Imperfection

It is
Of course
Important
No
Imperative
To remember that we are all
Imperfect
We are
Fractured
…Frail
… …Faulty
… … …Fearful
Fragile little things
Glass eggs in a world of iron hands
Soft tongues
Navigating angry teeth
Chapped lips
Holding back words
Both gentle
And cruel
We are, all of us, imperfect moments
Hoping for perfect results
And lives made of uncomfortable compromise
Hoping for uncompromised comforts
With hands stained in yesterday’s tears
And eyes blurred by next year’s sandstorm
Living in that
Ephemeral
…Ethereal
… …Evanescent
… … …Ever-fading dream
Of some distant sun
From last year’s distant summer
Where
If only for a moment
Perfect lived
And breathed
And placed its hand upon our heart
And said
If only once
“Imperfection
Is only our breath
Held in screaming lungs
Waiting for us to
Let go
And remember
That we all take
Perfect breaths
However imperfectly”


Okay…so here’s another free-verse because of reasons A and C from the previous list of reasons that I didn’t give you. I’m going back to rhyming after this one…

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Memories

We sift through sand at times
Fingers looking for grains that either won’t slip
Or else
For grains that we need to see fall away
But days from now
…Weeks from now
… …Years from now
On days where we look back at beaches where we feared to swim
And talk of days we never dared to dream
We remember moons on cloudy nights
And suns when storms are at their worst
We see the sharpened edges dull
And the imperfect moments honed
Until they are so sharp
The only thing they can do is cut
So much nostalgia
…Rose-colored glasses
Memories of lipstick where lips never lived
And words never breathed
But memory is like that
We hold on to the things we want to keep
And we let the other things fall away
So what we’re left with is an
Imperfect r
ecollection
Of imperfect events
Like putting a pretty frame
Around a lonely picture
With burnt edges
Hiding the places that hurt
Saving the ones that didn’t
Keeping the grains
And forsaking the hourglass
Looking so lovingly at those hazy mirrors
For the reflections that never really were
And hoping to see them again
Because that’s what memories are
The hoping for yesterday
In a world filled with nothing but tomorrows


I don’t normally do free-verse. If you follow me, you know this. Anywho…here’s a free-verse poem because…reasons…¬†

Skull

I dusted off the dust and tried to see if there were worms
Beneath a countenance of confidence
While I, behind a mask of domino and actions obstinate
Sat behind a window wearing fog from all the softly whispered words

And picking at the pictures like the old, and peeling paint
Upon the obelisks and oubliettes
I wondered long on Ios, poor Ophelias, and Juliettes
Wearing gloves and monocles, and looking for a name, however faint

I emptied out the emptiness and drank ’til I was full
Using a cup of coded confidence
Where, like the hangman’s daughter, I was not immune to consequence
Resting, you, or maybe I, on wooden pillows over lands of wool

And chasing, like a chalice, filled with all I wished to know
I asked a question of a quandary
You answered like an absent word, “You never did belong to me.
And after all that was, and for the darkness that you hold
You ought to know
You’re gonna leave an ugly skull
After you go.”


I’ve been on a big Acid Bath and Agents of Oblivion kick recently. This poem was inspired by the song The Hangman’s Daughter. Good song.

Echoes

Where was music playing?
Was it nothing but a chime within this music box of mine
I called a heart
I called it dark
I called it anything and everything that never could define
The melody that kept me swaying

On violins and cellos
And on harpsichords and bells and with a symphony that swells
As if an urge
Or else a dirge
I chose to listen to the words like a magician with a spell
Or how I felt when you said hello

Is there music playing
In the shadows of your glow beneath the you I wished to know
Beneath the skin
And all the sin
And all the peaks and all the valleys, all the highs and all the lows
And all the words that you were saying

With your words redacted
Like a line of ink that crossed out all the notes I’ve ever lost
And like a mist
Or else a tryst
I found myself beyond an ocean I should not have sailed across
To hear the music, and the song, and all the wonder in your heart before the symphony of you could be subtracted

 

Chime

Like a chime of waking, marks the time I think of you
And though our worlds behold a distance
First an hour, then by two
To me, it never makes a difference
Whether skies are gray, or white, or match your eyes of blue
Or if the moment comes and goes in but an instant

To the chime of each arrival, eyes would rush to meet
Your words, regardless of the hour,
Whether it’s goodbye or greet
My words a vine, and you the bower
Coursing as if fingers on your spine beneath a sheet
As a bouquet of poems offered as a flower

With the chime of evening, when our moons are yet the same
Between the moments of departure
Where new messages remain
As if a kiss, or fragile art, your
Image lingers softly like a dream I can’t explain
For I an arrow, and, my dear, you are an archer

Like the chime of morning, are your lips upon my own
As if a breath of resurrection
Or the feeling like I’m home
Beholden to your fair complexion
In this crowded world where, evermore, you stand alone
My heart a clock that chimes for you with such affection

Transistor pt.7

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6


1% decided to have a drink and kick its feet up. It took residence in my frontal lobe and all the other lobes as well.

