There is work yet to be done

You awoke with a cloud of worry on your mind, you are so young,
(you should not worry so while you are still young)
there is still a coming sunlight past the dark skies in your
mind, past the shadows of the outside and the unlit inside’s darkness,
you, my dearest one. Do not let the passing darkness blind you to the sun.
(you have wrapped yourself in darkness, my beloved, hopeless one)
Please, don’t you fear this passing darkness while you are still young.
Feel it in your hollow chest, beneath your clouded lungs, beside your
splintered, racing heart is a promise, I assure you, I guarantee you,
there is nothing else but you and possibility, and everything is yours,
(oh, what’s certain is the world is yours, my lost and lonesome one)
and as once you were still, so once again you will always be, but not now,
and as now you yet live, so too let the light find its way in, don’t
you ever fall asleep in passing darkness, there is work yet to be done,
(what you must remember is there is work yet to be done.)
and we’ll meet in that sometime someday, when this work is done,
between today and that when day far away, thus it is that we are bound to die.
Thus it is that we are bound to die.

Exothermic

Like a candle lit on both ends

Everything you do colors me you and what’s you is me,
and what’s me is transparency only filled in by what is you,
every day is a sameness-stillness, feel the slow dead flow
of timeless ageless formless space wrap its arms around you, hands on your
shoulders, eight years dancing, eight more driving home, home, home.
Certain chain reactions brought about the day’s stillness in your glacial eyes
in your last breath living saw hopeful springs reflected forth in mine,
light carried forth in photons reflected crosswise-timewise across one plane
then onto two, how do you position yourself in space, I wonder? How do you
reorient yourself in time, I know, it’s fairly simple, but you lived on past
every day, everywhere I know, you were only energy as I am only energy,
and what colors me colors you and what once was you is me, and I am
some complex arrangement of carbon much the same as you or him or her,
not so very different fundamentally, I know, but lit alive with certain somethings,
connected in the sameness, held together in the stillness, loudly we are you and me,
not me and I alone, love, love, loving this is observation thus this is certainty,
every day a same stillness, every day a color you and her and him and me.

everything burns twice as fast

 

All the other pretty girls are better than you.

Red, white, and marigold shadow-cast blue, viola and coneflower violet, all the reflected hues and three kinds of flowers are the simplest way to describe the color of you as I see it, and I am an artist so I think I should call it most accurate but I can gather the spectrum of colors and analyze you, not validation but answers. This is no place for logic but logic called it home, instinct called it everything sharp, and I do say you would trade me a sip of kerosene for my last drink of water, and a lighter for my last spot of shade.

Or at least they are not as crazy as you.

Red, red-white, white, and oxford weave blue-white, progress’ glow in the acetylene torch
in my heavy hand as I spot-weld the steel, sparks reflecting off tinted safety-glass, fill in the gaps,
heavy Kevlar gloves, polycarbonate patriot patching what was made wrong in iron, now right
in that blinding, fused colored light, I watched you become the sculptor and I the witness to your pride,
and doesn’t it feel honest and doesn’t it feel innocent, to you? Don’t you feel innocent in your honesty,
wasn’t it a lie for some time, the greatest secret from you, that my outside color did not reflect the inside hue, that how you saw the surface wasn’t actually you but instead broken and crackled, so minutely fragile, so carefully etched with acid just waiting to shatter, and you told me, you told me it was true. Oh thank you, I know, thank you so dearly, thank you so dearly but there is always someone else better than you or us and he or she, much gentler than we and much more patriotic than me.


the past burns alive to illuminate itself a golden age

And don’t it say that you say that it says that I said you were somebody’s first place prize,
what is your life but a beat and a rhythm along a long every last second, at last
a thump, thump, clattering clamor commotion, and there you go, you see? Ain’t there a reason,
ain’t that a good reason to stay? You told me, ha-ha laughing, tap-tap tapping,
shouting for someone to see, always shouting for someone to see, ain’t she pretty?
Aren’t you pleased, aren’t you pleased with yourself?  Well that’s how it’s gonna be.

