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40 Fucks

Fuck this.

This is a mind dump. My soul’s sump pump.

Fuck Donald Trump. Fuck Donald Trump. Fuck Donald Trump. Fuck Donald Trump.

Fuck.

Fuck that dude and his idiot-child philosophy. Fuck the idolatry of his toxic masculinity. Fuck the part of him that lives inside me. Fuck the America that birthed his breed. Fuck the baby-men, the foxes who see the world as a house of hens. Fuck their fear, their blame’s spears, their resent for losing ground. Fuck the narrative to which they are bound.

Fuck the wolves that cry “sheep!” The future they weave is bleak.

Fuck countries and boundaries. Fuck their anthems, their stockpiles of splitting atoms. Fuck all the flags and their Risk playing fads. Fuck chessboards and overlords. Fuck swords and the arming of words. Fuck intervention’s weighted gloves and bombs delivered on the backs of doves. Fuck the patriotic fallacies. Phallic inadequacies. Fuck empire. Fuck power’s insatiable desire.

Fuck Facebook. Fuck me. Fuck the social media insanity, my hypocrisy, my lack of integrity. Fuck the fighting, the in-your-face shouting, the “liking.” The shaming. The mindless sharing. Fuck loneliness, the mothlight attraction of instant gratification. Fuck the vampire wind blowing through the screen in front of me.

Fuck the gatekeepers and what they believe. Fuck their mindset-sieves, their collection, accumulation of make-believe. Where everything’s fine and consequences vanish by design. Where Mad Max thinking is liberating, a noble aim to achieve.

Fuck everything. Every tree, every sea. The bees! The dirt beneath me! Give me a daily hatchet-habit, give me car keys, shopping sprees, jeans with pre-ripped knees. Give me things! Give me a job breaking the Beam! Make it easy! Keep me busy, keep me from seeing the bleeding. Make existence hungry for meaning, make it shallow, make creation narrow, keep my mind fallow.

Fuck familial history. Fuck my parenting abilities. Fuck my not knowing, my worry, my self-absorbed discounting. Fuck the struggling, the muddling, the doubt-filled wallowing.

Fuck the editor strangling me. I’m not free. Hounded. Rounded. Locked. Impounded. Fuck that guy sharing the same chair as me.

Fuck my cowardly half-assing, the ledge on which I’m standing where I can’t stop asking,

Fuck. Can I? Will I?”

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November Letter

It’s been a long while—
The centuries of flow and mire
The illusion and denial
The wars and funeral pyres
The ashes of our desires
The fall of belief’s empires…

I see alchemy’s casters—
Pulling victories out of losses
Finding directions in the darkness
Divining grace from disaster
Giving silence a voice
Turning fate into choice

I hear singing—
In notes blue and bleeding
From wounds deep are spilling
Truths without floors or ceilings
In howls come the barred teeth lyrics
Tearing at the blind crimes we all mimic

I inhale memories—
Immune to context and the passage of ages
From habit’s holding patterns and mind’s parking lots
Sleeper scents pounce, connecting distant dots
In wait on forgotten packed away shirts
Lingers the sweat from shoveling lifetimes dirt

I feel others next to me—
There’s nothing as soothing
As the rise and fall of another’s breathing
The way touch bridges unseen chasms
Delivers belonging and orgasms
Conveys in ways words can’t fathom

In each instance a bell-ache tolls inside—
Somewhere in my chest a place hides
In this no-space, a ghost trace, a presence resides
Knows the struggle, knows the push-pull of life’s tides
Remembers, embraces all suffering as its own
As cause and effect, together we roam

Photo credit: Public domain/Vincent Van Gogh, “In the Orchard.’’ Pen transferred to lithograph. 1883.
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Occupiers

When memes of opposition invade your vocabulary
War becomes a way of living
Say goodbye to humility
So long, empathy

Welcome to a story unyielding
It’s plot binary
With only chapters of winning and losing

Belongingness that requires sides
Divides, makes loneliness our brides

It’s a tragedy when everything is the enemy

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Birth and Consequences

This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.

-Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

And when you’ve taken down your guard
If I could change your mind, I’d really love to break your heart
I’d really love to break your heart

-Tears For Fears, Shout

It’s my birthday.

Two years ago today I was in Houston. Today Houston is under water.

Two years ago today I was heartbroken.

Two years ago today I was alone.

Two years ago yesterday I helped a drunk across a street.

Two years ago today was worse.

Two years ago today was better.

I spent the day at West Alabama Ice House and because I’d stopped traffic and helped a drunk old man across the street to a cab the drinks were free, they said. Maybe he was a regular. I checked their Facebook page today and there was a post that says “Tippy” died yesterday, two years to the day. Is Tippy is the same guy I helped? Maybe.

