Wrongs

Standard

This bed I made

is cold again tonight.

Been grinding this axe

so long,

I’ve become quite attached

to it.

But, no good can come of that,

my hands are chapped,

my furniture’s cracked,

the house may very well

collapse

from every errant and irrational swing

I took.

My clothes still smell

like a bonfire

years later,

the bridge to you lay in ruins.

I look across the chasm

in clarity,

no more will I miss

the forest for the trees.

You can’t hear me,

and I’ve no one to blame

but myself.

It’s not my hatchet

to bury,

nevertheless, I cast it

into the pit.


Empty Words

Standard

I’m telling myself

these affirmations,

I’m muttering incantations.

I said all the

magic phrases,

the buzz words

and nothing has changed.

Is this thing on?

I held the pointed tips

of my sentence fragments

out in front of me,

hoping to cut through the noise

like machete through brush.

I lashed out,

swinging through

the tangle,

yet the exclamations

fell flat.

Flailing about

yet just barely scratching

the surface,

like a samurai sword

with a blade of

wet cardboard.

The truth isn’t always flashy

or impressive,

or what you’d like to hear,

but it’s the only thing with

enough substance

to breach

the dissonance.

Wield it wisely,

or you’ll put an eye out.


Second Wind

Standard

Sometimes during

a game of inches,

you will have a crisis of confidence.

You will feel as though

you’ve given everything

before you’ve finished,

and lament

the end of your journey

before the climax.

What else is left?

I dig deeper,

in a panic,

and realize there’s nothing.

The doubter’s voices crowd my head,

and they all sound familiar.

No fuel, not even a hint

of fumes to run on,

but I run on

when I was sure I was spent.

The naysayers

continue their tirade,

but I pay them no mind.

The march continues

and the runner’s high kicks in.

I’m going to do the greatest

act of defiance

that I know —

I’m going to make it

to the end.


Revolving Door

Standard

Wherever I am,

I can’t get past it.

I’m back at the start,

seeing the same faces

off to the races.

All of us convinced,

we’re moving along,

getting ahead.

You’re either in, or you’re out.

Follow the flow

of traffic,

come along the bend.

The circular logic

exhausts me,

as I tight-rope walk

between a rock and a hard place –

a quantum superposition

of entering and departing

all at once.

The means

always seem

to justify the ends.

Sorry, other way around.

It gives me pause,

but not enough to stop me,

as the walls nudge and I continue to shuffle.

Where do I go from here?


Complicity

Standard

You’re free to air out

your grievances as you see fit,

but all that means is that

every one gets a chance

to look them over.

The stain is plain as day

ingrained in the off-whites

of your eyes,

it permeates —

it’s in how you carry yourself,

how you react.

And you may try to hide

but the stench travels

for miles.

Don’t be surprised

when you get sniffed out,

it was bound to happen.

Your hands are dyed

and your hands are tied,

but fingerprints, every so often,

paint very clear pictures.

You didn’t start it,

but you didn’t end it,

and now the egg on your face

will not simply come off.

Eat the frog,

eat crow,

do what you have to now

to cleanse everyone’s

palates —

for your sake.


Balloonfest ‘86

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Our intentions were good,

they were pure,

all we wanted was

to put a smile on your face.

If only.

A million and a half balloons,

we thought,

would do the trick.

We let it all go

in public square,

never to return.

If only.

Our best laid plans

blew away

with a strong gust.

Crappy weather

brought the launch down,

but our spirits were still high.

Then came news

of a hail of balloons

interfering and inconveniencing.

We wanted to bring more color

to the people of Cleveland,

and they ended up surrounded

by it.

It didn’t have to be

like this.

I brush aside the falling orbs,

as they pile up, and cascade off of roofs.

They float placidly on Lake Erie

unaware of the chaos they’ve caused,

but I know it all too well.

If only.


Fig Leaf

Standard

Judge me by my cover,

trust me on this,

I am an open book.

In the interest of transparency,

I have laid it all bare,

can you tell?

Look no further,

I can explain that away,

it’s really just a huge

misunderstanding.

It’s all perfectly normal,

perfectly normal.

I don’t want you to strain

your eyes on something

so mundane.

Some things just aren’t meant

to see

the light of day;

the curiosity

kills me

every time.

But not this thing,

which is completely ordinary

and totally fine.

Can you tell?


Bioluminescence

Standard

Signs of life

glint in the corners of

my eyes.

Only giants sleep at ease

in the inky depths,

but there’s always something bigger,

hungrier

on the lookout.

I stare into the abyss,

and realize,

I’m falling right into it’s

dilated pupil.

Hold your breath,

and try to withstand

the pressure.

Packs of spineless marauders

jet through the void

with prying eyes and dazzling light.

They’re gone in a flash,

and if you’re unlucky,

so are you.

Specters wait patiently,

their torch held

right above a mouthful

of crossed rapiers.

Some take a different approach,

gliding through pitch black,

cancelling out their shadows,

sniffing out anyone else

trying to be inconspicuous.

Beware of bright beacons

there isn’t always

someone you’d like to meet

on the other side.


Decay

Standard

The picked flower dies,

but not all at once,

it must first live

with what you’ve done.

It will spend some time travelling,

wrapped in plastic sheath,

until dropped into a beautiful vase,

filled with stagnant water.

And it will hang on,

hang on for dear life,

it will take in what it can,

it will persist.

Home is where

you are

and the rain isn’t.

Yet even with the niceties of climate-control,

the roots have nowhere to go,

in this final resting place.

Leaves shrivel and brown,

like they’ve been fried.

The stalk curls,

turning brittle and bald

in time.

Petals fall,

one by one

and crumble to dust.

Another day of atrophy.

Time heals all,

as it lapses,

until you too collapse.

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Voyager

Standard

It would be a crime,

to confine,

to contain you;

to constrain you

and force us both to stay at eye-level.

Months of planning,

of meticulous engineering

and countless calculations

mustn’t be wasted.

I believe in you,

eyes trained toward the night sky,

you worked tirelessly for this.

Rehearsals

day-in and day-out,

for best and worst-cases,

drills and and regular upgrades

culminated, finally, in this.

Liftoff.

It was overcast,

like the black smoke

you left behind,

but where you’re headed

it hardly matters.

I stand in awe of you,

as you wrestle out of gravity’s grip

breaking through

the heavens —

you did this yourself.

Free now

to see the vast expanse.

I think of you,

of us,

and I’ll carry you with me.

I wouldn’t have missed it

for the world.