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4.5k · Apr 2013
In Sheep's Clothing
I love seeing the looks
on the faces of the shopkeepers
in the occult store down the block
sudden surprise
or annoyance
immediately morphing into pleasant
plaster
shop-keep smiles
I don't look like I belong there
they think I'm a tourist
come to gawk at them
or that I'm gift shopping for a
hippie-witch friend
or relative
They have no idea
until I decide to
open my mouth
and tell them what I need
why I'm there
and they hear me use the words
suddenly realize I'm serious
I know what I'm talking about
I know what I'm doing
and they take a step back
and look me up and down
as if to say
Really?
You??


I used to look the obvious occultist
when I was younger
and still learning
passing me on the street
one would've not been at all surprised to learn
that I was a black magickian
Hell
one might've even assumed that
to begin with
just by my outfit
But that was a long time ago
Now to all outward appearance
I could be any other computer nerd
But I'm still a cultist
though a different colour now
I learned the value of
not broadcasting myself
my every intimate personality trait
to anyone who happens to pass me on the street
I learned to pass
as a Normal
as a Mundane
(please don't make me say
"Muggle")
and now no one notices me
I can go about my daily business
and my sorcerous shenanigans
without attracting unwanted attention
without arousing any suspicions
of satanic blood pacts
or ****** sacrifices made
to blind idiot gods
which makes everything so much more
pleasant

But sometimes I forget
that the Me people see
isn't really me
until I see the shopkeeper's face
down at The Magick Box
at Bell, Book, and Candle
at Foxcraft's
at The Crystal Cauldron
or whatever it calls itself today
in this particular town
I'm there to buy a component
some specific mineral
or herb
or root
or ritual tool
or color of candle
required for some particular spell
or sigilization
or pathworking
or ceremony
or casting
Magick is now modern
and so when I need the dried petals
of a rare and deadly Black Lotus blossom
to throw a curse on the drug-dealing ****
who moved in across the street
and keeps threatening my neighbors
for the crime of daring to look
in his direction
I don't need to form an expedition to Tibet
to climb the peak of
the only mountain where it grows
no, I'm an American
other people do the hard work
so I can simply pull out a credit card
and laugh silently to myself
at the look on the shopkeeper's face
that says
What on Earth
does he
want with *that??
Meh - too long, too boring, no focus.  Oh, well; it's what I had to give today.
2.7k · Feb 2013
Afterwork
day's almost over
Sun's almost gone
an entire star hidden in the shadow cast by a speck of rock

high on caffeine
while falling asleep
trying to push myself past a mindful minefield of lyrical cynicism

scraping around bottom
goring the core
make a wish upon our shadow star to be a whimsical poet-to-be

flimsy words arise
then fall away
and the head's emptied again from nothing worth remembering

could be better
could be worse
not qualified to judge due to never passing the bar set for myself

eye-ing the time
passing me by
feeling the throb of decay in fingers' muscle memories of home row

finally the night
and darkened peace
stopping to let the words sink in, refresh the mind, and rest the eyes a minute

just resting my eyes
Ugh, utter crap.  Bad combination of "too tired to write" with "nothing worthwhile to say."  If I had any shame I'd be embarrassed to post this.
2.6k · Jan 2013
Temperature
Without motion
there is no Heat
In our sudden stillness
we are freezing to death
But our fire scorched
and consumed
so what choice
did we have?

There is no heat
without Motion
But we only ever went around
in circles
It was inevitable
and obvious
that someday the fuel
would run out

Fire without fuel
Cold ash of promises lost
Deep winter of resentment blows
Howls echoing through our empty chests
Where blood once pumped rhythmic hot
Now silent ice blue

Every Push needs a Pull
Every Give a Take
The dance from White
to Black
to White again
is all we are
a trillion trillion trillion times over
All Creation writ large in infinite complexity
so who are We to pretend to argue
with Nature's Orders?

I am No One
I sit in silent stillness
numbed now in the Cold
I only ever wanted One Thing
And I nearly burned the whole world to get it
Before I realized the obvious truth
that all my actions
my motions
my Heat
had only pushed it further and farther from my reach

So now I am No One
Sitting in silent stillness
comforted in the Cold
knowing that there is nothing I can do
That if I am ever going to have the world I want
it is out of my hands
it is beyond my Will
and all I can do is simply wait
in the Cold
for Her
to come to me



And Hope
it wasn't only my Heat
that drew Her here
2012-12-28
2.4k · Feb 2013
It's Not OCD
It's not OCD
I'm just ****-rententive.

There are two
coffee urns
in my office kitchenette.
Each urn has
a spot to place your mug
beneath the spigot.
Each of these spots has
a circular insert
of gridded plastic
to mark the mug-placement area
and allow spilled coffee to flow through
so this spot
doesn't become
just a puddle of coffee
soaking the bottom of everyone's mugs.
Each of these inserts has
three indentations:
one on each side
at nine and three o'clock
small, arcing parabolas
like reversed parentheses
there to allow someone to
get their fingers into the
coffee mug spot
and under the insert
to remove it
and, presumably
clean it
and then another indentation
more like a groove
or a notch
much smaller, thinner, and deeper
at the top
that fits perfectly with
a matching
small plastic protuberance
jutting from the coffee mug spot
where the insert goes.
In an almost ****** fashion
this protuberance fits into
this last indentation
this notch
this groove
to secure the insert in place.

For some reason
I've never known
perhaps laziness
perhaps inattentiveness
more likely simple
couldn't-care-less-ness
this insert never seems to be
placed into the mug spot
properly.
It is always placed sideways
rotated a quarter-turn
so that the larger indentations
on the side
meant as finger holes
are placed top-to-bottom
noon and six
the small plastic protuberance at the top
being swallowed whole
by the too-large indentation
and its mate
the groove
meant to hold the plastic piece
so tightly
is left alone
to one side
empty
and useless.
This has always bothered me.
Bothered me more than I would like to admit.
It's such a simple little thing to get right
it would take almost no effort at all
and yet, day-after-day
someone
I don't know who
whoever is in charge of these things
insists
on doing it wrong.
And I cannot abide it.
So, day-after-day
when I go to get my morning coffee
I fix it
I twist the insert ninety-degrees
and secure it in the correct position.

Lately
I have noticed something.
Sometimes
when I go to get my coffee
one of the inserts
will already be
fixed.
Someone else has seen
what I have seen
and felt the same
had the same response
took the same corrective action.
This feels like winning something.
I don't know what
but it definitely smells like Victory.
And Conspiracy.

