Oh Life – Old Journals

Oh you life, pompous and loud, loopy yet proud. Lightning crashing parties in heaven.
At the entrance telling lies that barrel down deep like thunder, a second too late, truth debates shaking ground from sound, flustered, rippled air. The clouds hoisted rain withheld, dangled, above head, just out of reach, beyond, water in aerated ascended ponds casting shade and crooked lines so thin you can see through them, translucent,
as rain rapidly sinking, the ferocious storms of real, devoted thinking, consideration. Uncompromising. Life, oh, how there are those who paint you anywhere
other than in raging weather, wind leaves trees giant rustled chickens
flashing pale upturned feathers, branches falling crashed lightning but closer,
nearer, thunder felt under feet, in ankles, before there is time to even hear.
There are those who do not know the meaning of awe.
Most feel only frightened, tired, ducking heads, cowering out of the rain,
cursing an unknown creator seed-planting our pain. Oh my life.

When I was a child, how I loved the sunny dispositions of my parents.
And vilified their strife. The complex truth of their life.
The disparate realities of parents.

Oh life, like parents, your love, your presence, is one of many forms.
But it wasn’t until I was grown and worn, that I found comfort in storms.

A Blade with Two Edges #OldPoems

The mind, consciousness itself, a blade with two edges,
sharp on both sides, forged in the mind. We all bear scars.
Marks. Places we were harmed, injured, cut deeply by thoughts, words.
Invisible weapons first learned turned inward, toward, threatening the self.
How many missing flesh, comforts, throw the burden off from hands, their swords,
tools trashed, forgotten and lost, because strength comes with cost, a price, hefty, sure.

But full with worth.

Bravery.
Courage.
Carrying heavy weapons.
Sore-handed. Tired. One trapped in the mind.
Invisible to any eye. It can not be seen seeing.
Slicing both directions, out and in, and we feel mostly in, it is all we have.

Ourselves.
And consciousness carves us up like a roast,
a sacrifice, dinner, like a fat gluttonous ego.
This sword makes it thinner. Drops weight.
Extrapolate hate in a lengthy, long, red
dissections of selfishness, greed, bad
and its wavering boundary against good,
not to be attacked.
But understood.

The mind brandished this weapon, pounded in imperfection until it is gone,
buried too deep to be seen, felt, still in notches, chips in steel, iron, handles wrapped
in palms and fingers gripped. Consciousness. Awakeness. Aware. Staring. Keen.

Our own heads lend us this sword.
The world knows the shape.
So the world supplies a sheath.
Help against the pain of lugging sharp brains,
a place to shush it in and let go,
a shape fit for the great idiotic weapon of ego.
So we can carry it. Keep walking. Moving. Growing.

Even if it’s slowly.

Land Poor #oldjournals

You work dirt soft
and form rocks
out of the palms
of your hands.

The skin flakes off and leaves you.

To bruise blue and callous fingers.
Wrinkle knuckles.
Vein-traced paths twist above bony
wrists bent and flexing always. Stalling.
Avoidance in abundance.
Blisters too.
Fast friends to you.

And you are their inspiration.
They depend on you for friction.
For handwritten diction
dated phrases of speech
strangers looking stranger
than if southern meant
alien off another world.

Cut grass. Wave passed.
Smile miles down the road.
Flush commodes into septic tanks
emptied in cracked quartz rock clay.
Hot sun. Burnt red necks brown.

The skin flakes off and leaves you.

To bruise blue.
Same tan trembling finger. Only you linger.
Only what was planted at the core.
Only what was unafraid to be called poor.
And you are.
You stay.

Sore.

One of Multitudes

Fifth of July, and I just barely watched fireworks
for all the blue eyes collared into working.
Begging free beer close to shift end.
Bragging clean bathrooms.

Asking the boy who brought me his plans for his evening.
And it is. His. He has that placid right. Not to answer.
Reserve. Just became manager.
Over these early twenty girls.
And they like the game.
They like his name.

Drunk and sliced thumbs prying off pop tops while driving.
Drunk. And taking tin metal shots of tequila.
Blaming weed for the spins.
Selected one from multitudes of sins.
Of choice. One of multitudes.

Not making the best of this or any other situation.
Not living to make the best. Just better.

Decisions so convoluted and tipsy
that’s hardly the word for them.

Actually #oldjournals

Being told by new friends I should write my ideas down.
I chuckle. No feather ruffled. Just a bit bemused

by how convinced
people are
that all of which
they are ignorant
does not
actually exist.

Never asked to see it.
Didn’t inquire about it.
It isn’t real.

And it makes me feel like a liar.
Like here I am sitting on a double-egg secret
refusing to be caught sharing it. When I’m not.

I cherish the idea of an audience.
The few I’ve had so far ran so far
that remembering their faces,
recalling their brake lights fading,
seems more gesture than decision.

But they taught me an invaluable lesson.
One new friends are not likely to ever offer.

People crave ignorance like a drug.
Giving them truth is not giving them a thing at all.
In any regard.
But taking away their favorite toy.
The great timeless game all humanity can not help but play.
And it is called by the name plausible deniability.

