If Time Could Travel Backwards Part 7

poetry

All the money in your pocket
for a brand new ’79 Ford truck
with custom ordered everything
with a radio that wails
nearly as loud as the gasoline motor
burning rubber beneath a Carolina moon
You’ve been drinking a little
and so has the man to your left
but you get home safe regardless
and didn’t hurt that truck of yours
as it sits rusting in the driveway
just like it has
For decades
It’s 2017
and you haven’t seen your oldest son in 4 years

Billy

poetry

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

poetry

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

poetry

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.

Cold Patches

poetry

I am a considerate sort,
I promise myself.

Shuffle papers quietly
ignore shouting next door

We’ve all got to be mindful
while the tough parts get sorted

I don’t want to do any sorting.

The wind blows through the old sill
near where I lay my head most nights

sometimes my nose is cold
when I wake up to use the restroom

When I come back, I just tuck deeper
in to the blanket that I keep
in spite of differences of opinion.

The rest of my home is warm, I guess,
except for 5AMs with eyes wide open

ceiling fan spinning above
a recently interrupted dream

It isn’t a very bad one
but it always makes me feel bad
anyway

Datestamp

poetry

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.

Water Poem

poetry

Pools are fine to tarry in
until the weather cools
and you are forced to drain it
half-of-the-way down
and add a mix of special chemicals
and wrap the top with a thick
taught tarp until springtime

The river becomes quite attractive
should you have a proper vessel
and though the ice won’t form
so heavily to stop your cut
the cold will be close to unbearable
at times, and there is always
the fear of rough rocks and
hard current and capsize

I think I’d like to brush up
on my sea-faring bends and shanks

The pool was perfect, after all,
for learning how to swim

Almost North of Town

poetry

It is early in the season

The leaves have slowly begun
to turn and fall and scatter

You cut a fine form in this
chill, half-covered moonlight

You don’t want to hurt anyone
(you don’t make any promises)

I mention I have toughness in spades
(you assure me I do not)

When we turn back down the trail
I am not cold or uncomfortable

(but I shake sleep from one leg)

When we return from the trail
I think we are both smiling

It is early in the season,

after all

Do you know what your problem is?

poetry

You do not understand passion

So, when it overtakes you,
you feel as if you are crazy
and you became disgusted
in your uncontrol

Then you make up reasons
that you hate yourself
and you sit quietly on a sofa
with the television loud enough
to dull your senses

and you wait for every feeling
that you do not understand
to slip away from you,
not realizing that they
are what could save you
all along

the ant trap

poetry

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

peter pan

poetry

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

poetry

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…

poetry

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

poetry

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

poetry

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.

And you were ready for me this time

poetry

But your smile and laugh
were as sweet as my memory
had ever over-exaggerated

You were the bullet-point
at the beginning of the word
‘beauty’

You shined bright enough
for me to shade my eyes
but not so bright to blind me

And You were ready to say
what you had to say
when I did just the same

And I’m not sure
that I’ll ever be ready for you

yours is a selfish war

poetry

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