Smoke

Sometimes I peel my skin to see which parts hurt. Pull up scabs and ruin their healing; because you always thought I’d look better in scars and now, I hate to admit, so do I.

You’d balm your skin while passing torch that burned you, left hand betraying the right; crackling of its molten anger only drowned out by the volume of the lessons between your words.

You taught me to measure my masculinity in empty liquor bottles and full perscriptions; your lesson that real men only dull their pain when they pretend it’s for fun.

That service was inseperable from suffering, that goodness exists only to spite the dents in the same vessel and that as such it must be dented.

You taught of obedience through fear holding your doctrine to be as genuine as it is just; building paper walls for us to keep the world from the wood.

Your claim of course not to be mistaken, that you love me and that I am doomed. Yet fear was never a virtue, and your tradition cannot be my truth.

You taught that only love was set in stone; as if proof of rock’s mortality was not sewn across the beaches or blown in the wind.

Perhaps I kicked drugs to became addicted to tattoos when they let me feel pain, and build to something that might be permanent, or because they make my scars look like something I could love.

You think I hate you, I wish I did. Pictures are so much more complicated than paintings, and conversations so much harder than poems. Burning your flag kept it off my shoulders, yet the memory of its embers brings more remorse than thrill.

And as such, I think of you whever I smell smoke in my clothes. Nose filled with the rustic guilt of what I’ve done to keep myself warm. The loud blank memories that could fall anywhere between bonfires and funeral pyres.

Pyromanic Depressive

The first day I found comfort should have been the earliest sign of my disease. When my throat could not tell apart the crisp winter air with the stale breath of a toxic mire merely because they both stand still. The way a lantern’s lonely flame tantalized me more than the structure that housed it. Perhaps it is so simple that I could never see the difference between movement and progress, or rest and stagnation.

It’s a predictable transition from ethanol to fire, from fire to smoke, from smoke to collecting ash of the remains of everything that mattered and pushing it in desperate to make a soot castle I might live in to see if I’ve built something suitable to burn down again.

At a time if felt the urge came from divine inspiration. As if I could pull some truth from the space between dancing lights that comforts me and tells me there is a purpose to my destruction seperate the horror that I suspect. As though I could find more comfort in the cruel release of energy displayed before me than in the home it had once been.

Yet the curse of fire was never a burden of destiny. Like Midas chose to gild all that he held I questioned to see what might be flammable. Instead of satiating a desire for wealth with things that shine I meet depression with pyromania only to feed the mouth I meant to be fighting.

Last year I knew the bravest thing about me was that I  would stand in every fire I set, to walk or be pulled out would have meant failure to see through what I was there to destroy. Adding a second failure to the home that I fell short of making fire proof.

This month I gathered my tinder and gases, lighter and matches in an willow box. In rising waters I could see that there are more beautiful things than flms, fonder places than the sun, braver actions than self destruction. I threw the box down a waterfall and prayed I hadn’t forgotten any match sticks beneath my bed frame.

Ashes and Flax

The dust in my rear view is ashes and flax
Remains of fire wood and totems
Flowers with seed I never turned to oil

Emergingly the brakes feel firm while the gas is soft
The only things that keep sole anchored to the right
Knowing that letting go will lead us nowhere fast
and that fuel and opportunity are rarely both priced well at the pump

I find myself questioning what you taught me of safe journeys
Like locking the doors when I drive too slow or not worrying of flashing light
My fault for mistaking the high school parking lot for a classroom
and the assuredness in your voice for some sign of wisdom

It’s hard to know so much of what I’ve been taught is the reason I like to drive toward walls
Tantalized by the cracks in the brick as if a sign that at proper speed I could break through
Without worry of bodily consequence or the weight of falling stone
Equally it was hard to have noticed how quickly you built new walls around me

You know I’ve grown to hate having your eyes
They make me look tired
They make me look like someone who stays up at night writing poems to calm down
Mostly though they make me look like sad

At least the path of overcoming the flaws in my roots causes me to bear some fruit
Like knowing when it’s time to keep my foot on the gas
Or the determination to gaze past the glamour of silver and gold
In favor of cherishing the sight that is ashes and flax

The Fall of Olympus


Hid behind a marble vanity
Clawing together what might be saved
Aphrodite desperate clutching pearls
Disbelief the walls finally caved

Hammering away on a final project
Betrayed by the product of his hands
Hephestus tries to forge a new life
In case his is spilled unto the sands

Athena pulls her bow with deadly aim
Hesitates too long from the shock
Sight of blood on her own fingers
Overwhelmed by the rising flock