And it makes me happy.
Happier than I'd like to admit.
2.2k · Feb 2013
Electric Ego
I want to write a poem
but I have to write code instead
There can be a kind of poetry in code
especially my code
I'm proud of the elegant design
of my loops and logics
my streamlined systems
My code flows

pulling the User along effortlessly
guiding them gracefully from one end of the black box to the other
and out again
No Errors
My code flows

secret haikus left in comment blocks
for other programmers to find
like digital hieroglyphics on virtual cave walls
test data populated with pantheons and
mystical chants from faraway lands
My code flows

water of ones
in sea of zeroes
pouring through me
from aether to mind to muscle to machine
bit by bit
block by block
stacked upon stack
module into module through function and parameters passed
My code flows

flows through me
until the integer flips
the Boolean switch
change of state
status update
now compiled and crystallized
Executable
and then passed on
leaving me
out of my hands
disseminated to The Users
like a prayer to a congregation
I hear the clicking fingers of their choir
singing the song of my code
now flowing through Them
1.8k · Feb 2013
Meditation #1
Reaching Inside
to Center Mind
and further still
past Grey Matter
past axon and dendrite
through the synapse
Once more unto the breach
and further still
into cell
into nucleus
into gene
into acid amino
and further still
into particle carbon
past electron
past proton
into neutron
and further still
to Reach
The Void
and reside within
and wait, still
Being within Nothing
as the World Serpent
tail-in-mouth
consumes itself

Wait
and Hold
Still


Wait

and

Hold

Still


Now gently Returning
Up and Out
tugging softly at The Void
with wish whisper touch
softer than Light
pulling
bringing Nothing
Up and Out
into Everything
into Center Mind
Up and Out
leaving neutron
past proton and electron
leaving carbon
Up and Out
pulling No-thing
Up and Out
leaving gene, leaving nucleus, leaving cell
Up and Out
bringing The Void
Up and Out
through synapse
past dendrite and axon
through Matters Grey
Up and Out and Into

Center of Mind
the Hole in
Your Self
the Whole within
the Holy
You

Now Wait

and Hold

Still
1.5k · Jan 2013
Three Diamonds
:   i have realized something

          :   i have realized the distilled essence of all of my desires

          :   is simply to be able to Love you

          :   or, more honestly, that you would be able to let me Love you


          :   and i have realized something else

          :   i have realized that this desire of mine

          :   to be free to Love you completely

          :   with neither regret nor remorse

          :   will never be fulfilled


          :   and so now i have a choice


          :   i can let go of this desire

          :   to save myself

          :   from constant rejection and disappointment

          :   i can accept that you will never let me Love you

          :   the way that i want to

          :   the way that i try to

          :   i can let go of this desire

          :   accept my fate

          :   and simply stop trying


          :   or


          :   i can take it

          :   i can endure

          :   and keep Loving you

          :   knowing full-well that Loving you means

          :   an oft-broken heart


          :   and i have realized one more thing

          :   one final thing

          :   that for a life spent Loving you

          :   You

          :   for that I can be

          :   for that I will be

          :   for that, I am


          :   Strong
First line should be indented with the others, but for some reason the editor won't display the leading spaces.

2012-07-27

UPDATE:  why does this poem keep trending?  And why is this my only poem that ever trends?  How does trending even work?  What does it mean?
Seeking the Enchanted Wood
beyond the Gate of Dreams
again another night
naked but for my Silver Key
that heavy antique carved
with undecipherable
arabesque
symbols
stolen from the Messenger
of the Faceless One
hung from a chain around my neck
the Key to the Dreaming
a comfortable weight against my chest

I descend those too-familiar
Seventy Steps of Light Slumber
ancient worn stone cold under my bare feet
climbing down through the dusky emptiness of Pre-Dreaming
one-by-one
until they suddenly end
at Nothing at all

Without hesitation
(I've been here so many many times before)
I take the leap
and step off into emptiness
and enter the hidden Cavern of Flame

In the far corner of that inky darkness I can almost see
the shadowed forms
of Nasht
and Kaman-Thah
the Gatekeepers
whose temple this is
those towering black figures
bare-chested with carved, curved beards
and elaborate head-dress
stand stone-still but all-aware
waiting to judge my worthiness
again
I perform for them
a different routine every night
to demonstrate my power
my understanding
my worthiness to traverse The Dreamlands beyond

Tonight
as most nights
I begin by conjuring myself a robe
a simple black thawb with cleric's collar
hemmed just below the knee
black linen gi pants
in the Thai style
and comfortable black tabi boots for my feet

Now dressed appropriately
I begin the ritual proper
so They may see
my mastery of The Dream

I rise myself up to float in the center of the cavern
in lotus-posture
and expand out from my center
a dodecahedral lattice-work of blue plasma
until it fills the space
and I float serenely in its center
From each pentagonal face of this construct
I then project white-hot jets of flame
offensive defense
effective ward against
the many horrors that await a Dreamer
But here in this realm of un-real
this is but simple hedge-magick
unimpressive
amateurish

They require better of me

I reach out
and project myself
to the far end of the cavern
and instantly I am there
And then again
and then again
teleporting myself around the cavern
disappearing and re-appearing at random points
to demonstrate my control of Self
and reality here

They continue to stare down at me
black and stone-faced

I draw my perception down into the center of my form
and push Out
against my flesh
against my skin
until I feel it begin to tear
down my back
and I keep pushing
Out
and Out
screaming
until it all comes free in one blood-soaked blur of agony
and I am left standing as
naked muscle sinew bone and nerve
From the scraps of my skin I fashion
a new robe to wear
to show them
my immunity to the horrors I will face beyond

Finally
they consent

From the center of the cavern erupts
the Pillar of Flame
floor to ceiling
I step into it
and my flesh-robe self-sacrifice burns away to ash in an instant
the price paid for passage
but I am left unsinged
and after a moment I step free from the flame
with a new skin
and again re-robed, as before
black thawb and gi and tabi
but now also something new
something never experienced before
(every night
something never experienced before)
something not of my own crafting
a blue turban
electric royal blue
adorned with an onyx jewel
I do not understand this gift
or who
or what
might be the giver
but I accept
with gratitude

An open door appears in the cavern wall in front of me
and I step through
and begin my descent
of the Seven Hundred Steps of Deeper Slumber
gleaming black stone staircase
descending into darkness
through an empty night
I know that at the bottom of these stairs lies
the Enchanted Wood
and further beyond the rest of The Dreamlands
Ulthar and Dylath-Leen
Oriab and Celephaïs
Leng and unknown Kadath
and as I descend further and further
and closer to the Dream
I can feel my Self coming apart
as if dissolving into mist
and I try to hold my Self together
and focus on those far-away lands
and their cities of Dreaming
and remember how much I long to see them
how every night I long to see them
and I try
and I try harder
and I take another step
and I am gone



And then I am awake

I will try again tonight
as I try every night
and I will make my way to the Cavern of Flame
and I will perform my tricks for the Gatekeepers
and I will begin my descent of the Seven Hundred Steps of Deeper Slumber
and one night
maybe tonight
I will make it all the way
to the bottom
to the Enchanted Wood
and to the Dream beyond
and I won't ever
have to return
I'm hiding here
in this space where
I keep brutally exposing myself
I'm not really My self
I wear masks
and pseudonyms
and there's certain things I can't say
won't say
because I'm afraid of who will read them
and what they might learn about me
And sometimes I feel that makes
all of this
pointless
I am torn between two
equally important desires
I need to be raw here
I need to be violently open
I need to feel free to express
whatever I am feeling
for no other reason than the simple fact that
I am feeling
But I am also afraid
of the reactions I might get
afraid I might hurt someone
afraid of someone I know
learning something about me
that I don't want them to know
afraid they'll use it to hurt me somehow
I need to be wide open
but can only do it behind the safety of a mask
and even that isn't good enough
I still constantly self-censor
I have pages and pages of writings that no one
but me
has ever seen
will ever see
Even now
as I write this
I can't help but wonder at the reactions
I might get
from people I know
in real life
or people I know
in the wire
or people I've
never met
and that wondering changes me
changes my feelings
makes me second-guess
what I'm going to say
The only way my art can ever be
absolutely true
absolutely honest
absolutely Me
is if no one ever reads it
But what good is Expression
without Witness?
I need to have
an audience of strangers
for each poem
total strangers
that I will never have to see again
Or I should tag my poems on walls around town
in the middle of the night
like my little brother
(oh, gods, what if he reads this??!)

