Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Trying to Sleep

A chance to sleep but it evades me
Internal hum of anxiety
Like I'm listening for something
Like something is happening
And I wonder if everyone is ok
And I wonder who everyone is
And I wonder where everyone is too

Monday, May 29, 2017


Memorial Day - wet, cold - for remembering the war dead.
Our war dead, I guess, those who died in uniform.
Doesn't the "thank you for your service" thing feel a little flat though?
I guess not as flat as silence, but
When the war(s) go on forever, when the thankers are insulated from any impact,
Unless it's you, or your loved one, or the ones the bombs fall on
Or the drones kill while you're at a wedding.
Do they count on Memorial Day?
The regular people caught up in it all who do most of the dying?

I couldn't come up with fifteen sentences this morning.
So I laid around most of the day then got up to get a mail box
To replace the one the plow destroyed over the winter.
The post office took the trouble to let me know they would no longer leave the mail
in my semi-crushed, non-water proof mail box after May 30th.
What else? The hummingbird is still single.
I'm told to drink solar water out of blue bottles to heal myself,
I'm told to read a certain book. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017


The caw of a morning crow wakes me from anxious half-dreams.
Occasional passing car tires sound like gusts of wind in the trees.
I dreamed a friend from Japan who was a sound engineer at a heavy metal show.
We stood up front in the dark waiting for the music, braced, as if for an explosion.
It's cool for the last day of Spring, but everything is as green as it should be.
The lilacs have all but passed, and I feel that loss more than I probably should.
The crow, in patterns of four, calls its tribe.
Grey squirrel arrives to eat 90% of what I meant for birds.
They tell you to write what you know.
My world here is small.
Yesterday, I went to the fair with a boy.
He had a plan to meet his friends last night and ride all the rides.
The Zipper and the Sky Master were the most intimidating.
For some, and I am one of these, thrill rides offer no joy.
I watched his face on the Hang Glider - eyes shut tight, grim set mouth, barely enduring
among all the other smiles and shrieks of delight.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Finding a Name for A Ritual

Solid sleep is maybe better than love or at least it is the idol I worship today.
The morning is cool and quiet, and I can lie here for awhile yet without time pressure.
They left me alone last night, and my sleep was entirely uninterrupted.
Upon waking I had a feeling of wholeness inside my head, like what was shattered had been magically repaired.
I'm a little tea cup, all better now.

Yesterday, I came across a book called  A Lover's Discourse.
"I keep swallowing and regurgitating my wound", that sentence resonates.
Morning is like that - waking, waiting, noticing, remembering, regurgitating the wound.
And then, in order to live, I must swallow again.
Choke and step forward with a little less enamel.

It's a holiday weekend.
In a few minutes I will rise, shower, dress, swallow and walk out into the day.
I will try to savor these last days of Spring.
Spring without hope, unfolding regardless.
I'm hungry for breakfast, and one has to be alive to feel that.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Date Night

Steamed clams and a conversation about suicide that had us both laughing heartily by the end is a good way to make an acquaintance.

Dispense with the small talk and get on to Love and Death, the only gods we need concern ourselves with in the here and now.

We told one guy we were planning a murder, and the guy told us he was a cop.

She likes sky diving, bungee jumping, "The Sling Shot", and extreme roller coasters while my palms sweat profusely driving over a bridge.

She's been intentionally alone for five years recovering from heartbreak, conquering the career world, getting her own mortgage on a big house.

She keeps telling me about her money, expensive car, big house.

I tell her I don't care.

What I want to know is what your soul looks like.

And so she opens a curtain and lets me catch a glimpse.

I see it in there bounding across the room, throwing itself against the walls again and again, hating the confinement, howling in that sound-proofed box.

You're a little like me.

I have a lot of secrets.

Don't ask me to hurt you.

They all say that.

In the parking lot, it's raining, and we're both feeling good from laughing and strange about what could happen next.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Not Quite First Thing

Called out at 3 A.M. to see two people post-Narcan and one post-prescription-stealing-girlfriend-beating-boyfriend, I wasn't able to write from bed listening to the birds this morning.

It seems to me that the vast majority of the world is medicated and those who aren't are rich from medicating them.

I woke in my car after a nap with a disturbing word pair in mind which apparently describes an increasingly popular sexual pastime.

What would we be like without the influence of poison of any kind?

What does a pure human being look like?

Would it be more animal or angel?

A friend lets me know she and hers are safe from an explosion in a far away land.

I call her a friend, but we've never met, and I don't know her at all.

But I feel better knowing she's out there, on the other side of the world, giving an occasional thought to who she imagines me to be - something pinging on the radar screen, something more than ocean.

I dreamed of a love from long ago while sleeping in the car.

She was waiting for something, like public transportation, and I wanted to go and hug her but couldn't without making someone else mad or jealous or contemptuous of me.

Nothing is simple, not even in dreams.

But I remember she was tall, and holding her felt just right - thigh to thigh, chest to chest.

More than once I've had the feeling that this is perfect, about a moment in time, only to wake from that dream by becoming aware of it.

