Tag Archives: meditations

Cryptozoologists

When cryptozoologists gather to speak
among themselves of their field of study,
are there cryptids they dismiss out of hand
as being pure fabrications or folklore?
Or do they accept every story ever told
as clear evidence of existence?

If there is one they all dismiss, I want to become
that one. The one that looks in a chosen one’s window
at night, trying to glimpse them through
their curtains. The one that sits in night-alleys
or ditches, waiting to soak their journey
with uncertainty. The one they will not speak of.

I want to be the one that makes them doubt their faith.
They will be silenced by the others if they dare to mention me
but the memory of my ratted fur shall be a rebuke to that dismissal.
Nightmares about my scaled eyes will haunt their shaming.
My chimeric being shall be their trial by fire —
and if there is not one, if all take all at face value,

let me become one so easily explainable
as a mundane creature imperfectly seen or heard
that I can walk through this world secretly snickering
at their inability to see me right in front of them.
Let me embody for them the need for humility
right before I explode into fabulous unreality before their eyes.


Closed For Repairs

Shortly after arriving in
my heady, early twenties,

a sign, “CLOSED FOR REPAIRS,”
was hung above my eyebrows. While waiting for

new parts to arrive I pulled individual hairs from my body
and arranged them on a bone china plate

for display, for memorial. I starved myself to preserve
that tableau for as long as I could.

Didn’t eat, didn’t sleep, pretty much gave up
all allegedly healthful things, figuring

the new parts would do
what all that would not do, and why not

enjoy myself in the meantime? I did not ask
the ones who hung the sign when I would be

fixed. Inside and under the sign
I was what I thought was comfortable,

and though I did now and then fantasize
a life after repair, I really didn’t mind this,

or so I thought until I realized how far away
the necessary parts for my repair must be;

to this day I stand out watching for the mail
as if today, today I could sweep the old hairs

from my plate and gorge myself from it;
as if today, today could at last be reopening day.


Eulogy (YDF)

you dumb fuck

you dumb cracked vessel
you dumb negation of evolution
you dumb as a final mingle in the boys’ room at your high school
you dumb thinking you’re gonna miss this
then treating every interaction for the rest of your life
the same dumb way

you dumb fuck

you toxic little germ

you spitting toxin like some bad banger
you fawning over everyone like they too spit toxins
you thinking you are all in the same toxic club
you dance like one toxin settled in your feet
another one settled in your born-toxic throat
and you sing like you spit
the same toxic way you always have

you toxic little germ

you claimant to the stab throne

you claim a heritage you didn’t inhabit
you claim something beyond that
you stake a claim and it takes up the air in the clean room
you claim you know the way to the sharpest edge
and then the time comes
and you come up blunted
you wannabe quitclaim

you claimant to the stab throne

you beyond the point of shame jester

you shame of a blistered little boy grown not up but down
you got to preach redemption to smother your shame
you take a shame enema to flush it all out
you had a shame cloak and wore it the fuck out too soon
and when the time comes you dumb fuck
when the time comes you toxic little germ
when your time comes to claim you for its own
don’t try to say
you are more ashamed than proud
at how everyone’s going to wipe their mouths
free from the taste of your name


Everglades

Standing on land
then stepping forward,

one toe touching the water
as I adjusted the focus and frame.

In the reeds seven feet
or more away, the subject alligator

turned lazily toward me
and opened its mouth. I took

many steps backward toward
the elevated tourist walkway,

startling so many spoonbills
from their perches as I ran,

my pretense at art taking
a backseat to survival until now.


Heavy

Smell of blood
thick-mixed with soil

in the air here above where
an animal fell,

where there is a depression
formed as it thrashed its last

at the root of the oak. Tiny bites of fur
from its coat cling to the bark.

The body itself is gone,
taken by its hunter or perhaps another

who needed it. I am not skilled enough
to tell by blood or hair what was here,

but it was big. It must have lived
at least a full lifetime to be that heavy;

heavy living that led to heavy lifting.
What remains floats in the air, lighter

than its death would suggest but still
thick-laden with mysterious red flavor,

and I cannot help it. I cannot help but suck that in.
I cannot help how heavy I’ve become.





