You are a writer.
You write every day.
You are writing your obituary.
Whether you realize it
So realize it--
and make it a good One:
a bright yellow one;
a heart bursting one;
a full tear duct one;
a one last kiss one;
a starry dark one;
a not too late one;
a just you wait one;
a second chance one;
a skinny dipping one;
a lotus open one;
a buy none get one;
a go go go one;
a one for Others one;
a good guys win one;
a more confetti one;
a radical peace one;
a shit gets done one;
a sleep all day one;
a whatever you want one --
as long as you want it
...because there is only one
and it is Yours.
And if you happen to be waiting
at the bus stop of late buses
and chances mistaken
and risks misshapen
and dance syncopated
and fears out-breaking --
for someone to give you permission
to do something with
your one --?
And if you happen to be waiting
for someone to give you this license,
here it is -- a gift from me to you. Go!
Let me be the first to congratulate you.
But of course, who am I?
You don’t need my yes of yesses.
Mine or theirs or anyone else’s
You only need yours.
So take it.
And have it.
And make it
a life well done.
a big juicy steak.
You may have
just the one --
only time will tell.
And God. And god.
Just do the thing, already.
And make it worth reading.
One day I'm going to kiss you
And you're gonna kiss me back
And you're going to like it
You'll wonder why you hadn't done it before
You'll wonder why you waited so long
Because finally there will be one less thing
Left unsaid between us
Or left undone
I don't need a man to kill the spiders
I'd like someone to kill much scarier things
that spin webs in the night
and terrorize me
with their silent menacing:
Come, Knight --
catch and kill some nasties:
you're going to need
a real big heart
a real big net
Oh god please someone see me
really see me
whatever you do
I will never be ready
to lose you
I don't know how it is
that we don't all run around screaming
not because our hair is on fire
but because our bodies are on fire --
one foot mere years from the
This Is Just To Say (I’m Sorry, William)
I have dropped
that was in
you would probably
for fuck’s sake
I could eat
they were delicious
and my mouth
The Last Goodbye
Are the goodbyes the hardest
when you're young or when you're old?
When you're tucked in to the station wagon seat,
with your red suitcase with the peeling label
GOING TO GRANDMA'S
but you're leaving her house?
What would you have done differently
if you knew that last goodbye
was the last goodbye?
The last warm cookie,
handed off to you
held by her hands --
hands that rocked your father as a child
when he fell off his bike?
Even after she warned him
for the second time?
Now as a grown-up,
the idea still shocks me.
Every card or letter in that looping scroll,
is an invitation to the even-older me,
an invitation to a memory:
turned from white to blue shaded sadness
as the future me looks back on losing you--
which though it hasn't happened,
feels imminent with a pregnant clock.
Every look is one I'd cast in stone, if I could --
every look worries me,
the precursor to the death mask.
Every dialogue is a prayer of thanksgiving
sent up over our darkened parlor
that we've had one more conversation --
that, if I could, I'd stitch with my own aging hands
on a quilt as large as the sky
so that all the world could be covered
with your words and the tender sound of your voice
here and always
even after its gone.
The fall always reminds me of you:
the fast drop to the ground
sucker-punched by your silence
when I asked you how you had done
such "wonderful" things with women
(therefore terrible things to me)
without my knowing --
without my getting the slightest hint --
of their perfume on your skin--
skin I had traced with every thought of mine
as like turned into love
and has now burned into decaying hate.
What would I have done or not done
had I known the last time I kissed you
would be the last time I'd kiss you --
would it have been quicker or slower?
The exclamation peck on the cheek
in a fast goodbye, or--
a full-stop, heavy with the knowledge
that this is the end of our reality
as two people in the same sentence.
That the mouth I used so often to tell yours
(your mind -- your body -- your cells pulsing
how much it was the thing I adored most
most of all people
most of all cells and cell walls
most of the world's particles and tides)
would become hollow with the sound of curses
shouted at your invisibility
in the middle of a memory
in the middle of the night.
What a declaration -- stupid, now it seems
that I could have ever picked you--
you, the severe slice of time you are now,
silver and glinting,
like a criminal's smile, over:
chocolate ice cream under the sun
burnt sienna on a fresh canvas
cello and its cirrus notes in the air
petrichor rising in the woods when I am alone
...among the billion delights I have not yet felt
all swirling like angels on the head of a pin
in the future of my phoenix heart
in celebration that you are now gone
and there is room for them to finally dance.
I remember so clearly
the warmth of your English eyes
knocking on some closed door in me
I didn't know was there
Your look tap-tapped on it
a rush of blood beat in my ears,
my stupid heart tapping back
in the fastest beat
with the longest word—
--the moment gone before I
could find and finish the word
to name it.
