Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Daydreamers

The Daydreamers

See, you were always a daydreamer
And I followed in your footprints
Dreaming of ways to escape our situation
You taught me to see beyond the slums
Showing me how to soar while grounded in reality
Your gave me access to how the universe works
But within the process of my education, you let me peek
Giving me license to game the system in my favor

See, you were always a daydreamer
But then something happened, and your fantasies dimmed
You had less time to let your mind wander
Burdened by two hungry kids
And the reality of someone else’s “told you so’s”
Still, you carved out time to remind me
of Michigan Avenue
Singing of slavery and blue skies,
of what they think and the angles they can’t see
You were relentlessly gentle and unbowed by cruelty
But I could see your wounds, your weariness
And I was too young, too weak to lighten your burden
Though you’d never allow it, even if I could

See, you were always a daydreamer,
But then something happened, and your heart stopped
Nobody told me until the crisis had long ended
The doctors brought you back from heaven’s garden
Before then, you were deeply at peace with God
But I must’ve been eavesdropping on grown folks talking
Or maybe you told me yourself,
since it was a teachable moment
But I recall you saying that
while lying cold and pulseless on the table
You could perceive time, but nothing else
You said that there was no light at the end of the tunnel
That the absence of sound and color led you to darkness
That you couldn’t hear the sound of your own cries
I asked what brought you back, but you could only shrug
Couldn’t even weave a fairytale on the fly

See, you were always a daydreamer
But then something happened, and your dreams turned dark
The lines between fact and fiction irrevocably blurred
You couldn’t discern my face from that of the devil’s
You implored us to side with you
against the shadows in your head
I grew weary of convincing you that there was no demon
In your mind, this convinced you that I was against you
And indeed, I spoke against all your conspiracies
But I couldn’t reach you anymore
So I ran; I escaped my surroundings
Just like you taught me
back when your dreams were vivid
and full of songs and laughter
You reached for me in rare moments of lucidity
But even upon reaching manhood,
I looked at you through a child’s eyes
I was too weak; too cowardly; too selfish, to save you

See, you were always a daydreamer
But then something happened, and your heart stopped
I thought we had all the time in the world
But you didn’t return from the garden this time
I find myself forgetting the sound of your laugh
As you sang to me and told me jokes
Filling my head with stories of both fact and fantasy
I know nothing of what happens after we die
Even all that you taught me
could never prepare my imagination
But here’s what I do know
If there’s nothing waiting for me but darkness and silence
I will spend our eternity fumbling in the void for your hand.


***

Posted today, 1/20/16, on the seventh anniversary of my mother drawing her last breath and leaving this world for the next. I know I shouldn’t post first drafts, but there’s no chance in hell of me returning to work on this one anymore.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Momentum

Image source: http://www.perfectquotes.org/

Momentum

She knows that smile.

                                                He knows that touch.

Filling her morning valley with warmth

                                                          vaporizing glacial distance and time

lingering in evening,

                                                          glancing aimless
off the blameless top
of a bare forearm with
her unarmed fingertips, disarming

mingling with tingling light
reflected in his pupils,

                                                          in a frameless still-life that
he'd upend many nameless
just to live within

a dancing gift,
advancing towards depth
of understanding
at the speed of lightning,
inciting a runaway rhyming
run-on sentence
that can only mean

the moment when

she knows he knows

their atomized fields
interact and bend,
deflecting, thoughts intersecting,
exchanging ideas and electrons freely in
nanoseconds that last for eons within
the shadow of the shell
of the space in which eternally,

she knows that smile


                                                            he knows that touch
***
Happy New Year, everyone. Here's hoping that I can keep up the momentum from this first poem of 2016. And yeah, I do puns too. Come at me, bro!

Monday, December 14, 2015

A New Holiday for the Holiday Season

A New Holiday for the Holiday Season

Historically, the holidays are usually difficult for me to navigate emotionally.

There are times when joy falls upon everything I see like a muted, gentle snowfall, compelling me to conceive ways to bottle and save it within my memories to relive on-demand. But for every perfect moment like this there are countless times when my soul is a haunted Christmas abyss, full of not-so-subtle reminders that existence, like happiness, is fleeting, flickering, and falling away as fading embers, growing colder as the winter night consumes all that we fear to lose.

So yeah, I’m a regular ray of sunshine at the Holiday party, and that’s before I remind you that both of my parents died before my 40th birthday.

Knowing that my familial obligations require me at a certain level of Holly Jolliness, I usually limp through the season leaning on loved ones, dark humor, and small-batch bourbon. But working as an IT professional during the holidays is another matter entirely. If left to my own devices, I usually decorate my cubicle in some small fashion. But if management becomes overzealous with cramming mandatory fun down my throat… well, you’re not gonna believe this, but I can be a bit of a prick.

I won’t go into too many details, but my company is currently engaged in an unofficial departmental holiday decoration competition. Unsurprisingly, my ears immediately fold backwards and I quietly hiss to myself, “Fuck this noise.”

Long story short, there’s a small degree of pressure to get me to comply, including peer-pressure (good luck with that) and holiday shaming (I have no shame and zero fucks to give). I retaliated with complaints that all of the Christmas décor was offensive to my religious beliefs (I panicked and chose Voodoo) and I vowed to have my own twelve-day holiday celebration, which culminates with the holiest of days, Janky Spanky Day, on New Year’s Eve (OK, so I made that up.)

I don’t quite have the history and culture of Janky Spanky Day ironed-out yet. In fact, all I have is a few voodoo dolls, a mutilated scarecrow, and one Janky Spanky Day song. But at least the song provides a strong outline of the reason for the season, if you know what I mean.

Actually, that’s not true. It’s not a very strong outline for a new holiday. I figured that with a name like Janky Spanky Day, a thorough flogging of the buttocks should be prominently featured within the holy festivities, but then after that bullet point, I drew a blank and started swinging wild.

And so, I submit to you, gentle reader, for the first time ever, my very first Janky Spanky Day song. I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to add to my new holiday culture in the comments. All ideas are welcome except for fasting. Seriously, don’t come into my comments area embarrassing yourself with talk of fasting or moderation. Fuck outta here with that nonsense.

 ***

Janky Spanky Day

Smack your loved ones on the butt
Make them scream and then go nuts
Break out the stank on Janky Spanky Day!

Run to the garden, fetch your switch
Use your buckle if they bitch
Target their flank on Janky Spanky Day!

Impale the festive scarecrow on the heathen stick!
Bless Jobu the Restless Weed-King with a ganja-brick!
Scatter 'dem dried chicken bones for Pigeon Georgie!
Greet the Spanky Spirit with fresh pheasant blood
 - for the orgy!

Janky-stick them with all your might
Make their bottoms red and bright
Keep the Holy Jank in Janky Spanky Day!

Bless the bourbon and pass to me
Watch me pass-out beneath the tree

Spank and get tanked on Janky Spanky Day!


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Unseen

Image source: NASA.gov

Unseen

“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)

1.
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.

***
2.
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.

***
3.
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.

***
4.
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!