Delayed reality

A tiny bug died on my hand.

I don’t know if toxins in my skin killed it

or if it landed their to expire

but I looked at my hand and there it was—dead;

like when you obliviously cut yourself

and not until you discover the crimson streak across the front of your khakis

do you realize

that you’re bleeding,

then you look for the slit, find it

and the pain sets in

reconnecting with the nerves in your brain letting you in on the truth.

Failure to load

My internet connection is down

disabled

it happens, technology

is seemingly so predictable like a light switch

but sometimes the circuits get crossed

leaving you stuck

in the real world

having to face non-backlit reality

head-on

having to remember how to think and focus and scratch a cat’s ass

like humanity has

for millennia.

12:34

There was a period of time when I would look at a clock

and it was always 12:34.

It wasn’t a broken clock, I just never bothered to look

at other points during the day

and when I’d finally look after hours of wasted time

or diurnal hunger

I’d sneak a peek and it’d be 12:34

and I started giving significance to that coincidence

it had to mean something—like I knew I would eventually die exactly at 12:34—

and the fact that the numbers were sequential added a layer of deeper meaning

like the golden ratio or 420

and then I started forcing myself to see it

if it was only 12:31 or 9:15 I’d keep looking and looking so that I would be looking

when it was 12:34 like an idiot’s idea of destiny masking an evident confirmation bias

and really all it ever meant was that it was lunchtime

or that I should go the fuck to sleep.

Backyard Wedding

It’s a sunny day, the grass not quite green, but hay-colored in places

there’s a prefabricated wooden arch for the bride and groom to stand before

hanging planters and

newly planted flowering bushes dot the perimeter

a football floats in its tossed parabola above and then below the wood-plank privacy fence

repeatedly

the sound of kids playing

the homes are tucked against each other like dominoes

stucco siding in all directions

the pastor reads the holy words off pieces of printer paper folded halfway lengthwise

pausing when it comes time to flip to the next page

one wedding guest is dressed in an Under Armour polo shirt and jeans

the bride and groom hold hands and face each other

we sit and watch behind sunglasses

internalizing the recited vows

and for a brief moment look past all the added artifice necessary to paint this space in solemnity

and connect with that thing that spark that passion that great spirit that feeling of sticky shoulder flesh against my fingers

and even the beer bottle balancing on my plastic folding chair

because it’s a backyard wedding

and it’s hot

and the beer is cold

but I know to only take sips at opportune moments.

 

He kisses the bride, they walk down the grass aisle and out the back gate that crashes

loudly when it closes

and before anyone has moved the couple reappear through the door off the kitchen

like magic.

The moment is opportune.

Respiration meditation

At a red light at the corner of River Valley Road and Riverside Drive in Atlanta

there’s nowhere to go but left

or right; not straight.

Straight is into the yellow rectangular sign with the arrows pointing left and right.

Straight is into the brush.

Straight is a dead end.

I’m turning left towards the place where I’m heading.

Left towards the big oak tree full of crooked limbs and spring growth.

Right is some whole other direction I haven’t even considered.

A whole stream of possibilities that remain unknown; can’t give them any credence.

I sit in the driver’s seat breathing through my nose, reminding myself

to do that slower, really let the oxygen come through

and enrich my blood, bring my hyper-mind to a crawl.

The light is long, but I need it; every last second.

A few seconds before (still at the light) I thought only

fearful thoughts. Fear for the future. Fear for the present.

Fear for failing to feel secure in either.

But the breath comes and goes. The chest

heaves, doing its job.

Now all I’m thinking about is left.

Left and the majestic oak tree that was there before I took

my first breath, and will be there after my last

and the next turn and the next and the breath I forgot to take

but took without thinking.

Inclination

I keep writing about sex and death

and cleanliness, intense

masturbation

there’s a lot of recurring stuff about aliens

the word oblivious keeps popping up

and other incarnations like oblivion

obviously, something is drawer me nearer

pulling me to the core of an idea

a truth burning sun-bright and blinking

like a ringing alarm never de-triggered

signaling the need for introspection—aliens and monsters, myself

a monster hidden but not within a closet

like some child’s small-minded comprehension

I roam the streets with half-smiles and rumpled preppy clothes

my audible responses to civilization and order

and the general way of the world are just as nonchalant

I’m a charlatan

a less-hirsute orangutan with bright eyes

flitting, fearful of making contact and finally

letting my guard fall down to the floor

and saying all those things

that otherwise stay

ink-stained on my tongue.