Apollo atrempts at fiery rage
But learns the plight of Icarus
This time, the sun too hot for him
Blaze of glory and sweet caress

The seer warned of calamity
Hekate knew it was to pass
Yet the gods just dismissed
This pairing of stone meets brass

Younger brother to the throne
Master of the oceans crest
Poseidon as if lost at sea
Swallowed up with the rest

Golden footsteps leave a trail
Through halls and down slope
Seems Hermes may have escaped
Left the pantheon to cope

Zeus was the last to tumble
Highest perch touches down last
Yet even the mighty could not stand
After the last die was cast

In that moment they’re stuck
Their own forever Hell
Where they were
When Olympus fell

Poison of Eden


Our first mistake,
The poison of Eden
Affection of a serpent’s kiss

I feel your presence when I’m alone
Slithering through the heart
Pounding with the beat

Placed in my veins before I was me
I got you from my mother
Just a tainted gift

A song meant to induce rythmic fear;
On the most pristine pieces
A needle still stops

I’ve often dreamt of a fiery end for us all.
Crust opening to swallow in some
Others with volcanoes, meteors

It brings comfort more than shame
Partly, for few will see the end of times
The final perspective is of our admageddon

But mostly because when you arrive,
I hope to look you in the eye

Oh Prophet

Oh prophet,
Deliver us from temptation

Oh prohet,
Show me another path

Oh prophet,
Your words of wisdom often prove true
Unsullied doves soar aloft from your sleeve
Bring me God’s will, what’s a man to do
Show me the way, what I ought believe

A herald of good could do no slight
None might suffer in your holy wake
You saved them from horrendous blight,
So without your ear the people break

Oh prophet,
I bring your tribute from my hovel,
What coin I gathered for my labor.
I beg you now, if I must grovel
How am I to love my neighbor?

Pointed tongues pierce our spirits
For tortured bulls to swing in pain
A cape bore red so they might fear it
Showing our progress may be in vain

Oh prophet,
New man’s forces drift from the south
Barbarians reaching in for brutal kill
They know not value of your holy mouth
These savage men seek metal and thrill

You’ll see us buried if we don’t present all.
Prepare the coffers, we’ll surrender our gold;
Men in the valley have no fighters to call.
Just a small number of the sad and the bold.

Oh prophet, false prophet
Remnant from the memory of kings

Oh prophet, false prophet
Mason of our own grave

Oh prophet, false prophet
Scratched in your tomb lies a warning
Do not hail out answers at our first clue.
The sun will arise again in morning;
But your bones lie still, as all will do.

Yet dawn’s answers will still lie bare
Clarity brightens what we don’t know
That same void brought you to chair,
Covering the sun created your glow.

Oh prophet, false prophet
Caught in your plan and its hassle
Perhaps this truly wasn’t your fault
If one is to stumble upon a castle,
It proves wise to build it a vault.

Like many you chose a path to rise;
Found yourself on a fine hill to die on,
And seeing opportunity to open eyes;
You mistook the perch for a peak of Mt Zion

Oh prophet, false prophet
A shame you’ll never see truth of the plan,
The wisdom you believed that you had.
In the end proved just another man,
A slight bit beautiful; but mostly sad.

King of the World (a buncha couplets)

Our world seeing now some troubling things
Reminds us to look for hope in our kings

Master of strength; show off your brawn
Move the sun forward to dawn

The light of the moon shines often dim
A hopeful reminder of your whim

But your people lie suffered in the dark
Grasping for the song of meadow lark

Though the record of the sun goes strong
The presence of night grows long

Won’t you use your might to correct the mistake?
Or will you watch as your people break?

Sovereign of mercy, enforce your desire
Clear us a path away from this fire

Friends in the south suffer and choke
Watch it all burn and go up in smoke

More still east inherit fear of the west
Ravaged but still comes yet another test

An iron bird’s wail is a troubling sound
Engines breed tensions wherever they’re found

Will you prove name’s promise to the world below?
Or will we our fears bloom as part of your show?

Ruler of music; play us a song
Make it go down a little less strong

Drinks are swallowed with much more ease
When drowned out is the sound of the least of these

Averted eyes can find new opportunity
Fresh songs are best heard with less scrutiny

That distraction can grant new insight
In sorrow we forget to turn on the light

Is the love of your fruit a blessing in kind?
Or yet another attempt to deafen and blind?

Lord of wisdom inspire your voice
Remind the masses we have a choice

King of the world, where lies your crown?
Is this your will, and must I take it lying down?