Poem #14: Audible Emotion

Audible Emotion

Pluck my heart like strings, and strum me a fine tune.
My eyes are wrought of steel and I cannot move: I can only see outward.
You cannot embrace that which is burdensome—no, that has been my duty.
Drums beat a storm.
Hearts beat and I cannot hear my own.
Remind me to rewind the movie soon, so I can watch how this happened to happen.
And get me some more misfortune at the store, will you please?
And so it begins.
They are gone and that’s not my hand she’s holding.
“Who what where when why how—”
Can this be?
I am a bad rhythm but I’d rather be that than no rhythm.
Lines of words like rails of crosses I tread alone upon.
My hand yet is still empty.
If your head is in the clouds, mine is in the sinking sea.
Yet both those can only go so far.
Lips collide, and I am the street light above them in the park.
I become the grass they stand on, and I share the air they breathe.
I am the bed sheets, and last I am the mirror on the wall and it shatters.
My eyes fade, and I am steel-eyed once again.
Home is not meant to run from you.
But I am a trance—
Within a panorama of my life made into cinema—
I am the rewind button that cannot stop playing.

Poem #13: We, the Poets

We, the Poets

If only to sustain this one verse, with the brooding seam,
with a free mind and an open heart, we become the men wading
rivers upstream, if only to be alive,
as we had never been before—I will bleed unto thee
this verse of purest faith.
A right word, the most daring challenge, this
truly resembles impossibility, for words swim as
infinite as the silken stars in the perpetual sky.
Irony sings when we believe heaven only resumes
when the darkest nights permeate and the stars
create needle holes for the dawn to peek through.
Conversing in colours, we paint the day with renewed
hands; behind walls of pearls, we speak with
fearless breath—for if the world shatters
and cleaves wide open, were my words the persecution,
or were they forged to save?
We, the pillars, will build nations of tongues
and claim this roof of sky ours, though we
cannot divide its waters.
We, the curtains, drawn back so the solemn
artistry may converge with brilliant life,
bleeding ink unto paper which can sting sharper
than stone lest we bleed from our hearts.
Discernment, unobtrusive friendship, oblivious
love unconditional, true eloquence—a mountain
of purses could never purchase these.
We could pay attention to every single moment,
but lose ourselves, and spend our hearts, our
lives, searching for who we were today.
We, the written, request that our words do not
liken to stains upon the paper, and if we lack humility, Eternity
is erased from our hearts, the solitary, pure vernacular, gone.
Such is life when I cannot grasp it, for I never will,
my hands always amongst words to peruse.
Had we the pride, our words would dribble, slither
to the floor, merely to depart while slipping on them
out the door.
We, the poets, are but withering grass,
our homes but valleys, our pens but epistolary
flowers fading; we are wrought of dust escorted by an unknown
whirlwind, but the height of our voices
upon paper– they sing.
These words were never our property, yet
beyond the clouds, beyond the waxing garment
of the earth, they stand as choirs.
But we, the dying, we satiate the crumbling towers of our heads
against the overwhelmingly sour;
we fulfill these words, to bequeath no emptiness in them.
There remains all the difficulty of those sparse of
Imagination—for they cannot see themselves think.
We write what we write, hope it hold truth, and no more,
our light rising in obscurity; instead of the thorn and brier
grows tall the myrtle tree.
We, ourselves, do we break ourselves down into
portraits of words, and live as life allows?
Among the smooth words of the stream is our portion,
along every sentence a railway to new stories to be told,
amongst every beast a dove laden with peace.
Death sounds like a desk, hoping we write away our years
upon one. Meanwhile, this is my stride,
walking away from thee, the worldly, from thee—tradition.
That this mirth might bloom the pigments of yielding amends,
that a kiss to Your folded hand, of which no other words have
been created, may speak for every time, every season.
But we, the afflicted, we are the embodiment of modesty,
of revelations of poetry stitched into our arms,
our tongues severed: we write what we cannot further say,
for we are the madmen convicted by the words writing our
world into motion.

