Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
6d · 27
Travelogue.
Dragged bleeding across Two thousand seven hundred and seventy-miles
a dozen times
before we met.
I saw a tornado rip
the roof away from
my shelter once.
I learned to sleep sitting
up straight with city sirens
or pounding rain
as a constant refrain
in the back seats of cars
we lived out of.
I saw the open vastness
of the Grand Canyon
and heard the gentle
weeping of the ocean as it
met the rocky New England shore.
I found tree canopy darkened
groves, thickets, woodlots and stands
by streams and creeks
brooks and rills
and wondered in the almost
shelter of the forest if any other
person had ever stood there.
In cities I've danced on streets
and eaten exotic meats
and smelled the densely packed
cultures breathing on their feet.
On mountain peaks and deserts
I've encountered extremes
and bow before nature, esteemed.
Down highways and roads
that crisscross the map like veins
I've felt this country heave
and I've never been the same.
Off the map are memories
of a time before you.
A bygone era when
I was a different man.
Did you know me as a traveller?
Could you sense the roadwear?
I apologize for the damage.
Like most well travelled
things I've been battered
and beaten and left
broken beyond repair
on the way here from there.
I've got some use left in me,
I'm pretty sure, at least.
Now, I've met you I can
feel my roots plant deep.
Now you're beside me at night
I can finally close my eyes and sleep.
Jul 30 · 21
The story spins.
I wonder sometimes
what I'll miss
when I'm gone forever
and there's still...this.
Long past the second death
the last time you say my name
will the world still turn?
Will anything be the same?
Running around on earth
people with my blood
in miniscule quantities
long after the flood.
Children's children I'll never know
doing jobs that maybe aren't yet
and all the time I'm dead
all of my doings done. Settings set.
It's hard to picture nothing
we don't have a reference
We ignore it, outright, best we can
pretend it's a preference.
Anasi speaks gently
as he wraps the fly
"The end isn't real.
All endings are a lie.
The story keeps on spinning
long, long after you die."
Jul 26 · 20
Why I'm here.
I don't believe in it's over
I'm not here for that.
I came to be cut up before you
and you're gonna watch
while I bleed out.
I'm not here for joking
you can miss me with all that
I'm here to labor till my knuckles
grow fat and my skin wane.
Watch, love, as I work these
******* bones to dust
and choke on exhaust
and douse my dreams in
stale gasoline
and sit here laughing about
nothing just you, me
and my lit match.
I didn't show up for easy.
I don't believe in that.
You want me to run because
it's hard now? It's been hard
the whole time, my love.
I've bled and cried and
wished I'd ******* died.
I'd do it all three more lifetimes
if it would make you believe
like I do.
I'm not here 'cause you're perfect.
How could you think that?
I'm not gonna leave
just because it's gotten harder.
I was born to die on this hill.
I'll be here when the forests
are gone. When the stars go cold.
I'll be here when here is over
and mankind long forgotten.
Give me your worst, love.
It's why I'm here.
Jul 16 · 31
Mr. Fix-it!
Find him sun faded and aching
the prersistent sound of scrapping
from the shovel dragging pavement
six inches behind him as the day went.
He don't know how to make ends meet
he's pushin' his chuck taylors up the street
hoping for answers in tired shakin' hands
knocked knees and our endless demands.
Thirstyfor him has become a profession
and broke a bitter given confession.
He'll fix what needs fixin', mend what's broke
and he'll smile and nod at every cruel joke.
He'll repair your service to keep his kids fed
work hours beyond when it's time for bed.
Overtime and weekends. Eighty hour weeks
his kids'll wonder where daddy sleeps.
We'll hate him for never being around
Say he was silence when they wanted sound.
We never wonder how he felt, if he's aware
not that it matters. No one will ever care.
Jul 6 · 78
Return to dust.
They never forgot the
distant sound of bells
or those specific autuminal
decay and cinnamon smells
or the long procession of cars
coming over the asphalt swells.
If it was cards the swollen eyes
and thin lips would be obvious tells.

Still, they recall the lingering
odor of well dressed bodies at mass.
The kids in ties and shiny shoes
who looked nothing like in class.
The ornate handles the men
grabbed at each side made of brass.
The long walk to the open pit
and the strangly bright artificial grass.

The man in black spoke low and loud
the warnings and lamented lost joys.
The older women wept, the men
clenched jaws and shushed all noise.
The children thought of homeroom jokes
and shared comics and borrowed toys.
They all touched on some unspeakable
truth not yet totally known by little boys.

When the day was over and the
workman's efforts finally done
the men gathered at an old bar
and toasted the setting sun.
They sat in tight circles and whispered
not about games or distances run
but about a brevity they couldn't fathom
and the unforgotten report of the gun.

The young men wondered where
they'd found the small coffin.
Had they built it special just
for the the day? To see him off in?
The old men spoke hard words
but their tired eyes would soften.
Box wasn't special, they wished for
different but built them often.
Jun 29 · 48
Bean.
Sometimes I'm kinda absent, Bean.
like Spidey when he was still Venom.
I don't have dreams without you
they're nightmares when you're not in 'em.
I remember the panic inside me
when the waves knocked out my knees.
I remember lunging into surf
trying to save you from the seas.
I've reached into space and saw
the reassured look spread on your face
as you fell into my waiting catch
instead of alone into empty space.
I think back to when you weren't
and the silly person I used to be
you're like glasses, son
you allow me, finally, to see.
Jun 28 · 23
Lifelines
You saw me brought low
broken, bereft and grievin'.
You stopped on your way
to pick me up when I was bleedin'.
My god, I recall your taste! I felt you
in empty veins as a powerful needin'.
I kicked the dust and wallowed in the dark
but still you just kept on believein'.
I wish I'd been different. Wish I was better.
Despite your wishes, despite your pleadin'
I was never there for you
I couldn't stay. I'm the best at leavin'.

