We have something that works.
It's such a small thing,
but like a tiny music box that still plays a tune you can recognize,
It's just my palm pressing into yours.
I'll keep doing it as long as it cranks out those same notes.
In my dreams, I drive right off the St. Thomas Bridge into the ocean
All the twinkly lights tell me I shouldn't have
Oh how I 'shouldn't have'
and a song plays in my head that says "Oh how you've grown."
I can't sleep because everything is on fire. I look outside, and there it is- the fire. I turn on the TV, fire. It's in my lungs and clinging to my clothing. It's stinging my eyes and giving me a headache.
It's been dark tonight but now the light has started creeping through the windows to remind me, everything has to continue. I have to go to school. My husband has to go to work.
I want to get in my car and drive somewhere that the smoke hasn't touched yet. But it's everywhere. It's to my left and right, it's up and down, closeup and at a distance.
I want to yell "Fire!" but no one will let me. I want to escape but no one will show me the exits. I'm tired of watching everything burn away and smolder and ache and choke and wheeze.
Vitamin D. Prenatal vitamins. Gauze. Paper-tape. Pregnancy tests. Ghirardelli square wrappers. Anti-septic. Band-aids. Small strips of paper towels. Anti-biotic wound care. Disposable masks.
My nerves are showing up in the cracking of my skin, in my eyebrows, between my eyes, and down my nose.
My hair's growth is stunted by my sporadic picking at the ends.
Now is not a good time. Now is the only time. Now is the worst time. Now is the best time.
I have never seen vultures before, until now. There they were, seven of them. One low circling and the other six huddled around a raccoon on the side of the off-ramp. It was just like a cartoon, I thought.
Vultures aren't really dangerous, I told myself as I weaved the car around the gang. Technically, they are nature's garbagemen.
Still, there is something unsettling about them all the same. Their turkey necks. Their large bodies. The pulling of sinew from carrion.
But most of all the concept that they lie in wait for death, inevitable, with terrifying patience.
She looked at me in a skeptical way and talked about what it means to be a vessel.
She offered some next steps, some sage advice.
But maybe I'm just the soil in champagne France, I thought, all chalk-full of clay.
Maybe the best most renowned bubbly celebrations come from this scraggly old vine.
What do you know? As I pawed at my stomach and breast.
Things still grow in the desert, they just aren't the things you like.
"So fruits and vegetables then?"
"Less fruit than you would think actually."
For me, beauty comes from things that are loosely held.
Looking at them too long alters them,
Sitting with them too long ruins them,
Better to show the rough stuff of life than to crush a dream by the weight of my closed fist.
Better to miss a comma or semicolon than a true feeling.
Better to mix metaphors than to lose them entirely.
When I was young, I caught what I thought were butterflies, probably moths, in the schoolyard.
I was told that if their dust rubbed off they would die.
So I held them in my sweating palm as gently as I could, feeling the flapping thing struggle against the walls of my fingers.
They all died anyway.
The pill bugs would die too.
Everything died, regardless of how gingerly I handled them because they had simply stayed in my hands too long
But before they died, I had accomplished something and it was beautiful.
If I could just let go, they could thrive, but I spent too long with them.
I've spent too long with my own thoughts and they're dying.
Some books are hard to read and cut you on the way down.
Some books make you wish to burn the inside of your ribcage out.
But those same books teach you some things you didn't know,
and those somethings make you change in ways you didn't think you could.
Some books break you into disparate pieces and put you back together in a new way.
Some books heal you in a way you didn't know you were injured.
But those same books are hard to pick up and easy to put down.
Some books have been calling out to you from other people's bookshelves their whole lives.
Some books have been given to you as an investment.
But those same books will live in silence if you never open them; too afraid of paper cuts to learn.
Make peace with never knowing,
make peace with never going,
to the places, you pledged your life to.
There is this plant on the patio that overgrows itself every once in awhile and dies.
Beautiful flowers, but far too many.
Over-growing without thinking about the consequences.
Four million or so flowers blooming all at once and one little porcelain *** to hold them all.
It came naturally.
I fear I've made a history of myself.
All the paperwork is blowing in the wind.
Don't look at all my personal transactions.
Don't look at the mess I've made of my short life.
I've thought twice about the whole lot of it.
