She has never built sandcastles. She has never toed the surf along the Gulf of Mexico. She's only ever known these mountains; these cold, granite monuments to impassibility that reduce the sky to slits, somehow managing to make the heavens smaller.
Half closed eyelids with their own trap-door gravity.
Short lives last eternities too and there is beauty to be had - even here - It's just that everyone should get to build sandcastles sometimes.
People only ever want to ask me about the poetry - those verses about busted up noses in outer space; about the pros working way down passed the corner of Broad and Main; about fistfights and hard, hard drinking. But I built a flowerbed this weekend... Twenty two tastefully irregular stone blocks in a crescent moon shape, filled with the blackest of soils. The sweat of toil. The digging. The planting. Exotic grasses. Asian maybe? Purple and yellow flowers. Zinnias or some **** thing. All covered in a thick blanket of brown mulch. It's a fine thing to have dirt on your hands instead of blood. No one ever asks me about flowerbeds.
Friday as reminder of how cruel the time. (Invariability) Of how intractable the wind and weather. (Inevitability)
I cry the cry of the reformed mean spirited; the once-unholy-then-unholy-again; the backslid. It's been so long since I've sinned, come short of the glory, come at all (costs) It would feel good to make a fist again.
Please render me in subtle shades when you paint me into your masterpiece; barely discernable from the canvas. A ghost in achromatic acrylics.
I only ever wanted to sleep for a thousand years tonight - To awaken bathed in the cool, blue light of the future with its promised obsolescence. I will embrace this since the warm, yellow light of the past has done nothing but tell me lies.
Pleiades, hot blue and extremely luminous. From across the blackest ocean seven sisters call, but just three are putting out and only one loves me. That's okay... She's been my favorite since she said, "It takes a mighty rocket to pierce the night sky and ****** into space." ******* right. I write my atheist gospels using only the letters of her name. I collect the relics of long dead nova clusters to construct The Grand Heart Emoji. And if I never make it back to space maybe one day we can hold hands in San Diego.
I want to be friends with Glenn Danzig. We can conjure up some evil. No lesser imps or minor demons though. Only a meeting with the capital “D” Devil because Glenn and I would command such an audience.
I want to be friends with Glenn Danzig. We can giggle like schoolgirls when Chuck Biscuits sits on that whoopie cushion we left out for him or finds a fake, plastic eyeball floating in his coffee mug.
I want to be friends with Glenn Danzig. We can go on the “Punch America’s Face Again” tour. We wouldn't be singing in our slimy baritones on this road trip. Just passing out black eyes like Halloween candy. Leaving a trail of busted noses and broken hearts in our wake.
There would be sleepovers. Glenn and me with Iggy Pop, Johnny Rotten and the ghost of Peter Steele in attendance. Ouija Boards and light-as-a-feather. Peter Steele would always win. He is a ******* ghost after all.
We could give each other nicknames: Goodboy Glenn and The Big Dill. maybe a secret handshake… Nothing too elaborate. Just cool, y’know?
We would text one another after the season finale of The Walking Dead:
Darryl needs to die he’s not even in the comic but it’ll probably be Michonne there’s no justice on T.V. for cool black girls this show has just been a study in emotionally manipulating its audience since the beginning anyway why are we the only ones who see that
Right now in your kitchen on the bottom rack of the dishwasher resides a secret; a dark spot on your soul – a malignant little horror that threatens to destroy your sense of self worth.
Maybe it’s a butter knife with an in-congruent rust spot on one side of the blade… Maybe it’s a random salad fork, the final piece remaining from a long forgotten flatware set, with a fossilized chunk of radicchio lodged between the third and fourth tines.
Probably it’s the fork.
There it has sat without being moved; without being touched; just existing as the metaphor that it is for 8 straight wash cycles. The result has never varied. The dirt remains.
Soon will come a ninth wash cycle. You hope that things will change. You know that they will not. Despite this unwavering conviction that the fork will always be *****, the next time you run the cycle, open the dishwasher door, peer through the gauzy veil of lemon scented fog and see the small bit of filth you will still feel disappointed. You will grow a little bitterer. You will be a little more contemptuous. The world will be a deeper shade of gray.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
You can go right now into the kitchen to the bottom rack of the dishwasher and reach down with a trembling hand to grasp destiny.
You are bigger than this fork. You are bigger than this fork.
You are bigger than this fork.
With a sense of control firmly clasped between your fingers take that 15 uncomfortable seconds to scrape away the debris with your thumbnail and then be free.