Late night on the subway platform
you whispered, "I'm in love with you."
and thought the train would cover the sound
and I let you continue to think it true
because I didn't have an answer
I didn't know how I felt about you.
Life changed for both of us
we were two kids without a clue
and we've grown in my absence
we've our triumph and our rue.
We've grown in ways alien to each other
in times of laughter and in blue.
Time isn't flying, old friend.
Time already flew.
And look, I may have a regret
maybe one or two
a half dozen, hundreds
let's say I've got a few
Listen, I've got the love of my life
and I heard and hope you also do.
I don't wish any harm
and I don't want anything from you.
I just thought you should know
when the train passed I loved you, too.
They lie spread across
bloodied battlefields
with the fallen and
The Nephilim of old.
Swords caught on bone,
sheilds that cover
against the heat of
liminal hellish landscapes
still within sight of the
large golden gates
behind which sit,
on impossible throwns
surrounded by hosts of
horrifying misshapen
monsters of eldritch
origin and madness born,
The Father and Son
and the third ethereal
component which completes
in some small but huge
and mysterious way.
Among the carnage stands
our hero, his sword turned
so the dullest part faces
toward the legion he
stares down, his shield
strapped to the bleeding
useless arm hanging
limp by his side.
His cape ***** behind
him in some breeze
which brings no relief,
it seems impossibly long
and so too does his shadow.
And look, o' sons and daughters
in the darkest part of
his shadow we are huddled
against the noise and the heat.
Between us and the bitter
finish our hero digs his
feet into the dark, dusty ground.
His countenance grave
but determined. His brow
a tight triangle, his lips
a small drawn line,
his eyes narrowed.
We desire his victory
but expect his defeat
and we know we will
both be safe and also
tell his story, regardless
of the outcome, because
of the time he's providing.
But that should he lose
should he fall in his attempt
we will love him
for all of time.
Stand tall, sons and daughters
but know always that
the hero, our hero,
he shakes, ever so slightly.
His eyes are set
and grim but they are
glossy with tears he'll
never be allowed to shed.
He stands amid death
and consigns himself
for us but he still
must die alone
and afraid.
But then, o' sons and daughters
so do we all.
May 29 · 50
Immortal.
Fog still clings to
the dips and valleys
on the battlegrounds
of my fathers.
Sirens still echo off
the late-night faces
of the tenement buildings
in countries where my
last name was first uttered.
Since before man walked
this planet the rivers wound
through desert stone and left
deep furrows of earth
behind them and they will
when once more man
doesn't walk this planet.

Hear as history calls us
from chambers of our
minds and we are brought
back to scope.
We are forever made small
by the billions of footsteps
that walked this path smooth
before us.

Innovate! I dare you!
**** your heroes
by replacing them
or live a solitary life
forgotten by history!
Perhaps that's too humble
but when I sit by the ocean
and look out on
Eliot's mermaids
I know deep down
that history will one
day be forgotten, too.
Remember, the heroes call,
no one is forever.
We all, one day, bleed
all the blood we'll
ever bleed.

In the heaving metal
and mortar monster
of my home, in the winter,
steam pours out into
the cold and ignoble air
from man holes and vents
in the sidewalk.
The stream of hot human
refuse so very much
warmer than the heavy
eastern seaboard air.
And there is beauty in
the impermanence of it.
There is wonder in
the brevity.

Yesterday was today
and not long away
is tomorrow, soon to
be long ago and forgotten
but there is blood
in the soil of the
ancient battlefields,
relativistically speaking.

Nothing is immortal.
Nothing is forever.
Maybe this is a reason
to look at your legacy
and really try.
Maybe it's an excuse
to be as happy as
you can be before
slipping into obscurity
when you die.
May 23 · 35
Online banking.
He fell asleep for the
final time surrounded by
three generations of
loved ones and friends.
He had planned, before
the accident, to run some
errands and get to the
bank the next morning.
He'd written it down in
his ratty old day planner.
For years his oldest grandson
would struggle to decide
if the great old man had
gotten the semi-mythical
Happy Ending
or if his unfinished banking
chore proved there was
no such thing.

Bury me in concrete
so I can't claw my way out.
When it's over I wanna
be finished and done
but I'll probably always
need help sitting still.

I could while away infinity
in the stone cask in
which I will be interred,
what a word, what a day.
I suppose I'll wait to hear
someone undoing my works
so I might begin, gamely,
to spin in place.

Should I be awake when
it's over, when it all ends
I don't know if I'll want people,
family and friends,
to surround me or not.
I don't know if that's
The Happy Ending
and I have given it much
great thought.

I do my banking online, now.
May 21 · 32
Funeral pyres.
Thousands of years from
right ******* now
they'll find us decorated
in the 21st century version
of hundreds of fox teeth
strung together on lines of
hair and they'll speculate
our importance to the tribe.
They won't know our
sharing of posts about
out of state listings for
our jobs making more money
with more paid time off.
They won't care that we
often got home the afternoon
of the day following the
morning we left for work
and in this way they'll resemble
best from our point of view
the folks who employ us.
Will crypts be discovered
hewn deep into the living rock
of our dying Earth or will we
have to find our dead through
the thousands of lines of
scrolling text that we
leave behind us when we go?
And if so...
What is the value of human life?
The price point, as econ 101
would have asked me to
specify, to be immaculate in my
words. Allow for this
question to haunt us all:
How much?
How many crumpled
peices of cloth infused paper
with numbers printed on them
for the sanctity missing?
In dollars, what is the cost
of a human soul?
Sure, once in the past, it was invaluable
but late stage capitalism
has taught us some
new lessons and I'll bet
it's got a value now.
I'll bet its dropped already.
Appreciably.
And he'll measure his freedom
in fractions of an hour
and wonder all the time
if the average person
the same one that spends
more time with coworkers
than family and friends
also dies unhappy or
at the very least unfulfilled
and if so if the average person
is on average unhappy
for the average length of
their lives are we, on average,
doing something very wrong?

