Monday, October 29, 2007

Labor Tale

On days like that in July the air was so thick with water that it would collect on the brows of the landscaping workers along the side of the road. The buses rattled by them, throwing the musk of diesel into their already polluted pores.
'This fucking rain better come soon." Tom creeped out of the side of his mouth, carefuly not to make it seem to the foreman as though he was complaining.
The work came day to day, which was great for his usual routine: work for enough time to get the money to drink for a few days, and so on.
If you listened closely you could hear the tree's weep. Above their low weep, the grass (dry to its roots) was screaming. With every step across the dry tinder, the shrill cries of a hundred blades of grass begged for the water to leave the air and permeate the ground.
The other men didn't speak, most didn't even speak English, though Tom could sense a sincere distaste for his American work ethic. There were no union breaks to speak of, but Tom took them anyway.
Miguel, who spoke few words in English, drew his shovel from the dry, sandy soil and tapped Tom on the shoulder. He then used it to motion in the direction of the wide grey clouds in an imposing stance in the distance. It may as well have been a free meal or a bottle of gin. Tom was ecstatic.
Upon seeing the clouds he threw his mound of dirt and dried grass into the pile that had been accumulating all day. He tucked his cheap yellow hard hat under his arm.
"Fuck yeah, boys!" Tom turned, only to hear the foreman shout back even louder.
"See those clouds?" His voice was stern and masculine, but there were wavers of insecurity that led Tom to believe the foreman wasn't cut out for massive union gigs. "Double time! We have to lay this sod before that rain comes."
Tom's hopes dropped as a collective groan crept through the group like a classroom full of eighth graders.
"Too dry..." Miguel said under his breath. Tom nodded but accepted the orders regardless of the weather. The parched earth and Tom both needed piles of green.
The men continued to gather sweat, occasionally stopping to sip from water bottles or wet their hair at a hose. It didn't seem to do much; the humidity was so thick in the air that it congealed the water in thick beads to their hair and necks.
After digging out the necessary three inches of topsoil, they rolled out the sod. The freshly harvested grass was healthy and cool. The deep green rectangles laid sharply contrasting the yellow rags of brush that surrounded them. Tom could feel the soil under the sod heating and drying.
At five o'clock the foreman handed out the pay in cash. Ten fucking dollars an hour, Tom was recalculating the day's work as he thought:
I need a real fucking job.
He knew that he would never work at a "real" job, the last two spot he had he burned up the money on drinking and eventually got fired. He needed it day to day, helped him realize how little he could spend when he went to the bars. He always got enough money to buy cold beer after a hard day's work.
So, Tom took his eight-five dollars and sat on the curb at the bus stop. It usually took him about twenty five minutes to catch the bus after quitting time. He lit a cigarette and took in a drag. The feeling was nothing new, he was tiring of smoking, and in this heat it killed his lungs. A co-worker sat next to Tom.
"This fucking heat, huh?" The man took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his brow. "Name's Danny, yours?"
"Tom, smoke?" Tom held out his pack hesitantly, hoping Danny would take a cigarette and stop talking about the weather.
"Don't usually, but today was a hell of a day." Danny grabbed a smoke and lit it up. He had a southern twang in his voice, but something about his demeanor was distant from the day labor he was subjecting himself to. It sounded like he had seen the light and turned back.
"As long as the work keeps coming." Tom turned the conversation to labor, the more he thought about the weather the more he needed a drink.
"No way in hell that sod is going to take." Danny seemed sure.
"I don't know, crack a couple of inches down and that soil isn't so bad." Tom hoped the work he did over the course of the day wasn't for nothing.
"I guess we'll see in a couple of days." Danny stood and extinguished his cigarette against a telephone pole.
"I guess so." Tom responded slowly as he saw the 3 bus in the distance. He picked up his bag and flicked his cigarette into the brush.
All those clouds, he though, and not a fucking drop of rain. Tom boarded the bus and fell asleep when he got home. He woke up again at nine and the night was damp and dark. He hopped on the three to head back across town to the bar.
As the bus rolled past the landscaping that Tom had worked on all day, he noticed a group of firefighters putting out the last embers of a fire. A light from the fire truck shined down on the site. Patches of black had spread throughout the roadside. The sod was gone. The soil was scorched. The grass and trees were put out of their misery.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

An eternity spent in ceilings

Where I go from where I am
is fate enough for Fortuna’s sake.
I'm presently vexed by a wych elm
that’s grown and grown and grown.

Seeds fallen from serated vines
find solace in dreams that
see cloven branches transformed
into the visage of ancient ladies.

With wings not grace.
No goddess or deity,
succubi that hunger,
feeding while I’m asleep.

Mayhap these seeds sown
with help from a spring breeze
infiltrate the ranks
of friends. My family.

And in a forest of golden strands
once bright, now brown, they'll
lay blinded inside a plumage of
twigs and cracked eggs of insecurity.

Only an arbalester's gaze
can find me an escape.
A victim of lovelorn history.
A cockatrices fabled treat.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nothing changes, I suppose

Even at your funeral
I didn’t say goodbye.
How could I with you
bloated like when you
woke up hung over.

Back then, with beer stains
on your white (now black)
polished shoes, we’d sing
Westerberg’s "Portland" till
our faces turned blue.

