Four Walls, a Sharpie, and Thou

"Casting about for a trace of something honest,
something true we hesitate to reject anything,
accustomed as we are to blessings in disguise."
Your best day, or your worst, winding up a poorly rendered smudge on a busy wall.

I spend half my time erecting, and half scaling, the walls of my own skull. I am the scheming busybody who thinks he likes to think. Well, who doesn’t. The walls in here are covered with layers of rubbish. Decades of bumper-sticker wisdom, political slogans, crude drawings of primitive men searching for mates or battling predators or drug addiction, and poorly conceived positions argued passionately. Impulsive declarations by the vandals of my own spastic grabs and blames. Much of it is painted over, or scrubbed away, the hard lessons learned thus lost to the tar pits of a faulty memory. How long have I been wandering in circles? How can four connected walls seem such a maze?

Acceptance of all these rogue mentalities is something akin to Manhattan art brokers giving nod to spray-can vandals. Casting about for a trace of something honest, something true, we hesitate to reject anything, accustomed as we are to blessings in disguise. There’s something to be gained by this kind of analysis, we suppose. But when it comes to actual reality, analysis falls mute. It is here that we get like we give, where the mathematics of division meets the impossibility of zero. Something real, experiential. Of course, I had slept through it.

It had been a long, convoluted dream, though one detour in particular had been enthralling. The longest, tenderest embrace I’d ever experienced in or out of dreams, with a newly beloved appearing as a stand-in for the entire encyclopedia of love. As if deposited into my arms by the loftiest ideal, she plunged us both down that well of affection where so many have gone to gladly drown.

A long, long embrace that had bridged the gap from dream-time to now. It’s a shaky ground, this memory received as if by telegraph from a dream, fading already, like the dilapidated shack that is the destiny of all homesteads. I kick off the sheets and stare at the ceiling. The qualities of dream-time are doing costume changes for the memories, slipping into something more comfortable, though less familiar.

However will I accept the peace, should it ever come? I’ve too many engagements. I’m too habituated to distraction. Everything seems to promise closure, but all movements ever do is incite motion.

Image by Bernhard Renner from Pixabay

The Theory of Poetectonics

the theory goes
there’s poetry in everything
perhaps no more palpable
than a fragrance

but undeniably present
it points to its own essence
which, profound in its mute pause
stands on its own, until

the wide earthen plains open
their gaping hungry canyons
and swallow down all the poets
stanza by shrieking stanza,
punctuating this sudden evacuation
with a steamy, satisfied belch


look, here’s the finger bone
of a poet, so this is where
it must have happened

(grim looks are exchanged among
the survivors as they notice
the piercing silence enveloping
the space around them)

the finger bone still
bears its ring, a posy
inscribed in wedding script
around the inside of the band:

“It is astonishing
what it is we think
can be done with words.”

wordling herds

the words you select
may like sugar confect
or like rain, bring an end to a drought

they may also inspire
indignation and ire
or weaken the knees of the stout

if a word feels right
as it slips past your bite
then that’s good enough, have no doubt

if your meaning got skewed
and it started a feud
you may just get boxed in the snout

but don’t second guess
at your word salad mess
if your audience won’t come about

at the end of the night
they will quibble and fight
so be even, there’s no need to shout