Here's to sleep and dreams, in cars or beds or wherever we may find them,
may we let them be as they are without the need to catalogue, quantify, or test their reliability.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

First Thing #3

I've got two minutes to write fifteen sentences.
A friend from another country texted me goodnight last night.
I closed my eyes and felt the strange sensation of being on a ferris wheel, only rolling forward.
Sleep started puling me down, then the phone rang summoning me to my night job.
A girl with a ten inch self-made incision spoke to me calmly.
I did the paperwork, drove home, crawled into bed, and slept lightly until they called me again with a question.
It's not easy to sleep when you are stiff with anger.
Someone just recently, on our second meeting,  laughed at me and said I was stiff.
Well what did you expect- a yogini?
I'm late for my primary job now, but trying to get to fifteen.
The raccoons came in the night and bent the shepherds hook again.
It's time for a little spice for those dudes - make 'em think a little bit.
There's a day unfolding in front of me.
I'll try to make it more than a paycheck and the drowsy passing of time.
This, right here, is called kicking through the doldrums.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

First Thing #2

I write about birds, I guess, because of the proximity of the feeder to my bed.
Yesterday there was a grosbeak, last night a raccoon, and this morning a lady cardinal.
The birds remind you of her, that's been established, and to be honest, done to death.
Write about something else, like how your body changes as you age.
What will occupy you when love is no longer a realistic pursuit?
This will, I guess, memories of love and birds.
What kind of a man watches birds?, she joked.
She doesn't ask those questions anymore.

A phone call arrived last night. I could hear her exhaustion. She said she's started eating again, her kids are with her ex, and she has to stay until Thursday to appease the authorities if she is to get them back.  She's like me in the sense that she misses someone who no longer wants her, and that has rendered her low. She said she had a breakdown. What do I call what I've been having? Let's call it a dynamic process - disintegration and a loose re-consolidation into a changed thing.

An intrusive thought about a swollen tongued hummingbird starving to death outside the screen prompted me to clean the feeder with hot water and refill it. McCullers said it, start with a small love, something manageable - a tree, a rock, a cloud.

Monday, May 22, 2017

First Thing Writing #1

A Facebook friend mentioned a writing exercise he has so far failed to adopt - to write fifteen sentences first thing upon waking every morning. That sounded like something worth trying, and so I am here this morning.

The morning is green, chilly and wet. There's a Nuthatch darting back and forth between the feeder and a tree outside the slider. I didn't sleep well because of a dinner comprised primarily of cheese which is unwise when you have become lactose intolerant in middle age. A Northern Cardinal arrives, a blur of red and a single distinct clipped note. Yesterday, there was a Paliated Woodpecker announcing himself and knocking on the trees. I'm remembering the time she summoned one.

"I want to see a Paliated Woodpecker", she said, as simply as that.  In a matter of minutes we heard one laughing like Woody Woodpecker, and it appeared for us on the other side of the screen. We watched, amazed and laughing, because it wasn't the first miracle we had witnessed together involving birds. This confirmed for me my notion that birds are actually Angels, and that something special was happening between us. As I write this now, a song comes up on a playlist I didn't create, the immediately recognizable signature slow-tempo and saxophone. It was sacred music to us then, or so I imagined, played only in candlelight. This is more than I want to remember this morning, but the visitation comes anyway bringing awe and pain. I say good morning to both.

It's good to feel. It's good to still be able to feel something. And to see Angels.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Singing His Hearts Out

Walked the streets last night and ended up
outside the place where I sang for you. I went in.
The place hasn't changed. The owner shook
my hand, and I drank one of his artistic
mojitos. I remembered where you sat
but could not imagine you. I was
looking for something, but I did not find it

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cold May

The male hummingbird seems less skittish than he was last year when I'm standing in the window. I think he arrived alone, or at least I've not seen his lady thus far. They don't feed well together generally.  They spend a lot of energy running each other off the feeder. I don't dress as flashy as he does and I'd let my lady eat first, but we're ultimately in the same place.

Friday, May 12, 2017


Two nights back to back
of solid sleep and I feel better
but wake lost in familiar
surroundings somehow
undefined and without meaning.

I am here, that's all I know.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Arrival: As Though Things Are Going Your Way

Got home before dark
and stood in front of the
kitchen window chewing
a slice of ham wondering
if the hummingbirds would
decide not to return this year
A ruby-throated male appeared
at the feeder, just then, hovering
three feet from my face like he did
for her three years ago now delighting
her This time there's only me to see but
I am delighted none-the-less and grateful
to see you again, old friend who came so far

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Your Completely Untroubled Face

At the bar watching a brown girl in black
Getting all the male attention
A line from a song repeats
Should I shave, or end it all?

Three beers and he leaves
Then a piss in McDonald's
After that, through the window,
A completely untroubled face

A little girl, four or five,
Black hair and eyes, like yours
Eating french fries blissfully
With her mother and father

Watching, he loves her
Loves you - sees the little girl
You might have been, or
You might have made together

Next to her sat her mother,
Pretty, confident, legs crossed
Enjoying a moment of safety
Contentment, watching easily

Watching, he loves her too and
Loves you - sees the mother
You might have been, or
You might be becoming now.

Near tears in a parking lot
Forgetting where he is
Remembering all of it
But where is it now?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Lilacs and hummingbirds are due.
It's that time, and I've put out the feeder
And seen the flowers in the lower, warmer
Regions but haven't smelled their perfection
on a warm evening, and kind of hope not to,
Because these things are still attached to someone
I haven't seen in ten months. It takes a great deal of 
Energy to assign new meaning to everything and 
Doing so, though necessary to continue, seems