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
too

Sometimes
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

And in the perfect chill evenings
of this little city I am happy
And maybe the happiest man on
this little green Earth and
I don’t know much about anything
really but I know how it feels
when I breathe in this perfect
chill evening and this little city
keeps on singing it’s catchy
little song

Music in the Afternoon

November 12, 2013

I sit in warm light
and a draft like ice
cuts through me

The man on the stereo
he never stops playing
even when the temperature
drops

Oh to be trapped in
an entertainment center,
and worry not about
the world at all

To the boys and everyone

October 28, 2013

Roads run red in New York City
or so I hear from time to time
on various news-stations speaking
over stereos and PAs in public
houses and restaurants

But here I sit at 25 years
and I’ve played a few parties for
guests who I knew would never
arrive but those times were the
hardest that I’d ever played

And blood in streets doesn’t
scare me, much, but bodies in
boxes bother me more than I’d
really care to admit right now

And I want to sing a lot of songs
but none of them really say
all the right words in just the
right order

So this sappy poem will have to do

Day 6: Trap Falls

October 3, 2013

Following a dull roar
halfway up a mountainside

We don’t finish but
we don’t keep going
either

That water would cure
anything, I’m certain

Day 5: Copper Harbor

October 2, 2013

Lights are out and
none of us are home

Rocks for beaches and
the General Store for
everything
else

Superior really is

Day 4: Lake in the Clouds

October 1, 2013

You can not go up forever
without first going down
forever

You can see forever,
though,
when you get to the top

Beauty is absolutely lake-deep

Day 3: Ontonagon

September 30, 2013

Toes in ice in fire in front of
the great Superior Sea and
all the stars are smiling just like
I was told they would

Stones cut so violently to and from,
but there will be no stopping

This is how we settle ourselves,
after all

Day 2: Marquette

September 29, 2013

We sink forever
in to the threads of a stranger’s bedding

We will set the sheets back
as we found them

We hope they will never know

Day 1: Mackinaw

September 27, 2013

Huron whispers in my ears
though I can not understand her

I will listen nonetheless

A siren is a terrible thing to waste

Swear to God

September 27, 2013

I will fight everything
tooth and nail come
Hell or high water
by pen or sword
or just that laser-point
stare that I get
when the cards are
on the table

Oh, and if I die
in a pool of blood
or a pile of guts
or a floundering heap
of real intention,
I hope I at least
keep my shoulders square
enough

And I hope I always know
that my mother loves me

Is life summarized in empty soda cans
or stacks of boxes of fine old clothes or
the silences of long car rides after funerals
and tragedies? In movie quotes? In filing cabinets
in debt collector’s offices?

You are a book with a table of contents
and and an index in the back
and your best friend indexed a lot of it,
for you, until he got bored and did other things.

Then you spent your time with a beautiful woman
or an electric guitar or
both, but neither for long enough
and so your reference notes grew more confusing
but less meaningful, really, with
every passing day.

Now you tend bar in a seedy town
and the money is pretty good and you haven’t
seen what’s her face in years but who gives a shit.
Your guitar was sold at someone else’s rummage sale
last January.

There isn’t much fight in you these days
and you pour as much for yourself as for
everyone else, though you haven’t had soda in months
now.

The cans are still scattered near the kitchen door.

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