reasons to be a controversial human being.

Poems

Rivets

“Rivets”
At the annual parade I carried you on my shoulders.
We kissed directly between the broken-down Ferris wheel and the cotton candy stand.
I could feel the metal rivets of your jeans pressing up against me.
I pressed back.
Your hair smelled like sugary peanuts. the kind they only sell in plastic bags out of carts with no wheels.

Near us someone wins a prize for throwing a baseball at nine-neatly stacked glass coke-a-cola bottles.
I tell you those games are usually rigged.
You put on chapstick with the tip of your finger and it makes me think about lemonade from a stand and sex and the tightness of your jeans and the rivets pressing up against me.

You laugh at the pickle on a stick as a boy runs by frantically searching for his older brother
who is not so coincidentally kissing a red-haired girl near the tilt-a-whirl.
I reach my hand out to stop the boy from interrupting.
You laugh.

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March 4th

“March 14th”

a small stone holds strong against a sea of crashing water.
meanwhile they clamor in droves at the prospect of
freedom from death.

reprieve never comes for true suffering.
so they rally.
a hundred million people against one death.

they call upon the risen lord jesus and
allah.
they use
crystals and burn incense.
old italian women kiss the feet of their crucified lord.

little children believe in the power of wishing while a hundred million people storm the fortresses of death.

death holds strong.

in a brightly colored classroom, amidst crayon drawings of the stations of the cross
a little boy wishes for his mother.
death tightens his shoelaces.

the class takes a moment to pray.
death pushes back.


February 28th

“February 28th”

i wrote down my regrets onto thin slips of crete paper and I folded them into cranes
then boats
and we set sail together in December
even though weather conditions were not ideal and we
were guided only
by longing and wind
we sailed through boggy water littered with
alligators and
old friends
just the cranes and boats and I.

a cool burst of air nearly knocked the boats off course
we hit land and
i sent the
boats onward alone.

they sailed through an ice-tipped wilderness and scorching jungle stream
i haven’t thought about them in a long time
wondering where they ended up and
if i should have stayed the course.

the last i heard the boats ran aground under a
waterfall
in the arctic
tundra
and crashed and unfolded when faced with the sheer strength of punishing rock.

and the paper boats turned back into cranes and the cranes caught
a warm
breeze and ended in the
peaceful place between heaven and the moon
and lived happily there.

the weather is mild
like england only sunny
where no one is afraid to fly.


“February 24th”


“February 24th”

I daydreamed a village long destroyed.
Run into oblivion by ash or Wal-Mart or both.
I can still see the mothers sitting agitated in the park.
Closing their eyes for a brief reprieve from swingsets and foam mulch.
Or hopscotch, or 4-square.

I can see the deep oaken footprints of the mayor.
Forever enshrined in ash at his podium where he declared
war on drugs, or terrorism
and wished us all a Merry Christmas and gave
the closing speech of the town fair
where he told us all that “a place like this is really something special”
and we all believed him.

I saw the owner of the general store stop and grab his back,
overcome with pain, or grief,
or both.
His sturdy handcrafted store doors reduced to automated glass or rubble.
He used to run specials on peaches year-round
because his late wife was from Georgia
but everyone called her Dixie.

I daydreamed a town overrun by girl scouts and
factory workers.
All busy making their way around.
Now you can smell the thick aroma of
finely bleached plastic.
It invades your nostrils and burns the little hairs that give old people their character.
It’s almost unbearable.

The only consolation is that even though you can still see the sky,
no one remembers it.

I daydreamed a thousand angels to swoop through the roads and
bless the streets.
Like they did for Moses in Egypt.
But the people in the village forgot about Moses too.

I thought it strange how they keep the statues clean,
when everything else is ash.
And stranger still how the pimply-faced teenagers and laid off factory workers will throw pennies
into the wishing pond instead of
saving them.
No one can even agree on the correct price for wishing.

At noon, it rains ash. At six, more rubble
and at midnight the sky clears so
that those who remember them, can still see the stars.
Children with good enough eyesight
have the task of mapping the midnight sky so that it can be turned into braille.
So that when there is no one left who remembers the sky,
they can still feel it with their fingertips.

I daydreamed that little girls will grow up to be princesses and little boys, fireman.
So that they can finally get rid of all the ash
through royal decree and really big fire hoses.
But instead they fish for wished-upon pennies in a fountain
filled with soot,
loose change soaked in
rubble.
I daydreamed that I wouldn’t have to be so alone.


January 2nd

“January 2nd”

Yesterday I rode a drop of rain into a town I’ve never seen.
I hit a bearded trucker’s windshield and listened to the screaming of his CB radio before his wipers knocked me away.
I spent the rest of the afternoon on a coffee shop window,
I watched the baristas fix drinks.
I couldn’t tell if the town was special enough for me.
Say more so than Cairo, or Rome,
but I watched the people there anyway.

I wondered if they have ever been to Cairo,
seen the things I’ve seen.
Could these plain people know of pyramids?
And water-zapping heat?

A woman in a gray tweed hat sips her tea while she grades papers.
A little boy breaks away from his mother’s grasp and tries to wipe me away.

He uses his breath to fog up the window.
He draws a cloud. A pyramid. A frown.
And a drop of rain.


little horses

“little horses”

I used to see in your eyes, kingdoms,
little horses and a valiant prince.
I would gaze into a world where honor and valor dictated status, not riches.
But now I spend my days in coffee shops,
and I write about the valiant prince and his little horses instead.

How despite the grim odds of a crumbling kingdom,
he inspired hope.
He gave big speeches atop little podiums.
And he rallied people with words like ‘hope’ and ‘joy’ and ‘consequence’.

In his brief free moments he spent his time memorizing classical French love songs on the estate piano.
But even with all the stunning resolve of his father, the king,
the valiant prince couldn’t keep the kingdom together, or whole.

A woman next to me leans over and asks me what I’m writing about,
her breath smelling like department store perfume,
and coffee,
And I tell her about the valiant prince,
his little horses,
and his far-off kingdom.

She smiles and tells me that fairy tales are cute.
I opt not to tell her how the valiant prince lived the rest of his long life in squalor,
desperately searching for just one opportunity to demonstrate the valiant nature of his good and decent character.
And how ‘cute’ it was that the opportunity, for the valiant prince, never came.


January 16th

“January 16th”

Men are faulted for thinking with their groin.
For letting their penis lead the way.
But a man’s pelvis is shaped like a heart. His penis, a rod.
The heart is the Hallmark symbol for love.
If the heart is just a muscle and the penis just an organ, the brain can only rely on the solidarity, strength and steadfastness of bone.

Women carry ovals underneath their jeans.
But men, hearts.
Women bear oval saucers good for catching and holding displays of artwork.
But men bear the shape of romance and thin pink construction paper cutouts.

The scent of lust leads them to thin ivory saucers so that they can rest their trinkets.
Led not by the points of rods but by calcified and unabashed bone.