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Danny C Mar 2022
I often wonder why he hated me,
what it was that drove him,
and what I had done to deserve it.
I sometimes think it was primal,
with nothing he could do
at such a young age, just born into this world himself.

But my mother remembers,
"He loved you," as she hands me
a picture, high exposure,
my infant body: half-asleep, drooling, smiling,
his toddler face: eyes crinkled, lips pressed upon my soft, fat cheek.
I don't remember that.

I remember the curled, fatty muscle of his hand,
landing on my shoulders, my arms, my back,
rock-paper-scissors with everything at stake,
over, over, and over and over.
No knuckles, never in the face.

That nasal-rushed snarl,
a barb around his tongue and
razorwire lips, and all their violence.
I remember learning what I was:
Stupid, weak, small—******* ******, shut up ******.

And yet at the park,
when Mickey pulled my hair and sicced his dog,
burying teeth deep into my right cheek,
I remember the weight of a body crashing.

Mickey, crying loud, runs home,
his hand over his face, bloodied and bruised,
and my brother darts away on his bike.
CW: Homophobic slurs
Jun 2021 · 81
Remember Chocolate
Danny C Jun 2021
Remember chocolate
when it's just out of reach
when it's stained into your warm fingertips
and clinging to your palette

Remember chocolate
when you give it to your firstborn
One morsel swooped over itself like a shoelace,
melting in their hands,
smeared across their lips

Remember the crumbling,
sweet velvet on your tongue,
the air through your nose,
and my hand in your hand

Remember the moment
has already passed,
as all good things before
So remember chocolate
when you go to the grocery store
Jul 2019 · 1.1k
You'll Find Sparrows
Danny C Jul 2019
You'll find sparrows, my mother said
Not in the thick,
nor the deep dark
canopies of the woods

You will find them, in droves,
at the ends of tree lines,
busy, busy—always busy
whether in song or with a twig

You will find them in coves
perched upon the green vines,
busy, busy—always busy
calling out upon a sprig

They are small when alone
like me,
in the long, silent hours of my nights
But in the morning they are a chorus
reminding you of all the work yet begun

So, go, find yourself a tree
You'll find sparrows when you're done
Feb 2019 · 150
Lemon Meat
Danny C Feb 2019
The only time I've ever thought
to step out in front of a bus,
and feel its treads roll me out
like gold—malleable and elongated—
if the pain I left you with
was that of citrus resting on your tongue:
bitter and cold and sour
like lemon meat
gnashed and torn.

No longer holding form,
or fitting perfect
in the cup of your palm
like my hand once did

In September you spit
and cursed my name
And walked home
in the middle of the night,
stumbling,
Maybelline blurred
all down your cheeks,
with the picture of home
upon a foundation of stone
you had hoped to build with me
Nov 2018 · 146
Cedar Trees
Danny C Nov 2018
It’s not you I miss;
not your cherry red hair
or the crack in your voice
when you’d fight back tears
(You never did cry much)

It’s the loss of the feeling
of prairie fires in our chest
running with the wind in perfect time
like we made plans to run
out from under the sprawl
toward mountains and cedar trees
to find new languages
and faces we’d never seen

The world grows larger in passing time
and distance becomes relative.
To think we’d have made it to Nepal
to sit upon crystal white shelves—glass figurines
looking to build a new home somewhere overseas
Feb 2016 · 773
Chicago in July
Danny C Feb 2016
Biddle-ding deedling,
Hear the sound wind chimes make
Summertime rolling in
East from the west

Lemon wedge swirling round
Whiskey kept icy cold,
Tangy now, bittersweet
Soft words confessed
Dec 2015 · 397
Sonnet #1
Danny C Dec 2015
I walked along the quiet streets we knew
from years ago when we were just sixteen.
We lost so much of what we had, between
the nights we shared when I was holding you
to aging slow and cold and dead and blue.
And I became a ghost inside routine;
now I'm an apparition barely seen.
And like a dream I prayed it wasn't true.

You said that you were sorry at the bar
because I built you up inside my head,
and you became an idol in my mind.
In twenty years (or more), when I live far
away from you, with words still left unsaid,
I'll love you still, with all we've left behind.
Danny C Nov 2014
Their noses share an awkward shape,
both too large for their faces, drooping
low and out, the crests aiming down
toward each other's chest.