And he'll learn to budget in
the age of autodeductions as
common bill pay procedure.
As if some company storing
his banking information is
a convenience rather than
a glaring imposition.
His personal life is on sale
at the cost of retweets and likes
but as long as people are watching
he'll be able to pretend
he's not so ******* alone.

And the weather will change
and the oceans will rise
and fall and spring may
disappear and summer may reign.
And he'll be the last generation
that remembers how it was
and he'll wonder how the
youth around him can take
so much of it for granted.
He'll wonder how they can
find it all so normal.

My grandfathers were born
in villages in other countries.
Their first homes had no toilets.
They were young orphans
on American streets, once.
When my father was born no
single man had been to the moon.
When I was born school shootings
were unheard of and most homes
had no computer and a landline.

I wonder how he'll be.
I hope he'll be okay.
And he will, even though.
We always seem to be.
But still...

...I wonder all the time.
May 3 · 43
I'm sorry, Pavlov.
Your judgement rains down
like machinegun fire,
but I grew up in a viperpit
full of violence and ire.
You wonder why I'm distant
but I was raised under attack.
Struck down in the moments
before you swore you'd be back.

You want to share credit
for my accomplishments but
where even were you?
What claim has your absence
on these things that I do?
I made myself from your ashes
like some backwards phoenix
worried at all times of the you
inside my double helix.
I went booming across the midwest
chasing the Thunderbird
and nuclear aftershocks.
Hoping any moment to be stirred
to freedom by these mythical hawks.


I was awoken
consiserably broken
and while I've done work
glass just don't uncrack
and there's **** from which
we just can't come back.
I don't know what to say
don't know who to tell.
I'm sorry, Pavlov
but we can't unring that bell.

I love you.
I always will
I've tried not to
and here we are. Still.
You watched them turn
me into this horrible closed off
monster shaped man
and then demanded explanations
for why I am what I am.
I've not got it all fixed
but I'm trying.
I've got a past to escape
and the cracks aren't uncracked
but they are traced in painter's tape.
I'm gonna be better
I'm gonna likely die trying.
And the credit will be all mine
in spite of your lying.

I wanted more but here's
what I've got.
I want to be whole and normal
but ******* it, I'm not.
You weren't there to teach
or to provide or to even try.
I wasn't worth staying for
and I still don't know why.
Apr 25 · 47
Kill your Heroes.
I can't seem to **** my heroes.
The flood is coming
the Earth on fire
and my mark is invisible.
Still.
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.
Still.
Still...

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.
Still.
Time is running out.
Everyday an EOD email
arrives to find me toiling
but not at love's labor,
perhaps,
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,
still.
Apr 23 · 39
The Lightening Storm.
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?
Apr 5 · 43
Circles.
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.
Mar 22 · 42
White picket fence.
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.
Mar 18 · 32
Dark Irish Rose.
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.
Mar 10 · 26
Stranger's lives.
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.
Mar 8 · 33
Better boy.
He looked back at where he'd been...

The Baltimore night sweats
like cans of cold beer
and smells of warm ****
and inside the thick air
is electricity and it's moving
from you and into me.
It was a thousand years ago
in a math class a thousand miles
from where I was born.
And it hurt so ******* much
when I felt that first push
against the walls I'd put up
to protect me from everyone
and everything.
When finally, after years of
work and millions of soft
warm smiles, the walls broke
I thought it would **** me.
Part of falling, my love,
is landing.
I have dragged myself through
three states and out of hell.
I have labored under burning
sun and freezing snow.
I have tried to reach impossibly
distant shores.
I have looked inside and found less
when I knew you needed more.
I fell when I was still a boy
and dusted myself off as a man
and knew that for the rest of
my worthless ******* life
I belonged to you.
And knowing that was true I made
attempts to improve.
I stand outside myself and watch
as he tries.
I see him struggle to make
the right choices.
He moves through a foreign life
trying his best to be better.

He's walked an uncertain number
of miles in these seventeen years.
Wondering when it would be over.
He stopped, the candle burning low
in his heart, and sighed.
He looked back at where he'd been...

...and it didn't seem as though
he'd come very far.
I was born many years
and hundreds of miles
from here.
On any given day all
I really want is just
to disappear.
I don't know the truth
but have told thousands
of clever lies.
I'm one half a practicing
prisoner and one half a
series of goodbyes.
All my little life it's been
what've you done
for me lately?
I'm soured on bitterness
and hoping to appear
at least stately.
I don't know where things
are going. I don't know
how it'll end.
I'm trying very hard
not to lose it. Not to snap
but to bend.
I don't know how to
talk to you in scrawling
lines of text.
I'm worried about
the future and everything
that comes next.
Feb 21 · 49
Appalachia.
Following the twisting,
bobbing fairy lights
deeper into the dark
Pennsylvania forest,
surrounded by the musky
scent dirt has at night
and the pervasive odor
of pine sap, his foot
finds in the darkness
a curled, coiled tree root
and he stumbles,
seems for the smallest
of moments to recover,
and plunges toward the
moss covered earth of
the midnight Keystone
State woodland.

He remembers hay bales
stacked in double
out by the tree he'd
hung the rope swing from.
A target placed and
a quiver of bolts
and a lesson about
violence, firstly
about the kind that
we do and finally
the kind done to him.
There is a small
tool shed that stands
a witness to the
moment when he
did his best not to
cry or to call out.

Snow would fall in feet
and schools would look
for terrifying accumulation
before they closed for the day.
He spent the two hour delay
sleeping, he hoped.
But hope is for the wealthy
and suffering is for the
poor and his thrift store
wardrobe told him how
the world worked.
He leapt from his warm
bed and started in on
the chores that barroom
visitations left undone.

He rode his bike down
to the poorly built
and badly lit little bar
his step father frequently
spent time in on nice
summer or cold winter days.
He nodded to the old man
who ran the place as he
Began walking the old man
back toward the house.
He'd come back for the bike
later on, assuming no one
took it before then.