Deep and resounding will be the sigh of relief; the utter completion; the contentment absolute that you experience when you place that clean salad fork back in the drawer.
It will never match the new silver that your In-Laws gave you last Christmas, but at least it will be clean and in its home safely ensconced in that wire organizer.
Right now in your kitchen on the bottom rack of the dishwasher is a chance for redemption.
If you hung in all the way to the end, you have my gratitude. I hope it was worth it.
Sun come up but not for me. My name is not whispered by the wind when it blows through that tall stand of pines. What now passes for a winter night, with its tepid atmosphere and lack of magic, does not call. If it did I wouldn't answer. Standing sentry are the haints and phantoms - the faded pains felt as echoes are heard, left forgotten but waiting. All of this time spent idly watching the world feels wasted, but we've been secretly reinventing nuance. I dont recognize it anymore. Too bad, really, since I've always loved subtle difference.
There’s a menacing chill on the air this evening. “Had I the wherewithal I’d leave this place,” I think to myself as the first warning is issued by that unfriendly cloud hanging low and dark over the mountain. While once I thought that the rain would fall with purpose, I’ve come to understand that floodwater has no manifesto except to place the scumline as high as it can. We can stack these sandbags tall around our hearts without regard for what’s on either side of the dam. They’re only transient monuments to ineffectiveness anyway.
An assassin stands at the corner wondering if I’ll ever leave my house and its warmth. I have news for him, though… There’s nowhere to go, and the weatherman thinks we’ll have a storm.
The ghosts of old raindrops mock and scold. Their scorn writ large on these dusty roads and in these dusty throats. To tote the barge but not lift the bail ain't no kind of protest. Spit in the well and hope the master draws up that bucket-full. Wishes. Still, the giver of life serpentines through this valley like the Euphrates did in that one book, but it does not matter since the scythe swings in such wide circles this time of year. We can bring in sheaves until dusk then fish for men in the morning but our souls are still corrupted. Our hearts are rotten like old pears. I'm so thirsty.
A block from the office the city is tearing down an overpass. Today they're beating the **** out of it with a pneumatic hammer the size of a freight train. Its pounding in time with my heartbeat like the worlds largest metronome suspended from the end of a crane.
Bang – Bang – Bang – Bang
I keep wondering what’s going to happen to all those buskers and hookers who peddle their wares under that bridge. I'm not seeing it though and no observation means no poetry. No poetry means no catharsis, and my guts are full of hornets.
Bang – Bang – Bang – Bang
It’s the great whisky **** of the spirit, the all-encompassing lack of passion; the longing for old friends; the desire to lean on old habits the chinks in something resembling old armor. the crease, the seam, the fold.
Bang – Bang – Bang – Bang
Misfire on eight. Misfire on eight. Misfire on eight. There’s this pain in my head; behind the left eye where the secrets live. driving and grief stricken. (misfire on eight.) The headache has no name, but it sings a song.
It's not necessary To walk through a cemetery We'll still get graveyard dirt on our boots. There are billions of bodies Innocence buried everywhere. Just take a step. They are the foundation of things This hopeless empire built on corpses
Wine-drunk time well spent in cheap shirts with ring around the collar. Sweating. Sobbing. Furthering the stains and their hidden agenda.
I have a nice watch though. It was a gift. From the cosmos. It’s this inside joke we share and we're laughing at you because you don’t get it.
Opening Stanza completely retuned by our brother Torin Galleshaw. Many thanks to him AND his fancy hat.
These are not the times for poetry… For lofty prose or roses budding in warm sunlight to gently perfume the wind with a delicate reminder of tenderness.
These are the days of ****** knuckles; chipped teeth. The days of beating the truth from strangers, then strangling that truth with a piece of garden hose. The bad days, the **** days when poets take up fighting and fighters take to ******. The goddammitfuckyou days.
Welcome to the clinched fist. Beautiful things must be whispered.
I didn’t shower this morning. That’s fine since I intend to bathe in sin come evening.
The above is a true story.
The fine people at New Holland Brewing make a bourbon barrel stout. Dragon's Milk. It comes in 4 packs and bombers. Start with the bomber. Trust me. I'm not shilling, as such, its just that I'm sure there a lot of good poems at the bottoms of those bottles.
Arachnid fingers picking at my heart like the peach pit torn from its soft, sweet home and swiftly discarded. Stuck to the side of a garbage bag, perhaps one day it will take root in some far off landfill and grow into a clumsy metaphor for beauty amid heaps of ****.
