on the meaning of the Seventh Day, Heschel introduced the idea of an "architecture of holiness" that appears not in space but in time Judaism, he argues, is a religion of time: it finds meaning not in space and the material things that fill it but in time and the eternity that imbues it, so that "the Sabbaths are our great cathedrals."
^^ Havdalah is the ceremony to celebrate the end of the Sabbath, and realize the distinctions between the holy day and the workweek, the day and the night, light and day...
You were up the stairs but distance was key
It was hurting you like she hurt me
Let him linger a little too close, I thought that all along
I might have needed this the most
Kissing a neck that was paralyzed
Laughing flirtatious but inside she cries
What am I doing being present but not yet here?
I hurt others like they hurt me this was my main fear
So I quietly ruined our august of freedom and the morals that were right
Sneaking back down the stairs hiding my emotions and ceaselessly regretting that night
From where we're standing now in life
we looked back
at all the steps we've climbed.
The past left us standing
We would remember all the salty pools we wept.
Disappointment after another
Mockery after the first one.
Failure felt like a bonus treatment
We would hop and fall
people would watch and laugh.
No arm stretched
No one wanted to touch our dirty bodies.
We would dream of a place;
where we would be welcomed,
where we would be allowed to be us
and where we would be able to help people like us.
Walking along the road,
the sun mercilessly beat us.
We walked down-cast
We would dream.
We didnt seek glory or fortune.
All we wanted is to be acknowledged
August 1, 2010
we would not forget.
The day she came to us.
Very un-real and impossible to believe.
She came and sat beside us.
We were uncomfortably embarrassed by our odoured bodies.
We tried walking away
then she stopped us with the most beautiful smile.
She pleaded with us
to give her an audience.
She then offered to buy us drinks and food.
We wouldnt deny we wanted to be filled, badly.
Fortunately, a restaurant was near by
she walked with us down there.
The guy at the door waved and shouted us away from the premises.
She insisted and told him we accompanied her.
Reluctantly, he let us in.
The waiters and people in the restaurant froze in disguist.
The owner in no time came
and begged her to take us out
so that we dont irritate his customers.
One of us was almost in tears.
She pleaded with us not to be offended by their actions.
She led us out through the door
and begged us to await her return.
she came with lots of bags in hand.
She spotted a shed and we walked towards it.
then she gave us a bag each.
She encouraged us to eat.
She watched us relish the meal.
and opened her bottle of soda.
She sipped it.
we were done.
Then she asked to talk with us.
We responded to her every question.
She was impressed
This went on for a while.
We enjoyed her presence and softness.
The day was aging.
She baded us goodbye
and told us she would return some other time.
We were enchanted
Oh! We were visited by an angel.
Few days later
she came again.
We ate and talked.
This went on for a week.
In one of our conversations with her,
she invited us over to the company she worked for.
Of course, Our clothes were taken care of.
When we arrived the company
we were ushered in.
We sat before a number of judges.
They were also impressed.
The said our talent and intelligence is un-equal,
one they have never come across before.
We were employed
and given a place to stay in.
It was quite comforable
because we were just three.
Our lives changed.
Now i am old.
When i sit back on my dock chair,
i would smile
and look to the skies
" truly there is a GOD. "
He is working on our greatness.
Believe and Have Faith
Your desires will actualize
It tastes like fire.
I've been run over by crickity
one too many times
and now my deformed fingers
can't pick up pencils.
On the way back from
I was tied to rusted train tracks
and left to drown
in the salty August rain.
Old man with cane,
let's call him Michael,
prods at my sockets
picks at my skin.
Rope burn stings almost as much as an
from all the laps around
is filled with
last year's leftovers
I told myself this was the year
My heart was sore and my thoughts were heavy
I kept to myself and hated being bothered
I didn't like living too much
I admitted I was my own problem
But I sat
And I waited
For my world to change for me.
Feeling unbelievably numb to life
And watching time go by in flashes.
I learned to observe and I learned that writing soothed anxiety quite well
I didn't write.
I don't remember what I did.
It must have been dull.
I dreamed about escaping my personal confinements.
However, I didn't.
I loved the sun.
I got a job.
I felt indifferent.
Possibly the peak of my self hatred
I let their words get to me
I tried throwing up. I failed.
I spotted a boy at work.
I turned 17
And knew I needed to change.
I created courage on a not so special day
I forced myself to talk to the boy.
And I felt fucking powerful.
Junior year began
I did things I loved and
Quit things I didn't
I slowly realized
That if I loved myself
The world will too
Boys lined at my door
But I never cared for them
I cared only for myself
And I loved every second of everyday
And now it's December
And I've learned that I don't need a new year, new month, or even a new day to start over
I am not bound by any measurement of time
And if I want to change
I have the power to.
Salty eyes — cry, cry.
Fearful mind — where have I been?
Save me from this night…