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Feb 28, 2007

Rain

Snow and sleet,
go away.

Come back and
play upon my
window pane,
just not today.

The snowbanks
are soiled with
sooty exhaust

charcoal finger
smudges across
a virgin white
cloth

sludge slowly seeps
along the curb lines
retreats into the gutter

Cold concrete walkways
blend with cold concrete
buildings that blend
with cold, leather-faced
people who have
nothing but
rejected rags
and tattered
American flags
from the thrift store
to warm themselves with

snow, go away.
Play upon my
window pane
any day but
today.

Rain clouds,
release yourselves
with reckless abandon

wash the streets clean

purify us;
and help us grow
so we can know
that glimmering,
shivering light
that dwells deep
inside us all

Storm Coming

It took only a moment for the storm to roll in. Hurtling tiny ice shards through the air, against this grimy window pane, it has brought a grey blue hue to the horizon, and slowed traffic outside my window on I-83. Sleet plummets against the glass, a thousand tiny finger tips tapping. Rarely in the Midwest are we graced with storms like this. Lightning and thunder in the midst of winter is akin to a snowstorm in June, if experience is any gauge. This is the second such storm I've witnessed this year, the second such storm I've witnessed in my lifetime.

And how it all passes, changes on you. Before you can manage to finish a single paragraph, the experience fades; before you can step outside underneath the stinging bite of frozen rain; before you can assess there's any meaning in it at all, those clouds have skittered across the horizon, leaving behind a distant reef of pink and grey, creeping along, until blending into the rest of the vast canopy, and what's left behind is no more than a waking memory.

There's always another storm coming. In itself, there is much to be beheld. Summer will bring more rain, and an even more hideous beauty will ride in on its tailwinds. Lightning flashes, and the drums of the sky answer. Again, a flash. And the sky resounds, and it seems like a game of cat and mouse, thunder always too little, too faint, and too late to catch up.

Until the storm sits directly overhead. Then you sit surrounded by a feral magnificence, the drums fall in synch with the flashes, and it must be decided whether this is the calm, whether this is the destructive force, or whether you'd simply like it all to start over again.

Feb 27, 2007

Midwestern Prayer


Goodbye, goodbye,
my rural Wisconsin skyline;
and while I'm away
let the dust settle
so that a road may clear
and allow an untrodden path
for the weary wanderer
to appear.

Feb 26, 2007

Black and White


It's like an old black and white photo with sepia tones out there. The fat arms of the green pines carry a clean burden, and they droop solemnly under the mighty weight of snow. So much of the land is still bright, still pure.

The road seems all the more lengthy when the view along the way is always the same, blurred with purity. A group of crows swoop from overwhelmed branch to branch, searching for a carcass killed recently, not yet frozen solid.

For a few days yet, Chicago waits, a beast that lives for and because of the people in it. Afterall, what is this world without the people who walk in it, who breathe it, and who describe it. Winter melts into spring, mud-shouldered country roads morph into concrete. Cold cement buildings, tall and expansive, reflect; before a voice has the chance to escape it bounces and floats back towards its source. Echo-cho-cho.

Outside my office window, there's a guy from marketing in a black coat walking around campus, holding a large Christmas wreath, flanked by a contract photographer. I assume since this is the first major snowstorm we've gotten this year, they're taking advantage of the Winter-wonderland. An art of deception that can most likely be viewed on next year's holiday stationary.

The cold does still bite, the empty spaces it fills between my clothing and my body reminds me of year's past where snow was simply snow, and nothing else. Not a reminder, not a metaphor, but simply a means to something else: a snowman, a fort, a sledding hill, a cup of hot chocolate to ward off winter's chill. Now, it gets shoveled, and reminds you that there's something you need to do. You don't play in it, as it might ruin the nice gloves that you bought for work. Plus, it's simply too chilling to the bone, and that reminds you how much more fulfilling a winter walk would be, if there were, right now, a hand in mine, a beautiful body and mind to appreciate, someone to hole up with during winter's stay; and someone to revel with, bare-backed, underneath the thawing sunshine and summer night's twinkling canopy, after this winter's hold on life does pass.

