I have tied my mind To the seagulls. Memory Flocks along the dock digging Into some discarded thing Then jump into sky. I don’t know why I did this. Now I see them crowding The sidewalk. Even as I step They barely move, half-hearted Retreat towards the grass. Barely an entity in their eye, Just a shadow smoothly passing Their window. Not even offended That I did not drop something More than can be theirs. Just a strained metaphor As I continue walking, their voices Crowding the blue air.
Written for this year’s A-Z Challenge. Today’s song that inspired this is “Half Joking” by Charles Rumback and Ryley Walker.
Today, I wrote another poem, Sincerely and purely from the self, But it barely breathed and spoke Only in shadow until it rested Like overused coal.
This is why I steal, not to be A great artist, but to offer something To these poems. Otherwise, I would have to pull words From each of the moments That live within, moments That only lecture and fail To move. Yes, I will steal From a life I didn’t earn Instead of watching this poem Tumble onto the dust And curl into wind.
Written for this year’s A-to-Z Challenge. “C” is for “Church on White,” a song by Stephen Malkmus. This poem was inspired particularly by the lyrics “And the truth / I only poured you / Half a life”.
Even his shadow has slipped away. This sun-tossed creature, a clawing Against arid brightness, had no dream Beyond the confines of thirst. The mechanics Of sky, the subtle throngings of earth, All characteristics of a plan That the poor thing senses as it pulls. It pulls. But we have to take The vulture-view. We watch As the hungry speck begins silence, And joins the infinite fixture that a name No longer claims.
I’ve shrugged off another sun. I’ve let the colors loosen From the trees. The sky, A shape with no words. But at least there is my bed Which leases a voice, An imagery where something Can be housed. I can walk Through brightened fields, Revisit another’s gaze Long dissolved by the wind. And when I awaken, a new sun Fingering dust, the dream Will run away, but I will remain With a feeling bound to my warmth. My eyes barely open, my body Softly curled like unused thread.
I’m getting tired of death. It’s taken a few friends, Claimed some family as its own, And I often see it breathing Through the stems of flowers, Letting them stiffen and yellow.
It’s a burden. It’s an irritant. It’s hard to organize the soul When night taps your glass With gluttonous eyes. It’s an invasive beast, squirming Inside every painting, swimming Through every dull word. It’s taken a whole culture.
But I’ll be glad once it finally takes me. I won’t have to see its uncomely face Anymore. My eyes will stiffen, But my blood and liver will finally calm, And everything will be veiled, Freed from an annoying gaze.
Over here, piled beneath The August glare, distant shapes Sweating into desert–you don’t get the sense That they were assembled here, But rather tossed into the valley. Puddle of rebar and concrete, Mobile homes and strip malls. Your shadow closes-in, Floating among the dim faces Of office buildings. Traffic Voices the air. The crow barely moves As you step over the curb.
Not everything needs Shape or plan. Like this Poem. It’s just a movement Like the rest of humanity. You slink down the alleyways. Maybe there was some intent In the founding of this place, But it is unseen, or buried
The hot air still finds you. Your shadow moves in Floats among paled faces.
This being human is a wandering Across this strange country you have No use for.
The landscape glows The dimmest green-grey. The sun has walked away But you still lurk in its road Chambered by fog.
Many other faces have wandered, Seen by the leafless black trees, Searched the light gathered In long puddles. You have been here too.
This being human is a wandering Across this strange country that has No use for what you have lost, But there is a knowing hemmed To your skull that the path has A certain end, and one day You will see its hand emerging From the fog, waiting for what You have found.
The lowest words Prowling the dark grasses Where the sun no longer sees
Another face discards itself Ash swept across the hill
I saw my soul running towards me With pitchfork. I rushed down the street, Slipped into an alleyway, hoping to disappear. But I was still able to hear its angry words That spiraled around me. Angry. The words are still There in the windows, in the eyes of dead Picture frames. But words are useless Clawing each step like a shadow.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
A dead fly once spoke to me, Hissed a black language. It said quite flatly that living things Don’t matter. And the dead Aren’t much more significant. Then it listed its final observations, Repeating: “It is cold. It is cold. Surrounding. A grasp larger Than thirst.” No one felt Sad for this fly as it swirled And decomposed into water. The other flies did not notice. The grass did not moan. The distant cars and planes Have their own issues, Their own worlds too large For a fly. But a dead fly Is not too small for this poem.
I hope I don’t become Someone else’s memory. I would be fine as a dead fly, An annoyance that can never Harm again. Let every touch, Every word I’ve inflicted Spin and fragment Into water, tinier than dead Wings, further anonymized.