There was a dirt road
and a gravel driveway.
The radio was static or
country music and the
days lasted forever
or at least they seemed to.
The lot next to his house
was huge and barren
and bordered by dense
northeastern forest.
If you walk in far enough
the world grows dim
and everything else,
all of it, is unseen.
It can't touch you,
nothing can.
He wondered if anyone
had ever decided to
just not come out.
Feb 17 · 38
Swingtown.
My whole life I've been
waiting for the music to swell.
I've been wincing at raised hands
and obidient of Pavlov's bell.
I've been thinking about the end
and what that might mean.
I've run with sudden violent shudders
I've never run clean.
I want peace and solitude
like a snowy mountain cap.
I've been lost. It's been
a nightmare without a map.
I'd secret away lits bits and bobs.
Some string, a subway token.
We used poverty as excuse, but we
weren't just broke we were broken.

I like the stinging numbness
of eating radish slices.
I like the quiet oblivion
of heavy rain.
I like to imagine that
this will all lead to crisis.
I'd rather leave behind the past.
I'd rather not focus on pain.

I often dream about dying.
Walking the room at
my own funeral and
wondering why no one is crying.

I locked away my heart
at a tender age
because it hurt to feel
and for reasons left off the page.
I put it in a cold, high place
locked it and told it to run.
Told to always hide.
But you journeyed there,
chased it down and picked the lock
releasing all the horrible
truthsome **** inside.

You could be better.
You should be more.
Instead you're this.
This miserable ******* chore.
I woke up this morning
and wrote the note.
I finally knew the ending.
It's tucked in my coat.
Why you ask did I not just
put it in the mail?
How could I have discarded
it, should I fail?
This is how it is
how it should be.
A little secret, reader,
between you and me.
You're free, of course.
Free as birds.
Not that it matters,
they are only words.

My best friend said
I like my endings to be sad.
Maybe he's right. I don't know.
But those are
the only endings I've ever had.

Your hand on the side
of my face, gentle but firm,
as long as you need
no need to squirm.
Your eyes steady and alive
burning from your core.
your voice whispering
that I deserved more.

Whether it'll be heaven
or it'll be hell
I'm not sure or at least
I cannot tell.
I'm feeling amazing
I'm going out on top.
In the distance the music
begins to swell.
To celebrate my short drop
and very sudden stop.
Swing life away.
Free as bees. Free as birds.
Of course, we both know,
these have been only words.
Feb 12 · 39
Ghost story
I heard a ghost story once.
It left my mouth tasting sour
my mind turned dark
my mood bleak and dour.
I was spitting for weeks
but the taste didn't come out.
I'd been screaming for hours
but only managed to shout.
Everything seemed bigger once
in dreams or in our youth.
Maybe that was just me
maybe that is the truth.


There was once a house
where a murderer lived, high on the hill,
that we were afraid to walk by
because we'd heard he was there, still.
The curtain would move
you told me smiling wide,
I couldn't prove it but
I suspected you'd lied.

You mocked and you jeered
called me a coward.
Dared me to approach
and my stomach soured.
I stood out on the street
for a long time with shaking knees
before coming to my senses
and retreating into the bordering trees.
I could hear your laughter
even as you called my name
but I didn't turn around.
I couldn't face my shame.

One autumn I plucked up my nerve
and visited that haunted old place.
I walked through the front door
a chill in the air and sun on my face.
It was clear that no one lived there
and had not for a great while.
There was graffiti and trash everywhere,
holes in the hard wood, cracks in the tile.
I looked out a broken window
at the street down below.
I swear I could see me
as I was so many years ago.

I heard a ghost story once
in which I was the ghost.
No hooks for hands
no sounding heavenly host.
Just a man standing in an
empty house all alone,
looking back on the years
and thinking, my how you've grown.
Everything seemed bigger once
in dreams or in our youth.
Maybe that was just me
maybe none of this is the truth.
We are echoes of the
long departed.
Built on the hopes
of our mothers
and from the bones
of our fathers.
If we're careful we'll
never leave a mark.
The tapestry of ancestry
will reflect us present
and unharmful.
The legacy protected
and complete.
But what if inside us
a rebel happens to live?
A troublemaker playing
devil may care with
the precious family name?
If we're brave, perhaps a little bold
we just might leave a stain.
Just might be remembered.
Just might turn out great.
And should we not,
should we fail,
in that we'll have to hope
there will be some grace.

Questions about tomorrow:
What happens when
one day everything is over
and all is at an end
and the next day we
all still have to go to work?
What do we do then?
Will it only really end
when finally money
doesn't spend?
Or will they find another
way to make us slaves?
Will we ever walk into
Plato's light or are we doomed
to stay in Plato's cave?
For what purpose
do we carry this load?
Is this building to something?
Or will it all just explode?

Fears about now:
The planet is in death throes.
We're killing it and
the clock to fix the problem
has wound down.
Journalistic integrity
can't survive the
new News cycle
but it has made it easier
for politicians to
take advantage, to lie
and to somehow become
childish shades of what
they once were.
Violence has become
one solution,
reticence another
and while I agree some
people say ****** things
freedom of speech
is never expanded
when it is taken away.
Kids shouldn't be afraid
of dying in schools.
Every generation leaves
business unfinished.
Every generation marches
us closer to the end.

One day no one will be left to remember any of us. The stars will blink out and entropy will advance. Intellectually, this isn't difficult to know, but practically it's barely worth considering. Tomorrow is still coming and we will need enough sleep to make it to the other side. We can worry about the rest at another time.