My mother holds her youth and beauty
tight as a red and white bouquet in her hands.
Her smoky white veil falls behind her shoulders
and down her back, folding gently like summer curtains.
It wasn't love in her eyes; she's admitted before.
but here, anxious and barely 28 years old,
she wears hope on the smile reaching across her cheeks.
Perhaps it was a single thought, a flicker
of a candle's teardrop flame: Maybe
I will love him forever.
And though
it was a lie, here it forced an affection
that pushed long black lashes apart,
and each hazel iris gleamed
with momentary faith, light flooding
the sudden click of a 1/100 shutter speed.

My father looks like another man.
He's consumed by fervent confidence and swagger,
built upon conviction and certainty.
He ought to have a big wet rose in his teeth,
and a big wet bottle clenched in his fist.
His shoulders, broad and rigid, push his chest
toward my mother's fragile collar bones.
His gaze meets hers, and he admits a stubborn smirk,
the same one his father had wielded
in an Army portrait 30-some years before
—that you could see on me now, as well.

This moment is dishonest,
those candid smiles were sudden
and fleeting, a bolt of lightning
splitting the sky in half.
But it's captured here, forever.
Two wild hearts in a moment
of sincerity, toeing a wire
they'd come to learn they
could never balance upon.
But I caress this photo some nights
slowly with my thumb,
knowing neither is my mother
nor my father, but two kids,
who might just hold on
when they're swallowed whole
and buried under rubble and silt
of all the world crashing down.
Danny C Nov 2014
I stood slumped into the corner
of two converging granite counter tops,
struggling to focus on what
he's remembering next—some bland anecdote
or an irrelevant detail: Larson,
I think,
he says finally.

Between pauses—with small, contemplating eyes
set deep, split by his dark, Italian nose—
and dragged uhhh's and hmmm's,
a sowed adoration splits and grows,
a seed (a supernova now).
A man—half my connection
to this world, to existence,
to a trickling, patient bloodline.

He, I; a rambling, scatterbrained mess
of neurons and hard-wiring, sparks and electrical fires.
My father: plagued by anger and impatience,
a sitcom of clumsiness and a tied-tongue,
blessed by conviction, faith and reason.

I don't say any of this. He'll die first,
never knowing how easily I'm reminded
of what I am to become, 32 years from now,
unless he finds me drunk, perhaps after reciting vows,
now vulnerable to cheapening emotion into language.
Nov 2014 · 544
Killer Parties
Danny C Nov 2014
These killer parties pretty much killed us.
That music was loud and pulsating and violently fresh.
There were kids tripping on some stuff
and over some passed out bodies on the floor,
always laughing and saying, maybe just one more.

I always figured we'd out grow these things,
crooked walks home when we were a total mess.
But you got caught up pretty bad in the scene,
and pretty soon Los Angeles had left your mind.
But you were always looking around for a ride.

Suddenly, I found myself in a swarm
of blues, blacks and grays,
funneling past traffic lights and skyscrapers,
up elevators, under railways and
squeezing between shoulders.
But burned into my lips
is a wiped away kiss
(a few hundred, probably),
that maybe we shouldn't have traded.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoubScvL9Cc
Danny C Nov 2014
I wondered for the first time today
about the man that will capture your heart,
like I never could.

You'll meet him at some Friday night party
in a dim living room among wafts of pale gray smoke
and stale vapors from a shared hookah.

Some morning later, when lights stab your eyes,
and every sound tosses your stomach, you'll scramble
for scattered clothes, twisted and turned,
inside-out: your heart, confused and excited.

You'll say it was all unexpected, unplanned—a flight unmanned.
I'll hug you like a friend, and I'll mean it when I say
something vague about being happy for you.

At some white-clothed table, sheltered away
from twisting hips and unkempt ties,
I'll slide my fingers down condensation
of an abandoned, unfinished drink.
I'll look at you, and we'll recount the nights,
circa summer 2008, on my bedroom floor
and hanging from monkey bars,
dreaming of cool ocean nights and Hollywood lights.
And I'll pray he will love you like that.
Nov 2014 · 1.1k
Challenging Horizons
Danny C Nov 2014
I took a drive tonight
to the edge of town—
to our teenage horizon.

I remembered how big that wall used to be,
how scared we were to be confined.
We'd stand at the end of glass-frame houses
like it was the edge of all the world.
So afraid of looking down,
we never lifted our eyes across.

I always thought we were too afraid,
not ready, or something vague.
Maybe we just grew farther
apart. We were meandering rivers
flooding over new plains,
carving out separate trenches.

But I don't think you changed.
I know now I ignored that side of you,
that I was blind to your warning signs
and caution lights.

