June, 2002

Standard

Friends of friends

gather around the table,

cardboard hats and confetti

strewn about.

One part restaurant,

one part gift shop.

It’s cold in here,

animatronic animals

dance unconvincingly,

vines wind around exposed

pipes.

This place has a great atmosphere.

Recordings of monsoon season

in the Amazon,

echo through unseen speakers.

A prix-fixe menu,

presents the illusion of choice

to people too young

to travel alone.

Kids I spend every day with,

whose names I will soon forget,

don’t talk to me.

A cheerful orangutan robot,

turns it’s head

and says “help me, I’m critically endangered,”

but that’s above my pay grade.

We don’t get to choose

the bricks

that line memory lane.

I wish I could tell you,

“the journey beats the destination”

but I haven’t

gotten there yet.


Apocryphal

Standard

Every one knew

that one kid in town

whose father worked at Nintendo,

so he was privy to everything.

Whose girlfriend went

to a different school,

but he swore

she looked just like Jennifer Aniston.

Who told you,

tearfully, to watch for crocodiles

lurking in the creek

behind your house,

although they are

not native to the region.

Did you think twice

when you dove in again?

Did you do a double-take

at every mossy piece of driftwood?

Is it worth the trouble

to move mountains of horseshit,

or is it better to just

drop the shovel?

Generation Loss

Standard

Forgery begets forgery,

begets forgery,

to the point that

even the watchful eye begins

to doubt itself.

Infinite renewal is not

continuous preservation —

what we forget accrues

and crystallizes.

The patina looms

the colors wash-out

and dry-up,

leaving behind bleached bones

and shadows.

Gaps grow

into gorges,

cleaved apart by

refrozen murk.

Even garbled noise and static,

is buffed away

by graininess.

The record becomes the message.

If you wanted to see it so bad,

you should have been there

when it happened.

———————————-

Instagram: @thefilepile

Facebook: The File Pile

Traces

Standard

The loose change

from the time I’ve spent,

often falls out of my pocket —

landing on the sidewalk,

slipping between the cracks.

The things I’ve said,

for real or in jest,

left behind their residue,

whether I recall or not.

Those moments never left,

but for one reason or another,

didn’t stick with me.

Do we know

how much of our live’s,

fall down the memory hole?

Consult the hourglass.

I have to ask,

can I take some sand back?

Every spare moment

sloughed-off and discarded,

like old clothes,

like dust.

Where does the time go?

———————————-

Instagram: @thefilepile

Facebook: The File Pile

Cult-Classics

Standard

Night falls,

As Ana slides open the screen-door,

And snuck into her house with her friends,

While her parents 

sleep peacefully,

Unaware of tonight’s meeting.

The following entered single file,

Approached the shelf,

gathered around,

And pored over

the needed materials.

Meticulously,

They made their selections,

Offerings that each member agreed to.

Each had their own predilections

Toward eighties ultra violence,

Black comedy,

Or pre-recorded VHS tapes,

Of since-cancelled television,

With commercial breaks,

Intact.

“Cut the lights,”

The time has come

for another sleepless night,

Sitting entranced.

Volume at near-silence,

Doors tightly shut,

Muffling cheers for the anti-hero,

Laughter and schadenfreude,

Shuffling seats,

To avoid

potential tut-tuts

Of disgruntled authority.

You Will get Away With it

Standard

Every so often,

I hear the doorbell ring,

When I’m not expecting company.

Sometimes,

I look through the peep hole,

And see nothing at all,

“Damn kids,”

I’ll say,

Presumptively.

Sometimes,

It’s just the mailman,

So I sign for something,

Then he’s on his merry way.

But once in a while,

It’s you,

“Come on in,”

I say.

“Take a seat,”

I’ll go get some drinks,

And snacks.

We relax,

Tell some stories,

To fill in the gaps,

“It’s been too long,” you say.

I know it has,

“But I cannot stay,”

I also know that,

“Take your time,”

Glad I could give you,

Some of mine.

When you stand up, 

With your arm,

Half in your jacket,

I ask nothing more of you.

When there’s nothing left to say,

All I want,

Is to be sure,

For now,

That you’re doing okay.

Remember?

Standard

Holding a stack of Polaroids in my hand,

“I was there,

I was there,”

I said counting and recounting.

My thumb stuck to their glossy surfaces,

I turned them over to find the dates scribbled in black sharpie,

“April 10th, 1997– Hannah’s birthday,”

Curly, unruly hair and a missing front tooth,

And a little frosting on the tip of her nose,

And her brow.

She  was laughing,

We all were,

Now I am.

The next picture,

All of us,

Surrounding,

A dented cake,

Seen from a bird’s eye view,

In a fisheye lens.

The next picture,

Blowing out nine candles,

Her face amber through the dim light,

While we stood nearby,

In the shade,

My face was buried in my hands,

Now it is again,

The stack falls to the floor,

Spreading the moments all about,

I look toward the hall,

I hope the door opens,

And you’ll be back again,

Someday.

Pastels

Standard

The brittle blocks,

Seemed alien first,

Until you pulled them from the box,

Rubbed them on and smeared them in.

With some care and consideration,

And some practice and precision,

Whatever you’re working on,

Will look fuzzy and faded in.

The color binds to the blank space,

In whatever shape you’ve traced,

Wherever it’s been placed.

The mark of a good artist,

Is not the figure on the paper,

But the dark marks on their fingertips,

And passion that sometimes tapers,

But never disappears.

Keep fingerpainting,

But keep from scribble-sniveling,

How easy it is to make drivel,

How easy it was to be Picasso,

Or Van Gogh,

Or Michelangelo,

When you were little.

Here and Now

Standard

When you pass time, and things have passed you by-

You hesitate to say that “time flies.”

When you look up, it’s the same sky,

then one moment it’s February, the next it’s July,

then summer’s almost over,

then the leaves have died.

Sit when you sit, run when you run,

Think not of snow when standing in the sun,

fear no sharks when you swim in the ocean,

and don’t hit the brakes if you’re looking for momentum.

The world whirls at its own pace, and does not mask this,

in this we are hapless.

Like it or not, it spins on its axis,

and you are not Atlas.

Make the best of this game of chess,

It takes finesse not to obsess,

It makes a mess to regress-

When you compress your experience,

you end up with less.