Feb 21, 2007

America

I am sick

and in a sad state of disunion

this union is cracked
which raises a question
ahead of a flag
which begs to know
just how much bad luck
can be expected from
shattering a mirror
the size of Texas

But fortune
and fame
cannot be blamed
for it's arrived
at the point

the tip of the
flagstaff

where I don't
even care

so my answer is yes
you fortunate sons
o' bitches

I will wrap my
baby's lips around
the mouth of a
tailpipe

so long as I
have a vehicle
that in the occasion
of a collision
will surely kill
the other guy.

In Other News...

A man sits alone in the livingroom of the apartment he shares with his mother. It is two days before Valentines Day. He's just returned from the outside, after smoking a cigarette, because he knows his mother doesn't like it when he smokes inside, as it irritates her respiratory system.

He listens to music, possibly and old favorite, or something he recently picked up at the record shop. However, the volume is low so as not to disturb his mother. Low enough for him to hear the commotion upstairs, noises that, to him, sound like a rape underway.

The mans chest tightens. He digs his fingers into the air chair. Quickly jolting forward, he reaches out to turn off the volume to the stereo. He then stands, straining his ear towards to ceiling, waiting, listening in horror. He hears the screams of a woman, and swears that numerous times he's heard the word "help," called out.

Possibly he thinks of his mother, sister, or his daughter that lives with his ex-wife. He's envisioning the face of some sick fuck blanketing himself over the struggling frame of a tiny woman. He doesn't have a phone to call the police. He thinks to himself for a moment, and intrinsically knows that he must take matters into his own hands.

Bolting into his bedroom, he throws back the lid to a large, brown wicker chest, and pulls out a long object swathed in maroon wool.It is a family heirloom, a great sword, the only thing the man can think of to wield when he bounds up the stairs to the second floor, and confronts whatever is there when he locates the woman's cries.

The man traverses the stairs two at a time, and comes to a stop at the door to the apartment situated directly above him. From this vantage he can hear the cries more clearly; he's hopped up on adrenaline, and suddenly the notion of simply knocking on the door, brandishing the sword, sounds outright stupid to him.

Like they'd fuckin' answer anyway.

The man acts. With a swift kick he dealt the door a heavy blow, breaking through the lock and knocking it off its hinges. With the all fire and ferocity of William Wallace, the man barrels into the livingroom from where the cries originated, and stops there in his tracks, mouth twisted in horror. The screaming stopped. Everything was dead silent, and to the man with the sword, it seemed like the sensory world itself had ceased.

Am I dead, he wonders?

He held the sword out in front of him with both hands, and pointed its glistening tip towards the jugular of a grizzly man sitting in an arm chair. The room was dimly lit, so it took a few moments for the man's eyes to adjust. The only source of light came from a television. First he noticed the man looking startled, and then he saw that the mans pants were indeed down around his thighs.

He turned his eyes to the television. Onscreen, a video was paused to a frame showing a well-tanned, clean-cut guy with tattoos on his forearms wearing a lawn-care type uniform fucking the family maid beside a swimming pool behind a house in the backyard veranda. Maybe the family maid felt that one lawn care boy wasn't enough for her, and she wanted more "help" getting to where she wanted to be.

***Addition: My sources now tell me that indeed, that is where the storyline progresses.

"Now I feel stupid," is what the sword-bearing man came to say to cops when they showed up in response to a call from the man who preferred fleshy swords to metal ones. Each party had slightly different stories to share about that morning's events, but when all was said and done, the neighbor you've always wanted was charged with three criminal counts, including wielding an unlawful weapon and breaking and entering.

And what of the upstairs neighbor? He had to bring the cops into his place and show them the points in the video where "downstairs Conan" may have gotten the idea that there was a rape taking place. Conan was taken off to jail, and there is no word as to whether the lawn care guys or the upstairs neighbor finished their respective jobs.

