Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
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 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.
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 Jun 2020
The Milky Way cuts the sky
straight down the middle.
A broken ribbon snaking like a river
through the purple swirled night.
A starlight highway looms overhead
as he stirs through
the remains of the fire.
White dust that once was love
spilled on the page
and glowing embers
that appear to mirror
the smothered rage that started them.
But when the adrenaline stopped
and the anger cooled
the regret arrived too late
to save your beautiful words.
On his knees in green, green grass
he can smell the dark musty
country night dirt and he can feel
the many cracks forming
inside him and he prays the center
will hold.
His center.
He hopes the stars will look down
on a man destroyed but unbroken.
Silent grief that is noble in some
ancient masculine way.
But his secret heart knows,
as you know,
they won't.
His friends will say he's
in bad shape but he'll recover.
But he won't.
His children will tell him
they understand that there are
no sides.
But they don't and there are.
He had hoped that now, at this age
his heart was beyond this
terrible ache.
He had thought wisdom
brought a kind of muteness
or numbness.
It doesn't.
He now wishes that it did.
Too old to find a better partner
Much too old to forgive in good faith.
He will face tomorrow when it comes.
And now, ashen hands
and green, green grass
and the infinity of the sprawling cosmos
on and around him he knows
that from here on out,
no matter who is there,
he's gonna face all his new tomorrows
Alone.
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 May 2021
Lessons come on like glass cuts.
Sudden welling blood
pooling in your palm,
understanding crystallizing
roughly analogous.
And so are we.
Analogues for bigger things.
Our absences filled with
the crippling enormity
of grief.
******* wounds in the world.
And somehow we're expected
not to recover but to be
suddenly good as new.
Glass cuts jagged through skin
like understanding
but you're gone like
forever
and I'm having a hard time
grasping that.
We are analogues for absence
we're just standing in the
place where missing us
and losing us
and forgetting us
is supposed to go.
We are cenotaphs
adorning our own
empty graves.
Roughly analogous.
Like understanding
and the violent, jagged
cuts that the glass made.
The blood pools in my palm
and try as I might
I don't forget you.
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.
Paul Glottaman Mar 2020
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 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.
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.
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 May 2021
It comes on in waves
crashing against and pulling at you.
It draws you out of everyday
and surrounds you
in blues so dark they become black.
For a moment beams
of warm light lit the cool water
around you.
Lines appeared, with promises
they couldn't keep.
Now you find yourself pulled
and caught in the undertow.
Floating naked and dazed
no way of knowing up or down.
So you pick a direction and move,
hoping it'll bring you clear
hoping it will bring you home.
Perhaps you will,
there is always a chance.
Fifty fifty.
Live
or
drown.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 Mar 2021
You spin your cardboard doggie book
in slow circles while you scrutinise
The covers, front and back.
You puzzle over it like it was
some ancient relic
whose meaning,
if only you could learn it
might explain it all.
You say
DAWW GE!
Language still so new,
molded like earthenware into
rudimentary shapes.
A small but growing
library of sounds
that you've attached specific,
and not so specific,
meanings to.
I am Ah-da or Da or,
my personal favorite,
Da-ee.
Your mother is Bah.
Hey-o, Bah!
I notice the pale blue lattice
of veins, visible from under your skin,
that descend from your palm
toward the elbow and points beyond.
My god, you are a human,
little for sure,
but whole and complete.
A little person.
Made from a little of the
person I love and,
impossibly,
from a little of me.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Paul Glottaman Mar 2020
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 Mar 2021
When we were young
I fell in your fire.
Your passion for life and love
kept me off balance and wild.

Sit back and marvel
as you spread your joy.
Your warmth
Correction:
You're warmth.

You are fire, my dearest.
Contained but beautiful.
I have always been cold
like the night sky
but you,
my great love,
you are the distant stars.
You burn light into my
frigid night sky.

You are a campfire, my dear
Filled with laughter and song.
I am old dry wood,
gathered to build you up.
You are vivid fire, my great love
And it has been
my pleasure to burn.
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.
Next page