I've made amendments to every one of my thoughts and I don't trade in them anymore.
I've made memories I wish expunged from the record of existence.
Sometimes I wonder why you love me.
I used to think it was my own selfishness begging the question forward.
But today I wonder because when I get on a roll
(and I do, often)
I can start seeing the impatience develop in the corners of your eye.
I don't know if it's always been,
or if just now it's become obvious to me,
but I can see it beginning to irritate you.
All my highfalutin recitations of my latest reading.
All of my internal cross-examination.
All of the stones I turn over and over in my hand - at you.
It's getting a bit much.
But you see I'm just too chock-full of existence
and you are the only vessel to pour it into.
I crave novelty and I can see that you,
You've watched the world worry over itself for long enough and you want to rest.
I never let you rest.
So then comes the questions again,
why is it you love me?
I am so restless and so curious and so mean.
Sometimes you wake up and your plans for the week have burned down.
You find the owners of the buildings got into a fistfight,
blaming each other for its destruction and were arrested.
I guess that means we can check it off the list of things to say goodbye to.
Time to renegotiate and go for something like that hole in the wall pizza joint with all the awards on the wall.
Time to kayak on the only part of the LA River that isn't concrete.
Yes, I can smell the gunpowder all right.
And sure, I can hear the 'pom' 'pom' in the distance of the bombs bursting in air and whatnot.
But I'm not seeing the red glare itself.
From every angle, I'm not getting any of the rainbow foofaraws as was advertised.
Instead, it's just me and the dog here.
I'm just dizzy with conflicting ideas of what being 'here' means.
Anyways, I'm too busy, tired and dispossessed of my patriotism to really give a rah-rah anywho.
I guess you can keep the fireworks.
The bills you get from an ATM located in a Headshop called the Refinery in the Valley are not going to be the same that you cash out of your local Wells Fargo.
They've been used before.
You can almost imagine the staff feeding the all-cash green you give them back into the machine (once a day when things are slow).
These are just facts.
When you say you don't want a 3:1 you want a 3:0... They show you a 3:1 anyways.
You know, the marketing system has really changed.
I get a discount for bringing in two newcomers.
My coworker keeps saying we are buying 'drugs'.
I tell her 'it's not "drugs";
even before the legislation passed, all you needed to say is that you had cancer and they would drive away ashamed for asking'.
I tell the staff I want something that will get me through the day,
nothing too crazy and I don't want to fall asleep.
I end up with a 3:1 CBD hybrid again.
I pay my 101.00 for the hybrid and a bit of gummy 50/50 Sativa and indica hybrid 'for the road'.
I remind her we have a whole department dedicated to this **** now,
she should act more professional as she selects her joints.
My other coworker gets a salve because his joints have their own problems.
Just another day with the work-family.
Look at her,
she's remembering when she was native,
when she was Spain,
when she was Mexico
There she is now,
fondly thinking of her future;
the one where she falls into the sea.
Scratching off my skin and digging my eyes out.
The cracks branch off at the corners, swollen and puffy.
A busted lip, some pills, and a drink to help me relax.
Little levies break now and then to spill small kernels of my locked up consciousness, then retract back in on itself.
Motions, actions, procedures.
Pushing through the grime towards the bathtub.
Through the haze typing delicately to oneself.
Lose your voice in explanation of everything except the important parts, the parts they already secretly know.
The stomach churns, sudden twinges pierce all the muscles.
Conversations swim about other things.
The oncoming memories, the irritations of daily life.
Just being here.
I originally wrote this in 2010, I've updated it slightly after finding it again.
That's what they say when they identify you by your teeth. When they can't make out any of your features from any of your photos. Your voice is changed and your legs are weak and unproductive.
'Omm neon zebra' she says,
'on beyond' is what it is.
Push those fingers in your mouth
I'm so frustrated in the attempt to communicate.
To rip through the ceiling and stab out towards the darkness.
No words.. but sounds,
terribly dangerous sounds.
No one knows your name
and it never really mattered just the same.
The pipes are knocking in the walls; groaning and dying.
You roll to the other side of the bed.
I roll out of bed and put a *** on.
The lights outside are strewn in no particular order and just on the door;
as if to say 'we tried'.
We try until the pipes burst.