I feel like probably.

Yesterday, two years from Houston and Maybe-Tippy, I buy groceries for a family walking around downtown Sacramento in the 108 degree heat, their three kids limp in their strollers. Two in the double stroller the father is pushing, a tall black man his right eye pointing aimless to the sky while the other looks at me with desperation and shame. They are believers, the mother says. God said to ask for help and not to bring shame to his name, she says. They are from Louisiana or Alabama, all I hear is THE SOUTH, came all the way to California on a Greyhound for their autistic son, they say. No services for them in THE SOUTH.

No services for them in God’s country.

I did not tell them I am an unbeliever, that the Catholic Church and the secrets they continue to try to bury is proof enough that whatever flavor of god they believe in doesn’t exist. I don’t tell them my son is T1 diabetic and diagnosed with ADHD. I do not tell them I’m on medical welfare, that I don’t make enough money to live without roommates.

I fight away cynicism and judgement and suspicion. I have no room. There is too much already in me, the Internet, the fucking air, everyone’s lungs thick with it. Choking on it. I help them. We walk to Rite-Aid and I tell them to buy what they need. My son and I wait and I check my phone to make sure I have enough money in my bank account. I don’t care what they buy. They ask if it is too much and I say no.

I want to feel good. I want to help. Fuck the rest.

Two years ago the next day same as today my birthday, I meet Daniel Quinn, whose words had cursed my vision with disturbing validation. Trump hasn’t stolen my laugh yet. I’m not mulling the morality and efficacy of punching neo-Nazis yet. Some white dude on Facebook brandishing a handgun in a featured picture on his page isn’t wishing for civil war and for me to piss my pants. Houston isn’t under water. Everything isn’t coming home to roost. Not yet.

The woman from Mississippi I’ve fallen in love with hasn’t sent a cryptic text and tried to commit suicide yet. She hasn’t been released from a psych hold yet. She hasn’t lost custody of her child yet. I haven’t stopped contact. Not yet. She’d just stabbed me from the heart of her own storm and I’m reeling, still trying to reach her, trying to save her from her rising waters. I haven’t erased every text and email and photo I have from her yet.

It was good I live in California and she in Mississippi. I get lost in other’s storms. Gravity steers me to stare down the eye of other’s rather than my own.

By chance, someone else is in Houston two years ago. I’d flown to meet her earlier that year in another city before I find the storm in Ole’ Miss. Another storm, a blizzard that sets records.

I write her a poem before I leave, using Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon as the scaffold:

In the 13th floor room
There was a lonely man 
And a pillow spooned
And a picture of-
The window framed with snow at noon

And there were talking subways down the stairs 
And tall building crannies
And Han Solo cabbies
And scary spinning doors
And ice-white floors
And naked cheeks all flush and gutters filled with slush
And a red-headed lady and my long distance crush

Goodbye room
Goodbye pillow spooned
Goodbye window framed with snow at noon
Goodbye fear
And blanket maroon

Goodbye ice
Goodbye twice
Goodbye Picasso
And goodbye smile’s lasso

Goodbye Monet
And goodbye to hay
Goodbye for today
And goodbye, Lady

Goodbye cold
And goodbye luck
Goodbye not knowing
Goodbye stuck
And goodbye red-headed lady whispering “fuck” 

Goodbye lark
Goodbye dare
Good bye Elina, life’s not fair 

She said she couldn’t meet. Two years later, she’s sober and shacked up with Superman. It’s a curious thing to hold envy and goodwill in the same hand.

Harder to acknowledge what I’m running from. Even with both hands.

Someone new says to take the boy. Of course she’s right. Sometimes it’s best not to listen to yourself. Resistance is the call, a summons to change the flow. Maybe it’s a postcard I’m sending to the future, something for him to recall in darker times. A memory, a light. Something to balance the in-between wrongs. That’s why I drag my son through the Nevada desert. That’s why I take him to see the eclipse.

I hope she stays. She’s wind in my sails.

It’s a curious thing to watch the world slide. To acknowledge rising tides. To not relate to sides. To dispense with ego and pride.

There is a a sense that we are all each other’s consequences.

