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Paul Glottaman Feb 2010
It was how still it was.
Like a photograph, a memory.
The dim light in the bedroom
Lighting the hair on your upper lip,
I don't know why I had never noticed it before.

You seemed so peaceful,
as though I could hold your hand
and feel the warmth. As though you had
never stolen fire from the world.

(There were moments, when I look back
where it all seemed so obvious.)

The hair didn't move.
I was sure it should sway,
moving with the gentle rhythm of
your living breath.

(Move ******* you!
Get up and move, you miserable ****!)

You once stole the sun from the sky.
You placed it in that little blue tumbler,
the one we found in the woods behind
the baseball diamond.
You trapped the sun there and told
us that it would be ours for
as long as we held our hand over the brim.

It was so still, so quiet.
The world had
stopped.
I tried so hard, like you said
but my hand grew tired.
I wavered and the sun escaped back into
the sky.
In my panic I didn't notice how you had
stopped.

(I never noticed the hair on your upper lip.
I wish you could tell me what that meant.)
Paul Glottaman Feb 2010
“Love is impossible.”
Sitting so casual, so stoic
“It requires more from any one person
than they can actually provide.”
Did you hear it then?
Water dropping from
the faucet in the kitchen.
The slow patter as it falls
circles the drain.

How was a response to be made?
What series of words?
How does one string together
an argument to destroy a lifetime?
Is it possible to reverse the gears
that turn our world?
I was reborn in fire and ice
while you wallowed in your
stale word of smoke and shadows.
I rose triumphant to place the wake
in which giants would follow.
You sat in your murky pool
with sanguine arms and alcohol stained
words.
Strung together to defeat me.

“I don't want to be the one that wakes you up.”
Today he sleeps forever.
Tomorrow he digs through the wreckage
to discover the fluid prose
it's grace without contest
unchallenged by the
razor blades and shot glasses of the world.
The whimsical combination of combatants
required to shake the slumber from the halls
and utter the lines of magics
to share his dream with you.
“Love is impossible.”
Paul Glottaman Jun 2010
Two young lovers laughed
and carried on.
Sneaking glances at the doors,
at the people, and mostly at
each other.

“Let's run away together.”

Two best friends cradle bottles
of dark, musky beer.
The first of many they will
share as men. The memories
of a life spent within a mile
of each other, and the docks.

“Velcro shoes, with power rangers on the side!”

Two brothers sit quietly and watch
as their sister walks the aisle.
Her white dress a constant
inside joke. They look at each
other and smile, she looks
so beautiful, so happy.

“Congratulations! Your vows were lovely.”

One man sits alone in the living room
of his home. Their home, not so long ago.
He looks at the photo.
The one of her, the one he keeps by
his favorite chair. He never
thought he would be the one
alone. He had never prepared for
it. He doesn't know how to sleep
alone.

“I miss her.”

One woman misses the man who isn't
around. She had told herself
that she wouldn't be the type.
That she would never become so
dependent on him, that she would be
strong. Now he is so far away,
she could call him, but she won't.
It's not the same.
She wishes he was with her again.

“Come back to me, when you can.”

One father rests his son on his knee.
The young man is not yet aware
that his dad is a mortal man, with
mortal fears. With an expiration date.
His son giggles his boyish giggle as the
father imparts greater wisdom, that the young
boy is still too young to understand.

“You are the greatest miracle of all. I live forever, through you.”
Paul Glottaman Jan 2018
There are echoes in our children.
Echoes of the people that put them here.
He'll have your eyes or her laugh.
They'll be made of compromise.
Now, of course there are the things.
Everybody has the Things.
Things that I do, that no one else does.
The smile you seem to have invented.
Make me feel like I'm important with your eyes.
*******.
What have I left you but echoes?
I want to give you something forever.
Something that doesn't fade, but I'm...

Smoke escaping a sewer lid mingles with street light.
Impermanent and forever, mixed in a moment.
When the rain starts it adds something to the dance
of light and smoke.
It adds another layer of
Just this Once.
My god, we are a moment.

I hope, when we meet, you'll forgive me.
Kid, I really do.
I'm all spiderwebs and yesterday, now.
I coulda, shoulda, woulda been and didn't.
You're echoes staring down what could be.
We are a little impermanent
a little forever.

We can learn to fade away.
We can learn to let sleeping dogs.
Together, we can learn to hope.
To dream.
The three of us could be yesterday, tomorrow.
Paul Glottaman Jun 2010
Sometimes, when I shake badly
tossing pillows on the floor,
waking with a start because of
the invisible pressure around my throat
or on my eyelids; you're there
again. Like you always were.

Bigger than I was. Beer bottle
judgment and fingers fattened
from work. Fingers I lived in
fear of. You're there as you
always were.

I never saw a monster under my bed.
That's the healthy paranoia
children get when they
aren't afraid they'll die,
or worse; Live.

There are scars that remind me of you.
Lines of poetry, and the dialogue
in bad movies. Spite.
Spite reminds me of you.
Because it was spite that made
me strong, that made me hard,
that made me angry.
It was letting go of that spite,
at long last resting from tired work,
that made me happy.

Lying in bed next to her. Waking,
with a start, perhaps gasping,
her hand resting on my face,
the future spreading out endlessly
in her eyes back at me.
The look of understanding dancing
a timed waltz with concern.
She loves me.

After everything I was told, all
that was beaten into me.
She loves me.
You taught me not to see that
coming. Taught me to think it never could.
You only taught me spite.

Thanks for the pleasant surprise.
Paul Glottaman Mar 2011
Look for me in the usual places,
that is where I’ll be.

Find me smiling at an old joke,
heard so many times it has become
an old friend, and you will know me.

Hear me call out across a room,
perhaps it is gentle and perhaps loud.
Spot me and you will never go alone.

Know my secret name, the one
that only you are entitled to because it
is the one you gave me. Keep it with you.