Starbabies

I don’t know how to build a rocket ship

I can’t make a potato clock either

I understand the basic concept, first you need a potato

some electrodes connected to wires shoved into its meat

electrons are drawn out (I guess)

protons are propelled (I guess)

the clock is powered (I’m confident)

but to construct something to launch us off this planet

hurl it past our atmosphere into the black void of space

where there is nothing in between all those somethings

and to survive in the precipice

that I can’t fathom

I couldn’t build it I couldn’t sit in front of an accurate schematic

and decipher and reconstruct and innovate against

and build my own more perfect version

it wouldn’t work

it wouldn’t make it an inch off the ground

but there are those who can grasp who grapple

who have the right temperament

the requisite drive to go beyond and push past the past

present and future of our feebleness

the combined confines of our collective hive minds

to build a better wheel and launch it from this planet

and hurl it past the atmosphere

into the black void of space

where there is nothing in between all those somethings

because when they were small, tiny, impressionable balls of clay

they looked up and saw stars

and they were kiln-fired in starlight

and wouldn’t stop trying until they could reach up tall

with toes on tips, with raised shoulders, with fingers lifted

and touch one.

Willpower

It’s easy to think

that the body goes soft before the mind

the visible traces the muscle melts

and turns to mere matter at the quickest non-use

but the mind is the weaker of the two

so easily willing to succumb to all surrounding stimuli:

TV, drink, an irksome itch,

candy-coated chocolate bits,

the second of an unnecessary,

back-to-back masturbation session,

sleep, or lack thereof;

who has the mental mettle to jump up

and down

to fight against a resistance

when a couch accepts your psychic physique with

soft, plushy, indulgent limbs?

Whole-some

The moon is almost full, but not quite

not sure whether it’s waxing or waning

smarter creatures than I probably know

based on the side

from which the thinnest slice

is missing

but I just tilt my head up and gaze

and wonder

how many more of these sights I have left

to savor?

An almost full moon, alone in the sky, like an ice cream scoop

with a teaspoon size bite

taken out—it’s good enough.

NYE, 3:44 P.M. EST

Nails need cutting cuticles need

trimming

the things I’m noticing

standing in line at a joint TJ Maxx/HomeGoods on New Year’s Eve

buying tchotchkes for a holiday party

planned last minute

prizes for trivia questions arrived at

an hour ago

someone is going to end up

with Ed Hardy body spray, a spatula

with a baby chicken on the end

and a Chewbacca

pez dispenser.

Owls

I’m sitting on the toilet seat staring at the shower curtain touching my knee.

It’s an intricate pattern that’s almost Greek key, but not,

I see an owl—

two owly eyes and a beak that howls hoot hoot.

The whole curtain is owls.

I wipe and get friendly with my sphincter. At a certain age

you become more in touch with your erogeny.

I don’t know what it means, if it means any-

thing, but the body changes it doesn’t stay

static. It evolves, goes through phases

like the moon

like girls in college

like laser light beams in a space opera (no, that’s phasers).

I’m going through phases. I want to be the person

who sits in a Starbucks reading poetry

gripping a grande

cappuccino or flat white or green tea latte

something slightly bitter with steamed milk—

not too sugary—nothing too

addictive; melt into a wing-back chair,

plush stained cush-

ions, holding my paper cup with pinkie-finger poking out daintily,

a tome of the finest meter and rhyme in my lap

whiling away the day

to the sound of easy listening and holiday favorites,

chasing aristocracy, but belonging in a barn

with the owl, the cock and the tufted tit-

mouse

which isn’t a mouse at all.

Hoooooooooot.

Cremation

I want to lay on my horn

and scream through this bloody machine

spent the last thirty some-odd years

driving the posted speed

content to complete a crossword puzzle

in black ink

constantly evading the earlobe itch to drop the hammer down

without abandon

and brake so hard

so the wheels

squeal, seared rubber scrapes off altogether

leaving dead fragments

on top

of a chasm of spent protoplasm

Mornings are a motherfuc—

prescribed pills have lost their efficacy

the body battles the mind

the mind beats hammers and tongs

questioning whether the microcosm that defines us

confines us

or is it only a snapshot, fading

a capsule, betraying

a fabric falsely woven and set a-blazing

a moth caught in the flame,

immolating.

Eating Habits

I don’t

think my cat likes

it when She’s trying to eat Her dinner

some brown slop

spooned out of a can

onto a porcelain white dish

set a few feet away

from me

while I pee a strong golden stream into my own porcelain dish

She looks at me

upturned whiskers and insulted sensibilities

I don’t desist

because it’s my 2 bed 2 bath apartment

cheaply carpeted with barren walls

couch with unmatched chair

used chest turned coffee table

cat tree beside the wall

where She reclines on high, waiting

for me

to leave

to resume

Her daily feast.

Lunch’s Labour’s Lost

I work from home a lot, wasting away.

Needing sustenance but still stuck, hungry.

My available options are not good.

A bag of broccoli, a raw, red pep-

per, half a cup of lemon yogurt, and

some squares of rich dark chocolate, to taste.

A month ago I ate a tin of fish

sardines by themselves nothing else, the can

was buried in the back of the pantry.

