Mar 14

The Trip Away


2 months, 3 weeks, 6 days, 17 or so hours.
​It has been a long journey.
​When the cruise ships to the Red Planet first voyaged 
​out of Earth's atmosphere and into
emptiness, I knew that I would one day go.
I didn't want to go. 
needed to.

I wished
​to stand upon a foreign, celestial body,
​hundreds of millions of miles away from
​the azure of home's familiar oceans
​and the green of home's comforting forests.

​I wanted to see the unthinkable rivets of ​Valles Marineris,
​the largest canyon in our solar system.

​I wanted to gaze upon the irregular faces of
Deimos​ and​ Phobos
from a desolate,
​mountainous world: 
a world where none can live.
​A world where the insignificance of man
​can truly be realized.

​It has been a long journey.
I am tired and old.

Feb 21

Earth


The wood rots.
Praying the mushy 2x4 will hold my weight,
I heave my body into the familiar crevice,
a cradle of trunk that held me as a child.
I almost don’t fit anymore.
To my right, a rusted nail stares back at me,
its head twisted and mouth agape in despair,
a pitiful remnant of the fort that once stood here,
stronghold against pirates and giants and mothers:
every mortal enemy of a five-year-old and his sister.
A few steps of ladder remain chiseled into the bark;
it’s how I got up here.
But the rest of the fort is gone.
I helped Dad tear it down last fall.
He claimed it was an eyesore;
surely someone would see the atrocity?
Who would see, Dad? The cows?
They’ve got enough on their minds as it is.
They don’t care for the tree or the boy who sits in it,
that is, until feeding time. Then I’m the honorary bovine.
Sep 25

Dreaming Town

Nestled and nurtured in the rolling, safeguarding valleys of some otherworld,
a quiet town,
known by few,
braces for the approaching cold.
In preparation, Eos dusts the morning pastures with frost,
and the maple drinks the final sun,
making room for other colors to
dance across the boughs and the mountainside.
The inhabitants of this town may fly away for a while,
or thicken their pelts,
or bundle in flannel by dawn and eve, nourished by an intimate treat;
and no, it is not possible to have too much apple cider.  

Some may say that they have heard this all before,
that my Small Town, U.S.A
is no different from theirs.
Admittedly, parallels do exist.
But critics are often egocentric,
using scrutiny to reaffirm
their complacent agendas.
When one lives here
or grows here,
cradled by green giants,
no place could be quite the same.

The cold awakens the town
Apr 27

Final Sylvan Visit

Somehow, the quiet breath of Aeolus,
here gentle and tender,
can induce a torrent of dead
leaves and dirt.
 
The rough torsos of the Dryads,
here wise and majestic,
stand tall on the burning mountain.
They have watched the boy grow.
 
The trees have guided him,
made his sanctuary
on the outskirts of this forest,
They know his suffering,
but they will never tell.
 
The creatures, however,
the squirming, wriggling insects
and flustered, busy-body squirrels,
are hopelessly confused.
The boy should be happy.
 
Oblivious to the sickness in his gut,
undeterred by his crippled stride,
the amphibians continue their schedules
as he reaches the stick-and-branch
hut he created many years ago.
 
Here, the boy dons a lifeless grey hoodie,
instead of the familiar
rubber-duck yellow of the raincoat
and muddy galoshes, which were covered
Apr 12

Sick Mind


People have said that it’s a blessing.
A gift. A talent.
But that’s not what it is.
 
We with the creative minds
Are infected with a sort of poison
Which will start as something good at first
 
But will grow, and thicken,
And disease our minds;
There is no stopping it.
 
This plague comes not at once,
But slowly, until you don’t know
When it has consumed you.
 
As a young bookworm,
I laughed at the idols, the elders.
They were weak, said I.
 
Brains as great as theirs
Should have been able to keep the insanity,
The demons, at bay.
 
I am lost already,
With these years still ahead.
It happens rather often
 
All day. Every day.
But on most occasions,
It happens when I see him.
 