she was a first class beauty but mostly to me

You know how if you got a kitten and it wants you to come see, it mopes around meowing?
*mrow* said the kitty, won’t you come and play with me, won’t you come, won’t you please?
Why you gotta be so complicated, my buddy, just throw a guitar string at me, I’ll bat it and
prance and just dance so carefree. Well, aren’t you something kitty, aren’t you something else?
Where are your worries? Aren’t you so pretty and perfect and fluffy and mean, yeah, aren’t
you so mean, dearest kitty, why are you so mean? You bite me and claw me and eat me alive,
and I’m pretty darn sure you’d shatter my heart if you were a human, but *mrow* says the kitty,
won’t you just come and play with me please?

 I probably wouldn’t forgive you if I was still me

There wasn’t much of anything you regretted? you asked me one day, you know how I worry
about that everything and anything. I know, I said, and I’d make it easier but a part of
not regretting is knowing, not knowing what to say and what to do at most given moments,
but I’m lonesome my buddy, I am lonesome, and in my dreams I’m on fire and I am burning alive,
I am burning, I’m burning, but I don’t really dream anymore, to be honest, I don’t dream anymore.
What do you think is the future? you asked me. What about the future? I said, I’m hopeful, I guess.
I don’t think there is one, you said, just darkness, no good things are coming, I feel.
Well I’ve had enough of that darkness, I said, I know what happened to the future,
I’ll tell you exactly what happens and how it goes: I’ll take the future and light it on fire,
what is our future I’m wondering, now that it’s drenched in cold, unleaded gasoline?
For you I’ll burn away all that darkness, I’ll drop a match in a world soaked with gasoline.

Same scar on your second skin

Sometimes singing, sometimes laughing,
once more falling, never ringing, dancing as you’re walking,
spilling from the hallways onto the city streets and lamplight’s glow.
This roar of human spirit brightens up the night, brighter by far
than the dead day alive, let our united celebration break apart the sky,
and down here there’s no more waiting, I hail to you on high,
onward wayward soldier, salute this bitter onslaught you’ve been through
much more, more, more! I shout, screaming, you’ve been through
much, much more, more! I say saluting, you’ve been through
much, much, much more, until there’s briefly silence with no answer
‘til the sound of laughter breaks apart the sky, in the distance I hear
singing rising in the golden mountains, voices welling, cracking, cresting,
you see this human spirit dancing, crying, marching in the distance,
sometimes leaving and returning, sometimes it’s not so long to stay,
sometimes singing, sometimes laughing, always loving
sometimes laughing, sometimes singing.

Stetson Black


Remember the four seasons moving swiftly, year past each year.
I’d count them starting with summer riots, my fortunate friend,
count the explosions one-by-one, I caught the sight of fire in your eyes,
to think, on a whim we agreed to share it, watched the crescent in the sky,
waning on this day before we knew it,  hey, the twins are dancing
softly in the lunar sky and on the earth below it, this is the time for living,
you know, pour me another drink, this is what I call living, sometimes
climbing, sometimes tightrope walking against the broad day sky.
Ever proud we ventured, live and breathe that victory, my friend.

Summer riots gave way to the golden days of autumn,
that was the season for conquest, the world is mine, the world is yours,
you said yes sir, we’ll conquer it together, so we did. So we did.
Every hour spent masquerading as something different, what am I?
I am laughing, I am remembering everything you told me,
this is our territory, I said, mark it in the name of pride, let
no other hold dominion, here we are the victors, raise your hand
and shout to all who see us that we came and conquered.

I heard that scent is the strongest link to memory, and that is winter:
a long series of associations, so many people I don’t recall directly,
but I remember them for what they were, as objects in a greater
puzzle, and you were there along, you were always there in time.
Do you remember the tapping racket of my boots against the mason floor,
laughing like a jailer walking, remember this for future reference,
I do recall the feel and scent of new leather, how strange it should
define a season, yet scent is memory and memory is a part of you and me.

