Archive for July, 2009

Ghost Town

July 25, 2009

I sit here watching you chase ghosts
down the rickety hallway,
half a cup of beer chasing half a cup of rum
as a twenty dollar bill races a phantom high
down three powdery white lines.
You talk to everyone,
but no one has much to say
and the conversation died
before the third round of shots.
But you don’t stop to see
what’s sitting past the end of your nose.
You’re still running the rat race,
chasing shadows in this ghost town.

Goodnight, Pittsburgh,
it’s time to go home
as the moon is shining in the sky.
We race to be the coolest prick,
the dopest trick,
the deckest shit,
the hippest lie,
and chase the perfect orgasm that never comes
and chase the final, filling high
and chase the deadbeat, wasting ghosts
until we lose the rope
and die.


Solitary Loons and Waiting Rooms

July 25, 2009

Some lives are lived in the solitude of darkness. Some lives are lived in the dazzling brilliance of glitter. And some lives are lived in the waiting room with a cup of coffee warming shivering hands; they’re lived on a beaten threadbare couch because standing hurts aching feet and because the line in front of the window just keeps getting longer and longer. Searching eyes look through the pane of glass at the buses that keep leaving behind their tracks on gravel and idle fingers unravel the loose thread on a scarf, twirling and untwirling, wondering what the road beyond the parking lot had looked like before the wait began, and what it would ever look like if the wait ever ended. But the night falls and the crickets begin their mirthless chirping and in the murky blackness of flourescent lighting, the eye becomes myopic, focused on the unwanted entanglements that made the waiting room a reality. And slowly the dust begins to settle in, the bones become weary and before long, the threadbare couch has a heavy skeleton dangling off the ends. And to think the wait would have been over if only the line had been tolerated for five more minutes….

Red Brick Walls

July 25, 2009

I think I dropped something a while ago. I don’t know how it could have fallen out of my hands – I’d held on to it so tightly. I don’t understand. I think I had taken my hand out of my pocket to touch the wall. I just love red bricks, don’t you? I just love red bricks. I just love the way the grain crumbles on to my fingers and how I can walk away with a little bit of the wall with me when I leave. I like to leave walls a little less than the way I had found them. See, I never know when a wall is a shelter or a barrier. I never really know. I don’t like walls very much. They stand between people, don’t they? Don’t they? Don’t they put distances between people seem much wider than they really are? I think they make people rude, the way they stand next to the walls, hugging them with their ears glued on to them, listening in on moments in every one else’s lives. How hard would it be to knock on a door? To press your face against a window? You know, just for fun? Just to make someone laugh? Just to make someone laugh. I like laughing. Laughing is fun. It’s joyous. It implies carelessness, to some extent anyway. You know how you can bubble over with joy when you’re walking barefoot in the sand? You know, with a glass of wine in one hand, and your fingers intertwined with the other.

I don’t like walls much. They separate hands that should touch. But I like to take walls with me. They’re good against the wind, you know? Especially the cold wind that leaves you feeling so numb that you forget you’re actually hurting. So I just close my eyes against the cold wind. And then everything disappears. You know, when I close my eyes, I feel needles pressing against my skin, but that’s not all they do. The needles go through my skin, I think. They pierce me and then dangle off the other side to keep reminding me how much they should hurt me at every moment that I feel them. Wait, don’t drop my hands just yet. They feel so empty since I lost what I was holding. I can’t see them anymore. Of course I can’t. My eyes are closed. But I have to close my eyes, you know. Just to shield them against the bright light that comes streaming through this window right here.

It’s very strange that such a small window with so many bars can let so much light in. But I suppose it’s so bright because these walls are so white. There’s nothing on my walls here. When I was at home, I would have a painting hanging off every wall so they could never look just the same to me. Walls can have lives too, you know. They come to life when they have colors splattered on them. That’s why I don’t like these walls here. They’re too white, if you know what I mean. Too virginal. Too tall. They’re just….oh, I don’t know….here. They’re just always here, staring at me, with me staring back at them. Can you look under my bed to see if there’s anything there? Just, just a peek. Oh, I’m sorry. I just get so annoyed when I lose something, and now there’s this hair in my eye, and I can’t push it back, and now my hand is hurting, but I suppose yours was too, with the way you kept holding mine.

