All

If all the weary passengers I’m seeing
Were really ever passengers to places I could go
I wonder if they’d see me as a person merely fleeing
From the places they were heading
Or the ones they’re merely dreading
Or to “trust me, when you see it, you’ll know”

In truth, it’s been a while since a person
Was passing any other way but where I couldn’t see
And maybe that’s the symptom of the things that only worsen
When the sun is never setting
And the world keeps on forgetting
That I don’t remember much of them or them so much of me

I tell myself, “the rain is going nowhere”
And chase it with a cup that never learned to hold a drink
Where mountains, I can see, but never once is any snow there
But I guess that doesn’t matter
If the cups we carry shatter
And the steps, though moving forward, always sink

But maybe it’s a tempest I’m deserving
And endlessly behind it, I’ll continue just to crawl
Until I can convince myself I’m hopefully observing
That the storm, in tired leaving
From me took no disbelieving
When the storm, before it came,
Or even whispered there was rain
It promised nothing but in passing, took it all

Demolitionist

I’m sitting in a coffee shop, and I’m dressed as a wrecking ball.

I didn’t plan to be but that’s how things play out sometimes.

You wouldn’t be able to tell – no one would. All you would see is a pair of jeans and a business casual shirt on shirt ensemble with the top button undone. I suppose I could try to say that not all wrecking balls look like wrecking balls but that would belie the truth.

The truth is that I look exactly like what I am, but no one ever sees it because no one wants to see it.

It’s the peculiar line of logic that leads people to say things like, “But if you could do that then why don’t you…”

And I say that that’s not how it works.

And they say, “Okay, so how’s it work then?”

And I say that it’s like when you see a bit of light that looks like a rainbow.

See, the light isn’t trying to make a rainbow. The drop of water, the piece of glass. The time of day and the position of the earth. The sun and the stars don’t care. No one is building a rainbow. It’s several variables that don’t care about the other variables because they don’t know they’re variables at all and so they don’t know there are other variables to know about. And then there’s you – sitting there and watching and not adding anything but voyeurism.

And I say that maybe that’s worth more than you think it is and not just in that old “if a tree falls in a forest and no one’s there, does it make a sound?” kind of way.

And I say, “There are things that behave differently when they’re being observed that have no reason to act any different because they shouldn’t have any way of knowing that they’re being observed.”

And I say that that’s maybe a great or terrible indicator of the idea of god and what it is to be made in something’s image. All of us – even down to the atomic level – unable to be ourselves if anyone is watching. All of us turning into actors and singers or else those who avert their eyes and try to say without saying, “If I don’t see you for long enough can you stop seeing me?”

And I say, “It’s more like that.”

And sometimes someone will nod, I suppose, or else they just assume the logical assumption: I’m just someone saying things because things are fun to say. What would conversation be without it?

I suppose the problem is that, by the time I explain what “that” is there seems to be very little “that” left for the listener to turn into a “this”.

It’s for that reason why I don’t often waste the time explaining.

In truth, there’s very little to explain when everything works as expected and there’s no way to explain anything when it doesn’t.

And one time someone asked if it mattered what the words were, and I told them that it only mattered because it had to matter because it’s like a sort of bootstrap paradox where the end result is partially the cause of the end result.

I suppose that, in the end, it never really matters much – and that’s exactly what I tell people when I choose to tell them these things.

I didn’t need to tell anyone this today. Not here. Not while sitting in a coffee shop.

I’ve just been sitting here quietly. Building momentum. That’s what I call it.

No one asks about that. I don’t find this surprising for exactly two reasons.

The first is that is seems largely straightforward and undeserving of an explanation.

The second is that I’ve never told anyone that because no one ever asks me anything that would require me to tell them.

“Give me an example.”

That’s the big one.

Everyone wants an example, don’t they?

Funny voices, is it? Let’s hear your best accent.

Comedian? Tell us a joke.

Superman? Leap a tall building.

If Jesus is real and Jesus returns and he can’t walk on water, that guy’s gonna have a bad day. That’s all I’m saying.

I don’t need to sidestep the answer but then there’s no way not to.

I say that there’s a man that says he can always guess a winning lottery number, but it won’t win if those numbers are submitted.

Right there, everyone is a theorist. Everyone knows what they would do if they were Batman.
Everyone has a gameplan when they don’t have to play the game.

Critics on a couch talking about how borderline Olympians aren’t doing it right.

They say the man should write down the numbers and…

There’s always a loophole, right?

But the man says there isn’t. The numbers are guaranteed – but only if no one plays them.

He says he has proof.

In his wallet is an old lottery ticket and he unfolds it and shows you the faded bubbles that are filled out and there’s a section of a newspaper with a date and the winning numbers and they match his.

