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snow

Some days catch you off guard
Like sliding 150 feet through the snow
In slow motion
Yelling at the deaf

The beating of a heart
Gone
The flashes
Mere moments
Of an entire life span
Now vividly changing
Every moment
Roads taking hard lefts
Where maps
Formerly
Shown no deviation

Some days catch you off guard
Like sliding 3 months through the system
In slow motion
Listening to the gavel

Foreign tongues
Discussing distances
Intent
Disregard
Long robes
Grieving weeping
Unceased reflection
Even in the dead of night
As children sleep
Without the knowledge
Of those mere moments
That now haunt

Some days catch you off guard
Like breathing 40 years more
In slow motion
Still sliding through that snow

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Through tiny speakers
That sang of rainy nights
And being so happy together
We travelled
Between achromatic vestiges of the Earth’s tide
Across olive fields of grazers
Past wooden shacks of aged cheeses
Down skinny highways
Overlooking the Mediterranean
That licked at opulence
Sparkling in the waning light

We would pause nightly
To pitch a heavy canvas tent
And watch mother craft innovative dinners
From tins of tuna and slices of bread

At the roads end
The masted carrack’s bathed in the Balearic
Sails snapped in the breeze
Welcoming us to beaches
That were filled with laughing faces
Who wore little more than their imagination

Vulnerabilities and uncertainties arose
In the form of familiar faces
Becoming strangers
Or tiny hungry creatures
That fed on young skin
And then there was the deep unassuming green waters
That silently pulled you out to sea
Or into wave battered rocks
But it wasn’t enough
To dampen the journey’s emprise

We roared with laughter
As we explored the waters of the coastline
Wading through the acreage of seaweed
Explored the cobblestone streets
That revealed city centers lined with Oaks
And getting ourselves lost
Among the maze of campground trails

One night after dark
There was a celebration
My father led me up the beach
Toward a tiny bar
With screened in porches and ceiling fans
Cheering Spaniards
Sat at a modest bartop
Watching a soccer game
One that came with bragging rights
And in that uncommon place
For my father to enter
He held me high as I clapped

Soon the summer was over
And we travelled back
To the German winters
In our silver high rise
Overlooking that small crab apple tree
But we never stopped dreaming
About those days we spent
Chasing the European sun

Filling Oceans

Golden sunrise clouds and rising sun above sea , Atlantic Ocean

In the dream

She died

 

It wasn’t sudden

Like a hard thud

It was understood

Quiet…

 

We said our goodbyes

Around the bed

Where she lie

 

A Lilliputian version of herself

Laid in the sheets

Angelic and sinless

She almost fit

Entirely in the palm of my hand

 

As the breath of life

Slowly left her

She looked more at peace

Than any creature I had ever seen

 

I felt heavy

With a sadness so deep

It left my bones hollow

 

I had never known

Such an authentic and intrinsic feeling

I shed tears

That could fill oceans

The tracks carving grooves into my face 

 

I held her in my arms…

She cooed blissfully

Her tiny mouth

Formed the sweetest smile

That I had ever seen

 

A rush of passivity

Passed through me

When her tiny hand

Reached out

And touched my face

 

I heard someone whisper

“she remembers”

 

Then she was gone

 

Years passed

And from my past

Were those I occasionally encountered

They would ask about her

 

Tears would come once more

Following the same grooves

That were now

Permanent

Part of me 

 

Words tumbling out

I would struggle

To place painful words

Into sentence structures

That answered their questions

 

Every time that same passivity

Wrapped its warm arms around me

Making me feel

The same way that I had

When she touched my face

For the last time

 

I am riding on a bus

Half way back

In hard seats that are cold

 

An old man sits near me

Timeworn

In a moth eaten overcoat

Looking out the window

 

I watch as the shadow of an overpass

Edges over his face

Darkening his features

And he cries

For someone

Who once touched his face

In an old house

That had stood

Where the third pillar

Of the concrete skyway

Now sank 60 feet into the ground

 

And even though the house was gone

She was still there

In the very spot

He had held her

And had cried

Tears

That would run down deep grooves

That were etched much deeper than mine

 

And I was comforted

Knowing he too

Filled oceans

 

As long as my eyes

Opened each morning

And closed again at night

I would also cry

For behind the tenderness

Of hollowed bones and heartsickness

There would always be

That tiny hand touching my face

Imparting passivity

And I was grateful for having known that touch

In a Few Weeks

rusteloosh

He was a ghost
Long before I met him
In his translucency
The liquor bottles
Were an impervious layer of sadness
That his shuffling feet
Kicked across the room
Creating a cacophony of disquietude
His sunken eyes
Drafted a profile
That impersonated strength
But through his stammered speech
It was clear he was as helpless
As Romulus and Remus
Waiting on a god to take pity
In a few weeks
During one particularly cold evening
He would slip away from us

Pharos

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For two years in my youth
The city bus became my inconvenience
Getting to my destination
Required trips
That took hours
Crisscrossing the city
At each stop
The bus would hiss and squeal
Doors would swing open
Watching out the window
I would see my world melt away
And foreign lands take its place
I found myself in a slow transformation
The insider becoming the outsider
I was left vexatious
Uneasy

Limestone hues of my derma
Wrapped around my bones and sinews
Made me feel
As if I was Pharos
Standing in the black night of the Nile delta
The flame announcing my presence
To those even tens of miles away
I felt a measure of shame

