How To Count Fireflies

I’ll love you in your sorrow,

When cold streams through the open window,

And night sucks the dreams from your pretty head,

I’ll pick you up, and carry you outside,

Where we’ll stand amongst the fireflies,

Trying to count them, but failing,

And you can trace stories in the sky with a finger

While I whisper in your ear,

And kiss along your neck,

And touch you

From behind

In the shadows,

Where all the stories’ names elude you.

I’ll whisper the words

You imagine you forgot,

And put the dreams

Back inside you.

Then we’ll feel our way back to the bed,

Eyes wide and sparkling,

And you’ll know how to count the stars:

Just like fireflies,

All at once.

Seasons

Out where the corn grows tall,
The deer play hide and seek,

And mosquitos swarm like street gangs
Ready to pounce and pummel
Unsuspecting sweet-blooded fools.

In the fall, even dusk procrastinates,
Leaving faint traces of daylight’s promise,

To coax the evening crowds: come alive,
See what longing might find you.

Stars swing dance to their own tune,
A song we wouldn’t understand
Even if we could hear it.

The night chill brings bumps on the neck,
As the leaves take their reds,

But morning comes with quiet fury,
A blinding wetness in the air,
And a deceptive warmth that says,

“Maybe this winter won’t be so bad.”
But the farmers, they know better.

They’ve studied The Old Almanac,
And they’re already stockpiling cans,
Generators, bottled water, and matches.

Winter is right around the corner,
Down to a few lunar cycles and counting,

And when the first snow hits,
To topple wires and fog windows,
They’ll be ready.

The city-folk, they’ll cry on for weeks,
Salty sobs that echo over shoveled walks,

But from the farmers, expect no bellyaching:
They’ve had their harvest, and now comes
The part where Mother Nature breathes,

And for a few long months,
There’ll be no shortage of beans and hotdogs.

Until Spring draws green back to the fields,
And the deer come out to start their games,
And once more, there’s work to be done.

Jailhouse Saints

Sitting with my skull
Propped against
An old window A/C unit,
I had an epiphany,
And here it is:
My forehead
Could someday be used
As a museum installation
Depicting the birth
And the inevitable fate
Of the cosmos.
Did you get that?
Let me give it to you again:
The sweat on my brow
Is the entire universe.
Just picture it.
It boils up;
Seemingly from nothing,
It appears.
Then, for what may arguably be
No reason at all,
It swirls and shimmers,
Dances and dives,
Until eventually,
Some great calamity comes
And wipes it all away.
Let me put it like this:
If cells are alive,
If they are actual living things,
Then I commit genocide
Every morning before breakfast.
We are God and Devil,
Every one of us
With a forehead
And a hand at the ready.
That being said,
It stands to reason
That the most merciful among us
Are the ones in handcuffs.

Drinkers With Writing Problems Published My Poem!

It’s Christmas in August for this vagabond poet.

DWWPIn case you missed the giddy Tweets, earlier this week I was honored with a chance to guest-publish a poem on Drinkers With Writing Problems. Fantastic site, in case you’ve never had the pleasure. Go there. Just a heads up though, it’s BYOB.

I couldn’t be more excited for you all to read The Good Life. Special thanks goes out to Kim Nelson, keeper of the Ponytail Up blog, for getting my poem in the DWWP queue. Thanks, Kim. I’m sending you a bourbon basket.

Wait, is that even a thing? Do they actually make bourbon baskets?

If not, they really should. Someone, please steal this idea. Then promptly send me a free sample. “Free” being the operative word, since I’m broke. I would say “starving,” but fortunately I’ve stored enough blubber to keep my body functioning for many winters.

Okay, I think that’s enough self-deprecation for one blog post.

Now leave me alone to kill the rest of this Woodford Reserve in peace, dammit.

But, before you go, know this:

I love you.

P.S. Please Drink Responsibly.

Icebreakers

When we go out, I’m a stunt double,
Or a bouncer, or a villain, or a thug;
But only on the silver screen.
My buddy here, he’s an underwear model.
Yes, really. It’s no big deal. Not like,
Calvin Klein, or anything.
He doesn’t have the height for it.
But you know those Fruit of the Loom ads,
The ones where you only see the guy
From navel to thigh,
And it’s very focused on boxers or briefs,
And the bulge in the crotch
Staring at you subliminally
Behind that thin layer of cotton?
Yeah, that’s totally him.
So, basically, you’ve already seen him
In his underwear. I think it’s only fair
If he gets to see you in yours.
This is a great icebreaker, believe it or not.
Girls at bars think it’s funny,
Because they don’t know for sure if it’s true,
So they stick around for at least a few beers
To shoot the shit and see if we’re full of it,
Or if we’re just being funny, at the very least,
Because funny is always a good thing, too.
Sometimes, this game will go over perfectly,
And my buddy will go home with a girl,
And I’ll drive myself back to his place,
Where I fall asleep on an air mattress
On the floor of an empty guest bedroom.
It’s cool, because I’ve already got a lady
Back home, waiting on me,
So I’m not trying to score.
But once I get back home,
And have a minute to think,
I like to lay in bed and revise our résumés
To prepare for the next night.
Maybe tomorrow night,
I’ll be a brilliant writer, and my buddy
Can do the talking, and I’ll just smile and nod.
He’ll be Edward Norton’s stunt double,
And I’ll be a New York Times Best Seller,
And at the end of the night,
When the girl is trying to get me to go home,
I’ll just smile and say,
“Maybe some other time.”
Because I know I’ve got the air mattress
And a picture of my beautiful love
Waiting for me in the guest bedroom
That suddenly doesn’t feel so empty.