He isn’t even important to me anymore.
I’ve gotten past that.
But the faded, cornflower-blue
 
Of his kind eyes,
Apr 10

American Return


Long beyond the swollen,
commanding flow of the
Mississippi, in the far, unknown west,
lies the quaint
and hopelessly secluded town of
Driftwood Springs, Wyoming.
 
Not much has changed since my departure,
which may as well have been
a lifetime ago.
Orange-haired
Margot waits at
the Wild Cactus Diner for me;
sitting behind the wheel of Dad’s
once-scarlet ’72 Chevy.
Waitress apron still on,
her shift must have just ended.
She grins, cigarette between lips,
as I kiss her cheek and whisper,
“Hello, little sis.”
Feb 20

Companionship

We fidgeted during story time. We yearned for recess.
We were afraid of the monster under the bed,
The one who lay beneath us.
 
I heard that you longed for the girl next door.
After all, she did have that toy fire truck you so adored.
But also, she was your playmate.
Post-nap adventures.
Mom and her freshly-squeezed, ice-cold lemonade,
Both treats so heavenly,
Would have to wait.
Donning newspaper sailor-hats,
You and the girl next door
Explored the muddy creek bed together.
Whoops. Sorry.
The wild, Amazonian rapids.
 
That girl next door?
You longed for her. For friendship.
Whoops. Sorry. Companionship.
 
We feared ghosts and clowns
And the barking art teacher.
We feared sharks and spelling lists,
And, for some reason,
That elephant-thing from Sesame Street.

Now,
We have grown to fear other things.

Nov 10

This Child Who Sleeps

Sleep tight, Little One.
 

She tucks you into the cradle by the patched-up window.
 
Rest soundly, Little One.
 
She whispers in your infant ears.
The moon is wide tonight,
The stars as invisible as ever.
The apartment is full of shadows,
Cast by the streetlamps you have known for a while
And will know for much longer.
 
Worry not, Little One.
 
The woman is fatigued from the nightshift,
Uncaring of the piled dishes
And upcoming rent bill.
She shall worry enough for the both of you.
 
The woman caresses your soft, caramel cheek
With her worn and gentle ebony hands.
You stir a bit in the quilted blanket
Given to her by her own mother.
It wraps you in years of love
In a torrent of inner-city despair
And broken dreams.
 
However, the woman does not wish for pity.
She needs to stay strong.
Oct 21

It Was Lost in Winter

The slain lie on a carpet of white.
They poison the rebirth of the day
With their thoughtless blood.
They could be sleeping.
Yes,
They must be sleeping.
 
The chill of dawn is welcoming.
It mingles and dances with warmth.
The pines are heavy from the dark.
The sky is grey no more.
 
Droplets of glass hang from the boughs of the willow
The sun shoots through them like daggers.
The tree is alive.
Its skin glistens with a smaller and kinder cosmos.
 
Birds perch on the frozen branches.
The cardinals are imbecilic.
They sing on, oblivious to the slaughter.
While the doves are hushed in a silent requiem.
 
The powder falls
In the most respectful way it knows how;
Onto faces that are still rosy
Onto toes that are only a little bit blue.
It covers our bodies with a generous blanket.
 
The snowflakes settle and clump
Sep 20

They Have Thought


Never saw it coming, I guess.
After the ivory winter afternoon
And the passionate, halcyon June.
They left me.
His pale gaze no longer met my eyes.
She, who emanated solace and thrill,
Turned frigid and complacent.
 
I tell myself it is over.
It is over.
Right?
The audacity of his actions,
The bluntness of her words,
Maybe it had always been there.
Maybe it had always been the same.
 
She believed in those lively, summery evenings,
Full of harsh love and unprecedented liberty.
He relished in the days of sledding and hot cocoa,
He would hold my pink fingers, seeking and cherishing
What little warmth remained.
 
He is not like this any longer.
Her youthfulness and vibrancy are gone.
They still have thought.
But they think without belief.
That’s perhaps the most dangerous of all.
 
They will settle for mediocrity and then be forgotten.

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