The End is Dear

I approach sunset
My shadow fleeing from me
Like some wild spectre
Stretching, grasping
Clawing through time
And the dirt
I’ve already tread
As though one shadow to another
Clasping, scratching
Could reanimate the dead
Or wind back the sun.

Behind, pale bones picked clean
Neglected by hollow ghosts
Empty promises of youth
Immortality and boundlessness
Lies of passion, hubris, myopia
Haunting formless night
While everything worth having
Walks in bare feet
Leaving tiny toe prints
In the dirt
Facing the sun
With a gait that spins the earth.

My eyes seek
Smiling light warming my nose
My dancing fingertips
A shinging grace and purpose
Shrieks in my wake
Twisted, dying distortions
Use the obscurity of darkness
To belie their value
Joyfully I march
Through the dirt
Chasing the waning rays
Reaching out to catch me.

Tickets and Tattles

Everyone has an admission price.

Eight years ago
She arrived
From France
Clad in black and red
Leather and high heels
White wispy hair
Pinned tight on one side
And wild on the other.
She had no children
Just an abusive man
Of the child bride she was,
Left at once, but never divorced
Life is this way,
And she is straight in it, sweetheart.

Six years ago
She worked all hours
To buy her own home
In all parts of town but local
Maybe in decoration
Or an embassy
She spoke nine languages
But her French was slipping
She had one daughter
Ambiguously aged
Stolen by a man
She hates
She wants family here
But no man, sweetheart.

Four years ago
She worked for Princess Diana
In Inglaterra
She has a friend
He cuts her grass
But she doesn’t care for him
He hates children and animals
She had children
Six babies in her tummy
But she killed them.
That’s how she says it,
In tears every time,
Because she couldn’t afford
To send them to the fancy schools.

Two years ago
She was a nurse,
And had one granddaughter,
The paramedics asked her age,
Her sunken eyes shifted,
Spiderweb hair drifting
Her loose-skinned fingers
Tightened in finality
Fifty-eight, final answer
And we looked at her
And we looked at each other
Trying to decide whether
She believed that nonsense.

Her birthday cements:
She’s eighty-one.
Her husband, divorced,
Has been buying her home
In her name, as a gesture of kindness
She complains hitting her daughter
Somehow drove her away
And there’s another granddaughter
She isn’t impressed
She’s never been to France
She grew up in Portugal.
Twenty-years separated
Not more, not less

She said her friend died
But she drove him away
She screams her age
Is her decision
And her husband is inside
Taking a shower
She didn’t lose her keys
The locksmith stole them
She’s never lost them
She’s never lied
She is straight in life
When everyone else is crooked
Like a gaping question mark

And I’d love her still
But for the high price of admission.

Good at Bad

I’m angry.
Hawks skim and scratch
Earth to hunt, to fill their gut
Seeing as far as smooth beak
Unable to see
The pointed dagger curved beneath
That rips to feed.
Unfeeling toward the weaker things
Caught between tear and talon

The hawk exists as predator
Skilled at the catch
His hunger and his instinct
Drive his vessel
Searching the easy prey
Incapable, intolerant
Of sympathy
And humility
Is a foreign language.

Everything must eat.

Still Life

It’s hard work
Clawing at dirt
Sore muscles converging
Pulling and purging
Rocks and roots
Soil in my nails, my cuffs, my boots
Digging holes in the ground,
Laying trenches, heaping mounds,
Tucking away my small seeds
To water and feed
And protect from harm
Until their tiny arms
Reach for the sun
Crawling inside when I’m done
For a glass of tap water and some cool air.
It’s hard work out there.

But it’s easier than conversation.

On Freedom and Simplicity

I am now aware a star cannot shine
Outside of its fixed position in space
Nor do I float aimlessly amid the divine
No, nailed to my temporal sticking place
I mirror the madness of the crowds
With the madness that’s inside me
And these words I have dared to write out loud
Reveal me more than hide me.

Furiously pounding on the drums
My wild syllables, frenetically styled
Like sticks’ stroking a deafening hum
Whether a master’s or a child’s
Only echoed the day’s intensity
They only ever could.
Passion or madness drownd the simplicity:
The mouthpiece of the good.

Silence? A neglected orchestral delight.
The best poem- an apple upon a table.
A watching moon in winkless night.
The fog that pastures ’round the stables
Grazing in the dim hours
Until its chopped up by the mad parade
Humanity jumping at eternal powers
We march, we bang, we loudly rave,

And beat away what is graciously ours.

