If you ever find yourself
wondering what became of me,
make your way to a forest and
look for a stream, then follow
its path due west—past the limbs
of fallen trees and the carcasses
of seasons—until you reach
a clearing. For, in the ebb and
flow of a life spent buffeted by
defeat and the wake from small
victories, it is here where you will
find me tying a rope swing to the
branch of an overhanging tree,
at the perfect swimming hole,
on the perfect day.
When The Day Comes
It is morning.
The sky is black with up
and down rain.
An open gate is banging
in the wind.
I can see my naked reflection
in the window
and in the shaking trees.
Where do we go when
we go inside ourselves.
How can we stay there?
Maybe, somewhere between
what I can’t describe
and what I don’t understand,
there is a place for us;
maybe, this is that place.
How can I be true to myself when I don’t know who I am? Why do I find it so hard to be loved by you? Why do I go so far, but never far enough? What am I scared of?
You are still sleeping.
The day has not come for you yet.
Before I try to
fix you, be sure
you want me to
piece you back
I don’t want you
to fix me, she said.
I just need you to
hold me, and
I will fix myself.
I Am Not Going To Lie To You, She Said
I was early and found a seat at the bar.
I knew what was coming, and it pleased
me to think how civil we were being.
I had just ordered my second drink when
she walked in—looking all beautiful.
The bartender made a display of himself
making our drinks, before disappearing.
I am not going to lie to you, she said.
She had obviously spent some time
thinking about what she was wanted to
say. You are so controlling, she said.
It wasn’t the first time I had heard this.
Several other women have said the same
thing, so it must be true. I suppose it’s
what comes from trying to manufacture
love where it doesn’t naturally exist.
You sort of bend the person to fit your
idea of them—until they break.
Of course, I didn’t say any of this.
Instead, as she continued,
I marshalled my defense.
I feel like I can only be thirty percent of
myself when I am with you, she said.
Well, obviously it was over. But a statistic?
Thirty percent? Thirty percent of what?
Thirty percent based on the notion that
she considers herself a one hundred
percent complete person—who requires
no further growth?
Christ, in baseball, if a player hits the ball
thirty percent of the time he is a god.
What about mystery?
Isn’t it important to keep that alive in
a relationship; if only to spice things up
a little from time to time. Surely we can
learn from each other and grow together.
Maybe next year it will be forty percent,
and fifty percent the year after that.
Ah, fuck it. Have you considered that
I may actually only like thirty percent
of you? I said.
The Thin Poem
I don’t think I like you
anymore, she said.
Well, if you must know
I don’t think I like you
very much either, he
replied. Really, she said,
and how long have you
felt that way about me?
I don’t know, he said,
love tends to conceal
Your shadow creeps
across my skin this evening
or is it the light receding?
thin hand flicks ash from a veil of shadow and
nto darkness as smoke blooms
a slant of sunlight and dissipates.
The Moment Before It All Goes To Hell
Teeth clench and fists curl
as reason clears its throat and
silence soaks the air.
The Bison Tavern
Recently, I have been
thinking a lot about
and now I have
gone and ruined it
by trying to find
the meaning in this.
Carving Anarchy into the Walls of First Class
Deep in the throws of pimply teenage rage,
I went to the funeral of a friend. In truth, I didn’t
know him that well. He was a lot older than me,
and everyone in town was terrified of him, but
for some reason he looked out for me when
I got into trouble, and for that I loved him.
He was a big man, and could handle himself
in a fight, which of course meant there were
fights; invariably ending with someone in
hospital, and my friend in prison.
About three months before he died, his mother
passed away but the prison officials refused
to let him attend her funeral; and weeks after he
got out, his girlfriend had an epileptic fit in the
bath and drowned.
And, in the downward spiral of grief that followed,
he saw his best friend get stabbed in the chest
and chased the man to a block of flats where
he ‘went about him’ with a baseball bat.
A few days later, the police found my friend
in a squalid flat by the sea. Dead, from an
overdose. And, standing behind the church
pew that day, I realized that his was the
saddest story I ever knew,.
I am now almost twice as old as he was then,
and naturally a lot has changed. The church
that held the service that day is now coddled
in lily ponds and tennis courts, and you have
to know someone living to get in; and the
wide-open playing fields of my childhood have
been replaced by the shadows of cranes
and towering condos.
The local newspaper, now has one page
in Russian and another in Portuguese, and
the once-quaint train station now bristles
with tourists and commuters—although,
I am pretty sure the train carriages haven’t
changed because I still see anarchy signs
carved into the walls of first class.
From time to time I still think about my
friend; not because I miss him or the
simplicity of how life was back then,
but to see if it is still true— that his
is the saddest story I ever knew.