You can wrap my lifeless corpse
in any fucking flag you’d like
before you set it on fire
and roll it
in to your favorite lightless precipice,
Which I would guess to be your soul

I would start over at the beach
with my heart tied in to knots

But I would make every mistake
just the same way I made it the first time
except with a bit more certainty

Even though I would know
I was wrong

I spend time inside
my mind
where It’s as cold as I remember
but I can’t quite see
the ocean from where I sit
so I crane my neck
but I’m at the end
of my literal actual rope
and as sweat beads down my face
despite the frozen breeze
I forget all the love I’ve had
as my muscles bulge larger
and darkness overtakes me

And I know nothing here in this black
so I don’t care when the others come
to take me
even though I would fight
but there’s just no fight left in me
dead like this.

No-One Is Listening

May 30, 2015

You are a pirate transmitter in an ocean of unauthorized frequencies
that cascade together creating distortion and static

My receiver picks up on a stray, clear transmission every now and again
so I can piece together your path based on your current bearings and location

I know that you have undertaken a grueling course through dangerous waters
without the help of your officer, who left you and your few crew members for another ship

The most of it, though, is hissing noise washed out by other radios with bigger amps
and one day among the swirling interference, your signal will go cold

Maybe I will notice.
Maybe I will not.

But based on my most recent data
I will be forced to understand, unfortunately,
that you have drowned

And that none of us other broadcasters
had taken enough time from our programming blocks
to help you out at all

I would call your phone sometimes
hoping the voice-mail message
at least meant you had been alive
recently enough to pay this month’s bill

When it started to ring
to one of those robots –
an IVR they call them
in the telephone industry – my
sure-shot measurement method
went bust

Text-Messaging wouldn’t do, either;
There isn’t even a robot to give
the common courtesy of a senseless
fleeting hope in the first place

but every now and then I’d get a word
or two, and so at least I knew that
someone was still using your

Then it was 2015

and somehow, the telephone slash camera
that I carry in my left-front pocket
started swapping stories with yours

Then, not just spare characters or
a pre-recorded speech, but real
actual photos would appear to me,
for only a moment, as if in a dream

Rather often, you are very nearly smiling

So now I am glad that, so far as my
millesimal view of your days can show,
you are well

but I wonder
if I had dreamt you,
all along

With burns and scars
to prove it

Then I’d have my own stories
and wouldn’t have to borrow
so many of yours

the problem with fighters
though, is they have to
keep fighting,
even when they’re burned

or scarred

or scared

or tired

even when it’s hard to think straight,
let alone to keep fighting,
because that’s just what a fighter does

so even though some of those stories
start off rough,
and even though some of them really
end badly,
and even though the best ones
are still tragic in their way

I wish I was a fighter like you

Not about a walkabout skeleton
in a black robe, with a threshing blade
or a plague or a sickness
or a rock-and-roll band

This is about the feeling
that washes over you
as you stand in a room
while another human being
struggles to keep blood pumping
through their veins
even though everyone knows
they should be gone by now

This is that stone in your gut
as you hang up the phone
from hearing the news: someone
whom you loved very dearly
had wrapped a strong rope
about their neck and throat
and tightened it somehow
until they were no longer breathing

Here, now, the dizziness that comes
when you remind yourself
that the phone number you were dialing
no longer connects

Here, the pain of knowing that
nothing you can do can
bring somebody back,
so it’s too late for some things
and all the apologies you owe
will have to go unsaid

This is a poem about death
and it is not romantic
because there is no romance in death

It is not beautiful,
there is no beauty in it either

it is dark and cold
and it is sad

This time will be different

Just like every other time was

The screws are to me, now

I can feel them on my forehead

and my finger-tops

and just in to my spirit

so I will try to erase a decade of knowing better

I will understand that late is better than never

but I will know that late is failure, too

These screws will make sure I don’t forget

And with each long breath
I suck them down,
spiraling down my rasped gullet
to my pulsing, flexing guts

These spirits chill me completely,
to the center of my very bones,
and I only hope I give them
any warmth at all,
for all their trouble

I think of threshing out
a new life in a jungle somewhere

where you only worry about
Dengue and venomous

The parking fines are low

Near non-existent,
I would guess

Of course,
so is the parking

I wish to go a-sailing
and ride high tides and
low swells while the ship
I cling to dearly sways
to and fro and port and

while I stare down deep
through the roiling froth
and flashing wash I
would start to know
that my wit and strength
and even my love is an

as my muscles tense and
my eyes begin to water
I will understand
between a great blue sky
and a great green sea
how absolutely
I am

then the angels would glance
down, and so, ‘Look at my ship!’
I would say

but they would glance
away from me, again

because absolutely paltry
is an overstatement, too
among these crashing waves


August 22, 2014

When I was younger
than I am now,
I’m sure I was a fool.

