thirty summer

carving words out of willows

The ants crawl

The ants crawl.
They crawl my toes
my feet
my legs
my soul.

They know
the only things
I know.

They crawl across my heart
and leave pitted caves
full of dust and char.

They sail across the sea
that is me and
return to me
an empty bottle.

They turn the crank
that once housed my melody
and only creeks of solitude
bellow out
from a speaker that
once knew harmonies.

The ants,
they dance my fingers
like a widow’s memory
of her wedding day,
like the way she moved
in her white dress.

The ants dance across
what is left of me
and lock me out
of what I could have been.

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So long ago

A chilled wind rolls through my veins
from beyond the mountains
and the sun sings low — so low.
I reflect on melancholy things;
things that I should have buried
so long, so long ago,
but I am the wind, rolling through.

Why did she have to leave a message?

Meetings at sundown
with an old friend
and I mourn over thoughts
of yesterdays gone by.

Why did she have to
leave a message?

Slowly,
the past creeps up like bile.

I write words like
the devil writes promises.
I write tomes
like the roach writes
screams from
scared little girls.

Why did she have to
leave a message?

The walk through the mountains
didn’t clear it up

and

I’m too weak or strong now
to drink it all away.

It would be there again in the morning.

I can’t cut it out
as I am now part of this
living machine
of networked roadways
and I am the roadsigns,
I am the overpass
the underground tunnels,
the hitch-hiker,
the street corner evangelist.

And when I wake up in the morning
I will still be all those things.

Why did she have to
leave a message

when

an obituary would
have been
better suited?

I push my glasses back
up my old nose,
take a deep pine tree and charred
deer shit breath,
listen to voices inside
playing slap bass
and think to myself —
I am a better person now
my breaths no longer
rattle with
the whimper of a defeated soul
my hands
are grey with wondering over keys
and the deer scurry
and the deer scurry.