My mother dreamed me
the president of the USA,
my father was whip smart
always knew what to say.
My grandfather came here
for the promise of tomorrow.
His mother bought passage
beg, steal and borrow.
I look at my son
and am broken hearted.
We are just echoes
of the long departed.
Feb 3 · 33
Parallel lives
He was all bible verse
and the broken, fraying
edges of song
gone slightly discordant
after having waited for
so ******* long.
He wondered at love
like you or I worry at
a scab on our arm,
with constant picking
and scratching
and sudden serious alarm.
He claimed he shined
like Summertime but knew
he felt more like Fall.
He was often scared
and frequently lonely
but so are we all.

She loved him from
a distance with a small
measure of shame
but would still have
melted into giggles
if he felt the same.
She waited for someone
to tell him,
to let her secret slip,
she waited for others
always because
she was terrified to trip.
At night she'd sit
outside her apartment
and stare at the moon
and pray that something
would happen and that
it would happen soon.

They lived lives
side by side and
from faraway
in quiet solitude
and creeping isolation
day by endless day.
Never touching
moving toward the
patient, waiting grave
they could reach out
and touch one another
if they'd been brave.
There is no making up
for lost time or
missed chances.
Nobody else will
ever hit the floor if
at first no one dances.
Jan 29 · 54
Winter bones
Snow covers Autum's
earth like a blanket on
a freshly made bed.
The sound goes out
of the world as you
walk through the winter.
The white sky meets
the white ground
in the far distance
and if not for the shadows
we might be standing
on blank canvas
waiting for some lesser
god to pencil in our
live's purpose.
Hoping it doesn't get
stale.
I can hear only my
footsteps in the cushioned
quiet of the air
and I've never felt
more alone.
When asked what grief
is all I can think of
is that crunching sound.
How dark a bright
white world can seem.
How life and bloom are
only ever inches away.
Maybe over this snow drift
perhaps the next?
These are the winter bones
of loneliness on which
spring is built.
It ain't over yet,
it may never end.
Before every spring
a winter
under every winter
a fall.
Jan 26 · 38
Two pair.
I remember, still, how
you smiled with blood
between your teeth
and the tangle of thrown
hands and kicked feet
in our search for Eliot's
elusive muttering retreats.
Neon bulbs and street lamps
lit up our nights and colored
these aching moments of our lives
and I recall we'd huddle
like insects under their lights
with lit cigarettes and lewd jokes
and the looming spectre of fights.
Children playing at being men
with so many tomorrows
still left ahead.
We knew each other
like story stucture.
Should the fire burn one
in would step his brother.
Alone but for each other
bonded with no shared
blood or father or mother.
Two of a kind
against a world
of full houses.
'Course that was then.
Before kids and spouses.
You're a country away
these days,
sharing facebook updates
about your son's latest
words and moods.
We send Christmas cards,
pictures of our families,
always a room should
the other ever visit,
say hi to the kid
to the wife.
Talk soon.
Good morning
oh? Sorry
Goodnight.
A million, billion years ago,
we tell our sons when
they ask about our
friend on the other
continent, before you,
during a period of strife,
Daddy trusted that guy
with his life.
They smile and we do, too.
Well, I do anyway.
I don't actually know
about you.
Jan 25 · 38
Death match
I'm locked in a death match
with the cynic in me
over whether or not to hope.
It's not been going well
but one of the two of us
will still have to go.
Perhaps if happenstance
was lately just
a little more kind.
Perhaps if light in darkness
was just a little bit
easier to find.
And, y'know, yes.
For sure, there is
more I could try.
But the truth is so
much smaller than
even any one lie.
At night, from the
other room I can
still hear you cry.
Though miles and ages
seperate me and you
from him and those dark times.
It has been a rough road
and barefoot we've
walked every inch.
We've been beggers and
heroes and labor and chore.
The songs of Darwin's finch
and the wheel turning
Twain's riverboat toward shore.
We've been the music of the spheres
impressive in sound but nothing more.
It'd be easier to hope
if it were easier to live.
That's the rub, I guess...
I'll have to give.
I've been thirty-five years
in search of answers
and I just don't know.
It's me verse my inner cynic
in a death match about hope.
But, still one of us must go.
Jan 14 · 30
The price
I know it's still an ugly uphill
at thirty-five
from the **** soaked
floorboards of a punk rock dive.
I know you quit
but two packs a day
still leaves a scratch
in your voice that don't go away.
And look, hands up,
I know what you're thinking
but the gut don't vanish
when you stop drinking.
Turns out the weight
was Marley's chains
and we'd carry it every day.
Bruised bones and daily pains.
Our long told and retold
haunting, if threadbare, refrains.
Soak in the empty memories of
hard nights and bar fights
burned out stars and candle light.
Weathered skin and the
hungry, open and waiting pit.
There is a high cost to livin'
even the way we did it.
Times up, sales final.
Pipper's callin' and
the wind howls through.
Make your wishes, friends.
The price is comin' due.
Jan 13 · 30
(Self)Reflection
I woke up to find myself
a million meters down a hole
I dug myself, lights out
fight bitten and looking
into darkness for a savior.
Thousands of travelled miles
ago a monster stood in my skin
and maybe I deserve this
slow burn punishment. I mean,
blame it on the rage or...

... There are hollow ringing notes
crashing off the walls and the back
of the inside of my head.
Playing cymbals behind my eye
Symphonies for my inner demon.
Young men wrung out and hollowed
used up and swallowed. Thrown away
like fastfood wrappers on the floors
of cars we would drive late into nights
thinking of beds we don't dream in...

...At some point you age out,
you ghetto geniuses,
and find a hostile world
not quite the fish bowl you
spent your life looking through.
And you write hundreds of thousands
of lines in the pursuit of high art
and praise and accolade
and" let's face it" fame
and never write one word that's true...

...you are always that little monster.
No matter where you go
how big you grow
or the quality of what you do,
No one will ever be proud of you.