I am sure of it
for I have fooled myself
for some time,
it seems.

So I guess I’d like to say
that I’m sorry
if I ever worried you
but I meant every word
that I said,

and I know that,
words are scary.

So I see you now
through the proverbial
windows of a proverbial
ice cream parlor

and you’re on the other side
and you’re walking fast
and I’m happy for us both, I think;
I went driving hours ago
and you’re not stuck
behind the register

Rider on the Storm

July 9, 2014

Last February
I saw a man in a top-hat
ride a tornado through the center of town

It was quite a spectacle
and if I wasn’t so sure we were real
I’d have chocked it up to a most excellent
CGI program

He rode out the other end of town
after just a few moments of his
monumental display,
knocking over garbage cans and even
tearing the soft roof from a parked
sports car

He was cackling with glee while
my friends and I stood and watched
and whistled through our teeth saying
Boy, I wish that was me right now.

So after your tenth straight day
coughing and burning and
you realize you forgot how to sleep

That’s when it hits you
all at once. That’s when you realize
you’re hardly fit to be tied

Not worth the trouble to be troubled,
the commitment to be committed.

You are useless.

A wretch on the street
like a whale in a desert,
like a terrified monkey flailing
in an infinite sea

Except you’re too tired
to be terrified. You can’t even swim.

All the more useless.

Don’t Stop Believing

May 22, 2014

I bleed like everyone,
of this I am certain,
and I am glad it is true;
I know that some rules
that apply to every other
man to come before me
also apply to myself

I know, as such, that time
is constant and that
life is finite and that
some things don’t work out
and that good men die sometimes
and bad ones run forever

and I know that I
will soon run out of days
to say I am a young man

And that’s not so bad
but it also means I’m
running out of days
for every other thing

accidents happen
people die
and there’s nothing
we can do about it

If you’re reading this
please don’t forget
to live a little

Some folks
never get
the luxury

There are stories
every so often
of men of some repute perpetrating
activities of some high measure
with a bit of money spent here
and pomp applied here
and circumstance ignored
or embraced or talked up or
so on or so forth so that
the meek and bewildered
keep their eyes wide
at all that money
and all that pomp
and fail to fathom that
circumstances here are
just not the same in China,
the oil in their rivers, though,
will reach our seas eventually

Lest We Forget

February 10, 2014

And when they gunned you down
with your friend on the phone
I hope you knew why they sought to
shred your flesh with bullets

and I’m glad to hear you were rent
so you yourself could rend no more,
that the red poured freely from each
puncture and tear, that your eyes
rolled back and your fingers twitched,
still clutching that toy gun of yours

and I’m sure your heart was black
and half-dead, anyway. And I’m sure
that your soul was as empty as
a six-lane freeway in Southern Pyongyang

Bloodletting (I’m sorry)

January 20, 2014

So it was a cold dark January in Michigan
as they often are and we
would pull together for warmth every
now and then and I would consider you
and I think you would consider me, also

While the cars screamed down the avenues
and gangs of howling young-adults roved
to and fro before your otherwise relatively
peaceful abode I tried to steel myself
from the knives you would find

The lacerations always sting a bit but
they usually heal quickly enough with
a lot of pressure and
a little bit of time but they cut
somewhat deeper than they look sometimes,
those knives of yours

Sometimes while nursing a particularly
gruesome slice I would be speechless,
though I never mean to keep you waiting
and I want you to know that I won’t bleed out
and I need you to know that I’m sorry

Sometimes during these long cold Januarys
I know you have your own wounds to clean
because it’s still cold and dark here in Michigan
and I find plenty of my own knives, too.

I no longer chase ghosts
through a wasteland of slow-
loading forum pages or a
frigid sea of unreliable chat
applications but some nights
when I sit up (half as late
as I once did) I can not help
but wonder what became
of all the ghosts I left behind

‘Everyone’s heart is leaking’
she said, as she looked at me sideways

but all I heard was we were all destined for nothingness
that everyone is dying all of the time

A television showed a horror on it’s screen
while a strange instrument emitted dulcet tones

But the pain in my stomach was tightening
and my heart beat faster and my ears rang out and

Everything spun in the darkness
Or that’s how I felt, at any rate

She did not seem so concerned however
still jamming her wand in to my chest

so I laid still like I was instructed previously
imagining my heart as it undoubtedly leaked out


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