Tuesday, October 06, 2015


Image source: NASA.gov


“Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.” - Kahlil Gibran

On the hush of one indigo twilight, some thirty-six years ago, after perhaps one drink too far, one ill-advised dime bag, or maybe one beating too many, Mom got fed-up and stabbed Dad in his back, right in front of me. I’m not leaning on colorful metaphor; that literally happened. Look for poetry here and you'll find nothing but the taste of copper and the sound of a small child weeping. I suppose we all have defining moments. At age six, this moment ushered in the era of my new normal, an unending twilight.

Dad survived, though the nuclear family changed molecularly, and I fundamentally. Separation lowered us from lower-middle to poverty. Though I didn’t blame myself, my already introverted nature imploded. I began to resign myself to losing, shrugging through overcast existence, impervious to sunlight caressing my face. Normal became my bedrocked-faith eroding, sliding seaward. Normal was coming to terms with the fact that losing is inevitable. In an infinite amount of trajectories, my role in this reality was to fall.

The twilight of normal never fully abates, churning indigo waves, whispering that I'm of the wretched; of abhorrent stock who deserves to fall and slide into the unmarked crevice of nothing. It often compels me to retreat to my bed, shrinking beneath the covers, staring into nothing, envious of its definition. For all my education and life-experiences, it is astounding how often I find myself reduced to that helpless child, weeping in indigo twilight, where I can’t be seen.

Earth turns toward shadows
Veiling light, muting whispers
Hugging its secrets

Posted for D'verse Poets Pub - Haibun Monday 2.

If you frequent this blog, you probably noticed I haven’t been around for a while. I’d like to say that I’m back, but I’ve been gripped by depression and well, I guess that’s that. I’ll try to write more, but no promises.

This Kahlil Gibran prompt seemed pretty cool though. I greatly enjoyed reading his uplifting book The Prophet, and so I guess I felt compelled to poke around my head and examine parts of me that I don’t always like to see the light of day.

Apparently, I’ve been struggling with depression since I was six years old. Huh. All this time I thought I was just born a grumpy old man. Who knew?

(Sorry for being a buzzkill.)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bliss as This (Failure of Imagination in Four Parts)

Image source: Google

Bliss as This (Failure of Imagination in Four Parts)

Wide-eyed kids like me know more than all,
but less than ignorance,
or that ignorance is bliss.
I will never know tenderness of a lover's kiss.
After receiving her kiss that I would never get,
I will never invite a second.
Seconds after the second kiss,
I will never surface from beneath
the lunchroom table, where all kisses are born.

I will never know a sweeter smile
than the one that vanished from her face
after she knew we'd never meet again.
Uprooted and moved by arbitrary decisions
of silly adults who knew nothing of
lunchroom etiquette, far away to a remote,
loveless outpost, not even ten miles apart that
might as well had been ten million.

My family would never again settle into a place
long enough for me to find
a decent lunchroom table.

I would always hold hands with girls
who wanted only friendship, always knowing
that I always secretly hoped for more tenderness.
I would always be duped by a few girls,
who only flirted to make a mockery of my feelings.

I would eventually cocoon those feelings
into a calcified, preteen cynicism,
which would act as both buffer and blind-spot,
keeping me safe from both the pain of rejection
and the pilot-webs spun by more sincere girls
who otherwise would've ensnared me in webs of
tenderness, compassion, warmth, and limerence.

I would always excel at blocking my own blessing.

I have never become friends with young women,
expecting mutual evolution of connection.
After evolving with her, I never expected
the connection to take us higher
nor did I detect the depths we would plummet
separately, as we evolved and grew apart.

I would never love another woman again
as I did her,
until I did love another woman again
in a dizzying, intoxicating spin,
but never again like the first.

And never again like the second spin,
once we too lost cohesion, spinning apart

And never again like the third,
whose sphere of influence compelled me
to second-guess all that I would never do
for the first and the second, morphing me into
something unrecognizable to me,
but easily more compatible with her,
only for her to lose interest and wander apart
from the stranger I had become.

