Category Archives: Pallor

Graded Earth

For the life of me
I can’t figure the parts
Stuck between where I’m going
And the spot I started
As anything other than
Some odd bird’s migration
North for the chill
Against the invitation
To follow the crowd, or
To just freeze
Admit some kind of defeat
But I ruffle the breezes
And walk on alone
I can’t understand
What I was supposed to do,
Was there some parcel of land
I neglected to climb?
Some trail or tour
I’m confused by the feeling
I’m a failure
When there was no clear mandate
Aside from learning
To love and be loved
To mitigate the pain and yearning
Of humanity, aware.

And I’m still here.


Low Tide

These ebbs erode the shoreline,
Carrying the banks to build bars
For the oyster to ingest
Constructing pearl from the hard sands
I once stood upon.

Time erodes my story,
Washing away the grains
Of days and hours and potential roads
And the details are the same
But the game of charades lilts to a side

Our birth pitches us into projects
We cannot honestly complete
Like writing the ill-conceived
Autobiography
About the stranger.

All the roots I sank
And I’m still just a duffle bag
One goodbye away
From a homeless nomad
Too tired to roam

Watching the churning sea
For the bits of debris
That feel like home.


TB or Not TB

I’m stressed; scared to death
The pain in my chest
Could be transferable.

Fighting the blues; waiting for news
With so much to lose
For those who’ve loved me.

I resist defeat; my faith complete,
But earth tilts beneath my feet
Waiting, waiting for the diagnosis.

Am I so sick? My mind plays tricks
All my exhales burning thick:
Must loving me always be a risk?

Shhh, I try to deny
That age old lie
Repeating that I am contaminated,

And every soul drawing close
Pays a toll
Atop the kindness

When I mean no harm.


Writer’s Remorse

Glad to hear you’re doing well!
I can’t complain! Doing fine,
Though I’ve got this feeling lately
Maybe it’s finally time
To pull all the words I’ve written,
Pile every piece into one tall pyre,
Every jot and every tittle,
And the light the whole damn thing on fire.

But what’s the point?
I can’t escape who I am.
If I burned every thought to earth
I’d take the ash and begin again.


On the Inequality of Passings

Tender, timid, untouched petals
huddled side by side
Fearful of the unfurl
Or falling under stride

Growing stronger silently
under the sun’s gentle hand
Braving a peek, a stretching forth:
Petals trust before they expand.

A moment of gray
tents the sky, west to east,
A tiny moment alone
with an unknown beast:

The wind stampedes
Pounding his chest
Grabbing the throat
Of the flower at rest

“Bloom!” he thunders, “Bloom now!
Your bloom creates your space!”
Shaking her petals open
to expose her childish face

Endlessly the wind chides
To bloom a different way
So she stretches back and forth
Bending against the sway

Lost and fallen petals
blown apart, out of vision,
crushed spaces and voices-
“Why?” she asks the wind

and he replies,
“The fault here lies
entirely on your stem.”


The Ghosts of Lyells

We were already homeless
When I moved out
Slowly, toe by toe,
Piecemeal, until I was whole
On the outside
So as not to offend
And you called me a name,
Standing in the grass outside
Someone else’s home,
What was it?

I was blind, and did not see
I left behind a piece of me
In that spot.

You procured a house in Lyells
My brothers orbiting
Expecting I would return
To live, to rely, to wait
To be married off
According to custom,
And the world we’d been evicted from
Continued on
Behind the looking glass.

So many familiar things
Heaped in piles, bags, and shelves
I asked for tokens
Some photos, some mementos,
Some toes I’d left behind
Your pursed lips
Denied me:
I forgave you instantly.

Later, I returned
When my familiar things
Spoke foreign tongues
And every corner sang
In minor chords
All the edges wild,
Overgrown
Days in disuse, disowned,
You asked if it would be so bad

And part of me felt at home,
So I ran.

In my rented compartment
Years and miles away
A swift bird flitted by
Singing of your abandonment
None stood by your side
When the final moment came
And I drove all day to find you
Back down the endless drive
To Lyells

Empty rooms
The cavernous throat
Hollowed out and rotting
Like a dead beast in the forest
Food decayed on plates
The final moments
Wasting away naked
Exposed
Slips of paper pasted
On every surface

“”Remember.”

Who are we to forget?
The musty, fusty smell
Of rotted youth
Treasures dumped as trash
In the great heap
Of time and the shattered,
Irreplaceable toes
You were long gone,
But the walls whispered

“”Remember.”

I took no memento
From the macabre museum
Our mausoleum of bones
I stood while all the walls
Shrank around me
Counting eternity
In shallow breaths
I clutched my keys,
And backing out,
I left.

All the little pieces
Scattered along my way
I saved for some return trip
Braving some stronger day
An ace perpetually up a sleeve-
Until the songbird crowed again
I pilgrimaged down the endless drive

All gone.
Razed to flat earth
Every exhibit
Details of form, weight, and shade
Ash and dispersed
Into abstract ghosts
Wandering, screaming,
Haunting the eroding memories

All that may remain:
A wave of lost pieces
Phantom limbs

I’ve heard it said:
Live in a house
And it will not crumble.
Time may overturn its contents,
Coins rolling into every crevice, yet
Memory builds a timeless structure
Wherein no man may live,
Nor flee,
And every stage
From birth to death
Exists simultaneously.


A Word By Any Other Name

The continent of literature
Is a brassy fashion show-
Five common ideas,
Models we all know,
Displayed and disguised
Tarted up to impress
To detract or distract from
Vulgarities expressed
Humanity enlightened
Donning emperor’s robes
Nude barbarism: crude and
Bloodthirsty xenophobes
Photographing gaunt
Yet familiar faces
Twisting the heel
Stomping graceless
Through the annals of hawkers:
Myopic mankind
Draping their finery over five
Emaciated spines

Identical turns lauded
As a new revolution
Five common ideas
Immune to evolution.