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he says: fuck it.

but doesn’t mean it;
it’s the madness of
midnight shadows,
the kind you
never outrun.

(eventually) it
turns to sleep,
turns to dream;
a soft insanity
with meaning
all its own.

and then,
again,
into the world,
where dreams
have no place,
to chase
the wage
where they
talk small
and control all;
he holds
his mask
intact
all day.

and then,
again,
he pumps
the gas,
pays the bill,
stares blankly
over the
steering wheel
and drives
until he can
close a door,
lock a door,
breathe in deeply,
savor in
his temples
the tic-tic toc
of the imperfect clock

and say: fuck it.

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“a journey dark,
and yet you never
swing the lantern,
chase the strange
phantasmic magic
of the leaping shadow.

a steady hand
and ready eye can
forge the narrow
path of fools,
surrender softly
and march to martinets,

afraid of life
afraid of depth
afraid of heights
afraid of death—

it’s getting late,
my friend.”

these are things
i’d say to the mirror
if i could face myself.

Standard

that which is left:
a thousand little sins—
like spiderlings from
an egg sac burst—
to crawl across
his pallid skin.

he prays for venom,
the bite that bores
and rots the flesh,
carves the body
to its final wretched
pockmarked truth,

to be boxed up
and buried,
forgotten.

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arms like wings,
i walk the wall,
a compass in
my stomach;

my eyes upon
the vista cast
at everything
and nothing.

it’s not enough
to not look down,
the mind must
dam the danger,

and those with
brittle courage find
no bottom to
the fall.

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you forget who
you’re talking to
sometimes.

the eye tends
to drift
while the heart
stays hidden
in the breast,
protected from
words spoken
out of turn or
out of tune.

in those moments
when atonement
is a million lives away,
you reach out,
like the thin,
paper-skin hand
of a dying man,

parallel to hell,
on the righteous
side of the fire.

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here’s the thing:

inside i howl
inside you howl
in strange
primordial tones

aimed at the brain
not the ear;
not fear
so much as pain.

still i smile
still you smile

and politely
we ignore
the blood on
one another’s lips.

this we call
civilization,
and somehow
sleep at night.

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in the dewy kiss
of barefoot summer,
strange new breeze
across my brain,

i slither from
my skin,
a viper,
molting,
jolting me
from a slumber
deeper than death.

behind me the shell
of who i was—
speak to him,
he will not answer.

hollow and brittle;
he now belongs to
wind and rain.
and i am in the
tall grass, new;
venom glistens
on my fangs.

Standard

the earth opened up
and swallowed her—

not without
invitation
or provocation,
fond as she was of

clawing
at the crust,
digging
through the past,

past memories
dim and disconnected
from living tongues;
past crumbled empires
lost to lies and
skeletal shards of
epochs and ages
unknown,
unnamed.

deeper still,
until
science failed her—

and there, imprisoned
in the center of the world,
she found her god,
pale and weary;

a galley slave
rowing a vessel
upon seas he
could not see.

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please do not read
this poem aloud.

instead let us
speak in the
silent language
of loops and lines,

defying the
tongue’s interpretation,
denying the
thespian’s temptation;

as secret as the
deepest prayer;
we alone, for
but a moment

in a universe made
of moments.

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keep your
liberty limber.

otherwise it
calcifies,
ossifies
into bloodless
bone, a statue,
an abstract idol
for worthless worship

of some thing
called freedom.