The nocking point aimed at the door
surprised me with its noiseless release
The note is an arrow:
The note head is the Point and Pile
The stem is the shaft
The flag is the fletching
Pluck the string and it is there--
and just like that,
in less time than a branch break
the door split open
on two sides of one piercing look.
The time signature of the daily rhythm
though we tried to chase it down
offered no adagio.
You were forte to my pianissimo.
The tremelo of your expectations too much—
I apologized for my languid heart,
its ear pressed tightly against
yet another door
behind a door
I didn’t know was there
turned into battering rams.
Why didn’t you just use the key I gifted you?
Or reach through the portcullis
to lay a still hand on my shaking ribcage?
It all went too fast
before it slowed
The hollow echo of you – a ghost note
pulling away, one measure at a time
is a sound I will never forget.
The saddest sound
is the sound of someone falling out of love with you
because you cannot hear it
until you can hear it alone.
Silence marches in
in thirty-second notes
I have so much to give I'm holding
but nowhere to put it
to hand it to
to put out the flames
to wet down the want
I go from curb to curb with my arms full
this throbbing damp mess of heart afire
holding it out to who and who
and all the wrong takers taking
shaking my head at the ground
and fists full of longing at the air
at all the birds flying around
who only worry over their survival
and not their unreturned loves
May 10, 2017
I caught you looking at me
looking at you.
Funny thing that.
May 2, 2017
You used to call me drunk, 3am -- babbling
on and on you'd speak with a politician’s conviction
with such ferocity. You’d lean into the cell phone
your heavy breathing whispering morse code dashes:
rapid and short hops over language, half-sentences
all smashed together in broken glass splashes
as if you'd stumbled on the secrets of man and math.
I might have believed you if any of it made sense.
I'd bolt up from my bed and demand to the receiver
where are you what are you doing are you alright goddamnit GLEN.
STOP CALLING ME I HATE WHEN YOU DO THIS.
a glen is a narrow valley – a low place without a lot of room
funny how I always thought a glen was a glade instead
funny that time you thought I was an FBI agent?
Ha ha, we laughed about it after the fact, but at the time
it was terribly scary. You didn't know who I was -- so much alcohol
pulsing through your brain, that even your old crush La-Laurie
was a stranger to you.
I was Big Brother that night -- all silence and surveillance in your mind.
Any amount of my convincing convinced you otherwise I was a spy…
and when my head finally hit the pillow, my own brain battered and sad
I prayed to the god of undoing and promptly blocked your number--
--blotted you out like a bad stain -- a black mark on white paper – a false call to a lost bird –
while you slept off your booze somewhere in the middle of Williamsburg.
Block and Unblock
Block and Unblock
Block and Unblock
block by block I’d build a wall
and then tear it down:
how many times did you dance in and out of my phone?
how many times did you cross over my lines --
leaned over my fence and then was surprised by the slap?
"Glen is offline and can't receive messages right now."
those nine words are the coldest of the cold.
Glen is offline and can't receive messages right now
There's a strange kind of hope in them --
the phrasing leading me to momentarily believe
that he could sign back on at any minute.
That hearing from him is as simple as a click away --
a username and a password into instant conversation.
Will that be all that's left of us when our time comes?
an online bank of sign-ons and sign-offs...
a chat log back-and-forth till one day there's no reply
a blog that runs out of time, but not words? This one?
a cheerful voicemail greeting that will never get the message...
Glen -- they tell me you were found with your phone in your hand
and I'd like to think if it were me you were calling for help
the call would have come through
I would have picked up.
the call would have come through
I would have picked up
instead of letting it go
to my cheerful greeting
as I usually do.
But I can't say for sure.
I would not have known then then
what I know now --
which is that by letting it go
I was letting you go
for the very last time.
April 28, 2017
I will never love anyone
as much as I love
If I really care for you
I will say:
Darling -- I ZZZzzzz you
so very much.
I ZZZzzzz myself with you
for the REST of my life.
April 20, 2017
Instead of writing for the writing deadline
I'm looking you up on the internet.
You are a sky full of stars
each with claws for points
pulling at the ends of my hair again.
April 13, 2017
The thing is
It isn't so much that
you lied to me
I can never trust
anything you say
any time you lie in the future
it will be with someone else
next to someone else
to someone else
they say the truth will set you free
for you I think they meant alone
hope it was worth it
March 20, 2017
The moment I think I'll list
the person or people I have loved
absolutely the most
the names start to bubble up for all their own reasons --
vying for space in my heart, ventricles to rent.
There's you and you and so on and so forth and Sarah.
And David and Rob (never Bobby) and Dannnn and of course, Noah --
which was not a Noah but more of a Yesah.