Run through these empty three am streets,
giddy like children on adrenaline and life
and together we will tear the sky down around us.

Believe me when I tell you that I love you.
It is not lightly said and it is always deeply meant.
It is the first of three gifts that I will give.
Paul Glottaman Nov 2018
Falling backwards through an ocean of absences
with the quiet grace of aimlessness
together we have known each other's empty
we've learned about the small moments and the envy.
Traced our history and discovered little sad pieces of you or of me
and wondered if it was actually an ocean of absences or sea.
Spellcorrected sentimental nothings and autoplay left on throughout the night.
Towers of hopeful maybe and pillars of might.
Alone together all these many years and deep in study
until we've been kneaded smooth like so much putty.
I know you better than I know myself, she purrs in his ear
Ditto he whispers with new oceans of absent fear.
Paul Glottaman Aug 2010
Before there was a field,
filled with fragrant, though strange,
flowers, stretching on forever.
It was in this place, this bastion
at the end or the beginning of
eternity that I found you the first time.
Splayed, as you often are, against the
grasses, eyes watching the clouds as they
find their way across a lazy sky.
You with your impossible answers to
serious questions. You and your
******* riddles.

There is only this room now.
It is squat, squalled, musty in now
familiar ways. It is piece of mercy,
in an ocean of hell.
Beyond these flimsy four walls
lays entropy, the end of all things.
A nothingness of another kind, like
I'd never known before, and hopefully
will never know again.

There are no windows in my room,
for that is how I have come to think of it,
as my room. Yet even windowless I can
still stare into the vast emptiness it is wrapped
up in. I can see the frightful void.
I know what lurks just behind the horrible
safety of my walls.
I scream into the void, if only to
keep my sanity.

You put me here. You wanted me here.
It was through your machinations,
devious and brilliant as they are,
that I find myself facing this nothing.
This was all just one more of your
self-serving, stupid ******* riddles.
And I, ever the pragmatist, ever the
logical counterpoint,
I played into it.

I thought we were so clever, to put
these symbols on our faces.
To shout to the world that this, not
the weak beings we used to be, but
these powerful, noble creatures.
This is who we are.
But I didn't pick the symbols.
They were always there.
You expected them to be.

You counted on my arrogance.
Oh, but you know me so well.
Paul Glottaman Feb 2013
Stone me on your Altar of Lies.
I am not scattered light upon the stair!
You're all stuffed mouths and hollow eyes,
Spun from whole cloth but left bare.

The ****** never stirred, but only watched me leave.
Where's the Watchmaker for his Meek?
Tell me, where's the freedom in your Mustard Seed?
How can this be the Love we're meant to seek?

I am no Lamb!
I won't have your Love!
I couldn't give a ****,
and you, sir, are no Dove!


All seen equal, except those You exclude.
Let's not tout the best of us?!
I can see the cunning, you are shrewd.
But that still just leaves the rest of us.

'Cause what're we but broken people?
Empty lives and Original Sin!
Gird your *****! Guard your Steeple!
This is a club I won't belong in.

*Don't you preach to me
with ***** ******* hands
Holy love and His truancy.
You issue His commands.
Paul Glottaman Oct 2010
I can feel the raw power of it
charging through my blood.
I've seen his face too often.
I know what he's here for.
It moves through me like a
cannon ball, a wave that forces
bile into my mouth.

I've tried worming my way
through the covers.
Getting lost in the many folds
and patterns, my god the patterns
I can see, but he's still there.
He'll be there tomorrow too.

I feel for the cold comfort
of the base ball bat beside my bed.
Aluminum. Red. The wrapping
slightly worn.
I once unwound a baseball.
I removed it from it's skin.
Followed every little thread until
it's cork heart lay bare before me.
I remember the lesson well.
Be slow. Methodical. Don't quit.

I know your eyes are on me.
I can feel it burn my skin.
I hate you, you *******.
Do you know how much I hate you.
I had a dream about killing you.
I woke up with a smile.
I used to be so nice.

My grip tightens on the bat.
I hear you put away the last
of your bottle. I know there
are more to come.
Do you have the ambition to
come over here?
Can you muster the strength to
pull me from this bastion,
kicking and screaming and swearing?
Do you have it in you to hit me
tonight?

I hope not.
Coward. Weak. Sick.
Stupid. Afraid. Small.
Alone. Unloved. Freak.
Loser. Wimp.

Do it. Just do it you
******* monster.
But this time do it right.
Finish the job. I'm tired
of this borrowed time you've
given me. I want an end in sight.

I hear a soft yawn.
Keys jangle. The wind chime
sound of your walking.
The door closes.
Not tonight. Not tonight.
I can still hear your keys.
They are forever a reminder.
Don't think you're safe.
No one is safe.

I drew a picture on my wall.
It was a pattern. Lines weaving in
and out, in and out. Always.
The lines never end.
They connect to each other.
They form a strange circle.
People ask what it means.
I tell them it means patience.
Always patience.
And sometimes, not always
but sometimes, when I look at it,
staring me down with it's
impressive infinity from it's
corner of the room I can
hear keys and wind chimes
and I remember the baseball
I destroyed.

I'm twenty-four. By all accounts
I am a man. But every night I
check for the baseball bat by my
bed. I wake to sounds like a
door **** turning and
I hate you still.
You *******.
I used to be so ******* nice.
Paul Glottaman Nov 2010
“I do not have an anger problem.
The world has a problem managing my anger.”

He leaned closer. Inviting me to share.
Bear my soul to the strangers
in the circle of metal folding chairs
around me.
As if it were so easy to explain away
the healthy anger of a bright
young man.
Why am I so angry?
Why aren't you?

Hit the ******* floor choir boy!
I'll come up for air when the
vein in my neck stops throbbing.
I'll lay down my arms when you
admit that there is a war going on!

