The Archivist


I take photos
When people least expect it
It captures
The core of their essence
The way they smile or laugh
Engage and socialize
Before the perfected pose
When the angles, lighting and shadows meet
Turning them into a version
That they feel best represents

I write
To remember memories
And moments when I wasn’t mislead
Focused on distractions
Times that I shared with others
When lessons were learned
Epiphanies were gained
When life crashed
Into a beautiful wreck of emotions
Empathy, remorse or despair

I am not documented
The camera’s eye never turns
On the framer of thirds

I report diligently
But my name is simply “archivist”
A face that shows up
Only by accident
I’m the narrator with no name

Along with photos and words
Is history that I assemble
In the form of
Yellowed paged manuscripts
With broken spines
Bottles of perfume
From when carriages
Roamed the streets
Or creations born
Before the modern age

But the fact is that I cannot be certain
That when I am gone
It all won’t be sold to the lowest bidder
During estate sales
Or tossed into trashcans
By generations
Feeling buried beneath the clutter
Of those that went before them

Yet still
It is my burden
To agonize and preserve
So that others never lose themselves
That other generations can know them
Just as I did

I long for my daughters
To grow up hearing and watching
Their first words
Or bike ride
My 40 year old son
To laugh as he watches little 8 year old legs
Beat its way down a soccer field
For friends in their twilight years
Musing and reminiscing
As they watch themselves
At birthday parties
When their face held fewer wrinkles

My efforts
And the memories they carry
Will help them repaint a picture
That it will once again
Ignite the smells they had forgotten
And summon the faces
Of those that had long gone hazy



Toes hanging off the curb
Down from Franklin Square
We waited
For a vestige of cold combat
Between two ideologies
While standing in the shadows
Of Hubbard and Bell
It was the world
Fracturing the psyche
Of young minds

At some point in our lives
In the earliest light
Of our dawn
We are impressed
With a weight
A point at which
We tether
For the fortuitous
It’s a point
That broadens and grows
Like the horizon
In the early morning hours
And for those not so lucky
They moor themselves
Surrounded by the fog
That dims the world around them

Turning the corner
We saw the line of regal vehicles
Like slow moving change
Turning the corner
Two blocks down
They made their way
Toward us
Tiny flags snapped loudly
From each corner of the car
Tinted windows
Like dozens of mirrors
We count each car
And we see him
Windows down
Slightly hidden
Bald head
Displaying its port wine stain
And then he was gone
The world had come to me

I miss America
My world
Or what I thought it was

When the world gave me glimpses
And the scripted reality
Crafted immaturely
In soft tissue
Shielded me
When cells
Cooperated with each other
And misunderstood
What was being handed to it
Minute by minute
Second to second
When it mistook patriotism
To be pure
Or human kind
To be inherently gracious
Loving and gentle

It was just after lunch
When windows for miles away shattered
Collapsing concrete
That pancaked in a moment
Of dust and vibration
Death and ruination
And I sat in a car
Face pressed against the window
Thousands of miles away
In a foreign expanse
Watching soldiers
With no smiles
Circle the vehicle with mirrors
Opening trunks
And hoods
And I knew this to be a reaction
To something outside my world
Just beyond the fog of adolescence
They were fearful
The world had come to me

I miss America
My world
Or what I thought it was

When the bad guy
Was unquestionable
Like night in the middle of the ocean
And those in charge
Were infallible and faultless
Incapable of holding motives
That were perfidious
Religion represented
The righteous
Working diligently
To fix the wrongs of the world
Saving people
From hunger
And eternal damnation
When it wasn’t the source
Of discrimination
Or caused drifting souls
To anchor
In stormy seas
Unable to see over
Crests of whitecaps

In the dark
The radio was alive
With the sounds of the world
Doling out justice
To the cunning and cultivated
The opulent who demoralized
Culture and economy
In the hot breath of wealth
Ignoring rampant inflation
They slept on the finest rugs
And we dropped bombs
To avenge those that danced
Under disco balls
And I couldn’t sleep
As I listened
To tales of family tragedies
Missed targets
And dead pilots
In that bed
The world had come to me

I miss America
My world
Or what I thought it was

When black was dark
White was light
And my ears and eyes
Were unable to decipher
Hidden code
Just beneath the surface

But the curtain opened
The show started
And I had cast my anchor
Far away
Away from the fog
Or whitecaps
A place where my convictions
Could exist
Settled and resolved
Eager for release

At some point in our lives
In the earliest light
Of our dawn
We are impressed
With a weight
A point at which
We tether

Caring compassion

Butterflies can’t fly
When under the spell of hurucan’s
And fuel doesn’t flow
When the spirits are banished

Instead neighborhoods
Where children once played
And financial districts
Where bankers once got paid
Are replaced by the uncertainty
Of stagnant waters
That transmute commodities
Into strained resources

As the winds put thunder into the ground
Disturbances with deep depressions
Ripple all life around us
Propagating reactions
That undulate
Pushing against normalcy
Disrupting cosmic flows

We want to be soothsayers
With divining rods proactively dipping
Solving thirst before the tongue swells
But instead we find ourselves
Wading through E. coli baths
Sitting in flat bottom boats
And then trading it all
For the humid noise
Of humanity packed cot to cot

