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I can't seem to **** my heroes.
The flood is coming
the Earth on fire
and my mark is invisible.
My swollen head echoes
words, profound or silly,
down decades of failed attempts
to soar the cloudless sky.
Icarus falls from great heights
but got so close
and I flap my arms like crazy
but can't get off the ground.
I've drowned in oblivion
with Van Gogh and Platt.
I've lived as riversmooth as stones
and felt their number crashing
against me but have never
known the taste of silver.
I've weighed myself down
in insecurity and anxiety
and come off as insincere
and mildly neurotic.

I'm waiting for the flood.
It's coming, after all.
Maybe it'll wipe a clean slate
on broken earth and make
gravestones of us all.
Equal in obscurity
unknown to a waiting,
impatient universe
hosting a party at which
we'll never arrive.

My heroes call to me.
They advise.
They say, "Hard work."
They say, " Timing."
They say, "Luck."
Beyond the pale blue they call
back to me not to waste my
time with something I
don't love.
They say, "Throw it away. Write
what you know. Become a lover
of your works."
I want so badly to please them,
but I love it all.

The flood is coming.
Time is running out.
Everyday an EOD email
arrives to find me toiling
but not at love's labor,
but a labor of love, nonetheless.

I can't seem to **** my heroes.
At least not before
they've killed me.
"**** your heroes",
My heroes say,
"The flood is coming."
And I love them,
When she was young
a lightening storm
brought her to life.
The transformer exploded
and six city blocks went dark.
She grasped along in
pitch black for the taper
of a candle she kept.
From above the doorway
Jesus looked on from his
usual perch, arms akimbo.
She wondered if he could
see her in the dark
then hated herself for the
clearly blasphemous thought.
Thunder rumbled dangerously
in the distance but the rain
had not yet begun.
Unable to find the candle
see felt her way around to
the door and then down
the stairs, knowing people
would gather in the darkened
streets outside and hoping
for the safety always promised
to be found in numbers.
On the stoop she found neighbors
and oppressive Eastern shore
humidity and summer heat.
At first she heard talk,
people wondering about dark
clouds and the specific
response expected from ConEd
and then, arriving all of a sudden
and with no announcement or
warning, the pounding sheets
of rain came and brought the very
unique quiet that loud, heavy rain
carries inside it.
She dashed into the empty
street, raised her hands and
kicking up water like she was
at a theme park, she played-
She danced like a wild thing-
In the pounding rain and
the deafening silence and the
temporary darkness
and with great peels of
laughter and a young
women's smile she danced
herself to life in the
storm under the powerless
Electrical lines.
Born on election day
his first act was to keep
someone from voting.
Broke two ribs on the way out
and never allowed to
forget it he thought himself
little more than a burden.

He was no fan of contact
but had only been conceived
because his mother had grown up
love-poor and thought of
her swelling belly as a remedy.
He always did seem to disappoint.

He would look after the
others, the newer solutions she'd
swollen with since, in her absences.
He didn't find purpose
he wasn't sure there was
any to find
but he early learned obligation.

They were little ghetto geniuses
destined to die in the poverty
they'd been born into
and cursed to realize how
****** up that really was.
High scores on tests and
whispers of potential from
the crueler adults,
sad eyed acknowledgment
from the kinder ones.

He got pushed around
moved about. Shushed and insulted.
He got beaten mercilessly
but refused to let them tie
on the puppet strings.
They would make efforts
with violence to change him
into the shape they liked
but made him into spite instead.

He grew distant and removed.
He let no one in.
He hated himself
and the world
and everyone and everything.
He recognized the cliche.

Lost for days in narcissistic
self inspection he emerged
with no better understanding
of himself or the world.
He thought as little of himself
as the violent world did.

He carried around scars
and thought his misfortune
meant the world owed him.
Sure, he was wrong,
but he only suspected so.

In time the world changed
when after years he finally
looked around and noticed
that everyone else was
suffering too.
It wasn't a happy ending.
Is there such a thing?
I've spent a lifetime
being replaced with the
family you married
into next.
I've been left behind
walked away from
and ignored.
Saddled with your
responsibilities and never
once thanked for feeding
and caring for the others.
Only replaced
or abandoned
or harmed.
There was a darkness
the second time you
married and we all
suffered, of course we did
but don't pretend
you didn't know.
Don't playact as a person
who didn't see it all.

We sat in the kitchen
and had our heads
shaved by the hands
of violence you brought
into our lives.
We were told to be men
to grow up.
Not to make faces
not to cry.
He'd pass out on his recliner
drunk before the flickering
blue television light
as I balanced our checkbook
at the kitchen table and
wondered about the knife block
and the deep dark Appalachian
woods just beyond the
flood light on our back door.

Eventually the night came
where you couldn't hide it
from the neighbors anymore.
When lights touched the darkness.
I'd left by then.
You escaped as well.
Too little...
But perhaps not too late.

Before he was born you asked
if I could forgive you.
I wasn't sure.
I'm still not.
He looks for you in the
spare room you stay in
when you visit.
He wants to see you
on my phone.
He loves you the way
I did once and I invite you
I beg you
Please, please this time
after everything that's happened
love him back.
He was a halfhearted attempt
at a slow motion smile
and it made my spine tingle
in all its goblinesque glory.
At noon he'd start drinking
to forget but by six o'clock
he was drinking to remember.
He would become oblivian
and the sound of his keys
jingling as he walked up the hall
broke a cold sweat across my
forehead and sat me bolt
upright in bed.
She was loneliness in human
form and she'd do anything
ignore all of it if he'd tell her
she belonged.
She'd try to fix things
from time to time.
Smoothing our hair and
trying to make us smile.
We were collateral damage
moved like pawns and treated
like puppets by the people
meant to care and teach.
We grew into adults at young
ages or arrested in place
never really seemed to change.
It's hard to remember
but I remember all the time.
It's a little like drowning
or being set on fire.
It's cold comfort
warmed by desire.
There are peaks
set so very impossibly high
and valleys deep and low
but both got a view of the sky.

I fell in love with
a beautiful dark Irish rose
and I burnt alive
because of the freckles on her nose.
For more than two decades
I've been captivated by her.
Watch as she makes an
honest man from a ******* liar.

I've never had the words
not honest and not true
to tell you the depth
of my feelings for you.
Come fly with me. love.
Let's blow on the breeze
let fingers touch blue sky
and toes scrape bare trees.

Soar with me toward forever
if you've got the time to spare.
Let me write ten thousand words
unable to explain how much I care.
There's fire around me
and water where there was air.
You're a part of me now
in my skin, my lungs, my hair.
I stand on the forecourt
another job bound to drag
late into the night
in some other state
very far from home.
I'm staring across the street
waiting for other people
so I can get back to work
and I see the houses.
Like rows of uneven teeth,
different colors. Satellite dish
on that one.
Little differences.
I am suddenly consumed by
the enormity of all the
unfolding lives.
How I stand among them
but don't belong.
How my own life is miles
away and missed.
How we are all vital
but we are all strangers.
You read my words now
see these thoughts.
In this moment of wonder
which I here record
you have known me.
I wish I could know you
but I stand here
a stranger.
I intrude on your lives
and we'll never meet
and that's odd to me.
We're all out here, alone,
leading Stranger's lives.
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