I spent the next few days deliberating with it, like a man who understood how to budget talking to the world’s shadiest car salesman.

His pitch was convincing.

I mentally tracked the details. A to B. B to C. C to D. Therefore and vis a vis. Ipso facto. I followed the threads between actions and events like they were pins on a cluttered wall and I was buying in to being a serial killer detective.

I actually put together a wall of pins and threads. I walked through it while 1% turned to 11% turned to 43% turned to 71% turned to 99% with a smug smile and a too-firm handshake.

I walked through my mugging and the woman who I saw standing there while I was being mugged.

I thought about the assholes who mugged me and how I’d spent the night before, my brain filling in sections of a color-by-number drawing, wondering why I found it so easy to omit such obvious sections.

I thought about how I’d wanted more than anything to not have to go back to work, and how now…I had it. Bereavement time for everyone. Nevermind that the guy went through cars like wives and wives like bottles of whiskey. Nevermind that he probably didn’t know the names of half the people who worked there unless he thought he had a chance with them in a supply closet or after a late night office party when morals were low and inhibitions were dull.

As a company, we clearly needed to mourn.

I thought about that picture. That big fucking sombrero and that margarita that should have been served with a DWI and the side of Brad’s face giving her a kiss on her cheek. And of course, I was there. My face only partially in frame.

It had felt so terribly apt: never quite in frame, never quite in focus.

And I thought about how pettiness wins. Cruelty wins. Darkness wins.

We win the lottery of life and we find ourselves ready to lord it over others. Ready to either show them what they were missing or else show off what they can never have.

It’s how I ended up here, I suppose, with a picture in my hand.

Because 1% told me I won the lottery of life. It said it until it was Mr. 99% and I facts and reasons moved aside like he was a bright light in a room of roaches. And when I saw the deck of life sitting before me saying, “Your deal…”

I didn’t shuffle.

We never really do.

Because we know, I suppose. We know deep down that we can’t buy our way out. Not really. We see our question of “Why him? Why not me? What was so wrong?” And we want to believe it can be something simple. Something we can fix. An answer we can buy.

But the truth is terrible, and simple, and cruel.

While I meandered through a world where it seemed like everyone prepared sad eyes for me in the lament of who I loved, and she seemed somehow oblivious, I was given the mantra of “Maybe she just doesn’t know.”

But the truth is dark, and brutal, and so concise.

She didn’t love me, and if I was honest, I knew the reason why: because she didn’t.

The whole, cohesive element that was me was not a blip on her emotional radar. I was an empty sky and unblemished ocean. I was something that did not disturb her senses in the way that mattered.

But then, pettiness wins. Cruelty wins.

So when I thought about what I’d done that night and how the next day it seemed that, “well, how about that?” the muggers suddenly got a dose of what they gave. And when I thought about how I thought my boss’s boss was an asshat, and I just wanted to be home, alone, in the dark – fold into myself and let my mind rattle around like a quill in a nearly-empty inkwell only to find that he’d died…

Autoerotic asphyxiation. Happy birthday, indeed, El Presidente.

I thought about how I was trying to stifle pain with pain. Treating the cut by adding a burn. Filling whatever part of me with enough venom and poison that I could hurt in a way that could numb the pain that I was just so tired of feeling.

I found myself looking at my lottery ticket. The one that 1% told me was a winner. “Just check the numbers and you’ll see!” And I knew deep down that the answers I wanted were made for questions that no one was asking, and the questions I had were meant for answers I didn’t want…

Well…I guess pettiness wins, doesn’t it?

And that’s how I wound up here, holding a picture of her. A picture of just her. An older one. One from before. From when I was just me and she was just her and I hadn’t decided that her answer to the question I never asked was no…and that it always would be.

She was the last thing I saw because I suppose that’s how it works.

Pull the petals of she-loves-me-nots and let the wind take them to their destination. Let my metaphorical butterfly flap its wings and cause a storm in China.

If 1% was right, a cut on my hand would find its way to someone else’s. A punch in the face would do the same.

So when the light flooded my eyes, leaving me standing there like the world’s dumbest deer, I think I almost smiled.

I cried, of course. Jesus, I cried.

While the sound came roaring at me, that doppler effect of noise as it barrels toward you was like a storm of horns and trumpets forged in hell.

The sound of metal on metal screamed while the tracks fought against wheels.

The conductor was about to have a really bad day.

And as the train came forward to take the one kiss that I’d never had a chance to give her, I whispered. Even had I yelled, no one could have heard me. I don’t even think I could have, but it didn’t matter.

I whispered all the same.

