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I find a fitting melody to rob me of the quiet
In the shallowest peripheral of allegories slipping
Where the stone is smooth as silk and all the instruments are chipping
In the slow pursuit of something half as meaningful as what it cost to buy it

But long ago I found, if only doing so in folly,
The perimeter of morning where the evening is resentful
And the lips that let me rise are, to my eyes, now only lent wool
That remains as dying needles from the pine that’s turning gray beneath the holly

And hoping it was mistletoe that hovered there above me
I recalled, as if a metaphor that only meant forgetting,
There were reasons for a second set of glasses for the setting
That extended, momentarily, beyond the limits lent to being lovely

But somberness was severed from the damages within you
Like a ribbon that was stolen from a present undelivered
For the arrows giving love and lacking pain are cruelly quivered
And the dust upon the feathers and the clouds within the sky seem to imply that this is how it must continue

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

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

Refuse

I steal the light from others
And replace with a shadow of a flame
They carry it a while seeing something like the colors
That were taken and devoured
And they scarcely realize they’re not the same

A grain and then another
And before you know it, like an hourglass
They slowly drain away behind the ever-shifting cover
Of illusion that was soured
Only once they realized it couldn’t last

I see them start to spiral
As they bend into the shape of my duress
Shedding their departures at the cost my arrival
Like a seed that never flowered
And their better moments sold for my request

A meaning given viral
So I offer them the needles that I use
To strip away the edges leaving pulses running idle
And a life that may have towered
Do I watch it tumble down because they offered me a lantern and the shadow in me couldn’t just refuse

Dismissed

Diluting my spirit with spirits diluted
I wonder, how much of me’s left?
When words elocuted are barely a memory
Borne of the wreckage that left me bereft

With wandering syllables slowly saluting
A banner I made out of dread
And wearing a uniform made of out of treachery
Leaking affinity, just to pretend that I bled

Dissolving the meaning with meaning dissolving
I wonder, what’s left in the end?
When losses are mounting and all that I’m gaining
Are wounds that I know not a surgeon could mend

With withering elegies slowly suffusing
A martyrdom made out of mist
I buckle a smile to cheeks that are dying
And speak all the words that are trying to swim in the ocean of pain I dismissed

Proceed

Would petulance remove you if I speak
The words as if they were as strong as I am weak?
And set upon my heart, as if a laminate,
An armor that would minimize the burden of critique?

By statement like a hammer yet to strike
Do I concede that we are nothing but alike?
Or bind, to the contrary, all the evidence
Delivered by an arbitrary pulse that chose to spike?

Would sentiment deliver me a path
Devoid of error just to circumvent the wrath?
When looking at the pictures made of circumstance,
Was I a fool to turn the worst emotions into math?

By rigid arbitration and a need
To see a meaning, did I merely never lead?
Or here, in hesitation, did I choose to hate
How much I had to hold on to the past, and on to you, so I could learn how to proceed?

Directory pt.1

“The thing you gotta understand is just how…unremarkable he was. You know? Like…he was one of those guys that you could talk to ten times in two years and none of it like…none of it really stuck. You know?”


“So wait,” Jim said. His bottle of beer hovered so close to his lips he probably felt the chill of the glass. The trajectory of a drink put on pause as he set the bottle back down. “You think you guys broke up?”

“Yeah,” Adam said as he took a drink of a rum and coke that had already devoured a single ice cube and was now working its way toward a room temperature consolation prize.

“The fuck does that even mean? I mean…” Jim chuckled and took a drink that seemed intent on making up for the one he’d previously put on pause. Like a print queue after a paper jam has been cleared. “Dude, that’s some shit you should probably know as a definitive yes or no.”

Adam knew the answer in black and white terms the way a person knows when they see a car wrapped around a telephone pole that the person inside is dead. Their head and the steering wheel unceremoniously joined in unholy matrimony. But sometimes people lived through those sort of things. There was always that lingering percent. That trail of zeroes that leads to some seemingly erroneous non-zero digit.

