Forget Portland and Austin and Santa Cruz.
Those famously strange places,
where the tourists gawk at local weirdos.
Here is not there.
Here is the place of advice such as:
“When life gives you meatballs put a wig on a dog.”
Here is the place where:
“With all good things in life you just have to wipe the bird shit off.”
The place where steel and marble Confederate ghosts,
watch the wealthy renovate their westward homes along a cobblestone road.
Where paintings are propped to rot up in alleys,
and buzzing twenty-somethings on their way back from a show,
shake it and tilt it and carry it home.
—Gilded frame and all.
This is the place of painted concrete where walls are canvases,
and red bricks pop out of the ground,
the tree roots poking through to trip you.
Here’s where the People’s Beer comes from Milwaukee,
but we replaced the R in ribbon with here,
and sell it by the caseload when it rains and when it’s Tuesday.
Where young people go to find themselves getting lost becoming someone else,
remixing history to not admit naivety,
before they’ve been sandpapered through experience.
—To a core.
This is an ink-stained but not splattered place.
Where lines are careful, permanent and abundant,
and on Fridays can cost 13 bucks.
Here is the place where people roam like that restaurant rabbit:
listless and nomadic and stuck.
Where there’s a wild streak in its heart that follows the tracks,
and cuts the city in half.
This is the place that Carvers itself out into cultures,
and you can be from the Bottom,
or proud to be a Rat.
Here is where you night-drive over the bridge,
see the skyline and feel restlessly content.
Here is home.
is not my skin
and it never will be
but your skin
under creased jeans
and half-eaten seams
breaking to the beat
of the honky-tonk music
is enough to give me faith
there is some good
in this world,
we took our boats out
onto the shore,
in seconds after the lake
decided she didn't
agree with the politics behind
every love like ours,
and i stayed afloat
but how will you swim
when the sky
is filled with
Who am i to fly you to the sun,
Where the stars sit and watch us burn?
Who am i to take you to the sea,
Where leviathan is supremacy?
Where else can i make your home,
A place where angels and demons roam?
Where can we find a safe hole-
A place to hide your precious soul?
Sometimes we can hear the ocean calling,
Sometimes its a still small voice whispering,
The voice Dear VIRGINIA heard- yes the troll,
We'll forever miss her- oh bless her soul;
What will the departed say of u and i?
Will they receive us in the sky?
What will we see when look the devil in the eye,
Will it be hate, compassion, remorse or a battle cry?
Shall we see the pentagram when the sun king is born?
Will there be hope for the broken and the torn?
Will we hold hands and dance in the vineyard of Jezebel?
The vineyard which Naboth refused to sell.
What if we just sit beneath the stars tonight,
And watch our enemies burn in their fight?
And ask the moon to shine very bright,
So that none would be out of sight?
The world is in so much terror,
Anguish of a unending labour,
Children of perdition is all she brings forth,
Many without substance, without worth:
Gather your friends as we cross the red sea,
Let all those who say we can't, stand and see;
The sun and her friends shall stand still,
While we fulfill our hearts utmost will.
When Donald Trump opened the floodgates last year,
by basing his campaign on paranoid fear;
By embracing the zealots, the hawks, the alt-right,
he emboldened the racists to take up his fight.
When Donald Trump barks and belittles and bellows,
he ends up with strange and revolting bedfellows,
who think, 'cause they're white they can fight and can kill
which, with horror, we witnessed there in Charlottesville.
When Donald Trump won't quickly, strongly condemn
the racists and nazis, he's standing with them.
When he's vague, non-committal, or responds with delay,
he's disgusting, pathetic, and as worthless as they.
she taught me of new beginnings
and the healing of january
that you don't have to be profound
all the time
you don't have to be observed
you can change the storyline
but still remember that time
together we drank in nashville
to the days of virginia
swearing to return to art
when we got there
our lives were in full circle
she still believed in me
she is the closest thing
to an older sister i know
and maybe i am strong enough to say
that i don't love the person
that she let go of too
he left for the west without a single gesture
and I was left with the memories of our pillow talk
and how we spoke of the future straight into the night
at first, we were innocence
a soft peck on my nose
then my cheek
and my mouth which he finally silenced with blissful inquiry
our bedside hello's while holding fractured mugs
and each hour i realized how fleeting adolescence was
scarred by the thrill and demise
i relapsed into your hands
and then the evening and the world i created caved in around me
seconds stood still like fragments of debris in an hourglass
our timeline shaped by an unfortunate call
and we swore to never hold on again
but maybe this last time here in this familiar room with each other was justified
you cried for me in secrecy
because you didn't want to feel weak
we were wrapped in black jackets and strode in black shoes on the first of november
we couldn't feel our hands but we shared a cigarette
each inhale stained with the pigments of my lipstick
and you made it okay
but you left for the west
White whiskers rooted above the trumpet player's lips;
his body moves like a sci-fi parasite, as he spits out songs
at the big bellied, Skecher-chic, boardwalk children.