But you say that proves nothing.

Who’s to say when he filled those bubbles out?

How do you fact check the past when it has no timestamp?

How do you confirm the reality of a memory?

And people say, “That’s not an answer.”

And I say that it is, but it’s not the one they wanted because they wanted to see magic and I’m telling them that sometimes magic is just saying that it’s known that somewhere, someone is pulling some kind of rabbit out of some kind of hat, and I can only tell you that I know it’s true in a way that’s infallible even if you don’t understand why.

And people say, “So you’re just full of shit.”

See, people don’t say that because they immediately believe I’m full of shit.

This is the alpha-male, “What are you, some kinda pussy or somethin?” call to arms to let someone know that they’ve gauged the size of their testicles to be several sizes smaller than nature intended. But don’t worry, there’s a cure. The cure is to pull your balls out and slap them under a projector so everyone sees how big they are.

It’s an attack meant to provoke a response of, “Oh yeah!? I’ll show you by giving you EXACTLY what you want!”

I suppose they think that that’s how it works.

I tell them, “That’s not how it works.”

And they nod and say, “Mmmhmm…” all judgey while silently thinking, “but what if it’s true?” and they go home and they wonder it too. And they try it themselves and they go, “Did it work? Would I know?”

And if they’d ask me that, I’d tell them that they would – if they could – but they can’t. And if they asked me why I’d just stare at them like someone who’s incredibly short asking me why they can’t learn how to be tall.

But no one is asking me that today.

Not here while I sit in the coffee shop.

My momentum is as good as it can be.

I take the receipt and fill in the spot for a tip. It’s exactly 20.04%. I could tell you why that matters but it would never really tell you why it matters. It would only tell you what I think you want to hear. Or maybe it’s what I think I want to hear. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference.

I write in the total that could have easily been a very clean number had the tip not been 20.04% and I sign my name.

I sign it slowly and deliberately. It’s the signature of someone who writes all the letters. It’s the signature of someone who never stopped writing cursive the way they were taught in school and so every curve and divot and dash and dot is in its place to such a degree that the whole thing looks distinctly out of place in a world where names start with capital something and wind into a scattering of ink-line origami.

At the very bottom, I write, “Thank you” – I do not write “thanks” – I could tell you why this matters but you already wouldn’t believe it should matter at all and I suppose that’s the reason why I keep having to explain so many things.

I place the receipt upside down and set a saltshaker on top of it.

Some will probably say, and quite sarcastically, “Let me guess, the saltshaker is also…”

But no. Why would a saltshaker matter?

This is the problem with reality. Once it doesn’t match up to what people want, they dive into absurdity. If you can bend a simple law of physics, why can’t you eat the color blue and turn your pores into seagulls?

And I say that if that’s what that means to them then I suppose that’s what that means to them.

And people don’t like answers that don’t say what they want them to say. They like answers that they already decided they want to hear.

But that doesn’t matter at the moment. Not here while the momentum is released, and I see the light – totally unaware – as it moves through a drop of water – lost in its own little world – turn into a tiny dot of multicolored light that only shows up for a moment because I’m at just the right angle to see it flicker by.

I know that as the momentum strikes the world has shifted and I don’t entirely know what that means but I know exactly what it doesn’t mean, and I suppose that that’s probably the best thing for any of us.

After so much effort, there’s little else to do but take a walk.

After all, I feel so underdressed now, down to little more than jeans a t-shirt and a button up with the top button undone and some sneakers that should have been replaced last year but they don’t matter so much.

They only matter during the points between.

I suppose someone might ask, “Then why not just focus on those instead?”

And I tell them that that’s not what wrecking balls do.

People don’t like that answer.

It’s the only one I have to give them.

Math

I quietly stood as the wind rattled in
And I turned very little
For what was a breeze
When the sky hasn’t fallen or yet to begin
A decent knowing it’ll
Just shift in degrees
And when standing the way I’ve been standing I can’t say the wind has affected the path

With every new whispering, trivial sound
Whether given to ebbing
Or pointless egress
From a “what could be finished” for “what could be found”
Do I let it be webbing
Composed of a guess
That I know would be better, if blemished, but beautifully built as if bartering longing for last

And words like forever don’t measure as tall
When the spaces between it
Go shrinking away
So the pieces that mattered are kept, nearly all,
And I swear that I’ve seen it
Or will in a day
When the sun, even setting, is brighter than echoes of light far away in the past

And how very loving it certainly seems
As if built of affection
And careful restraint
But reality ripples and so do the dreams
And of course, in correction,
Do fantasies faint
And in moments the magic is melting away like an abacus counting what’s left of the day and you finally see it and finally say, “all the things you were giving, or tried to convey… wasn’t love, it was you doing math…”

