All-Questions

All the thoughts in my head are formatted
with question marks chasing after them.
I would know nothing if not for confusion..
Questions made me who I am. Like who am I?
What is I. Eyes can’t see. Ice on the grass.
For the first time since seven months ago.
Seems so long. So any questions answered since.
Makes my head spin. Questions turn the earth.
For many reasons. For at least four seasons.

Sticky Note Poetry

How is this man my
teacher, stretched out
and lost meaning-reacher,
whose mind fell out
through the bleachers
lost thought-blood
to the leechers.

I’ve reached the end
of my rhyme but I
still have time
lines left to right
and slowly down
icky sticky stuck on
itchy notary
sticky note poetry.
Wow.
I see how
he is my teacher.
Now.
Though I think
he’d prefer
to play preacher.

The Window

could be cleaned
should
would
in another house
squeaking beneath a different hand
window-broken wall in this house
above this hand
not under it
revealing blurred movement
through a dingy window.

The light
it splashes
across the page
broken by shadows
intersecting lines
zagging dull trails
where moisture
streaked
dripped
leaves a white trail
beside white swipes
of misplaced paint
brushes missing marks by miles
in the center of the pane
shadow most solid on the page.

The window won’t ever be cleaned
yet tells more than the impenetrable tale
of a backyard. Jotted over with notes
off the nose of a dog
a strained prose on the topic
curiosity, poetry of lazy painters
paid hourly and more
fingerprints than detectives dust
proof irrefutable and close to clear
that here
this dingy window
I am closest to the world.

Just Because

Is the first cell
that splintered into fusion
following the black path of the atom
still inside me?

Like rings in a tree
are there layers laced
beneath my surface
that formed during the social drought
of my teens?

Are my last good credit score twenties
still swiping cards for bills inside me or beside me
is the kid I once was hiding
waiting
for some impossible seeker to find.

When thirty-five year old
tired and self described wise
lets eyes wander and retire
does that ring on my index finger
pierced through the brow
or the split lip of my former self
see an opportunity?

A take-over.
And thirty-five year old I
deny and declare some crack up
like I don’t know what that was
where that came from
I might even say
it wasn’t me.

Albeit was.
When I was thirteen
and mean
just because.

Oh you life

Oh you life, pompous and loud, loopy yet proud. Lightning crashing parties in heaven.
At the entrance telling lies that barrel down deep like thunder, a second too late, truth debates shaking ground from sound, flustered, rippled air. The clouds hoisted rain withheld,
dangled, above head, just out of reach, beyond, water in aerated ascended ponds
casting shade and crooked lines so thin you can see through them, translucent,
as rain rapidly sinking, the ferocious storms of real, devoted thinking, consideration. Uncompromising. Life, oh, how there are those who paint you anywhere
other than in raging weather, wind leaves trees giant rustled chickens
flashing pale upturned feathers, branches falling crashed lightning but closer, nearer,
thunder felt under feet, in ankles, before there is time to even hear.
There are those who do not know the meaning of awe.
Most feel only frightened, tired, ducking heads, cowering out of the rain,
cursing an unknown creator seed-planting our pain. Oh my life.

When I was a child, how I loved the sunny dispositions of my parents.
And vilified heir strifes. The complex truth of their lives.
The disparate realities of parents.

Oh life, like parents, your love, your presence, is one of many forms.
But it wasn’t until I was grown and worn, that I found comfort in storms.

Where is the horn that was blowing?

Who are you warning, this misty morning?
A day in rough labor attempting to birth its sun.
We asked the rooster. The hen said he abused her.
He’ll call us all to dinner a little sooner than he thought.

Tree frogs croak like night. Daylight whispers,
you should see the other guy. Slow start to say the least,
a strength where I was always weakest.
Last night we passed through tempests.

This morning is distilled by fog.
Where is the horn that was blowing,
where has the horse gone, the rider, the rooster crowing?
How were they louder before my eyes had opened.

Mute morning leaves eyes deaf to noisy warning.
Silent as the trees plunk leaves in twice fallen rain.
Tree frogs explain their stubborn rubber song.
And why it lingers so long. The chicken growls.

The hoot owls. And an ambulance sounds
in the distance and all the neighborhood dogs
start to howl. We are up, the sun is too.
Unfortunately. So are the clouds.