I blink into darkness and hope
for help or better for rescue.
I find myself, some days,
looking at cherub faced photos
of myself from infanthood
It's been hard practically since
day one. I'll always wonder
if life had been different would
I have built the monster
in the skin in which I stood?
Nov 2021 · 36
Adrift.
Paul Glottaman Nov 2021
She had not known fear
until she could no longer
see the shore.
Drifting in alien waters
she felt pangs,
like butterfly wings,
against the inside of
her ribcage.
The fluttering, building hollow
that hope makes in it's
death throes.
When you enter the ocean
she heard her grandfather say
you enter the food chain.
The lazy, lapping drift
which brought her ever
farther into the empty sea
would have been soothing
in very different conditions.
Her eyes raked the clouds
searching out the signs
of bird flight.
She was suddenly at the
dawn of seafaring with
early man and his silent gods.
Looking for hope in
the blue void above.
She wondered idlely
whatever became of the
lifeboats from sunken ships
when the coast guard or
someone else pulls the
survivors free of them.
Would she, if she kept floating on
encounter them on the high seas
like a salvation graveyard?
She tried to think
of ways to stay out of the sun
but images of headstones
flocked like an armada
stalking the sea forever
growing but staying
impossibly empty always
pressed down on her.
She too was adrift.
Maybe she'd been headed
that way all her life.
Hard to say.
Nov 2021 · 54
Apocrypha.
Paul Glottaman Nov 2021
We are not your prayers answered
we are the sudden stillness before
the sick realization that the
woods around you have become
darker and so very unfamiliar.
We are a generation
treated as disposable
but asked for endless solution.

We are not the prize waiting
for you at journey's end.
We are the parting of ways
that follows like a raw nerve.
We are the departing
backs of comrades
that no longer have
purpose left to serve.

We are not an audience
of hushed worshippers
at your feet.
We are the shimmering
air that summertime
rises from the street.
We are the scared triggerfingers
on people who have finally
had enough.
We are the liminal
space between now
and an empty room of guf.

We are visions of
impending apocolypse.
We are faraway destinations
of many short little trips.
We are a little bit of
yesterday tomorrow.
We are emptied of laughter
and wasted on sorrow.
Nov 2021 · 113
Breaking the cycle.
Paul Glottaman Nov 2021
Life is big and wonderful
and so very sad.
On one side it begins
and on the other it ends
The middle part is
where love, songs and adventure
are kept.
You'll find yourself shrink
further inside
every time your heart breaks.
That's fine. It's okay to be scared.
But try, even though it's hard,
to be brave. Because
the world is huge and
heart breaking
and above all, worth it.
It will not always
pay to be nice
but you must always
be kind.
In time you'll learn
the difference
and many more besides.
Don't force yourself
to smile.
Happiness will come and go
and you may miss it
when it's not around
but you can't trick
yourself happy.
It is okay to laugh
a little too loud,
if it's honest.
Comfort people in pain
even if no one comforts you.
And help people,
when and where you can.
What goes around does not
come around but goodness
shouldn't be about rewards.
Don't look for completion
in others. Only you can do that.
Other people don't complete you
they just love you.
When you look for love,
be earnest.
When you find someone
who loves you, be fair.
Return their love, if you can.
If you can't then don't lie.
Better to tell the truth
about love than to
lie about like.
Life is long and painful
but short and wonderful.
Getting from one end to
the other takes a lot of
careful navigation.
Most people are decent,
but they're not treated that way.
Keep that in mind when
dealing with others.
You're gonna make mistakes
and you'll have to carry that weight.
We all do.
Share the load with those
you love.
I love you.
You are not a burden.
Oct 2021 · 25
Legacy.
Paul Glottaman Oct 2021
I've got my father's name.
First, last and middle.
My Grandfather's eyes
set deep and haunted.
I can wiggle my ears
I've got double jointed
ring fingers and thumbs.
I've got Grandma's nose.
Like everyone else
I'm living on borrowed time
waiting for the far off day
when I finally get what's mine.

In my life time I've been
bad, lapsed and formerly Catholic.
I've stood on both coasts
and wondered at forever.
I've got a thousand legacies
I've failed to live up to.
The third to have my name.
I've wilted under a night time
sea of stars and lamented all
I had failed to become.

Before you were even
the size of a bean,
my beautiful baby boy,
my precious PeterBean,
I refused to burden you
with the legacy of my name.
When you were born
I held you and realized
I had never known love
or fear or wonder until
you came along and taught me.
My brother smiled
"He has your nose."
I laughed,
"I know."
Oct 2021 · 26
Present tense.
Paul Glottaman Oct 2021
Once we trod the surface
like behemoth gods,
we moved through the world
like great ships under coal power
caring nothing for what
was in our way
or left in our wake.
And we could've been more
careful
I think we can admit
but ******* it's difficult
to slow down during
the doing of it.
When dawn came we were changed.
Softer round the middle
thinner in the knees
grayer at temples, perhaps.
Oh how gums and hairlines recede!
Payment for our lifetimes of greed.
And sure I've regrets,
what of it?
Sure I've been brought low,
who hasn't?
But ******* your eyes and see
how I stand whole and complete.
The years have caused me to bend
but nothing has broken me.
Oct 2021 · 28
Predeterministic.
Paul Glottaman Oct 2021
We are a multitude
of bad decisions.
A myriad of choices
which require revisions.
We are a cornicopia of coulda-beens
all wanting what could be.
If offered the genie's dilema
we'd change it all, wouldn't we?

We are hugging a spininng
ball of dirt and water
wrapped around a burning core
on a space ship with no rudder
and we close our eyes
and cross our fingers
and know, absolutely, we're on track
but the doubt still lingers.

When the universe exploded into being
the debris were set on their courses.
Like beads of rain water on glass
like rows of race horses.
And with the right math we could predict
where everything will land.
What then do we think of free will?
Is it just accidental cosmic sleight of hand?