What kind of men are we?
Is anger so bad?
What about when it's focused?
If there is a purpose, then does it
matter if it's out of control?
If it serves to make a better world
should I stop screaming because it's
unpleasant?

I can't breath in this ******* room!
I'm not sick, you smug *******!
I'm not broken. I'm not defective.
I'm right.
I'm right, ******* you!

I look at this world, at this hole and I
honestly don't see how you can't be
******* about it too.
I saw the news when I was a boy.
I switched it on, to see if the
camera crew at my school had
picked me up.
The things I saw changed me forever.

We were lied to.
This place isn't fair.
Miracles don't happen here.
Karma is a flawed concept.
No one is safe, and it's dangerous
to start thinking we are.

The people in the chairs fidget.
My view of their world is not a
popular one. Not because it is dark,
but because underneath all the venom
that only a child can generate, there
is a deeper truth.
We should all be angry.
We should all fight.
It's not a problem, it's not a sickness.
It's a symptom.
She wakes up alone, thunder roaring distant warnings and churning up her worst memories and instincts.
She is desperate in her need of comfort,
scared of her loneliness,
And ashamed of her fear.
And ******* the storm!
******* this hollow need!
I've paid for my sins
But never enough, it seems.
Never completely.

Nothing helps.

And she wants him to hold her
But the French death only brings him drowsy to sleep.
She touches his back with cold fingertips and ignores the gnawing sense that tomorrow is still on the way.
He snores and she wishes life had been, if not different at least, bearable.
And ******* these worthless men!
******* the empty!
It was full of you once.
Nothing else is enough.
Nothing helps.

In the evenings she stares at the wall above her desk.
At the place where it used to be.
At a future that was taken. Stolen away.
******* the silence.
******* the absence.
**** it.
******* it.

******* the last kiss.
The chances always missed.
The hope she watched die.
Tomorrow is on its way
and somehow, she knows,
she'll have to get through another
Vicious
Day.

Aside:
The sun sets and the moon grows bold.
People grow up, grow old.
And so what if every story's been told?
So what if the telling leaves you cold?
Still hurts for those to whom it will unfold.
End of aside.

Across the ocean, a world and a lifetime away, he stands.
A boy, perhaps only just a man.
There is in his heart a very similar hole.
And it eats him up and it leaves him broken.
Wanting.
Weeping.
Lost. And desperate.
And he hates his fear and his lonely.
He hates that he hates the pity in your eyes.
But it doesn't help and he can't explain why.
He doesn't know why.
He once knew love. He once felt whole and safe. He knew happy as well as he knew family.
He wishes now only for his promised other. His love is a bird with broken wings.
Sure, once he tasted the sky,
But crippled and low he can no longer fly.
Nothing seems to help.

Her words could help. If he could only hear them.
Because we suffer by ourselves
But we never suffer alone.
"I'm not sure if that helps."
We all say with words and eyes
And they smile, because the thought is what counts.
But inside they know a truth, tried to tell us all along.
They'll get better. Stronger. But that's just getting through another day.
Another day.
Another day.
Because we mean well, they love us, but the truth?
The truth is:
Nothing helps.
Paul Glottaman Aug 2010
A predictable motion,
my body into yours.
It's beautiful,
in it's circus act
kind of way.
The way you wince,
so slightly,
and even then,
only for a second.
The way you grasp,
my hand or my wrist,
and lean into me,
when your time
arrives.
As if you were afraid.
Standing on the cliff,
looking down,
and shaking with
fear.
Hold onto me,
I will not let go.
Roll into me,
like waves on your
beach,
like static lines
on our Television.
Gently, ever so gently,
I'll loosen my grip,
and you will loosen yours.
We will plunge together.
But we will not let go.
Paul Glottaman Oct 2019
I don't know how to apologise.
Never got the hang of it.
Don't know how to be human around humans.
I'm worst when it matters.
I've a lifetime of dropped ***** surrounding me.
I'm suffocating.
(I digress)
McDonald's removed it's ball pits for that reason, I think.
(Do I ever?)

Here are the ten thousand examples of my absence!
Here the times it mattered when I couldn't live up to the set bar.
Dig deeper with me, oh archeologists, and find my failure after failure.
How did I measure up?
Did I even?

I'm forever enigmatic, barely in the pictures.
I wonder if they'll know I was here?
You probably didn't find me out in the field, under dusty rocks.
Future historians may puzzle over our ancient customs but I doubt any evidence of me will survive.
For the best really.
(I digress)
I suppose so. Do I even matter?
(Do I ever?)

For what it's worth, I am sorry.
Paul Glottaman Jun 2011
There is shadow in the corner.
The barest hint of a shape.
Another boy.
So much pain, so much
cruelty. So much...
His eyes flicker with danger.
A silver glint reflects from his hand.
His left hand.
Odd, I think.

There is a shadow, a boy, and
a bullet meant for me.
When he issues his charge the
sound roars through the small
alley.
He drops the weapon,
I shout to bleed out the noise.
Next to me there is no noise.
The projectile moved so quickly,
I didn’t even understand what had
happened until after the shadow boy
had run off, until after I held you.

There were no last minute confessionals.
There was no kissing your forehead
no shouting vengeance to the heavens.
I wish there was.
I wish it had all been different.

I don't know if it was the sound,
how unbearably loud it was,
or if it was the inexperience of the
shadow boy, or some magical combination
of all of these things.
I never will.

There was only a boy
and what was left of the other one.
Paul Glottaman Feb 2013
Tripped on an errant root
in a tiled hall.
Took a dose of ******* silence
and slipped from it all.

Remember when true was truth
and love was bold?
Can't reconcile these lines with lies
Not still young, not yet old.

Don't know how to search inside and find
the mettle.
(Be a better man?)
Try to grip the flower, but tear out
the petal.
(Turn you to dust, to sand.)