We try until the coffee runs out.
I let skynet tell me the news brief and sit here.
I could be studying a way out of here.
But I don't go in until after noon.
I make another cup of coffee.
Listen to Teagan and Sara.
Look at ways to **** time...
The pipes haven't burst yet, but they're still knocking in the walls.
If soldiers ride under the flag of someone else's dawn
what choice do we have but to march right on?
So he says, "Just like god I never meant to be,
and just like time you'll never know the end of me"
"Your answers lay in the middle of an enclosed glen
I wonder if you dared to step right in"
He says, "Just like god I never meant to be,
and just like time you'll never know the end of me"
I feel the urge to disappoint myself again.
Like conjuring up the dead.
There is a willfulness to open the box,
to play with the bones,
to say the words in the right order and make the right incantations.
I don't want to off myself.
I want to set to motion a series of events that spells out my own doom.
To be responsible for the end of my own world.
To set my own house on fire and warm myself, homeless, in the ashes caused by my own hands.
It's a sickness. An allure. Damage.
An unquenchable curiosity of what happens if I push the glass heirloom off the shelf.
No one is ever able to stop the teenagers from renting the beach house.
Let's get this horror show started.
Oh here I am in the back room while you sing my praises
cohort with the neighborhoods and their dogs.
They spin around you and you laugh a hearty laugh.
An honest laugh.
The laugh of an honest man who does good for good's sake.
I torture myself in the back room and listen to the conversation over some desperate woman and a guitar
as I write about my mother.
How did we meet and why?
I don't think there is an honest answer to it.
I just love you, simply and purely.
The way you are with everyone else.
Happiness bled all over my bathtub.
Silliness dried at my feet.
But maybe it's just the parts that we're made of.
Maybe that's all that we mean.
And dreaming suddenly preferred me.
And themes suddenly addressed me
Mirrors and make-up, tripped over playing cards.
Drowned in the chivalry,
Heroes and worshiped gods that were made up,
furrowed their brows at me.
And dreaming suddenly preferred me.
And themes suddenly addressed me.
A safe dog doesn't run the fence.
She wouldn't break the good leash to leave you.
How many marbles can you fit into a bowl until you say you can't count them?
I do not want events layered upon events.
Birthdays toppling over birthdays:
a layer cake of responsibilities that aren't 'responsibilities'.
That do not count.
That cannot be measured or described as taxing or numerous.
I am outnumbered by numberless nonsense.
I am outweighed by weightless wafting pleasantries;
and life-sustaining things;
that bowl me over.
My womb is a desert called Death Valley and you wish to comb it for antique glass bottles.
I care not.
I cannot partake in any more suggestions of what I might do with my 'free time'.
But you're not feeling the tingling sensation in your gut every time you wake up and the lights don't turn on.
The wheels don't work.
The mechanical arms don't move like they are supposed to.
Like the parts of you you're supposed to have on automatic have just given up the ghost and abandoned you.
You're alone and miserable and none of it rings any bells.
None of it gives out any signs.
None of it counts.
I'm crying because the milk spilled and there isn't any milk left anywhere in the world.
We're just the land of Honey now.
I've been nervous all day
at the end of the day
I love it.
I guess I'm not as 'above it' as I wanted to be.
I'm sure my mother could see this more clearly-
But the butterflies in my stomach have now morphed into an odd satisfaction
I guess I just wanted the action-
It's all for the greater good,
and shouldn't I-
be proud of that.
I fill all spaces.
I break all walls.
I convalesce in tight corners.
and piece all the pieces.
Such tiny things are goals.
Such a pitiful want is sleep.
Fear me for I fear nothing.
Run fast for I sprint forward toward the world,
And you are in my way.
She plays black, then blue, then green and red and yellow,
Then translucent and impatient;
Messy and aggravated.
Then runs full speed -
Touches the wall
and back again towards you.
Spread arm'd and clinched fist'd.
Clinched teeth and mismatched socks.
Haphazard hair and ****** complexion.
You slit eyes and wink and shine on oh great shining thing,
Until the dust of her lay at your feet.
If someone's going to walk alone on a dark bridge suspended above the ocean bathed in strange blue light, let it be me.
Let it be me who let's the chill creep into my veins and brush past my cheeks.
