Cliffs

Standard

Windswept, chiseled over millennia –

monolith, monument to forces far beyond

our domain.

Lonesome giant,

against the cavernous sky.

Outcropping to outcropping,

alongside trees gnarled in crevices,

I scale the sun-bleached walls.

The wind is at my back,

falling rubble

meets a fate only it can withstand

tumbling from near-heaven, careening against

the side of the cliffs.

Little stands between death and I,

turning back, is no longer an option.

Surefooted,

may my hands guide the way,

the sun beats down on my face.

To the sky I announce,

“I will meet you in the middle.”

The summit seemed impossible

until it was in my grasp.

Now, how to get

back down?


Without

Standard

“Where does the time go?”

You’ve always known.

Your back was just towards it.

Admiring the liminal space,

between point A and point B –

I restate the obvious:

all the things I’ve scattered to the wind,

have blown away.

Tears stream down my face,

at the sight of all this spilled milk.

Irretrievable–

fading, flickering memories melt

as the days go by,

at best,

that’s all we’ve got.

So many times, I’ve gotten exactly what I wanted

and it was the worst thing that could have happened.

So many times have I parted ways with something I swore I couldn’t live without,

somehow I got by just fine.

The past is gone, and the present is a terrible time

to waste backtracking.


Anyone

Standard

You were never the same after

any time we met

face to face.

Irreplaceable, you

nevertheless had a knack

for adaptation.

The pattern shifts,

fades to black,

and you vanish in the night sky.

Where are you?

Footsteps 20 paces away

have I gone —

I shouldn’t say.

There you are,

done something new

with your hair?

The more things change

the more they stay the same,

you hide in plain sight.

Can’t shake this feeling

that I’m being watched,

at least have the courtesy

to tell me whether fight or flight

are reasonable.

Unbelievable, you

the same acrid wine

with a new skin for every

day of the week.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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?