LA

If I return tomorrow to Los Angeles

To the hillsides, to the dry riverbeds yearning, gasping for precipitation

To the heat-stroked palms wilting on the boulevards,

Will there be more to discover?

The ships have sailed, as they say,

Uncovering new horizons.

Men and women disembark their pristine boats for better years.

Am I too scarred to understand?

Older and older our faces grow

Consequence of a past your mother and father molded

Dissenting from their love,

And we toil in the dark wells of others

Lowering, lowering into the craters and crevices.

Have you hit the bottom?

Xanthippe, are you better?

Does the serotonin run through your veins

As you sit in your apartment staring at the room

Covered with crooked Warhols and Pollacks

Hung sloppily with your wine-soaked hands on a white-washed wall?

“How does it make you feel?”

Does the Thai food from last week still sit on the counter

In the hot, hot heat?

My darling, come home..

“Flying past your love,

A planet

A satellite longing.

A city holding captive-

A planet,

A satellite fading.

Flew past your love,

Out of your

Gravity..

Pull

With all your might.”

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Teeth

Oh it’s gone too far to ever go back.

Too hard to revisit the folds in the clouds

Folding into one another,

Dissipating over seconds lost in the minutiae.

Something doesn’t feel right in the crush of the widening ocean.

Fragile is the glass that lets go

Of its stable base and falls to the floor

Bathing in fragments of itself.

I heard the car leave the house in a fit

Raging into the night.

Can you taste the blood and persimmons?

Wasn’t the Greek salad marvelous?

Let us sleep and wake tomorrow in a better state.

These moments,

Oh so brief,

A fist residing briefly in the depths of the mouth

The words you barely breathe come heavily

Magenta lines crawl across the floor

Stained glass tainting the moon’s reach

Your hand

Reaching for the light

Grasping for-

Pulled back to the precipice.

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Ascension

Staring at your picture
I felt how my clandestine life was entirely unfulfilled as you passed
And I imagined the blinding sirens blaring
Skinny women in white gloves
Dressed in white gowns made from the clouds of Paradise
Beating at your hollowed chest
Screaming for your aorta to untwist,
Like clematis vines climbing through the ribs and out the incision,
To pump a few years longer.

I felt my empty hands wring within my emptied hands.
Staring at your empty bed
That held up your bones with an unfortunate ease.
Your bones.
Your strands of hair leaving quickly across the hall
The smell of bleach and turpentine permeated
As loved ones spoke with loved ones
In the room just out of earshot
Because we loved you.

Were you in pain?
Did a searing fire erupt from the ruptured skin
As you could not sing to us,
From the antique violin laying dormant in your throat,
The agony of your hours alone?

“Was I a good son?”
Yes you were a good son.
“Did I lead a good life?
Yes, you led a good life.

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Story Soliloquy

Writing a short story. Threw this in there. Edit recommendations appreciated.

“Back in the day when I was just out of high school, I worked at a home for the mentally and physically screwed up. There would be ‘bout twenty to thirty people in there at a time, an’ it would be me an’ two others, changin’ bed sheets, makin’ food, walkin’ them to their daycare program. This was in Kansas, mind you son;­­­ not the most progressive place back then.

Anyways, it was dark an’ dirty, and there was one small TV on that shone cartoons from mornin’ til the lights flicker’d on the big black walls behind them in the dead of night. We kept that goin’ so half a them was occupied, because the other half was so God-damned bad that we had to hol’ ‘em up just so they could use the toilet, or we’d bring the food from the plate to their mouth. I swear son, the dishes were piled forty high an’ forty wide in the sink ‘cause we ain’t never had the time nor care to wash ‘em.

There was a man livin’ there about thirty years older than me, but with the wits of a nine year old. His name was Tom, an’ he was a real nice feller. His parents dropped him off when be became too big fuh them to feed and take care of, so we brought him in and did our best.