I whispered, “Give her my regards…”

Transistor pt.6

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5


Contact was like the splitting of an atom.

Like the fusion of two disparate eternities.

I was a million, million six-sided dice, and every single one was rolling one.


I’d evaded any post-operation check-ups with she who was survived by the passing of he who I never wanted to name. I’d cowardly sidestepped an appearance at a funeral.

Work. Super busy. Obviously.

I always wondered how you were supposed to tell people that you care about that you can’t care about them because they cared about someone else when you needed them to care about you because you cared too much about them.

Maybe there’s a word that means that. If there is, I never knew what it was.

I spent my days in something of a haze. I spent a lot of it drunk.

I saw the ragged edges of stupidity weaving together like a man looking at a map of the world and pointing out where Pangea must have been. That self-assured notion that if you budge this landmass, and shift that one, and – well, sure, you have to remember erosion and the movement of tectonic plates to account for all the parts that don’t quite line up – well, it pretty much lines up perfectly.

You see it, right?

I waited for calls from cops that never came.

I waited for calls from James to ask if I was okay while he alluded to “You know…I mean, with everything that happened…” Never really saying what happened. Never really putting a name on the placard. Like an office that’s labeled with only a title – a position – a concept.

I scolded myself as I saw patterns that I told myself weren’t there. They weren’t there like faces weren’t on pieces of bread. That’s the human mind creating patterns – not finding them. It’s looking backward and connecting the carefully selected moments with a string like on those overly-elaborate boards you see in movies from an obsessed detective, or a serial killer, or an obsessed serial killer detective.

Somewhere along the way, my brain decided to play chicken with a world of what-if. It was that irrational mindset of a person thinking that if they wore the right color and said the right words then – quite like magic – the Somewhere’sVille Ball Throwers would win the World Bowl Cup-athon…or whatever.

So like an idiot who was trying to find enough sand to bury his head so that he could pretend reality was somewhere far away and twice-removed, I started small.

I tried to pull and release one of the outer balls of my hypothetical Newton’s cradle and then I stood back and waited. I waited with bated breath. I waited for the other shoe to drop.

When nothing happened…no metaphorical click-clack…a solid 99% of my brain was content. Convinced.

“You’re an idiot. You knew that, though, didn’t you?”

My 1% was like a salesman’s foot in the doorway saying, “Well now, sir, if you’ll just wait one more minute and I can show you the power of the Sucker Deluxe 4000. This baby can clean the wood flooring UNDER your carpet, and you wanna talk about the best sleep you’ve had in ages? Sir, look no further…because this baby here is the answer to your prayers. Yes, sir, outta be called the Sweet Jesus Five Billion…”

I drank my 1% by ounces and gallons.

Maybe it was just easier to hold on to than truth is. Maybe that’s why people believe in god. Maybe that’s why they believe in yetis and the Lochness monster. Because it’s something to hold on to. It’s that teddy bear that you cling to because, without it, all that’s left is that terrible, looming night with lonely crickets singing lonely songs. Because sometimes, you need to think there’s still one grain left in the hourglass…

When I woke up on a foggy Tuesday morning, my left leg filled with pins and needles from what was definitely the world’s worst sleeping position, I felt like I was watching the grain fall. Or maybe I was just finally accepting that it already had and that moving around it and looking at different angles wasn’t going to change it.

I went into the kitchen and made coffee which didn’t nothing to take away my headache. I saw blood in the sink and couldn’t remember if that was something recent. I didn’t feel injured, and I was pretty sure I hadn’t killed anyone.

I squinted in the too bright day of barely-after-sunrise while I drove to work while my view of the world felt like it was moving through damp cotton balls…my brain feeling far too much the same.

Inside, I zombie walked toward my desk, at first paying little heed to the rest of my coworkers. I gave the customary “passing by people who you definitely know the name of, so you do that little upward head-tilt” thing. My fuzzy brain shrugged off details like it was a coat in a room that was too warm. The information was there, but it didn’t register.

I felt like it was Monday morning and Game of Thrones had aired the night before. People seemed huddled together. People who didn’t normally talk to each other were talking to each other.

It started to settle in. The details were sharpening.

I did that awkward approach to the front desk where Tim was stationed talking to Stephanie and some other woman whose name I didn’t know.

I didn’t even have a chance to be “that guy”.

“Can you believe it?” Tim asked in that way people do when they know that you most certainly should not be able to believe it.

“I just talked to him yesterday, “other-woman was saying with that weird tone of resignation. That tone of someone in pseudo-shock about something terrible that happened and it made perfect sense for them to have very deep feelings about it.

“I think I’m a bit out of the loop,” I said with a bit too much space between all my words.

“Yes, sir,” my 1% chimed in, “this baby right here…oh…this right here is the genie and the lamp, but no need to make three wishes. Oh, no…this little gem is the only one you’re ever gonna need.”


Part 7