Sunday, June 29, 2014


Sometimes, there are fights. We are jigsawed wood that does not fit. The grain didn't stain well, splotches of vibrancy. Picture frames made poorly, transparent but not sturdy. Barely holding it together. Eventually, it will break. The wood will warp from the heat of our words. The glass will fall, crack, shatter - and who to clean up the mess that follows? Are the images worth remembering? I look nothing like my photo. If this house burns, will my past go with it? Afternoons on the roof in November, legs hanging from the edge as if they were ghosts on nooses. I have never been good at tying knot, and it's easy to get tangled, caught, lost in what ties us together. Disillusion in our connections. "Stay still, I'll cut you out" has always been my response, like rescuing people from their  complexes was my profession. Despite my demeanor, my demons have refused the savior's journey. I've been hanging on with worn, rusty fingers and sometimes, there are fights not worth holding onto.


"I'm still doing heroin."
Your voice cracks,
but you're holding back sobs
like a gunshot holds back runners.

But you,
you have a different type of track.

Marks hidden
by long sleeves
and emaciated eyes
told me your secrets
before your voice box opened up.

And when your monsters
were let out,
they rampaged.

They could have leveled cities,
but this atomic bomb was meant
for you. A no-survivor's
war of attrition
between the demons and gluttons
in your veins and
the survivor
in your brain.

was the well placed knife
in the jugular.

You've bitten the hand
that tries to help too many times.
My scars are not as numerous as your,
but this ship is not without its holes.
I've put out life rafts only to find
that drowning
is your new favorite past time.

Friday, May 30, 2014

poet for a therapist

Old habits die hard, and some traditions go with them. The sun setting takes an hour, but what’s an hour to an eon? We’ve been watching the world turn, but the world’s been turning before we were ever here. But now that we’re here, the world’s burning. There are valleys full of ash in my lungs from coffee, god and cigarettes, and after afternoons pontificating isolation and the meaning of it all. And I feel like a mountaineer, backpacks full of baggage, climbing up ridges on a globe of meaningless conversation. I excel at small talk with big words, trying to sound intelligent but knowing I’m none the wiser than the next guy. And words aren’t the only thing my tongue is good with. I can tie a knot with a cherry stem, but I’m really bad at taking them apart. See, sometimes my words get me in a tangle that it’s hard to just get out of. Sometimes, I cut the cord. Unexpectedly gone like unplugged ear buds. Some thief just snatched your purse, your phone, and your apathy. I promise to never be “yeah, I know that guy. he didn’t really say much.” I’d rather be what I am, “Yeah, he’s that self-serving, sarcastic son of a bitch.”


I keep running my mouth, but I’ve grabbed your attention in the gravitational pull of the pretty pictures painted with my sloppy poetry. I’m lighthearted, with heavy undertones. Like a hot fudge sundae. All I can hope is that I’m as welcome as ice cream on a summer day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

on sorrow, seizures, and the sea

I remember the way she hid guitar picks behind her ear like an old magician's trick - doves hidden behind her lips. Her passion for Matisse and the calm inside his colors, the way it calmed her epileptic seizures. She behind the world, behind white oak doors that came tumbling down like the notes of her sad songs. They stretched, then shrank my heart. I swear, it's being as an ocean, and she was a lighthouse pulling memories from me like paper boats made from photographs.

I hope I stain the colors.

Let them bleed into the sea, for once, they were a part of me. I can not tell if they are water-worn or tear-soaked. I have always had a problem with letting go of the past - and I am reminded of the night my grandfather passed. My mother sobbed for hours, and I was powerless to help her.

The guest room, the room with best reception, still holds marks from my father's hungry fists. The alcove where my mother collapsed in grief.

I hear the sounds of acoustic guitars struming out Van Gogh's brushstrokes. The walls of my sloppy poetry collapsing. I have spit them out, like cigarettes with no embers. I was always a fan of bitterness and never knew much about contentment.