I would never again compromise
my existence for any woman, and
I would never again allow myself
to feel anything for any woman, and then
I met a woman every bit as stubborn as I am, and
once I once again allowed the latter pillar
to slowly fall away into the abyss of her tenderness
I never imagined any other woman
compelling me to reexamine the former.

And I will surely never again know tenderness
of a love as bliss as this.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

At the Temple


At the Temple

I did not pray for you at the temple today
Maybe because I made it all about me
Making peace with the scope of the universe
Contemplating my insignificance within it

I'm vacationing in paradise when I heard it
Today's date, the month and day of your birth
The pain of your absence tucked away
Vanishing, along with the sound of your voice

I did not pray for you at the temple today
Maybe because I'm a lousy, forgetful son
Or maybe, the stillness was by your design
As your voice reverbed through the sacred bell

I took off my shoes to show respect
Waited patiently in silence for others before me
I burned my finger lighting the incense
Not badly, but enough to pay attention

Maybe it was you reaching out to admonish me
It could've been your wry sense of humor saying chill
Perhaps the Infinite laughed at my mindfulness
I probably should've been more careful with the flame

I placed the incense in the ashes,
Imperfectly among neat rows
But I did not pray for you today
While contemplating my smallness

For Terri Ann Dawson, my mom, who would've been 61 on September 6.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Go Fuck Yourself

Go Fuck Yourself

I would write in watercolors
redirecting raindrops with wetted strokes

I could learn the ukulele
strumming the sunshine with fingertips

I should fashion songs in summer
transmuting wind into weighted voice

But when you ask me how you should feel
when my potential seasons offend you
only one possible answer comes to mind.



Yes, there's a story behind this one, but I can't go into it right now. I just had to quickly spit out the poison before it consumed me. 

I'll try to be more upbeat next time!

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Image source: google


Your blues ain’t like my blues;
cool, visual cobalt,
auditory melancholy,
salty still inlet cove, prone
to frostbite if left untreated.

Your blues might be a bit different,
but I see them,
and somehow, they manage
to make me even bluer.

But then you smile
and beckon to me, and
the rhythm of my ballad
is disrupted as a
single raindrop ripples the
stillest, bluest body into
countless reflected fireflies
that flirt with your eye-twinkles.

As the bluest sky is sketched upon
by threaded white wisps,
west to east,
so do you chase the bluest of me
into the Technicolor of us.

I know of no such existence that doesn’t
have me streaking across the
sapphire sky
to pursue whatever blue
that dims your joy.

Take my hand and walk with me
until the sun settles beyond view,
lengthening the shadows of what will be,
reaching up to the ripening-pink heavens
that reflect hints of gold
as the clouds ignite
the way my blues combust into new colors
whenever I’m in earshot of your laughter,

a precious respite from my
blues, indigos and violets.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Fate of That One Kid who Made My Lil Brother Late for ThunderCats

The Fate of That One Kid who Made My Lil Brother Late for ThunderCats

The fire is what I remember the most.
I never had to wonder what he was thinking.
Phil had the worst poker-face
in all the housing projects.

I could always sniff-out a lie,
but I turned a blind eye
if I knew he wasn’t hurting himself.

That day, I knew he wasn’t lying
when he shouted that he would fuck that kid up.

I was retrieving him from the playground
to watch afternoon cartoons.
ThunderCats were on the loose
and I didn’t want him to miss it.

That’s when I first saw the flames.

Phil was being picked on
for universal reasons that kids get picked on;
because sometimes kids are assholes,
and assholes leading groups are the worst assholes.

Phil is one of the sweetest kids I know;
slow to anger, easy in forgiveness.
But even he has a berserk button
and it is a catastrophically bad idea
for anyone to push it to see what happens.

