Poems

An Old Woman of Arles

though once
her hair was wild
it is now tamed
seeking refuge from
a long life
in the sanctuary
of a black bandana

her eyes sunken in
like great ships
set ablaze
in the starry night
beneath her eyebrows
like clouds
that dissipate
slowly through time

her wrinkles have
formed like drylands
under the salt water crusades
of lovers above her
long gone
onward to other women
other lives
and down the stairs
six feet beneath the
ground

there is no symmetry
left to her face
there is no falsity
of balance
of give and take
of war and peace
just the residue
of what lost
and what was won

she stares
at the artist
like she is staring
at god
like she stares out
into the great void
that hovers over her
small bed
the great void
that comes whistling
out of her teapot
the great void
that consumes
not only the old woman
but the artist as well
but youth

he does not know
that when he stares out
at the old woman of arles
that he stares into
himself
but god
does he know
how to paint
a self-portrait.

'An Old Woman of Arles' by Vincent Van Gogh. 1888.

You Are Not a Flower

you are not a flower.

you do not rise
from the soil
like some dandy little
spark of life

you are not
overflowing
with green vanity

you just are.

when spring hits

you do not bloom

you do not rise up

from the cold winter

to burst forth into
some spectral showcase
of expressionistical color

you are not some
kaleidoscopic
manifesto

you are not
in constant competition
with the bright roses
around you

you are not
in constant praise
of the sun

your tongue is not
held out before you
drinking in
the ultraviolet rays
you’ve been fed

you do not
think of your roots
as being for
gathering life
into your body
like stranger prayer

you are not a flower.

you bloom inward
you burn circles
in your living room rug

trying to find
unidentified life lying
in the widening crack
of your ceiling

you lick the salt
from your wounds
and watch your hands
swell

you waste days
you boil water into boredom

you’ve torn your roots
from the bureaucratic soil
of bureaucracy

lifted
your two-dimensional legs
from the blueprint
they laid out for you

and you’re not always
so beautiful

you don’t have
the distinct privilege
of a best laid plan

you are something else

seedless
fruitless
without petals

you dance best drunk
and to heavy metal

you are not a flower.

you are the crayon
that walked to the edge
of town
and outside of the lines

and when you bloom
it’ll be in the middle of winter
in the middle of the night
and you will not bloom delicate

you my dear
will bloom fists and fury

From Stupid Flowers

 

He Fired His Gun

He fired his gun, and his entire body was overcome with power.

He was enraged to find the strength he’d always imagined he wielded
but never had the proof of.

Staring down firmly at his hands
his fingers crawling inward into grip
he saw the hand of god before him.

I am become predator,
swallower of entire oceans in the face of drought.

For now,
I know the merciless face of divinity
as that of natural disaster
and that which I now manifest myself to be.

He quaked at the fire of his own gun,
as in the ripples of the last lake he saw before him the face of Narcissus,
he who refuses to believe the truth about himself.

Enter the Cartoon Bluebirds

oh god dammit
enter the cartoon bluebirds
enter me skipping through green fields
eyes closed turned upward to the sun
soaking in the thick mushy grossness
of love

enter the sleeplessness
enter the constant churning thoughts
of the idea that someone loves me
enter the wrecking ball of puppies

enter footie pajamas and popcorn
enter the endless tsunami of kisses
crashing over me again and again and again
drowning me in salty awful wonderful

exit nights spent sleeping on half of a bed
exit the bull from my china shop heart
he just floats off into the sky
like some strange giant concert blimp

exit this one brand of loneliness
let me find in its place a true fireplace sense of purpose
this red string tied to my tooth
to a door

holding me on the brittle bare soul of my truth
face squished tightly
mouth wide open
hoping
praying
that someone doesn’t slam the door shut

Strange Ceremonies

His coworkers were worried by him.

The way he would disappear to the window around noon to stare
for what felt like timeless hours
at the orchid while it soaked up the sun
placing his hands on each side of the vase
closing his eyes with intention
and humming.

It was ritualistic
in an otherwise bleak uninterested environment.

He might as well have performed
an ayahuasca ceremony in the middle of the conference room.

He didn’t really care that he made anyone uncomfortable.

There was a certain freedom in understanding that when you are true
it is very often going to tug at the thin stretchy strings of the plastic mask of society
it is very often going to leave people quiet on their nighttime commutes
back into their caves to sit around fires
performing ayahuasca ceremonies
or alternatively microwaving a hot pocket and watching Maury until they fell dead asleep.

I guess you can decide which ceremony is stranger.

WOLF.

You’ve caught me in your net, my dear.
I’m not struggling I’m just begging for more food.
I’m napping and dreaming of never leaving your doorstep.
I’m napping and dreaming of your blood running down my chin.
I’m chaotic neutral punchy dry lovely motherfucker these days.
The way I smile around the grocery store with pound after pound of red meat
filling up my shopping cart.
And you fill me up.
With love and anger and the messy mix between the two.
I’m crunching numbers with my canines.
I’m sleepless and waking up behind dumpsters in Cap Hill.
There’s smashed glass on my bedroom floor.
There’s ropes tied to the side of my bed tied there to hold me down.
And ain’t nothing gonna hold me down.
I daydream about biting into your thighs, swallowing your moans.
I would kill just to taste you again.

Good Question

What has your heart? What has the keyring with
innumerable different keys to different chambers
of your heart? What holds your moon in your sky?
What kisses you like comfort? What floats above
your bed at night? What burns up the back of your
eyes? What sugar do you taste on your tongue?
What love is full? What do you feel when you are
alone? Are you ever truly alone? Do you understand
that we are god? Do you understand that there are
severe and important implications to us being god?
Do you understand that childhood is a construct?
That school has only gotten larger. That growth has
only gotten larger. That we continue to exceed the
size of our goldfish bowls? Do you understand you
are a goldfish? Do you realize that there is truth and
there is your truth? Do you realize that your truth is
a beautiful thing to hold?

Never let go.

String together questions
like fragments of a kite string.

Watch it climb higher
and higher and higher
and higher.

Watch it disappear
into your sky.

And then let go.