You were bound to challenge that horizon's cliff,
and I couldn't run from the cities we built
on the front porches of our wild and reckless summers.
Nov 2014 · 1.7k
115 Towers
Danny C Nov 2014
I stood at the bridge on Monroe,
peering into a stale brown river
hoping to be swept away
by a historic flood.

Reflections of these steel towers
bent, cracked and refracted,
becoming ripples where the water lay flat.
And as I turned, a great roar exploded
like a thunderous train
galloping over a brittle iron bridge.

Slabs of forged metals and concrete
crumbled like an autumn leaf under a footprint.
Mighty architecture burst out in a spectacular grey;
a Fourth of July before 1855.
Everything built, believed and once conceived
now fell like deflating balloons:
slowly, calmly without hurry--only certainty.

And I stood amid the wreckage,
where we once built cathedrals
surrounded by heavy lights and one-way flights.
One step wedged another mile between us,
and our dusty promises became harder to see.
Sep 2014 · 362
Concrete Ashes
Danny C Sep 2014
I will leave this house in a year.
Before next Christmas it will be surrounded
by monstrous yellow machines
and fat, grimy men in white hard hats.

My home will crumble into dust
like bones done aging—brittle and tired now.
And what once stood will no longer remain:
a white stucco box of memories,
photographs and heritage tucked within the walls.

I will run away to Chicago
taking comfort in drags of cigarettes.
Our lives will have no evidence, no proof
of ever breathing, laughing and crying
in every room that welcomed us.

My mother will leave for the countryside,
somewhere with fewer people and dimmer lights,
to make room for cornfields and starry skies.
Maybe there she will find peace.

I will be there when the swinging mechanical arm
tears away at the shingles and panels of this house.
She is a dying friend and I am a hand in her hand,
assuring her she isn't alone in death,
that I will remember her when the world forgets.
I will scoop up ashes of pulverized concrete and iron.
Somewhere within them will be air we breathed.
Jun 2014 · 1.1k
Sandpaper
Danny C Jun 2014
You said my face felt
like sandpaper, as you kissed
me with your hand sliding
from my ear down to my neck.

I told you I shaved
my scruffy beard a day before
because you deserved
to see me looking my best.

But even my best wasn't enough
for you to stay in Illinois.
You decided a year ago
to run away to Colorado,
and I would be an anchor
weighing you, dragging
you into a darkened ocean.
Jun 2014 · 351
Heavy Lights
Danny C Jun 2014
Heavy streetlights
drown your face in an orange glow.
And I was burning like a California forest
holding your hand.

Coursing highways
driving down through half the world
so I can tell you I've always loved you best
for all this time.

Surprised affection
holding you: skin and bones in my arms
with your head buried into my shoulder,
sheltered now.

Chest percussion;
Tremors like midnight fireworks
when we tiptoe to your room.
Will it last the year?
Jun 2014 · 646
Scars like Ribbons
Danny C Jun 2014
My head is a car wreck:
oil and gasoline spilling out
like bloodied bodies
between shattered windows
and jammed in steel doors.

A pile of iron bars slips
and shoots out a spark to ***** liquid
crawling slowly toward a curbside drain,
and I’m on fire.

The words I worry you'll say,
will char my bones to powdered black.
I see us sitting on your bedroom floor
facing each other, while you calculate
whether loving me like you did
on your front porch is a liability.

I’ll admit to the risk
and show you the scars
like tattered ribbons across my chest.
Yours are like Christmas,
all wrapped up in bow.
I've never seen a wound
decorated so beautifully.
Jun 2014 · 824
Prose #5
Danny C Jun 2014
We made plans to spend the night together a week after I kissed you the hundredth time. I lean back in a rigid blue desk chair and count perforations in aging foam ceiling tiles and dead tubes inside industrial fluorescent lights. My stomach twists and turns like thick, black death of a tornado tearing through a Midwestern town. I scroll through your last texts, how listless they felt. I read "Goodnight" from days ago, with nothing alive filling a light blue bubble. I wonder if you'll love me enough until the weekend, when I take the final exit off a three-hour highway and course through city blocks like blood in woven arteries to find you. When we tiptoe into your quiet bedroom, I pray you'll feel concussing tremors in your heart, spraying blood like scalding orange lava through your veins, with every word I confess on the ashen wooden floor.
Jun 2014 · 817
Jagged Angles
Danny C Jun 2014
My bruises are fading
from that old, ragged bench
that we sat in for hours
as we fell further than we ever did before
into each other's arms.

