thirty summer

carving words out of willows

Warming up

Warming up
to a new light, bright and with
the sound of twilight,
winds tear through Texas.
The room is dim and I
try to make things come alive for a
new culture that I don’t quite fit in with
again.

I’ve never been that one
to cite and recite and let the emotion
roll off of my tongue
like smoke from a cigarette
or whispers from a lover
or love from November

when autumn makes these winds
that tear through Texas
seem like breezes.

when I know it’s safe to dream again
with all the fear of summer gone
and I know the check is in the mail.

But I’ll still keep at it
as all the little rebels
come barreling in
with harsh words and silly fantasies
of ruling the world
with noises and rough edges.

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Jazz in May #1

He smashes the keys on the piano
and the bass thumps low.
Play that harsh sound

and

I’ve been doing this longer
than I can remember
or
would like to admit.

The listening
getting drunk on noise
and letting my fingers work
my own malevolence.

Build me a story Jazz man.

As the swell comes
and crescendos
I am reminded that this is only a day.

Nothing more

nothing less

But he keeps smashing
and crashing those sounds
and I dance to myself by
the intrigue of words

Nothing more

nothing less

then an afternoon with Jazz
and soliloquies.

I came like thunder

I came to this town
with the clothes on my back,
an old suitcase
and a partially used bus ticket.

That was three years ago.

I came to this town
a washed up poet;
no more words to stamp on paper.
But who cares?
No one ever cared about the sufferers of now,
only the greats:
Poe, Ginsberg, Whitman, Cummings.
There is nothing left in the words.

I came to this town
in the bottom of a bottle
with young crow’s feet at the corners of my eyes.
I smoked so many cigarettes
and took so many pills,
I was hungover.

I came with broken teeth
and rusty screams
and a shallow heart
and a swallowed pride.

That was three years ago.

My heart was agnostic
and my dreams were someone  else’s.

Someone else’s,
someone greater than the shell I had become.

I came to this town with no direction at all.
but
I came like thunder.

I’m trying, sweet baby, I’m trying.

I’m further away from suicide these days
but it still hurts.

I came to this town
with the clothes on my back,
an old suitcase,
and a partially used bus ticket –
and an empire was left in my wake.

I witness the sun rise

I see them on the streets
and in the coffee shops,
the hallways and corners and stages,
with their blood-red painted-on smiles,
and generous displays of lustful depravity.
I watch them wriggle their way past crowds
and through life
in fur-lined boots, sequin-corroded jeans
and low-cut styles
and I sometimes see their painted-on smiles
scorched by mascara-blackened tears
as they struggle through one more
world-ending breakup
as if destruction has never born beauty
and the abrasiveness of their last six months
of bickering, cheating, and self-loathing
was meant for a lifetime,
and I’m glad she’s not them.

I watch as the carpenter of marriage
bangs away at bent nails
and warped boards, trying to fit the pieces of wood
together
for the foundation of a union
made of corruption and greed,
financial despair and warring.
A foundation unsuitable for the unity of any created thing.
I watch as they walk through grocery stores,
children pulling them to their graves,
America fattening them up all the way to their middle years.
Never a smile or a grin,
never a slap on the ass or a cuddling in the bread isle.
Dead stares for dead stars, they struggle though the
ashes of where they were and let the nothingness
left inside them guide them to where they are going,
I watch as blackened souls taint
their memories of what is was to hope
and I’m glad we aren’t them.

I witness the sun rise,
over the cold, Texas morning
with all the little things needed
to paint a canvas of my future.
I take a new breath
as I ready my soul for another year
away from the demons,
away from the tears
and away from the catalysts
that kept me from knowing what
happiness truly was meant to be like.
I walk out to my tomorrow, full of promises,
with coffee staining my voice
and the dawn staining my eyes
and for the first time in years,
I can honestly say,
I’m glad I am me.