Poem #12: Down to Earth

I will say anything.
Say anything, and keel over from a tongue
too heavy to taste the fabric shafts of words.
Preferably anonymous to the receiver,
a barista who will never see me again and wonder why
those words suffered to be held in a chest so long.
Rubbing my hands together, the dead skin like
kneaded sand, and I leave it.
The world a knotted sphere to sew my debris.
I can bend freely with the earth
and its blanketed creases, enfolding,
then smooth, as we as children curl,
hide in it tufts.
Every morning my eyes out the window to the west,
yet any cardinal direction woukd led me to you.
My eyes in orbit around the room.
I have to rub my eyes like a child to stay awake.
My elbows tilted, sleeves up past the joints,
proving to myself the earth entrenched beneath
the Saran-wrapped skin.
We end up in love with the hate that binds us,
the mutual sludge to keep our bones in their molds.
If I were a pilot, would I be able to smell
the chloroform of Heaven wafting down?
But I am grounded, desiring, or my blood straying
from its conditional flow, oblivious.
Wanting then, my hand to be knit out of yours,
like the clasped palms of maple leaves
on Front Street, together budding, falling,

Poem #11: Dilettante


You buy the used books to treasure what others could not,
but scavenge for the comfort fumbling away, as if
on a fishing pole, or the newspaper read by the whirlwind.
Bite your fingertips, go ahead—you cannot gnaw away all
the years your palms have wrought, the indented
circles like tree stumps. How can you tire of drink that you
cannot touch to your lips and still blame the glass?
A heart, christened it your own, probably with a pen and
signature, in your shirtsleeves—that heart, impending
upon a string, taut to the door so none may enter—
how can you yourself flee your very heart’s domain?
Pull the earth away from beneath you, yet not where
the Vox appears from: certainly not much there.
But never you mind, give it time and
all those collective carpets beneath your feet will
be all the earth you recognise. There is an unearthly
sound as a constant, pronouncing words of shelter,
though you cannot witness them at play.
Candidly, of petrified apologies, you enchant apathy
with the lack of tongues, stomping out the
rhododendron ringing. Men were not sustained
to swallow the seas, but greed is the discreet
wallowing, rolling in your aloof grounds. Gaudy hands
reclaim the January sparks, new days that were
never new before, given a time and place
you could never present. Pallor, what a beautiful
colour, matches your eyes, gashing the primroses
with nothing but a hateful gaze.
Hope for nothing in return, that is the greatest
reception. The irretrievable light on a player piano
coated with dust; you never learned its sound, its performance.
The air will not breath for you, flannel shirts
and open country where the emptiness was
your elementary acknowledgement.
Articulated upon that fruitless academia, beads of
tears lost, your shards of selfish vengeance struggle.
Every time you remembered, you would say you hated
the world for every time you once loved it,
all those childish years ago.
Incidentally, the cost was not yours to decide nor
yours to exchange from the bank. You would ask,
Why isn’t my suffering on my hands?
Why would the sky have you here if it were not inevitable?
Honest to heart, if you could give anything in the world,
would you have anything to give or take
since it’s all clogged and collapsible, clouding your mind?
Normality is not a charming place to call home, and the
blisters are but brittles boundaries; beyond the bivouacked
Firmament, confluence became your scapegrace.
Like a thieving wind, evasion a poor addiction,
you are the season of tangled webs woven,
cathartic today, nostalgic tomorrow. Those November bruises
are not annual; to ease the pain, you say: Hand me down that
solace from the top shelf, I can never reach it.
You should not have to concentrate joy, let it come.
Beyond a resilient doubt, condemning your memories is
the truant shape of melancholia. Thai candy, simply sweet—
just the hope within calls salt to your eyes.
You buy the used items to collect the hate of others,
and replace it with something new, though it is
rife with abandoned patience. The penance composed upon
the haven of your home, hold it above your head,
let the wind compel it from your grasp. Let go—
those pacific eyes were musing in the mirror for a reason.
Stand your knees from your coiling in the corner,
the room for improvement is next door, and it has
endless space for you to use. The dilettante,
viewed as the unstable, unchanging fool,
it is you who is always changing, but not for the world.