Find her sat against a lower shelf
down on time and health.
Can't figure who to be from self,
hard to know coin from wealth.
Paul Glottaman May 2011
Muscles strain with the effort, each one
fit to burst from this skin in protest of the
things I do for you.
When I saw you falling by I couldn’t
help but to throw out my arm for you
to grab. I will anchor you to safety.
Sometimes I think that this act,
rescuing you, is all I know.

A toast!
To those buildings from our lives
which at times meant so much,
and how we saw them torn down.
To those people, who we loved and
hated and ignored and couldn’t be
away from, and to how we stood
by to see them torn apart.
A toast to the rips and tears.

When I’m not around, and this dark world
looms like death about your aspect,
how do you go on?
Do you have a bevy of pretenders,
waiting in the wings to assume the mantle
of hero for you, at your beck and call?
I think not.
No, the state that I always find you in.
Teetering on oblivion. Breathing in your
own acrid impending ruin.

A toast!
To the victimless crimes that always
find themselves a victim.
To the altruist with ulterior motives.
To the new car with seven hundred miles on it.
A toast to the rut I find you in.

How could I do anything other than rebuild you?
I sit and cobble you from the heart break
you discovered on you path to forget or forgo.
With delicate hands and loose calculations
I will rend you into a form that resembles
yourself, and when I am done I will
walk away.
You have never once thanked me.

A toast!
To the victimless victim of
self inflicted crime.
To those torn down and made whole
again.
To buildings wrecked and replaced.
To the occasional altruist with
understandable ulterior motives.
Paul Glottaman Dec 2012
Help, we hear the scream.
The temple just does not last.
And in kitchens and cars,
in meadows and pools,
in various states of undress,
young and old
they will find us.
Spread out, our eyes,
sightless, tracing the clouds.
The words we meant cold on our lips.
In falls they hear the cries,
phone calls truncated by disaster
and lifetimes made out of moments
that hardly matter
in hindsight, were we gifted
enough to get that far.
But it's all dying tastes on the tips
of our tongues and memories
of math classes we likely slept through.
It's far from Autumn, and far from home;
snow isn't falling, but we're always alone
Paul Glottaman Mar 2013
Eat your fill from
the fat of my land.
Shackle my bone
break my hand.
Leave this place to me,
when you go.
You weren't there,
but I don't know.

In a forest
we two meet.
Stars ad nauseum,
but no sleep.
And here and there
go our feet.
No words
compromise this greet.

Lose yourself
in the music of now.
Pull on the ribbons,
make me bow.
But don't forget me
when you leave.
Broken man,
his heart on his sleeve.

Could you catch
a wild thing?
Could you tug
it's heart string?
Could you keep
a wild queen or king?
On our fingers,
bound by this ring.

Goose bump flesh
will be our warning.
Keep my soul
trapped in this morning.
And find me waiting
as I always do,
hoping the next person
to come along is you.

Reach for me
when I'm not there.
Feel my fingers
in you hair.
Step by step,
side by side we ascend a stair.
All these things, and more,
I cannot bear.
Paul Glottaman Apr 2015
Baltimore holds its breath.
It's the morning after.
It's Day One.
We are brought curfews,
we are told that they wished to destroy us.
There are soldiers standing on our streets.
We are not sure if we're safe.
We're not sure if we'll ever live it down.

Baltimore: (Noun) 1. A city in Maryland.
                                 2. Slang for Riot.

We're anxious.
Because it's over(?)
We are proud.
Because it's all we have left.

We cannot let this be a sad chapter!
We have to make something good come from this!
We have to get up,
dust ourselves off
and stand up.
We have to finally embrace the conversation
that we refuse to have.

They burned us!
******* it! They burned us All!
The implications reach beyond
the city boundaries.
This can't end on Pratt or on Gay Street.
This can't end with barricaded Police stations
and tanks on our streets.

We need to discuss this.
People burned down their own home.
This is worth discussing.

Our lungs ache with effort.
Our minds race with possibility.
Our hearts long for hope.
Baltimore holds its breath.
Paul Glottaman May 2011
Black and white judgment,
cherry colored lips and creme colored eyes.
I saw you bathing. I didn’t mean to.
The door was open a crack.
I was so young, I didn’t fully understand
why I was frozen on the spot.

Habits pulled tight against the
driving rain. A world where the
nuns stood in closed circles, their
hands wrapped around the glowing,
almost living embers of their cigarettes.
Protected from the water. From the skyward
vengeance, no irony felt at all in any part of it.
Dignity, among all things, maintained.

Bruised knuckles were my badge of honor.
Arguments heard from three doors down.
Dare me to question the one thing you
won’t allow anyone to question.
Dare.
Deny all things, young man, but do not
deny the truth of the Holy Spirit.
Do not ask me why!

The water, so unlike the rain all over
your black and white, this time with
a purpose, almost a mind of it’s own.
It forms a train, a pattern of clean skin
between your shoulder blades, your *******.
I knew that those things were there.
I’m sure I did.
So tell me, why am I so surprised to see them?
Paul Glottaman Nov 2010
Bend your ears to this:

“There is a wake, wrought
in the destruction you crave
and littered with your advertisements
for false joy.
It is in this storm that I seek you.
That I always seek you.

I seek you now, perhaps in the
same old ways, with the same old means,
but with a truer, more purposeful
intent. I have come to share with you.
I have come to give you a gift,
something much greater than you
deserve and much more powerful
than it pretends to be.
I seek to give you the truth.

There are times, when the
light grows wain and the
waves threaten to capsize
our vessel, that I look to you
for the comfort that even I
know is totally beyond you.

Feel free to pick me apart,
my every flaw a wonderful new
verse in the song of your
trials and tribulations.
I offer it to you. Chastise me.
Rend my cheeks pink and my
heart afire with anger.
Do what you will.

But please, and I ask only this
small favor of you, a pittance really,
keep your arrows from my heart.
You see it beats for another,
in many ways it always has.
I can no longer offer this part of
myself to you, it is no longer really mine.
And we both know it was
never really yours, though you
thought it was.

