Half Joking – A-Z Challenge

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.

Church on White – A-Z Challenge

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”.

A New Thing Joins

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.


Written for The Daily Spur. Photo by Vista Wei (weista)

A Concession

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.

A Nuisance

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.

Wanderer

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.

Being

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.


Written for dVerse Poets Pub for Tuesday Poetics.

Some Poems

Apology

The lowest words
Prowling the dark grasses
Where the sun no longer sees

Now Untitled

Another face discards itself
Ash swept across the hill



Introspection

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.

Ambition

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

  • Mary Oliver

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.