I Hope All is Well in Utah
I am thinking of you in Utah making Salt Lake shadow puppets in a Jesus sunset on a sand dune writing poetry, an architect with a blueprint. There you are, complaining about something. Red ants try to ruin your vision equivalent to designing the Vienna Court Opera House, the curtains have cast you nomadic for years. Are you industrial, are you in Pittsburgh? Are you pulling scorpions from your feet? Have you purged the shaking? Electric chairs still spit sparks. Do you preach to the Scientists? Do you carbonate religion in Ogden Salts? To sell them all for the bottle on the mountains, watching tiny people fly, watch the leap before the canvas cracks. Simple crowds move like depressive black bears into resorts. Is it psychedelic, do you hear tremoring bottle clanks – that sound like Edith Piaf’s voice trapped inside? La Vie En Rose through coyote howls. Silence of your heartbeats from distances, thousands of miles. I don’t hear, don’t feel any longer. Divisions of madness has left us in soiled clothes or beautifully, in a yell at some bash, in black heels and fedora hats. Now in Provo, at least you say, “But your mouth can be a liar.” Your kisses can be deceitful, your train stop receipts reflect it. You are trying to save us all while holding a noose. You dive time and time again through the clouds of glass and roses. This early morning letter resonates, and I feel a shave of breath leave my lungs, “Because I don’t know.” Are you a scream from a Joshua Tree? A kite flying high in the hands of an angel’s drop? I hope all is well in Utah, because here we are all costume parties searching for the autograph of the imperial circus.
They Met in Prussia
A harlot eyes in the gas
in tiny speckled jewels,
a calm scream woke the territory.
Monarchies aligned in pockets,
love was bait.
Two impish waif darlings
met in Prussia
as regimes began clashing
and rules began changing.
Their hands seemed to align perfectly
and they saw Warsaw spin its stomach.
Then the Nazis
ate holes through the pump
and towns became warzones
and their love was constant hiding
from dangers and the dare to be discreet.
They met in Prussia,
their hearts united in blizzards,
in sacrificial stabbings,
in choking chambers.
I want you to remember them as soulmates,
Not how they were when they met the scavengers.
The Hills Have Blindsides
A flock of hideous birds float through wind.
I feel these crows in shriveled fur,
their flight, an old man’s crippled slur.
They congregate together
cross-eyed and angry
to yell from the diaphragm,
Your rebellion is based on ignorance.
These were feathers from the same war
all brewed up steam together
before peace became a relevant idea.
In caskets, they lay
all purpled – in art
waiting for someone to dance and sing –
with the bells ringing from their heart.
After all the diseases sink in their talons
then gnashing and biting begins.
When the prettiest star waves you in
to meet God or the jealousies of all sins,
they roll up those hills to see clarity.
The problem is all the darkness
is not within your peripheral understanding.
The hills have blindsides,
when you’re looking for Jesus,
when you’re looking for Jesus
I Honored You in Pennyrile Forest
They had always thought of us like twins
though we were only schoolmates, best friends through the years.
We were seekers of adventure,
hospital visits were constant.
You drove your Honda bike in supersonic speeds down the Kentucky hills,
we dated the same type of girls,
smoked our first cigarette on a cloudy day on slabs of rock in Pennyrile Forest,
coughed and lightly choked up breakfast.
We laughed, and then graffitied a tractor,
long talks about all the assholes,
Your dad, the bullying step brother, the fiends that stay hidden.
We rest against the fading red barn,
as skies phlebotomized heavy rainfalls,
washed the stains of paint to our dirty clothes.
You tell me you wished you had the faith
like your Mother, or your stillborn sister.
You look into a sewer grade full of empty penicillin bottles, and cry on my shoulder.
Lightly punching my chest,
picking up branches, we swipe at blackberries and mushrooms.
Hey, John do you ever feel dead in your heart, do you feel religion?
Before I could answer, an ADHD distraction,
we take interest in the red cardinal family sipping worms by the puddles.
I say, You know I am ashamed, I’m a child really, but now they want me to be a man, they want me to be a soldier.
Tammy Applegate is pregnant, and the claim is I’m the father.
Your mistakes, when you think you love more than just skin, leads you to a
duplication of yourself.
I stutter myself to more tears,
You know I walk in to enlist in the Army for my dad and broken Country.
Maybe we will be honored kings and not poverty princes with angry children full of questions.
Bad decisions follow me like a fiend,
like fiends that followed you, John.
I am not guaranteed the beauties of Lake Barkley.
I am war crippled stem-to-stem,
a man of many divorces, a daughter that never knew my face.
I heard that you lingered for years through all of our drifting footprints.
Our stick mud people broke apart like sand crystals.
And I heard your family came and went,
diseases took your loves, the fire took your shelter.
All the bullies faded, except fiends that lived in your shadows and brain.
You must have been terrified on those lightning-lit nights, heavy rainfalls drown
you up to your waist.
Your hair now long, stringy, and all the red cardinal families sick of worms.
Pennyrile Forest was your only hint of escape
from another’s prayer echoed from barns to wells to skin off lost love.
Fine, I will welcome my sentence,
plagued to mistakes,
you didn’t have choices.
You inherited the appetite of derailment in the tracks of your lonely heart.
As I’m throwing pebbles, cutting loose bark with a lancet,
I hear you took your life in the forest to escape fear.
I run out to see clouding skies.
I run to those woods, through wild turkeys, ferns, the ballet of squirrels around
I see laying alone on the ground,
a wet naked note that fell from the hemorrhage of a final breakdown.
It said I loved you like a twin, that note blew away,
attaching itself to that now grayish barn.
On the ground lay a cross inside an aperture.
A wet leaf lays a freshwater pearl, in piles of disaster
dry sturdy green wood.
And I know what I must do.
I have never been much of a man.
My molars never seemed to line up.
Criminal, a deadbeat dad,
barely able to walk on foot,
I have never been much of a carpenter, never had to assemble much without
But, my friend, for you I create a Memorial Bench,
and hope that they don’t destroy,
to honor you in Pennyrile Forest,
A family of red cardinals.
Rest without stale hunger, for evermore.
A Walk in Whistler’s Woods
I can feel fog on my tongue
eyes watching me from distorted trees
the feet crippling in mud-sips
cutting glassy gravel.
I can breathe in phantom’s dances
while the unknown is whistling in the woods.
The chill bites my skin.
Feeling as thin as death allows
my prayers are endless, as the path
continues to squeeze me in
closer to the lake.
My reflections float
without my body, just flowing clothing
clogged in ripples.
Whistles like radar
lead me to paper cups of wine
sitting still for the wind.
A waterfall of poisons for me to drown in.
The whistler gorges in spirits
and leaves the woods bare, the bells of rapture toll.
In the mute silence
the art of earth, are crumbled sticks
Whistler’s freedom revoked.