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What4221 Mar 2021
River run swift beneath my feet
Fish bones crunch between my teeth
Dirt filling the gaps of my hollow bones
Run river run
Carry your burden home

The birds are screaming across my mind
Whippoorwill call, loon cry,
The soft sad melody of a soft sad time
Cry for me nature
I've done no crime

My stomach is full with sand inside
The heavy weight of grain plus grain
How innumerable they add up all
How constant the current pulls
How silent the birds fall

A water snake swims by
Flying on the reflection of the sky
The water snake swims on
I cannot know where to
With the river, I am gone.

Run river run
Carry my burden home.
March 28, 2021
What4221 Nov 2020
Old sailors’ songs trawling up meaning from the depths
In the salt of an old voice
And three women in the belly of a whale
Biblical, human, ambergris trapped
Like mosquitoes until our DNA seeps back into the right bloodstreams
Until we have begun talking the words that make sense again
Until we have begun

I’m lighting matchsticks in a dark alley, trying to stay warm-
What way crawls this, what way crawls this?

And there are three men at the bar and the women by the tap and the dogs howling in the streets and the red dawn

Red sky in morning
The salt and the amber of the moment,
Flies bumbling around an open window, hitting a wall
Can you still see them?

We clasp our hands like lovers but when our knees hit the floor
There isn’t salvation

There are three men, two women,
And the hounds baying.

I wanted to poke the eye of the moon, I wanted to grab your hand, I wanted you to listen,
But here we are- amber of the moment

Golden light, cloth over my eyes

Dear darling, Dear dearest,
Are there not worlds in which we could belong?
Dear, dear, dead--

May we not die
May we live forever trapped in the red sunset and the red morning
And the alarms blaring as the sailors take warning and the storms that tread cautious steps on cautious horizons-
And three men and two women and the hounds screaming and the street lights-
And my hand trapped in yours-

forever is terrifying.

May we live today
And face what comes after

Trawling up meaning from salt rind depths
And barnacle encrusted ships keeping us afloat
And a cool, soothing sea breeze,
And our hands clasped together like lovers.

May we not die
What4221 Nov 2020
your white shirt is a banner of surrender
crumpled on the floor in the corner next to the half-empty Monster
and empty cardboard pack of cigarettes
I can’t believe that this is what life has become
there’s a hole at chest-height in the drywall
from last month when you were late on rent
the only book in the place is the Bible you got from your grandma at confirmation
and it’s propping up one of the slanting table’s legs

I walk to the kitchen and I start on the dishes as you groan awake on the couch
brushing the remnants of take-out and microwave burrito off your lap
stretching and yawning as your high school sweater
with your number and name on the back
pulls up to show it clearly doesn’t fit anymore

greasy eggs and bacon and a sniff at the milk- still good-
we settle with two plates, two forks, two glasses,
the pan added back to the tower in the sink.

I think we’ll make it.
What4221 Oct 2020

At the altar of surrender,
I met you

A church bathed in glory sunlight
An altar streamed in colored glass windows
Light sharp enough to cut
Your hand leaning against the stone
The bricks
The gold edging where blood once pooled

I fell to my knees at the altar.
What4221 Sep 2020
A child's sock, torn, in the dirt
Three photographs behind broken glass
And a table, tipped on its side

An empty schoolroom
Today’s lesson scrawled across the chalkboard
Pages torn to drift in the wind

Cracked cement
Fresh painted tarmac, stained
A tree on fire

Black smoke choking the sky
A hushed red glare
And the burn of an invisible sun

The peace of a quiet summer day
No birds, no insects, no animals,
No people

All of these empty containers
Smashed against the hard ground
Indistinct shadows on the wall

Like breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs left behind
To be eaten by the birds.
What4221 Sep 2020
(Only as long as you-)

I can't believe how wonderful it all is

(Answer their questions-)

A new year, different
But communicable

(They only want-)

New people and faces
And the same old town
Glowing reassuringly at night

(Don't **** this up-)

People are smiling with their eyes now
Talking louder to be heard through their masks
Growing closer
Even as they must stay apart

(They only like you because-)

The readings go well
The papers are written
The professors are happy
And the day keeps turning
And the sting of regret has vanished

(If you stop being useful-)

Happiness comes more genuinely now
The bright sunlight
The green grass
And invitations to take part
The people I have come to know
The comforting thunder at night

(One day, they're going to realize-)

I still feel haunted.
What4221 Aug 2020
I open my box of cereal this morning
A toy, trapped in slight crumbs at the bottom
Like the ******* Jacks and elementary drawing winnings of my childhood
Cheap and plastic inside Kinder eggs
Gold foil wrapped around chocolate to become pirate's treasure
Clacking Mardi Gras beads and fabric flowered leis
And the small plastic bags of Nerds and cheap sunglasses
Tiny parachute men to drop once and throw away the tangled remains
A small breeze
A smell
Summer, hot and sunny,
Singing to me
As I open my box of cereal this morning
And become trapped in the deja vu of a childhood
Memories of birthday parties and cheap toys
And sunny afternoons
And pools and trampolines
And a toy among the crumbs at the bottom of the box
Plastic and cheap and sunny.
August 25, 2020
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