That tattered metal frame
carved out a starving skeleton
through a dull blue cushion.
The bars dug into my back, shoulders and neck
like sinking teeth, spurting blood under my skin.

Now, the vessels are healing,
soaking up what's left of me
and tunneling it back to my heart.
Blue and purple reminders
of a quiet, muggy Saturday night
are becoming fluid—like my memory will:
Rather than the truth, I will remember
what suits me best, from a faulty camera in my mind.

I pray these wounds never fade,
so I can know the jagged angles forever:
both of the frame in my back,
and your sharp thin bones
cradled in my skinny arms,
maybe for the last time.

I press down on the waning bruises,
a sign that time has escaped me,
to feel no pain; no proof
that at last, you loved me best.
Jun 2014 · 1.5k
We Built Cathedrals
Danny C Jun 2014
We built cathedrals on street corners
under heavy orange lights
cascading down our faces.

I loved your imperfections:
a narrow, twisted spine,
a long, indented nose
and a shrill voice slicing through
the midnight summer wind.

I'd love you forever
in the sagging bench
on your thin front porch,
where I'd spend eternity
tracing outlines of silhouetted trees
covering soft, flaring streetlights.

We burned through hours
recounting the wounds from our past.
Every kiss was a lightning bolt,
and cracked like raging thunder.
We felt a violent forgiveness
exploding like stars in the pits of our chest.
Jun 2014 · 939
Orange Hue
Danny C Jun 2014
I will always remember your face
in an orange hue
from streetlights, scattered
all down your hazel eyes,
and a slight overbite
exposing your skinny teeth.

I've loved you better than the rest:
longer and deeper than any great canyon,
and farther, until the edge of doom.

In a humid summer shade,
surrounded by creaking swing sets
and shredded wood chips
you told me, "I'll never stop loving you."

Street lights and park benches our cathedrals,
the hood of a beaten down Honda our tower of stone,
where I came to love you most.
Apr 2014 · 426
Broken Spines
Danny C Apr 2014
Books with spines curved like gymnasts
are my favorite to own.
They're frail, aged and loose;
they've been worn to the bone
and have no strength to close themselves up
without being stacked tall
between other broken spines.

Like old men, they've endured time's unforgiving trial.
Books like these tell stories outside their pages.

At 21, my pride sliced open my spine
spattering out herniated fluid down its arches,
shooting fireworks down my legs.

I know about damage and battered bodies.
I learned eternity, as the suffering reminds me
through the dark, cold night and tiresome day,
that I won't escape this body
until my eyes fall shut one last time
and I learn eternity again in sleep.

I'm battered, broken and chewed to the bone.
But, unlike Tithonus in ashes and endless life,
I will one day rest without suffering.
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174656
Feb 2014 · 437
Faith
Danny C Feb 2014
I kept my secrets far from you
Water rushing dark and cold,
I can't seem to plug the holes

I lost my love to the wild blue waves
Lost at sea, never coming home.
California was better alone.

I'm not enough for anyone I know.
I never learned how to find faith,
I never learned to believe in anything.

I'm on my own. I'm stumbling through the fire.
I'm all alone in this house with these walls
burning right down to the ground.
Feb 2014 · 614
Physics and Evolution
Danny C Feb 2014
We drove 70 on 88.
We'd be a blur of gray
if some photographer was studying
the shutter speed of his camera.

This land has no trees to breathe
back into this earth,
no mountains to reach up
and stab at the sky.

These fields are eternal,
and in winter when the sky is faint
with clouds and the ground gray
with aging snow like old men,
the horizon blends into nothing.
Nobody can see where
this earth ends and the sky begins.

I will never escape this place;
this universe of physics and evolution.
Like old trees in a winter wind,
I will erode like dead, frozen roots.
Somewhere, in a polished wooden box,
they'll remember me in my best clothes.
Feb 2014 · 564
Salty Horizons
Danny C Feb 2014
We stared at the ground
because we knew we said too much.
You lit a cigarette
taking drags and burning your lungs.
You said you have to leave.
You had some things to figure out.
"We'd never last the year,
we'd burn ourselves to the ground."

