Three of Hearts

I am a relatively reserved person. I keep my expressions calm. Yet I feel often lustful. Moments exist when I’m scared of my own heart. Not that it will stop ticking, but the wilds she speaks.

We spent a couple hours talking at the coffee shop. Mostly about relationships and illusions. The way people feed into one another and create groupthink. All these little cliques of belief. The masses. The contingents. Securing a particular language. A secret code only for the initiates. If you don’t speak it, or attempt to learn, you are as good as gone.

I kept looking at her lips. Kissing them. My eyes betraying desire. I try not to stare, or ogle, but I do enjoy welcoming beauty into the dark wells of my sight. To see souls. To see into, more fully, the life of a person. She has a little goddess etching of birthmark on the underside of her chin near her neck. I remembered kissing it and gently nibbling. Running fingers through her hair, scratching lightly the back of her head. Pressing forehead against forehead. Seeing her eyes. “What do you want? It’s okay. What do you need?” I fell headlong. I kept seeing her teeth, scrunched up like a groundhog close to the earth. The fragrance of soil on her lips.

“You love being a poet, don’t you? Everyone must want to know who you are writing about.”

Lightning sparks from foreheads. Thoughts kiss. Like the rapidity of electric currents. Third eye linguistics, enmeshed. Timelessly conspiring, the telepathy of ancients. Entangled in breaths.

Veronica went on an interview at a sewing & design school. She unofficially received a job as a professor within minutes of the directors seeing her work. She spent hours making a bra. This is magic! She kept yelling. Until it wasn’t magic anymore. And then she let out a string of expletives. Honestly. She’s probably one of the best stitchers in the city. I’m proud of her for that. And humbled by her craft. It’s not terribly difficult to spot someone who holds mastery of an art upon seeing their work. There’s not a certificate in the world that can do that for you. It’s a gift.

I get so frustrated when I read the news, especially international politics, the continued destabilization of countries for the sake of oil. Power. Money. Control. The willful blind eye, American as apple pie. I ask myself why? Why do I keep reading. It’s maddening. Yet I have this urgency to stay informed. To shout into the abyss. A drop in the bucket of worldwide corruption.

I’m all for lowbrow art. But the esteem for being a dolt, it breaks my heart. There’s so much at stake. How easily will people be swept off their feet?

How do we speak a common language without losing the cut of a subversive tongue?

She grabbed my hand and put my fingers in her mouth. Tasting them in the early morning. Wetting them again. We pressed into one another. Gently at first, then more roughly, I wrapped a hand around her neck.

The largesse of an artist. The utter frustration of the writer whose pen keeps running out of ink. How are we supposed to communicate with one another profoundly if we haven’t dug out & filled in our own trenches?

She stepped out of the car, and I could smell the lingering of blood.

Every night she stayed over, the next morning I dreamt of animals. Horses. A large goat. They nuzzled me. We looked into each others eyes. They, always much stronger than I.

When The Heart Breaks Into A Thousand Pieces, Know That Life Goes On aka Like The Ash Of A Log, Give Yourself To The Wind

from North Philly to Westville, NJ
passing ghost towns
dead as can be.
The kind of places
where the wind blows
and all you hear is
the wretched creak
of a sign.

Metallic symbols communicating both
direction & abandon.
Like industrial wastelands
speaking in
graffiti, linguistics of the local

working the land
on a suburban homestead
people talking of
(the cling of pitchfork
against wooden chips,
& a snake appears
shedding skin.

Another sign.

It must be
the age we’re in.

Traversing the space between,
from reclaimed warehouses
to reclaimed land
full of artists
full of gardeners,
like the time from sleeping
to waking,
a dream worth writing down

a mishmash of industrialized earth
a collage of decay & growth,
rustbelt visions

While building a tiny teepee structure,
starting with twigs & the tiniest branches,
someone said in a light of bemusement,
“Look at all the hands…”
and there were hands
grabbing leaves
placing sticks
so many hands
building fire
& in that moment
we decided (it was necessary)
to say a prayer
a prayer honoring
the four corners
the distant past
the present past
the here & now
the future tense
the generations
& dreams to come

As we honored the directions
in space & time, I
thought about my own ancestors
as well as those
who lived the land before.
A sadness,
tinged with anger
swept over me.
I apologize.
I do not know how
my bloodline is wrapped up in
mass genocide,
but we arrived in a white wave
shortly thereafter.
And working with the land,
the plants whisper
of the blood spilled
the terror unleashed across the land.
It’s in the herbs, it’s in the flowers,
the native spirit comes to life
in the trees, there are stories
in the meandering of roots,
there are ancient faces
in the bark.