I had never seen a dead
body before. You’d laugh,
I had to hold someone’s hand
to keep from loosing it
when I looked upon yours.

You don’t know this,
but your best friend
did your hair. It looked
good and he didn’t want to
see you,

I hope you know. After
you did it, he didn’t want
to remember you forever
hanging. Or how I do. Blue,
pale. October cold.

He'll still remembers you. Running his hands through your hair.
He'll still remembers making you look great, like all those times before.

And I took distance for granted.
And talked about your problem
behind your back when
I should have told you upfront,
like a man.

Would it have saved your parents
sleepless nights? With you, it’s
unlikely, but at least your friends would
still remember the vivacity in
your laugh.

After all, you left people thinking
you were into meth. Funny, I keep
telling myself that you were stronger
than that. But you were an idiot
and obnoxious when drunk.

So now, after glum precessions
and cumbersome clouds of regret,
I’ll talk about you being an idiot in
death. For that is how I cope with you
not here. You dead.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sonnet I+II

We have no tragedy or plague
to draw sympathy for our love,
or laws that speak in sentence vague
to keep a distant feeling of

cruel heartbreak kept at length of arm.
I thought the concept simple just
to love without unfaithful lust,
but men and women keep their charm

inside the halls of lusty mind
for heart breaks swift in front of eyes.
Where eyes are lifted to a breast
or lip or hip or head at rest

Allow me sanctuary's clear.
The mind is romance, love is here.

The color is clearer at night,
drastically affected by light
with match's flame or a flashlight
deepest hues of green, yellow shine.

That reflection is bouncing off
the dullest wood and dampest dirt
creates a temporary wall
beams shoot light through the barrier.

It's never truly night or day
Nor is it ever time or year.
Each lovely stage of sun and moon
as beautiful or as serene.

In every night the path is clear
by moon we meet and love is here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Repetition’s Song

On a porch, a breeze reads
the book in my hands
faster than I ever have.
Digesting words as if they
were leaves, strewn about
a graveyard.
Like specters from
fairytale lands.

The pages move faster,
reminding me of the things
hidden in my head.
Things I don’t like
to touch on awake, or
sober, during daylight.

Upon my bed I lay
defeated from 14 hour
tirades of words and work
and people staring as I
walk by. Asleep, I’m
no longer on my continent.

A panther on its hind legs
playing fisticuffs
as I try to land a punch.

Familiar house on a
race track
circling around a zoo

Afflicted humans waiting
for me to escape
quarantine: A late lunch.

Preternatural visions of
werewolves in
catacombs clawing off boots

Airships dipping in between
imaginary buildings
of cyclopean size

and familiar beauty
that'll last, unending
until my physical demise.

As a breeze reads my finger tips,
my mind jogs through people
I've never seen in places
that don't exist. Their names
I know not, but what of it?
We're all here together to
love and touch and remember
who to forget when we wake up

Friday, October 19, 2007


no troubles
on mind should
ever worry ya.

drink a glass
tell a lil’ lie.

in yer teeth
they’ll know truth.

least thought’ll
speak something,
hope’s sake.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

hey jude

Watching the screen flicker
the world is more beautiful when
there are lights behind it.
So soon I feel ugly
tired of my own freedom.
Suddenly, to be capable
of anything
and to be on pursuit again is
Remember when
drinking was an occasion and
a kiss was social suicide?

It's hard to find life satisfying when you're sure that
the world is a big Beatles song;
it's embarrassed and exploited,
but mostly misguided and misplaced.
Somewhere in that tune
there's a mind that intended greatness
but the rest just dropped mud on the mirror.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


these days you sink wherever you can
except around me, firm in the sentiment that
we should all get away from each other
while it will still hurt, like a band-aid
that's been on just long enough to
rip out some of your leg hairs
upon removal, and promptly be thrown
into the garbage;
otherwise, without your knowledge,
it slides off into a middle of a pool,
picked up later all soggy
by some disgusted passerby.
we all spend a certain amount of time
soggy, floating underwater, but not quite
sunk deep enough to reach solid tile.
you keep me floating
above the bottom, but not quite
standing straight, and i do the same for you,
so we do not entirely sink but neither
are our heads above water and
we do not entirely breathe.
because of this my favorite days
are those when things are calm
as band-aids floating in the empty pool
can not be greeted with disgust when there are no swimmers,
and as i firmly close my eyes and feel
the hair around my head moving subtly with
the minute currents of stagnant bodies of water.
submerged, i can appreciate the solitude
that comes with feeling everywhere on your body
the consistent texture of water,
a calm sense of nothingness,
despite my vague awareness that you,
somewhere, are doing something to prevent me
from drowning,
or the sense that one day i will
have to pick myself out of here as
the responsible swimmer undergoes
the disgust of throwing away the soggy band-aid
so that no one else will have to encounter it.
we should all get away from each other
while it will still hurt, you insist.
when band-aids in pools slip off without notice
they sit so stagnant and become
a burden for the responsible swimmer,
losing a band-aid in a pool
means nothing to the person who needed it,
and who should therefore deal with it.
to rip out a few of your leg hairs
and expose not-quite-healed cuts right by
your knee may not be pleasurable
but sometimes it is necessary
to feel pain rather than to feel nothing.