He was able to walk aroun’, but always tripped and fell on the cracks of the sidewalk, or was cuttin’ his hand on a knife while eating his food. Always got a bandage aroun’ at least three parts of his body, God bless him. I got to know ‘im pretty well while I was there; fun guy with a kind soul. He’d love to dance around the home, even tryin’ to get the wheelchair people to get up and move, and they ain’t dance in years.

Well, he got old as all men, good and bad, tend to do, and with his condition, his heart got weak and his mind slowed to an ant’s crawl. Eventually he had to stay in bed ‘cause his body couldn’t keep up with his spirit, no how no way. I fed him the most often out of everyone; his favorite meal was beef and potatoes; that Dinty Moore from the can. I asked him if he wanted it warmed up, but he always said that he wants it room temperature in the can. Odd feller, I tell yah.

One day, it was late at night an’ real windy, the type of wind that keeps you up at night, and I was puttin’ them all to bed. When I finally got to Tom, I asked him if he was ready to sleep. He didn’t really answer me; kept lookin’ away out the window. I ‘member it was raining that night. Rain an’ wind, scared the holy hell outta some of those people.

I waited a bit. ’What’s wrong?’ I asked Tom.

Still no answer.

‘All right, you don’t gotta talk to me, but I still gotta put you to sleep.’

He turned back over and faced me, and I swear to God, I had never seen anything sadder in my short, know-nothin’ life.

‘I don’ get it.’

‘What don’ you get, bud?’

He went silent on me again. I couldn’t tell if it was the mental thing he had, or if something really was bothering him.

I asked him again. ’Hey Tom. What’s wrong?’

He took his time to reply. I heard a few people shuffling around in the hallway, stirrin’ because that’s what they do. But we were by ourselves in Tom’s room, us and the wind and a few candles that went out when the wind came through the wooden walls.

‘James… am…am I dyin’?’

I have to tell you, son, I didn’t know what to say. I had no idea what to say. An’ I loved the kid, but God damn it, I mean, he was dyin’. Dyin’ real quick. He didn’t have long, and he and I could see it in my face.

‘Well, we all are, Tom. That’s just how life goes.’

He stared at me, breathing heavily like he always did. Like he did after dancing, or after walking up the stairs to the roof to try an’ get a catch of sun. His chapped lips moved aroun’, as if he was going to tell me that he was finally ready to sleep or that he had a cat when he was a child that would dance around with his mom in the yard and his mom loved that cat until the day she died. He tol’ me ‘bout that cat who knows how many times.

I stood over his bed, waitin’. Son, I tell you right now, when a man like that asks you a question like this, well, you can never give the right answer to a dyin’ man.

‘What was this for?’

‘What was what for?’ I asked him.

‘I know I’m slow. I know I’m u-ugly…’

‘Tom, stop that. You ain’t ugly.’

‘Fine. But I live here, and I don’t have the smarts to have a job. I know that.’

He started sobbin’ in a way that my older brother sobbed when my father got in a car accident out in Front’nac and lost his vision and couldn’t tell left from right, red from blue, up from damn near down.

‘I still don’t understand what you’re sayin’ to me Tom.’

‘Why was I even born? What was the… what was the… ‘

He struggled to find the words. You let the man find the word. Don’ give no man the word that his mind might grab outta thin air, or then he ain’ never gon’ learn. Keep that in mind for your kid.

‘What did I even do here?’

I tell you right now, I couldn’t even speak. I had a difficult time balancin’ my resolve with my almost uncontrollable urge to break down in front of the boy. What do you say to ‘im? What do you say to a man or a boy or whatever the hell you’d call ‘im, when you don’t even have the God damned answer?

‘James, where’m I gon’ go?’

‘That’s somethin’ I don’ know, Tom. But all I know is that you’re goin’ someplace good. I swear. I swear to you.’

‘How’d you know?’

‘ ’Cause you’ a good man. I know that for a fact Tom. Don’ be scared now. You ain’ goin’ no where.’

Tom rolled away from me. I felt like he hated me for not knowin’, and I really couldn’t blame him. The man was scared, and he knew the doctor comin’ an’ goin’ to his room more than anyone else, takin’ his temper’ture, checkin’ his heartbeat with the watch and lookin’ at us. God damn, did we not hide it well, not at all.