If it has to be a sad song, let me sing it.
If we all get painted with watercolors, let it simply be.
I will draw you on my life with the rest of them, but I will always pause at you.
I will forever pause at you for a moment longer than every other statue in the museum of who I once was.
The parts that switch on,
flicker and hum to hesitant life,
when you come walking through the room.
Reluctantly, I feel all of my emotions begin.
There is a clicking and whirring, a sputter and a cough
There is a squeal and a backfire.
I sound ugly but I'm still alive.
Your bullets mean nothing but void.
Void where matter should be.
Absence where substance once was.
Darkness where light should be housed.
All of this for nothing.
You are fading jeans again
Try ripping them to shreds by skinning your knees
Try to squeeze blood out of stone-wash
You just crumple and fall on me love
Tired and trapped in denim
Too many buckles and buttons and zippers
But in freedom you do nothing more than drape over the sofa
Love in compasses you, freshly laundered.
Sweet Refraining Mindnumber,
In the instances when neither speak, there is a feeling somewhat narcotic and lackadaisical.
I tend to forget the solidity of words and some often slip between cracks in my teeth.
Try not to ponder these odd things while I comb my fingers through trifle upbringings,
though you might, and I might as well, raise questions in my head of dreams I've had and ones you've witnessed.
In this place things swim around slowly,
every color bleeds into each other.
You can't make out what you're looking at or why you're there,
but more specifically,
how you feel.
You're sitting in front of a pool of absence.
Dipping a toe in and watching it ripple on down to the edges; change course.
I, of course, sit in front of it for hours pensive, worrying.
And all my thoughts change the mixture.
And all my moves trouble the water.
And at times there is the great upset brought upon by rain.
When it rains the silence dissipates.
The surface ends up fighting against itself.
The little droplets spring up and begin spurting out towards whatever incomprehensible answer will suffice at the time.
The commotion is only settled by focus and time.
Then, everything turns to whispers.
Here and there of words drop phrases or concerns.
Ultimately it quiets and it's back to swaying like reeds and still moments like these.
He stood quite still on the sidewalk.
Stood there for hours, actually.
Stared into another place that wasn't here,
just sort of muddied in the two feet in front of the glass he looked through.
Static went crackling in the depths of his mind.
Sometimes a spark would jump from one edge of the gap to other-
and a flash of recognition would pass like a tankard barreling past a bus-stop.
Violent but brief.
He doesn't speak.
He doesn't move.
He doesn't anything.
It's as if existence put on pause in the self-contained universe that was his body.
Then, he walked away.
Our lives are set-up in beautiful hypothetical.
Propositions swirl around like conveyor-belt sushi- delights to choose at semi-random.
Light and fluffy brightly colored choices.
Candied aftermaths of promise.
We stare at the world like through a pane of glass that houses every good thing.
Select a sweet impermanence.
Finger a whim.
Cast yourself onto a game of chance.
Play your favorite song on the jukebox of 'nowness'.
Skip all of the imperfections in a sidewalk.
Dandy through your daydreams.
To want is to behold.
To wish is to brush the tips of splendor.
All of it free for now.
I learned he'd died through a friend of a long distance friend.
I heard he had snuffed it.
Kicked the bucket instead of the usual rock into a gutter.
'Give me another', he'd say until his eyes went glassy and his face went numb.
Until the hands dropped from the weight of his fingers.
No one lingers to watch.
No one ogles the brilliant light of dawn over this collapsed stranger.
New and old to the neighborhood, we all stood where he once stood.
We all walked away from that place.
His mouth agape but no words can escape the blue lips of a fading memory.
He is dead and his time died with him.
She wants the trumpets to play.
She wants them to play all day long until their lungs give out.
She wants to see them marching down the street, keeping the beat of another failing heart.
Don't start. I can't.
I cannot pick your roses,
I cannot breathe in the sulfur of your departed memories.
Don't make me weep at your parade.
She stayed long enough to orchestrate the players.
Stayed long enough to write the tunes.
Stayed long enough to make the costumes.
But not long enough to watch the charade.
Watch it blossom and screech and wail
There it goes down the street named after you.
There it goes with you at the helm,
Waltzing down to that other realm,
where we get to watch you pass.
