This Poem

Great big fat literature.
Grat.
Busted.
Misshapen.
No clue how that happened.
Did he really sit down to write this poem.
Heavy.
Folded.
Doubled.
Emboldened.
Ugly.
Gross.
Morose.
Struggling.

These words hold mirrors up to my face.
Crawl into bed with me.
Share my space.
Kiss my face.
Right on top of bruises.

Language uses.
Allegiances scattered.
Words don’t always choose us.
Sometimes the one who loses
wins the better pen.

Becomes a greater author.
Keeping all the grease that comes from cooking up

this big fat nasty literature.

The Garbanzo Bean and the Chickpea

It’s debilitating. Isn’t it. Narcissism.
Exhaustive. Anxiety-ridden. Too.
Often I have overheard fragments of directed conversation.
They say he. But I hear me. Cut to two hours later.
I’m white knuckling a pen just laden, damn near buried
under the weight of a thousand hypotheticals
invented out of thin air. Been on a diet.
Some time now. Full on eating clouds.
Choked down then shit out like white flakes. Just for me.
This joke this guy just told.

What’s the difference between a garbanzo bean and a chickpea.
He was so convinced without the lead up, the couple beside us,
could not be offended, that he just said.

I would never let a garbanzo bean do that on my head.

By the Quiver

Dangerous language. What else is there?

Bad words. Try one on me.
Hello. To any enemy.
Goodbye. To the precious few who love you.
Alive. Really. A bad word. When you think about it too much.

A live what?

Emotions are objects that live in the earth.
On the ground. All around.
Straight arms off oaks and hard yet carvable stone.
Taxes off turkeys and twine made out of your mother’s hair.

But language is a spear.
Arrows dissecting the air.
Touching some poor soul. Far off. Over there.
Nothing they can do about it.
Vocabulary owes much of its origin to weaponry.
Warfare and posturing.

When discourse on discussions leads disagreements
to breed dissent against the didactic despondent diatribe
of how we describe our very overly literary lives.

Dis. A latin prefix. Means apart. Away.
Dangerous language. Bad words.

You there awkwardly outholding a vibrating bow.
Same as you. Once you release the string.

Standing there holding on to what you really mean.

But not the part of you sent off flying into the unknown.
That is what you call an arrow. Vocabulary. By the quiver.
With good enough aim, language is incredibly dangerous.

You get good enough with words.

No one may ever come too close to you again.

Rent-A-Writer

Have you ever sat too long over a greeting card or staring at a computer screen, searching for words that refuse to come. The feelings are there. The sentiment, unquestionable. But language doesn’t always lend itself easily to the emotionally inscrutable. You might have not ever thought of it, but how much sense does it make to hire a creative freelance writer from time to time.

Words. Quality is a wavering shoreline always subject to changing tides. But there are writing formulas, phrases, plays on words and literary invention altogether. The mathematics of meaning. A sort of algebra except all letters with confusing little numbers in between.

Essentially, I don’t need to claim great literature or vast publication in order to declare myself a functional copywriter.

Say you needed an essay or cover letter proofread and edited, or you’re really serious about photograph captions, or have an experience you can describe but not fully, and wish to see it transcribed and applied to a poetic format. A short story idea. An article. A memory. Writing advice. Criticism. A note, or a letter even. A poem. Have you ever ordered a poem?

I am your go to poetry guy. It isn’t the easiest service to describe.
But if you’ve never ordered a poem before, I suggest giving it a try
before you give it up. The right line at the right time can change minds.
It can change everything. Words are only a frame.
They should never block the picture.

I’m half kidding. Only mostly joking. But hey, this would be the season.
What if I were running a special on one of a kind holiday dinner blessings
and Christmas card one liners.  Never been a better time to rent a writer.
We all have an abundance of irony in our lives right now.
It’d be a shame to let it go to waste.

This is the season.
After all.
Let nothing be ineffable.

English Major

How we order dinner. How we tell our problems to doctors. And illustrate our final wishes. And record our innermost anxieties. We write letters to loved ones full with so many words claimed by neverending definition. How we know to call each other. How we declare things like war, and love, and all the salty sandwich meat in between. Looking at the world through eyes is one thing. But words, vastly another.

Literature is the microscope we hold up against the world to perceive details needed to articulate our needs. A microscope provides a distortion. A biased perspective. In your favor. Objects appear larger than they actually are.

If you fail to study the manipulations of your tools, you will never build a trustworthy conclusion.

And language, literature, we use words to orchestrate lives how bees use wax to shape hives. Not so much high art and the great smoking literary canon, but traffic signs, and menus, birth certificates and credit card contracts. They never taught this in school, because the system is full of people taught never to question the bias in their equipment. But all words are literature. How you tell your friends how you feel. Express intimacy and desire safely and respectfully out loud. The level of grace with which you handle power. How well you translate to paper.

English is not your least favorite class from high school.

It is the medium I am implementing at this very moment to testament the unfixed, transient flights of conscious thought going on in my mind. It is our cheapest and most prevalent form of time travel. As well as immortality. Playdough for plastic brains to squeeze in fists and get sick eating it. Which we know we aren’t supposed to do. It says so, printed in a dull black warning on a label, the word. No.