That’s what I witnessed;
a bunch of tiny assholes pushing Phil’s buttons,
and with the leader physically menacing him
I knew that somehow, someway
I’d have to save that little dickhead from my brother.

Embedded in Phil’s eyes
were two four-alarm infernos.
If I didn’t somehow intervene…

I mean, it’s not like he would fight that kid
as much as he would happen to that kid
the way Kansas tornados happen to treehouses.

Don’t recall what the kid did
but he was a mouthy motherfucker
and his entourage fed his escalation like…

Ever see what happens to magnesium when ignited?
It creates its own oxygen, like most shit-talkers
showing-off to their instigating crew.

I knew I couldn’t save everyone
so I focused on my brother
who had tears streaming from his flames.

“You gonna let your big brother fight for you?”
the little shit sneered at Phil
through a shit-eating grin.
His crew erupted in laughter and high-fives

“I’m not fighting anyone,” I notified.
“But I’m not stopping anything either.
You sparked this shit with my lil bro,
and he’s gonna settle this.
I’m just here to keep things… fair.”

The laughing stopped as the implication hit home
as if all involved knew shit just got real.
Unable to save face, the little shit assumed a stance,
prancing about in front of Phil’s barely-corked wrath.
He’d clearly seen too many Sugar Ray Leonard fights.

“What chu gone do, Phil?” the hapless idiot slurred.
“You don’t want none of this!”
Misinformed, to the very end.

Phil glanced back at me once more,
wide-eyes asking final permission
to let the dogs off the porch.

I nodded grimly.

They were evenly matched in size,
but where Little Sugar Ray had built a rep
fighting guys who looked like Phil,
Phil spent his whole childhood
sparring with kids twice his size
kids like me, his older brother.

It’s not like I ever went easy on him.

The “fight” lasted five seconds,
enough time for Little Sugar Ray to flick a jab
and for Phil to easily slip that jab.

Enough time for Phil to truck that kid into the earth,
foolish pride pancaked into the dirt.
Enough time for Phil to extract respect
unfortunately-timed, along with his pound of flesh.

The entourage ooohed and ahhed at total domination.
Itching to jump Phil, they peeked at my glare,
and wisely remained rooted as spectators.

“That’s enough.” I said.
Phil released the poor kid with a resounding warning;
“That’s what you get! Now stop fucking with me!”

As we turned for home and our cartoons,
Little Not So Sugar Ray, in a face-saving measure
pushed Phil in the back.

Incredulous, Phil balled up his rage into tiny fists,
made a move towards the kid, hesitated,
and then looked again towards me for approval.

I shrugged, and Phil dropped him again.

We missed the beginning of ThunderCats,
but I don’t recall any of the neighborhood kids
pushing Phil’s buttons anymore after that.

Written for my little brother, oldest, bestest friend, and my most trusted male human on the whole muthaphuckin planet, Phillip T. Dawson. Phil turned 36 today. Happy Birthday, Old Man! Tip one back for me! Love you, man.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Day 30 - grasping autumn

grasping autumn

there are things we don’t discuss anymore
in the coffeehouse summer evenings after class
the blushes, unnecessary brushes with coveted contact
the chambered “yes” unreleased for unspoken invites
the eyes imploring, always the eyes imploring
the all-night exchange of ideas, broken up by birdsongs
the unnecessary phone calls and messages saying
“can’t wait to see you!” when
what we really mean is
“really can’t wait to see you!”
the hugs that reach around to grasp autumn
until every leaf has hopelessly fallen
the way I have tumbled, dragging you willingly
as you clutch me, regaining balance in a way
that claims our dignity, leaving only our thirst

which is something we don’t discuss anymore

That's all, folks! 30 poems in 31 days, while selling my house, moving my home residence while passionately watching the NBA playoffs, and all of this with a broken hand. My ex-wife said that I never finish what I start. Well take THAT, woman! 

Thanks for hanging in there with me, everyone! See you next year!