When I am in a silent place,
I listen
I learn
I understand
to live closely
to live appropriately
to heed the call of wildness
to preserve the primal nature.

To honor the beast within.

The sacred rush of river
The vast expanse of ocean
The reflection of stars
hidden by the sun.

I had a dream-
I was on the outskirts of a village
living in a hut made of branches.
It stood on the edge of a forest.

And one day,
the hut caught fire.

I walked closer & closer
until I was inside.
People gathered,
worried I’d catch fire too.
I assured them,
It’s not a problem,
after all, I lit the place up on purpose.

I disappeared in the flames.

I woke up in the dream.

I realized
I’m standing amidst raging flames,
but nothing of me has caught;
& as I get to know
the lick of fire,
it’s not so angry
as it is alive.

On knowledge, or lack thereof

walking talking
little automatons of buzzwords,
wearing our language like cloaks
revealing what reality we ascribe to,
naked underneath all our stereotypes
sweaty skin & tender flesh warm against
technology hugging ever closer,
overcome with viral fears because,
did you know, the media is a conspiracy,
the whole damn internet is an illusion,
maya, smoke & mirrors, happy to know,
there’s not a single reliable source in
the entire known world, so
where do you get your ideas from?
who are you talking to? who are you
talking about? if not through your vocal box,
your mind’s eye parched through with regurgitated ideas on repeat, wake up
thrown out like a broken record, wake up
burned like books in a digital fire, wake up
how did you arrive at your set of beliefs?
if not through a screen,
if not from a neighbor,
if not from a loved one,
if not from a scripted page,
was it spun from the double helix of DNA?
was it churned from the blood & bones
of your grandmothers?
was it a dream
or a drug that clicked like a key
unlocking the vast treasures within?
tell me, how we are all so enlightened
to have an opinion in the first place

A Surrealist Episode

The witching hour, when shadows transform into a menagerie of wild beasts & the imagination overcomes the so-called debate. Politics flutter and break like a butterfly out of chrysalis, transforming flags whipping loudly in the patriotic wind. Money burns on the sandy shores of a foregone hell & a hand basket fills itself with fruits & pleasant greens. Alcohol sucks down softly, a straw of memories too intoxicated to decipher the trail of delicate cells, spellbound & brainwashed in personal sputtered out beliefs.

Anarchy astute in the complexifying crumble of conversations, wide-eyed & grasping symposiums of stars aligned disjointed like the steps of little ants climbing hills & bees building a geometry of medicine sticky in harmonic sweetness.

I wish it was a dream, said the realist. I know it is a game, said the dreamer.

And a galaxy falls in crunching leaves, hidden beneath a pile of shit not scooped, smeared across a sidewalk cracked open by magic weeds & trees buckle riotous against imposed structure.

Somewhere, the aroma of a chimney mirrors an invisible signal, the armageddon is false.

The apocalypse is up in smoke.

The telltale end only decomposed & nourishing a frenzied beginning.

The trickle down of ancestral lines wrapping roots around bent knees seated nicely at desks chipping away at pixels. Digital statues chiseled in cyber consciousness like the knowledge of babies bound up in wombs feeding vibrations of data painted unfettered. The fetus a spirit, a faint skeleton curled up on black lit translucent canvas, dispersed into stillness before knowing a first breath.

Every human, the new human altering futurism. Remember.

A tattered page peeled roughly like dried bark whipped from a holster of prayers shot thru the air silently challenging the science of myth-making. Every bullet calls forth a rhetoric of fear snaked around humanity choking the young to life. The blood of blackness nurtures street tar & the rebellion of adults is sequestered by news anchors. A holy vision erupts in a tired blasphemy on repeat shedding light slowly dispersing the subtle flicks of tongues tipped in cognitive dissonance.