The kids give a moment's interest before passing by like
armored flies, if armor were cheap cotton shirts and
Sooner or later, the sunset meets the brim of his hat.
It's a mystery as to the speed of the trumpet dropping
from his lips to its case, but you'd have to find someone
who cares about those types of things.
His brown, leather, Payless feet jut outward; away from
one another and towards American stores reflecting themselves:
Italian restaurant, Thai restaurant, Car Insurance, Dollar Store.
Quicker than you'd think, his denim hips are clamped by
the wooden arms of a misplaced deck chair, relocated to
a dining table as small and low-income as the man who
saw the dreamlike orange and purple sky drift away
behind the cemetery gray blanket of smoke, rising from
a fractured ground littered in mud-bathed, leaking bodies.
When the night has only begun to settle in, the man's
thick hands carefully adjust her picture, for he fears
the paleness of his fingers will leave more of a residue
than he is accustomed to.
Kept within the copper and green borders, she has
only begun life; twenty-three and never having to apologize,
there is still so much left to the imagination; her olive grey
cheeks are sided to his eyes, ready to be jammed with
baby, mommy, and daddy fragments of windshield;
waiting for the last embrace of a sturdy steering wheel;
her hair still dry and not dampened by insides coming out
or the flying weaker-than-you-think half-gallon of whole milk
that covered -- or washed, depending on your attitude -- the
back of her fifty-three year old head; the eggs fortunately
missing twelve times, hitting what was left of the windshield,
leaving an image comparable to the wall of a bar that not only
has a dartboard but also a man with terrible aim or who had as
much alcohol as the man who slipped his car into Margaret
and Joseph's life.
Joseph looks away from her picture, as his glass eyes begin
to shatter. Running fat palms and bulbous fingers through
the white, over grown lawn on his scarred scalp,
he says her name three times before retiring to the mattress
Margaret picked out.
We walked through the woods,
when it was growing thick with shadows, the way smoke funnels
out a chimney. She wore a hoodie and yoga pants,
attire to match her mood: relaxed and comfortable.
Her eyes reminded me of what lies beneath puddles,
after a rainstorm had passed through
the small hometown, which disowned you.
We wrote songs while sitting on tree stumps,
chewing tobacco and drinking gin.
Because, we wanted people to write movies about us,
like the ones they played before the explosion
took out a half of Paris, DC, and Sydney.
Test me again, and I will never talk to you,
you said those words and you meant it.
I regret ever running
into you at the house,
and falling for you,
like how I'm falling
over on my ass.
And now we will never text,
have a conversation,
or hold each other in bed.
Kiss me goodnight,
but don't say
that you ever cared about me,
because I don't believe
in the lyrics,
your favorite musician sings.
we wake up hungover
from last night's binge drinking,
because even though we love our jobs,
no one really wants to work for their entire lives,
when so many things are unanswered,
perverted, and misconstrued.
hashtag all of those millennial catchphrases,
to garner hearts from your friends
who you haven't seen in years,
friends who work in San Fran,
Chicago, Greenwich Village.
crank up your laptop speakers,
as Neon Indian's Polish Girl
plays that sexy synth,
and take a drag from a P-Funk,
before your Grandma hits your
shoulder with the newspaper daily—
right after she speaks in Vietnamese,
asking you what is your name,
because she has Alzheimer’s.
but in these social media days,
isn't everything that is worth mentioning to your sister,
everything that is worth fighting for,
everything that is fucked in this world,
on the internet (maybe, just Twitter tbh).
screenshot the cat meme you like,
if only she wasn't allergic to cats,
maybe it could have worked out.
that was 7 years ago.
—git ova it. Then, mix your red bull with your coffee,
because the next 10 hours of your life,
will be revolving around caring about people
other than your ungrateful and ingratiating ass.
when I say good-bye.
stay for a while, under the shade of the rooftop
where the deejay spins Frank Ocean
and Frank Sinatra records,
as everyone is drinking scotch, or Yuengling,
and ashing over the veranda bansister,
; the bad boys try to open their souls
to the good girls. and the bad girls,
reveal too much to the good boys.
we devoured those drugs, as though
they were jelly beans from a convenience store,
and then we broke into the store
and ate some more.
break the coals on top of the hookah,
puff, puff, pass—
fit the deformed piece
back into the Dinosaur puzzle,
and crawl back into bed,
pull the covers over
your trembling body,
shut your eyes,
for the day is heavy with regret
and unsaid things.