“I think it was a sneak attack,” he finally said. Humor didn’t make it seem less absurd, but it was a lovely bandaid for the moment.

“She dress up in black garb like a ninja and leave a throwing star lodged in the wall with a red tassel and some obscure fortune cookie note or something?”

“Not quite,” Adam said. “That would have been more straightforward.”

Jim took another drink and gave Adam “the look”. Eyebrows seemingly both down and up at the same time. That sort of half-pursed expression that just said, “Dude. Duuude. Duuuuude.”

“So, you remember,” Adam began…

“Hold on, hold on,” Jim said as he flagged down a waitress.

She didn’t wear a name tag – it wasn’t that kind of place. She looked like a Sarah. Sarah? Maybe a Susan.

“Can I get another one, and uh…yeah…a long island for Captain Lonely Heart over here.”

Possibly Sarah or Susan smiled at that. She didn’t ask. That was something.

“Sure thing,” she said. “Both on your ticket?”

“Yup.”

“Alright.”

“Okay,” Jim said as she exited stage left, “so walk me through this. It might literally be the most interesting thing I’ve ever heard you say.”

“So, you remember when I moved?”

Jim sat with a bottle frozen at his lips for a moment – not drinking, but not setting the bottle down. “Not ringing a lot of bells,” he said behind his surgeon’s mask of brown glass.

“I don’t know that I talked about it much. Not like it was a huge deal,” Adam said. “Lease was up, found something else. Whatever.” He paused and finished his room-temperature rum and coke as the waitress returned and set their drinks down.

“Beer,” she said as she placed another bottle in front of Jim, “and a long island iced tea for Captain Lonely Heart,” she said with a bit of a smile. Sticking out of the top was a wedge of pineapple and, from the interior, – like some plastic Lochness monster – was a red straw that was shaped like a heart near the top and then swirled around and up so that you could actually drink out of it.

“Don’t officially get my Captain’s License until Monday,” Adam said jokingly.

“I won’t tell if you don’t,” possibly-Sarah or Susan said with a hint of a smile.

“So,” Adam continued as she exited stage right, “anyway, I moved. Or, I was in the process of moving. Standard stuff. She comes over and she’s helping me go through things.” He paused and took a drink and immediately clenched his teeth as the sweetened turpentine concoction that is a made-too-strong long island iced tea has the potential to be hit his tongue. “Anyway,” he said, trying not to cough, “she’s helping me go through things. I don’t really pay too much attention. Some stuff is going with me, some stuff with her.

“I unpack stuff at the new place. I get things put away. It doesn’t really occur to me that anything is out of sorts. I put her toothbrush there, deodorant, hair stuff. Whatever. But then, she’s not really texting very much, but she’s busy. I’m busy. We’re busy.

“But then I notice it one day. No shoes. No clothes. All the stuff that’s hers is the stuff that you could get at a Target on Tuesday. Like the remainder of a person who stayed at a motel for too long and was living on takeout. It was all random shit.”

“That’s…” Jim began, his word hanging in the air like cigarette smoke might have in the days before it wasn’t okay to smoke inside buildings – bar or not.

“Fucking brilliant,” Adam finished.

“Not exactly where I was gonna go with that,” Jim said with a quizzical look that he punctuated with another drink from his beer.

“Oh, don’t get me wrong,” Adam said. “It’s messed up. It’s cold. But you gotta admit – it’s fucking brilliant. She hit the eject button right in front of me. I literally watched her grab her shit and leave and was like, ‘Makes perfect sense to me.'”

“You think she was cheating on you?”

“Nah,” Adam replied honestly, “not her style.”

“Man, that’s…” Jim started to say. “Actually,” he said suddenly, “You know what? I know…uh…oh it’s…” he pulled his phone out and started to scroll through it.