We floated on the raft
wading tides colored dark and blue.
Shipwrecks passed us by
slowly sinking out of view.
We couldn't find a break
in salty horizons all around.
So we kept our lips sewn shut.
If we spoke, we'd surely drown.
Dec 2013 · 1.1k
Prose #4
Danny C Dec 2013
In winter, sound travels faster. It cuts through the December air like an airplane through a morning cloud. But inside it's still the same: A restaurant of clattering silverware clanking against emptying plates of an overpriced breakfast and dialogues blending together like the roar of industrial dishwashers. I wonder how many conversations it takes to fill an otherwise empty room with white noise. Sometimes a spoiled child will punch through the murmuring with a wild, untamed hiss, or a clash of plates, glasses and silverware stacked like a wavering Jenga tower will crank necks and turn shoulders. And yet, in my booth for two, half filled -- as my coffee is -- there is silence more terrifying than a raging hurricane. As the waiter fills my coffee with a consolation sigh, I sit quietly thumbing through old contacts in a phone built for someone far more important than me. I see no names that should fill the empty seat, and wish so badly to add a new one.
Dec 2013 · 1.9k
Water Balloons
Danny C Dec 2013
The air in this room is heavier at night,
it inflates my lungs like water balloons.

I think about what loneliness is,
learning that I'm the only breathing body here.
A twin sized bed is plenty of room for me;
I can't sleep in a crowded blanket
pushing two sets of shoulders together,
like a suitcase slipping overstuffed clothes
through gaping zipper teeth.

I only have one chair in here,
barley enough comfort for one.
But this room needs another life,
two more lungs to share the air.

There won't be enough seating,
or a place for your clothes.
But I won't mind stretching this blanket
to cover four shoulders.
Nov 2013 · 836
Prose #3
Danny C Nov 2013
When we met inside a Dunkin Donuts on the corner of two busy streets, I ordered a small coffee. I said I had a lot to get done tonight, so I can't be out too long. If you knew how well I can lie, you wouldn't recognize me on a crowded street. I always ordered a medium before, because it took longer to cool, so we spent more time taking cautious sips through the small opening of a plastic lid protecting a styrofoam cup. But I dreaded seeing you again, because it'd be so long since I remembered the angles of your face, and the deep darkness of your swirling brown eyes, and the straight sharpness of your thick locks of black hair. Because when I'm not lying, I can say I don't miss you anymore. A busy street full of strangers is plenty company for me, and I don't mind my right hand catching a cold November breeze, instead of warming up inside your left. You said you're doing better, that the emptiness of your studio apartment isn't as lonely as it used to be. You said sleeping on your full-sized bed was okay now, that only one side warmed by a breathing body wasn't sad anymore. But you still missed me, my scruffy, uneven beard, the boots I look my best in and your head on my chest. We walked outside so you could smoke a cigarette, and I left quickly. I lied and said we should see each other again. But I hoped you'd lose sight of me on that busy street, becoming ambiguously shaped inside a scrambling river of cold winter bodies, all with cold hands clenched or covered in gloves, not holding any others.
Nov 2013 · 1.0k
Fluorescent Lights
Danny C Nov 2013
Under these lights I'm honest.
Every flaw, every imperfection
shows true, like raw footage of a plane
crashing into the ground,
showing everything that went wrong.

They show me who I really am,
and what everyone sees:
Chipped, coffee-stained teeth,
frayed, wiry brown hair,
small, deep brown eyes,
every scratch, every scar
every razor-burned pore,
everything I try to ignore
in other rooms of the house.

It explains why I buy lamps
with dimming shades and
warm, dark-yellow bulbs:
The less you can see of me,
the longer it'll be before
you go on rushing out,
jingling keys, clutching a cocktail dress.
Nov 2013 · 729
Heaven and Hell
Danny C Nov 2013
In school I was taught to love
Jesus because he died for me,
so I could be forgiven and
see him in Heaven.

But I never learned what Heaven was,
or Hell, and what the difference
was between the two of them:

Hell, with its flames and sorrow mixing
like red and blue paint, blood under the skin.
The wounds we witness but can't do anything about.

Heaven, white without temptation,
clouds that never rain or clash with lower pressure,
and offer no decision to do good.

