Telegraphing

Standard

I was just about sure

my words would always

go unheard.

Dots and dashes

between two cans

intertwined.

Who’s to say

the notes will make it there,

or side-wind

through one ear and out the other,

or bounce around

inside your skull.

Know what I mean?

Trapped in the highest spire

of our respective mind palaces.

No runway,

no helipad,

we’ll have to drop each other

a line.

Our words

will run along

the overgrowth.

May we drink wine,

tell tall tales

and catch up —

even when we’re far away.


Living Fossils

Standard

I am the way

God made me,

nothing more

and nothing less.

We all have our cracks,

yet I am not broken enough

to fix.

I may be stuck in my ways,

only because I know

they work well.

I’m not looking

to be understood.

Things have changed,

new ages

came and went,

but I’m still here,

rock-solid.

Time has told me

only one thing,

that I am well-designed.

To endure

means a lot more

in the long run

than to conquer.

Rarely do I reflect

on what has brought me here,

I know only

how to survive.

“The fish is that last to know

it lives in water.”


I Want to Laugh/I Want to Cry

Standard

Despite having

both sides of the same coin

you can’t make heads or tails

of the ambivalence.

The opposing sensations

never cancel

each other out,

to become indifference.

Instead, both emotions

carry-on and veer-off,

like you’re being

drawn-and-quartered.

Your inner monologue

is a screaming match

between two diametrically

opposed parties

who are not making any headway.

How does one make sense

of the things at their very core

not adding up?

Hell isn’t all fire

and brimstone.

Hell

is getting everything

you’ve ever wanted in life —

and it still sucks.


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?

In the Flesh

Standard

I wish the fire

in the pit of my stomach

would warm my heart

during cold nights,

but the heat

doesn’t quite

travel that far.

I belch up smoke,

because I am only skin and bones.

My Achilles’ tendon,

sore and raw

from javelin wounds

that won’t heal,

because I can’t stop

picking at the scabs.

I am only human.

If only I could

power wash

the spaces

between the folds in my brain.

Unravel it, rinse it off

and wring it out —

but it has to stay

in the case

because it doesn’t travel well.

I am the sum

of all my defective parts,

inextricably stitched together

with connective tissue,

take me or leave me.


Inhibitionism

Standard

In the throes of

cost-benefit

analysis paralysis,

I change my mind.

Give me a nudge,

in the right direction,

just enough to budge,

and overcome the friction.

Pivot after pivot,

like I’m double-jointed,

but I’m too rigid

to be a contortionist.

In the midst of

figuring it all out,

I think twice.

I’ll come around again,

as I move along the bend.

In a moment of clarity I ask,

is this just how it is

forever, then?

I’ve begun to understand myself,

then I thought better of it.

Mantis

Standard

Candy-striped prowler

among the tiger lilies —

waiting for the next insect

and unshakable idealist

who doesn’t understand

when something is too good

to be true.

When you only have swords,

everything looks like

it could use a little

off the top.

It appears you’ve been caught,

trespassing on my petals

and I’m very sorry for

the inconvenience,

but I’ll have to

cut you down.

There’s no hostility,

I’m just doing what

comes naturally.

My own, not quite accurate,

reenactment

of Judith Beheading

Holofernes.

Heaven is Under Our Feet

Standard

You may never

step in the same river twice,

but it feels

all too familiar

to tread water.

We’re up to our knees

and it seems

we’ll be bogged-down

for a while.

You must accept

that if you get down and dirty,

you’re bound to leave

some footprints.

Press on, press on —

the adventure doesn’t end

because our shoes are scuffed,

our pants

caked with dirtclods,

our hair more mussed

than when we just woke up.

The world is your canvas,

and you are equal parts

artist and explorer-

this morning is a once-in-a-lifetime

opportunity

to simply live.

Just make sure,

upon your return,

that you don’t track any mud

on your clean carpets.

There’s a time and a place

for that.

Clockwork

Standard

Despite the flashiness,

try as it might,

lightning never strikes

the same place twice.

Power without focus

is just bluster.

Clocks, especially

the broken ones,

are much more consistent

than that.

But with nothing set in motion,

a steady hand

does not impress.

When the gears move synchronously

tooth-by-interlocking-tooth,

we can read deeply

into the kinesics.

To your horror

you may find

some things in common

with the automatons.

We all know the truth —

imitator,

yet another simulacra

lost in the wrong end

of the uncanny valley,

you tell yourself.

But who’s more convincing?

Chrome

Standard

Rows upon rows

of identical 3-bedroom homes

say “success,”

but where are all the

happy families?

Wrought-iron statues

depicting long-dead

historical figures

say “tradition,”

but what happened

to all the sculptors

and scholars?

An assembly line of shining,

suped-up cars —

plastic fenders

sprayed with glinting chromium

paint says “progress,”

but what have we

left behind?

A wide-open field

of gleaming

gilded lilies swaying

in the breeze

says “prosperity,”

but where did all the food go?

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