The Purpose of Life

Chores to do. More to move. Horse to shoe. Oh wait.
Horsefly and shoo. Sure. I’m up. Not firing on all fronts.
It’s early. There is energy.
But here I sit. Front porch writing.
Trading grips between a pen and a ceramic lip.
Trading discomfort hip to hip on a hard wood rocker.
Seat of power seems oxymoronic.
Though I am sure that it isn’t.
If more people with power sat on it,
there would be less obstacles to the simple, family-centric
lifestyle poor folk have fought for far too many manly centuries.

It is crazy people pretend we don’t know the purpose of life.
Yet so many live identical expressions of it for the same motivations.
If life had a purpose, why would it be distant and hard to grasp?
No. It comes bubbling up out of us.
Grumbling deep inside of us when we do not feed it enough.
These chores. That bill. This meal. And its cost.
No one can give freedom. In that sense, freedom does not exist.

Freedom is the only sanctioned slavery.
It is ownership of the self.

The Spotlight

The spotlight is not on. The switch has been flipped and it turned on.
But it clicked off before it was hot, and now it is not. Someone please
turn the spotlight back on. The tricks and switch-flips that turn things on.
Theater. A play. The one kind adults can do respectfully.
Sit in a seat and stare at a stage and give eyes a feast
of only the things that eyes like to eat. The tongue is the eyes,
the teeth are the ears, slurp down every sight,
chew up every word you hear.

There’s a dance in how an actor walks
and a song in how they talk
and if an actor knows their place
they’ll look the audience in the face
they’ll pull them up on stage
they’ll give them up their rage
and clone their tears in you.

That’s the only way you’ll smile later.
For the joy that is tied to sacrifice, some happiness conceives in pain.
The baby born is gut-busting laughter, oh wait, it’s twins, we’re in stitches.

The switches flip on and this time they stay. Two actors eyes locked backstage
tighter than a lock. More like a chestnut. No key quite like a hard object.
They crush it. And uphold buried treasure in the palms of their hands
before frozen styrofoam mannequin face-spaces on the fronts of hollow heads.
Fill them up with likenesses of whatever frightens them
and reminding them of events hard to live through
but delightful to behold through the refracted lens
of other people’s problems.
It helps to spotlight the drama.
We cork and ferment our trauma.
That is why it is opening night.

And after all these years, I find the theater
a place I can play with my pain
and raise a toast to all my fears.

Notes of the Daydreamer

Oh me, Oh my. No exclamation will meet the mark.
Give up a pen that shouts. Sparks fly and flint flakes
and fire sighs sight and reveals strong citations.

Textual evidence of a higher power
keep my eyes on my naval
and off thy sight.

Education. Psyche. Eros. High school.
Kids. Jokes. Festered into identities. Titties.
Boys obsessed with misremembered memories.

I am going to treat you like you are intelligent
until your behavior shows otherwise.
Offer language supports. This is asinine.

Sanctimonious. Cynical and negative.
Turning my camera off to take a drink.
Passing. Barely. This class. Life.

The ones where I’m the student.
And the ones I have to teach.

Red Oak Tree

Cut a foot into a century tree and find a maggot who beat me there.
Like a shook soda, black ants pour a fountain out of another cut.
Cut the whole tree down and a twig of a limb throws off my chain.
It’s not a dogwood, but the bark has a bite. We’re both bleeding from the wrists.
I knew the risks. The tree, I’m not so sure. A white oak cherry poplar surprise.
Sourwood, sweetgum, sassafras, sick of more. Maple a muscle. Cedar I’m sore.

I burned gas, and dripped oil, and filed down metal teeth to see where that insect was.
I murdered many burglars when I tore down the house we were robbing.
And I saved a tree by killing it. Given it an eternal death in preservation
its hundred year form could not afford. I went to school with a beetle
in its larval stage and we each learned how to lap our tongues clean
through the limber heart of timber.

The infant who wrote a dissertation in his crib. I cut mine to inch and quarter floorboards.
For a house that will outlive me. But me and my classmates, we’ll forever be the only ones
who knew the sound it made when a hundred years of red oak tree smacked the ground
and made it shake.