Eternity is a prison, whether a rigid valley of burning faces,
or an endless celebration of our sacrifices and charity.
Oct 2013 · 789
Prose #2
Danny C Oct 2013
I saw her sitting on the curb with somebody, smoking an extra cigarette so she could stay an extra four minutes. That's how long it takes her to smoke each time. He lit one next to her and they talked about whatever reasons they had to complain that day. What's worse than knowing exactly what's going to happen next? This train's whistle is wailing and begging me to get off the tracks, but the ropes are tied just tightly enough so I can wriggle and squirm and scream but it's not enough to roll over the rail. I'll see him lying next to her admiring long black hair and a colorful elephant tattoo. The scent of stale smoke radiates from their lips as he leaves for the night — with their teeth stained a little darker now from reheated coffee. Soon they'll empty every bottle in the place and slip out of their clothes between dark red sheets stained from her teeth sinking into my neck. I'll be buried in the churchyard, my last rites read by a thief.
Oct 2013 · 626
Prose #1
Danny C Oct 2013
It's amazing what can happen in a month. And how when you meet someone, you see them how you want them to be, and they go along with it for a while. But as time goes on it totally changes. Like, things get all tangled and twisted out of shape so very easily. You never see it coming, but once it's painfully obvious you've lost control, you start to see all the warning signs you either missed or chose to ignore. And then, that conversation you dreaded for days is that much harder. It's like watching the ceiling start to give in and break apart, and you're just sitting there watching the plaster and dust crumble down just before the drywall and beams cave in. And when she leaves you tell her you understand, because you have no choice. But that's not enough when you're lying awake at night waiting for your phone to vibrate and spray a burst of blue light across the darkened walls and falling ceiling. But she's really gone, and she really is moving to Chicago and will probably find someone else who'll keep her warm when the winter comes through.
Jul 2013 · 1.3k
Angles and Lighting
Danny C Jul 2013
I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life:
all the pictures you see of me weren't goofy moments
with friends and family whose cameras sympathize.

I'm not one for portraits or photographs.
And I don't do well with a candid capture
of the face I see every morning.

Each angle is meticulously planned and preordained.
Every gesture, the charming smirk you see in my smile,
is scrupulously rehearsed like a Broadway show.

Because lord help this man, if I let them see what I am,
there ain't a body who'd love someone like that.
Jul 2013 · 1.0k
Portraits
Danny C Jul 2013
When I found out you were dead,
I looked at your photo on the mantle.
It seemed older now, your crooked smile
and that Budweiser hat you always wore.

What is it about dying that gives
our portraits a new power of time?
A drunken nostalgia pushing tears
down over our eyelids onto our cheeks.

When I look at your photo on the mantle
I feel a creeping thought crawl through:
"You seem like the one who'da died."
Not fate, not destiny, definitely not God,
but a part of who you are, the man we knew
had a trait that fit death so sweetly,
like a sad song from 1961, and a line we loved
about old cars and holding on, just a little while.

You seem older now, you'd be 33 this year.
Your crooked smile would be different,
and that Budweiser hat you always wore
wouldn't fit as well as in our photos of you.
Jul 2013 · 876
Tiny Bubbles
Danny C Jul 2013
At night I tear myself to pieces
wondering which organs are failing,
or how many bones are breaking.

I feel for awkward lumps or other signs
of lesions, tumors and rampant disease
that may someday infest my body,
or have already started to **** me.

All the white coats scare me sometimes;
with red test tubes, proof of the life inside me.
But all I see is dark blue and tiny bubbles
watching a little of the life float above me
Jun 2013 · 1.0k
On Friendship
Danny C Jun 2013
I looked at your name in my phone,
the picture and last post
from your Facebook account
sent to and from space
on transmissions and airwaves.

I have a hard time remembering
the last time I saw you - at a bar,
the Blackhawks and the Bruins
making history on some LED screen,
while we sipped on cheap beer
and reminded each other
that our jobs aren't that bad.

A wise man said friendship
needs constant repair,
like your old red Jeep,
always rattling and clanking
for one reason or another.

And I realized tonight how things have changed:
that we're not growing apart, just growing up,
or maybe it's both, and maybe it's okay.
Jun 2013 · 908
California
Danny C Jun 2013
I found your flaws first:
your thin, wispy hair,
the arch in your back,
that slightly crooked nose.

And you found mine:
following a girl who took my heart
and the air right from my lungs.
She'd wring me dry
till my veins were scarred purple,
caked with pale red dust.

While you and I laid on the floor
in the dark, planning
our escape to California
as we had always done,
I realized the mistake I made
by not loving you first.
May 2013 · 818
Bodies
Danny C May 2013
I look at the legs of older men
Aged, with their imperfections
showing more visibly every day.
Clustered veins bulging
like roots from a tree
climbing from under the dirt.

I look at the bodies of women
who have lost their youth
from passing years and cigarette butts.
Their faces sagging and folding over
pressing lines into the skin,
a new flaw every year.

And I'm haunted that one day
my body will be decrepit and tattered
like the rags of a skeleton's suit,
and I wonder who will love me
when I have nothing left to show.
May 2013 · 798
Waiting Room (Draft)
Danny C May 2013
I opened up a Men's Health
as awkwardly as I was sitting
in that cold, dry room
filled with cheap leather chairs.