We didn’t have to. But words are how we decided to witness to and participate with the world. From the ground up. Whenever I encounter a doubt, or a negative thought about possibility or lack of potential, or hope, I’m always asked to look through a narrow little window of a word that I broke open a long time ago into a door. And more. I built a bridge out of it. And you’re right. That word. That choice. That night. If it is the destination, then this is dark as hell. And your doubts, they may be right. But if that word is one toe on a foot, or one step in a twenty mile day, or one day out of a two month journey, or two months of the best, most fulfilled, busiest and blessed years of my life, that’s different.

Depending on the lens you use, your microscopic problem might only appear to be huge. When in reality, it’s invisible to everyone but you. This is why we discovered language. To catch a glimpse of ourselves in it like a fun-house mirror, distorted into extremes.
It had very little to do with the pursuit of truth. Like any other tool.

Literature was not intended to serve the world.
We designed these words to magnify you.

The New One


Change is hard. To me, it seems rooted in unhappiness. The discontent desire to reshape their continents. And happy people draw maps. Of course, it isn’t as simple as that. Philosophically speaking, it’s a hammer. Or a wrench. If you look at the equipment to get an idea of the ideas they have built, it will always seem too simple. But it’s two different natures. Separate goals and agendas, distinct skeletal structures between the ideals that shape our tools and the things they can build. A hammer moves two ways. Hard and inconsiderate buried into wood, or sharp flat bunny ears that pull shy iron up out of its rabbit hole. If you’re a mover and a shaker, a builder, a creator, a social changer, an adventurer, an artist. You’re probably not the happiest. Dissatisfied. Discontent. You can argue me against it, but I’ll probably disregard all your words and take your passionate need to prove me wrong as its own kind of evidence. Sorry. I stopped stopping at people’s words a long time ago. Around the same time I admitted to myself just how much I will lie to control the idea people have of me. I did this amazing thing. I assumed everyone else was just as smart as me. And doing it as well. So I listen to chest swells, and deep breaths, and that thing where people look down and chuckle a couple times before they talk. Think of all the times you did that yourself. What true answers were you bypassing in those seconds before you landed on the placid, clean, decent one.

So whether you want to admit it or not, you’re not building a new house because you were happy with the one you had. You’re not plowing new fields if your grass was already green enough. Tree roots and boulders buried like land mines. Change is hard work. So are new worlds. America is defined by attracting all of the earth’s least satisfied residents. Argue with me if you want, but people who are truly content, do not get on that boat. They never left Europe. You did not travel then, and you really shouldn’t now, with any reassurance of how soon you’ll be back again. Along with luggage, you are taking your life up into your own hands. Seeking out new lands. Because the one you’re leaving behind did not fill you up. It wasn’t enough. Some of us are hammers. And some of us are nails buried so deep we’ll never be pried up. And a good enlightenededish person will have learned over time to be a bit of both. To seek balance. And let change do what it has always done. This planet is changing all on its own. The revolution, is how to live here and still leave it alone.  

It’s an oversimplification, I know. But if hammers and nails were as complicated as houses, I’m not sure we’d ever get one off the ground. If you’re an artist. A revolutionary, which is simple nowadays. The revolutionary is a good mom, and a patient man, an understanding boss, a forgiving friend. If you’re trying. If you have a dream. Or wishes. If other people are small talking and I catch you staring off into the distance. I know you’re like me. You’re a little bit unhappy. Just enough. To know this way of life isn’t enough.

The same hands that put down the new novels and poetry and short-storied scriptures of tomorrow will have cut the boards and set the nails of the new shelves in the libraries that will be needed to hold all of them. A hammer. The pen. The beauty of this rusty little literary invention. Language is like an old house our ancestors built for us. A decrepit mansion we all inherited equally just by being born human. Maybe a room or two have been kept clean and livable by the devoted satin robe wearing monks of academia, but none of us could keep termites out of the joist in the basement. Mold buried deep with moisture in real hard oak. Floor sagging in places and roof given out altogether in others. No one lives here full time anymore. And how we approach this condemned inheritance sort of sets us into two distinct categories of personality.

And I know I don’t need to write it again. But it is the discontent who want to tear it down and start over. Happy people are scrubbing floors and dusting mantles. But the ones who have glimpsed the future walk the halls with hammers. Prying up nails and taking out hardwood and stained glass and musty furniture while we still can.
We may yet need them.
For the new one.  

Timing is Everything

If I could write one sentence to act like a key and unlock all others I would.
But words don’t work that way anymore. They’re like us. They caught our curse.
And have started breeding new forms all on their own. But I can glimpse its outline.
The spiny silhouette it leaves on the blank backdrop of ignorance. My own not knowing. Is known. I know it. Every challenge. Every mountain. Admitting my own inability
is the first step. Where did they teach you strength came from?
The only place I’ve ever found it is when I was too tired to look.

My sentence.
The key that disbolts the cell that holds me. All of us. Set free.

