This Game.

The pieces have weight to them.
They move like dinosaurs slow crawling across the board.
They have a woman’s initials in permanent marker on the felt on the bottom.
AH. Revelation. AH. Turned over and read. AH.
Set down in two straight lines forgotten.

Until he takes your queen with his bishop.
Until his rook corners your king. AH. Again.
Laying on its side. The head of a warhorse.
AH. A pack of pawns hips bent.
A stolen board. Inherited hoard.
Kings and queens and the rest of us in pieces in between.
A world we like to think we own until the shape
across the table straightens out and checks us.

And that is when the game gets real.
The pieces have weight to them.
Each move grows slow and clunky,
lumbering heavily across the prehistoric board.
AH. Revelation. AH. Turned over and read. Red.
This game. We say we play.
Still contains a crumb of war.

On me. My. Mine.

What am I doing with my life, calling it mine.
Other men’s names stitched inside my clothing.
Other cities on my lunch beer. Long list of strangers
in my phone. Mine. Maybe. But really not mine alone.
Sharing as a way of life. As ethos.
Let us use sharing as the mortar between bricks and see how well it sticks.
Community. Built of what? Out of unity? Out of punity? Of you and me?
Didn’t read that on the receipt. And I know the price.
But the cost is lost. On me. My. Mine.
I can dig as deep down as I like, what will I find,
a mine for a mind is a noble thing to displace.
Dirt. Rock. Endeavor and effort.
All misplaced and wasted.

If I can not own it, then it must be truth.
And within truth, I am included.
Though I have no name, mine or otherwise,
stitched inside my self.

My Maker could be the pure embodiment of understanding.
Doesn’t make It any better at branding.

Project Local: How Everyone Deserves Time Out

As children, it is used as a punishment, but once we’re grown, the prospect of time out loses its sting. In fact, it becomes a sort of treasure. It isn’t a matter of being unfulfilled in your career or house or pace of life. People can be perfectly happy where they are, and still desire, time to time, to be somewhere entirely different. We are already doing it. Vacation. Sabbatical. Invaluable time off. Letting escape take us in little moments we purposefully didn’t prepare for.

Project Local seeks to intentionalize this process. To just go on ahead and out loud embrace this new modern breed of being partially nomadic within our domesticity.

Instead of fully transplanting every time, we will reorganize our lives like a vine. Always extending out from a solid, central, local base. An internal sense of home. And the requirements that make it so. Enough space for yourself, mentally and physically. Room to lay down some roots, figuratively and literally. Grow some food. Pursue a local water source or two. Or understand the community infrastructure required to provide any basic, daily, lifelong necessity. A home is not an island. Nor is it a clock whose gears and winding and ticking hands are all controlled, contained in the palm of our hand. The network of infrastructure, pipelines, reservoirs, the bulbous shaped water tanks that loiter our small town horizons, down to the very taxes paid by you and your neighbors, to help share the mutual cost of every shower, every dripping faucet, every dark soil soaked garden steaming in the late evening summer heat.
We can pretend that these things are merely products.
But that doesn’t make it so.

It just so happens, that for all our taxes, all our decades of standardized trial by fire tested education, we don’t actually earn ourselves any naturally reoccurring resources for existence. A human is meant to generate enough value, right off the bat, to pay into someone’s rental business, or be taxed by the acre, or pay monthly into a mortgage, just to have a simple source of shelter. Not to mention a bite to eat. I’d hate to take up all your time trying to explain how much time we have to steal to pay for every meal. And every bill that gets sent to make sure each spigot spits up that hopefully clear, hopefully clean, overly cold sacrament.

There is no time out. Not for these commodities. They make such nice neat little local monopolies. You just have to figure out how to sell someone something that falls from the sky. Or grows from the ground. Or depends on you living near a town.

And what you have then is not simply a consumer, but consumers for life.
And an economic class system, from which there is no longer the threat of time out.

It is almost time to go

I miss the sun. I miss light in my skin. I miss being out in it. Sometimes I take walks with my father’s bow. But I must have poor aim. Because I always seem to miss the things I’ve seen. The places I’ve been. The stress that saw my character compressed into this exact form. Callused fingers. Stuffy nose. Holes missing from all my favorite clothes. And now that I am more settled than I have ever been before. It is almost time to go. Back out into that summer light. The inescapable weight and heat of a whole season and a half spent leaned toward our closest star. Which is still pretty damn far. Enough that in a few months we’ll be missing it and more. Like I’m avoiding it now. Less than four feet to my right through a window. Less than eight feet and out through a door. I could hit it with an arrow with my eyes closed, but set one foot there, and they won’t pay me for it. Just take it and thank me as if I had handed it over of my own accord. Of course, I didn’t.

In short, I won’t miss the sun anymore. Or light in my skin. Or being out in it.
I have a better shot now than I ever had before. I’ve been target practicing,
launching my eyes through windows at work. And I’m getting good.
Soon, there will be a few arrows sticking out from the sun.

Some southern ocean.

It is amazing what wind brings to the world.
Breath.
Movement.
Stirring
high up
in trees.