Poem #10: Cremated Breath

I want to know the method, the character of her breath,
the manufacturing of her lungs, how words blend with
her artful smoke. The most valuable pricetag in a packet
of sugarcane wrapped atmosphere staining her outline,
inside out.

Her mouth running, that smell of a running car dashing
around the corner, as if fueled by Marlboro kisses,
dragging each exhale out with another Camel choking
in her throat.

Used to the pull, the position of the cigarette, idle
and kindling between middle and forefinger, while
coughing subsided long ago. Each breath cremated as the
color of coins casually claims her features.
Her husband Winston lit on fire, expendable.
No form of tonic washed down lungs loosely clinging
to the pure air outside will remove the corruption.
Shamelessly in a beautiful addiction, she mumbled,
And my personality not a bit diminished.
Her lips shaped like rugged canyonface, glazed with
weathering, a Marlboro to her pursed lips,
puffing out the littered wind of the world.
Her teeth the door, the cigarette the conduit
for her inflicted ashes to spew,
convert to oxygen, a pack a day.

Poem #9: Burst


We are too low to smell the castaway smoke of the
July 4th fireworks shouldered by higher winds, like a loosened
cloud of mud underwater churned from passing propeller.
I never liked sitting in the chairs to watch, sat instead
on the ground, picking at dandelions, or a stray twig.
You could rate how extravgant each year’s show would be,
and I the roughest stickler. But I don’t even know what to
think of them anymore, a shallow promise to the air,
the 11 o’clock air wrapped and lacking shimmer around me.
Mom always had to turn the heat on in the car, even in summer.
Sometimes I would try climbing one of the willows in the park,
as if I could be closer to the elevation, the explosive distance
of fireworks. The spastic and irrelevant shatter of light,
its color dear and blind to the black, in sober audience.
My sister has gotten used to the gunshot blare, discharged from
a barrel in the sky, but after the color flutters outward,
like a forgotten alarm for caution.

In these moments, I think we become narrow-minded, in a tunnel
of dark, if not more than usual. Are fireworks the dreams of astronauts,
in hope for the fleeting glimpse of galaxies beyond their
inhabitable reach? Or are they the feeling you hope a
loved one receives when you hold them close?

A color for every emotion we paint ourselves with.
Sitting withdrawn behind the Woodmere Library, I can see
beyond Boardman Lake the pyrotechnics catapulted
over Silver Lake, and I am like the billowing, shredded
smoke, silent or in awe of my former self.
I wish I could see how the fireworks dye my face
in festivity. Every crack and boom inflicting the air
with its counterfeit sunsets, some lasting less than
five seconds, was worth coming down to crowded parking lots
to see, even if my ears felt diffused after the finale.

Poem #8: An Image I Will Soon Forget

An Image I Will Soon Forget

Dugong shaped cloud, tail dispersing
in evening trail, devouring the stumps
of Holiday Hills down its lavender smoke guzzle.
Floating swimmingly, satin skin curled in cumulus.
Like air clay molded and dismantled, carelessly shattered,
the way children’s play-doh crumbles,
immersed in a carpet of sky irregularly vacuumed.

Not even remotely alive anymore, pixelated cloud shard
carried by May current.
Maybe a crawdad, or simple a soup stirred
and waiting to be scooped, slurped up.
Evidently, in the car while passing,
I was a shrimp to the dugong, unnoticed.
I blink as the eyelids of a camera would,
and I am no longer in view, my crustacean
tires scurrying down Three Mile.