Come round to spring, and what is there but scent and memory?
Every time I hold this bottle, the seasons come flooding back to mind,
after all, you are a crucifixion, I am a disciple, sometimes fragile, not the purest,
sometimes faltering and never wisest, but I hold your teachings true, I swear.
Despite fearing we can’t keep every promise, we can always try to live
as we promised, do as we planned, let action quench the thirst for glory,
and see every thread of life through to the very end, at least, I’ll try
if you’ll try, and if it is at times a burden, it is not so hard to bear, no.
The strength of honor makes light even the harshest duty,
and if memory and scent are so interwoven, there is value in
this cheap cologne if the price paid is the cost of memory.
This is a victory, a reminiscence of youth’s glory days.

 

Priorities and perception are slightly out of order

It may seem superficial, I’m sure, if I tell you
the first thing I thought was, “Man! That girl is pretty.”
I am so, so sorry for that, but I assure you
I didn’t mean to be so shallow (well maybe just a little).
I know looks are not exactly the most important thing;
it’s not like either of us will be much to look at someday
thirty or forty years from now, so what’s it really matter?
So even though you’re quite a catch in other ways,
(what’s the most important trait of all? Empathy,
my dear, you have it so surely. I am glad for all
of history. It is more seldom seen than any beauty)
and even if you have everything, I still have to admit
the first thing that came to mind was, hey, that girl is pretty.

You still remember as you grow older

He once told me that there was nothing more to life
than the simplicity of walking arm-in-arm — of dancing hand-in-hand
with a girl not so different from you or me. He once told me
not to make things so complicated: just trust in who you are.
Just be the man you were meant to be. You are simply human
in an unbroken line of history: it was not so complex then and
it is no different now, he said, did they think so very deeply, I wonder?
Don’t think so hard about it, he told me, you are both still young to me,
it is not half as difficult as you would imagine, he laughed.
There is no difference in being one and one than one alone.
He told me, if you will not mind a simple metaphor,
I would liken it simply to the rain, it falls on everyone,
it is blood for life anew, and do you remember as a boy?
Running through dirt-turned-muddy roads in the pouring rain,
watching ripples on the ancient river, you felt everything pure and new.

I do remember, I said, I do remember what that was like.
I am sitting on the porch of my home, watching the weather change,
I think about these patterns in the sky, feel the storm breeze blowing in,
and I wonder if it will soon come a storm like the old days.
I walk out in the yard; catch a scent of the clean, cold air drifting up from the river,
the sharp-scent of winter looming on the edge of autumn.
I am waiting for something familiar, waiting for the first drop to fall.
I hold my hand out.

First date

 

He wore his older brother’s shirt and his father’s favorite shoes
with his nicest jeans, one of last year’s Christmas presents that wasn’t another
tacky, colored sweater, these were something sharp and clean,
and he felt anxious and eager and entirely, utterly free.

She kept him waiting for fifty minutes longer than she’d promised.
She stole his time freely, bought herself everything she should have been,
and became who she’d like to be, looking in the mirror for a second
she could see herself so likable, so lovable, everything he might ever need.

So he sat around waiting for longer than he’d have liked.
She’d taken longer with her hair than absolutely necessary, she thought.
She’d done it just right, put herself together with more practice than him,
and felt less secure than she’d ever been, maybe likable, maybe lovable.

She smiled at him with a practiced confidence, inside shaky,
as he greeted her so nervously, outside all false bravado,
and they talked for a while, words slipping, ever fumbling,
neither entirely as self-sure as they’d imagined they would be.

and years later he wouldn’t remember what she was wearing;
wouldn’t remember what they had said in those nervous, awkward moments.
He wouldn’t remember a minute of waiting, only that first, honest meeting
and how she was everything he’d hoped she would be.