only in whispers

Many nights, I’d listened carefully, breath held, not daring to interrupt, to see if the things held only in whispers carried a goodnight, or a goodbye.

Finally, the other came; tho, I find — that I still listen for whispers.

a few shiny pennies

if we could cobble together
a few shiny pennies
a few sunny days
a few smiles

without fear
of tears

a few laughs
perhaps

without thinking
on when
and how
and why
the laughter
might end

we’d be alright

everything–
would be alright
again

that already known

in these reckless exchanges
the truth of it emerges
from its shadow-keep
that already known, tho forgiven
while still unspoken–
that I am loved–
but that I am not enough
our time, measured
and who shall ever be
enough?
I am who I am, love
I am what I have become
carved by these years
these many hammers and chisels
and tho now forsworn
my chest still heaving
‘neath my own fallen debris
I will be that which I shall be
I will live, for a short while
I will brush against the warm skin
of a few souls – passersby
and they, against mine
be I, this fortunate
and I will, in time
have spent
aye, and on some chasmal evenings
have squandered
all that I might ever have been

I’m just not a good blogger

I’m not a good blogger. It just isn’t me. I’m not the type.

I don’t write about current events. I don’t even watch the news. The Sunday newspaper is still sitting in the transparent pink baggie in which it was wrapped when the paperboy threw it onto the roof. It’s Thursday night and it’s still up there.

I’m sure that if I climbed onto the roof and opened the unread Sunday newspaper, or if I read a news website, or if I could figure out which of the three remotes turns on the TV, I could find something blog-worthy upon which to write. I could find something that requires blog readers take sides, to cast their opinions. I’m certain that I could incite a riot of words, capitalized shouts followed by several exclamation points and threats of violence, or threats by readers to never return. And then, I could tell them, defiantly, that I don’t care if they do come back, and that they should check their shorts for lumps to see if they had produced any brains yet. But I’m just not a good blogger.

I’m not topical, I’m not particularly controversial, and I don’t do consistent themes well. I bounce all over the place, changing directions erratically, like a sugar-addled spittle-grin kid on a motorized Pogo stick. A morning piece might be a love poem, or ten poems nestled in one, if read closely. By afternoon I might be writing in a nasally tone about the best method for shooting green jellybeans out of one’s nostrils, or I might be typing the surprising demise of a Zen monk, tossed off of a misty mountaintop whilst peacefully meditating, bouncing off the cliff face on the way down. Surprise! A friend told me that I have ADHD. I could do a topical blog on ADHD, I suppose. But I can’t pay attention long enough, and I’m just not a good blogger.

I write my fair share of shit, but I don’t have the keen nose to know which topics will attract flies. That ability and predilection is a gift, or a curse, and I’m not sure which, but I haven’t stepped in it.

I’m just not deliberate. While not above questionable prose, I’m not good at turning prose into a deliberate question, something that entices readers to comment their thoughts. It’s not that I don’t care to know anyone’s thoughts, I like other people’s thoughts. Well, sometimes. It’s not that I’m so narcissistic that I only care about my own opinions, although I did manage to start every single paragraph of this post with some form of “I”. It’s that — well, I’m just not a good blogger, but I still write a blog, and I’m okay with that, and if you aren’t okay with that — well, then check your shorts.


It’s possible that I heisted this piece from an old blog I had before I wandered off into the mist.

a voice that never leaves us

we’ve each a voice
a wordless sentience that haunts our moments
spinning poems in the tall silence of love’s winters
a tight-sweater cheerleader for our benevolence
when fortuitous, a glimmer-sword hero
and in dark years, a rusty-chain dungeon beast
perhaps, it’s merely insanity’s frayed-edge shadow
tho, I’ve always thought insanity to be an acuity
and tho, it feels somehow — discrete, ethereal
like a echo well that returns a differing call
since a boy, I’ve known mine
listened to its gossamer-spun sermons
studied its spittle-froth unkempt ravings
since before I’d ever spoken my first word
or taken my first uncertain steps
we’ve each a voice
both sinner and savior
and alas, broad-shouldered pallbearer
when we’ve written our last poem
we’ve each a voice, faithful
in its love, and in its scorn
a voice that never leaves us
I’ve named mine
Findlay Vaux

Fayette’s house

We had our places we’d go where the cops wouldn’t bother us dumb kids. Sometimes, we’d go to Fayette’s house to drink screwdrivers and play cards, sitting at the card table that doubled as a kitchen table. We’d pretend we weren’t drinking and Fayette’s grandmother pretended she didn’t know. I always lost at cards, half-drunk and busy looking at Fayette’s chest. She knew I was looking and she’d wiggle around a bit, making eyes at me until I lost all my smokes to her one wiggle at time.