He did pass away a few weeks after that. We held a funeral for the boy, all the way down in Kansas City where the rest of his family was buried. His relatives strung them fancy wreathes around his grave and cried and wailed, ‘How could you take this man from us, God? Why?’

I’ll tell you, they never visited the sad sack once, but everyone loves to put on a good mourn now and then, I’d say.

I gave a speech for Tom. It was quick, to the point, tellin’ everyone how good a man he was, and everythin’ about his lively spirit. I didn’t say nothin’ about our conversation, as I thought that his God fearing family would be disappointed in him, as the righteous should always, always go t’ Heaven.

He was a damn good man. But to this day, I couldn’t tell you what the hell different I would say to him. Still don’t know, after decades of livin’ and comin’ nearer to my own time.”

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Departures

You say every little thing will be all right.
We planned our trips to Mexico
That end with nights of,”Dejame estar contigo.”
But life is short
And we get lost in the smallest folds
Not caring about anything, anyways.

I know this is hard to take.
My ossified bones
Carved and hard to bend.
Chanting how in love we were, echoing,
“Was this not all that you wanted?”

“This is all I wanted.”

Pylons clicking overhead like crickets in amorous delight,
“Nothing lasts forever.”
There is nothing like a sobering life
To wake you from this wanton dream
‘Ab imo pectore, ab aeterno’
And so on and so forth.

“Angle me down,
To where the tow meets the brackish beach.
Dive, baby. Dive.
‘Til we can’t dive no more.”
Singing in a dimly-lit crevice
Hands within sinewy hands curled taught.

“It has gone much too far to ever go back
Didn’t you know how I didn’t want that?”
It’s some kind of sign
It is a reckoning; a dignified repose.
I heard you were running out of breath.
And it was unspeakably loud.

Maybe there is a reason you’re so gray.
We still wake up on the same sides of the bed;
A despondent recourse
There was a reason why you didn’t say “good morning.”
Take one look.
Understand

A lack of rush comes with deflated fervor.
Sounds echo in the cellar
Shake the rafters above your tiny head.
“Honey don’t leave.”
Turns into
“..Why you didn’t stay.”

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MN

If you forget me, captivated,
Flying over the white, widening plains of Nebraska,
Cutting through the fading turqoise skies,
There will be no time left for us
To begin anew.

There will be no grand ships cutting through the water as we dance,
You, in a ruby red dress
Undulating over the hard wood floor
And I, holding and gazing
At the magnificence swaying,
Here.

Lights, metals, heat emanating from the wooden stove.
A cabin, resting, easing in the soft spots,
Settling.

“If you remember me tomorrow…”

The taurus gallops and the crab scuttles
Easily, not thinking of your absence.
He grazes in the fields
Roots untethered to the roaming hills
Where the doe graze
And the hawks search in their widening gyre.

Your car,
In some city, in some state,
The door opens and a hand reaches down
Chivalrous in gesture
Promenades you across the pavement
Placating the angered and inspiring the melancholy
You disperse into the dark
And I can no longer envision you.

The crystal moon
Barren beaches
Gems erupting from the water;
Is this not all you wanted?
Do you dream of Minnesota?
Do you dream of the rising tides or frozen lakes?
What about a slow Autumn touching
The tips of the decrepit oaks,
Rusting and curling like
Our fingers around each others?

It is so easy
For the darling mind to forget,
Trekking amongst the skyscrapers and wanderlust;
To forget this
In this hour
In this day
A breathing, huddled mass
Shouting in the muted air
For that which once was.