Writing in iambic pentameter

is a real pain in—three more syllables.

The Tempest

The wind picks up

eddies of dead leaves

revolve

like a dog chasing its tail

a static change in the air

pressure pockets the world

is different

now

entering a new dimension

a hollow world stamped down on top of the existing one

traced over in black ink

a storm’s being summoned

and set about

flung into the future

hours away

bringing the old world and old molecules

pressing salvation through a sieve

of cloud

little needle shapes emerge

stitching together

a thin sheet

to wash over our sins.

Time in no time

Time flies like horseflies, in skips and scatters

like breathing

only when you stop and consider

your diaphragm rising and falling

in long meditative reflection

do you recognize its passing

the loss

of something

ungraspable

collapsible

like the 4th dimension in Interstellar

because when you are stuck

on back to back

to back

conference calls

where people say things and use words and explain concepts that you thought

you understood

hours before

but the onslaught of words keep

stampeding your brain

then there is no such thing as time

just a black

hole

impossible to escape (unless you’re Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar).

Catwoman

Hello.

Helloooooooo

heeeeeellllooooooo

hello there.

Hell.

Here.

Iamtalkingaboutthesecondbatmanwithmichaelkeatondirectedby
timburtonwithdannydevitoandmichellepfeifferascatwoman
whereshemakesasexycatsuitoutofpleatherandsewinghooksitlooks
dangerouslynaughtyandshesaysifeelsomuchmoreyummier

Not the one with

Halle Berry.

Bursitis

I have bursitis in my knee. No doctor diagnosed this.

I went to Google. Typed keywords in the search box.

pain on inside of leg below the knee

It popped up. Autofill. Symptomatic crowdsourcing.

Pluralistic hypochondriac-ism.

Been popping pills, Advils, ad nauseum (looks curiously

like

A devil)

dissolving in my gut, acids eviscerating

the cinder block molecules into easily

digestible

bite-size pellets

And after twenty (thirty) minutes

the pain dulls, the blood warms, the mind slows

I must be cured.

The effects wear thin, the blood cools, the tendons re-fray

biological mish-mash like refried

beans

topped with

Cotija

cheese.

Sound the horns, lower the drawbridge

the body idyllic

susceptible to ice pack attacks

leaving the soft, squishy skin as cold as a corpse’s

severed

head.

Moon landing

You could see the moon in the sky today.

Sitting on a cloud like a mystery

guest.

Uninvited, no R-S-V-P

showing up and pitching its tent

staring at me

a peon weighted

in a state of half-despair, half-dissent

driving round and round around

spreading exhaustion

needing a nap

to bring the moon back to its rightful place.

Apex & Aftermath

I desire to live a lavish life full of lush plushness

have fun

the result of a slush fund

expunge the moribund

extreme extravagance

an avalanche of affluence

discard the dastardly

abolish the acrimony

and when it’s all done

seek a higher consciousness

vanish

and salvage my soul savagely.

Decaying Matters

Walking a trail in the woods, stuff’s dying and growing in tandem. It smells sickly sweet, but that’s not it. Fragrant isn’t it either. It’s the woodsy mixture of decomposition and dirt. Pine needles by the millions pave a lush cushion you can feel through sole and sock and skin. We walk along talking of politics, climate change, dinner options. A woman walks in front of us barefoot. Dusk settles in behind us.

A.M. Prose

The moon’s risen up there hidden behind opaque sheaths, halfway towards disappearing for good. The bed calls, unmade, creased sheets and a folded over comforter. I fight back sleep, eyes open, replaying a fever dream, awake, rummaging through cabinets and cupboards, searching for something to consume. An undisturbed glass of water is visible on the kitchen table, left behind, lukewarm. I chug it to 1/8th full. Leave the rest, ever the optimist. Blurry vision. Reminder to make an appointment with an optometrist. But I have eye drops in my backpack, top pocket. Screwcap, plastic wrapper. Sanitary. Skip the doctor’s appointment, health insurance won’t kick in 80% until I hit my deductible, anyway. Another hour begins. Water down to 1/16. Halving it over and over until math becomes a flat line. The cat plays with a toy in the background.

Band Poem

While a The Band cover band played in the bandshell,
I bandied about
with a handful of husbands.
They wore headbands and bandannas
playing the part of bandwagon banditos
in order to stand next to nubile women
wearing bandeaus.
I wished
I had
had
a bandsaw
or a bandolier full of contraband
handy
to disband the bunch without abandon
to the point where they would demand
band-aids and bandages;

but I didn’t.

And The Band band played on.

Love, with morning breath

We didn’t say ‘I love you’ last night
we didn’t fight (even though you forgot to put the cap back on the toothpaste), just forgot to speak the words
we went to bed quietly slipping into dreams
the next morning I leaned over
and smelled your beshirted shoulder it smelled like you
like a constant memory
how could I not love that this you us life?