I don’t recall what the story was with Fayette’s mother or father. Both were missing from the picture. Fayette’s grandmother had two other sons, each in their forties with long greasy hair wrapped in a bandana, like a couple of misplaced hippies, too damned drunk to get off at the right bus stop in time; but these hippies carried big knives — and there was no peace.

One brother lived at the house, the other stumbled in from time to time to pick a fight. They’d yell, then thrash and roll on the living room floor, breaking things and disturbing the doilies as Fayette and her grandmother screamed in disgust. Typically, these brotherly spats followed a reliable script. One of the brothers pulled out a knife, nearly as big as a machete. All became quiet for a moment, then more yelling as one or both stormed out, rattling the house, the door slamming behind them.

Sometimes, their shouting voices trailed off as they stumbled down Wickham Avenue, a promise of peace for a few hours at least. Sometimes, we could still hear them scuffling out in the street, grunting and swearing, with the occasional slap of fist on flesh or a body thrown against the asbestos siding. Real fights don’t last long, but this one did; they’d been going at it for more than forty years.

train-hat man

We were supposed to be in school, but we were never where we said we’d be back then. Most times, we weren’t quite sure where the hell we were but we knew which of our gang was present. Stoned, dead broke, and bored with life, that day, we were walking the tracks, trying to hop a train. The small amount of money we’d pinched earlier was gone faster than it had been stolen. A train ride, hanging off the caboose, was free entertainment.

We hid by the side of the tracks when we felt the vibration of a train approaching. There were four of us, running and then leaping onto the back of the train, as we had done a hundred times. But this day, a train-hat man came exploding out the back door, shouting and snarling. Panicked, we jumped back off the still slow-moving train and ran into a field of uncut grass filled with prickly weeds and broken glass. The train-hat man took chase and the train screeched as slowing. He was a massive dark and looming son of a bitch with sunken cheeks, bushy gray eyebrows, and a dark blue railroad company jacket with metal buttons down the front.

Everything is bigger, surreal, when you’re a stoned kid, and the train-hat man was a damned giant. If I had to hire someone to chase freeloading bums and teenage fuck ups off a train for which they’d paid no fare, I’d hire a guy like the train-hat man, a permanently pissed-off giant with no particular qualms about banging some young skulls together just to see if they ring like hollow bells or crack like milk-filled coconuts.

Our dope-addled feet felt like ten stones were tied to each; we couldn’t move fast enough. The train-hat giant grabbed hold of Scott’s bulky jacket and started shaking him like a pit bull shaking the neighbor’s cat that had wandered into the yard. He should have worn leather; it’s harder to get a fistful. Though it’s a wonder any of us survived those years, Scott had the least talent for survival of our band of misfits. Buck-toothed, gangly, six-foot-two and about a hundred knock-kneed pounds, he epitomized the unlikely hero.

We looked back a few times to be sure the train-hat giant wasn’t actually killing Scott, the poor dumb fuck. But we kept running. Sometime months later, a pack of street kids approached us and I took a beating for Scott because he didn’t have the sense to keep walking; we get what we’ve got coming, sometimes a bit more.

periphery

there’s a love
that stays at the stone-ring periphery
a love which needn’t fill the air
with the ashen fog of assurances
a love which dutifully keeps watch
sensing the palpitations
of a heart twice wounded
knowing it as its own
a love that waits
for a time promised in poems and songs
tho knowing such a day shall never arrive
a love unspoken, and therefore-
untouched by doubt’s skeletal fingers
this love lives in the wilderness
of a soul’s shadows
where the truest loves
have always found their shelter
where the ghosts of each, unrequited
push slender whispers
into silence’s still-frame moments
never again falling into love
so often evanescent
nor ever again
falling out of love

ubiquity

Beneath the skin, beneath the bloody muscle and bone, beneath the shroud of conformity we wear, tho it’d not fit us well, there lives a truthful essence, wordless yet forthright, passed to us before birth like a timeless memory, ours — but also legion, a feral yet incorporeal will, a light so bright that the universe shields itself with darkness from its blinding. This essence, so magnificent, so impossibly beautiful — that we dare not even acknowledge the fathomless depth of its existence — tho we are aware. Perhaps it is the soul, or the soul’s recall of its ubiquity, tho perhaps something more sublime; a thing religion can’t covet, a thing the poets shall never know by name.

anno domini

’twas a serendipitous gift
that our restless paths
might cross
and I’d known
from the first glimpse
auburn tresses, tossed
wishful and curious
late-Spring’s wondrous sun
hungered to caress
our decades of loneliness
and its warm amber fell over us
loving even this darkness
we’d both known
oh, how you glowed
and how would we know
what’d soon follow
how could we know
what’d come of this
within the wide-blossom burgeon
of a moment, shared
everything becoming divided
a demarcation
etched across time’s wave-ocean glass
a luminous delineation
and a speechless epiphany
a before
and an after
and tho heathens
we’d now our own
Anno Domini