Curse my name, burn my home,
scare friends and family away
from me. It is all yours but for the
doing, and it always has been.
But this once, do me a kindness
and leave my heart to it's devices.
I have always left you to yours.”

This book is closed. The tale is told.
Paul Glottaman Apr 2012
Because, he will not swoop from the open skies,
he will not gift crops on barren land.

Because, no one will lift you from the concrete,
carry you to your soft, clean bed.

Because, the plunge is the worst part of the fall,
and the landing the end of the fun.

Because, life is small and terrifying,
but long in it's sad short.

Because, with time we learn we are fragile,
and with love we learn we are not.

Because, there are no hand outs waiting,
nothing in this life is free.

Because, when the shadows dance across your eyes,
just for a moment, I can see forever.

Because, when my life ends, I will realize
how much time I wasted asking for more.

Because, one day the word of advice you need
will be the chain that holds you down.

Because, for a sudden moment I felt the sky,
and fooled myself with delight.

Because, what doesn't melt turns to dust,
and nothing else is solid.

Because, in time I will tell you all of my secrets,
and where will we be then?
Paul Glottaman Dec 2010
She said she didn’t care if I was
anything else,
so long as I believed in something.
As though I don’t believe, as
though I do not have the
capacity.
I do not need the comforting lies
from the pulpit to find
wonder in this world.
I do not need the rosary
to teach me dedication.
I do not need the ethereal
to know right from wrong
in the ephemeral.

I believe that I am whole.
The the world can be fixed.
That man has such strength in
imagination and invention.
I believe in the infinite and the finite.
I believe in helping each other to
accomplish tasks big and small.
I believe in a world that is not
divided among the petty lines
of bigoted accusation found in
your old, small book.

I know who I am.
I know who you are.
I can see a beauty
in this place that is
uncorrupted by the nay saying
of an imagined giant.

I say to you that I believe!
I only wonder if you do.
Paul Glottaman Oct 2010
You can hear the complaints from
the farther rooms.
The pain is intense, like
waves of light cracking up
just under the eyelid.
Snakes made of fire crisscrossing
in your lungs and under your skin.

Happy birthday, you think.
It's bitter.
You're bitter.
It's cold outside.

The doctors come in,
the same questions,
the same tired lies.
They can feel the truth,
because it bubbles in the back
of your throat.
You're free for the telling,
but fear of the man is more
than a compelling enough
argument.

One break, eight fractures.
They show you the parallel bars.
It's here that you will come
to feel like a human being again.
You can't help but feel that
they should be taller.
This place should teach you to
stand taller.
Walk taller.

Fear rules the small world
you call home.
The nurses know it more
than the doctors. Some
of them lived it, others
have just seen enough to
know the warning signs.
You are not a warning sign.

You're a billboard.

The complaints drift to you.
Back aches, sports injuries, cancer.
The small, black spot inside yourself
that you know is a coward,
it cries out.
How I wish I were you.
Paul Glottaman Sep 2011
Put upon me, if there are things
that will fit
(once there),
all the issues that you have saved,
for later days and open ended calls,
that must be solved.

If it were simple, and we both
know it is not,
then I expect that most would
have told you
(by now at the
very least)
how it really ought to
have turned out.

You have impressed me with your
perfect imperfections and I can only hope,
each held breath is anticipation of our
day, that you will find in me
broken pieces of a man
which you will adore
(in kind.)

We are all blind through this life.
Heads held high or low, or which ever way
keeps them out of sight, so that we may be
seen and not feared.
But in this blindness we are two,
where one would probably do,
and there is so little
(about that)
worth changing.
Paul Glottaman Apr 2011
There is something in the breeze.
Something about your scent.
Some secret thing that passes,
from you to me, like telepathy.
It catches in the wind,
blows back like sand in our eyes.
I can feel it even now, miles apart
in distance and certainty apart
in moral high grounds.

I loved you when we were children.
I loved you in a way I didn’t understand,
in a way I still struggle to understand.
The electricity of breathing in the same air.
You moved, not like water or silk in
a light wind, but with the calm purpose
of sports figures and politicians.
I always had to fake the confidence you
were born with.
I loved you for it.

If the rain gets any harder, I fear that
we’ll be swept to sea.
You and me crashing against the waves.
Borrow my strength, it is all I have to
give, it is all I know to give.
Float next to me, I will do the swimming.
When we are awash on our own island,
I will build for you the life you always wanted.
I want you to understand,
to feel from me what I feel for you.
Returning that feeling has always
been for you to decide.
Paul Glottaman Dec 2018
You're going to hurt me badly.
Leave me bleedin' on the floor.
You're gonna love me madly.
I'll have you needin' me for more.

You love to kick me, baby.
You love to kick me around.
I wanna make you happy.
But I only ever let you down.

I think of you like a queen, babe.
I polish and shine your crown.
Don't let go of me, honey.
I swear to god I'll drown.

You make me something less, baby.
Heartsick, weak kneed and grievin'.
You're about my only hope.
You're the only thing keeps me believin'.

I let you think you lead me.
Yeah, you really lead me on.
I made you think you need me.
But, all you really need is me gone.
Paul Glottaman Sep 2012
Pour through me the magma
in your dreams.
I will feel as it burns me down,
cinder, bones and shattered screams.
Still my breath, scattered light,
Broken things,
Heart strings and moon beams.

Face my frigid air with your fire,
breath the light of our twinned
desire.
Beat the door of my house,
clinched little fist, reddened eyes,
far off cries and lover's tides.

With the elements, and a little glue,
these pieces come together,
beneath unsure hand and
eyes of green & blue.
This ****** thing is almost back to together,
love,
bask in these broken things we do.
Paul Glottaman Sep 2011
Forever you have been the opposite side
of the coin that is us.
Brazen with life and love and anger
where I am alight with the same,
though in different measured amounts.
We don't finish each other's sentences,
and there exists no reason why we should.
But we do share the same content in our
bold paragraphs, the same feed in our blood.

