The strokes are dreamt permanent,
the only lasting demarcations of claiming existence,
and the collective artists who painted them majored in Biology,
or Accounting, or English and Professional Writing, or dropped out
as so many do when they wake up.
The poet paints them into existence with his words:
“ideas are illusions, and all words are untrue.”
And we nod our heads and sip our coffees, indeed,
put a price to labors and words and even to thoughts
because we no longer want freedom if it costs us the freedom
of saving face and keeping pace with the ebb and flow
of market equilibriums and unemployment tides.
We are a limited people,
staring at barren white walls white walls white walls;
Feeling nothing but existence, and remember nothing
except that I once considered my heart whole and unfettered,
that even these austere facades will recede into anonymity.
I never once claimed to exist.
To use language is to limit one’s self to modes of perception
already inherent to that language.
So I never speak unless spoken to, and then
only to agree.
The Voice of a City
The lights, they trip and fall around me
with all the grace and majesty of heart flutters, polyrhythmic
strokes outlining skyscrapers and the common man
even as I walk.
And all I can do is stare as we
picnic in the streets and rest our heads in ‘fragile’ homes
-this side up-
It’s cold outside.
Seven people huddling together for rent,
imagining we are seeing something beautiful,
rather than breathtaking,
through these sterile, fingerprint littered glass lenses
(fogging with every meticulously counted exhale).
I stood alone.
Smothered in a crowded tunnel, I stood like a starved wolf
waiting on time as the afternoon awaits the guiding neon lights
that lead us to intoxicated runways we never take off from;
Finding beauty in the nuance of language
and hearing ruin upon a graffitied tongue:
The smoky rasp of wrappers crinkling and bottles shattering
upon blacktops and at bus stops, spilling out into the tracks,
breaking needles just before the train pulls into the station
an emergency stop too late;
The voice of a city,
defaced with disjointed identities and obscenities,
daydreaming of night, a moments respite from high-heeled conversation,
weight loss pill cleared throats before and after the clang of fork on glass,
shotgun subtlety trigger in hand, in mouth, card distribution: pre business
casual suffocation – Windsor knot decorating a ceiling fan
like a present on Christmas when you asked for coal.
I can sell you lies
so good, you’ll sell yourself.
Yes, I am daydreaming of night.
When greens and yellows and reds glow with a life of their own upon glass
speckled in a clinging mist that leaves everything to the imagination;
We populate foreboding alleyways with our minds
- shadows and secrets and sex -
strip malls down with visibly shaking hands,
bare their steel bones to an unhealthy relationship.
The voice of a city,
identities and obscenities nightdreaming of bleach
in languages foreign only to each other.
I stand surrounded, suffocated, exhausted,
kerchief to mouth resuscitation, legless and numb, knowing only
that I truly know nothing.
It is in this moment I come to the realization
I’ve never felt more alone.
Activities to enjoy while waiting for the apocalypse.
The Only Shrine - Sunbathers
Standing in an abandoned parking lot -
sunbathers beneath lamp posts at midnight, cardboard towels
and shopping cart designer handbags -
heated arguments with car alarms,
doors always set to lock when slammed,
reach out to catch the fringes of my soul
stuck between two pieces of cold steel.
You can only stitch something back on so many times
before you start to lose feeling.
No Glory On This Side of the Hole
So you drown, drown, drown under the sea of debts unpaid
and wages lost in wardrobe wrecks and oral sex
and bounced checks annexing the futures
of that delinquent lying face down at the bottom of a rust-stained pool.
You do this and I’ll be lost, sometimes,
because if you don’t get lost every once in a while
you’ll never give yourself the opportunity to be found;
you’ll miss your chance to be inspiration for a dying art.
I am dying art.
I lay on a drying rack, my arms hanging off the sides,
blinking away that damned sun that always rises before me
exclaiming from the pulpits and the newspaper crier's throat
that another day is coming,
but never that another day is forever gone.