“Not really looking for a hooker tonight, but…I mean…maybe after this drink…”

“Ha-ha,” Jim said, “I’m looking for… … …Kim. I don’t know her that well,”

“Didn’t think you were that kinda guy,” Adam quipped.

“But she knows her,” Jim said.

“And,” Adam said, “that’s helpful because…?”

“Women talk,” Jim said – clearly he was having a Matlock moment.

“Ok…”

“I wanna see if maybe she said something to Kim,” he said as his fingers tapped out a message.

“Because…?”

“Because…I…” he held his finger up in that ‘uno momento, por favor’ type of way.

Adam waited quietly and took another drink of his long island. Either he was getting drunk enough for it to not feel like he was sipping on diluted napalm, or his initial assessment had been off the mark.

He was betting squarely on the former.

“Huh,” Jim said.

“Has she ruined the moment? Do ladies not, in fact, talk?”

“She says she hasn’t heard from her for a few weeks.”

“I dare say that context is going to be a factor here. Like, are they ‘we talk on holidays’ acquaintance or are they ‘we talk on the phone while we watch the same Netflix episode’ friends?”

“No clue, man,” Jim said. “I mean, she doesn’t sound worried about it.”

Adam shrugged and took another drink.

“Shit’s cold, man,” Jim said.

“Yeah,” Adam said flatly. “Cold, man.”

Rings

A cluster of geometries I hold and rearrange
Comparing them to circles and elliptical designs
And moving them about as if in doing so I’ll change
The way they never fit –
By turning hexagons a bit
And forcing spirals into places made for lines

A handful of obscenities with edges filed down
And bent into the clamor of a ticker tape parade
That flickers in absentia there beneath an iron crown
That never really shone
Beneath the canopies of stone
That there were reasons never said for why it stayed

A clutter of anomalies I fold and organize
Contrasting them to syllables I never really spoke
And holding them aloft as if the doing could resize
Their gravity and weight
Or, to myself, how they relate
Or, from the fire, the immensity of smoke

A grouping of amenities that all metastasize
A gathering of angels bound to neurasthenic wings
With lips upon the badges made of blood I thought a prize
They sing a serenade
Before the banquet that I made
And ’round my fingers, all their teeth, I wear as rings

Cross

Should I have thrown the sky into the sea
Gone racing for the water in a lake of mirror waves
And promised that the effigy I burned
Was never what I promised it should be
Where fingertips are mausoleums in a world of graves
With stoic gaze, should I have never turned

To face the sun I swore to watch decay
A penny in between my fingers blotting out the moon
Embracing every spurious eclipse
As testimony to a better day
That tapers like a candle that I burned before it’s noon
To hide the tombs upon my fingertips

Should I have chased the sea into the sky
Gone flying over chasms that would only spiral down
And told myself that plummet means ascend
That living is the epithet to die
And breathing is the prize that I deserve for being drown
When death I duly found and surely penned

Upon a page that purges any ink
And leaves me a reflection that is surely just as blank
Should I insert the memory of loss
Between the vivid sights of every blink
Deposit them as coins into a vacuum of a bank
And mouth the words of thanks as I obsequiously craft another cross

Cure

Wings made out of never never flew
Where down below the fields of new elysium nobody knew
And shadows never dappled light when seen by very few
For seeds made out of seeming always seemed to be the dreams we never grew

Arms of never ending never yearned
Below the rigid carapace of cold where lonely summers burned
Creating a facade of shadow figures unreturned
For longing made of odds so very long becomes the longing that we spurned

Vessels full of loss were never light
The wings becoming shale before they even knew the word for flight
That wrapped around – an armor made of ardor that despite
The shifting underneath it was a ship and so a sheath in deepest night

Woes becoming woeful always were
The passages to ledges where the precipice is looming sure
To sink all the forever that we never did prefer
To seeds we made of seeming and of odds so very long upon a ship that won’t deter we carried plagues of our desire to land without a cure