*******
I'm leaving it in
Another pointless, rambling, ugly poem ABOUT writing poetry.  Ugh.  Sorry.  It's the best I could do today, unfortunately.  But at least I wrote something.  Even if it's *****, it's better than not writing at all.
1.3k · Aug 2013
Neighbors
http://michaeltaoblog.blogspot.com/2013/03/neighbors.html
2013-03-13

Apologies to all, but I have a series of small stories from my life that I need to tell over the next few days.  This is the first.  As always, I hope it makes you feel, or think, something.

(UPDATE, 6.12.14 - text removed; for full text, follow link)
1.3k · Jan 2013
Vibrations
My brain buzzes and my fingers dance.
My eyes twitch and dart to make the world vibrate.
Too much coffee and my heart slows down to one,
long,
drawn-out
thuwump.
I feel the fibers in my muscles coil like a snake.
I'm all adrenaline and nothing to do.
No fight to be had,
no flight to be made,
no harm,
nor foul,
nor **** to be given.
Wires pulled taut,
I could strike out a tune,
make the bones dance
a crackhead jig.
Long breaths in staccato time,
high on the oh-2 painting my brain red.
I can feel my whiskers like an aura,
hovering over my skin,
every hair a bright,
electric
nerve.
Throb, pulse, twitch.
Writhe, dance, squirm.
Eyes-wide,
drink it in,
eat the lightwave whole.
Bits and bits and bits
stab,
pierce,
*****,
puncture,
penetrate,
explode
into image,
view,
vista,
site,
sight,
seen,
scene.
It's all the same.
All light
and heat
and motion,
no differentiation,
no line of demarcation,
no distinction,
no more,
no me.

One more cup,
and I'll be gone.
2012-12-10
1.2k · Jan 2013
Zen and the Art of Biology
Is there any better feeling
anything more freeing
than standing naked
in a Summer rain?

It is a sensual kiss
from the Mother that bore you
and the Monster
that will devour you.

The air that caresses you
is the motion of the Earth
vibrating on your skin
the transfer of momentum
from the spinning ball of Blue
to the gaseous sphere encasing it
to your body
to You.
You're dancing on the roof
as we fly through the galaxy.

The water that now licks
your entire body
was once part
of a vast sea
wherein the first chemicals
melted together
locked into each other
and twitched
and copulated
and convulsed
and conspired
to move
and to Live.
The molecules that once held
the first Life
All Life
surrounding you
touching you everywhere
setting your skin on Fire.

It is your planet
Making Love to you.
2012-06-22
1.2k · Jan 2013
Fortune
They gave us too many fortune cookies
Twenty or more
What are two people
supposed to do
with twenty fortune cookies?
Three of them
were
different
Not normal
Not like the others
Not really fortune cookies
at all
One appeared to be
only two-thirds
of a cookie
folded in the wrong place
as if the dough
had fallen
halfway out of the mold
in the machine
at the fortune cookie factory
Another had the folded
paper fortune
sticking out one end
like an impertinent tounge
ready to deliver
a raspberry
a paper bronx cheer
rather than prognostication
And the last
the poor devil
the poor, sad little ****
was simply crushed
and broken
crumbled
and useless
Not even a cookie anymore
and no fortune inside at all
I took up these three lost charms
these empty, broken spells
and I cast them
into the trash
because that is where
the broken things go
This whole thing came to me in a flash as I stood at my kitchen counter shortly after arriving home from work.  The fruit of the creative exercise I posted earlier.
the Man is no longer a Man
in this day and age
he is a strange Middle-Aged Boy
an Aging Adolescent
hair going grey
with the hours whittled away
on Xbox video games

the Man that is a Man
is of a bygone age
The Real Man in the films of old
Age-ed Anachronism
strong and proud and brave
standing tall to face the day
and keep the wolves at bay

that I am a Man-who-is-not-a-Man
a product of this modern age
has vexed my Heart and Soul
my Arrested Ascension
how can I always play
when a Real Man works all day
but really who's to say?

the Boy is also a Man
in our culture at this stage
in truth both young and old
Advancing Adolescence
we get to play our lives away
yet still have bills to pay
the balance of the middle way

I am a Boy and I am a Man
by internal and external age
work only to play is my road
an Admirable Aspiration
that I get to live My Way
a little boyhood every day
is the great gift of this age

**** it
I'll be okay
First stanza came to me in a flash.  Tried to make the rest of the work repeat that structure.  Feel like it ultimately obscured the message and might have made it a bit difficult to understand.  Might have to try to get this one out again in a different way sometime.
1.1k · Aug 2013
The Other Boy's Father
http://michaeltaoblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-other-boys-father.html
I know - not a poem.  Last one, I promise.

(UPDATE, 6.12.14 - text removed; for full text, follow link)
1.1k · May 2013
Air
Air
it's stupidly sentimental but
I always feel a little sad when
it comes time to
shut the windows
for the year and
turn on the A/C
or the Heat
and start breathing our
electrically-modulated air

I feel as if I've
only just started to
work my way back out
into the world and
I'm not ready
I'm not ready yet to
go back inside
and breathe my own
rotten recycled breath

the breath of my city is
so much more
so much more delightful
so much more invigorating
so much more intoxicating
so much more
than me
I feel slightly lost and
alone when
this life requires that I
wall myself off from that
World breath
to hibernate through
our hot and cold winds

I'm not ready yet
I'm never ready
I'm still trying to find my way
out
1.1k · Feb 2015
Gloria
It's a stupid song
Hearing it come on the music station in the restaurant
after the thumping House music that preceded it
I laugh
because it's an old song
a stupid song
so familiar song
My eyes close heavy, rebellious
all I can hear is the song
it comes back to me in the wave pattern
vibrating the memory loose
In the back of the old station wagon
Vista Cruiser
with all the other kids and cousins
on our way to Summer camp
windows down Summer wind lovingly whipping us
with salt sand scrub-pine lashes
making fun of the drivers behind us
SCREAMING this song
Top of our lungs
All of ourselves lost in THIS SONG
This stupid song
that I loved so much so long ago
playing overhead in this stupid hipster sandwich shop
with the sudden ocean-salt taste of these tears
being back there in that Summer
flying to Adventure in the Vista Cruiser
Nothing but open road ahead of us
As far as the eye can see
1.1k · Apr 2013
Exercise #4 - Painstuck
why can't i write?

i'm feeling so much and it hurts too much and i can't think of anything to say about it
i can't think of anything to say
not a single ******* thing and i just want it out out OUT GET THE **** OUT OF ME
JUST STOP
just stop just go away and leave me alone
i can't take this it's just too much
i could take it if i could write about it if i could describe it if i could express it but i can't
it's just stuck it's overwhelming it's too big to fit inside my massive body and i feel like i'm going to split open
and i need to get it out but i don't know what it is and i don't know where it is and
i don't know what to say
i don't know how to say it i don't know i don't know i don't know

I hate those words so much.

this is an act of desperation trying to find the pressure-release valve in my mind to find the off button in my chest
each new line like pulling one of my own teeth
just trying to get the words to drain from my fingertips until i'm empty and numb but they won't come
the words won't come
just words about the words but not the words i need just empty useless mute words that laugh in my face
when all i want to do is scream at the top of my lungs GO **** YOURSELF
please just go **** yourself to death and get away from me i hate you so ******* much
still not right still can't write that's not what i need to say just a violent reaction to the words stuck in my throat
oh gods it hurts so ******* much just make it stop just make it stop whatever you want just make it stop
just don't make me say i'm sorry
just don't make me say i'm wrong
just let me keep my pride please just let me keep my pride don't make me humiliate myself just to end the pain