"7 Steps to Being Confident,"
Only seven, he says.
The first read, "Love Yourself."
Not a moment, I whispered Nope,
frightened by my instinct.

I'd like to see you try
I threatened, tossed back
into a memory of a failing roof.

Divorce is a landmine
that twists and tears off your leg.
You'll stand after a year,
but you'll never walk again.

It’s an endless photo album
that you can't keep closed up,
locked away in a dusty attic.

All my wars raged in a single year.
One-legged and trying to run away,
I couldn't dare love someone like that.
"They ******* up, your mum and dad."
-Philip Larkin
May 2013 · 782
Like a Science (Revised)
Danny C May 2013
I learned to hate when I was 10
and studied my flaws first:
frayed and wispy hair,
weak and bony shoulders,
and a smile more crooked
than old, crumbling floorboards,
(a calloused thumb to blame).

When my only few took to rushing out,
like blood from an open vein,
I wasn't surprised: Everybody leaves,
and why wouldn't you?

Soon my house would have
one less body, leaving alone
to sleep in another empty bed.

When I was 16 I tore myself apart
on the bathroom floor at 4AM.
I knew it was my fault
that she didn't love me.
I saw every reason in the mirror.
I chewed my lips to blood and scars
and tore my brittle hair from its roots.

I studied my flaws like a science,
measuring the chips and stains
on my teeth, still crooked
like an uprooted house.
Apr 2013 · 637
Glass Cases
Danny C Apr 2013
In the halls of my first school
I passed bulletin boards
trapped in locked glass cases.
They reflected my bony shoulders
and awkward overbite.

I passed those mirrors every day
to judge the way I walked
and carried my books
about Heaven and Hell.

I wondered how to make myself perfect:
Maybe if I changed, they would have stayed.
I don't really like this one too much, so feel free to critique it all you want. I'd like to work with it more so I can come to appreciate it myself.
Apr 2013 · 562
No Hell Burns (Revised)
Danny C Apr 2013
They teach you Hell is a fire
and the endless roar of burning souls.
We'll be surrounded by murderers and thieves
all suffering the same eternal anguish.

But that's not what I see:
Hell's flames are full of company,
countless charred bodies that say,
"We're all here, don't be afraid,"
compassion you'd only find in Heaven.

But there's no Hell that burns.
It isn't climbing flames
or smoke-filled lungs.

It's exile and solitude:
It's family and friends
fading from your reach,
rushing out like the house
is burning to the ground.
Revised - 4/24/13
Apr 2013 · 590
2:21PM
Danny C Apr 2013
Suddenly everything made sense
and all my tragedies became one
They were woven together
like a sad, sad country song:
"I've been alone forever and all along."
"Everybody leaves and why, why wouldn't you?" - The Gaslight Anthem
Apr 2013 · 898
Twin Sized Bed (Revised)
Danny C Apr 2013
You laid on the right side of the bed
toward the wall, tightly tucked between
scuffed paint and my bony shoulders.

You drove from St. Louis, a full eight hours
to spend a cheap night's sleep next to me
(if  you can even call that sleeping).

We got drunk and peeled off every stitch
of clothing we were wearing.
It was probably our worst idea so far.

I didn't sleep a minute
in this crowded twin sized bed,
made for a single body.

You woke up and kissed me –
my neck, my shoulder, my chest
from the inside of the bed where
maybe you felt safe
between a scuffed wall
and a sharp shoulder bone.

Now I look to the inside, toward the wall,
scuffs like scars, the wear and tear,
and remember the indent your body made:

fetal – curled and slightly sinking, wrapped
in a rumpled, thick flannel blanket
I had kicked my way out of hours before.

But it's all over now. You left
weeks ago with no plans to return.
I knew that, and it's my fault
for looking so defeated now,
a single indent in this twin sized bed.
Inspiration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZbY-Bktp1I
Apr 2013 · 807
Mattress on the Floor
Danny C Apr 2013
My futon mattress is still on the floor, folded
once over with a crumpled blanket on top.
I’d laid it out for us to fall into and fumble
over each other, drunk and half-naked.

We laughed and breathed deeply,
you on top of me, me on top of you.
We bumped our heads and joked
that only we could make *** a comedy.

Led Zeppelin came through the speakers
as we tumbled into each other the next morning.
Your eyes met mine as I watched you move,
we joked we've probably seen too many ******.

