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
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

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

Lines In The Sand

There’s a basement in all of us and I faced mine this past week.

There are a handful of polarizing events that happen in our lives, lines drawn in sand and a decision that has to be made. To face the hidden, dusty rooms in us, or keep them locked and dark. There’s a basement in all of us and I faced mine this past week.

When asked if I wanted to go to Haiti, there was no hesitation to my answer of Yes. It was surprisingly easy for me to see the line in the sand and step willingly to it, barefoot and smiling. Over the past few years I’ve been bitter, angry and living in a self-enforced loneliness. I’ve pushed away my wife, God, my friends and myself to keep my rooms locked and dark. My hands used to shake when faced with stress, my vision blur and words slur until I just stopped talking, stopped seeing and listening. Over the past couple months I’ve taken the first steps down into that basement and cracked the door, fearful yet hopeful that Grace would be enough to undo the rust.

Being back in Haiti with dirt on my hands, sun in my skin again, centered me. It gave me a place to hold my breath between inhale and exhale, experience peace with the promise of consistency. Sharing smiles and laughter with strangers, American and Haitian, distracted me enough that I could open some of those rooms and see that the things I feared had vacated long ago, leaving nothing behind.

Thank you, Haiti and my beautiful teammates, for putting the keys in my hand and turning the doorknobs with me even if you didn’t realize it. For showing me Grace is ever abundant and near. Thank you.