I found myself in a world
Where strangers talked to themselves
Muttering under their breath
And I would strain to hear their words
To understand just what it was
That drove them to air their thoughts
In public venues
They often seemed angry, confused
Words tinged with desperation

I found myself in a world
Where small framed women
Hunched over
With bad backs and wrinkled skin
Looking much older
Than they actually were
Pulled small carts
That contained greasy paper bags
Filled with foil wrapped tortillas
That were made from scratch
In dirty kitchens
Long before dawn
With swollen hands and knuckles
Ravaged by arthritic diseases

I could leave my home
Nestled among well-funded schools
Banks and clean streets
Where opportunities were freely handed out
Board a bus for 75 cents
And it didn’t take me to a destination
Where manual labor left my finger nails black
Or turn the back of my neck
Into sun cooked leather

Waiting for the next bus
In a haze of tobacco smoke and body odor
Gave me time to observe
Sitting with me
Were those wearing paint splattered clothes
A testament to hours spent
Running wet brushes
Down walls and bannisters
Others with ill fitted khakis and shirts
Prerequisites for snake oil salesmen
Sitting at rows of desks with headsets on
Or the cooks with baggy pants
Wearing black non-stick shoes
With potatoes smashed in the tread

Some casually noticed me
Others staring intently
I would avoid eye contact
Walk a few yards away
I felt as if I was a tiny boat
All alone on an immense ocean
Vulnerable to waves I couldn’t see coming
I was a black dot on a white page

During long waits
I would sit in tiny restaurants
At tables that wobbled
Perched on lame legs
Encircled by mismatched chairs
Next to old men in cowboy hats
Who laughed and devoured
Plates of huevos rancheros
Lines on their faces
Deep
Etched one by one
Life inflicted scars

One evening
Something changed
I met a gaze
And was met with a smile
That pulled back a curtain of uncertainty
And my surroundings
Became crystal clear and prosaic
The smile was universal

So I bought a taco
Made in a dirty kitchen
Ate it slowly
As I sat among those dealing with mentally illness
Abject poverty
Those with jobs that are unfulfilling
Or others that have homes
That offer no comfort or love
Living lives in a dark tunnel
With sentiments of deep hopelessness

While sitting in the 4th row
Of bus number 509
Or on that graffiti stained bench
A lightning bolt vision
Cracked through my core
I was indeed Pharos
Lucky to have been given
A perch of solid ground
Capable of being a guiding light
Instead of being alone in the dark
In an immense ocean
I found in the daylight of awareness
That my vexatious and uneasiness
Had blinded me
Previously I had believed
I was the one facing a tough race
But I had already broken through the tape
The moment I was born
I could push for change
Pursue solutions
That would affect
Genders and generations
Life is more than what I see
More than what I experience

The world is only unfamiliar
Until you shine your light on it

 

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Short walks
From the parking lot
We don’t talk
Need the perfect spot
Hear screams of tires
Feel the bass of engines
With an occasional misfire
This is the place of legends
From ground to feet
Like elephants stampeding
Across the heated concrete
With the loser conceding

Corndogs and racing fuel
Burning rubber and exhaust
The crackle of the duel
Center lines meant not to be crossed

Echoes of announcements
As men hoping to benefit
Playing the part of celebrants
Bet on those sitting in cockpits

Burnouts and nitrous purges
The revved up monsters
Suddenly converge
Each one hoping to be stronger

Engines sounding like gurgling lava flows
Toe to toe with bumpers on the line
The green light begins to glow
Their eagerness is genuine
Like Olympic athletes
Reacting to the crack of a starter pistol
Anxious to compete
Chased by their ghosts
They shoot like bullets
Across the finish line, so close

 

 

 

The Archetype

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Father… the propellant
That launches a small child
Through the air
Hysterical laughs
Trailing like chemtrails of glee
Controlled landings into white duvets
Draped over Birch frames

Father… the pilot
Who leads down diamond slopes
Carrying four poles
One set of skis
And a child
Showing signs of panic
Who guides
Across deserts
Stricken by flash floods
Down highways lined with Pines
Through basins
Between snowy peaks
Imparting the beauty
Of a life well lived

Father… the preceptor
On soccer fields
Slick with dew
That twinkles as the early morning sun
Chases the crisp nip out of the air
Or in tiny beach bars
Where dozens of screaming men
Huddle under ceiling fans
Practicing nationalism
As they watch a tiny black and white TV
And across dinner tables
As he gives assessments and advice
To aid in navigation
Of lone journeys

Father… the propagator
Who understands the dark side
Turning rough sketches
Of human forms
Into Jedi’s
Who learn to forgive themselves
And recognize
The damaging but alluring sway
Of vanity, pride and machismo

Father… the precedent
The man who loses
Character
Control
But quickly retracts
Admits
Offers penance
Illustration
The archetype
For understanding
How to be a virtuous
Honest heart
With principle
To match compassion

Father… the protector
Of love
Arms of strength
Home, stability and encouragement
The ear
And the words needed

Father… me
The face that you slowly become
Wrinkles and aging smiles
The man you evolve into
Radiating and replicating
Experiences and words imparted
Becoming the propellant, pilot, preceptor, propagator, precedent and protector