To see yourself. To see another.
To reach out to touch when invited.
To be touched in return at your own invitation.
To strip another, then play.
To be stripped by another, then played with.
To strip mutually and play together.
To take on full nakedness and take on all else that way.
To wear the playclothes, to take on all the toys.
To be yourself. To be another. To be each other.
To play with another at being selves or others.
To arch and stretch and turn and moan together or alone.
To do nothing like anything already spoken of.
To find another way to see the Fire and chase it.
To come to the edge of the Fire and run with it as it gallops along.
To run alone or with others parallel to the edge of the Fire.
To leap across into the char behind the Fire’s edge.
To leap back again. To do the great back and forth across the Fire.
To be flame resistant. To be Fireproof. To be unscathed.
To be singed. To be the Fire. To be burned.
To find yourself or another in the burn.
To never cease burning. To live on Fire.
Tag Archives: meditations
To see yourself. To see another.
The secret to not feeling pain
is to swim in a world of hurt
so thick and profound
you cannot tell the difference between
agony and getting by.
I’m sorry if this
suggests that personal heartbreak
is my job to such a point
that I appear to have tattooed it
on my eyes, shading everything.
Believe me, I wish that were true
for it would suggest that I believed
in redemption, that I believed that
erasure was possible with
work that allows for art’s divine intervention.
I might believe that, if
the right god had ever appeared to offer
a hand. If the art had ever taken me closer
to that throne — bah. There’s no
one throne, no matter what the books say.
I’ve read them all, even written a few.
The secret to not feeling agony
is to make a place to put its overflow.
Art can do that. It can’t erase it completely,
but out there, somewhere: equilibrium.
In his head, loud
had always meant final
and had been the sound
of closing. It briefly surprised him
to find that his staggering in silence
after the loud was closer to the mark.
The bullets screwed through him
noiselessly on their trajectories.
The sweep of pain throughout his body
did not make a sound
all the rest.
Death did it all
with a long white finger to his lips.
Up and at it,
four in the morning.
I’m not an insomniac.
I just went to sleep early
and got up early, yet somehow
I am dismayed;
can’t imagine why
I’m being subjected
to such disturbances at
don’t get why birds dig singing
in “darkest before the dawn”
time, don’t get the junkie upstairs
rearranging furniture since 2 AM;
do not relish the too-loud scraping
of my bracelet against the shell
of my keyboard — the bracelet
I never take off as it speaks of
what you might need to know
if by chance you find me dying.
I suppose that’s also what I’m typing
at four in the morning: tales
of who I am and what you should know
in case you come upon me alive
or dying or even
one of those things is that
I am the kind of man who will get up
at four in the morning, get out of bed
and step away from sleep to ruminate
on the natural order: birds singing
before dawn; an addict unable
to consider others; a small noise,
metal on metal; a slight clatter
I’ve heard so often I only notice it
when I need to fold it into my art
and change it from random annoyance
to a metaphor for life and death
at four in the morning, late April,
spring beginning to spring just before dawn.
Shocked by the daily news
being revealed as a lie and then being
This country is a manipulation by nature.
Why did you ever think
anything that makes that work
would diminish, can diminish?
Expecting truth to come out
is a misunderstanding of what it is.
is liquid by nature.
It tries to drown the truth
every time it opens its trap.
The truth disappears
in the flood. It stands there
under the surface, immobile.
You think it’s dead because
of that? Truth never dies.
It just stands still, hidden
from view, disguised by this country’s
hard, dishonest work.
But it doesn’t die. It holds
its breath. It stands there
in the muck, remembering
the existence of tides.
If you’re going to go, just go,
sneer the seemingly-healthy. They tell you
that announcing your departure from anywhere
before you go is all about seeking attention
and drama. Just ghost the party, the friends,
the community. No need to announce the exit,
sneer the seemingly-healthy. The ones
who feel entitled
to owe no one else a damn thing.
