Land Poor #oldjournals

You work dirt soft
and form rocks
out of the palms
of your hands.

The skin flakes off and leaves you.

To bruise blue and callous fingers.
Wrinkle knuckles.
Vein-traced paths twist above bony
wrists bent and flexing always. Stalling.
Avoidance in abundance.
Blisters too.
Fast friends to you.

And you are their inspiration.
They depend on you for friction.
For handwritten diction
dated phrases of speech
strangers looking stranger
than if southern meant
alien off another world.

Cut grass. Wave passed.
Smile miles down the road.
Flush commodes into septic tanks
emptied in cracked quartz rock clay.
Hot sun. Burnt red necks brown.

The skin flakes off and leaves you.

To bruise blue.
Same tan trembling finger. Only you linger.
Only what was planted at the core.
Only what was unafraid to be called poor.
And you are.
You stay.

Sore.

Back to the cocoon with you.

The world likes me better as its servant.
Rejected as teacher. Abandoned as husband.
Belittled middle child. The bothered brother.
The rebellious one is shunned. But this defeated,
obedient walk of life, should I continue taking steps in its direction,
has only just begun. And hard work means hard shoulders,
and white skin flaking off palms.
The world prefers calm. Understanding.
Yes sir and yes ma’aming.
Using shovels to do the work of tractors.
Creaking knees like dented wheels,
a hard settling jar each successive revolution.
Evolution, from exfoliating fear of the grave to my neighbor’s slave,
and the world has really come out from its shell to watch me work.
Perceive me productive struggle. To burst my ego like a bubble.
And as, not after, I take, too step too far, they say, roll in those wings,
tuck in those long legs, forget charred ash cinder firepits,
or color wagging perched on dog feces.
Back to the cocoon with you.
Unless you’d like to work a spell.
I feel I’m better kept up, out of sight.
Playing servant to my self on the inside,
plowing fields in my mind, and cutting grass,
fast straight even and fast. When it is my time,
when I own it, this leaves the world weak,
gives up no illusion of control,
none sense of power.

But I bet I could scratch a smile onto any bitter face,
for ten an hour.

Ax heads on cracked handles – Old Journals

Up until a few months ago I had no chainsaw.
I still cut wood.

Sawed posts and beams to split into rails,
with a rusted, chipped red bow saw
and an arsenal of ax heads on cracked handles.

I even cut down a few trees that were huge to me. Literally towering.
And others might call them mid-sized to small.

No heavy machinery whatsoever and always alone.

I sought out shorter, easier obstacles to level,
seeking trees growing right on top of one another,
and trunks wilting bark with huge gaping rotted out spots.

I like to think the trees that need it were destined, in short time,
to fall already, but that thinking is flawed. Every living,
dying tree is promised this.

But not to be drug from the forest,
nailed into a structure, cut to length and piled for fire,
to break apart, disappear, in a location of my desire.

A tree aspires for the forest floor,
right where it dug and drank before,
every day of its rooted existence,
and I have to be okay with taking it.

And I always am.