Poem #7: Heartland


Twin lakes of glimmering green shimmer reflections of sky.
Crescent path to the south curves up or down.
Forests of swaying, short golden leaves to the north—none beyond the lakes.
She is down to Earth, gazing at the sky.
Fields of cream-coloured rye outline the land.
I know this face.
Rain clouds gloom and thunder broil,
Those dark shrouds hanging dim the land grey.
Sprays of rain sputter, spilt upon the lush turf.
The lakes go still afterward, hazed and foggy.
Days in a daze and the clouds lift from her face.
Winter arrives and her eyes glaze over.
White complexion, smooth as an empty white page.
Overflowing with Life.
Spring turns round and she’s still as beautiful as ever.
The path smiles to the sky.
Sunlight beams rays of glistening grace.
Autumn rolls around and her face is rosy.
I walk about, a painter in a drawn land, better than I could ever brush a replica.
The leaves fall but her hair does not.
Face the Moon, accept the Sun.
Love not the world.
‘Tis a fruitful place.
Leaf to dust.
Seasons to and fro, relentless rhythm, eternity oft and off.
Spiral aim swirls my eyes torrents in the sky.
Rising brightness shines my weary clouds away.
Hope is not singular in nature.
The lakes do not give in and neither does the sky.
For they reflect one another in harmony.
Love is stronger than the fibre moulding the earthly material together.
Rain to earth, roots to leaves to seeds to forests to dust to life again and love
Wind burning cold vapour in, warmth of hope exhales.
Tree to paper to words to poetry to song to heart to you to all.
Oppression has no touch or sound or influential taste in this place.
Sown a single blade of green grass, cutting darkness asunder.
A single blade of grass.
Circular frame—is it the substance or the sustenance that defines the distance?
The picture of a landscape paints hope upon my face, my frame.
Hanging on the wall so I do not forget hope.

Poem #6: I Wanted Nothing

Formaldehyde in shabby cluster, a tap on the cigarette
as a conductor would call attention from his stand.
Air so still, our glasses linear on the diner table, in a
duel to death, and I am so afraid of my veins speaking
to yours in this mutual silence, I contrive my tendons
from being interlocked, not just in their own hinges,
but with yours.

(She, a stare from eye to eye, captivating my
captive pulse, pendulum pupils swaying down to her
knees, angled sharp.) Headlined above the curtain pole,
a candid light leaning its flicker on the distance between,
shoelace to colored shoelace, and still life passerby,
in motive: never wasting a goddamn.
Sober sun sunken beneath a dance club flare, a
florid scab across the street, me enjoying the printer
ink shore devouring the lit pools, rippled with clamor.
Knuckles popping like bubble gum snaps, and cracking
your neck as if preparing for a gallows in a diner.
There were tendrils of fog, unscathed in the street,
a concrete miasma stifled, lacking current, the curious
fumes less deliberate than the smoke you bellow
away from me.

And in conversation, I am similar to the anatomy of fog
enveloping all your sparse remarks, your thin
postcard comments. I wouldn’t call either of us hesitant.
Somehow, I’ve begun to adore the manhole cover shade about your eyes,
like sagging dollar store bags, and how you carry all you see in those jaded sockets.
Even how our dreamless, empty lifestyles are massaged by dry coffeehouse
“dates,” I’ve learned to love how easily I am filled by such
metallic, civilized warmth.

(We had no necessity for words, in moments such as these,
no apocalyptic mindset, no inhuman sense of perfection–
just the joyful movement made by she and I, the parking
of the car anywhere.) I wanted nothing but the distance
in between where we each sat, and not you. Not you.

Poem #5: In a Fire

In a fire, you stand, read the air and its failing respiration,
move in all contortions forgotten from leisure. The only way
to test your reflexes, in an isolation of self; and your mind has
never boiled to this degree before. Now you know how your
mother’s burnt cookies felt, tossed prior to taste. Burning
a flavor so jealously bitter, mockingly black and sarcastic
of sweet. Oh how all around, it crumbles, like incinerated
flour overdosed with flame. Turmoil the greatest fuel
in this situation. One of many options as the catalyst:
a dream, an intention, a mistake, a crime.
The foundation depresses under its own collapsible influence,
trusses snapping like wishbones, tile and carpet bruised
with black-eyes. And you want to know the time–as if that
will quell the heat. You could look all around, everywhere, but the
blood rustic flicker hewn over the walls you painted only weeks
before belittles the “everything” you owned, shriveled below
the worth you granted it. Your furniture smoldering down to prunes.
Wondering if your eyes are sweating or your body is being sautéed,
if your body could extinguish a path, if survival is more difficult
in moments of disaster, or in peaceful existence.