Peering into the skies
We strain to see divination
Of the omnipresent
Masterfully dictating
Carefully controlled actions
All with a purpose and mission
But all we see is clouds
Moving faster than in our dreams

We find ourselves
On the ground
Knees hugging our chests
Wondering when the water from the heavens
Will stop mixing with the salt
Streaming down our faces

Among battered trees
And crumbling structures
Buffeted by powerful fist blows
We wait for the sun to come up
So we can straighten our backs
And tell ourselves that we are stronger
That we aren’t insolent precarious beings of nature
With blinders on our eyes
And storm shutters on our windows

Perhaps this is how we survive
By knowingly allowing
The leathered sap
To lay down across the backs of our heads
Momentarily turning off the lights
When the rain stops
And we open our eyes
Vision blurry
We rediscover empathy
In the form of hands outstretched
Snatching victims from rooftops
Giving insight and recognition
That we are beings
Interdependent and synergetic

Without each other
Regardless of divisions
Caused by birth
We are much less
Than what our creator
Meant us to be





Broken Habits


I have many habits
Only two have I’ve broken

The index finger
Which provided many nights
Of comforting sleep
Tucked inside my mouth
Lost the battle
To delicious rewards
In the morning
When the finger
Was found to not be a prune

The other was the soft spring
Of the hair towards the back of my head
That wound around my fingers
Performing tricks between the knuckles
It lost the battle to age
The reward being baldness

Long and Wide


Long and wide
The trailer was home

Sometimes sitting by itself
Among corn fields and goats
And other times on dusty plots
Where dead grass crunched underfoot

Inside were couches with knitted blankets
Draped across their backs
If you inhaled deeply into them
The smell was familiar
And whispered “home”
The rifle hung heroically
Above the doorway
Protection against armadillos
That preyed on trash barrels
And hallways were lined with plastic
A barrier against mud
Carried in on the bottoms
Of childrens shoes
The doors hollow and light
They lightly clicked when they closed
And carried no weight

Laughter would fill the kitchen
As we sat on bar stools
Eating from plates of green beans with bits of bacon
Cornbread and baked chicken
On raised counter tops

After dinner
We would gather around the television
That sat on the carpeted ground
Encased in wood
And with popcorn bowls in hand
We would watch the nights featured TV movie

One room used to belong
To a gentle soul
Who collected ball caps
Gave tractor rides
And pledged allegiance to Pride, Cash and Husky
We would gather around the green player
Dropping the needle down on long plays
But he had moved on
And the room became just a memory of him

Sidewalks that led from the porch
Contained hands that never grew
Pushed deep into the liquid concrete
As fathers and sons kneeled together
Under the shadow of a rotating mixer
And in the wooden building
That sat like a close friend
To the side of the trailer
The craftsman would slowly reveal
The final product of his design
Utilized jigsaws and planers

Long and wide
The trailer was home

NC Dogfighting Rescue

The puppy frothed at the mouth

On my knees
Hands grasping tightly
She shook violently
As I developed a heavy heart
The leather strap
From my stained smock
In her jaw
Separating her jaws
That clenched angrily
I held her close
Closing the door with my foot
Depriving curious gazes

Laying her on the floor
I stroked the back of her neck
Until the vibrating muscles
Discharged of their energy
She became quiet
Eyes of white marble
That stared emptily at the ceiling
Her cries now silenced
Still seemed alive in echoes
When she was better
She would be put back on a plane


An apartment building
Of concrete and glass
With elevators that went up 18 floors
They would fool us
By stopping mid-floor
In the basement
Rows of steel cages
With yellowed bulbs
Stored everything that couldn’t fit
In tiny apartments

The cantankerous gentleman
With sullen eyes and a thick mustache
Was in charge of the concrete and glass
That towered above
He shouted sharp accented sentences
In deep guttural growls
That smelled like rotten apples
At the children
Who rode down the ramps
From the second floor
Of the parking garage

Surrounding the concrete and glass
Farm land with a patchwork of colors
Where chickens and produce
Were raised together
A little creek cut around from the back
Then ran down the street
Was lined with midsize trees
It tempted little children
To jump it’s banks
But often it opened wide
Sending them waist deep
Into its depths

In front stood a crab apple tree
Which provided small green sour apples
That puckered lips
As teeth sliced through their flesh
From the tops of its branches
You could see the playground
With its towering wooden fort
And sandboxes
Tiny red pin head sized bugs
Made long journeys
Across the gritty territory

During the winter
We biked down the streets
Hugging the snow banks
Following narrow lanes
Created by passing cars
And in the summer
Climbing in the skeletal bodies
Of unfinished homes
Or laying on the ground
Staring up it the tops of the trees
Against the backdrop of blue skies

Not far away
Was the cobble stone streets
That ran through the town
Where butcher shops
Offered us thick portions of bologna
And the bakeries
Cut steaming slices
With dark brown breads
That were warm and aromatic

At the little school
Chalkboards contained beautiful cursive writing
And big windows
That went from the floor to the ceiling
Looked out on a wooded
Playland with birds and squirrels
Teachers and children alike
Delightfully conversed in strange dialects
That didn’t alienate

Then bells would ring
Echoing gently
And we would make are way
Back to the concrete and glass
Settling into bed
As the metal radiators popped
And warmed our rooms