I wonder if this is all there is - float at half-mast, afraid to drop the anchor, afraid to drop the sails.

first reaction to water under bridges

The city sleeps at two - already dim streetlights trembling in the wind as the fog settles in. Brick and mortar tower over the landscape, billboards built into the skyline. The rivers have run dry, the last few trench-coats and messenger caps stumbling, trickling slowly from dull-colored holes in the wall. The waves are bringing in frigid air, slamming it into the sand at speeds that whistle out the evening's swan song.

The people fought for so much more, through firestorms and melted metal, through fault-lines and buildings collapsed like lungs. They fought for air while wearing their hearts on the coastline; this was home for far more than water and rocks and wrought-iron fences.

A misplaced foot, a scream, a funeral, workers' compensation.

Steel rivets can only support so much.


this is for the tyrants and for the terrorists.
this is for the generals that send boys into bullets.
and for the army recruiters that sign their death warrants.
this is for the gunsmiths that pour tears into 5.56 NATO rounds.
and for the drone pilots that meet their quota of civilian casualties.
this is for the soldiers that pull triggers on children.
this is for those who find death as a way of life.  
bleed, for you are rage.

this is for the politicians and for the lobbyists.
this is for the CEOs who pay to change politics,
and for the bankers that foreclosed on picket fences.
this is for the capitalists that take advantage of the poor
and for the communists that live off what they are against.
this is for the entrepreneurs that willingly put on paper handcuffs.
this is for those who gauge success by numbers.  
bleed, for you are greed. 

this is for the religious extremists and for the racists.
this is for the Muslims that won’t get 72 virgins,
and for the Christians that find lesbians in heaven.
this is for the priests that preach burning brimstone,
and for the vacuous followers that believe it.
this is for the fathers that killed their gay sons.
this is for those who are afraid of being open minded because their brains might fall out.  
bleed, for you are hate.

 this is for the linguists and for the painters.
this is for the poets that orgasm ink
and for the artists who spit color.
this is for the teachers that light candles,
and for the students that study by lit wicks.
this is for the carpenters that build houses,
and the mothers that made homes.
this is for the lovers and for the teenagers,
and for the ones who found the right atrium of their heart in another’s irises.
this is for the philosophers that showed that there was no such thing as too much thought.
this is for humanity. this is for you, this is for me. 
bleed, for you are hope.

lego set

The other day, I bought a Lego set.
I spent $27.24.
I remember being seven, when I bought Legos with hugs and ‘I love you’s
or screams and tears.
I remember being seven, 
sunny afternoons with no friends, 
mixing imagination into plastic bricks with my fingertips.
I remembering being seven and wanting to turn eighteen and not realizing that being seven was as close to happiness as one could get.
I remember not knowing that life is no Lego set, there are no instructions nor extra parts and if you mess up you can’t just rebuild.
Today I am 17 and 1/2. I am standing on the 18th floor of adolescence, 8 months from adulthood. I am terrified of heights. My father told me, “It’s okay to be scared, just handle your fear”, but I have never seen him be frightened. He is the eldest of four brothers. My pops, he grew up in Vietnam in the 1960s, where stray bullets made friends with soldiers and civilians alike. He studied hard because university students escaped the draft. My grandpa told him, “I will not always be here. You must protect the family from soldiers and shrapnel, and shoot back if you have to.”

Thank goodness he never had to.

He went on to teach guitar for a living and one day, he married a secretary and two years later they gave birth to a flickering light bulb. Seventeen years later, this bulb is still burning, but the batteries are running out, and I don’t know what to do. I have no one I must protect, no cause to give my life to.
I remember being seven, and my biggest worry was when my library books were due. But I am not seven, and the future is more terrifying than heights.

I followed the instructions and built what was on the box, 
but then, 

I took it apart when I realized maybe life is like Legos; 
with what I have, I can always create.