lift off

the shower’s a warm blanket
but the cold lives in my spine
if only i could see
then i wouldn’t be so blind

tell me i’m not fine
tell me not to cry

the president’s a virus
and my family is the host
they pull all of their pants down
to get lashed by the holy ghost

castigate my mind
tell me that i lie

my father is a rapist
and my mother cries all day
the sun dances in the window
but has nothing much to say

i’m starting to unwind
i’ve nothing but the time

let up
lift off

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weeping at the visage of our glorious leader

be wary those that are born
into this prison
and straighten your spine
and look forward
for all eyes belong
to the great gods of hell
who filled walls
with your dead brethren
and covered them in
the faces of their family

eat love and pray
under their holiness, I say
although
it may pick at your soul
to do so
the sun will shine on
endlessly
but men can
block your view.

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

air is a gas

walking in circles picking off dead skin

trying to stay alive

we ask big questions of ourselves

like what do i WANT?

until we forget how the sun feels

and why we need it.

discovered 2

inspire my
pencil fingers
to trace your
crooked spine

write stories that
never resolve
that we both hate them
should be enough

lay ruin to topsoil

dig for something

underneath

that never

Billy

Billy lost his thirties
To hard drugs and cheap booze
And a wife that didn’t love him

He lost his money because
He couldn’t stop himself
When the crack-pipe came around
And besides, the boys on Cork street
Always treated him right

Billy lost his stride to gas station food
And he lost swagger to head trauma

He even lost his luck on pawn

And now he’ll lose his forties
To the tumor that’s growing
In the roof of his mouth
But he’ll never lose that look in his eye,
not that horrible broken one.

Not til the day he dies.

if time could travel backwards part 6

I would knock you over
before your new soft skin
ever touched the fire

I would let you slide
when you needed to
even if I hated it

Instead of snapping back
or head-butting
I would take more hits
more stoically,
I would take your lashing
with much more grace

But later when your skin was tough
I’d let you take your scrapes head-on
without an unsolicited word,
with all the fury of a desert storm

Fury there would be

And I would hope and wish and dream
that when a cold-front came in
you would thrash beyond it’s milding

You would burn bright forever

and sometimes I would light my torch with yours

If I could make time travel backwards
and make you whole and even
I’d give you everything I could.

Everything.

Summer Cold

It’s the cough that kills me.

‘Too warm for this.’ I think
to myself out loud as the shiver
sets deep in to my bones
– just for a moment –
as the crickets chirp
just outside my window.

This old blanket serves
just as good as new
for to swaddle me up
and keep me warm in this
65-degree-Fahrenheit night

And I lay awake wheezing
and wiping clear snot
on to the back of my hand
until it’s saturated enough
to flail to find my kerchief
– an old cotton T-shirt
that I’d already worn.

The chirping seems to swell
with the unconscious chatter
of my arms and guts – and
everything, as far as I
can tell – and it would
fade again, I’m sure,
if not for this headache.

‘Ain’t it just the way?’
I yell to the uncaring crickets,
‘Sore throat in the middle
of Goddamn June!’

It’s the cough, though,
the stupid fucking cough,
that gets me every time.

Datestamp

I think I think the world of you.

Unpaid parking tickets resting
in a drift of melting snow.

I think I want you to get
what you think you want.

Every moment lined up
in a digital calendar
in someone else’s database.

I think I think I love you.

Analog clocks
clicking every second
overhead.

I want you to get
what you think you want.

‘Art is never completed;
only abandoned.’

I love you.

The sun comes up
six hours sooner
than it seems that it ought.

Worlds are visible
from orbit.

like math or gravity

the summer is hot but there
is no winter in wichita
because like in all parts
of existence you get what
you pay for i came here
to skirt the laws but as
it turns out they are strict
like math or gravity

the ant trap

at what point do
you know
that it is poison
that you are
eating?

you stupid bug

that smelled
your way here
as you were born
to do
looking for
something sweet
to take a little
for your
infinitesimal
self

while the lion’s share goes to your master

it was i who put that poison there,
you bastard!

