The Journal

A thieves’ cache of crimes
golden & dripping
casts a Macbeth of light and shadow
over the walls of a cave –
a tragedy of condensation,
slumping down the stones,
a haunt of superstition
in the dead and dampened air.
My own cache of confessions
to crime & fear & love
every hair-like crack I fill
with dripping, dramatic droplets
secret hatreds, and gold
are draining through the walls,
with fears both fresh and old,
I am filtered through the stone.

Screen

Familiar frame, and someone else’s tale,
tell me – is it the soldier you bolster,
is it the king? delight is the poster
that touts destruction and hails
the Lie: we all are image only,
the empty frame for someone else’s story.

The Desert Isle

Upon the ocean surface blue,
there bobbed a lonely isle
beneath the cage of deserts dry
and no one there for miles.

Not one of us has never been
entrapped on desert isles;
they neither real nor dry may be
but lone as birds are keen.

The isle was trapped playing a game
of logic, stony tricks
the swash, backwash of ocean froth
eroded sandy bricks.

Upon the ocean, wild and free
entrapped, a lonely isle
the waves were tears, and tears were waves;
they froze into a pile.

Upon the solemn grieving stage

Upon the column of the stage
a script ensued by page and page
for all in line and dress but her
the backdrop passed, the lights did blur
and whirling like a tempest threw
the cast in shambles so they flew
the weary winds that pilot life
the stones of hail like crystal strife.
Upon the solemn grieving stage
a burden like a dying sage
did sink into her, as a glen
the one who held and used the pen.

“Bottoms Up”

Maybe there’s something poetic
at the bottom of the mug
where things mostly began
where I started measuring volumes,
a verse or two written
in milliliter marks
and the sparks
extinguished
by water gulped at midnight.

Maybe there’s a meaning
in the nursery rhymes
where things mostly dissolve
where I dissolved them in memory,
evidently smitten
by romance,
by nighttime
embellished
with roses at the rim.

Self-appointed, Defender

But you don’t know the hand that wrote these words,
its shape, its hue, or the blood it has drawn
upon, the fuel it needs to sail the tides
of life. But we don’t know so many things.
Not that there is a god, but we pray.
Not that there is an us, but ‘us’ we say.
But you fight by night on the world’s mock fort
bleed and bleed and bleed – ask pay for the blood.
But how do you know your side should live, or
if your hometown
could ever be your home?

Reading a Framed Love Letter

(A found poem using Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.)

Order I.

So much concentration
re-reading passages,
going over the lines
again and again.

Lack of intimacy,
like when you make a move
in chess, in a gun fight,
trying to tease out

our most marketable
stuff, charity shops, things
“I knew about . . . I’d found
it all out.” Our things.

We were passing through a
gateway, as if I was
in the front row of the
audience,

never even tried to
put anything in, like
an intermediary
stage, again and again.


Order II.

We were passing through a
gateway, as if I was
in the front row of the
audience.

Never even tried to
put anything in, like
an intermediary
stage, again and again.

So much concentration
re-reading passages,
going over the lines
again and again.

Lack of intimacy,
like when you make a move
in chess, in a gun fight,
trying to tease out

our most marketable
stuff, charity shops, things
“I knew about . . . I’d found
it all out.” Our things.

These Things

The flood wants to be on the other side
of every door, in these days, gurgling
with impatience on the porch.

I am one to make you wait, like the tide;
not every door is meant for opening, not
without a key.

The flood is sour milk in the drains,
sore for the door that refuses to give
with impunity.

Evidently – and the problem lies – herein
some things are meant to be kept private.

I evade its escapades for truth and shame;
under the floor suffices, for all the pains
of squeezing to hide within yourself.

The flood reflects the sun in broken swathes
sliced and strewn over the floor, thin ribbons
of disapproval.

I am one to make you wait, my friend;
not one to floor with pompadour
with convenience.

Therefore – and the logic follows – so:
these things are meant to be kept private.