I'm doing this to myself.

you did this to me but i'm doing this to myself because i know how to end it but i won't because

i don't want to
i don't want to pay that price
i'd rather respect myself in agony
than hate myself contentedly
so i'll hate you instead
and torture myself enough
for the both of us
It's been five years
since the Moon spoke to me
And I did my best to listen
and remember

I'd never been more lost
never felt more alone and confused
never been closer to death
than I was that year
Technically an accident
but living so recklessly
"accidents" become a near certainty
so I am not free of responsibility
I nearly ended my self

Grasping at straws for months on end
Clutching at any whispered fragment of hope
of a Way Out
One morning
I heard a news report
about an upcoming celestial event
a Total Lunar Eclipse
of the Full Moon
I barely noticed it
thought nothing of it
changed the channel
and landed on a cartoon
about the embodiment of the Tao
in the Spirit of the Moon
and something clicked
I know that click
I'm intimately familiar with that click
I have been my whole life
But it'd been almost a year since I'd last felt it
I thought it was gone
gone forever
but here it was again
from a news report
and a cartoon
a cartoon!
of all things
but unmistakeable nonetheless
something about the Tao
and the Moon
and an eclipse

That night five years ago
the night of the eclipse
I didn't know what to do
I almost gave up
but I finally decided to go through with it
out of a sense of absolute desperation
I had nothing left
I might as well
At the appointed time
I took my posture
half-lotus in front of my altar
set flame to candle
and recel
I tried to relax
to let go
to empty myself
I found my Center Mind
and reached inward
to the Void
When it was time I let myself go
drifting up out of my body
flying through the atmosphere
floating in space
above the Earth
staring at the glowing white surface of the Moon
filling my vision
with cratered beauty
and profound grace

And I waited
I watched as a shadow crept across the face of the Moon
from East to West
as the Earth behind me
moved slowly between us and the Sun
And I waited
until the shadow blotted out the Moon entirely
leaving me in darkness
And I waited

And nothing happened

And I felt something inside me break
I had been so certain
that click had always meant The Way before
but nothing had happened
I must really be Lost then
so I gave up
and started to let myself fall back to my body

Just then
the eclipse broke
as the Earth continued on its Way
the shadow began to leave the face of the Moon
a brilliant crescent of white light blinded me from the eastern edge
and I heard a voice that was not my own say

All things that Are, are Change

As amazing as the experience was
a voice inside my head
that I did not recognize
I was still let down
What it had said was
hardly news to me
a paraphrasing of Heraclitus
"All things that Are, are Fire"
The only Constant is Change
Nothing is Certain
except Uncertainty
et cetera
I knew that
had been living it
for years
the purview of Chaos
Nothing is True
and Everything is Permitted
Kids' stuff
arm-chair mysticism
Tell me something I don't know
I said
And the voice answered

You cannot be Good
You cannot be Bad
You can only Be


And suddenly I knew
what should've been obvious
all along
Good and Bad are entirely subjective
just ideas
not Truth
their existence depends entirely
on our particular point of view
at any given moment
there is no single thing in this Universe
that is entirely Good
or entirely Bad
every single thing is both
Good and Bad
depending on your circumstance
your point of view
how you look at it
just as no single thing in this Universe
is entirely Yin
or entirely Yang
every single thing is both
Yin and Yang
that is the Way
that is the Tao

How had I lost sight of that?
What had happened to me?
I wanted more
I knew there was more
I asked the Spirit of the Moon
What else?
and Manni-Moon-Yin replied

Look on the Bright Side
Make the Most of it


Again it suddenly seemed so obvious
it followed naturally that
if all things are both
Good and Bad
then it must be our choice
to view them either one way
or the other
Joy is not a circumstance
Happiness is not an event
something beyond our control
that we must wait for
wait until it happens to us
No
It is a choice
it is something that we do
or don't do
So if there is Good in every single thing
then all I need to do
is choose to see it

Reeling
Overwhelmed
Overcome
Humbled
Awed
I asked
Is that all?
And Manni-Moon-Yin replied

You are Amazing
And so is Everyone Else


Human existence is
astronomically improbable
We should not exist
We are the end result
of a billion
one-in-a-billion chances
all coming up Jackpot
even the worst of Us
is an absolute ******* miracle of Nature
the most amazing thing in the known Universe
the Living Embodiment of Tao
a Human Being
an astounding accident
a chemical formula so complex
that it has become aware of itself
and I am one of them
and I should never lose sight of that
I am one of these ridiculously
outrageously
amazing pinpoints of sentience
and so is every single other person I will ever see
or hear
or touch
or encounter in any way
throughout my entire life
Each person is an Individual
and I can't know them
can't know their experience
or their circumstance
so it is unfair
and pointless
and rather ridiculous
to try and judge them
when we are all equally amazing
each in our own Way

I said Goodbye then
to Sifu
to Master
to Manni-Moon-Yin
and slowly fell back to Earth
back to my body
back to my self
anchored by Knowing
by finally Knowing
something
some True thing
again
with certainty
and clarity

To this day
I do not know
whose voice I heard that night
the Moon Spirit's
or my own
my Unconscious
and I don't care
it makes no difference to me
either way
because the words that voice spoke
are Truth
undeniable
inarguable
solid
foundational
Truth
and I will remember them
for as long as I live
and as long as I remember them
I will never again
be lost
Not my best work.  But I think that's understandable.  My poems that I tend to like the most are the ones where I am just trying to express what I'm feeling.  This poem is trying to describe (and commemorate) a particular event; and that is a very different thing.  And a complicated event, at that.  Still, I'm glad to have written it.  It needed to be written.  Even if it's not my favorite.
1.0k · Jan 2013
Lost Spirit
Appalachian Alchemists
Weaving Gold from farmer's grist
Whiskey Stills
and Copper Pills
Magick Wyrm cools vapor mists

Shine down from a Whiskey Moon
Silver Gift and Nature's Boon
Corn Cob Wands
and Thumper Pots
Mountain Spells from Summers' June

Lightning flash in jar of White
Burning Soul, distilled delight
Mountain Streams
yield Moonshine Beams
Corn-fed Wizards, dark of night

Wisdom cast in Silver hues
Blessing born of Mountain Dews
Love's Desire
from Smoke and Fire
Ancient kin-folk's hidden brews

Inspiration Distillate
Poet's Draught, inebriate
Charcoal Casks
and Secret Flasks
Of this Spirit, Celebrate
The first stanza popped into my head as I was trying to fall asleep last night, and it's been on my mind ever since for some reason, despite my best efforts to forget it.  The rest of the poem built from there.  I'm actually sober right now, but I guess I miss whiskey more than I realized.
974 · Jan 2013
Reflection
I woke this morning
Wrapped in Luck
Discovered in the bathroom mirror
My bedhead looked fabulous
Better than my actual haircut
Like finding a $50 bill on the sidewalk
Like getting a fortune cookie
That speaks your name
And says,
"Today is going to be a Good Day."
This came to me with my morning coffee.  I thought it was kinda funny, so decided to share.  I don't think every poem needs be about the deepest aspects of the human condition/affliction - the fluff of daily human existence needs to be admired and recorded, too.
950 · Feb 2013
In Rapture
A Big Daddy knows only one thing:*
Keep Her Safe.
Do what She says,
whatever She says,
and Keep.
HER.
SAFE.
Keep Little Sister Safe.
The whole world
the whole big, violent world
is trying to hurt Her
and the only thing She has
the one and only thing She has
in this whole horrible, ******-up world
is Me.
The only thing standing between Her
and all the wretched, psychotic lunacy littering the streets
and all the pain and degradation they want to inflict on Her
is ME.
They want Her.
More than anything
They WANT Her.
But they can't have Her.
They can't even get near Her.
Because first,
they'd have to get through ME.
A hulking,
faceless,
impenetrable
wall of NO.
And I won't let them have Her.
I WON'T LET THEM.
She's MINE.
And I will Keep Her Safe.
Like cradling a Snowflake
in an Inferno
I will Keep Her Safe.
Because She's MINE.