for you and your kin
because it
disturbs me
to see you
i am repulsed
by the
very site
of you

you should know better
than
to be soft
and dumb

and fall for an easy trap
placed
conveniently
within your
reach

on 27

your bed is broken

and ants crawl across your desk

900 miles and 20 years

compensating for the earth’s spin

you do not move to see them

if something is not in it for you

just like the ants

when you go outside they are

there, too

the sunlight hides

all the terror in the night

that is still around you

peter pan

you’re not even the shadow
of peter pan
said the old man
as time stood still
in the place where you
wake up and are not sure
if you’re still asleep
and he lifts you
a bloated codfish, you
off the ground with just
the one hand, that
of an old pirate
and the other a hook
while you look around
frantically and feeling helpless and lost because no one
knows you here, anymore

are you
peter pan?
or are you
peter panning?

last night you remember
leaning on the balcony
drunk on whisky
or nostalgia
your childhood dreams crushing
under the weight of you
a bloated codfish, you
so maybe you jumped
or maybe you fell
or maybe you flew
off the balcony
t’ward
the second star to the right
until morning
maybe you woke up a changed
man whom saved his children and
the whole neverland from
the scourge of the adults
the pirates
the hook

are you
peter pan?
or are you
peter panning?

but you fell
and didn’t get up
another apparent suicide
round christmas time

being white is to wish to never have been born at all

being white is to wish
to never have been born at all

it is necessary
to apologize

to defer all understanding
of real suffering

being white is to be wrong
and to grovel in apology

to be born a foreigner
bereft of origin

on stolen land
with borrowed time

inheriting bloody tools
meant for laziness

being white is to be guilty
by association

of placing guilt
by assocation

on those guilty
of associating

with your father’s
brown brother

neither of whom
anyone has ever
met.

i am now exactly how i was…

i am now exactly how
i was in 2005
gripping a metal bar
my face flushed
with fear as i rush
toward the horizon
of sandusky
atop other metal bars
that drop you
and pick you up
before you fall
but the difference is

we ride the back
of a falling dinosaur
crying “there must
be more”
all billions of us at once
locked in by nihilistic
tribalistic
denial

you tell me symmetry is
overrated
as i even my bill out
tipping the waiter
finally finding out
face flushed and
terrified
that my death
is the unremarkable
kind

rubatosis

at 12 am you notice the sound
of your own heart beating
teeth rotting out of your head
you decide not to sleep tonight
and get high instead

you’re in love with a dead horse
these glasses cost you a million dollars
what do you do with your own time
but say what’s all been said?

are you your own fucking body?
is your body fucking you?
are you going to waste our fucking time here?
do you know what means what to you?

you make me feel like the bad guy

you make me feel like the bad guy
like i’m not good enough
you want me to lick your shoes
it’s fucked up that you keep asking
you pretend that it’s not fucked up
that you keep asking
everyone knows it’s fucked up,
but you keep asking
like i’m not good enough
you make me feel like i’m the bad guy
like i’ve still got something to prove
like being a failure isn’t bad enough
you make me feel like the bad guy
and like i’m not up to your standards
but you couldn’t care less about me
and it’s fucked up that you keep asking
for me to lick your shoes
i know that i’m not good enough
to be a friendly fucking robot
and i wish i didn’t care
i wish i didn’t feel like the bad guy
and my life wasn’t all fucked up
i am building a home at the
base of the mountain
because i couldn’t make my way up
please don’t visit me there.

yours is a selfish war

you rush forward
in simple straight lines
bayonets readied to
receive the deathly gasps
of your fellow country-men
of your enemy
and after
you close your eyes
and bury it sharply
into their chest
you look back
desperately for some type of
approval and see nothing
but a general
atop a horse
yawning

on wichita, ks

wichita is a pretty crack whore
who was cool in high school, once
but now an addict
selling her self and begging

as i sit with her on a street corner
before the winter when kansas
has warm fall breezes that travel
far across the empty plains
we talk sarcastically about
old inside jokes shared between
normal high school friends
but i won’t leave here without her crying
and begging me for change
and if i refuse
offering to sell me ass

it’s the oil running through
her veins that makes her cheap
and desperate

Nobody Tells You How Long It Takes

Every now and then it hits me
like a kick in the teeth

The stinging will pass, sure enough
but the ache and soreness eeks on
for hours afterward

then I’ll go a week, let’s say,
and everything will be just as good
as it could be, considering

but then the truth, like a startled mule
will stop suddenly in front of me
and out it’s hind leg will spring

Luckily my lip never seems to split
nor does anything seem to pop loose

But my jaw has been consistently stiffer,
these days,
and my gums are stinging real bad now,
that’s for sure