Afterthoughts

Do not question why it happened.
Do not answer with your theories
if another questions you. If another
approaches at all, in fact, get up
and get out. This is no time for that.

Ashes in sky, ashes on tongue.
No imminent growth foreseen.
No reason to panic. Lie down
for a bit. Let what is leftover from burning
shroud you in dissolving gray and white.

Get up and carry your living out to a beach or a jetty,
out where waves threaten to knock you back
from that littoral space. Ocean remembers
you, knows you, and will push you back
if you are not yet ready to be drowned.

Days or weeks from now, you will still be
brushing ash from your shoulders as you trudge inland.
In hills ahead is a road that will pass through
or around your now-poisoned former home —
and regardless of route, you must go there.



Here’s The Problem

I could win a title one day.
I’m sure of it. An honor bestowed
by others, a word that would force others
to bow. I haven’t done it yet
but it’s a given that the talent
is there, the will to win is there —
all that’s missing
is the hard work and the ceremony.
That’s the story of this life.

I feel that I dripped with gold medals
in another life — I must have,
I long for the weight so much it’s like
I’ve missed it since birth. It’s like
I was born to miss it minute by minute
until the longing for a return
to the deserved exaltation
ate me hollow and now all I have is anger
and emptiness over how I am owed so, so much.

I’m owed a title, an honorific, a power
I do not feel I have
and if I am not granted my due,
I will take it in due time, I swear.



A Turning

A wheel, or a tide. A turning.
First daffodils alongside
a cracked walkway, soon to be gone;
the hostas breaking through, ready
for the start of their duration.

New blisters on a tender winter hand.
Raising and stowing the tarp
that laid over the containers
soon to be full of this year’s
hope. The first slow wasp.

Who in my life full of old people
will make it to summer? Nothing
emerging from the soil today
can offer that answer. A wheel, a tide;
a turning. All I can do now

is turn with it
and tend
to whatever comes.



Rings Long Gone

Plastic, spiderform, childhood prize
from a vending machine. Tossed aside, vanished.

Mood indicator in white metal
recalled from adolescence.

So many in silver, incised, cast,
bought at powwows: where are they?

Two in torn soft gold,
each bearing a different grandfather’s initial,

stolen along with antique Dine’,
turquoise gone green with age; heirloom heartbreaks.

Single band
Moebius strip in hardened 14 karat rose

rendered venomous by living,
sold for weight upon release into non-desperation:

what my fingers would be now, what I would be now
without these ghost adornments, I cannot imagine.


There Are No Wolves Inside You, Sport

“I should be content
to look at a mountain
for what it is
and not as a comment on my life.” — David Ignatow

In some parallel existence
perhaps you were a wolf
but not a wolf
made by humans.

Inside you
there was just one wolf, and
it was always edging toward hunger.
It was the one you fed. It
was you. Inside that one? Not ours
to say.

That wolf was you
but you were not, you were full
wolf and sufficient without
interpretation.

Or perhaps
you were a hawk in another existence,
or a mountain; not human, you dealt
with life on the terms of hawk or
mountain, conscious in ways
not-human, stubbornly unaware of
metaphor.

The curse of being human
is that we claim we are filled
with starving wolves and aspirational
mountains pushing ever upward,
hawks with keen vision seeking
clarity.

We make everything fit into us,
insist everything else is
one of us and now, now?
See where we are —

knowing nothing of the world, staring at
posters hanging outside the cubicle,
working so hard, wishing we were
those fake wolves,
trying not to scream.



No Oyster

I am direct when, as I rise to the daylight’s challenge,
I say: appreciate the oyster for its difficult shell.
I am wearing no such metaphor on my own armor.
It is hard for me not to love the oyster

for such impenetrability. I burst into fragments inside
from quick, combustible self-disgust whenever
I use the word “I.” Who is here? Get out, musher, mingler.
Don’t remember letting this one have the reins.