A Pet Affection

How deeply you can love
A tiny thing

One slip of fur and ears
And teeth that used to bite
Until the illness

Now my heart cracks and weeps
Whenever the little one suffers
And I wish it was in my power

To make her permanently well.

Excellence in Vacuum

Sometimes I miss the offbeat notes
Hammering dusk down offroads
Limps that masquerade as
Coiling for a jump, in trade
Every extended knee is one
Great shove towards the sun
Roiling in his own indifference

In a grading system of disparity
We reward apogee and perigee
Our middle scores are disregarded
The highs and lows alone get lauded
Contrast paraded before the youngest eyes
As a finish line, a glittering prize
Which becomes a kind of drug

As the saucer askew in diagonal spin
Rollicking towards chaotic destruction
Grinds the table, frenetically audacious
In reckless rejection of the safer stasis
So the lip’s edge may kiss the sky,
Without twirl the rim never reached so high
Like a rollercoaster ride offrail

There’s a faint nostalgia to the striving
Destroying the wall between living and dying
To rebuild with the damaged bricks and stone
One monument to stand alone
Amid a thousand failures not a falter
All things sacrificed at the altar
Of the single, gleaming talents
It’s the selfish ambition of Imbalance

That brings us back for more.

Let my Words be Sweat

Forgive me ere I speak
In the climax of this aged day
Where words, in pitchfork
And promenade,
Became our toil under the sun
Gaunt spines, elbows, wrists
Unable to carve our food from earth
Feed on words in disproportionate ratio
Fallow work undone as
Our pastors become our politicians
Our politicians become our soft warriors
And only standing soldiers

Forgive me as I speak
Seeking comfort in the din
Sermons, news, campaigns:
Prattle meant to prod.
Ages it has been while we’ve cloned
Organizations off Your organism
Tight control groups
Limiting variables
So we may grow in a petri dish
The purest sample
But the bystander effect
Corrupts it all

Forgive me all that I have said
These years of arrogance and mimicry
If any words were useful
Yours may they ever be
If You will have them-
Oh, this noisy clanging!
We have been well-conditioned
For the culture we have made
Our comfortable experiments
Outlived their isolated caves
Our Frankensteinian clones
Rage against the day

And even now,
They are still our precious babies
To the grave.

Praise Ye the Lord

This brief twirl around the years
Spinning in the orbit
Past disintegrating fears
Dancing on a floor lit
By stars completed and only waking

Lord of the Dance,
Is a precious gift You’ve given. 

The barefoot struggles
Running against the tide
Piecing together immense puzzles
Breathing, taking in stride
The intensity and the mundane

Lord of the Battles,
Your presence redeems each step. 

The crackle and popping
Of the flickers of hope untamed
Climbing without stopping
Into a fierce and ferocious flame
Illuminating the darkness with truth

Lord of Innumerable Lights
Shine on eternally.

Life by Estimation

When the old one became mine
Desperately, I tried
To imagine some good end.
But the disrepair I found there
Was the cloudy mirror
I’ve been trapped in.

I prayed out to You
Like a shout at the moon
From some guttural place of neglect
Where hope and despair
Wrestle in silent air
For a footing of respect

And I became the old one quickly,
Or it became me
My words peeled like lead paint.
I sat barren in my own decay
In the impotence of all I could say
Signifying nothing, nothing to gain

The old one went for a song I guess,
And I… I went for even less
Silenced by my own faithless frustration,
The upsurge of resigned sympathy
For the useless and broken in we,
Propped up in tangible manifestation.

Four years of struggle and dismay
Pushing forward and pushing away
Almost to the day, but You guarded we.
I can only let go
If You say so
This is hard, but sweet

As You’re in charge of all.
I asked You then on thin straws
Who would choose to build old into new?
I understand now, it’s even beyond design
And potential- value is assigned
By a world of factors outside my view:

Even in dilapidation and distress.
So I untwist my tongue to confess
If a word written, or dropping from my tongue,
Can be appraised by You as worthy,
Then I will bring an offering,
Against the beat a contrary drum.

Meager old one am I, but if Your tenderness
Surveys the rubble and says “Value Is”
Then work on my old bones
Take me under tool and hand
Make me what You say I am,
In the fury and finality You atone

As strong as death, beyond the grave,
I cannot see the value in me, save
The hope You appraise broken old things
By a system I cannot see, yet gives
Ability, significance- a chance to live

For You

To the broken-down we.