The Fall

At the top of the world, leaves would ripple like fresh clothes drying in the wind

But there, the air is
Clean

Down in the rugged earth I stand where
Everything is in between

Fine moments of passing beauty and
Giant mountains of defeat
Highlighting the failure of romance

I am

Just a stretch away from
Knowing, but too afraid to
Leave the world behind

My bags are always packed but
Never are my contents inside

On the foothills I stand
Packing dirt as my soles grind
Quietly into the Earth

Reminding me that the mountain rises
Steeply
Too looming to take me
Under its cliffs, and so its peak denies my
View

What a telling future
eXpressed in the setting

Your sun, my declining
Zenith

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Faith

In my mind
I wake up
to find myself,

but when I want
to live,
I open my eyes

so

through this blood,
I was born
to a world that hates that
I am blind

and I’ve learned not just to believe
in what I cannot see.

I still find solace

in a world full of chaos

Because
destruction lies

it cultivates the knowledge that
the end is the answer

for people to think

And allow me to begin again:

8-Pack

Stolid

white-knuckling the blacktop
with retching arpeggios
lining your eardrum
like a myelin sheath:

your teeth clench patience
but you are never nervous;

your words speak wisdom
far beyond their purpose.

And the way you spin smiles
from your “Hey”
is pure gold
brushing grains
from beneath anxiety

Your voice is quick
and certain piety
to a mind
locked and loaded.

And though you present yourself
a lowly reporter
your eyes are not hidden by your frames:

the names of your disguise
un-aimed to the skies

as you pass unassuming
among the ordinary
through crowds
under arches
over man.

PG-13

“This how-to stuff isn’t in any history book.”

The way I speak is marbled
like the archaic language
of an idea
that nobody ever speaks of
anymore;

Like an abstract artist
painting reality
exactly how it is:
important,
but understood
as an infant on canvas.

We are the distance of ourselves
trying instantly to re-arrange
what we’ve been taught to repeat,
until what we understand
is hidden underneath
our breath.

Our death is the only way
to keep us from our silence.

My words are silent,
but you hear them,
though you can’t teach a stranger
how to become your friend.

The hardest part of growing up
is learning to abandon
everything
your parents taught you
as a child

in order to claim
yourself
again.

Hourglass Figures

I stare without inhibitions.
I stare because—whatever my mouth says—my eyes don’t listen
and if you don’t like what I’m seeing, and you suggest a revision,

Then change this reality; not my perception.
Turn the hourglass.

When I was in 4th grade, I learned about boobs;
not because it was something I would choose to look at
or because I was peaking;

I wasn’t looking for trouble: it was just what I was seeing.

And now I wear my hair long.
I’m taught that sometime, the blues are a choral song:
that despite the color, we’re all part of The One
God Love Earth;
the end has come.

This world spins backwards:
it inhales my breath;
it gives birth to death;
and if I try to do right,
It takes what is left of the wrongs;
the lines in the songs that we erase;
the words we don’t say, but we mean;
the spaces we don’t see in between what is seen.
Give me space back
and if I’m turning green,
it’s not envy, but nausea, that’s making me clean.

I can’t see why you’re staring
when I’m wearing a deep v.
My hairy chest is scaring people
hoping to see me
with proper precautions of ensuring you don’t see
the me I be is free to be
the he that we agree to be
a man.

And this is not what I planned to look like:
I didn’t try to be this natural,
this hairy, or white.
And if I don’t look right,
you might not like what you see,
but this is not your social media:
you don’t need to accept me.

We’re taught to stare;
to care about the details;
to believe that pigtails are handlebars;
and mustaches are handlebars;
and minors can’t handle bars
because only adults are alcoholics.

But we don’t see the damage our mouths make:
the mistakes we create
when we take a breath.
We use the right to speak
and people breathe what is left,
and only when it’s cancerous
does a boob become abreast.
We don’t see, we’re just staring
in visual theft.

These are the truths I live with:
because our lives are out of focus,
we’re too broken to fix
our eyes on anything with purpose,
but we’re ignorant parents
who judge pedophiles and sluts
by their outward appearance.

And we don’t look at what’s happening,
we miss the world to wish on stars,
and we think that cars
will take us places
faster than where we are.

But we are here
to see more than this existence,
and we don’t get closer from adding more distance,
and we may never be the same if we realize we are different,
but I see this because I look without inhibitions.

This world is not an oyster
that we have to break open:
we just have to learn to treasure
the present moment we are given.
If we teach our children
not to stare, but to look,
they will see things in their lifetime
far more valuable than pearls.

Girls:
your boobs are not objects
unless you present them
with your hands,
but ever since the 4th grade,
I’ve been trying to understand
why the more you have,
the more valuable you are
if you treat your clothes
like a falling star.

Guys:
your eyes are not credit cards:
you’re not getting anything,
you’re just making it hard
to see with your mind
and feel with your heart.
Don’t lie with open mouth
just be who you are.

Integrity is not a surface virtue:
our connections must run deep.
We can’t anticipate reality
if we stop at what we see.
And I’m not just staring
because my eyes don’t understand:
I’m looking towards the future
because the present’s out of sand.

Fluorophore

I hold a wand
clear as a fresh puddle of water,
and when I crack the plastic casing
I make magic
real.

This is a vial
filled with all the hopes and wonders
of a childhood spent discovering
what every single word
cannot express:

A life lit with brokenness.

The wand glows green
but not with envy,
is bright
but not burning,
and the clear plastic
lets the shine
come out.

As I wave
a wake is trailing
tracing the life in constant abandon
that I command
as I hold my hand aloft.

But this wand
won’t glow forever
with life inside its body
so I ask myself if I’m willing
to break.

The magic can escape
if I’m brave enough
to pierce
the plastic lining
and let the light
touch my skin
as it’s shining.

My friend once said
that it will glow
and light your blood
if you rub the magic
hard enough
like a lamp.

He said,
Just hold it in your hand
and rub it on your skin
and your heart
will make your wish
come true.

So like a crushed firefly
I spread the life across my flesh
and let it soak into my blood
as it pulses

And as it fades into my pores
and the magic disappears
I look down
and wonder

what I’ve become.

Cardboard Whiskey Shack

There’s a broken-down box for paper plates
folded as a welcome mat
in front of the swinging door
with hand-written letters that read
“WELCO    HOME”
in a black, Sharpie font.

The way the shack sits on the lawn,
swaying only slightly from the wind,
is as natural and stable
as trees in the distance.

With the corners carving Earth,
the edges fold into dirt,
sealed with a plaster of
stale whiskey
and sod.

This box houses the American Dream
fixed in form and robbed of content,
content and drunk in the afternoon
to abandon civilization.

The Sperry shoes prod open the door
poking skyward towards the setting sun
as the crux of the body disappears inside.

And though the shack is strong and stable
in the verdure of the field,
the walls bow as the wind
fills the lungs of the intellectual;

intoxicated as she dreams
and exhales.