I think of the ones I knew
who just left, ghosting from parties,
news feeds, friend lists;
I count the ones
who then slew themselves
before we knew they were gone.
I think of the ones
who made some gesture
before departure, something
dramatic, clumsy; some outcry;
I count the ones
who are still here
because someone responded.
Don’t hang up, I used to plead.
I’d hang on as long as I could hear them
still there, still breathing.
No one uses a phone that way anymore.
Now I send a begging text, an instant message,
a public post —
You still here?
Why don’t you respond?
You thought you were safe
from what you had asked for,
you fool, even as you pulled it
As the moonlight
fell across you in the garden,
naked from the waist up, carving
the runes into the slab of oak,
saying to yourself that safety
depended on your sure strokes and
not seeing at all that this is how
it was meant to be
it approached, concealing itself
within your certainty, your common
spirituality, your academic slant
upon such things.
You followed all the rules
and said everything right
as you worked
and so it came upon you, chuckling
in spite of itself, hearing from afar
the slight mistake you’d made:
thinking you were in control
of what you’d be summoning.
You look up.
There it is, not looking quite
as you’d expected but eager to begin
the ancient fool’s dance:
the side step, the menacing curtsey,
the too-close bow.
With no regret for how I have been refined
by the decline of who I long thought I was
into this realization of what I truly am.
With no regard for what others may think of me
in my next stage — whether they pity me or break free
of me, whether they care for or studiously avoid me.
With no clear choice as to how I must plod through
the remainder of this current stage as it becomes
a bog sucking at my steps, begging me to stop, rest, and rot.
With no revelation in the transformation as it unfurls me
into some flag for others to marvel at or fear, the borders
of my territory becoming clear though little within is obvious.
With no usable personal history to back me up as I puzzle through
to whatever is next, and no proven sense of what might be next
as those who might know and pass this way cannot speak my tongue.
With everything I have said being true,
I once again come to the window in the morning
and, as always, raise the blinds to see the sun.
affirms the norm.
In daylight every thick shadow
opens doors and offers
at night, even at a distance,
any pinprick glow
will do the same.
I grew up thinking
this was nonsense,
of course, encouraged
by all that is considered
normal to maintain purity
of existence, strict protocols
for what should happen when,
what should be where. I think
the first time I saw the moon
in the same sky as the sun and realized
that even in daylight its dark side
remained hidden yet was also present,
the pins that had held down
what is and is not normal
began to tumble within me
as if I was a cylinder into which
a key had entered, and full delight
was opened to me in that moment.
Chop wood, carry water, sing;
all about the same, I think.
Every word, blow, or step the same, I think.
Perhaps I should think less but carry wood
or chop water feel the same
to me, feel like my song.
The pen shall be at once axe or bucket;
the words written in cuts upon the logs
shall leak music.
As for splitting chunks
(looking at the grain and picking your spot)
or pouring the water out when you get there
(careful not to slop too much over), which of those
is not also worth a song?
Sing, then. Do not speak of singing.
Carry water, and sing; chop wood, and sing;
don’t stop to talk of these things.
It became clear
that arriving at a last good place
would never happen
under my own power,
so I surrendered
and decided to put myself
into an unaddressed envelope
to see where I might end up.
Once inside I sealed it behind me
and kept pushing
until I reached the far corner.
The light within was a paradox:
it got brighter the farther I went;
at the end it was more blue
than the sky I’d forsaken
to get here.
I could hear the mail carrier
approach heavy stepping,
singing; and I flattened myself
to fit, excited to see
where I’d end up;
then I remembered
that I’d never felt anyone do anything
to the outside — no address, not even
a return label, and no postage.
I’m still here and still
I remain elated as I am carried
out into the world, knowing
that when I arrive and burst through
it will likely be be dimmer there than
it is in here, but then again
it may not be, and until then it’s
perfect here in the far corner
of the envelope; even when
I close my eyes, I can feel the light.
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.
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.
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
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.