Quicksand

The movies say it pulls you in and under,
drowns you quick,
crushing, suffocating, a bad death.
The truth is worse,
you don’t fully sink,
your legs just get stuck, and then
the sun beats down on your face,
the rains come, the nights go,
the jackals pass the periphery of the pit
and watch you with sad, hungry eyes,
before resuming their scavenge.
The truth is always worst.

This Kind of Love

This kind of love is deadly,
this kind of love is trite,
this feeling dwells in starless places,
this feeling deepens the night,
your legs wrap around my waist,
my hands wrap around your throat,
the catch of breath, the empty confessions
divulging much and no truth of note:
I love you,
I love you,
and lesser lies;
I love you,
I love you,
and these constant,
(supposedly) final
goodbyes

Fred & Cookie

we gave them names,

although they don’t know the value of it,

and they hop in once or twice a day beneath

the feet of elderly folk exchanging coupons

for apples and candied peaches.

Some people shriek at them,

some people coo, and bend to look

or pat their lumpy bodies.

they don’t cause bother,

but still some people shriek.

fledgling

Gentle fledgling of a feather unknown
fallen out of its nestled home
and lost, wandering through reed and willows
under blackbirds’ shrills and bullfrogs’ bellows
on stilty legs and useless wings, still,
into the wetland chorus it sings.

Gentle fledgling lost and alone,
no chance now of returning home.
The hawk, the owl, the grubby mink,
will spy and stalk and stealthy-slink
and though this bird will never fly
the moon will rise, and time goes by.

Mercy, Honed to a Point

There is no mercy in this forgiveness,
no grace,
this forgiveness is a weapon,
you will know, yes, in every coming moment,
how desperately you deserved retribution,
how just and true my vengeance would have been-
ah, yes, this is my sword, my axe,
the ram battering down the gates,
when you look to me I will be
sharpening the edge of my forgiveness,
contemplating how dreadful I deserved to be,
and you will know yourself as lesser,
and you will hate this mercy more than anything.

Empty Men

Is this all we are?
empty men,
seeking comfort over all,
blind to the pain woven into our pillows?

forgetting the miner,
the hauler, the refiner,
forgetting the bullets let loose for this gold,
are we so stupid?
are we just fools?
Striving for naught –
only to minimize risk
by maximizing – what, exactly?
to begird a system where
the losers are wracked with pain and
the winners are wracked with boredom?

is this all we are?
empty men, blind to our own needs,
assuming that all a man needs to thrive is
taken from the fruits of a distant, hard-lived life?

mend

Mend, and mend, and mend, and mend,
until your fingers are bleeding or
the fabric is thin,
mend all you can – your clothes, your blankets and
curtains, your heart,
mend the words you said in anger,
mend the tears between your ribs,
sit a while on days like these,
with nothing much to do,
and mend.

In Reverse

Let me leap up from the dust,
fully-formed and growing younger, sleeker,
dumber, smaller,
let me learn in reverse,
the first brushstrokes all masterpieces,
until I learn to draw as a child,
oh, let me begin bitter
and bloody, filled with contempt for you,
let me begin that way, please,
and let me end,
floating an inch above the futon,
leaning in just close enough –
enveloped in that last first kiss.