(The) Untitled

No need to design a title
for a poem never to be
read. Could say these words
are already dead–but I won’t.
Yet they’re not living either.
They move slightly down
the road, they open
and close the doors.
But because of that they will
never be gleaned by you or me.

You can’t name every sigh,
or sing every sun, or hold
every empty hand. But I guess
an empty hand still has
its place. Maybe as a reminder
of why such things need to be
filled.

Your Part

Sell another echo.
Slap a new name
to the tired void snatched
by cavern walls. A little
voice that once built
a language, now wisps.
Trickle it into the limpest
lines, sell them, and allow
the voice and them to dim.


Written for #vsspoem on Twitter.

Youth

They are sacred, the bones
we slip into earth. Parents,
grandparents, others.
The dead are our most
precious selves, cannot be
touched. Sealed, shelved.

But after a while
we can plumb one or two
out. Take a gander. No longer
people now. Just a place
to gather gaze, to frame a past
with hanging bones
in yet another exhibit.

Yesterday I buried you.
For a few years you will be
sacred like your neighbors.
One day I will be sacred
–and then no longer.
(Now I see some bones
locked into light,
a professor lecturing
about my femur
as some others nod.)
Maybe we will be paved
beneath a park, little shoes
knocking near our ribs.
There is only so much
land to fit the dead.
Some faces will be
forgotten, some names
and dates will crumble
into grass. Even the sacred
things will fade in the shade,
but I’m still not-sealed
and not-shelved and have
to move away from you
at least for today.

Greater Thing

The worm pierces its own
ceiling, emerging
from its carapace of earth–
but then there’s the sky
which is so open, a maw,
and the water falls
with the suddenness of feet.
None of these things are
for you. Be on the cusp
of some great thing
below instead.


Written for #vssdaily on Twitter.

Inner Success

For years I dwelled in the cool
mouth of my room. Walled
the windows, neutered
the lamps, deported all
the candles, and started
sleeping on the floor.
But when your eyes returned
their glow and knocked
against this dark, I said,

“No. No thank you. I can
be a mediocre lover.
But my expertise rises
elsewhere. I handle
the world’s saddest
words, make speeches
to the shadow, give
the space between stars
a role. Why are you still
here? I only have one world.”

And now the years
slip against the walls.
The words have no use
for a vulture no longer
hungry. But, at least
I did things upon things.
You will never know.

End of an Act

Today I made sure the sky
twisted into brightened noose.
A shadow draped across
every window, the people
faded into noise then silence.
The stars made their exit.
Small things following
their cues.

And I stood before the grow
of the sun, and fell
into bow.


Written for #vsspic on Twitter.

Night Searching

Walking into the dimly-lit narrow
paved within, a cliched thing
bumbles from its crumbling
dark then sways on the broken
walk before me.

Metaphors grope for coherence
among themselves, and words
are guttered with green and brown.
Abandoned phrases smile
with shadows surrounding.

Windows eye each step,
my mind moves beneath
these yellowed mouths of street lamps.
I let the air’s stagnant pulse pull me
again to the alleyway, puddled
with the spittle of cheap rhetoric.

There used to be
uniformed men here, maintaining
their beat, shooting the unmetered
children back into their unsaid dens.
Now creatures teeth the air.

I search the dumpsters and the pockets of peddlers
presenting their tired word choices and bad
enjambments. Why do I let myself
return to the rhythms of this road?
I’m finished with this night. I claw
through the unfinished songs dripping
from balconies, pockets full
of begging, and brush beyond
the cliched thing standing
like a half-eaten star.


Written for Reena’s Xploration Challenge #191.

Letting the Self Go

There was nothing wise about it,
Being alone in a breathless room
With hands holding distance.

There was nothing wise about it,
Tossing my face into the green
Eye of a creek, pawning-off
My shadow.

There was nothing wise about it,
Letting memory wander away.


Written for #FromOneLine on Twitter.

Unwitnessed

A nobody entered the diner the other day. He sat, ordered a coffee, and sat. No one really talked to the nobody. Maybe everyone forgot he was there. Or maybe they had nothing to say to someone who wasn’t there. And then he left, I think. I mean, when I looked he was no longer there. Maybe I saw him leave earlier, but simply hadn’t noticed. Or maybe he phased into the air. That happens sometimes, I hear.

I’m glad I’m not a nobody. I have a family and a wife. And I have friends who are very fond of me. And when I go out, people sometimes talk to me, and notice when I need something. However, there is always that fear. I can see myself waking-up one morning, and my wife recognizing me, but almost barely, as if something had slipped out from my eyes. And she would just shrug. A love no longer. And my kids staring at me, and then looking away from me. No longer caring. No longer obeying or curious about my day. And then I would just walk into the background of everyone’s lives, a mere placeholder like the plainest tree or fixture.

But, I have a name, and eyes that hold something that people can see. And I can walk into a diner, order a coffee, and sit, but still be there. I can have moments that belong to me. And I can also hurt people. Experience consequences. Be loved or reviled. And see the ripples from my touch. The most a nobody can do is retain a shadow, or be servant to a thought such as this one. But beyond that, the nobody is already gone, alive or dead. You and I, however, are.


Written for the Word of the Day Challenge.