enso poem one

enso

great wonder beyond the wall
the wall beyond the shadows of something
the shadows of something beyond enveloped life
oversaturated perfection
inconsistent adulterated human experience
swept clean like dead flies from the floor beneath the burning building

“enso” is a Japanese word meaning circle. ensos are symbolic of many things including enlightenment, infinity and the void. in some practices, Buddhists will each day paint an enso, usually in one stroke, in a certain hope of drawing a perfect circle. there is both a sense of giving in to the moment and the ongoing discipline towards perfection therein. with these enso poems, i will write poems in one fell swoop, hoping for the best, hoping to strengthen my muscle each day, and resolved in their imperfections.

The Anatomy of a Thirty Year Old Man

I kind of feel like a field of ten thousand oranges,
like a universe made up entirely of suns,
like some sort of cosmic relief to be freed from subterranean dirt,
like I’ve worked my way through codependent alcohol-induced relationships
and deciphered every single Fall Out Boy lyric.

I kind of feel like God,
except I’m buying Glide floss at the grocery store
and everyone around me is God too.

I kind of feel like the flower section at King Soopers.
I feel like the succulent on clearance at King Soopers
but then I purchase myself and water myself back to health.

The sky is a Charles Mingus song,
my eyes are an audience drunk on sound.

I’m chewing on the clouds like white taffy.

I’m mourning ten years of residual teenaged angst
but teenaged angst isn’t dead,
it’s just hiding under ground
punching the lid of its coffin until it can break through
and avenge the man that massacred my wedding party.

I kind of feel like love.
Like I’ve arrived in a nice suit at a wedding.
Like the king of the dance floor, drowning in waves of hands held high.

Like my twenties largely prepared me through the trial and error of shit mistakes
to enter my thirties entirely renewed and ablaze
and ready to make all sorts of new and interesting mistakes.

My bones are bionic.
The marrow is whiskey.
I am whiskey now, I don’t need to drink to get there.

I’ve aged in barrels.

My beard sleeps soundly against the walls of my face.

If I had ten thousand blenders I’d turn them all on to high.

I am a giant monster that could attack the city but instead
I’m opting to dig deep in the dirt and plant large gardens of flowers.

I am realized chaos,

I am a cat thrown into the sky
and landing in downward dog.

My tongue spits om after om
as I regenerate my bones.

I am sailing on an ocean of great intentions
and I spent a quiet night with Hemingway
taught how to punch caustic sharks in their stupid faces.

Neruda has taught me that revolution and love
are one and the same.

Warsan taught me that our pain is our story
and it can be behind us,
like a great thick wind pushing us into new pain.

I am naked and painting myself to blend in with the grass.
I am green and inseparable from everything,
except I’m acutely aware I’m 30.

I’m acutely aware of the position I’ve established on my doomsday clock.

I am the clock hands of Doctor Manhattan in the mouth,
along the sides, in the cunt,
floating like oceans across the breasts of a lover.

I am meditating on Mars about my goddess of war,
and how she has awakened inside of me the armistice of my arms,
now outstretched into great giant fields of oranges,
where I reach out,
and grab them,
and peel the skin,

and I try to pull the pieces out neatly,

but the orange says no,

the orange says,
enough already,

dig your face deep into me and eat me rabidly.

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

 

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.

poem for a corporate houseplant

hello, corporate houseplant.

it is me, your caretaker.

i wanted to talk to you because
you seem to be doing so well
in this bleak corporate environment
you seem to be thriving.

it was just earlier this week
following our monthly all team meeting
that you began to bloom a new aloe leaf
accompanying now your other aloe leaves
some of which pour out the side of your pot
as if they are reaching
slowly reaching
painfully slowly reaching for something
i don’t know what.

sometimes i daydream.

sometimes i imagine you,
corporate houseplant,
grown sentient
dragging yourself by your aloe leaves
across the long white empty desks
and to the big glass window
overlooking the southwest parking lot.

i imagine you holding your breath
and jumping from the windowsill
and falling to the ground i can feel your elation
thinking softly
i’m free i’m free i’m free
and then a kind of death
your fragile glass home
smashed in large pieces
against the concrete sidewalk
your roots grown cold and useless
with no dirt to latch on to
and no one to water you.

but then you float.

a ghostplant you float
up into the sky
where you ascend
into some strange heaven
for corporate houseplants
to do this again
and again
and again.

hello, corporate houseplant.

Talking to God Over Shitty Coffee at Denny’s

like two in the morning or something
i couldn’t sleep so i called up God
and was all like “hey God,
do you want to meet up for some coffee?”
and God of course obliged me like always
so we’re sitting around Denny’s
drinking shitty coffee talking when i ask God
“is destiny a thing?”and God says “yes,”
and i say “that’s kind of a bummer,”
and God says “well, i don’t think that doesn’t mean you can’t be proud of the decisions you make,”
and i say “i guess,”

and then there’s an awkward pause,
the waitress comes by
refills our coffees
and we sip in silence and then i say
“alright, God, what number am i thinking of?”
God says 3.
it was 3.
What am I thinking now?
God says i’m thinking about destiny
and i was like
well yeah okay that might not have been the
best approach and then i took the salt shaker unscrewed the lid and poured the entire thing of salt into my cup of coffee.
God says “why did you do that?”
and i say “you seem surprised.
i thought you knew that i was going to do that? wasn’t it part of my destiny?”
and God was like
“no – that shit just came out of nowhere.”
i think God would have turned to God for answers in that moment if that made any sense.
and then i held God’s hand
and i said
look. i know what they say.
man plans and God laughs and that’s beautiful
but sometimes we just take the car off cruise
control and we start driving off the road in the middle of Nebraska and we’re pushing through the corn fields and doing donuts and blasting dizzy gillespie and it makes no damn sense and no one could have seen it coming, not even you, i’m sorry, but that’s why i put the salt in the coffee because some things weren’t written.
some things happen that weren’t meant to happen and those things were meant to happen but not in the sense that everyone saw it coming because
sometimes no one sees it coming.
even you, God.
sometimes it’s brutal and vicious hard work or a spark to the heart and it’s raw and honest and it’s tangential and that tangent shoots off into space like a monkey in an astronaut suit and it forms a new monkey planet with a new monkey God who too will have a moment of awe when realizing that your
children are not you.
they break the rules in the name of something.
love
or change
or dizzy gillespie
but yes.
it’s a thing that happens and it’ll catch us all off guard.

and then the waitress stole the cash in the register, took off her apron and busted out the door into the cold night.

~
This poem was also featured on Rocky Mountain Revival if you’d care to give it a listen.