Blood.

Blood was never a choice, but friendship is,
and you are unique in that we share both.
You are a brother, a confidant, a partner in crime,
a friend, a conspirator, a business partner,
and so much more.
People remark about the nature of our bond,
and admittedly they get it wrong often,
but they remark frequently.
Too close to be normal,
too extraordinary to be labeled.

Follow where I lead and I will
follow your lead.
Such is our nature.
We seem two circling wolves.
We seem to vie for dominance.
How is it then that we are both and neither?

Who could I trust more with my secrets?
Who could I trust more with my life?
Who could I trust more with my lies?

So we circle.
So we vie.
So we live.
So we die.
Paul Glottaman Apr 2014
German/Irish as the rest of
White America,
with none of the German Efficiency
and less of the Irish Luck.

Tired and Twenty-Seven,
though some Forty years olds
think I'm their age,
and too overworked to see that
this is all building to something.

I hope it's building to something.

No tattoos and still loads of regrets,
a great wife,
a good life,
but no time to breathe when the
day ends.

My god I love her.
Does she know the things I do for her?
Does she notice that these
years I've added to my birth age
are in service of my feelings for her?

I hope it's building to something.

The second half of the eighties saw me enter.
How is it that less than thirty years on
I'm creaking when I stand and one night's missed
sleep ruins up to three weeks?

I hope it's building to something.
Paul Glottaman Aug 2010
With a single sentence
he sent them to their deaths.
He knew what it was,
he knew what it meant.
He now understood
the ruthlessness of war,
the sacrifice of victory.

There was a time when he was normal.
Just a kid, like we have
all been at some time or
another. Gazing into the sky,
envying the birds their flight.
Dreaming of a future he had
absolutely no reference for.
He had no perspective.
He would be young forever.
Wouldn't we all?

The burden on his shoulders
was too massive to control.
Most days he would sink in it.
Wallow in that place
between dreams.
He couldn't be touched there.
He couldn't be asked to
decide. He was free
from that horrible
responsibility.

But it would be back.
It always was. They would
look to him, as their world
fell apart, and he was expected
to have the answers.
To have the resolve.
He was expected to order
his friends into danger,
to order them into eternal
silence. And it was accepted
that his word was law.

He had made so many mistakes.
So many ******* mistakes.
He had failed to see the bigger
picture. He had failed to
see the end coming.
It was here now. And what terrified
him the most wasn't the battle,
wasn't the fear, wasn't
the impending doom.
It was the quiet acknowledgment.
The smooth, calm
smile on his face.

It was the end of everything,
and he was ready for it.
I think I'll just stay here and burn awhile,
thinking about the match and the gas.
Remembering the smile on your perfect ******* face.
Yeah, I think I'll just burn here awhile more.
I got no place else to be. No one to love and nothing to see.
Waste your potential at my side a bit.
Get warm, love.
Settle in.
Feed the fire with you hopes and dreams,
fresh kindling as mine has begun to badly deplete.
Thank you for all you do to keep me going.
I love you more'n I know how to say.
But there ain't enough left of me now to save.
You should head to bed. Let the dreams begin, my love.
Go. Rest up.
You've much to do and tomorrow will bring new trial.
I think I'll just stay here and burn awhile.
Paul Glottaman Apr 2014
We have burned the bridges. All.
We have lit the match.
We have watched it fall.
I no longer know the voice
when you call.

We are not friends or lovers.
We are now absentee voters.
We are nothing to each other.
Forget the times we were better,
like when we would dance,
remember nothing of us together.
We never had a chance.

When a thing is dead,
good and truly over,
Nothing more is said.
We move on in silence
and put the past to bed.

Don't look for me in torchlight,
on the other side of this chasm,
I am vanished into goodnight
with dreams of almost had it
and fresh wounds from the old bite.

We have burned the bridges. Every one.
And with the coming day
we squint into the sun.
We are heavy handed, cold
and in silence we are undone.
Paul Glottaman Sep 2011
Everything was silence,
waiting for my song.
Before there was a face
to meet your face there was
this tired man.

Within myself I felt the ripple
indicate that change,
whole and complete,
was waiting in the still air
between then and horrifying
******* Now.

Fight the pressure on your eyelids.
Push the dark away.
Feel around for the primal fear of death.
You may cower from it always,
but you may never again deny it.

Life is fire and pain.
It is see through flesh and
the dull ache of mending bones.
It is screams heard before the dawn
and so much courage.
So much love and so much gritted teeth.
So much stubborn justice.
So much missed time and perfect
accidents of arrival.
Life is love,
first and foremost.

So much comes down to timing,
and so much comes down to skill.
In between the two is where you can
find me.
The barrier is torn down,
but it remains in our hearts
and in our dreams.
I wonder if I am what it will take
to puncture the falling fog.

Where there was a void there is now
my presence. My feet on solid ground.
The world waits, poised to see what I do.
I look upon my city, from high and from low.
I feel the bile turn my stomach sour.
I hear the voice in my head shouting that
I'm insane.
I see them waiting and I leap.

How I hate to disappoint.
Paul Glottaman Jan 2011
How you delight to watch me struggle.
I’m tearing always at these bonds you’ve
shackled me with.
Always.
Like trying to breath in cellophane.
Sinking.
Waiting for the bottom to fall out.
In endings it is said that there
is a new beginning.
I won’t ask for that.
I want freedom.

For too long this mold you’ve cast
me in has been my identity.
Has been my purpose.
Chained to this floor while
the world spins and grows
and laughs and loves around me.

******* your nature.
The weight of your aspect hangs
about my neck.
Labeled.
Contained.
Quiet.
Polite.
Behaved.

I will touch that sky.
I will feel my finger tips graze
the surface of greatness.
I will be so hungry for more.
How will you keep me then?
Inspired by a poem of the same name, but far better quality, written by Lori Carlson.
Paul Glottaman Sep 2011
Catch your breath.
Breathe.
In.
Out.