That girl with the cotton candy colored hair at the corner of Fourth and Chestnut struggles with four garment bags. Where the **** is she going with four garment bags? I see her every day, sweating, shifting her burdens from arm to shoulder, then back to arm. Except when I’m running late; quarter past whenever.
At least tomorrow is Friday when we can all gag on our toothbrushes. The privilege of a clean mouth should come with some discomfort.
But **** girl, for real. Find a steamer trunk. The kind with little wheels and a telescoping handle? You don't have to be anyone's Sisyphus.
Twixt here and horror the path is littered with chapped lips and broke-down transmissions. Mandatory overtime. That itty-bitty “but for this” was enough to cleave my soul in twain, but not right down the middle, no, since it would represent a minor mercy to be blessed with some sense of congruity in times like these. Instead, what remains is a big half and a small half and the big half eats the small half and is left invariably lonely and sad and filled with regret for this lack of impulse control. That **** is ******* me up, man, its ******* me up. Reserve your judgment. Please.
One need only look to the four winds to find four frowns; eight sad eyes straining to see through stained glass tears. The man said "I die daily" but he didn't have a constant stream of status updates to maintain. I define myself daily. Being special has thus far not protected me from the unbearable weight of today. All of the analog cigarettes and old fashioned daydreams in the world cannot save me now. If I'm not seen am I really here? Heavy hearts and weary heads reside respectively in the chests and on the necks of everyone I encounter. The gas station attendant feels empty and is bereft of a sense of irony. The world ends not with bang OR whimper, but with a deep and baleful sigh... with a deep and baleful sigh... with a deep and baleful...
I see two fire trucks pass each other going opposite directions. As I’m trying to think of a clever metaphor for poor planning I remind myself that at least one family is standing in a thigh high pile of fine ash that was their home just an hour ago. Maybe two families. These thoughts and others haunt me when I’m pulled from my duck footed sidewalk reverie by a lottery ticket stuck in the riff-raff that separates Gateway Ave from the parking lot of the Nervous Hospital. It is laid bare like a mugging victim; crumpled up and inches from the gutter. That was someone’s dream just a day ago. Think I’ll cross the street- give that homeless vet a dollar. It’s my last one. My house has fleas, but it ain’t on fire.
I wish I was the kind of person that liked Bjork. Alas, I am not. The Pixies are cool, and I like every band Glen Danzig has ever been in, but that isn't fashionable. I really did turn into a Martian though.
Lately, its been all Vic Chesnutt with his 2 good fingers and delicate warble. **** I miss that guy.
Remember delicate warbles? Neither does Bjork.
hashtag light on Friday hashtag # #hashtag # I don't really understand how this feature works hashtag why cant we just use keyword searches this **** seems lazy #sorry about that I was just lashing out because I get angry at things I don't understand. I didn't get my first computer until like 5 years ago and by then I was already 32 or 33 and well past the point where learning something new is comfortable #**** yall anyways I don't owe you a ******* thing least of all an explanation this is a poetry site not a ******* hashtag factory #sorry again no kidding things I don't understand confuse and enrage me. I full on freaked out at a Mongolian grill the other day because I couldn't figure out how to make Szechuan Shrimp happen #if there is some secret alchemy to creating your favorite dish then why don't they post a chart or graph or something #next time Im just going to red ****** bistro where you say "id like the Szechuan shrimp please." and they say "Yes sir, Mr Vince, one minute." #now Im super sad about my outburst #giants cry really big tears #yall don't care. you never loved me hashtagI know that isn't true. I miss you please come back # whatevs
Neither table nor tide has turned. The worm sits still. Perhaps autumn will wane forever. Fate has an ace up her sleeve, I'm sure, since she's a cheating ***** who won't show her cards even on the big blinds. On these long, cold nights the breath of the devil Smells like coal-fired power and retail transactions. Click here for free expedited shipping if you're willing to breath the diesel fumes pouring out of the Wilcox Tunnel like cordite discharge from a gun barrel. **** it. I still love ice cold Coca Cola Classic with its pretty can as red as the blood of Christ.
Soon the Dogwoods will bloom, and bring one last gasp; A eulogy for winter- a final little bit of cold remembrance for our unwashed faces.
Summer is for a different song. Brand new wrongs, slick fingers and a sunnier side of sin. The good kind. Twixt those sweaty inner thighs hides a secret worth savoring; a secret worth harboring. Salvation is warm and... I digress.
In the interim lies spring, when we debate the merits of crucifixion and/or fertility. Around here, crucifixion wins since we love a good ****** more than a good ****. Who am I to argue?
So we wait for something different. Breath bated - anxiously anticipating change with a hitch in our collective chest.
