have what you americans would call post traumatic
stress disorder, think of it more like a path
for your eyes.
one where your eyes are forced away
from the works of hands
by the knock knock
hodi hapa? something's
wrong if no one's answering; tonight.
my neighbor whose
name is eej (for
real) came to
the hut with
i said do you
you are living
my worst nightmare
one thing about an african
childhood, they say fatalism, you say you
would think about death too
and who knows
tonight by the bagel van i said bunkle
i gotta problem
what's your problem said he
well i think i'm not wearing enough colors
no said he you're missing a bright splash in the orange red family
who knows what we all look like
inside the infinite space
of our souls
blue means purity or
green means beauty
or red means strength
we all look
the same asleep
hatred doesn't look
different in one
eye or another
but why does
it have to
be in the
this mouse has
still and always
(you always did care for me yeah
you always did share with me yeah)
i just read the book of jonah for the
first time, i mean the first real time
the blessings rain down,
an ocean sunsetting
on an Ocean sky
be strong the
good kind of
the secret friend
(this is real hope: in the searing agony
of human existence,
the fire of
(in the dream it is late March)
there's a light rain in Montréal & the sky
is a gorgeous, early-morning variety of slate grey. imagine the lid
of an old metal garbage-can.
everything is dismal, perfect. and quiet; even the people leaving the bars are silent.
dismally, perfectly, silent.
ghosts of old cats—belonging maybe to ghosts of old ladies who lived, say, just off St. Lau, back
in the eighties—ramble downhill, in the direction of rue St. Catherine (Saint Cat! O patron of felinity!) ,
between the legs of those spilling out from the trendy & shitty clubs.
some of the ghosts wander out into the street, flash thru car tires that would've (& have) (at one time)
smashed them to pulpy carpet on the asphalt.
(who goes to pick them up then? when the tires have had their way with them over & over?
when they are just hair & porridge by a sewage grate?)
after a greasy smoked-meat-on-rye or a nightcap at somebody's place, just off the drag,
i'm in a sodden, but warm overcoat, hands curled in the bottoms of it's pockets; mis-shapen mass
of hair plastered to my scalp; walking en bas de la montagne just past the McGill Medical Centre.
—this late, the busses back downtown are never on time.
(driver's probably having a few smokes before he starts that long tour down. full up of drunk kids,
taking one another back to their dorms, etc.)
(and what does he have, to look forward to at shift's end?
i. a cranky wife—past her prime?
ii. a buncha dogs—yapping for attention?
iii. some fucking kid—who's disrespectful & won't shut up or turn his stupid fucking punk-rock down?
—it's enough to make me patiently wait. i'll wait forever, as long as that isn't me.)
...'spose I'LL have a cigarette too. waiting
in the bus shelter on Ave. Des Pins looking down over the
football fields of the McGill Athletics Dept.
still lit up. no sun yet but
now at 4 AM a dull inch or two of lightened grey out there on the horizon.. dawn will come,
though i'd rather not face the day. all the mornings are so hard after nights like this.
bound to be hungover &
spend the day hiccuping in bed texting some girl; maybe get up
in the late afternoon t'fix coffee, toast & eggs.
sit on the balcony,
make my little guitar sigh,
and try to feel normal until i [have to] puke.
"—and who was that girl i spoke to for so long at St. Sulpice last night? how many gin-tonics did she let me buy myself, nattering on?.. probably too drunk to even get her number."
"—maybe Sean or Dylan will know if she came thru with anyone we knew.."
the bus is finally here. twenty-and-three minutes late. the back of it probably smells of
stale smoke, dim sun, and sweaty, rain-soaked cloth, absorbed from jackets into the seats—the eau du jour.
it's always a bump 'n jerk ride down the hill; bound to,
with the other handful of dumb & silent riders, drunkenly sway,
(or is it a natural compensation of the body, to groove along with the curves and stops?)
back & forth like carcasses of half-dozen slaughtered pigs
swinging on their hooks in back of a meat wagon..