A follow-up visit to the complex turned up no new information on either of the men.

Says a neighbor of the porn-loving, fleshy-sword wielding man:

"He don't come 'round here no more."

I hope not. At least not as loudly.

Feb 19, 2007

Chapter ???

The house had grown almost silent by July of the year two-thousand. The unsettling triggered by the departure of my father had passed, as two months had already gone by. It was something that my mother, sister, and I were slowly getting used to, a leaden shoe we had no choice but to wear, and walk in.

It's not like we weren't expecting it. There was a cancer there, but it wasn't feeding on just any one individual. It fed on a marriage, and spread into the family. I'd noticed it from the age of ten on, how my parents carried about with one another, so callous, so cold. It wasn't outright vicious, though, and they seldom fought within sight or earshot of my sister and I. But the snide remarks, and the supple lips that with a deft flick of the neck turned into a cheek, substitutes for an ice shoulder, which in turn brews resentment.

With certainty I cannot say that there was a breaking point, a moment where after more than eighteen years of marriage, most of which were filled with disdainment and sexless evenings, the two would finally decide to throw in the rings and call it quits. There wasn't an epic fight full of arm flailing, veins bulging on necks, and unintelligible shouting like they'd had a few times before. No, this was more of a silent resignation, where two people who've been participating in a rewardless stalemate for years suddenly walk away from it all and realize they've gained almost nothing from it except, in my father's words, two beautiful kids.

July. Two-thousand. School was out for another month, which I was grateful for. The girl I had been with for a couple of years had called the relationship off a couple of weeks prior. I wasn't in any hurry to get back to school and be forced to deal with her. In the absence of girlfriends and paternal figures, I made use of this extra time and freedom. A couple of nights after the break up, I smoked some weed, something I hadn't done since early in my junior year. At the head of June, my best friend and I stole some beer from a cooler our neighbors had left out in their yard, and I got drunk for the first time, just to see what it was like.

When you're in high school, the summer nights blend. There is no Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. Every day is Saturday, so long as you can remember which Saturday's you work, and this feeling intensified that summer because after dad left, my mother seemed to have lost the will to take us to church. That meant Sunday, that day, the Holiest of all the Holies, who finally be mine. That, my friends, was liberation as good as I could've ever felt it up to that point.

It was on one of these blended nights that another great unsettling rose up and reared its ugly face. I'm horrible with recalling dates, and wouldn't have been able to remember this one if it weren't for the public arrest record.

The street lights scanned their fluorescent beams across the car window, as if I were a passenger in any car. They had to fasten my belt for me since my hands were restrained behind my back. I had to shift myself to an uncomfortable angle to keep the cuffs from digging to deeply into my wrists. I felt obligated to make friendly talk with the two officers. After that swift turn of events, one would hope that the notion of "everything happens for a reason" holds true, and that after a while, when all of the dots align and connect themselves, some part of it all would make sense.

Feb 14, 2007

To: Woman

Roses were red
and violets blue
long ago, far away,
when I had you

Flowers do wilt
and time brings change
for now, the world's filled
with black and grey.


***Happy Valentines Day! To those of you not celebrating it because you don't have a significant other, or because every day in your relationship is Valentines Day, let's raise a glass together.***

Feb 12, 2007

Gone Cold

a bloodhound and its nose
would know after
months of wanting

months of not bagging
a crook, a bone
or a damsel in a dress,
the same sort of stress
that sits here,
emanating from fingertips

the Friday under weak lights,
and friendly pretenses,
did spring into the lad's head
visions of dancing
his-and-her
towels with which,
unbeknownst to
the girl,
the boy
would hang himself

give a desparate dog an idea
of the bone and what really
sits underneath the skin,
he'll tear off your arm
pay you no mind
and leave your carcass
for the carrion fowl.

when angst manifests itself
in urine dribbling
down a doggy leg,
then leaves the pup
to stare at its own
rippling reflection
in a puddle
of piss,

the trail has surely
gone cold

and an abrubt ending
to a sad occasion
is what's called for,
like this