That change will come but not before the blackberries have had their say.
Speaking of how these Ladies of the Night must hate Daylight Savings Time since the sun doesn’t set until nine, and the cloying summer scent of honeysuckle drowns the smell of their knock-off Gucci Guilty. Except there’s that one A.M. Pro who works the whole stretch in front of The Towing and Recovery Museum from 7 something till lunch. She’s tried to keep a low profile, but is hoping to meet that one lonesome soul who needs to get blown at ten o’clock in the ******* morning. Sometimes I wave at her when I drive by, wishing her the best, whatever that may look like...
The fasten seatbelt warning light is flashing on my dashboard but I’m buckled in, rest assured. That’s probably important, but it’s like what Don Q whispered to Sancho through the Spanish gloom: “I need you.”
She smiled her best hurricane smile with lightening instead of teeth and eyes at once anxious and unkind, whispering first, “you ain’t near good enough.” Then, “I’m probably going to **** you tomorrow.”
The gate has an intimidating portcullis secured with a five dollar padlock from Ace Hardware. That’s enough to keep me out. Over the high south wall I can see broken glass treetops, not so much reaching for the sky as probing it for weaknesses.
I stand and stare as day turns night. Some far off moon rises; a sickly crescent that reminds me of
I have 17 rounds for my thirty aught six, and a five gallon barrel of kerosene. My Papaw would have said, "you're set son," but I bet he never counted on all of our best Uber drivers sliding off the side of Signal Mountain. Who knew suede shoes weren't weather proof? We used to pray for a way to make it through one more unbearable winter. Now we pray that the power stays on so that we don't have to burn coal oil and experience that unpleasant odor. Praise be for The Tennessee - American Water company. That's where water was invented.
For much of the "settled" history of the region, The Tennessee-American Water Company was privately owned. Think about that. One family "owned" the water necessary for the survival of literally hundreds of thousands of people. When the city of Chattanooga finally decided to intervene in 2007, conservative groups from all over the country came to the city to protest. "How dare the government interfere with free market economics," the cries went out... This despite the fact that the entire notion of free market economics is predicated on competition and, to my knowledge, there were no mom-and-pop water companies around to offer consumers a choice.
The protests abruptly stopped when people got their first water bill from the newly reformed company and it was 35% lower than they'd been paying.
This addiction to cogency is holding me back. We can snap our fingers, and tap our toes in different time but the results would be the same. The Pride of Saint Vitus has a name, but there are no parades because, well, can you imagine? I have little to give but you are welcomed to it. Its been said that cynics are disappointed dreamers but as a disappointed dreamer I say cynics are *******. There are judicious uses of time and there are beautiful wastes. Its a shame that I need to lay down in the evenings when "good" T.V. is on and the sirens wail a little bit less down on the boulevard but there are these echoes, see, and they keep me from reading that book I started in the winter of '77. Let me rest a minute.
so much wrong in these hearts. these heads, laid neatly in a row on a pillow of stone are filled with fevered dreams of old kingdoms wasted and gone. fitful sleep stretched and stressed until tears fall upon this chest where you once rested and whispered something about home. no mercy, ******* – no redemption found on the skinny streets remembered from a misbegotten youth. no escape, *******, up groaning steps made sweaty by air as humid as the breath of fate. i’m a stranger whose tires are unwelcomed on your highways and whose dollars are unwanted at your filling stations and whose soul is beyond saving. blood pooled on the sawmill floor when hungry teeth touched tender flesh, and left only a phantom.
As to this cobbled together understanding: The universe despises absolutes, and cares not for truth seeking. The grand spiral needs no faith. It is not with the master's death, then that we have become spiritual ronin, beholden to none; without obligation - without the comfort of purpose.... Instead, here we are, the rain dogs of the cosmos; lost and alone on a strange world with no scent to follow. We are the orphans of sun and moon - bad parents if ever there were.
grass grows through the cracks in the asphalt of what was once glass avenue. flashes of grayed sunlight reveal blasted facades offering a peek through the gauzy veil of years both distant and near. woe be unto those whose days are spent looking backward, for the past holds naught but the pail glimmer of souls lost to all but thought and memory. shade and spirit haunt this place. the river rages unabated over the locks at TVA; a reminder of the folly of all grand designs; there is no power here. gone are your craft beers and artisan pickles and small plate miracles filled with foraged mushrooms and duck confit. gone are your bike trails and long hikes and nature walks down around the ***, the pan and the handle. appalachia has fallen. the last stand lasted all of sixty seconds; a minute too long.