Delineation between equal parts is asinine. It is a waste of time. One side could tower miles above the other, but if one little shredded up piece of another being is needed to procreate another mile high colossal tower, they are the same size.

A poet has no problem knowing this.
A poet holds a whole oak tree in the palm of their hand.
Only others call it an acorn and move on unmoved.

That is something the poet can not do.

A certain sort of soil. Words. Ideas. Congealed into ideals and composted mantras
throwing up little green fuzzy leaved tomato sprouts this spring.

If you value grapes too high you’ll never let them spoil. And you’ll never taste wine.
If you value grain too much, you’ll never thrash it and mash it into flour.
And you won’t know bread.

Follow your principles out on your own before you inflict their conclusions onto others.
Shake the damn tree. Do not wait for storms or swarms of pests to test them.
Imagine. Consider all things.

Patience is like this amazing mayonnaise that can be put on just about anything and make it a little bit better. Or worse. There’s more time in this stuff we call life than I trust any one of us to admit. But yet, there is. By all means we may have a God who had a hand in every corner of existence except for the clock. Our sense of time seems off.
We could have a God who looks at life and death
and doesn’t see such a gulf.

Keep no living heroes

None of my favorite authors are out here tonight.
Familiar smoke twirling above a dying fire.
All too well. Similar to the places they dwelled.
Lobster bisque. Didn’t clean a dish.
Ash tray brimming.

Two wet logs laid side by side
in a fire-ring of heavy white rock.
Mortared brick mantle caked by fire dust.
Half eaten tomato sausage biscuit.
Made from scratch.
Flour printed pen on butter dusted paper.

Scratching. Dragging wagging lines and loose dotted I’s
and night light spotted eyes. Retracted back.
Glimmered green.

Is that them?
My imaginary collective of favorite authors.
Not out there. Not here.

I have no favorite authors.
I keep no living heroes.

All I have are peers.

Words were once wet ink

Memorized movement.
Choreographed choices.
Spat out sentences like life, or death.
To do, or not to, no matter how much you want to. Don’t.

Use your mouth for a pencil and an audience like paper.
Fill them. Move them. Ruined. Stained. Like ink on a page.
And better be. For the money they paid.
Hardback wood seats embedded engraved copper
with the names of other patrons. Burgundy curtain.
Beige carpet. Used to be a movie theater.
Now a playground for the grown followers of Peter Pan.
A medicine cabinet to those who still take sugar by the spoonful.
By the roomful. Mouths all held agape and waiting.
Debating, could I do that if I wanted to?

Wear an ashy old hat and hum into a warped kazoo.
Sing a line of comfort, out loud, and acquire a choir
of voices who fear making no such choices.
Already out in the light waiting to be spotted.
Nervous wiggling swords in the wings.
Say a few words, then she sings.
And in just a few minutes,
all hell breaks loose.
Literally.

Fire and demons and love-lust forgiveness.
Chased by heaven and angels
and everything else guilt invented.

Memorized moments.
Choreographed to look like chaos.
Words once wet ink spat out like cold coffee.
Like watermelon seeds. Like blood.

A reminder that more goes on inside each instant than any of us would care to admit.
That memory is mostly magic. And reality, despite being neither a game or a toy,
can still be an appropriate thing to play around with.

A thing to end all things.

Wake to thoughts of Armageddon; a dissatisfying end to all things.
The thoughts that follow eerie revelation.
The broke-nature an event of this sort brings.
Carried to our doors. Sat heavy in sore hands.
The last of wanting nothing but more, finally.
Alive with the world. Not living off the land.

Leapt to make up a big frightening word for an ending.
Sunk chins rested depressed against fists, dented into chairs,
sad angry about a bitter name for a new beginning.

Creation, myth, confusion. Not a clear dramatic term, like Armageddon.
The end of things, rings and binding shackles, food and the plate
and the servant of a spoon, gone, with shoes, clothes altogether,
with pillows stuffed by bird’s feathers, life, in some weak sense,
a thing, an object, beaten broken, thoroughly germinated,
and dead, disappeared, alongside fears, hopes, joys,
alongside tiered mountainous buildings and cloud crowns
forming powerful arches and then torn apart.

Armageddon.

A thing to end all things, or perhaps, things in general.
Not a conclusive end to all, but just one damned divisive wall,
tall built between people and places and the things we brought along.
Certainly these objects are not you. Or me, which would mean,
as sure as hell, parts of ourselves are tossed out in the trash.
Organs and resources external, external only to imagination.
An ego let go returns like a loyal dog, dead squirrel in its jaws,
a bribe, alive, to live like you own your world, preyed to hunt for,
played with the lifeless limp bodies of things you twirled, hurled,
threw away uneaten whole, apart from the shallow signatures of teeth.

No use, no purpose. To king mentality it is right to never be wrong.
Devour weak to feed strength, guilt, regret, these real emotions,
leftovers from a more sentimental time.
This is the era of the sentiphysical.
You and all others must keep your heads on. Awake.

Armageddon. The end of living for your own sake.
A world no longer your reward.
All things destroyed. And gone.
Nothing left in the world, yours.