In no particular order Matthew Matthew Matthew stamping on the veins;
pumping my heart full of regret and cells full of miss yous--
wish you were heres, even though that was another me
another lifetime ago, wasn't it? Who were we then?
Would we even recognize them? Those two holding hands
two strangers sleeping on the fold-out foam chairs
in your living room.
Only our fingertips touched and I thought I was dying
of life lit on fire -- of love in a second, a lifetime lived in a single look
It was only those eyes looking at me in the dark.
And I realize there are really only a few names --
only one name--
one name --
March 19, 2017
How is it
that anyone let you go this long
with that thing stuck in your teeth?
Sandwiched between your
mummy complex --
mouth full of
sour milk, lies
open at the smell of perfume
even from across the room
across the street:
you can smell her with your
young little flowers at the end of your rope-face
flicking your lips at her
tasting atoms of air of her with your tongue --
uncoiling a single scale in her direction:
come comes hissther
That thing stuck in your teeth --
is the chalky shell-skin of truth
you shed long ago:
it acts as a dried-out sieve
filtering your words
-- left behind in a death dotted desert
full stops of blanched skulls.
Even the sun cannot bleach you clean.
March 16, 2017
This is one of those days. When I can barely lift my head
off the pillow
off the desk
off my arms crossed
under me, holding myself up
holding it all up
holding up the weight
of this smile.
I remember that night as clear as if it were right now. Lying on my back watching the stars, as you tried to distract me from my asthma attack with all the names of the constellations. My lungs were full of panic, but my blood was full of love.
I had a dream last night that a Lost Boy handed me a glass bottle -- the type that someone might build a tiny ship in. It might have been an empty handle of vodka or empty bottle of rum. Whatever was once in there had been drained away and replaced.
Instead it held your "heart." It was an oddly-shaped glass heart thing, with edges that jutted out here and there... but it was unmistakably yours. It had your name at the bottom with some dates I can't recall, like a tombstone. Your birthday, the end of us, the beginning of me -- funny I can't remember now when in the moment of dreaming they seemed so obvious.
The heart-thing floated and bobbed around in some kind of clear liquid -- water, sweat, seawater, tears -- I don't know. I tilted the bottle back and forth so that it clinked against the glass walls, but made sure it couldn't get out. Your heart was in it but it was still empty.
I told the Lost Boy who gave it to me: "Yes, it is his heart. But I don't want it any more."
And I gave it back to him. I don't want it any more.
"Without trust, there is no love." You know who you are.
El Tango De Roxanne- Moulin Rouge (2001).
This song -- the one etched on my heart a note at a time like singular stabs in player piano paper -- brings back your face in an instant, twenty years later. Do you ever hear me in your life?
Early In The Next
I can still smell the burning rubber as I parked the car. I came within inches of completely mowing down a pedestrian just now.
She was looking completely in the other direction and decided at that moment to cross the street into my lane while I was approaching a busy intersection. It’s a densely packed area with lots of cars in every direction, so it’s a wonder I caught sight of her when I did. I’m amazed she didn't walk herself right into the passenger side of my car, and I had to swerve rapidly into the oncoming lane to avoid hitting her. I jolted around her and slammed on the brakes; I wasn’t speeding but even hitting her at 20-25 mph would have been bad.
The oncoming lane was empty at that moment, but if there had been any car at all I would have either hit them head on, or totally sideswiped them. It was a split-second decision, all because this woman wasn't paying any attention. I pulled over, my whole body shaking -- she kept walking. My whole body shook with adrenaline. After relief, all I felt was rage.
It infuriates me that I could have killed this woman merely because she’s distracted. What if she had rolled a baby carriage out in front of her? What if there had been a MAC truck in the oncoming lane? What if she had been two seconds earlier or I had been two seconds later? What if I had been changing the radio at that moment? Or thinking about the one million things on my brain as one drifts into autopilot having driven this road to work hundreds of times before? What if what if what if.
Surely, I could drive myself crazy, and I should feel relieved that I only have at least a grey hair for these minutes and not a dead or paralyzed or injured woman on my head, or that my life hasn’t been suddenly snuffed out because of the familiar distractedness of a fellow human-being – who hasn’t done just the same thing, or made a stupid move like this?
I remember stepping out to jaywalk (and rapidly back) in London, and seeing I changed my mind, a stout, elderly Irish woman turned to me and said in heavy brogue, “It’s better to be late in this life dear, than early in the next.” I have never forgotten this.
I’m certainly not the Queen of Focus, and I will be the first to tell you, but at least I was paying enough attention today. When I’m having a rough day, sometimes a colleague or friend will ask me, “Well, did anyone die?” No – I say, of course not. “Then it can’t be that bad, can it?”
No. Nobody died today.
July 15, 2016
The Website is live!
The girl's in progress, but here she is.
Writing and writing and writing to come.