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Breathe

It is getting hard to breathe

Little time is left
The dark is wandering slowly
Closely
Proliferating from horizon to soul
Meander to my metatarsals
Dying of consumption
I have little time
To convey and consume and convey and breathe

There is little life lived when luck
Shakes you down to your brittle bones
Fumes and spirit leave in the final seconds
Accusations of your (no longer) sentient body
Your unwavering eyes locked on the still monitor
Stale air is all you breathe

In your cocoon
In your habitat of comfort and palpitations
Hang your head on that thread of hope
The salvation
The respiration
Each and every time you breathe

Oh God, the edges
They narrow as we begin to sleep
Collapsing with an unrelenting infinity
Organs churn in the nocturne
One more chance for life
One more chance for change
My knees pop, my heart stops
And you come rushing through the door
Bursting like a chained-dove freed
Mouth to mouth
For I can’t breathe

Our penchant for love will never falter
Infallible is your lust for more
My mind wanders
In the refracted cloud as I stare into the wide, magnificent sky
Piling upon each other until I can no longer see the sun
It has disappeared past the church
It has rolled passed the undulating hills
These hours; so brief
They last as long as this
They last as long as each breath I breathe

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Fading Light

Light the kerosene in your thin tin cup
Held in the small hands of the youths, corrupt
Guide themselves down the smokey road below
Guilds of grieving sons, chests filled with sorrow
Daughters lament slowly fading mothers
Rows of silk, black dresses sewn by others
Vast spaces leave us an echo apart
Pining to relieve a sinking, aching heart
Goodbye, goodbye they wail down the path
All decomposing in the aftermath
–Unfinished

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Constant Craving

You learn in different ways how to let go
Some fast, some forever slow
Craving your flighty lips in the morning snow
Your dreams dancing on an archipelago

Perhaps it is your shaking hands
Becoming thin, becoming bland
I feel myself sinking in the sand
Removing you, strand by strand.

Orange sunsets drag along the shore
I can see this through your open door
Waves crashing with a billowing roar
Against these walls, to the core.

It is an always constant craving
Banter inward, passionate raving,
This life, your smile, dying, aging,
Farewell, so far gone from saving.

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Ramblings in a Crowded Space

Is no one daring anymore? The only time we venture forth is when we are capitalists or libertines post-libation, rather than prescribing to the life of a humanist. I look around within the station in which I sit, and I see not the fear that comes from entering a dark cavern as it plummets into an abyss, but rather the fear that stagnates, churning in the edge of our eye, day after loathsome day. We are terrified to break the bonds that ravage our idle veins; our heart grows weak as it forgets how to pump the rich blood of vitality legs and mind of its master.
The ally of apathy is inaction, Witness atrocities from the rooftops and avert your eyes from the edge, you coward, and how beautiful it is to struggle. You disappear so swiftly, afraid to look into the depths of your own city, and witness the demise. You are not the captain of your soul, you are not the master of your fate.
You may hear the cries tail off, enveloped in the bustle of the cement and strained voices echoing through the alleys, but you failed to be the agent of change for your fellow man. Righteousness is perpetually born and slaughtered in minutes, seconds, uttered slowly from the spout of men’s lips, infectious upon inception, until that righteousness becomes tainted with desire and greed, unrecognizable to its creator, and fades into the heart of the masses, forsaken.
And in the light, sound, fury of it all, we believe ourselves to be sophists, high upon the pedestal, rising high over us all, billowing forth our knowledge and experience, signifying nothing, Gods not only of our rightful domain, but over others too.
I can never speak for others when I say my grasp on my own is weak and feeble, akin to holding onto a raving bird, flying in a widening gyre, pulsing its wings to rise to safety. I must grasp onto my present in order to reign my immediate future, as we have lost our past in a hazing mist of constant loss.
The efficacy of our wanton nature leaves us desperate, speaking and telling of bigger and bigger fish, until we starve, refusing to ask why. Do we fear the question for we fear the penultimate answer? Can we, in our sub-finite understanding, repair our father’s house from the grains of sand in the lot where we used to stand, staring at our feet, tears falling into a plot of dirt, failing to realize we had just spurred flowers to grow?
Maybe we fear to know how the lavender dies, similar to the birds migrating from south to north, only to return changed. However, we want to believe the lavender and the crows are the same from whence we came, coming to and fro in a perfect form, Platonic, ideal, second to God forever in shape and size.

-Cont-

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