09.23 prayers

from on stage, the plage

09.23 prayers
did you know that there
are some prayers God doesn’t
listen to?

don’t bring the easy ones
not the ones at the tip
of your tongue,
not your “bless me”s
and “watch over”s

he wants those words
you’re afraid to face in
the dead of the night
driving home in your
car alone
when a song threatens
the powder keg

he says
give me the
words you’re afraid to
hear yourself say
and so you run in circles
and fill your mind
with garbage every
night until you
are too weary
to give those voices
a chance

the demons they
buzz like mayflies
in your ears
and you hold the world of
information in your palms
but you won’t find your
self there

not the
prayers you pray
over the crash of
the waves and thunder

bring the thoughts
you can’t bear to whisper
to your pillow
when you lie
awake at night
and during the day

maybe tonight
in the not-quite
darkness in
the quiet of
your own bedroom
you may discover
that it was His silence
you wanted
all along

8.3 between rounds

from on stage, the plague

I can still see her there,
in the frame of my rearview mirror,
the soft of her face is staring off
to the right
or is it straight ahead?
she doesn’t know yet,
she hasn’t decided,
she’s not sure whether or not
to keep fighting

she is a boxer between the rounds
sucking hot air through
the gaps in her mouth guard,
finding her hands
in gloves that weigh
ten thousand pounds.
her sweat stains the sticky
hard stool she sits on
and her legs,
like a plate
of spanish flan,
settle in pools
on the mats
beneath her feet

she is between rounds
and I don’t know what she wants to hear

I want to stoop in front of her
and look into her eyes–
place my hand upon her shoulder
to tell her that
it’s ok
she fought the fight
but it’s time to go home now
the towel is heavy in my hands
I want to give it to her
so she can have that
grievous relief
that awaits fighters who are
not fated to win their bouts

but I grip her arm with my hand
until the veins pop in my wrist
and her eye winces under my fingers
I stare her down
and then I whisper–
this fight isn’t fun
this fight isn’t easy,
but I’ve fought this fight before
and I will fight it again
with you now
and here

she’s not a fighter,
and she has no place in this ring
but they don’t raise your hand
in the end
unless you fight

4.22 after a while

from on stage, plague

memories become pliable
what once held strong
like a bastion on the ramparts
against the waiting tempest wind
shall become victim
to mood, to will
and the venom that floats heavy
and thick in the air

but I will
shape them in these calloused hands
grind them into our silhouettes
bending and folding them
over and over onto themselves,
until these memories
are fired in the kiln
to be crystallized
for time immemorial

this is inevitable, love
and like a statue
our figures will rise
through the sky like a blade,
casting shadows
over the cliffs
and onto the Pacific Ocean


from on stage, the plage

08.25 static
they all needed you
to protect them from the flames
you–you, a lightning rod
but you’ve decided to go back
past the deep green seas
to wade in waters and waves

now the terror
strikes without warning
or discrimination
it looms over the land,
a silent menace
a flash of light
comes in the night
and brings with it
the ruin of a city

why did you choose me
then and not now
I may not be who I was
but I’ve always been who I am

she’s a grown-ass man

from blue fields, black dress

she’s a grown ass man

her tears will stain
the sleeves of her sweater
between the cotton-fibers
but she smiles
as she cries
and tells me of a dream
she had before
and still has

when she tells me,
I believe her
because more than the rest,
she honors love

devastation rocks her
to the core,
stirring the molten soup of
the soul.
but her hope burns hot
and bright, casting shadows
on the shadows
and blinding all those
who would stare

11.04 a tree

from the dry season

11.04 a tree
there’s a tree in the park
where I run
that is stubborn as
blisters on your feet
or a bad song in your ears

I take notice
in the fall
when the others begin to wear
their orange coats with
velvet hues

the spruces and the pines
are supposed to stay green
but this one is neither spruce
nor pine

this one is obstinate
and uncooperative,
refusing to admit to what he is
his nature is to buckle
and to bend
when the horizon
opens wide it’s gates
to the cold northern chill
and the elements
blow the life off his brothers

yet he stands without
temper or color
clothed in the palettes
of a bygone era
while the other trees sway
and wither

they whisper to each other
that it will soon be his turn
to succumb to modernity
and he too will fall in line with the fashions
they are right,
soon he will be stripped of his
proud verdant robes.
because none are immune to
Winter’s cool touch
and when she embraces

him with frosty bosom,
he too will be brought low.
skeletal and bare.

on that day,
I will run on,
with eyes that are blind to him
once again,
because he too
shall be like the rest.