That’s why I don’t like these walls here. I don’t like these walls. These walls. They change people. I don’t think I am who I used to be. I’m not anymore, you know. No. How would you know. White walls and a steel door. And I know…I know there’s color in the world outside. It’s all behind that steel door, isn’t it? I know. I’ve seen it. I touched the red brick wall remember. That’s when I dropped something out of my hands. It rolled off to the ground and it was so light, I didn’t even feel it slip out of my hands, but I was holding on so tightly. I’m so tired now. I think I’m just going to keep my eyes close and let my head roll to the side. They tell me I sleep better that way. Maybe I can go find the life that I lost out of my hands in my dreams. I know I lost it. It slipped away so quietly, I don’t think it even wanted me. I’m going to sleep now. Are you going to leave me too?

Train Whistles

July 25, 2009

Some people wake up to the sounds of cars and trucks speeding by behind the concrete barriers lining the highways. Some pull back crisp linen sheets and stretch leisurely to the singing of birds outside their window sills. I’ve even been told stories of people in villages waking before the first cock crow.

And some others, like myself, can never get the sound of train whistles out of their minds. I wonder at the sorts of memories the first stimulus of the day can trigger in peoples minds. The first sound of the morning, the first taste of coffee at 6 a.m., the first rustling of leaves in the fall, the first smell of winter at dawn. The first ray of sunshine nudges my eyes open, yet my wind doesn’t wake up until I walk into Hartford and hear the first train whistle of the day.

In my mind, I see sleeping fields and mounds of hills, rising from their slumber at the first train whistle announcing its arrival into the day, shaking birds out of their nests, terrorizing little gophers out of their holes, forcing a sleepy train attendant out of his warm seat inside a glass cabin to alert all travelers not to miss possibly their only commute. I see a little train station perched on top of a brick pavement, so inconspicuous, you would never know it was there if you couldn’t see the train huffing and puffing its way in.

I hear train whistles cutting across rows of cement and glass, and then, without any warning, I’m five and running along with train, trying to outdo it’s speed, unmindful of my mother waiting at home, her heart leaping into her mouth at the thought of me kicking pebbles across train tracks. But how could I ever explain to her that the kid with the farthest shot got to pick his own sugarcane out of the fields across the tracks? Or the right aim with the slingshot could get me my own mango that I could lord over the dinner table?

How can I tell my mother now that the sounds of train whistles at 7 in the morning bring me back to city roads that smell like tar and hurt my feet when I try to run on them? Or that pebbles now get lodged in the heels of my shoes, and sometimes, they hit across my eyes. How do I tell her that I want train whistles to be just train whistles.

You and I

July 25, 2009

Do you remember how

the rain would fall

in braids and ribbons,

like a lattice, beckoning romance?


We would have played,

you and I,

our faces wet, our faces smiling,

us, letting the drops of rain

fall between our fingers;


The water would have fallen into puddles,

calling me to jump in and walk back

to the playground with you,

to be like little children, just being,

and splashing water on each other with our feet


we would let the raindrops beat music on our backs,

let them awaken the earth,

and in the fragrant midst of lilacs


we would have danced


you and i

My Sorceress

July 25, 2009

and sitting by the edge of the cliff
where the waves lapped against the shore
she turned to the rising sun bathing the sky
in glows of pink, breathing in the world with the ocean;
and then she leaned over and whispered
“let’s make music together”

Cabin Fever

July 25, 2009

I spend my days
smoothing out wrinkles
from the creases in my sofa
or tightening the corners of my bed sheets
when all I really want
is a wooden desk with drawers
that can hold my life in them.

Fighting with Ghosts

July 25, 2009

Why do memories linger
like shadows, or a fog, rather?
Thick and opaque
and soft to the touch
but quickly becoming
wisps of air when I try
to hold them?

They’re almost invisible, you know.

Almost without texture,
but still somehow abrasive.
And always dense. Always
around. Never lifting or fading to let the light in.

They linger like you do,
in the creases of my couch,
or in the folds of my sheets.

You linger still in the warmth
of the dying fire
and in my cold fingers
wrapped around a cup of coffee.

Why, tell me, do you linger?

When you know I cannot live
on memories alone.


July 25, 2009

I have spent my life
spinning on my heels

from door to doorway,
from life to life

from desert to ocean,
from heart to mind;

And dancing on the tree tops with the breeze
I know if I spin fast enough
The dust will not settle on me.


July 25, 2009

Of all the things that could have changed
on the day that you woke up
and stumbled out into the fog,

when you felt your way through the mist
and found the grit of the world against your fingers

you fell against the walls, blinded,
and found no passage through the changing surface,

when you thought you had found
a glimmer of light
to bring back with you from the mist,

you turned around into the fog
and brought the darkness home.