Hold it.
Feel your lungs burn, ready to burst.
Hold it.
Let go.

Feel your heart?
It's beating fast because it was convinced
that it was going to die.
Your blood is pumping.
Your arms and legs feel alive.
Gloriously alive.

My heart does that when you say my name.
And I love you for making me feel
so close to death.
For making me feel so
Gloriously alive.

Catch your breath.
Breathe.
In.
Out.
Paul Glottaman Aug 2010
Everyone is isolated, if only they
would stop to think about it.
Because regardless of the battles
we fight, the wars we wage or
the love we spread, the love we make,
we walk through our dreams, and our
world with only one voice in our head.

It is not always a pleasant voice, and it does
not always ask of us the things we would
like to believe we are capable of.
Sometimes it will say “run.” when we always
thought we were the type to stand.
Sometimes it will say “yes” when we know
that the occasion calls for no.
Sometimes it will tell us to hate even when
it understands that the intentions were good.

It does not speak in hollow platitudes.
It does not spare feelings.
It does not care that a world exists beyond
the frame it is concealed within.
It is small, weak, self serving, and scared.

My god! Where is the animal confidence?
Here at the top of the food chain of countless
ecosystems, it's secret ambition is to make us think
like prey. Ever watching the ground, the corners the sky
for the predators it knows are coming.

And in the moment, when a plan goes south,
when, looking back at you with boredom glazed eyes,
she says that this was not what she expected, when
you wake from your lonely dreams to an unexpected
noise from a distant room, the clenching of your
bowels screaming terror unimagined.
In the moment when it is right about the
hostile world you inhabit
It doesn't even have the courtesy not to
scream that it told you so.

We are all isolated, with an animal fear
screaming against a civilization it doesn't understand.
We are all lost in a spinning ball of predictable yet
frightening chaos, trying not to listen
to the part of us that wants only our safety.

Cowardice is a word that crawls inside of us.
Digs out a pit in the stomach, and lives there
surrounded in your shame and your guilt
and grows fat.
Because it's easy to listen, to accept
the single minded voice. It is so hard,
so damnably difficult, to aspire toward
a loftier goal, to ignore the voice.
We are all Isolated, if we think about it.
Paul Glottaman Mar 2011
Color my smile in you vibrant shades.
Knowing the edges of my cast shadow
is a freedom of sorts.
Find the stars in my eyes, each with
the name you knew to be true.
Kiss me with any of the seven kinds
that you know. I yearn for them all.
Know me in your slow and steady way,
one hand on the back board one on my chest.
Love me as you always have. Without
condition and with only desperate need.
Sing to me, the songs you love and more so, the
ones you only barely know. I love those the best.
Close your hands around me, and cage me
like a firefly so that I might shine for you.
So that I might make you smile.
Any one of the hundreds you know.
Paul Glottaman Jan 2011
Meet me in the forest,
what passes for one here.
Tell me your secrets and I
will tell you mine.
Over flashlight and
blood pacts we will
save our bottle caps
for our whispered projects.
In a notebook we keep the
page for decoding the
language we invented.
Each night we’ll bring the latest
chapters of our story.
In the morning we’re strangers.
We don’t talk, we don’t laugh,
we don’t look.
We’re each others best kept
secret.
One day we’ll decode love,
without the help of invented
language or spiral bound
notebooks.
My god, I miss the illusion
we had built around our
“Love.”
Paul Glottaman Mar 2017
...
.......
C:\Q&A;>

Question: Is this love?

Tearing pieces away so
the world can examine them.
Ripping apart the whole,
the soul,
for scrutiny.
Hoping with each lost,
shredded piece that value is
traded.
That redemption is given.
Ultimately, though, it is
degraded.
Devalued and purposeless.
Still, the work must be finished.
Still, it must be given,
the words and the feelings
that are foreign,
to you.

Answer: This is incomplete.

...
....
C:\
Paul Glottaman Jul 2011
Regret is a cornerstone on which we have built a lifetime.
Forced from shelter into life,
we live as though mistakes are not expected.
Show me the man,
who at the end of his life,
does not look back and wonder.
Were it not so easy to dwell on our missteps
we would have no room to grow.
We will never reach out and find that we have
always had perfect teeth,
proper endings,
promises kept.
We are small.
We are considerably broken.
Therein is our most valuable attribute.
We are people, **** it.
Whole and complete, with mistakes made,
doors slammed shut and no path but to the grave.
And how magical is that?
Live, always and everyday,
with the past behind you.
Tomorrow there are a million more mistakes
never to make again.
And marvel , my friend,
the glory of being small and considerably broken.
Paul Glottaman Sep 2019
He fell on a bit of errant tile
in a hall made of echoing footfalls.
He felt his face break through to Neverland.
He ripped his head out and threw it back and with great peels of laughter announced he was at long last a Pan.
"Crow all you like." Say the old white men, "No one cares."
And they didn't.

We are the oppressed screaming obstructed behind dynamically lit monochrome Utopias.
We are the forgotten imperfect.
We stand in the cast shadows of those with great power and shoulder all of their discarded great responsibility.
Washed up heroes in this digital millennium.

Great Caesar's Ghost licks the blood from his chops and curls into a ball to watch the passing storm with lazy impassivity.
If this too passes, they thought, what becomes of us?

There stands a sun bleached flag on our satellite. It is bent to give the impression that it is waving.
Once it had so much meaning.
Once it had a pattern, in color.
All of that was washed away in a cosmic bath of radiation.
One of them played golf up there.