Do not like to speak of this, so don’t push.
No oyster here, full of salt and sloppy gut.
Don’t care that you think this could be easily consumed,
a luxury for the luxurious. The rings of this shell,

ragged, a terrace whose contours could be read
well enough from outside, ought to tell you: get back.
Get out of my head, you miserable self. Get back from
the perimeter, readers, interpreters. Not here for it,

not your delicacy. You get what you are shown
and are entitled to little more than, perhaps,
a vain attempt to handle what looks like little more
than a rock. Put it down. Back away. Don’t assume

it will open in due time, in your time. Long time
you will wait for that, driver, handler. What is offered
is all. What is held back? Guess again and again.
No oyster here. It could be empty. It could.


Apollo, Remember?

Every day there’s a morning
I wonder how long it will be
before we damage the sun so much
it will refuse to show up, but it seems
we aren’t venomous enough
for that just yet.

Did the earth pretty well in,
tossed some junk on moon and Mars,
left a few things adrift to crash
where they may, if ever. Maybe the sun
takes no position on all that; maybe it’s
too big to be bullied, but somehow

I suspect we’ll try. It’s in our nature.
Someone’s going to try it. They
will wake up one day, point at the sky,
say, “Next. I got next,” and ball up
their fists and go to war against the sun.
The sun will flick us off like lint.

We won’t know when to wake up
on those first days. We’ll sleep through it
until it gets cold and we starve. The sun
won’t show up again till then and it will say,
“Apollo, remember? Huitzilopochtli, Ra,
Mithras, Inti — you forgot, and you found out.”


Actors Unprepared

Imagine them told not to play
the only roles they understand.
Imagine them not having a script.

Nakedly standing there
without uniform or costume; understand
that they’ve been told to improvise,
that the play they’ve always played
is being shuttered.

They are just going to stand there
or grab a chair and sit down,
bury their heads in their hands or
pretend there is sand
and put their heads there.

More than a few
will grab props and lash out
with knives, guns, clubs: whatever
they can remember has worked
in the past to advance the action.

Poor things. Can’t say
that I blame them entirely,
or do not understand. Not every actor
develops a pure agency after having lived
as another’s dirty agent for a lifetime.

It doesn’t mean
we don’t still need them
to be swept from the stage
as soon as possible so we can
bring that curtain down
now. Not in due time,
not in a generation.
Now. Not eventually. Now.


1842, 2148

I tell you I long
to vanish into a year
where I am not myself —
1842, 2148, I do not care —
any year at all that holds out
a certainty of erasure, one in which
the person I am now
couldn’t possibly exist.

You ask how I cannot believe
in myself, in how I could be
a reincarnation of a past being
right now, and that if so
I was likely myself as I am now
back then; you don’t understand

how I cannot hope
that next week someone
will make a breakthrough
on immortality and I will indeed
remain myself far into the future.

You ask how I could deny myself
such possibilities. I lower my eyes.

I cannot look directly
into the face of someone
who dares to see me
as worthy of either.


By The Side Of The Rotten Trunk

A reconciliation between
inner and outer storms comes
during a walk in early spring,

first warm day in a winter while,
pushing too warm for
these clothes; princess pine

beginning to push past
the winter leaves toward
long missed late day sun.

Stopped on the path by the sight
of a wide spray of fallen oak leaves splayed
upon the softly crumbled trunk

of a tree — not their source, one that itself fell years
before, its surface riddled now with ant-roads,
its flesh chewed and weathered nearly into sand.

The light upon the leaves bleaches them
to a pale brown. No doubt brittle to the touch
from death, but from here they look like

a snap shot of banners or kerchiefs
flying in a brisk wind — image from
a pageant, renaissance fantasy; then

I shake myself free, let nature be free
of my interpretation — layers here of past
becoming slowly, unstoppably new;

one more step and into view comes
more princess pine, green rising
by the side of and fed by the rotten trunk.