Didn’t Ask

didn’t ask

not for your compliments 

or your suggestions

not for your beautifuls 

or your babes

not for your offers to do nothing

or your willingness to not share

not for your partial truths

or your outright lies

not for your illusions and daydreams

or your fairytales or future

didn’t want 

your pretty pictures, real as  resurrected infants

or your horrors realized

your nightmares in my bed

or your food on my screen

your constant commandeering

and then your secret retreat

your comparisons and your not quites

your so closes and your not enoughs

your second thoughts 

and your blind apologies

what is the ask

what is love and safety

challenge and respect

reality with petals and thorns

dreams with sweaty sheets

and a washing machine 

down the hall

given the decent truth 

not being told the clothes 

are clean

knowing

damn well

they are dirty

Bed Load

The dog slept on my soaked muddy

River clothes

Finding comfort in the rankest thing in

The house

Wasn’t much to choose from

Which could be better

Or worse

Unexpected

Wanting to punk out his white fur

With some sift and dirt

Named

Bed load

By those who know

I don’t know

But I understand

Wanted to surround yourself

Wrapped in thick, unctuous

Slick, commanding just

Skin and body

Rebelling

Compelling

What are you doing

Laughing

Pleasure

Looking so deep in

Eyes you fear you might fall

In the creases

And that might be

Delightfully frightfully fine

But I like that shirt

And I hope the river

Gives me a chance

To wear it again

Even if it’s still gritty

I like the scratches

Saints

The saints are beautiful

Staring behind stone

Some following

Some blank

Not yet bleeding

From hands and feet

That takes faith

More than

Blind turns unguided

By mechanical

Voices

Trusting a voice

No one has ever head

As you hear it

In the same twisted canal

Where that sound is born

I sweat under lights of performance

Not quite a soldier

But fighting

Only human salt

Less sanguinous

Only because of the breathing

Could belief be based

In something possible?

I’ve seen it

Touched it

Felt the air shift

And shivered

From the heat of it

Sacrifice and risk

Look at us

Writing stories

Where we

Dare the devil

To battle

With the draw

Of a heart

Still beating

Warmth I Give

Don’t know

What hides underneath

The fibers and striations

Only visible without a

Focused scope

What did you do with those scissors

Short levers for skin

Long forces for hair

Fulcrum neck

Pivoting to look

Anywhere else

Except straight

Or back

Make cuts where

You see they need to be

Anything to

Make cuts where

You wrote long

And wrong and rambled

Don’t let them look

Another second

Read another word

Make it go away

Don’t know

How another

Will ever happen.

Because I don’t know

How can you

It’s the rent in my

Armor

That makes

Me curse the arrow

Not the quiver on your back

But you draw

And hold

And hold

And release

You don’t know

Where the flesh is

Exposed

Because if you

Do

Let fly

Give the respect of

Showing my pelt

Pride of place

Thankful for the warmth

I give

Me

I can take the cold

Hysterical

That I can be called

Not funny

Too serious

Too sad

And still hysterical

When I make you laugh

I’m not hysterical?

Or is that when

you laugh at me

Get a thicker skin

Toughen up

Have I tried this

meat tenderizer?

It’s sharp and shiny

I bet I’d love it

I bet I could make it

Work and still

save my skin

What if I couldn’t even

get that right?

That would be hysterical.

Just a riot

A fight

a shelf to stack

the rage on

because it’s to

heavy to hold

for a lifetime

But easy reach

for when I need to

start throwing

Fits

Most things don’t

and even fewer people do

Don’t blame the jeans

It’s my ass

Or maybe my

wandering uterus is

taking up space where it

ought not to

take that out

before it does any more

damage

Blood and pain

from no source

Wouldn’t that be hysterical?

Popcorn and Tires

The popcorn comes later.

Is it the popcorn

And not new tires

that breaks

Your back and then

your heart?

