Devotional

Remember me
to the
ease of light,
its pause
and passage,
we
are not long
for this earth,
which swallows
us,
and our lovetagged
bones,
as a matter
of natural course
and radical recomposition,
all the gifts,
and hopes unwound
like a carnival of kites
in a ghostfaced sky,
must be returned,
it is part of the deal,
the equalizer
that rivets
the wonder wheel
to its own cyclical surge
and motion,
and I, bearing the privilege
of passenger,
for what amounts
to a split second
between
God’s inhale
and exhale,
cannot help
but air
my epitaph,
with the utmost
gratitude
and reverence,
for every dream
that held me bated
and green,
for every sweetness
and sorrow
that carved my interior
into a well-lighted cathedral,
where basking became
my truest art
and devotion.

 

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Metamorphosis Variations

I.
As I awoke one morning, from a blue-dark night of drinking and uneasy dreams, I found myself transformed into a cockroach.
Figures it’d be a cockroach, skidded a deadpan between a head full of swollen thoughts.  With newfound prehistoric maturity, I resigned myself to this evolutionary switcheroo, but I must confess to feeling a little disappointed that I hadn’t awakened transformed into a praying mantis, endowed with ninja-like coolness, or a scarab, with exotic ties to Egyptian mythology. Yet in my insect heart of hearts, I knew that a cockroach was exactly what I was meant to be; that God, that idiot savant, had instinctively banged down on the right combination of keys, when he outlined: Man goes to sleep drunk as a skunk and wakes up a hungover cockroach craving the hair of a dog.
   Mandibles twitching, I scuttled through the darkened apartment, en route to the kitchen, to fix myself a drink.
II.
   As I awoke one morning from a night of uneasy tubercular dreams, I found myself transformed into a cartoon character. A cartoon wolf, to be specific. My entire body, coated in bristly brown fur, gave off a radioactive luminescence, and my oblong snout, which was the centerpiece of my narrow face, had a dark shiny marble of a nose perched on its tip. I rose from my bed, and stood on comically disproportionate legs—the ankles and shins were sinewy toothpicks, whereas the thighs bulged obscenely, as if each one had swallowed a soccer ball.  The slitted lantern-yellow eyes staring back at me in the mirror, underscored by razor-sharp teeth, gave me a menacing quality, and I strode out of the house, humming—Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
   I immediately tested out my cartoonishness by stepping in front of a speeding bus. I was flattened, yet as expected, I didn’t die and didn’t feel an ounce of pain. I inflated myself back to three-dimensional by blowing into my thumb. All those years of education—sitting in front of a TV, watching cartoons—were finally going to pay off.
   God, that psychotic five-year-old with too much time on his hands, had done right by taking away my humanity. From here on out, my life would become a savage jest, bright and full of nothing.
III.
   As I awoke one morning, from a night of syringes and cough syrup, I found myself transformed into a woman dreaming she had been transformed into a scream She, meaning I, awoke, the taste of mercury on my tongue, nerve-endings tuned to the residue of the scream I had been, the dead with polyphonous voices.
   When the trembling in my legs quieted down, I swung them over the side of the bed, planted bare feet on the carpet, and stared at toenails painted calico and tulip. In staring, my head bowed down, and my hair, a sleep-warmed autumn, fell to either side of my jawline. I knew that to return to my pre-dream state—I was a man of some sort, I think—I would have to pass through another scream, would have to release something primordial, a catch of hard existential candy lodged in my larynx. I would have to feel myself woman.
   God, a plastic surgeon wearing a false moustache and dark glasses, raised her scalpel, and told me—Not all screams are created equal. Then she laughed, the blade moving swiftly.
IV.
Lights up. A bedroom.
Male, white, blue-black hair, early thirties, awakens in the dark, wondering where the morning has gone. And the world. And God.
Blackout.
End of Act I.
Act II. Lights up. A bar.
Man passed out on the bar counter, dreaming he is
a butterfly humping a dewdrop
dreaming of God.
Blackout.
End of play.
V.
   I awoke one morning, inside another man’s wife, and found that he, the husband, playing God, had shot me through the head three times. My body was no longer warm, but the wife’s was, so I stayed in there, a squatter with hopes for, at best reincarnation, at worst an uneasy merger. I waited, in darkness, trying to recall the woman’s name, and if I had worn a condom.
VI.
   I awoke one morning, after an uneasy night of crunching numbers, and found myself transformed into Franz Kafka. Thin, bauble-throated, and standing barefoot on the precipice of a panic attack, I could feel the numbers crowding my mouth, a harem of vultures scavenging dead pink flakes from my tongue. Unable to scream, I knew there was only one way out. I picked up my pencil: Gregor Samsa awoke one morning, after a night of uneasy dreams, to find he had been transformed into an insect.
   And I saw that it was right, and I saw that it was good, and I told God his services were no longer needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sate

Kiss
Excepting the lines,
a sated merger, bonding
human to divine.

 

(Constantin Brancusi’s “Kiss”)

 

 

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Likeness

slow
beating
ache
keeping
time
to breaking
lore
and softcore
myth
rising
to tease
and strip
heaven’s knee
of its skin
my god
yes
spit
and blood
and light
and yes
remixed
to teach
you
and me
what angels
be like
when fucking.

 

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Visitation

Above all else,
(she told me,
her smile a glowing sickle)
dignity and grace,
for each and every soul
on this planet,
no one above,
no one below,
and everything
I mean everything
you truly need to know
you’ve already learned
a thousand times over
in the lighted prehistory
of your starstuff origins,
I’m talking slowbaked pat-a-cake
wisdom
in the throes
of eternal kindergarten,
so remember, kid,
when get things complicated,
muddy, kinked, or strained,
remember that
dignity and grace,
above all else,
are Love’s sacrosanct
twin flames,
and their union
the divine proof
and memory
of who we are
beyond mortal register
and forgotten claims.

 

 

 

 

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Mystery

It’s strange
how you can miss someone
you’ve never met
as if the ache
bears a secret history
exclusive
to its own sense
of mystery
and rivet.
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Red Alert

While the beauty
and magmic intensity
of Vesuvius
is something to behold
it pales
in comparison
to Pele’s
fire-lipped
swallowing
of entire islands
leaving a blanket
of hot ash
on a roiling sea
where men
sacrifice bleeding hearts
to the worship
and violent spread
of her legend
uncensored.
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Unwrit

I fall in love
too easy
with phantoms and projections,
spectral imprints
that pool twilight
in their arms
for a living.
Where people are not,
I find myself digging
and searching,
clawing profusely
at beautiful stones
until my nails are broken
and my fingerprints bloodied
into a glyphic makeover.
I court absences,
their staggering volume
a powerful gulfstream
by which every paper boat
and child’s dream
I cast
cuts through channels
and tributaries
en route to the sea’s
brute promise of amnesia.
I forget where I am,
who I was,
and that, at heart,
I am simply
the long-lost lover
of ancient print
in a storybook
whose tales are
as old
as they are
unwritten.

 

 

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Wordburn

Between
the call of bodies,
testing the ream
of vocabulary’s limits,
words exact
their talent
for slow burn,
and quicken
to replenish.
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Slant

There are no
promissory notes
in life,
there are
fugitive scraps
upon which we can opt
to scribble our heart’s mind,
and most tender sublime,
tatters
registered to light’s
lilting slant,
granting us grace
from unexpected angles.
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