She's All I Have.

My Little Sister.

And I am Hers.

All She Has In This World.

Her Big Daddy.

And I will Keep Her Safe.

I will Keep Her Safe.


I will Keep Her Safe.
inspired by the Bioshock series, and dedicated to my Little Sister, my forever Valentine
http://michaeltaoblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/keeping-her-secret-postcards-home.html
I know - not a poem.  Again, my apologies, but I just need to get these out of me.  Thank you for your indulgence, and your patience.

(UPDATE, 6.12.14 - text removed; for full text, follow link)
935 · Aug 2013
Median Meridian Mean
There is a Middle Road between all Worlds
I know this to be Truth
I have always seen it, glimpsed like a shadow in the corner of my Eye
Everywhere I have ever Looked
Everywhere I have ever Been
Everywhere
I have always felt myself to be
Known my Self to be
Standing to one side or the other of this Lost and Delicate Way
Skipping between the Extremes, always
Too High
or Too Low
too Hard or
too Soft
too Strong or too Weak
Too Much
or Never Enough
a Life Exhausted, leaping Across the Divide
from Mountaintop to Mountaintop
Seeking in vain the peaceful Valley on the Horizon
Always in The Distance
always Almost
never Now
Until
Until
until

until I collapse
until I cannot Go Any Further
until I finally Let Go
and Let My Self Fall
and Slide down the Mountain
because there is Nothing Left for me to do
but Lie Down
and Be Still
and Rest
Eyes Wide to the Sky
along the Middle Road
886 · Feb 2013
Trigger Warning: Rape
I am a ******.
That is a powerful word
a putrid, painful word
a psychotic thing to say
out loud
to know
about myself
to admit
to You.
This is the worst thing I know
about myself
that I ***** a girl once
without even realizing what I was doing.
I don't know why I'm saying this now.
I know a lot of people will hate me
for saying this
for admitting this horrible thing I did
for displaying this
repulsive
repugnant
piece of my personal history
like picking up a piece of my ****
and showing it to You.
I don't know why I'm saying this.
I don't know why I'm telling this.
I guess because
after all these years
more than half my life later
I still haven't forgotten
I can't forget
I still regret
so I guess it simply
needs to be said.
So call it a confession.
And now the bargaining begins.
The inevitable qualifications.
Because while it is true
I am a ******
that powerful, putrid, painful, psychotic word
calls forth to mind an image
of violence and brutality
that is not me
and is not what I am trying to say
and is not what happened that night.

We were very young
not even twenty
and stupid
clearly stupid
and we'd been "going out" for years
Homecomings and Junior Proms
we'd taken each others' virginity
many years before
this was not our first dance.
And we were drunk.
Blind drunk.
It's not an excuse
but it's a fact
and it's relevant
and it needs to be said.
We had rented a hotel room
away from our parents
alone
free
and we were *******
joyously
terrificially.
Young
Free
Drunk
*******.
It was a glorious night.

At some point
she said,
"Wait, stop."
I don't know why.
To this day, I have no idea
what happened
what was wrong
why she wanted me to stop.
But I remember
what I said.
I'll never forget
never be able to forget
what I said
what I did.
She said, "Wait, stop."
And I said,

"No,
I'm almost done."

There is no apologizing
for that
no accepting it
no getting over it.
Not for her
or for me.
Some things just become
a part of you
forever
and you can't hide them
no matter how much you want to
or how hard you try.
Some words weigh on you like Marley's chains
and you carry them for the rest of your life.
And you should.
I'm not seeking sympathy
or solace
I deserve neither
and I wouldn't want them
even if I did.
I want to carry this chain.
I have to.
Because it is the only way
I can attempt to
balance out the equation
and even have a hope
of trying
to begin
to make up
for what I did
to her.
I guess I just needed to
acknowledge the chain
admit it
make it real
so that I could keep carrying it
a little longer.
I really wasn't sure whether to post this one or not.  I knew it could make some people feel some very negative things, and quite probably at me.  But it's real, it's honest, it's from the heart, and it is likely to make people feel something, and as that's all I'm aiming for, I felt that I had to call it art, and put it out there.  Art shouldn't be about only expressing what is safe, or acceptable, or what is likely to only make people feel positive things.  It is often controversial, or provocative, and that's as it should be.

Another concern I had, was whether I was right to use the word "****" in this way.  As I tried to express in the poem, that word conjures up images of violent, brutal ****** assault that is not even close to what I did.  I was a stupid, drunk teenager, having *** with my girlfriend of several years, and when I was just about to come, she said "stop," and I didn't.  It was absolutely wrong, and I have regretted it ever since, but that is, literally, as technical as **** can get and still be considered ****.  So, am I doing a disservice to victims of actual violent ****** assaults, by using that term, by equating what I did with the horrible trauma they had to endure?  Am I just taking a mildly traumatic event from my youth and blowing it up for maximum drama and artistic gain?  I honestly don't even know anymore.