Oh, she says, I’m going to wash you away.
I’m going to wash you so far down stream,
Out to the sea.
I will dilute you in the infinity of the ocean.
The rains will come and off you’ll go.
So far, so far away from me.
I will wash you down with what’s in front of me.
Goodbye to the rain, goodbye to the streams, the sea, the oceans and you.
The trees breakthrough the sidewalk;
and why shouldn't they?
Send the cars careening into one another.
Overtake the city-
until there is naught but a grove where this place once was.
I could use a grove right now instead of a shopping center named after one.
Today will be retroactive; in penance to those times spent wondering.
The will they wont they has finally calmed.
We wont count today,
so I'm noting it now as an important moment left undiscovered and forgotten later.
Today something came into being that was already there.
The gestation cycle forgotten, we only count the time after birth.
Sometimes I like to think of myself as nine months older.
So, with that I say we were in womb before now.
Welcome to the world.
But for our own purposes we can count those months spent in utero.
Let the beauty and pain of the world spill over the coffee table and onto the floor.
Use the raw materials to construct a reason-
a reason for why my mother tells me
what her grandmother told her:
"Like cream you will rise to the top".
Make something of yourself out of the chaos
and jagged edges of the world.
Let the bits and pieces of reality loose
to align in nothing but piles and small bits.
Then tediously right all wrongs,
in steady and purposeful motions,
until you are but dust and granules yourself.
This life is unsustainable and eventually we all will wither and succumb to it.
It's for the best, to rest, on the pillowed walls of complacency
or wander through the hallowed halls of indifference.
Just once, you may see the cracks in the flooring and wonder what lies just underneath your feet.
And fall we will, like dominoes.
One by one
Like matches lighting matches
to the tune of our own
and surprise of us all.
When she drinks,
she tip toes right through that
into a different state altogether.
A train barreling towards her
comes to a squealing focus.
There is danger everywhere
in the silence.
Someone poked a hole in her bubbly head
but everything was going so well.
Oh, well on the rocks it is.
I don't watch ****.
You're more likely to see me squirreling away pictures of elaborate bathtubs, in shame.
in the still of the night,
I look up well thought-out Murphy-beds and closets that disappear into secret home offices.
I keep a hidden stash of blackout poems
and lewd photos of street artistry around my neighborhood.
I savor notes my best friend gave me during middle school.
I walk a crooked walk down to the seedy underbelly of my past
and read feverishly all my past feelings and relive them to remember how vivid they once were.
just like ****,
in watching and re-watching and savoring all the same flavors
everything tastes like mud now.
"It's not me!" she broke in, hands still shaking,
heart still trying to headbutt through her rib-cage.
"SHUT UP! I don't know you!", she screamed at the wall of her bedroom,
Making memories right then and there.
Born like stars in the darkness.
Dreams that let loose into the silence of the real world like breaking through glass.
Dreams to make the grown men weep in panic.
Dreams to drink an extra cup of coffee for,
on your way to work.
I wrote this during a week where I was having intense nightmares but working a full schedule plus overtime.
I watched it run out,
like a recording where the film just flips,
over and over again.
The dull empty clicking of a machine without purpose,
and white empty all-filling space.
This my difficulty I can never show in public.
My family name tarnished on a pause.
A fumble forwards towards the right answer that won't come tumbling out of me.
So I wait.
I wait for a crack in the seams; a break in the watch.
A moment to breathe where I can escape away from the responsibility of knowing.
Knowing what is to others obvious.
The poetry of integers,
the finger-tips of legacy I may never grasp.
write big letters on big pages,
we make the summers
look like golden lit kerosene
and trail in conduct laden rows
off to our cozy little homes
where we make life a little rougher
for the souls that came before
such a silly little episode
she left her coat,
and we all grabbed it
and held it fairly close
until she finally stumbled up
all the stairs that we drew up
all those cozy little homes.
say that you remember,
late autumn or early winter,
when the changes weren't much
Say that you recall that fading fall
when we thought that we are all
the happiest we'd ever be.
She broke the bottle over our heads
and the milk mingled with the blood.
That's how one feeds monsters.
The fingernails dig in deep and pull out threads of fabric.
It might have held the world instead of bled, she said
But I can't toe the line of a killer.