It probably is. Makes sense. Mostly air. But when it’s

Packaged and given with a bow

And it’s a proof of something

that’s substance and warmth

And big enough to park a car under

And that car is something of heft

Not what was expected

But nothing ever is

Dark turned to light

In the most DNA strand

Twisted

of ways

Heat of ginger

That is warm

When the burn

Of whiskey was

All you knew

Can you pair

Popcorn with a steak

What about the cheap

Wine when that is all

You can afford

But it’s together

And it works

Beautifully

Especially when you split it all

two ways

Times two

Becomes

5

7 needs

A car even

More capable that anything

You’ve ever driven

And that might be

Too much machine.

Every last grieving has

Taken parts

Ever-changed

Not returned

Maybe there are

Allen wrenches

Instead of anterior descending

And the tools

To turn an engine

Are here for the first time

The Weight of Forgiveness

The Weight of Forgiveness

Lightness

Freedom

And just a touch

of moral superiority

Isn’t that what we’re

meant to get

from forgiveness

Wrongs released

and hurts mended

Rivers crossed

and ramparts of

differences breached

But what if that

isn’t the case at all

What if by giving forgiveness

we don’t un-weight but instead

yoke ourselves down with

the burden of it

by keeping ties instead of cutting

we find ourselves lashed

with rope that chokes and cuts

and grinds its filament fibers

into our skin, leaving

wounds we can’t see

at least until that slightest of

skin cracks fills with

infection and rot

What if we don’t give

forgiveness but instead

take on a heft

far heavier

harder

more forever

than the hurt

we are meant to

absolve

can gilding a dead

flower cost more

in preservation and

effort expended

when the kindness

is to return it

as the cycle

dictates

and not lug it

around and molten

monument

to what’s lost

and what to do instead

forget

walk until there

is no more land

and no more steps

and no more words

to fill empty space

and replacement poxy

for broken hearts?

What if the

matter of forgiveness

isn’t the grace of air that

Elevates is

but the

drowns us

Unthought Thoughts Us

Unthought thoughts

Mind drives away from

city security

down winding rural road

where grass grows higher

hiding

snakes

screws

splintered boards

rusted joints

oranged and weather beaten

into submission

behind sheds and

outbuildings

nails eager for bare feet

begging from buried spaces

for admission and acceptance

life’s blood

the places we avoid

don’t even look at

the mangled earth

left to rot

not forgotten

more painful

willfully ignored

and neglected

apathy as a

determined choice

even ambivalence

gotten wrong

not strong enough

to bury wrongs

in more than a

shallow grave

tetanus

protect us

if only there was

us

unthought

Ego

I’m not a narcissist

I have a list of

my flaws

long as my over-sized

arms to share

a laying out of

my short-comings

wider than my

ample thighs

a telling of my

strengths

shorter than my

fleeting patience

a collection of

my accomplishments

smaller than

my calcified heart

Ego feeds on

thoughts of me

I

mine

here

now

want

help

fix

save

cry

hurt

take

away

stay

and with my

ego appetite tentacles

I

push

shove

remove

surrender

retreat

demand

compel

withhold

withdraw

silence

compete

demean

mother

no partner

friend

not parent

all

but nothing

everything

to myself

Maybe I am

Where Does Everything Go?

Where Does Everything Go?

Atomic displacement

A Feeling someone

left the room

just before you

got there

Not a scent

Not a wayward

strand of hair

lingering among the dust

not a thumb smudge

on a tumbler

A Feeling

Deeper than skin

receptors

vibration

that hasn’t stopped

echoing

When the Feeling

leaves

Where does it go?

Everything stays

Water to wine

wood to fire

Skin to putrefaction

All collected in the

balance

The missing element

unbalancing the scales

Something goes

Love to apathy

Hate to acceptance

Grief to nostalgia

to melancholy

to despair

to

to

to

nothing

Not every particle

walked out the door

Not every element

covalent bonding

Not everything

stays

The ones behind

know

not everything

goes