ash and flood

i am a mountain
of an ashtray
of a man

i am a mountain
of an ashtray
of a man
the shadow calls from valleys
in my chest
in my hands
cupped water never spills
until the cracks
in the black
night widened eyes stretch
until the sun
and i are one
encompassed in the neutron star
phase shift
thoughts drift
a black hole necklace weighs
all of me
but nothing
is glory without the blood
running water
drowning fathers
on knees at the bottom of the staircase
forgive me son
for i have sinned
your mother has all the grace
and i live in a mistake
read these wrinkles, chapter and verse
the spirit rides a white horse
across the bridge of our words
bless me
and dress me
in silk like an offering
i offer the river and the sea
i come with hands full of wondering
do you hear like me?
a slurred voice
mumbled breathing
repetition makes us mean something
handle this with gloves on
the sickness is catching
quarantined in a pill bottle
shaken
measured and refilled
i’m at the door white knuckled
praying for rain
am i washed out again?
a needle pinprick
a vial of blood
if all that’s left of you is a puddle
does that make me the flood?

Technicolor Stumble

caught in this merry-go-round
felt the sound but i stumbled
a shiver, a tear and a broken mirror
exploring the absence of all my fear

staccato steps and sad sex
a home built but the fire left
got too big for a picture frame
i’d change my name but i’m still the same

toes curled on the edge, it’s blameless
the monkey on my shoulder, shameless
stitches in my side, seamless
every sorry added means less
missing pieces, wrinkled creases
broken leases, left me speechless
hold your hand out and be a beggar
got nothing-left-but-a-sweater swagger
empty pockets but i swore i had her
watching clones question god, nothing sadder
my lego rib cage couldn’t take the pressure
of a manila envelope and legal letter
a dotted line, i blinked too fast
inhaling chemicals, bring the hazmat
stand at attention, each cough an intervention
lungs grow wings, a prolonged sensation
what feels like love is just insulation

let me fall through the sound
all around in technicolor
i hit zero long ago
tattooed maps tell me where to go

staccato steps and sad sex
a home built but the fire left
got too big for a picture frame
i’d change my name but i’m still the same

skydiving in caffeine and nicotine
injecting fresh air daily, it’s like morphine
but i heard ghosts in the hills today
nothing to do but cut my hair and pray
my life is a record but it gets no play
when spring comes then winter falls away
don’t look twice, once is enough
too many times and the going gets tough
the monster in my chest likes to play rough
it sounds premeditated but it’s off the cuff

caught in this sound
stumbled in technicolor
i shivered through zero long ago
tattooed my fear across my ego

i’m still the same

Lake Michigan

a thousand ghost ships rest
in sand, up to their decks
and the fish tend to the sails
like lazy sailors draped in sequined coats.
high above, it’s cold.
i bury my hands inside my jacket.
the wind is taking no prisoners,
i catch my breath as it’s pulled from me.
my own ghosts slip out with every exhale
and i draw shapes in the cold sand,
buried up to my throat
in age and sequined nostalgia.
there’s too much here to ignore.
a forest of smiling trees, gentle hills
and the breeze screaming, “stay,” into my ears.

a ship without an anchor, a storm without a heading.
barnacled and weighed down, splintered
yet seaworthy still. my sails snap taut,
the waves push me hard into the trees
and i stand in the crow’s nest searching for home.

seven chains of the shadow king

twenty seven years is how long it took
young prince scaling mountains as they shook
three rivers in the valley, his hands cupping water
building stick houses singing his father’s song
two doors in his chest, one push one pull
every breath he holds until heart is full
a third door stands open in sad eyes
within a sigh every time the sun rises
heavy with smoke he is on his knees
held back by the seven chains of the shadow king
its all old, every word and thought
not something found but bought
every day passes another battle fought
skip, trip and slip until he’s caught
another moment in the lion’s jaws
sweet slumber shaken when another wall falls

young prince pays the price of perpetuation
every circle etched feeds his infatuation
with the sensation of elation that comes
from being patterned out over and over again
he’s calling out over and over again
mother are you crying again and again
father will i see you again and again
the mountain will crumble again
and he’s there, fumbling at the corners
trying to make his bed neat, no hope for mourners
grief makes the heart sweet, no love for loners
all windows shut and all doors open
young prince kneeling in a dream
wrapped in the seven chains of the shadow king

barefoot

I breathe smoke more than air now
My hands hold stones more than dirt
I’ve been stumbling through the streets I grew up on,
All 29 of them,
And recognizing none of them

Trying to walk in the shoes of a ten year old me
And remembering I was barefoot most days
Hands covered in dirt, skin full of sun
I never noticed the calluses

Now My knuckles are quarters
I was told character costs a dollar
I’m almost out of money and ending up
Nowhere but bruised and broke

I am the storm in the skull of a deaf man
The roiling sea in the creaking knees of an old sailor
The hollow in the tree, the echo of a cry in a dry ravine
I live in the gap of the universe
In a house built on stilts at the edge of being a man

I want only rain and sighing trees now

magician

there was a time i still believed.

there was a time i still believed.
every friday night i sat my mother down
and preached my sermons.
“watch. you think i don’t know your card.
but i knew all along. i saw it at the beginning.
and where is your anxiety? why is it here,
behind your left ear where there should have been loose change?
mother, we talked about this.
i am a magician.
my job is to hide things.
i know all the tricks.
i see all your hidden things
and all of your unspoken words.
i am a magician.
now draw a card, and don’t worry,
i already know what it is.”