(i'll end up getting on, but only for three blocks. i'll fucking walk the rest of the way home,
after that comparison. to hell with the rain.)
SIX MINUTES LATER:
(Avenue Des Pins still—4 blocks closer to downtown)
directly in line now with McGill campus via McTavish; this way i can
cruise down thru the silence of the main drag having a couple smokes drinking beer
(copped a 40 at a Dep before i left St. Lau—frosty under my arm enshrouded by brown paper.)
& be left to my own thoughts for fifteen minutes 'til i get to Sherbrooke
—i adore that fifteen-minute stretch down thru the jumble of
student associations, clubs, faculty offices, administration buildings, resources centres & the like;
all contained in the same red bricked, white trimmed victorian monster, multiplied threescore
on either side of the lane; all built in the early nineteen-hundreds, all acquired by the university in one of several expansion initiatives in a decade i won't bother to guess at, it doesn't matter. you don't care..
midway down the hill i stop and go sit on the verandah of one of the buildings,
the graduate studies in math offices —
cccrack that forty.
sit there with the sun JUST barely splitting the seam of the horizon feelin'
like the lyrics from a Sun Kil Moon song. nothing more or less.
"off to a good start," says i.
Stars twinkle while suspended
in the dark sky above.
Some dim, others bright;
A handful hued, the majority white.
From their perch beyond, and
when their numbers appear multiplied
as the moon is absent,
they whisper, "destiny," to me.
Painted American woman stands strong
on every corner weeks after
bombs landed on Pearl Harbor
How can I hold her in my arms
if the ground beneath us is trembling?
This country is filled with oppression
misunderstandings and hate
But isn't their still love?
The blue on our flag reminds me
of her lovely eyes, and the red is the blood
I would spill for her fair skin. Isn't this love?
I can't walk down the street
without seeing old Uncle Sam's
determined finger pointing at the
squint eyed japs and their wet fangs.
They say he's the enemy, Kill the enemy!
I will fight for the painted American woman
I see her everyday on my lonely travels
and wrap her hair up,
staring into the clear sky
praying that every bullet that
is fired towards me will perish
and fade away
I fight so I can sit in the front with her
drink and share the same water as her
I kill to hold her hand in a free world
while this country is unfair, I'll die for
her and a new tomorrow.
tell me who i am to you
if i am anything at all
am i the setting sun
diminished to the evening shadows
or perhaps, the early sunrise of soft pastel
slowly awakening the light
upon the fragile landscape
maybe i am the night
cascading across the sky
like the salted ocean tide
the stars of my body
creating a weathered map to your arms
tell me i am like the water
even when you know i am nothing
compared to the vast seas
for you cannot create a route on your magnificent ship
to the undiscovered islands of my soul
for they are buried where no one can travel
so that i may remain the siren
and you a fantasy
that will never leave its pages
she holds her breath as vacancy glitters around her.
violent silence forms this canyon of conversation...
rumpled and uncertain
their morning fog was heavier than expected
and she faked a smile.
the logic and the lover,
the patience and the urgency,
the misunderstanding a doorway...
the cold and uncertain streets of dawn,
the smell of the highway when she was seventeen.
she hears the dust talking of last night's storm.
voices float into the bedroom...
lunar and fragmented
as if the sky had let them go
long before her birth.
My home is like no other.
It is where the air greets you with a warm, welcoming hug
That caresses every bit of skin.
Massive oaks form wide tunnels
With branches that bend and stretch to reach the ground.
Tall cypress trees shoot into the sky,
While the Spanish moss hangs down
In curly gray masses.
Emerald green swamp stretches for miles on end.
The elegant egret balances on water, watching
As the gators sunbathe alongside tiny turtles.
My home is beautiful.
Here is where a fading culture still manages
To quietly thrive.
Grandparents whisper old Cajun phrases,
Not quite French but almost so.
Pronunciations differ from spellings,
Yet the harsh consonants in words
Are still spoken with voices smooth as honey
And sweeter than sugar.
Accents exist where they cannot be heard.
