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v V v Apr 24
The blue is the middle.
The battle.
The anti coherent existence.

I’m supposed to watch it from a distance,
separate myself through persistence.

I am unable.

The Blue is my watershed, and loud,
Red left and Green right war at the peak
while the pull from the left is strong.
A rolling storm cloud thick from behind,
I look toward the Green, for the light,
to your face, and the reflection in
your eyes tells me what I already know.

It is gaining.
I cannot escape it.

A tidal wave,
an avalanche,
the day before the flu.
The first pang of a kidney stone.
That moment between banging
your knee on a desk and the arrival
of the pain.

A slight delay but
most definitely inevitable.

I am not supposed to be IT.

The darkness is its own entity.

is of itself and not me,

But it tells me it is me
and it is quite convincing.

Without further progress
I am convinced I'll need an exorcism.
Though it seems to be a good idea, it hasn't quite worked for me yet.
v V v Apr 15
In the summer when I was 10
I won my first trophy,
a time when kids earned them
and others went without.

I cradled it in my hands like
the corpse of a baby rabbit,
my sweaty palms staining
the corrugated copper torso.

Father drove us home
in an overwhelming silence
while I sat in the back
with my trophy,
thinking about how
Paul's father twirled
him about in celebration.

I'd never seen a father
hug a son before,
it was strange and alien
in the world I knew,

hell I'd never seen
a mother hug a son,
or even a father hug
a mother for that matter.

The years would bring
many more trophies
and much more silence,

all of which now fills
a worn and tattered
box in my garage,

but leaves me with a
smothering emptiness
whenever I wonder why
I'm so terrified of
being loved.
v V v Apr 5
She told me to
"Imagine a safe place",
a quiet place, somewhere to go
when the fog is at my feet.

But everywhere I went was
crowded with doubt
and a lingering loitering
presence on my shoulder,
come out from the fog to
hurl accusations and taunt.

I can only assume
it's a he on my shoulder,
an enigma,
my father's doppelganger
come to dredge my mind
of all the **** he dished out
when I was a child,

and feed it back to me again.

I tell her I'll need more tools
and stronger ideas.

So she gives me a seat at
the head of the table
where my ****** committee meets,
and a gavel to establish order
or bash in their brains.

She arms my dreams
with weapons and courage,
gives me REM when I'm wide awake.

We fashion a furnace of love,
hot enough to vaporize the
cold darkness pouring into my gut,
customized with levers and pulleys
to push and to pull in the fight.

We tally
Alpha and Beta waves,
trained and retrained,
hard coded messages
sanded smooth by repetition.

       Through it all I give too,
       and what I give is all I can give,
       it is the warmth of what enslaves me,
       and the thought of letting it go….  
       Well.... lets not go there right now.

In the long run I'm not sure that
any of it will be enough,
I am weakened by the war.

But occasionally there
are shiny spots that simmer,

You see,
I may have found that place,
the place she first told me to find
way back at the beginning,
the place to feel safe, although
it isn't really a place per se.

If it were true
I could finally ascend to
where no fog can go.
Where my father's voice
cannot be heard,
nor the ghosts I grew
up with.

A place of love and honesty,
where my furnace would sit idle in awe.

There is a picture of us
on our bedroom wall.
It is the perfect depiction of
all that is safe for me.

I look at your smile
and I see peace.
Nothing can penetrate
your radiance,
you are everything
I've never had,
double layered and
by all of it.

By all of the ****.

I am learning to go there
when the fog is at my feet,
and the ghosts are in my ear.

When the accusations come
I can escape there with you,

and together we can drown them out

if only for a little while.
Recently began therapy for my "issues"  related to PTSD.  Needless to say the therapeutic tools available today are much better than they were 20 years ago.
v V v Jan 6
The nurse said he
seemed confused today,
with a faraway look as
if trying to remember…

But I know the
look she speaks of,
he's in a constant state
of panic and despair,  

as if he’s just missed the
train and now he knows
there won’t be enough time
even if the next train is early
to make it to the liquor store
before it closes.
v V v Dec 2018
In those first years
we spent a lot of time
in red corduroy chairs,
the ones that came with
the house on Turner Terrace.