I don't got answers, haven't picked a side.
Would that cancel choice?
Diminish those that have died?
Does it rob the world of song? Of voice?
My parents had a theory or they lied
I don't know. I leave it for you to decide.
Sep 2021 · 29
Prisons.
Paul Glottaman Sep 2021
I held you captive
in a chance photograph.
Tucked into a small
notebook filled with
page after page of tired
unfinished verse
I travelled with you.
Moved from end table
to locker to glove box
I carried your cage with me.
When I got lonesome
or things seemed too
difficult for one person
to bare, in those moments
I would take the photograph
from the little notebook
and I would absorb you.
The curve of your smile
the shape of your nose.
I swear it looked just like you,
except the eyes were wrong.
Usually there is a light there
that makes everything around
them brighter and better
and more important
but from the cage,
as a prisoner of time
trapped in just that one
singular moment,
it wasn't you anymore.
I couldn't push through
and live in the moment
with you.
I was hundreds of miles
from home
and horribly alone.
I had your photograph
and though I treasure
it still, there is no going back.
I had learned that
when it comes to prisons
where the bars really are
can be misleading.
Sep 2021 · 230
Measured.
Paul Glottaman Sep 2021
I live in fear
I've said a little too much
or that once counted out
my deeds won't've been enough.
I feel tight awaiting release
coiled like a spring or rubber band.
Cocked like a shaking gun waiting
for input from an unsteady hand.
Now I know that I know what I am
but I worry that's the catch.
While everyone else unwound
I just continued to twist and stretch.
I don't know on what criteria
a human life is accounted
I measure and I weigh
but the summit is not mounted.
I wish that I believed
"Love will save us all!"
but I can't and I don't
and my spring is turning to fall.
Still, I am surrounded by love
and would do well to remember:
That this could be the criteria
on which human life is measured.
Sep 2021 · 33
Kandor.
Paul Glottaman Sep 2021
My whole life we've been
a generation about to collapse.
An abanboned cigarette burned
down to a cylinder of ash.
We get up each day
full of new aches and old hurtings
and we make our commutes
to chain ourselves up to our hauntings.
We find ourselves caught in forever.
Our fingers break, our nailbeds bleed
as we scratch at eternity. Stuck fast as flies
our bodies shake out sorrow and need.
We're preached body positivity
and self ******* care
by billionaires with no intent
to ever ******* share.
We look at heavily curated streams
of the lives of friends, who boast
their picture perfect weekends
and wonder what we could ever post.
Between work and sleep
we manage something like twenty-three.
That's hours a week we don't owe.
For less than a day you can find us free.
People scream at us to fix it
while giving no proffered solution.
The blue strong arm of the system
kills in the streets with no retribution.
We find no solution
from asking or starting fires.
We're just cast away
as criminals or as liars.
I'm not Superman, I don't have the answer
though I really wish I did.
But we aren't Kandor
safe behing glass or lid.
And the wind will find the cylinder
and scatter it to ash.
And just like my whole ******* life
we'll still be seconds from collapse.
Sep 2021 · 34
Art and the Artist.
Paul Glottaman Sep 2021
I look for myself in fiction.
In music and in sport, too.
I look for flashes
of my green eyed reflection
in the words that friends choose.
I look for all the parts and pieces
of myself I claim to resent but
that I'm terrified to lose.
And when I find them
in the art you've left behind
I leave me in some small way
and in exchange
I keep it in my mind.
I feel myself disentangle
and fall unto the floor.
Left behind to worship at
the altar of the me
in your art I was looking for.
When I create I see myself
trapped inbetween the lines
and I hate him and wish him gone.
I don't want it to seem like mine.
That duality is ******
or maybe suicide
it drives me crazy
either way you decide.
I just want purity
in the things I do or make
I want people to see themselves
when they go looking
and leave parts and pieces I can take.
Sep 2021 · 29
These things.
Paul Glottaman Sep 2021
There are these things...

Things I don't know how to say.
There are things I can't articulate.
Things I never learned to speak.
Perhaps, lost along the way.
I've hated myself for so long
it's difficult to know if I can change.
I feel different some days but
don't know if it means I've
stopped or if I'm happier
but still hate myself the same.
That hate grew inward and festered.
It attached itself to my identity
and became who I am. Innate.
I want to get better. I do want to change.
I need to see improvement.
To somehow rise above my fate.
It's just that...
When certain feelings are too big
or are too much like pain
I bury them somewhere inside
and pretend they never came.
You watch me with those big eyes
and repeat the things I say
and I know I gotta fix it.
I know it's not a ******* game.
(Language!)
For you I make the effort
I try to find the crooked path
back to good, and healthy and sane.
I love you, little bean
more than I hate myself.
I love you more than it's
possible for me to say.
Kiddo, I hope you know.

It's just that...

There are these things...
Sep 2021 · 27
The flood.
Paul Glottaman Sep 2021
You were brought low
by ******* pomp and circumstance,
fed a line of nonsense and
made to shutup and dance.
But I remember when.
When you held strong
as the levees.
Stood firm as trees
and thick as blood.
I remember you, love
and I remember you
at your best
before the flood.
I don't think I ever
told you
because I'd never tell
anyone,
but I used to
wanna be you
in spite
of what you done.
That was before
everything broke
and the rivers swelled
to run over and they
ran over bad.
That was before
we threw away
all that amazing
stuff we didn't know
that we had.
Now there's just
this place
all dim light
and broken trust.
After the flood
everyone else dwindled.
Disappeared and forgotten
until it was
just us.
Paul Glottaman Aug 2021
The past exists in my memory
as a prolonged scream.
Unfinished nonsense bellowed
at the uncaring sky
or roared down the maw
of the savage beast I'm
still terrified I'll become
before finally being published.
I can hear the rough draft
in my hard and swollen throat.
We were so ******* Once upon a time,
y'know, once upon a time.
You and me, babe
my god, we were yesterday.
In the mornings I wake up,
sore and aging away from limber,
and I miss who we were
and I worry about who
I'm still becoming
and the only
benefit of age
I've so far discovered
is the knowledge that
I always will.
We don't ever get back
the people, and places
that we've lost.
They're gone,
but so is 17
and so are we
and so are they
and ******* it all, so am I.
If you're not careful
you'll fall into a nostalgia trap
and you'll stay until
you discover that the only
way out is to remember that
we're never really happy
not even then.
We carry a little sad around
always.
I know, I know:
That's hard to get
nostalgic about.
What can I say?
We are so yesterday.
Paul Glottaman Aug 2021
Gods once walked among us.
They loomed overhead
and we felt comfort
and had no fear in their presence.
They made us feel small
and also powerful.
They taught us jokes
and how to snap or whistle.
They showed us love
in it's most gentle, gracious form.
They fill us with wisdom
coded as stories from their youth.
And they left us far, far too soon.

