no, not at all.

sometimes I think
if I drop a rope
down, down
into the deepest well
of my mind
and sit
patiently
in my little rowboat
on the surface
perhaps
something surprising
will crawl back out
and I wonder
would I sit and talk
with it awhile?
would I hurl it back
into the shadow it came from,
or would it toss me back instead?
has this already happened?
am I in the boat,
or am I in the hole?
and I think,
fuck it,
I don’t like this metaphor at all

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please

in the blackness
all I have is Your hand
so don’t pat me on the head
and tell me it will all be all right
don’t shrink my head
and tell me to try harder
don’t tell me I’m not enough
don’t tell me I’m just fine
tell me the truth
take me away
lead me to the heart of the matter
tell me who I am
show me Who You are
hack apart the root of my sickness
let me out of this cage
take me somewhere open
help me to breathe
give me back my voice
set me in a safe place
please
save me
please
lead me out
please
hold onto me
don’t let me fade away
please
please speak to me
because in the blackness
all I have is Your hand

the obligatory houseplant lives a sad life

The philodendron dangles,
Limp and perfunctory,
In the front window of a Chinese restaurant.
Its leaves are dusty
And curl at the tips.
Its soil
Is dry as a bone.
It gets no light
From the dim alley it faces
Every goddamn day.
It is a sad,
Sad plant.
Slouching in the fluorescent un-light
Of the pick-up counter,
Waiting for my chow mein,
Trying not to fidget,
I smile half-heartedly,
Water the plant,
And think
“I know how you feel”

dreams

in dreams I often walk
some wretched maze–
all sharp corners, endless corridors feeding into themselves,
vaulted chambers alive with darkness, shadows with voices,
faces grinning in the black.
it goes nowhere, and I pace it alone, haunted by the echoes
of my own footsteps.

in other dreams, I watch
the calculations
of a massive equation–
the vastness of the universe distilled into numbers with names
but no meaning,
shoveled from one side to the other
for no reason
but to fill in the blanks.
it is the soothing boredom
of a defragging computer–meaningless,
but with a comforting sort of equity.

in still other dreams,
I sit at the bottom of a well,
tapping my fingers
and scratching off tally marks.

but in some dreams,
I walk with You
in a sunset field of tall yellow grass, three years old,
with hands big enough
to hold on to just two of Your fingers.

and in a very few dreams,
I walk the very fringes of the earth barefoot–laughing, strong–
free of limb and loose of tongue, fearless…

the killing jar

when I was a child,
I sped out
into the singing summer night
to catch with clumsy hands
the fireflies
that flitted, fairy-like,
above my upturned eyes.
lovingly
I placed them
into the lidded jar
that would later,
to my confused tears,
kill them.
now that I am grown
I feel I know
the killing jar
all too well.
it is
the safe place,
the hidden place,
the good-intentioned place
where words
and songs
and dreams
are lidded up
to suffocate
it is
my tightly-buttoned heart,
my heart of the closed door,
of the snug zipper.
little did I know
it is the tiny,
humble light
that slays the fear
in the night
and not
the safety
of the killing jar

ambition can fuck off for a day

“Dream big! Dream big!”
My big dreams have made me into an ant,
Hauling a burden a thousand times my weight–
For what?
I’m just building somebody else’s sand-hill empire.
Give it one, good stiff rain
And we’ll see exactly what that sweat has built.
“You do so much! You must be proud! Surely you must go far!”
Proud, sure, and fucking exhausted.
Pride is a stone tied to my feet
I confidently drag on a long walk off a short pier
And yes I’m sure my pride will take me far,
All the way to the sludge at the bottom of the river.
“Such initiative! Such ambition! We could use more people like you!”
Oh yes, I’m sure
You could use more people to use.
“You work so hard! You’re such a help!”
I’m tired. Tired!
Tired of being a slave to my desires,
Imprisoned in the future by expectations!
My dreams are my own, and by God
They won’t be hooked up to the economic milking machine,
Sucked dry and discarded.
Pride and ambition will not be the harness
Binding me to the yoke of “accomplishment”
And frankly my initiative right now is telling me
To take a nap and call it a day,
And if opportunity calls it can leave a message
That will promptly be deleted.
“You have so much to offer!”
Yeah, well,
Not to you.
Not anymore.