All I know, is that for my entire life since that night, every once in awhile, the first line of this poem has flashed through my brain.  It happened again this morning.  I was lying on the couch, trying to catch a few more minutes of dozing before I had to get up and go to work, and a story came on the news about a ****** assault in my area.  There was something about the story that resonated with me in some way, and the thought "I am a ******" flashed through my brain again, and that whole night came flooding back to me.  And at that moment, I knew I had to get it out, and onto paper.
880 · Mar 2013
A Meadow In March
Early Spring snowfall
dusts late Winter bloom
crystalline fractals piling gently
all around
to rest upon vibrant petal
leaf
stem
and ground
The field now
a riot of pixelated color
struggling to be seen under
blank canvas tarp of
Winter's last throes
Portrait of Nature's perfect balance
Yin meeting Yang
flowing together
each becoming the other
flower melts snow into water flowing into flower
demonstration of Tao
in this limbo-time between the seasons
that is no longer Winter
and not yet Spring
when the Universe gives lessons
to remind us that
there is no such thing as
"impossible"
874 · Mar 2013
Thaw
the air touching my skin was noticeably warmer this week
and today is the First of March
and people are beginning to talk about Daylight Savings Time
and there's that familiar excitement in my chest again
the Spring butterflies returning to my stomach
every time I smell the electric ozone scent of
growth
energy
power
life
carried in the warm, wet breeze blowing from the west
it's the chill down my spine
and the recurring gooseflesh
anxiously awaiting all the unknown
possibilities
opportunities
drifting in on the wind
every day it seems the Sun changes color a little more
shading from the hazy white-blue hue of Winter
toward the bright hot yellow-orange fireball of Summer
and I swear I can taste that color shift with my skin
licking it up
cat bath of photons
drinking it down
sunlight pouring straight into me as
endorphin
serotonin
dopamine
adrenaline
altering my basic chemical makeup
transforming
regrowing
my Self
coming back to life
waking the **** up
waking the world up
I can feel it
I know it's time to move again
time to run again
time to drift again
time to dance again
time to **** again
time to kiss again
time to drink again
time to feel again
feel these things again
feel awake and excited and anxious and nervous and alive again
I can feel all of it beginning right now
with every new sensation when I step outside
I feel the familiar twitch of that little seed growing in the center of me
stronger each day
getting ready to burst
860 · Apr 2013
Summer Smoke
dreaming of drinking and grinding up smoke
laid-back and laughing while having a ****
summernight fireflies flash through my head
while i doze through delirium snug in my bed
with summer's lost loves and old friends gathered 'round
we play and we love as the stars settle down
the night sky above paints a portrait of grace
and we lie on our backs and we soar into space
we fly free, we are young, we have nothing to fear
and our latest new love whispers red in our ear
those words we've been waiting forever to hear
and we are back on the earth with our dearest held near
the world's just right now, in our favorite arms
as fingers trace skin, weaving delicate charms
to love and to lust in the grass under sky
open wide to the world and to gods passing by
we sing out our paeans to pleasure and loss
we have yet our whole lives still left to exhaust
and there's nothing for us in this world but our need
each for the other in word and in deed
we roll in the grass and we burn up our hearts
'til we're lost in each other and coming apart
one in the other we dance in our sins
and the juice of all summers drips sweet down our chins
awake in my bed, i was them, now i'm me
and that mythical summer i'm longing to see
now forever is gone, but these visions remain
of a dream of lost love sought forever in vain
I don't want to admit it
I don't want to
have to
admit it
but I like myself better this way
I wish I didn't
but I do
I laugh more
so much more
both longer
and more often
same with the ***
almost the best it's ever been
and nothing like anything
we've seen or felt or been in years
every ****** a god's kiss goodnight
I know I'm killing myself
but we are all going to die
someday
and what is the point in a long life
if it's a miserable slog the whole way?
I'll take a few years off the end
for a ten-fold increase in joy and pleasure
the rest of the time
any day
all day
all day long
There are a hundred other
little reasons
for hating myself for this
a hundred little setbacks
chipping away at my self-worth
but there could be a thousand and it still
wouldn't matter
they just don't add up
they just can't compare to
the ache in my face from laughing so hard
I can't breathe
the feel of her flesh under my hands
swallowing me
the look on her face when she comes
the tears in her eyes when she can't stop laughing at me
or the idiot smile
splitting my face like a knife wound

I wish I were wrong
but this just feels
too right
826 · Jan 2013
Choose Wisely
What am I feeling?
So many things.
How do I pick the one
that is worthy?
How do I decide
which flitter of chemical cascade
to capture
and pin down
and immortalize
on this page?

They are all so ugly
and so beautiful,
each in their own unique way.
Which is wheat?
And which the chaff?

It would seem that
"Ambivalent" and
"Introspective" and
"Pretentious" and
"Self-centered" have
risen to the top today.
In trying to decide
how to define myself
I have defined myself
without choosing.

This is who I have become,
but not
who I choose to be.
2013-01-16
813 · May 2013
"Why?"
on some level
it's about control
and i'm sorry about that
insecurity
always is

You are the other half of me
as i am the other half of You
and so if there's something
about You
or something You do
that i do not understand
then i'm not understanding myself
i'm unsure of myself
i'm the definition of
insecure

the Thing
whatever it is
the particular Thing
that i have failed to understand
about You
about me
is completely
and absolutely
irrelevant
what matters
what's important
is that

I

Don't

Understand

everything else
is just window dressing  

i need to understand
in order to feel secure
in order to maintain the comfortable illusion
that i have some control over my life
over myself
that I have some understanding of
who i am
where i am
what i'm doing
what the **** is going on

so when i'm threatened
by my own confusion
i make inquiries
i ask questions
i try to understand
desperately
urgently
crucially
i have to try
i have to

and besides
there's no harm in asking
is there?
806 · Jan 2013
Dichotomy
Prism of bright Sunlight
Refracted
Through Curtains of Rain
This Is
And Is-Not
Tao
2012-06-22
796 · Feb 2013
Nodding
suddenly so sleepy
nodding off at my desk
don't know what's come over me
limbs weigh a thousand pounds
it's a concentrated effort of will
to hold my eyes open
muscles made from ***** tar
i feel myself being pulled under
slowly
down down down into warm grey
favorite blanket
arms of a mother
wrapped tight
held close
warm and safe
all over warm
all inside warm
and down down down
further down into night
and play and wonder
into joy and fruit loop philosophies
and cotton candy *** with
childhood friends
and down down down
further down into warm caves of earth
molten black rock steam and sweat
lungs full of fragrant sweet hot
breath of life ancient ageless mind
swept away gone gone gone
lost in the stream mind of one
eye and one flesh and all
of one and down down down
into gone gone gone
into heavy warm wet safe loved all
over all over into
suddenly
so
sleep
778 · Mar 2013
Coming Home Again
That sound
that instantly unforgettable sound
so alien in this setting
the garden in front of my home
but absolutely unmistakable
like hooks in my ears
pulling me toward it
no resistance
couldn't if I tried
half grunt
half moan
all hot need
rhythmic
repetitive
Uhh... uhh... uhhhh!
warm Spring day
one of the first of the season
her windows open
she doesn't care
or maybe she likes knowing
her naked lust echoes across the courtyard
for anyone to hear
oh, gods the things she is saying!
screaming out her ******
crying out for his
telling him where she wants it
telling him where to put it
I'm suddenly dizzy
losing my grip on the earth
heart racing too fast
palms beginning to sweat
mouth going dry
overwhelmed
overcome
pummeled by emotions from every direction at once
lust of the ****** certainly
but also anxiety
          this is wrong
and fear
          what if someone sees me
and shame
and guilt

And jealousy
and sadness
I wish I could have what she has
I wish I could be him
and I know that will never happen
not for me
not anymore
those days are long dead
cold ash in the ground

As her hot screams
soften to moist sighs
and my lust sours into grief
the hooks evaporate
forgotten
and I turn my back to the strangers' intimate sounds
and crawl home
764 · Aug 2013
Again A Darklight Day
there's a strange and beautiful light in the building this morning
as i walk down the hall lined with empty offices all dark
on my merry way to my morning coffee
it's dark and storming outside
sweet Summer rain
heavy dark, almost night
and that odd, grey-cast half-light
that is not quite shadow but neither true illumination
filters in through the tinted office windows
into the hall
into my eyes
blending on the way with the white bright from buzzing fluorescents
that draw a dotted line down the halls' ceilings
so that the colors from within and the colors from without
merge
to form a singularly beautiful light that glows in the air
only on days like this
dark rain
morning sky
fluorescent light
off-white walls
and i'm suddenly lost in that ethereal glow
drawn back in time to a memory i had forgotten when i was still young
of the time when i had first learned to love this light
though i didn't know it then
and couldn't have put it to words even so
i was still only learning how to read
and the school day still included a time specifically for "napping"
but i knew that rainy days were different, somehow special
and not only because we would have recess in the gym
but because everything about this strange new world that i was shuttled off to every morning
Looked Different
on these dark rainy days
everything glowed in a strange way
and it wasn't like that when the sun was shining bright through the windows
and most days were sunny
it was only sometimes, only in the once-in-a-while
that the sun would hide behind the darkness
and the wet would come pouring down on us
and the class-room would glow
and i would feel the strangeness of that rare and special light inside of me
my tummy would roll and quiver all day in anticipation of
nothing in particular
my young body would vibrate to match the frequency of the fluorescence humming above me
overwhelmed with exuberant expectation
i couldn't have described it, couldn't have said what it was
i was still only learning to speak
but i knew something was different in my world
i knew it was rare
i knew that it did something to me
i knew that i liked it
and i came to realize that is what the word "beauty" meant
and that is where "love" came from
and though i didn't know it then
couldn't have known it then
now i realize
i've chased that strange and beautiful light
every day since
760 · Apr 2013
About To Get Wet
thirteen days
and I'm feeling unlucky
less than two weeks
until
I break this self-imposed fast
and I don't know
what I'm feeling
anymore
so excited
overly anxious
prematurely proud
afraid
it will all go wrong