They burned you in
a pine box, but removed
your rings.
We got a bag of ash
to fill the ******* wound
left in the world.
Stiff upper lip.
Locking the doors behind
we all found ourselves
in different rooms.
We didn't just lock out
the world, we locked out
each other.
We learned to grieve
and we learned to die
And learned to do them alone.
The gods are dying
but we still worried
that people might think us
weak.

I agonized over the words.
Arranging them in different ways
structuring a cyclical ending
to tie back into the begining.
I wanted so badly to make
you proud of me, one last time,
using the only tool that
had never failed me.
Using my words.
The dead are not shamed
but they are also not proud
and furthermore
I don't even remember
what words I said.

I remember you.
I remember all of you.
And I still remember
what is was like before
I carried all the years
and the sad around with me.
I remember when songs
didn't make me remember
just because they're somber.
I used to be whole and complete
but time has turned me
away from the loving face
of those long dead gods.
Paul Glottaman Aug 2021
Rain was crashing against
the shoreline in angry sheets
and you were yelling something
at me through the cacophony.
I didn't know what you said
but I knew you weren't smiling.

Half of my lifetime earlier
I was in the basement
orchestra practice room.
She was there, weeping about
harsh criticism.
I thought she played beautifully.
Everything about her was
beautiful.
She kissed me, then
but I turned around and ran.
I didn't know what else to do.

When highschool ended
I sat her on a bench outside
of the eatery we both worked.
I told her that we were
done now. That it was the
wise way to go.
Distance, I told her,
has always proven too much
for me to overcome.
She said she loved me.
I said I was sorry.
I didn't know what else to do.

Her predecessors didn't have
better luck.
They would love me
and I would run away.
A heart meant to break.
I thought, if you really care
for them you'll leave.
I thought, you're not capable
of reciprocation.
You're not capable of love.

I had never been in love
but I had not been kind enough
to have always been alone.
I used to wish I had.
I don't pretend to understand love
but I know this much:
It is like a tragedy and a miracle,
you can't manufacture it
it just happens to you.

You shouted into the oncoming
maelstrom words I didn't know.
Couldn't hear.
Your eyes were strong
you're the strongest person
I've ever known.
I shouted back,
"I love you."
Lightning crashed in the distance
and that oh-so-serious face
finally turned into a smile
and in so doing
it broke my heart.
Paul Glottaman Aug 2021
"Second star to the right."
You said.
"Straight on 'til morning."
I finished.
We were Peter Pan
Capt. Kirk.
We were teenagers
graduated from provisional licenses
and invincible and racing the dawn.
On the horizon was the future
and all the possibilities that entailed.
You and me,
my little brother.
The second star of our
stupid little story.

In Kansas you joked,
"I don't think we're in the Bronx anymore."
And even though it had
been years since we'd
left those streets behind
we laughed like criminals.
We weren't whole anymore
but we weren't totally broken
yet, either.

"I don't think I've ever been in love."
I confessed below an
open night sky filled with stars.
You punched me in the arm
and smiled the same smile
I had known all your life,
"Party ain't over yet, man."

I woke up yesterday
and I was thirty-something
but I remembered
the wanderlust of
yesteryear and I remembered
how much we'd been through
and I thought I'd give you
a call. Let you know
as long as we have one another,
Brother, we're Peter Pan
Capt. Kirk
And even if we're not
in The Bronx anymore,
The party ain't over.
Not for us.
You're still my second star.
Paul Glottaman Aug 2021
One warm night in 2004:
I'd chased our old friend
around until finally
he collapsed onto that
bench in the quad.
We sat on the low wall
and looked at him.
"You're a good friend."
You told me, " You're always
making sure everyone is okay."
You asked what he'd taken
I told you it was on my list
of questions to get answered.


A year before:
I heard a knock
at the front door.
I opened it to find
you with our old friend.
"Heard you missed your bus."
You'd said, "Campus seems empty
without you."

Months later I bent over
to light a cigarette off the
glowing orange of
your cigarette.
Twin brief embers lighting
the cramped backseat
of your car.
You smiled,
and looked at me with
lightning in your eyes.
"We're kinda kissing."
You told me.
You moved closer...

That night:
You lit a cigarette and handed
it to me to light my own.
Our old friend slept it
off on the bench.
"Who takes care of you?"
You asked.
I told you it was on
the list.
"I could take care of you."
You'd said.

Before:
We were parked by my house
you had set off the
automatic locks on my door
so I couldn't get out.
I raised an eyebrow at you.
The ionic power between
your eyes and my heart
felt like it'd tear me apart.
"You can kiss me, you know."
You paused, "I want you to."
I moved closer...

We didn't last. We were
on an escalator at a mall
when it became official,
only I don't think we knew that.
A friend made it official
not us. Our friends had
the best of intentions.
But...
I moved further away from you.
I wasn't ready.
You weren't sure.
There is an outdoor table
on campus where it ended.

That night:
Maybe the moment
didn't matter to you
but it was the moment
I decided.
We'd already broken up
but everyone thought...
We thought it too,
that we might
not be finished.
That our flame might
be rekindled and burn
forever.
I put out my cigarette and
I turned back to
our old friend and I said,
"We've tried that. Didn't work."
Next page