On Trusting

Standard

You could, at any time,

crush me

inadvertently,

with a look

or a phrase.

Yet,

we find ourselves in this position

by way of

invitation.

Step right up,

take your coat off,

stay a while.

Unvarnished,

and in confidence,

our inner machinations

laid bare.

I could,

at any time,

disappear.

But there’s nothing to

run from.

I see the rust in your joints,

you ascertain that I

have bugs in my software.

It’s in our nature

to ask until we know,

but knowing isn’t understanding.

Trust cannot be simulated,

or substituted,

only experienced.

In so doing,

we could —

without realizing it —

lift each other up,

just by being ourselves.


Beelzebub

Standard

Air abuzz with whorls of

black fog, thick diesel smoke

composed entirely of

highly aggressive horseflies.

He has arrived,

the infestation.

Mandibles gnashing,

fitting perfectly,

purpose built like lock and key,

into exposed skin.

A manifestation

of discordance,

the smell of carrion.

They land in your hair,

flap beside your ears,

brush against your arms.

Their presence felt

even when you don’t feel them

somehow elusive,

and ever-present

at once.

The morning star looms

in the dawn.

I bat the flies away,

but that only seems

to anger them.

Chaos for the sake of it.

How do we know

when evil has lost,

when evil has no plan?


Creature of Habit

Standard

Wake up,

and follow the rut downstairs.

Check the wall

of broken clocks,

and go to your favorite haunt

when the time is right.

It’s an acquired taste,

repeatedly smashing your head

into a brick wall,

but eventually you see

what the hubbub

was all about.

But you grow weary

in a moment of clarity,

and decide to spice things up.

You always do this.

Locals gather at the watering hole.

You take a big swig,

notes of minerals, calcium

and chlorine.

The bartender cuts you off

after 9 glasses

and an hour and a half

in the bathroom.

You spend half the night pacing,

reflecting on what you would have

done differently.

Wake up,

and follow the rut

downstairs.


Aftershocks

Standard

It comes in waves,

volleys.

You’d think you would

get acclimated,

eventually,

but it seems to catch you by surprise

every time,

how much more the arrowheads hurt

when you try to pull them out.

Brought together not through

serendipity,

but now you feel their absence

so deeply,

you can’t see yourself without

them now.

A sorrowful farewell,

and the stemmed bleeding continues.

Shining blade in hand,

what good does that do?

The air hisses with lethal

flying fangs.

We have courage,

and heart,

and every poet and biographer will give us

the glory if we win the day,

but they have the high ground.

Distracted by

the flight of fancy,

a familiar friend

embeds itself

in the soft part

between your clavicle,

and shoulder blade.

It’s time to get out

of harm’s way.


Corruption

Standard

Cooked books adorn a silver platter,

brazen.

Watch for trap doors,

and red herrings

that lead you down spiraling pathways

to dead-ends.

Birds of a feather,

buzzards, stick together,

so long as they all

get a little piece

of the rot.

Charitable of them

to self-deal

with their cronies.

They all move

in the same circles,

overhead.

They let you navigate

their maze, sniffing,

dare you to chase them away,

then become untouchable,

chickenhawks.

A blurred face

need not be saved.

I cannot tell

whether they’re turning a blind eye,

or looking

right through you.


Laugh Track

Standard

Management left some notes,

the show needs more Poignant Moments™️

it needs approximately 25% more

human emotion.

In the editing booth

effect precedes cause,

if we so choose.

Throw in a few, oddly familiar

hearty chuckles,

compel the viewer

to react authentically.

I’m sure the audience

was itching to laugh,

I’m sure,

but nothing wrong with a little help.

No pleasure is truly guiltless.

The fourth wall

is merely pantomimed,

the watcher and the watched

enter an unspoken pact,

to affect one another

or disappear altogether.

Jeers, scorn and rotting tomatoes

don’t phase us at all,

that’s showbiz.

Stick around for the commercials,

they’re, in our opinion,

the best part.

Have a laugh,

we insist,

they’re infectious.


On Forgetting

Standard

Like cotton-candy

standing up

to a deluge,

sometimes these things fade,

quickly sinking

into the mud.

And sometimes they move in phases

as your recollection shifts,

like the coastlines

warping more the closer you peer,

just as you try to quantify them.

Tenuous already is our grasp

of the present.

The past does not preserve well.

The memories need to get out,

to stay fresh

but take up so much space

and don’t always make clean reentries.

Sometimes we compress

the things we’d like to keep,

or contain —

but they’ll usually lose

their original character,

or exaggerate it to absurdity,

whatever’s worse.

Left alone,

they may consolidate,

as a skewed synthesis of disparate events.

Or they collide, leaving hollowed-out husks

of days gone by,

flinging detritus

to where it never was.

In spite of this,

one tiny detail you find

in daily life,

that you probably forgot about,

can bring you right back

to where you once were

some time ago.

We use these pieces of experience

as planks to build stable footing,

keeping them flexible lets our platform’s

withstand the test of time.


Siphonophore

Standard

Wheels within wheels,

interlocked

eyes that dot the rims.

10,000 outstretched arms

invite all comers,

wings encircle a glowing and ascendant

body.

From many,

a single entity.

An atomized chorus,

moving in synchrony

without consciousness,

nor dreams nor thoughts.

Order and chaos,

coalesce to form an

improvised symphony.

Each piece,

individual, indivisible

and interdependent,

living communally

serving the whole and

acting in concert.

The being,

older than time,

makes no demands,

states no pleas

only meanders

through darkness.

And we,

looking through our own reflections,

wish we could ask it

what it sees.


Astringency

Standard

Absent-mindedly,

I took a bite

before you were ready,

and thought nothing of it.

I’m so sorry,

so sorry.

The wound I left behind

oxidized and irritated.

You could see it on my face,

the part I excised

now sat on my tongue,

refusing to budge

blanketing my mouth in

choking cotton.

The bitterness pervades,

I have to throw it all away

now.

I was careless,

what harm I’ve caused

what a waste,

what a waste.

Nevertheless,

thank you for the reminder

that things can be a lot

sweeter

if you just

let them be.


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.