Out of sight. Out of mind. Head in the sand.
Willful ignorance. Fake innocence.

Like using a blindfold to turn off the lights instead of the switch.

I have no fear of more powerful persuasion than going to God
in my final instance
and actually claiming ignorance.

Broke and leaning

Short grass. Embedded yellow. Three leaves outspread.
And torn wax paper. And broke-leaning picnic table.
And gravel dented by tire tread. Leaves alive and dead.
Brown roots. Paled maize flowers misplaced by poplars.

And freedom
and an unmade path to walk
and roadways to drive along.

To follow, so far, so long, not even seen like litter.
Buildings so full of people, from so many castes,
not viewed like trash. Light blue sharing violet
in pale cloud-filtered light, at the tip of a blade of grass.
Not a needle in a stack of hay, not one of the same
stacked one on top of another, but piles of pure plethora.

Plethora festering on plethora on plethora.
A cracked black plastic spoon.
A styrofoam corner. And me.
Shoe-wrapped feet, and seated body,
and black bag, and marble journal,
and phone whistling Modest Mouse.

Short grass, embedded with yellow,
and three leaves outspread.
All torn like wax paper.
All broke and leaning.
And I am writing.
What you are reading.

Well fed martyrs #oldjournals

Turn. Change. Transfigure. The trinity of our people.
Our people, used loosely, for we have never come together as one.
Failed, where ants and honeybees succeed,
at creating and sustaining efficient colonies.

Community. Congregation. Culture. Concentrated into cults.
Letting children light their candles.
Thinking drinking symbolic blood makes a better person.
Group-think denial-grace came at no cost,
when it earned its chief revelator a cross.

Transformed torture devices into symbolic vestiges of sacrifices
we, as a people, are not yet prepared to make. Flimsy. False. Fake.
Even if we were to nail up a martyr or two, our crosses would probably break.

We’re different. We’ve changed. We’re transfigured.
Also, as a whole, people have gotten bigger.
We might need to upgrade to an anchored metal frame
to sustain the weight of such well fed martyrs.

Antiquated memories

I can not bring this self to desire new life.
Not when so much stock has accumulated in the old.

I do not fear the cold.
The winter we step out from under
into open bare treetop spring.

I have no qualm with my ape ancestry.
In fact, it better explains our species.

Our tribal colorisms and regional warfare.
Our instinctive challenge to anything new,
or different, or fundamentally not already ours.
Not our fast talk and plastic cars,
dictionaries and missionaries and doctors
toiling over life and death and credit checks.
Pastors organizing potluck dinner dusting
torture tools turned clean untested symbol.

Simple, for us millennials, to pack up our stuff and run
into new towns, new habitats, new jobs and prospects
and adventures breeding misadventure.

But I can’t do it.
Am I not like my peers?
Do I not share their fears?
Their crippling paralysis in the face
of any form of honestly given criticism.

I run from nothing.
I live where a death framed family lived
farm where they did
rusted old half-broken tools.

I prefer used.

Even wasted. Tedious. Outdated.
My life is not for the new.
Because there has never been such a thing.

Just perception. Since there was ever an us,
there has been one-sided perspective.
It defines our lives.

To the point we started building fences
just to make for greener grass
on the other side.

Write-Handed

Write hand has lost its stamina.
Whipped-shaken fingers clacking at the end of every sentence.
And penmanship, embarrassing. Some secretive tribe-speak
encoded only in laziness. Right hand has not been writing.
It has been fighting. Curled close folded like cats on cold nights
hugging leaky windows beside the fire inside.

Forming poorly insulated fists. Lifting over and over
a backpack stuffed with old World Books.
Autographed contemporary poetry reader.
An anthology of lesbian literature.

Throwing weak punches at unflinching air.
Short-hair. Tucked shirt. Alive like all it takes to survive
happens between eight in the morning and five at night.

And it isn’t right for the wrong hand to write too long.
Hardened hands at nothing. Feed clink in crimped metal pans.
Dead goats into clay. Write the very ground into ripe gardens.

Folded and unfolded and massaging keyboards and gripping pens.
And when the write hand has been found not writing, then what then?

How often should a writer have shake out his or her hand,
just to finish a poem?

Like my father says

I can not give up making sense.
Or achieving meaning.
Writing words like creating paths.
That lead somewhere.
Not always clear.
Not hardly simple.

But driven. Direct. Aimed.
I am not carelessly launching literary missiles.
Sharp piercing life plucking arrows off into distance.
Hopeful. For a kill, a mark, never laid eyes or aimed on.
Probably never found.

I am hunting bare hands loose emptied and ready.
Scent burns nostrils flared. Prepared. Eyes trucking.
Roaming, perceptive and quick.

Like my father says, searching out anomaly.

Anomaly: a strange twitch, click, crack, a short ways off.

Headlong plunged racing sprinting
motivation leaves frightened tracks in front of me.
Easily seen. I know always what it is I am after.
And more, I know what for. Why.

A hunt should start in hunger. Need. And never before.
A sword which I have already slid in sheaths.
Rattled bundle of arrows and a bent bow.

I want to know if there is another creature in the woods like me.
Even if I have to see it bleed.