Archive for August, 2007

August 31, 2007

"The Guitarist”

(A warning: this is a bit crazier than most. Think poetry.)

A minor will strike like Kryponite. The Guitarist knows, and in the creamlight of twilight, she takes up the guitar. Strung in the strings, she strums—I vibrate. She keeps the Kryptonite for the crescendo—a virtuoso of my weakness.


            C, the hum of God. I see the world-design in coruscant vision. We roll on, alright, we roll on. I see the knobby tree too gnarled for saws. It ripples holiness, and I might too, for you. I shake and shake, this perfect visage embodied in and out of me. We are all archangels.

            E minor, creamlight means nothing, only shadow. Shadow and the looming midnight. It can only be a full moon in the Arizona dunes. I see but can’t know; this light lures, leads but shows no one. You and I can choose the black road, out to where the dunes recede to desert, and the moon rolls over sand.

            D, the rain can’t touch us. This too came with autumn, and will leave again. We’ll hang our hats and gallivant as the ash trees shed first on Labor Day. We’ll hold hands in traditional fashion, all to gain in falling leaf ways after the rain.

            G touches close to the string in my throat, ready to snap at the resonance. But not yet, not yet. We rise, don’t sink; the good cousin gives the family hope, singing Hallelujah, Hallelujah exultant and aglow. He comes lightly, flitting on wings more gossamer than C; flying up.

            She pauses before the crescendo, hangs me off her cliff. Her fingers curve the form, and

            A minor falls; I fall, my string gone to shivers down and down and down. I saw you come in so late. It was wrong, you know, but went all the same. You walked long, to places we imagined but lost. And he is strong, stronger than the one watching. Tomorrow I won’t call these our walls; I will stop moving close. I’ll make room. I promise to go; you’ll go on to all you want. Tonight’s the gun to launch me far. You’ll be here in strong arms, with him, with him, with


I am pieces unglued when she stops the strings. And she smiles long through the creamlight to me on the floor. I can’t smile but the joy remains—such wondrous trauma. I’ll go, she says and packs the guitar. Even encased the shivering strings move my pieces, still caught between the cords, the chords.


August 28, 2007

"July 20, 1969″

I never


The crawler’s halfway home, rocket launched, load lightened. Still I’m standing at the launch pad staring up. The smoketrail dissipated within hours—nothing in the sky to see, still I—


cry, but


Tonight an astronaut steps off the ladder and turns around to see the path he’s flown. The not-sky paralyzingly clear, earth glows with its own light. His visor’s covered with thin gold skin as I am all in thin gold skin. The planet shimmers and spins on his gold. And the angles and velocities and variables and constants are such that—


this is special, so


His blue drop mirrors mine, and the light from both meets somewhere along his path. And he stares down and I stare up and—


I let one drop fall.

August 14, 2007

"Promises in Pinewater”

            Nail down the stakes again in the Promised Land; I’m returning after years away. This trip I come alone. Somewhere out in the ferns, or maybe in the giant rhododendrons, my father’s promises are hiding. I waited long as I could for the promises to come to me, but now I wonder if they expected me to return. Or if they turned tail as soon as they could walk, and ran until they could no longer catch my scent. I am hunting but not for hate. I will entrap, but not for power. This is a matter of justice—you keep your promises.

            I would not blame my father’s promises for becoming mired in these trails. Water fills in every dip and every downslope. I leap catlike from rock to rock, avoiding impromptu streams and clay-mud. A promise has much weaker legs than mine, young and new to the terrain. Maybe I’ll find it struggling in one of the deeper puddles. I would lift it out and turn it to face me. Finally, to meet it as I’ve hoped for so many years.

            Slight rapids run through this valley, the water tea-colored from centuries of pine needles. This is the color of purity, of innocence. I’d drink the water but I am too impure; this would be poison on my lips. I wonder if the promises drank of these rapids and fell to their fate. My father’s promises could not have been innocent enough for pinewater.

            A rustle in the ferns whips my head about. I sniff for the scent of promises, or the scent I imagine they exude. Sweet and robust, like spiced tea. It lingers and warms, lending heat to the air itself. A frog leaps away to another stone, rippling the light ferns in all directions.

Damn thing scared the promise away.

He said I’d have so many things—the ideals of our lives. He said when we went home there would be peace waiting for us, peace and reconciliation. He said Mom would love us both and they would sleep in the same bed again. Well we returned home and the sun went down. Dad snored on the couch while Mom threw my clothes at a suitcase. Such things happened often, but I had hoped there would be promises.

How many days can I hunt in the Promised Land? Hope runs lowest of all my supplies, and I can’t replenish that stock. After every hiked trail, every track followed, I believe this is not my father’s promised land—at least not anymore. That has come and gone, poisoned and eroded by the swift pinewater. If so, I’ll call it my own and make my own promises. I begin to carve and craft from the ferns and the water and the stray pine needles. I take a deep breath of the scent new promises release.

I can’t smell a thing.

August 8, 2007

"Hot Religion”

            Last week you told me you’d accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Good, I said, and cracked another beer. Five days ago you said you wanted to see the Holy Land where the Lord died. I showed you how much the tickets were, and you whipped out the Visa. Here we are. You’ve snapped so many pictures, I can’t tell what you look like in Jerusalem. I glance over and see only a silver lens and a tiny red light where your face should be.

            The cross tattoo you got on your back is setting nicely—the tan from Israel’s sun must be helping. I wonder if Golgotha ever gets cold.

            You stare at the spot where Jesus died, kneeling and weeping with a dozen other Marys. I try not to look at you.

            My phone works in Israel?—at least it shows the right time.

            You tell me you want to live a pure life. No more booze. No more black metal. Church every Sunday. You’re assuming a second virginity.

            I light a cigarette. Hot.

August 8, 2007


            Oh, now that’s unfair. I’ve had a rough month is all; I’m not so bad.

            I didn’t go to church the first week—not for fear of holy water, or a sickening distaste for the holy, but because I wanted to sleep in.

            I love animals, but shooting the bent-winged bird was faster. Thing squawked all morning.

            I wished no ill on Mark, but the ingots were heavy and I, I was tired. Just rested a moment. Chalk up their falling and his burning alive to coincidence.

            Could I guess he was going to rape that girl? For doubt, I kept still as he pulled her up the stairs. Little girls kick that way before Daddy spanks them too. Hell, maybe he did spank her. First.

            My phone was working perfectly when that truck hit the biker. But in my left hand I held a bagel, no wrapper—couldn’t put it down. In my right hand, lidless coffee, and I didn’t want to spill. Besides, someone always calls 911.

            So give me a chance. One drink. Come on, relax. I don’t want to do this the hard way.


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