Friend

I twisted my apologies
And sacred ideologies
Until the parts I needed most were true
I filled my heart with fuses
Just to decorate the bruises
Knowing not why what I choose is
Always different
Never different
Somewhere in between cerulean and blue

Where all of the apologies
Were pages from theologies
The sun had bleached to bone before they bled
Where letters are as flowers
Petals lost beneath the towers
Holding vigils for the hours
Always changing
Never changing
Somewhere in between the colors rust and red

I wove all of the similes
Until their lacking symmetries
Was something I could hold, or else pretend
For just a little while
Wouldn’t falter like a smile
Just a stranger in the aisle
Always watching
Never watching
Somewhere in between forgotten and a friend

Cutter

Arbitrary landscapes in a flutter ’round the cellar
Are they moving interstellar
Being fortune and the teller
Not the sold and not the seller of the all consuming clutter

Piling in monuments of other minor moments
Where we measure in components
Being growth and how we’ve grown it
Into fountains full of foment fit to fade like just another

Trivial pursuit that we discover, like an idol,
Of a moon, and we the tidal
Wave we soon would see a bridle
Like a sun now suicidal with a mask of cloudy cover

Statuary still and here we shudder all the while
Putting factures into tile
Like a pre-existing style
Of the sad and how we smile when we see that we’re the cut and we’re the cutter

Tranquilized

I set a set of shackles
On my unassuming wrists
So that in search of tender trysts
I found a string of jaded jackals
While my care and my concern all shrank to cries

And lost, there in the brambles,
Where beneath the swirling mists
I looked for longing that I’d missed
Among the me I left in shambles
Keeping warm beneath a cloak of thankful lies

I placed in all the places
That I never could exist
The woe of words upon a list
That, even now, would conjure faces
As I’m searching for a hope in hateful skies

But lost are the reminders
Of a pain that won’t persist
As if a love I’ve never kissed
Because I lost the will to find her
So I let my heart continue
Beating slowly through a thin view
Where the depths of could’ve been are tranquilized

Seeming

Wrapped up in the intimation of a figure stoic
Wearing, even now, a garment partially heroic
Speaking words I never really understood completely
Uttered as if confidential whispering discreetly

Standing here as if it mattered to you in the merest
Modicum of meaning yet I held you, ever dearest
Bolstering the feeble feeling that if I could barter
More than what I had then maybe none would be the martyr

Wrapped up in insinuation cauterized and scarring
Underneath a gauze umbrella where the pain is jarring
Lying through the teeth I’m gritting tight to hold the torrent
Of the failing benediction you would never warrant

Slipping slowly with a clatter made of apprehension
In a field of memories I’ve learned to never mention
Maybe all I’ve ever been is something you were dreaming
Sadly, though, you’ve never seen me…all you’ve ever seen is how I’m seeming

Confession

I feel as though I calculate
And never make a single calculation
I measure out the permanence that wasn’t really permanent
In values organized in permutations

I set a set of sliding scales
Against the metaphors of old deception
I find in the dividing there are only larger dividends
To quantify the meaning of exception

I feel like I’m conspiring
But never wear the mask of conspiration
I organize the images and elements and reasoning
Until I cannot see a complication

I put another piece in place
Without a thought and, so, without concession
I walk along a dotted line of severed veins and arteries
And cannot hear the blood over the sound that I omit from each confession

Sell

I take the smallest fragment of a spark
And then I set it by a lens
A backdrop made of green so I can filter out the dark
I magnify it till it seems as if a sun that won’t descend

Positioning the light before it fades
I simply take a photograph
Then alter it in ways to make it show in different shades
So it’s a loop that ever plays and no one hears the epitaph

So others, even now, can see it glow
In ways it never did before
In patterns that conceal how much was never there to show
And masquerading what was real as if a mask it merely wore

The spark, however, died a silent death
Within cavern hidden well
But since no one can see the light no longer has a breath
Nobody knew to even be there when I put it down to rest
And no one seems all that concerned as long as I still have the photographs to sell

Crashes

The problem, I guess,
Is the fear I confess
Or the fear that, I guess,
Isn’t valid unless

I can measure its weight
Or define its dimensions
In lines that are straight
I can bind and then gate
And assign to a valid extension

The problem, I guess,
Isn’t clearly assessed
By the fear I suppress
When I’m clearly a mess

And I’m digging a grave
In a desert of ashes
As if I could save
Anyone from the wave
That I cause when the fear that I feel and I crave,
On the shores of reality, crashes