Another tragedy dispersed across the earth like ash & soot. Another martyr freed in a luster of hope. Another cloud full of rain tears up and releases itself.

And somehow, the sun rose, bright and plentiful like a field full of thorns. And somehow, the moon cascaded into darkness like a waterfall splashing the harshness of oceans.

maybe it’s just ghosts
stirring in the past
blown open like sails,
or an anchor clanking
hoisted onboard
like skeletons & bones
clonking a hollow tone

it reminds me of a treasure beneath the sea

a blustery day
entangled in wind chimes
the jangle adds a charm to the grey sky,
the house itself creaks & whistles
like a wooden ship rocking to life

I took the whole place apart,
piece by piece
I put her back together

I scraped years and years of paint
always working on windows
& doors
it makes me wonder about vision,
and passage,
and stepping thru

my hands rough & beaten &
callused with so many blisters
accustomed to cuts &
I wear this body
like a glove
like a cloak
for my soul
to travel & work

I fell into this craft
this vehicle
this wooden ship
I landed
in this house

There is a widow’s walk atop the attic.
Its namesake comes from the women who
lost their husbands out to sea,
but still had a glimmer of hope
they might return one day

I go up there to watch the trees
to get a moment of solace
to fall headlong in the sky

before climbing back down to labor
to treat the house like my own
to imbue her with character
I sand
the grain & stain
the wood
like an old record
singing blues

It makes me think about lineage & history

I must have been a sailor in a past life
star-gazing on clear nights
drunk on swill & sea air
floating casually
thru storm & days of calm

When Dominant Narratives Crumble, Dig Through The Rubble

American streets
digital highways
war zones hidden in the subconscious
colors and class
hostile indifference
residual slaves & masters

when did you realize you were alive?

underpaid & overworked
conditioned, zombified
big brother
scifi wisdom
oppression in the mind
anonymous rebellion

where do you propagate your seeds?

broken, hurt, & clipped wings
families divided
homes turned inside out
public private
projections of buried hearts

where do you feel safe?

realities of brutality
psychic violence
militarized web space
inner workings occupied
downloads uploads

how many people do you love?

burning forests of language
flooding cities of privilege
cat callers
clap back
recalibrate the feminine

how do you uplift community?

I saw the moon reach out her arms, glowing into the night. She spoke through the hoot of an owl and howled in the wind like a wolf. I thought about the sun and time and energy, the light reflecting in the moon’s rocky embrace. I thought about careers and caverns, witches and cauldrons, and all the myths we buy into. I saw capitalism descend into the ocean, lost beneath the rise and fall of waves. I saw change move in cycles, like the birth of a bird and death of an egg.

I saw life and its eternal movements.

I saw the ground right beneath your feet.

I saw narratives crumble.

are we amidst a quantum leap?

I see dreams, faint and light, in need of remembrance and darker outlines.

I see alternative riches in need of cultivation & committed engagement.

I see (r)evolution growing through the cracks like weeds.

Ol’ Salty the Seaman

Ol’ Salty wakes up grumpin’ before dawn.

“Blasted seagulls!” he harangues, “Squeakin’n’a-squawkin’ this early in the morn.”

In a sleepy
he tugs on his boots
and stumbles
down steps
over a wooden deck
to the beach.

“Blasted seagull!” he shakes his little fist, “Stare at me like that! I’m not a-scared of you, seagull!”

He huffs and puffs like a tea kettle blowing over
shooting steam from beneath the brim of his cap.

“Blasted seagull.. Don’t give me that stink-eye, seagull!”

Ol’ Salty settles down as the seagull drifts off uncaring
still staring
with a chest puffed out.

“Hmph.. blasted seagull.”

He muses into the sea and combs at his beard.


He brightens for a moment
struck by an idea
and slips a pipe
from his pocket
eyes it
taps it
blows it
packs it
full of smoke.

He gazes across the sea
as the breeze
brushes long,
against the shore

He nods his head back
to the sky
faint and dark
speckled with stars

He breathes
and smells the air
tasting of salt.

The sun
begins his flight

and Ol’ Salty
loses himself

in the purple rays
in the chrome orange-yellow
in the halcyon blue
in the buckets of pink
among the clouds.