A long travelled breeze.
Here to see hair lifted.
Made light with spirits.
Baptism.
Exhaled like hot breath from some southern ocean.
Sun-governed beaches lapped by rabble rousing water.
Exhausted.
Panting.
Thrown up moisture with hands in prayer.

Here is your answer right here at some distant place on the earth.
Cold air against warm shoulders and worth, moving in the wind.

Like dying could be cast off and flung into the air
for some strange distant person to hear,
who might find amazement at it.
Who might call it worth.

The mask we put on mystery. #oldjournals

Entitled. But bearing no born title. How can it be?
Without name, to know thyself, is to glimpse mystery.
The black, dead surface of water
plainly seen but not seen through.
There is revelation here.
Like secrets in that deep black.
Rerisen rapture and near.
Close under the surface expression
behind faces
within titles
emblems
symbols
meaning lurks.

Ruthless
toothless
embittered old truthless
monster, meaning.

We are beyond all other words and more,
definitions, names, the titles and handy ways
we live like we actually know we are, or aren’t we.

How to smile into the face of a stranger pretending
she knows him when he made sure she never could.

One name.
One superficial rippled line constituting a surface
is not enough, neither is two, or three.

Is that what we meant?
Entitlement.

Or is it just
the mask we put on mystery.

Then fire again. #oldjournals

Crackling green wood
clinging shriveled brown leaves
popping and burnt wildly.
A flame just to sit beside me,
mostly idly.

Frogs with the curious voices of men speak masked in treeline.
Just a few, but they’re creeping in.

A rattling at the door from the inside, a feline,
truly getting comfortable in her windowsill,
finally still.

Listen to the soldier. The guard. The dog barking across the yard.
Imaginary shifting feet and postures.
Hostile, even toward darkness,
And ignorance especially.

Then there is howling casting base crescendos through the further distance.
Car horns sound in an instant and echo off brick walls.
In her driveway, a neighbor taking a call.

A hyper owl, and close, fluctuating cricket sounds.

Then fire again.
Illuminating a flickering page,
consuming an old pine log,
now quiet.

All the noisy young green wood is burnt up. Gone.
This is the stage when flame takes a heavy piece of wood,
and makes it light
again.

Truly awakened #oldjournals

When you don’t go out at night to sit before a fire,
it doesn’t show up in the writing. Like the morning.
Freshly awakened. If the story carries on until evening,
will it also fizzle out with the sun, and end?

If you wake up and write, if that is your habit, then truly wake.
Head shake, rub eyes, gleam, stare hard at blank paper in early hours.
Lose focus through the window, give it to sun-kissed flowers,
brightly lit in morning air. Wake out of it. See it stark dark.
Suppressed under shadow, painted black.

Every bloom has a root, which is not so bright and beautiful.

The fire brands hands with soot,
to remind you in the morning
to write the night before.

The very same river

Ask for a mansion framed by a yard spilled down to the river Jordan.
Too many massive rooms, halls, a huge restaurant kitchen, please.
In the summer though, the house gets fleas. Gnats in gray clouds
in the kitchen, flies itching to tackle and impregnate crumbs
dropped to the floor, rolled beneath the cabinet door,
spiders, friends stabbed at by a toe, moths orbiting the lights,
from windows open, out of necessity, at night.

Ask for rushing tan water to flow-roar, opened and closed,
consuming unseen boulders, still stagnate in still places,
the breeding grounds of mosquitoes.

Take a walk around the shore, take in heaven’s long rolling like a river winding,
root gripped path, legs slapped and arms reddened, a splash of red blood,
a heart, in the center. Dig gardens and sweat, plant seeds, weed.
One day pull up a snake writhing in leather-clad hands.
Witness pests roam wide open squash leaves and turn orange blossoms into gloop.
Holes burned through potatoes where slices were put in holes, grown,
and eaten by whomsoever gets to heaven with a shovel first.

Still, ask for a mansion. And remember,
do not take paradise for granted. Because it isn’t.

For those who do not plan to work
for their hereafter, the very same structure,
by the bank of the very same Jordan,
is a prison.

The Legacy.

Here now I can’t even say God made me anymore.
Made my eyes and ears and hopes and fears.
Here now, I must be the one who counts.
Counted on accounting for his own self, sake and form.
They tell me there is more to the word I
than meets the eye or nose or ears though.

Apparently, I is a legacy.

I is a line of time creased in several billion places
or so the story goes, but I all the same.
Throughout every age. Stage.
From gill-bearing fetus to Madison Square Garden
to adolescence and the Grand Ole Opry
of a good midlife crisis. All sorts of stages. Many forms.
Enough years you need to come up with different words for them.

Millennia is just the beginning.
Millennial won’t come close to touching the end.

There may have come a time in which I chose to die.
When passing on and leaving behind served
successive generations far more than what
I could have ever done with mine.

My time with I.
How many of us have been poured out into that letter is unknowable.
But how many of us have woken up into it can be counted like single petals
on a solitary head of an ox eyed daisy.

We sit, and for almost no reason commit the treason
of refusing to blame God for existence.
For in it, there is I.

My eyes and ears and hopes and fears.

What makes me who I am today
is who I have been for a billion years.