I haven’t planned to put away the mattress
or even fold the plush, brown blanket.
I'd like it to seem as if you’re still here
and that we didn't just **** for nothing.
I don't usually write with curse words, but I felt like it works here to express emotional detachment. What do you think?
Apr 2013 · 807
Vacant House
Danny C Apr 2013
In March of 2005, Dad packed his things
and left the house that he raised me in.
I didn’t notice anything missing, except for
a black and white photo album off the mantle
and the lounge chair he slept on for two years.

His new home, a renovated split-level,
was empty like an abandoned barn:
beautiful in its own tragic way, with
barely enough strength to keep it from
toppling over into a pile of rotted wood.

It was vacant, despite all the possessions
and bodies that lay lifeless inside the walls.

Years of silent dinners amplified by echoes
of awkward tiptoeing and closing doors
to hide the things nobody knew how to say.
Mar 2013 · 821
Circa Summer 2008 (Revised)
Danny C Mar 2013
Back then I would wait by phone just in case she'd call.
Shuffling through my old MySpace messages,
I tried to remember the way that I used to think
as I wrote to friends in acronyms and broken words.

Shuffling through my old MySpace messages,
I remembered my sweaty palms clicking “Send”
as I wrote to friends in acronyms and broken words
begging them to understand that I couldn't carry on like this.

I remembered my sweaty palms clicking “Send”
They told me to change, while I spent my nights
begging them to understand that I couldn't carry on like this:
A girl who only came back when a clever boy got the best of her.

They told me to change, while I spent my nights
drunk on cheap stolen beer and plans of escaping
a girl who only came back when a clever boy got the best of her.
But I could never say “Not tonight” to her – or to anyone, really.

Drunk on cheap stolen beer and plans of escaping,
I figured I’d run to California, or somewhere farther,
but I could never say “Not tonight” to her – or to anyone, really.
being a heap of ****** flesh on the floor was better than being alone

I figured I’d run to California, or somewhere farther.
I tried to remember the way that I used to think:
Being a heap of ****** flesh on the floor was better than being alone
back then. I would wait up by the phone just in case she'd call.
I revised this by using the correct form of a pantoum, rather than tweaking it.
Mar 2013 · 804
White Tudor (Revised)
Danny C Mar 2013
My house was built in 1926
It was plastered with white stucco
framed within a blue trim, once green
which still shows through chips of paint
flaking off like a scab
from a curious child's playground wounds

This house fended off storms and fires
for nearly one hundred years
and stood tall and strong even when
my family fell to pieces

Dad should have left a long time ago
No one could sleep with him around
as he snored through our tragedy:
A mother and a father who hated
each other, both too stubborn to leave

I had dreams at 4AM, when I could sleep,
of the house collapsing, and these walls caving in
burying us alive in dusty white gravel

Mom wanted to be free like she was
when she would smoke cigarettes in her 20's
with young men lucky enough to have her

Dad didn't want the world to see us destroyed
So he stayed inside our little white tudor
tearing down the walls as we all fell apart
and were buried beneath the wreckage
that tore us all to pieces
Mar 2013 · 1.2k
Window Paintings
Danny C Mar 2013
In 1558 Pieter Brueghel painted
Icarus falling to the blue and green water
in a darkened corner, out of sight

He crashed close to shore
between a fisherman busy reviewing his catch
and a great ship with its sails being pulled
farther and farther into the sea

He sank and drowned quietly
while the whole world carried on
unbothered by death and tragedy
tending to their plows and herds

They’ll come back tomorrow
to plow their fields and steer their herds
with the same thoughts, an endless loop
even when a boy falls from the sky

And like my house falling to pieces
of white rubble and shattered glass
The screams are kept between the walls,
but the windows are paintings
of young boys falling to the floor
silently, unnoticed by the world
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/Bruegel,_Pieter_de_Oude_-_De_val_van_icarus_-_hi_res.jpg
Feb 2013 · 769
Not Death, But After
Danny C Feb 2013
In the back seat of Dad’s red Grand Prix
I thought about death for the first time
and if God forgave kids who didn’t believe in him

Eternity was suddenly terrifying,
even in Heaven, an endless celebration
And in the dark, I would be alone, a streak of light
racing through empty space
with nowhere to go but further away

Mom was the first to see me falling to pieces
as I tried to explain the promise of Heaven was scary
like endless flames, and an eternity of nothing was just the same

As a child I ran from fear and hid in a well lit room
But here, as a crumpled heap on the ground, I couldn’t escape
Mom begged me not to be afraid
with a kiss and a therapist’s receipt
She promised peace and beauty in death
as I tore myself apart on the side of the road
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