-Wallace Stegner, All the Little Live Things

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Until There’s Nothing

To home come our ills
Roosting, cawing
In the midst of the unwinding
All of us
Burning, falling

Now comes the call of war
From drum beat lips
Claiming Freedom and Equality
Clueless of the irony:

ABSOUTE HATE
WE MUST ERADICATE
THIS WE WILL NOT TOLERATE
WE WILL OBLITERATE
BRING A CAN OF MACE
PUNCH A NAZI IN THE FACE

A nourishing lexicon
Feed for the fight
Yet victory after victory
Our demons return from history

We spite pieces
Coddle the whole
A reflective tapestry
A Greek tragedy

Minds
Born from the womb of war
Our only knowledge
Dominion’s carnage

Craving a rite of passage
To transcend our binds
A denied ache
A blind desire

Whether forests or seas
Jews or bumblebees
Navaho, Buffalo
Passenger Pigeon
Combustion engine
Polar bears or Palestine
Annihilation is divine

The ends we use are physical
But the end we seek is spiritual
Metaphorical
There will be no miracle
Our future predictable
This curse is cyclical

The answer isn’t silence
Neither is violence
The circle will not break
In war’s wake

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Loss

In my guts
My veins
My mouth
In my mind, my heart
Less a spleen and dopamine
Symmetry, mystery.

Never-things
Used-to-be’s
Their force unseen, evergreen.

Tugging.
Pushing.

Sometimes subtle—
Metaphor, folklore.

Father
Son
God undone.

Mother
Son
Innocence gone.

Brain’s misfiring
Cuture’s dying.

Sometimes violent—
Corporeal, literal.

Bloodletter,
In pints and liters
Keeper of time and meter.
Untethered fits,
Raven-feathered drama.
Tooth Fairy’s fists,
Uncouth’s karma.

Body’s pitstop.
Porcelain on blacktop.

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Generation Annihilation

I don’t think you understand
Your reason lost in bullshitland
The answers, the truth
Beyond your grasp
Your solutions just illusions
From the throne of control
Will be your last gasp

The Machine Tomorrow Today
This is the way we pray
Improvements, efficiencies
Flush out the impurities
Quick, jail the heresy
Rules and fiction theory
Magician’s ingenuity
Trademark perpetuity
Keep it running, running
Incessantly
Indefinitely

When the motor sputters
The tip curses the base,
Damns its unbearable weight
Goading, sewing seeds of hate
Go to work, don’t be late
The fodder pushed harder
With a sucker-punched face
Challenge not rule’s desire
A heavenly space

Blame is the game
And they call you out by name
Sinners, Losers
Spooks and Gooks
The poor, the powerless
We always hold the shame
A bait and switch
A gaslight glow
A pharaoh’s triangle
The lie we sew

Your gods live in Neverland
Your equations, folly
Your leaders, power jolly
Your systems, tragic melancholy
No, I don’t think you grok the jeopardy
The truth is ruthless
Its storm merciless
And its winds blow westerly

Destruction has many faces
Beware its gifts and graces

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A Spoonful of Sugar

I fight fiction
I rage against it
Too many lies, denials
Of who we are
Of from where we’ve come
Of where we are headed…

But

When truth is too bright
Blinding
Too loud
Deafening
It sends hands to protect the senses

Just fiction is softer
Lighter on the ego
Easing us into understanding
The deception noble

Where walls and armaments stand
This thief finds a way
A way through, even for only a penny
And from that tiny loss
Begins a crack
A welcome mat for the thief’s return

Even if only for a penny

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
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Of Faith and Maybe

Leaving a story, writing anew
By force or will, often a marriage
Spurred by an ache, a wound
A wicked blow, an itchy nag
Or hollow’s hunger
Because easy never inspires
And pleasure sings a lullaby
At best, short blessings
At worst, crippling lies
Only pain’s heralds keep life true, keep us moving
Strides and footfalls of Faith and Maybe
Over no bridge
Down no path
Just yes, yes, yes
To the land between Was and Is
A destination carried
Under ribs, between lungs
Its thumps pushing the world
Through four rooms of meaning
Story always wins, has always won
In micro and macro, for better and worse
Stories are human and humans are stories
Stories within stories within a Story
But
Character or author?
This, the hardest question
This, the hardest choice.
Photo Credit: LearningLark/Flickr
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Not This Disease

Words come slowly
Sometimes, none.
A struggle never won
The words lonely, until done
Hopefully

Another coffee shop
A warm cup and company
Muse’s altar
Bodies, voices
Faces, stories
Reminders
The world is still here

Then, lyrics.
Goddammit, pull the reins
Paragraphs, please
Not this disease

“You prayed, I gave.”
She says
“Why question the sun’s rays?”

No prose
Just meter and verse
Creation in reverse
Buried first, cleaned by worms and dirt
From the ground sprouts
The gleam of singing bones

Fuck Kenton and Davis
Fuck improvisation, syncopation
Curse my father’s trumpet
My mother’s lungs
Damn my blue note origins
I don’t want to be bullets
Fired from poet’s guns

Heart’s call
The heeding, hard enough
The beating, in fits and leaps
The bleeding, always
Somewhere between clot and flow

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