I've never wanted
a drink
more than I do right now
and every day
that is true
all over again
how will I feel
with three days to go?
with two?
that first sip of whiskey
might make me cry

what if I can't handle it
what if I get depressed again
what if I lose my creativity
what if I can't write anymore
what if I can write
but I don't want to
what if I can write
and I want to
but I don't feel anything when I do
what if I don't feel anything

I only learned
to express myself
when I stopped
only started to write
when I dried up
so now I'm afraid
dipping my toe back
into that
golden Kentucky spring
could take that all away from me
and I don't know
what I'd do without this
how I'd deal without this
who I'd be without this
joy of
turning inward
feeling around
pulling something out
pouring over it
crafting it
shaping it
until it's just right
and then
casting it out
into the universe
to be its own

if I have to choose
I know what I'll choose
but either way
I'll lose
something
I love
and I won't be
me
anymore
747 · Feb 2013
The Day Before My Birthday
the city smelled like frankincense this morning
stepping out into a world of
startling reminiscence
of childhoods spent chanting in churches
and calling out to Papa, Papa!
Come save us!
Come save us from ourselves!

the city smelled like frankincense this morning
like a whole world made holy
streets paved with sacred resin
sewers leaking holy vapors
warm fogs wafting down from
some invisible censer
to smother us all in glory

the city smelled like frankincense this morning
oh so familiar tangy-pine aroma of magick
and mystery and mastery
and gold glinting with candles' light
burnt offerings sacrificed
as to make the very air sacred
with graceful gifts to gods

the city smelled like frankincense this morning
potent and penetrating and permeating
into and through and all around
clinging and saturating, dizzying and cloying
turning the world as a dervish reeling
in a rush of divine dance
inspired to the light of one true mind

the city smelled like frankincense this morning
and when I breathed it in I knew
I could read the sign
I knew which way to go
I knew what I had been waiting for
and why I had been wanting

I knew
725 · Apr 2013
Where We Played
An old beat-up couch
and an antique desk
were the only furniture we had
We slept our first nights together
had our first kiss together
had our first come together
on a plastic air mattress
on the living room floor
The carpet was a thin industrial
floor mat
barely thick enough to keep out the splinters
We hung candles on the walls
and watched them glow
and watched the shadows dance
and let the wax drip spires on the floor
We built an altar
and a playspace of blankets
and quilts
piled high in the corner
by the door
We spent so many hours there
days and weeks all-told
in that corner
on those blankets
in front of our altar
playing
Playing with friends
Playing by ourselves
feeling each other out
figuring each other out
falling in Love
over and over again
and pouring it all into our life together
building it piece-by-piece
shaping it to hold our desires
to hold us together
Later on
all our friends
and family we Loved
would gather around
to watch us swear ourselves to each other
on that same spot
where we played
and Loved
in front of our altar
I can honestly say
I've never been happier
than I was
Loving you then
in the empty home we made together
in the place where we played and Loved
and built our altar

+     +     +

That it's only a memory now
is so bittersweet
So much joy to remember
but remembering only reminds
that those fantastical days are gone
Our altar is just a table now
the blankets packed away in storage
Even that corner of the apartment
where we'd built everything together
is gone
Where we'd made our Love and played
so carelessly and free
now cluttered with piles of boxes
full of junk
accumulated from the years of our lives together
Everything we had no place for
we stacked in the corner
filling in the space
where we used to sit side-by-side
and play
and Love
and weep and sing and dance and scream
until it was gone
until it was lost
and almost forgotten

+     +     +

I won't forget
The memory is all I have left
And even just the ghost of those times
means more to me now
than all the piles of junk
we clutter our hearts with these days
I won't forget
And I won't grieve
and I won't regret
I will remember
and I will Laugh
and I will look into your soft blue eyes
and I will remember how I saw you then
and I will be grateful for all we ever had
because it was so much
though we didn't know it then
So much more
than we ever needed
So much more
than we ever deserved
though we didn't know it then
now I cannot help but see
it was more than enough
More than enough
to fill a lifetime
721 · Mar 2013
And Back Again
many dreams last night
          strange and powerful
          and so brightly lit
a luxury hotel in the sky
bioshock performance for the crowd
          at a gangsters' award ceremony
sipping whiskey
          and smoking cigarettes
          naked
          in the hotel pool on the rooftop
          with the young ******* billionaire
glass of warmed milk
          waiting for me in my room
          atop a hand-scrawled note
          pleading for mercy
gently lifting the tiny girl from the floor
          where she had fallen
          and laying her down
          on her silk bed
stabbing her with the needle
          to deliver the potion
          that will still her seizures
making passionate
          desperate
          affectionate love
          with my wife
          for hours
in the living room
          in the bright sunlight
          in front of everyone
and back in the bedroom
          in the soft lamplight
          all by ourselves
          just for us

woke this morning
lifted high from Dreaming
back to earth
to the bright sound
through my window
of the first birdsong
of the New Spring
and a new day
and another Me
706 · Jan 2013
Hermit
The Romantic becomes The Cynic
His Heart becomes The Stone
The Poisonous Fruit
At the Tree of Life's Roots
Chills him to the Bone

The Fool no longer Dances
Seeks no Joy from those he Loved
Their Smiles seem Dour
His Mood gone Sour
He's lost his Light Above

And the ***** Fires sputter
The Flesh turns Soft and Gray
What once was All
Helped bring The Fall
Nothing Rose can Stay

Then Passions aged to Bitters
For Reality means only Tears
The joys of Youth
Mean acrid Truths
At the End of all our Years

But who are We to Argue
And Death comes for Us All
Will you Cry at Night
Or Will you Fight
To find Your Light in Time's Black Pall
2013-01-18
i'm getting depressed
keeping it bottled
the pressure is mounting
i need to write
want to write but
now i need to write
i can feel it
but i can't do it
can't make myself do it
i'm working so hard
so exhausted
feels like i never have the time
or the energy
to sit down
to express
and compose
i write my poems in my head now
staring into the bathroom mirror
in the mornings
as i'm getting ready for work
i dictate them into a phone
it's all i can do
i wrote this very poem that way
just this morning
staring into my sleep-ugly face
because i don't have the time
to take the time
to write
to craft
to sculpt and shape my perception
into anything resembling art
i'm left only the option to
regurgitate words onto page
clean up the mess
and get back to work

but it's more than that
it goes much deeper
i don't like what i'm feeling right now
and i don't want to say it out loud
wish i didn't have to
saying it out loud is how to make it all better
i know that
the care-free grace of the newly-confessed
but there's this wall of fear
between me and salvation
and i don't think i have the strength
to climb it
because it's one thing to confront your demons
i do that every day
it's another to do it
out loud
in public
for all the world to see
dancing naked and crazed in the center of town
covered in your own ***** and ****
while your family gathers around
and stares
and you say, "See, Dad?
I'm doin' just fine.
Just working a few things out."

