Day 60 – You Tell Yourself

You tell yourself
you only write
what you feel
but
if you’re honest
you know
you only write
what you used
to feel
you only think
about the pains
that were
you only wish for
the joys
that are gone

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Day 58 – The Castle

There is no cure
for a pile of ashes
no putting back together
the plane that crashes

There is no use
in revisiting the grave
no power of recollection
that could save

But we do have the means
of preservation
a way to steel our minds
from devastation

Yes, the castle burned
as we always knew it would
but ah- do you remember
when it stood?

Day 54 – Food Truck

Your rented smile like a box
tied up with a ribbon
your wet burrito gleaming
in the streetlight
two hours shifting from one foot
to the other
popping candy
I look at you and wonder
where you got that sweater
but not too hard

you’re a universe
I’ll never know
and I’m not sure
how I came to be
so cool with that

Day 43 – There Is A Box

There is a box
a wooden box
in a certain hole
of a certain tree
a silly lad
showed it to me
and I put it there
in a poplar tree
it isn’t big
it isn’t wide
and no one knows
what I put inside
but that young man
so hard he cried
so never mind
what I put inside

City of Death

I live in a city of death.

I know this because I’m forced to sidestep mangled, scorched bodies peppered down the walk every day when I bring in the mail, or when I lug in the groceries. Our block is a necropolis of hundreds. Roasted alive on their incomplete journeys to a better life. Or perhaps crushed to death by giants, and then burned like a funeral pyre.

I have to wonder at the death rate in this city, why no one else seems to be bothered much by it. Loud men on TV would say we have much bigger problems than to worry about spineless immigrants burned trying to get from one piece of land to another. This is our land, they’d say. Serves them right, they’d say.

Once in a while someone comes along with a broom to sweep the bodies away, and dig a big hole to hide the evidence. I think this could be me one day. I could be the one brushing away the sins of neglect, helping society forget what it’s allowed. But more than that I could easily end up a heap in the road, a travelling casualty, burned and torn. No one would lower the flag for me.

Maybe it’s a curse of exposure; we can’t mourn as much death as we see. So we have a value system in place. And I, on my errands and afternoon walks, can’t do anything to change it.

We don’t have the time for worms. In a city of death, their bodies are not our problem.

The Creature (2015)

The creature born with scaly skin and large eyes said, “I must be a lizard,” and spent her days as lizards do.

All her greens and browns gave her comfort that she belonged.

But alone she would lose her colors, she would start to disappear whenever no one was near, and she began to think she was no lizard after all.

She wandered in search of the place where she really belonged.

She came upon a flock of flamingos who said, “Just look at your pretty pink feathers, new friend!” and she marveled with joy that all this time she’d been a flamingo underneath.

All her oranges and pinks gave her comfort that she belonged.

But alone she would lose her feathers, she would start to disappear whenever no one was near, and she began to think she was no flamingo after all.

She wandered in search of the place where she really belonged.

She came upon a herd of zebra who said, “Just look at your wide, crazy stripes, new friend!” and she marveled with joy that all this time she’d been a zebra underneath.

All her blacks and her whites gave her comfort that she belonged.

But alone she would lose her stripes, she would start to disappear whenever no one was near, and she began to think she was no zebra after all.

She wandered in search of the place where she really belonged.

She came upon a swarm of butterflies who said, “Just look at your gorgeous soft wings, new friend!” and she marveled with joy that all this time she’d been a butterfly underneath.

All her blues and her yellows gave her comfort that she belonged.

But alone she would lose her wings, she would start to disappear whenever no one was near, and she began to think she was no butterfly after all.

And she trembled and whispered to her butterfly friends, “I’m not sure what I am anymore.”

The butterflies cried, “Well of course you’re one of us! But if you’re really not sure, ask the Owl.”

She flew to the top of the tallest tree to the hole where the great Owl lived. “Excuse me? I’ve heard you can help me find out who I am.”

The great Owl replied, “You’re an owl, of course! Just look at your tufts of grey fuzz, new friend!”

But the creature grew hot and exclaimed, “But I’m NOT an owl! I came here to ask for your help because I don’t know what I could be.”

“What you could be? Don’t you know all the things you were?” asked the Owl incredulously. “For in order to know what kind of thing you are, you must remember the things you’ve been.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t think I understand,” said the creature. “I’ve been many things. I’ve been a lizard, a flamingo, a zebra, a butterfly, and now an owl, but I don’t know which one was me.”

“Then my dear, perhaps you’re a chameleon. That’s not such a bad thing to be. Chameleons can blend in wherever they choose, and be whoever they wish.”

“A chameleon?” asked the creature, excited. “But are there others just like me?”

And the Owl replied, “No one’s just like you. But there are other chameleons- you’ve met a few.” He whistled through the trees and they came into view- two lizards, a flamingo, a zebra, and three butterflies. “We’re all chameleons, too!”

“Sometimes,” said the Owl, “you get to choose what you’ll be, but deep down you’ll always be you.”

And the creature was happy because then she knew- the best thing she could be was herself, no matter what she looked like.

If God Was Ever In Dallas

The hell if I was gonna let some chick in a Ren & Stimpy t-shirt tell me about God, but she was stacked like a Jenga tower so I just shut my mouth and pretended to listen. Wasn’t like I was getting off this bus anytime soon anyway. I still had another couple days until I ran out of money to pay the fare, and at least another four hours until we got to Dallas where I could hit up my Uncle for more. I hadn’t quite figured out the story I’d give him, how to weasel my way around him figuring out that I’d gone ape shit and hauled ass outta town for no good reason. You never can explain stuff like that when it happens, but maybe my fellow loo-loo on the bus here could give me some ideas.

To be honest I couldn’t really tell you what she was going on about, something about angels and near-death experiences. I was staring at her mouth and watching the way her lips wrinkled when she made the vowel “o” sound. She got uncomfortable quick enough and stopped talking so I made a random pass at salvaging the “conversation” with something I had actually been thinking about lately.

“So do cats go to heaven then? That’s all I wanna know.”

“Well that’s debatable, I guess-” blah blah. So that’s probably a no. That’s what I thought.

I remembered my parents having that same argument every so often, where they’d drag four different Bibles out and compare the Greek and Latin and Hebrew and whatever translations of certain scriptures. Mom was convinced that God had a soft heart for our furry companions and she always said heaven wouldn’t be the same without them. Dad was never too keen on letting anyone believe anything just to make them feel better. Dogs don’t have souls, that’s that. I never got an answer the whole time I was growing up, never knew if I was ever gonna see that fat black guinea pig again, but I guess I didn’t much care then. If dogs really don’t have souls then I’m damn sure no sniffling guinea pig ever got into heaven.

“Why do you want to know? Did you lose a pet?”

“Yeah actually. A cat. A rotten one that I rescued out of the river that wouldn’t stop pissing in my bed. I strangled it the other day and I really don’t want to hear any more about heaven or anything. Not to be rude but like, you understand.”

Her face, I mean HER FACE, you shoulda seen it. I kindof felt like I wished I was lying, like I could say “LOL jay-kay!” but she was the one who started talking to me, I didn’t bother her on a bus to Dallas about God. Have you ever been to Dallas? It’s nothing but concrete and yellow grass. If God has ever been there he’s long been cemented over by now, along with all the soulless cats that don’t matter anymore.