Railing

I dreamed I was a Bangladeshi shipbreaker
toiling in the tropical salt air
with taut muscles and hard callouses
with cuts on hands and shoulders
with burns from oxy-acetylene flames

I worked on the deck of a broken ship
a behemoth with no back half
like a tuna with its tail removed
floating dead in the shallows
in a harbor with a hundred ships like it
on a sandy coast with no end

There were thousands of us working
stretching our rice-fed bodies in the heat
flattening tanks with mallets
taking torch to hull
glancing at the sea a hundred feet below

I was paid in cash each week
enough to buy a bit to eat
and pay for my worker’s flat
a room in a building off the dockyard
where the company provided one bed each
for only two-thirds a month’s wages

My brother died the week before
he was working a few ships down from me
tearing pipe from a plumbing run
pulling copper from rusted conduit
loading pump parts on a limping wagon

I was told it was eleven PM
that a chain had wrapped his ankle
that the other three men faltered
and dropped the bilgepump engine block
off a deck that had no railing

it had long been cut away

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estelle

a summer dream
we speak of love
in birdsong

do not poison
the air with your
“sentences”

do not focus your
“attention”

i would work a lifetime
for 5 minutes more

with her

I Must Have Been Dead Before Now

I would spend each night
dreamless, or at least
I did not know my dreams

or if I knew my dreams
they were dark dreams.
They were black ink
that washed across my world

Now I spend each night
dreaming, or at least
I know my dreams

They are wonderful dreams,
too; we are happy and
healthy and smiling

I think that I dream
the rest of the time now, too,
and before I must have been dead

The dead don’t dream so much,
I think, and this waking dream
so often makes me feel
like I’m dying

Questioned Idealism

What makes you happy?
What makes you you?
Follow your dreams
and you’ll be happy too!

And here I sit
at age thirty and three,
living my dream as a teen,
while often wanting to scream.

Is this what I wanted,
back as a teen?
Why did I not
dream bigger dreams?

Or why were my dreams
not made up of dollar signs,
carshousestvsboatsplanestrains,
things that are well worth my times?

Behind all these questions,
I know the answer quite well.
I do what I do because
I want to give a hell.

Everything Seemed Normal at the Time

After all, who doesn’t have their birthday party in the Pentagon?
Sean and I were partners as we colored espionage fish.
Cut them out with dull scissors, pasted them on the wall
Because then we’d get the tax break.
The trampoline we were on took to long to cross;
I didn’t feel as light as I should.
A few of us took pictures of the fish; no one could color very well.
We didn’t have time to asses our folly
Because that was when the eight thugs on rollerblades starting stealing presents
In the parking lot.
I knew one of them, his name was Lance.
He charged at me and I sidestepped under his swipe,
Grabbed his shirt and jabbed him in the neck.
Kevin punched another one and I tripped him as he reeled.
They ran, but I kept Lance’s shirt—it was a level nine.
The action must have been too much for Andrew though,
He kept screaming, ‘I’m going to freeze my dick! I’m going to freeze my dick!’
Your mom yelled at him not to,
But he peed in the misty corner of the room all by himself.
Outside was the beach and a verdant island.
Couldn’t visit though because Natalie wanted to leave and ran the other way.
There was a pathway between the valleys we were in with a barrier in the middle
That she couldn’t climb over,
Like when Ash tried to ride his bike over the miniature cliffs in Pokemon.
It was okay though,
Because Kenny quickly ran over and ate three circular holes through the barrier.
Natalie was still fat and couldn’t fit, so I think she went home.
The rest of us decided with her gone the next best course of action:
We spun in the sand.
Crowds joined and the tide came in.
When the waves were chest high, I saw the uniformed police officer,
He asked, “a little cold isn’t it?”
I told him it wasn’t that bad and climbed out of the lake,
The bear-sized teddy bear named Molly had been working
As a minimum-wage ranch hand all day
And we didn’t want to exploit the fact that he couldn’t swim.
His fur would get wet and then mold.
We went over to the truck rigs since we were in the industrial plant
And underneath a mountain of black trash bags we uncovered a duck suit.
The tall black guy with the mustache volunteered to wear it.
The farmer’s wife brought us eggs for breakfast and we ate them.
It would have been rude to tell her it was 28:02 o’clock.

deep in my ego

its like when they say it
they dont want me to even
try
my fight
i can only put up a fight
and fight for so long
before i have to quit trying
dedicating time and time and more
time
knowing what they say
dreams and fights
are bound inseparably
wound up wrapped
deep in our egos

i think it’s the brisk clean air i miss most of all. (hoping i wont one day reminisce about today’s reminiscence)

the sunshine reflecting from the snow
on a saturday with nothing to do
stale, repetitive breakfast spiced with chalula
i try not to stare at the pine needles
so much as to let you know they’re more beautiful
than our your conversation

and we stroll

its cold out, but too beautiful for anything save a t-shirt
my feet cool and dry in my shoes and a jacket
a little too tight
breathing the crisp air you talk about your guitar
your hopes for a band we both know will
never materialize

we pass over grass we know we’ll leave soon
and dream of a place better than this
(dirt made mud filled snow now slush)
knowing full well we’ll later dream dreams of this day
recalling the cool brisk air and the joy we feel
knowing we’re soon to be overcome
reminded we cannot beat the cold

more needles and pine trees and squinting through fall
the beauty of spring – the life of so many things
and the death of our shared plight
a place we’ve found so comfortable

balconies where we pledged to smoke at least one bowl
of vanilla black cavendish
friends we were sure would never fall in love
places we were sure we’d never leave
and times we were sure about which we’d never
reminisce