And even with the old French influence,
A southern belle feel lives
In the beautifully historic plantations and sugarcane fields.
My home is cultural.
A type of energy exists in the city.
Artists diligently paint
Delicate magnolias and the symbolic fleur-de-lis.
Soulful jazz music fills the streets
Above the clatter of horse drawn carriages.
Families gather in delight to share the mouthwatering taste
Of freshly boiled crawfish or a pot of steaming gumbo.
The energy expands even further during Mardi Gras parades,
When excited crowds become one inseparable body as they surround each float.
Hands go up and colorful beads rain down.
My home is alive.
It’s true that schools are bad and crime is worse.
Storms ravage our towns,
Fierce floods stealing away all we’ve ever known.
Stealing away entire lives.
But there is a reason we always come back.
Louisiana is Beautiful,
It will always be our home.
There's one day in a month
When the sky is very dark
And with it comes the shadows of humanity
But we'd be lucky to have wars last only one night
Shrouded in blackness, we are the horrors that cause nightmares
The crescent, with its sliver of paleness
It is the overpowering hand of discrimination
Destruction comes in many different forms
Curved like a scythe and sharp at the tips
Oddly shaped, we are those who judge so wrongly
The moon in its first quarter shows more than good and evil
It houses purity and serenity in white
But the other half is black with invinsibilty and unkindness
It is split in half like a heart torn between two decisions
Opposite colors, we are the creators of love and hate
Brighter and bigger the gibbous moon is ignorance
The incomplete light is a lack of awareness to global conflicts
Poverty is ignored and wars happen "some place else"
Drugs and abuse are only scenes from dramatic movies
Partially dark, we are those who don't live for the benefit of others
But when the moon is at its fullest, its brightest
We can see our world completely out of the darkness
With no black to shield our eyes we see the truth
Reality hits our senses and we long for forgiveness
Illumination, we are those who regret our mistakes
Standing on a corner in Montpellier, a woman
shows the truth
the world begs to hear. With her
pale face and red lips, she tells
the stories people refuse.
She is not cruel, but she is
too understanding of the world to elicit the
happiness people so desperately want
to believe in. Those
passing by speak freely, unaware
of her observations, newly cast
stars of the next epic tale. Tirelessly
her hands knot, twist, stretch,
trying to cause the world to see reason,
but she acts on
an invisible stage to an uninterested audience.
She is not crazy, but she knows
the lies they would rather bury.
Bound by the silence
of her words, she paints
pictures in the sky of what we all try not to see.
Where were we when you quit the sound?
Caught in distance while you hung around
Encased inside of our own menial pursuit
Flaunting desperation as a constant survival
As you battled death in your combat boots
There is no glory with fate as your rival
What were you seeing in your distorted mind?
As you ate your last words and ecstaticly dined
At the chemical festival of illusions' absorbtion
How far did your gaze stroll onto the other side?
did you meet with an end or the start of damnation?
In which lonely drawer do your dreams now reside?
Where have the remnants of life made their grave?
Are they in the lingering regret that you've paved?
Through each flash of your face and casket sight
The delusional rebirth of your presence revealing;
Fragments of ended realities giving spark to night
Burning sigils into visions of a broken feeling
Flame lit sketches etched across a charred eulogy
Only a name remains lying in the wake of a memory
Pieces scattered amongst an unfitting resting place
Conflicting beauties molding a divine contrast
A devil laid to rest in the midst of holy space
One shade of diversity on a bland earthly cast
Echoes of descension from this dimming black sky
Adorning each reflection with your hollow eyes
Complexions left searching for an answer to hold
As to how lifes' vigor can so swiftly fall to decay
And,The aging of dignity resembling every tale told
Seems to shine a reality check on this tragic play
A nulling backdrop for this cemetary playground
Where the kings and queens become tediously crowned
With a sickly ailment that reaks of dalipidation
The stench of the end atop an eternal retrospect
Glaring back with the most sincere of validations
That the fallen live on as our recollections resurect