I wonder if they brought all the golf ***** back?
I don't know.
I never asked.
Paul Glottaman Jan 2019
I feel like a cover of a sad song.
I'm full of someone else's words
because they're better than mine.
Because honest is so ******* hard.
Because honest takes so much time.
I'm six miles away from her childhood home.
2002 miles from where I was born.
He was born in town.
I want to tell him everything I learned from being around.
I've lived in valleys and mountains far above this ground.
I've lived in cities that stretch as far as the eye can see.
I've lived in towns where my last name is had only by me.
You two have it now.
One by birth, the other a vow.

I feel like a bad cover of a great song.
Almost meaningful but also wrong.
What do I do?
I live in terror that my truth is repugnant
to you.
That if you found out or somehow knew.
I get down, you know? I'd feel blue.
I know we've been here. Deja vu.
Oh, love. My love. Many once. Now few.

I'm an earnest cover of your song.
You wrote a masterpiece, love of mine.
You wrote circles around me one word at a time.
I just want you to hear your words
Spoken in my accent and tone.
To see how I love them. Know you're not alone.
How important you are to me, I cannot say.
So I've borrowed your Melody so that I may.
I want you to know, love:
You're the reason I live.
You're the heart of me.
You're who I wanna be.
Paul Glottaman Nov 2010
The boundaries between dreams
are made up of the finest strands
of silk and carelessness.
One tends to flow into the next,
without elegance.
Without pause.
Without apology.
Someone told me that
life was like that.
I don't remember who,
and perhaps that says all
that needs to be said
about my opinion on
the matter.
Paul Glottaman Feb 2013
Staked to the ground we find ourselves at
the crossroads.
Though no deal is to be struck,
no bargain arranged
and no promises kept.
This is a place for looking
and, if we are all very lucky,
a place for seeing as well.

Stand here with me, in these chains,
and sing me the song that is
the night.
Breath this starlight and look out
on the expanse of our ever
expanding universe.

Do you see it yet?

Pinned though we are,
wondering though we might,
we have to find the single spark,
we have to see the light.


It is here, in the darkness that we revisit.
That we revise.
That we dig it all up and decide.
Because tomorrow, thankfully not today,
we grow toward the sunlight
more efficiently,
as the people we have to be.

We are staked here, at the crossroads,
but when these pins are drawn,
our chains lifted,
we will soar the skies above the crossroads.
We'll wonder, one has to hope,
as we look down on the trail that
had become our prison,
The path here is crooked,
so many obstructions
too many hazards.
The paths lead nowhere...
How did we ever get around?
Paul Glottaman Apr 2011
You are a crucible,
within you are the ingredients
that will coalesce into such
wonderful shape and form.
I am an unlit pyre aching to burn

Find the spark that will
push me to ignite.
Feel for the pressure that
will force your contents to unite.

You will make forever in your own shape.
A fine thing it will be.
People will look on your
achievement and inundate
you with deserved praise.
You are more than a glorified stain.
You are permanent. You will last.

I am almost nothing.
I will blaze for such a short time.
Ash and dust and nothing.
But, my god,
my friend,
my love,
I have such a gift for you.

Watch as I burn.
Paul Glottaman Jan 2011
Out the **** light.
Away with feet and shoes.
Laces drawn and Velcro snapped.
He runs his personal miracle mile.
From dawn to dusk,
wake to quick to finish.
He sleeps now. The shades
closed, the world soft and still.
His breathing ragged always.
Patience and peace his only virtues.
Tomorrow!
Tomorrow will blaze.
Will burn.
Tomorrow!
He’ll ignite his dreams, and track the
ever elusive spirit of this country
to it’s rest chamber.
Buckled saber, shield aloft
he will vanquish the soul and
in it’s place he will carve himself
and his future.
Tomorrow.
Patience.
Peace.
Tomorrow.
Always.
Out the **** light.
Paul Glottaman Jun 2010
There are talcum powdered noses
     And perfume floating in the air.
She makes a graceful exit, before she
     makes a triumphant return. Still they
Are dancing. One step, two step, back and
     forth across the floor. Clumsy feet and
old soda cans, clothes, an empty pack of
     cigarettes. Nervous glances, not at the
obstacles but at each other.

         She had never danced before, not really.
         Not like they did that evening.
Sure,
         there had been feet on top of her father's
         shoes, and the faux waltz she would do
         with her older brother when the radio in

the kitchen hummed a note they enjoyed. Those moments
were only for seconds at a time.
                    Never like this,
             never because she meant it.

She didn't know how to dance, she never had before.
It was so much more ****** than she thought.

In time she would come to compare the two
moments. Her first dance, with her first love.
Her first night with him, her first “night” at all.

               Clumsy movements dominated both.
               Stifled laughter, serious glances mingled
            with nerves and ecstasy. It wasn't like that
                           in the movies.

In the movies, there was no wet spot on the sheets.
Still, they danced.
           Awkward,
                    horrible,
                            amazing.

                          ­                  They danced that night for the first time.

                                                            The­y dance now.
Paul Glottaman Oct 2010
The gears have spun their
final rotation.
The beat of this place has
finally died down.
Now we dance.
There is a song that
shoots from our core.
A rhythm that we spend
our entire lives denying.

Step charts discarded, we
pave the world beneath our
unsure foot falls.
I swear to god that I lived once.
Now, if only for these moments,
these short and wonderful
seconds, I will push my face
through the obstinate surface
of this dying rock and
I will live again!

It is blue and here I am in
the middle of it.
Bleed your hues into me.
Free this romantic from the
tired bones of this warrior's flesh.
Pace before me, let the hunger
wash over you, let it come.
Rip from me the beating essence
of this song.

I will be yours forever in this
moment, if only you will
follow me. If only you will close
your eyes and put your hand in mine.
I can take you to the streets in
my head. To the heaving city
alive behind these green eyes.

Give me the chance. Forgive me
the past, the indecision, the
false steps, the wayward consequences
of my misspent life.
I will burn the world down,
leaving tinders in my wake,
blaze your name across the face
of our worthless world.

Dance with me.
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