i have no ending for this poem

it hasn't been written yet
694 · Apr 2013
Eye Heart Trash
three days in row now
I've seen flowers in the trash
outside of her office
not old flowers
not dead flowers
not cleaning-out-my-valentine's-day-vase flowers
new flowers
blossoming flowers
roses and carnations
all vibrant reds and soft creams and ****** pinks
three days in a row now
each day a new bouquet
blooming from her wastebasket
on the floor outside her office door
adding floral notes to the remains
of her discarded lunch
making her garbage look like
it's gotten dressed up
to go on a date
at the dump
looking like a first-year art student's
commentary on still-life
or on the notion of "romance"
And I wonder
who hurt her
and how
Last night, I took a twenty dollar bill from my drawer
the last one
marked it with my words
in thick, black ink
grabbed a tack from the desk
and went wandering the alleys and backways and sideways of my town
scanning for the right spot
the right time
And alone on Cumberland, across from Potomac
I found a pristine telephone poll
sprouting tall and straight from the asphalt
like an urban redwood
Took the knife from my belt
the tack from my teeth
BOOM
BOOM
BOOM
and I walked away, heart pounding
hoping no one heard, no one saw
leaving the twenty hanging there like jesus
like a sign
in thick, black ink
asking,
"What do you REALLY want?"

I feel like a fraud.
675 · Jan 2015
Screen Door Summer
first days of Summer
early childhood
first, second, third year of school
when Summers first started to mean something

Free.

I am Free.


i remember
i remember those days
i remember that feeling
only remember
i remember one morning
early
seven or eight
both of us
myself and the day
just starting to heat up

i remember finding our front door open
wide open
propped open
because we'd just bought a new screen door
our first
to let the Summer in
i can still remember the sweet smell
of the soft blond wood frame of our new door
blending with the scent of suburban Summer wafting through
cut grass and pool water
dandelion and hot asphalt

i remember the sparkles of dust twinkling
through the enormous beam of radiant Sun
pouring through our open front door
flooding through our new screen door
pooling in two golden domino blocks
on the orange **** carpet

i remember lying down then
right there on the carpet
right there at our open front door
in my pj's
in that bath of light
and doing nothing else
doing nothing at all

i remember it was so warm
so comfortable
so wonderful
so perfect
i didn't want to leave
i didn't have to leave
i could lay there as long as i wanted
i had nothing else to do
all i had to do was whatever i wanted
and what i wanted was to lay right there
and let the blissful Summer Sun caress me all over
until there was nothing else

i remember i felt free then
absolutely felt it
for the first time
a sort-of tingle in the belly
like falling
or flying
the exhilaration of that new-found freedom
knowing i was free
knowing this was only the beginning
knowing there were months more of this left
months more to look forward to
the upwelling joy that knowledge brings
the surge of happiness at having nothing better to do
than drown in a pool of starlight

i remember recognizing
even then
that there was something special happening there
i didn't know what it was
not then
but i knew there wouldn't be many days like that
and there haven't been
this is the only one i can remember
anymore

but i'm glad i remember
it feels good to remember
it dulls the ache
left from wondering
if i'll ever get to feel that way again
658 · Jun 2013
One Down, Forever To Go
gotta write
can't write
no time
gotta work
can't stop
too much to do
i can feel it
building up
hard up
hard time
hard line
hard night
coiled wire muscles
stretched tight twang
reverb spinal twitch
sets one eyelid going off
fluttering to start a hurricane
and the whole of it unravels
unless
i can get it out
get it out
get it all out of me
and onto paper
into screen
out to hivemind
out of me
out of me
out of me
one fibrous thread of
twisted steel at a time
all i need
is just a little more time
and a little room to bleed
648 · Sep 2014
What Am I When I Am Not Me
they're not nightmares
anymore
and i should think that would make a difference
but it doesn't
my dreams are a plague
infecting every part of me
every vessel, every *****
every nerve and every cell
every night
                            a Wonka riverboat ride down the rabbit hole into Madness
                                                         ­                                 and mixed metaphors
                                                       ­                   a kaleidoscopic psychic calliope
                                                        ­                              of psychedelic psychosis
i remember when dreams used to comfort
bring relief and restitution
or delightful reminiscence
or strange beauty
but my dreams are now a plague
they exhaust me
all vivid surreal visions
          of mundane interactions
                                                    ­with a world I do not recognize
                                                       ­  that feels uncomfortably
                                                   ­                intimately
                                                      ­              Familiar
waking in those peaceful hours of pre- and post-dawn
that peace is lost on me
lying there, almost paralyzed
i do not remember my dreams
so much as i
Recover from them
636 · Jan 2013
Whither Winter Hither
wet wings drip sanguine
frost-cold eyes fog in the heat
and the snowflake melts
2013-01-15
622 · Mar 2013
Alone In The Bathhouse
alone in the bathhouse
i have the pools
hot cold warm herbal
all to myself
lying in the warm pool
water just about body temp
ninety-eight point six
i lay myself down
and let myself drown
a moment
lost in the gentle un-feeling of wet
ninety-eight point six
as it was in the beginning
only to rise again
back to the surface
through the membrane
into the light
into new life
and float
free
and gone
no sensation
weightless
perfectly balanced
only sound the muted
th-thump
th-thump
th-thump

of my slowed heart beating
in my drowned ears
the dull steady rhythm of life
eyes closed
floating
lost in dark nothing
lulled away by the pulse of creation
floating forever free
gone
gone
gone beyond
gone utterly beyond

form and function left behind
anchors in the warm water
tethering me to some distant memory of existence in
ninety-eight point six
letting go
letting it all go
drifting away
621 · Jan 2013
Twelfth Night
Orange yellow tounges climb licking
tinder dried limbs wood eating
pine bough'd circle yearned-for grasping
explode in blazing new Sun crackling

White wisp'd winter ghosts rise gently
carried north on cold winds darkly
sacrificed spirits pyre'd burn brightly
light for a New Year to shine sublimely

Red runes round ring enchanted
holy words spoke oft-repeated
flowed wine o'er horn filled sacred
Gods' graced gifts for wishes granted
My first attempt at rhyme.

2013-01-02
616 · Apr 2013
Pyrus Calleryana
where I live
the blooming of the Bradford Pear
is always the first flower of Spring
a tree filled with tiny
bright white blossoms
raining petals like snow
a pastoral picture of seasonal beauty
scene in almost every suburban community
but the flowers give off
a powerful stench
like rotten fruit
or an infected wound
or a diseased crotch
that hangs in the air forever
like a fog of swampgas
I hate the smell of Bradford Pear
it can hit me from a block away
and stay with me for hours
pounding at my sinuses until
I think my head will explode
it overwhelms everything
for the first few weeks
of every Spring
and even though it makes me miserable
and even though I hate it
and even though it stinks all to hell
because it is the first sign of life
the first sign of Spring
every Spring
it always makes me feel
so happy
a delicious pain
reminding me
that I am alive
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