I would sit and watch you
when you didn’t know
I was watching, constantly
looking for a crack in
your armor,
for a little snippet of the
***** you might become,

but I never found it
and it never happened.

Your little girl wonder
had me convinced that
the world in your hands
would be safe,

no death blows,
no mean streaks,
love's foundation set deep
never to be undone by
head games or hidden agendas,

and now all these years later
I am still transfixed by
your clarity,
your complete “sheerness”.

You are my priceless
dividend of peace finally paid
from a lifetime investment
in Faith,

you came to me
when Hope had gone
and Grace was silent,

and you love me
when you don’t even know it.
v V v Nov 2018
I can't stand the smell of mutton,
or the texture of liver, especially
after extended time on a dinner plate,

which meant we spent extended
time around an oval table,
my sisters and I with our
heads down, eyes averted,
no sound but the chatter of silverware.

I remember my cousin Scott told me one time that
he put spaghetti in his pockets because he didn’t like
the way it felt in his mouth, he said he’d stuffed it down
and pulled it out later and flushed it down the toilet.
It made me wonder how his pants must have smelled,
but It was something I could never risk because
my uncle wasn’t a drinker, but my father was.

As the youngest of 5 I was
the only boy, and mother said
it was a privilege for me to sit
at the right hand of father,
a place of honor she said,

perhaps in other households.

For me it was a prison,
a daily nightmare of the unknown,
I spent forever in that chair
and was always the last to leave the table,  
constantly burdened by congealed meat and organs.

Begging was useless, reprieve was never given.

On a random summer night
when I was 8 years old
my father announced with disgust,

“You eat like a bird!”

It was the way he dragged out the word
“B i i i i r r d”, so distinct, as if
he could no longer contain his abhorrence,

and once the restraint was broken
his words came fast and hot,
berating me for my
non-existent appetite.

He would have done well to
understand that fear suppresses hunger,
that alcoholism doesn't
allow for compassion or civility,
and when you live with a demon
its not you who’s in control.

I wept,
and his devil burned with rage.

“You are pathetic!” he screamed.

More tears
and then my sisters joined
in a chorus of muffles,

heads bowed,
we endured his wrath with no thought
of engaging or protesting.

Eventually I heard the screen door slam
and one by one my sisters abandoned the table,
escaping to who knows where.

I kept my head down for years.

When I finally looked up I was alone.

The girls were gone and father was off
to drink beer in his air conditioned room,

and mother?  

I have no idea where she went.
v V v Oct 2018
Evidently it was meant to be.
Long before I was born my DNA
sat on a shelf in God's laboratory,
a sticky note attached,
name, date of birth, perhaps
a tiny alarm to notify the lab
of inception.

God doesn't lose things
and God doesn’t forget.
It must be for a reason and
it must be meant to be.

A critical piece of who I am.

I should show a little pride because
as they say God don't make no junk(ie)..

But I’m a little late to the party..

The party that celebrates those who choose to be identified
by a gender other than the one they were born with,
but shames anyone who struggles with substance abuse.

I'm having trouble understanding the difference.

If I were to gather my drug addled friends
and march down the street with banners and signs
demanding the right to openly inject mind altering
substances into my veins I would be seen as
a criminal and a derelict even though my constant struggle
came right off the shelf of God’s laboratory where

my sticky noted DNA sat right next to yours.

I guess I shouldn't care what people think..
I know my rights, and I demand to be accepted,
NO, praised for coming out so bravely,
carrying a new flag, flaunting in the streets,
paving the way for future generations of addicts.

I will take my God given DNA out of the dark
and go out into light,

light so bright you'll be forced to accept it.

accept my sickness!
embrace it!
this is in my DNA,
God made me this way
so it must be ok.
I feel better now.
I no longer feel guilty,
or depressed,
or weak,
or wrong,
or immoral,

No longer do I need to contain it.

no longer do I need to be shamed.

I am an addict and I am beautiful.

Just like you.
I have been clean a long time yet the stigma of addiction is as strong as ever. I apologize to my LGBTQ friends for any offense taken to this poem. No offense is intended rather food for thought. I have often wondered why society dictates what is politically correct and what is not... and where good old fashioned morals fit in, and how something that at one time was so right can now be so wrong,    and vice versa.
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