Disassembled

I fell apart on the subway this week.
It was a dreadful scene, really.

Parts of me went everywhere,
Scattering around the subway car,

Rolling across people’s feet,
Bouncing around on that icky floor.

One of my arms landed
In a sweet old lady’s shopping bag,

Right next to a loaf of french bread.
She didn’t even notice.

I was so embarrassed, my cheeks turned red,
But she didn’t see because

My head had already split off,
Rolled to the back of the car,

Bumping into shoes and ankles,
Bruising my nose, my cheeks,

But I wasn’t able to shout,
Because my lungs weren’t connected,

So I can’t blame those people for kicking me.
They didn’t know any better.

This isn’t the first time this has happened.
Every once in a while,

I start to feel all bottled up inside,
And I know it’s about to happen again.

I’m going to fall to pieces,
Little bits of me here and there, disassembled.

There will be tears, of course,
But crying won’t make a bit of difference.

The doctors haven’t come up
With a name for it yet, but they will.

I don’t think they truly understand it yet.
Maybe one day, a doctor will go to pieces

In the grocery store,
Or while he’s talking to a patient,

And then he’ll take the time to give
This horrible condition a name,

Solve the mystery for the rest of us.
Maybe it goes back to Ancient Greece,

Or the Egyptians. Maybe somewhere,
In a hieroglyph carved in stone,

There’s a picture of a person,
Man or woman, it can happen to anyone,

With their limbs scattered all about,
Sadness in their eyes,

A look on their face that says,
“Help me. I’m lonely and lost

And I need someone to take notice.
I need someone to put me back together.”

Who knows? Maybe one day
This will happen to you.

If it does, the key is, don’t panic.
It will pass, with time.

The human body is a remarkable thing,
Capable of all sorts of miracles,

And over time the limbs naturally
Attract one another, draw closer,

And reconnect. It takes a while,
But eventually you’ll go back to normal,

Like nothing ever happened, almost,
No scars, if you’re among the lucky ones.

Your friends and family won’t understand,
And they’ll forget all about it in time,

But you’ll never forget.
It will always be in the back of your mind.

No matter what happens,
Or how much you tell yourself it’s all better,

From then on,
You’ll always remember

How it
Felt to

Fall
Apart.

Hide and Seek

We spent our younger years
Pondering the brutality of love,
Huffing the breath of darkness
Like gasoline fumes,
Basking in the sorrow of morning,
The song of eternity we spent dancing
Hopeless hapless helpless
Amongst shrunken heads
Twinkling in the sky.
The stars and rain formed a chorus,
Voices born before time,
And sang us soft to sleep.

We grew older. In the afternoons,
Rain ruined our favorite shoes,
Made our kisses sweeter,
Made the days longer,
The darkling nights we laid together,
Counting leaks in the ceiling,
Counting thunder clashes,
One. Two. Three. Four––boom.
God was getting closer now.
This was our hide and seek.
We hid from the world,
And the world hid from us

The darkness we didn’t care to see,
Dangers crawling like leaves
Along a sidewalk, scraping,
Hushed and low, ready
To sweep our toes from under us
And throw us to the dirt,
But we’d have none of that.
We were ancient now,
Wise enough to know the difference
In clouds, and clouds.
A storm was coming, true,
But you and I, we’d fare just fine.

And when night came at last,
We’d be sitting hand in hand,
Watching the horizon disappear,
Waiting for the clouds to find us,
And you’d look at me,
Hope in your eyes,
And we’d speak without speaking.
We wouldn’t need words,
Like love, or death, or thank you,
Because we’d have said them all before,
And when the rain started,
We’d hold hands and count, together.

Bloom, Sweet Azalea

Take refuge in the shade,
But don’t let it pale you,

Find safety from the scorch
Of life, the pressure of light,

Of breathing, blossoming,
Becoming something more.

Take the moon and make it yours.
Drink the stars like Evening Primrose,

Moonflower, Glory’s cousin,
Comes to life in darkness,

And so can you.
Bloom, sweet Azalea,

Haste not, but tiresome
Is the day of hiding

From the colors
You were born to show.

Better to paint the land
Brilliant pink,

Better to shed blood,
Better to wilt and wither

Than spend one more second
Being anything less than beautiful you.

Reaching For Repose

My bones ache and sag,
Worn from years of working

In heavy bluegrass autumn air,
Destitute of care, of love,

Hollow through and through,
Lost in doldrums, desperate bloom,

Longing for the earth,
Reaching for repose.

I’m eager for leisure,
Yearning for the dirt,

For the ground gives fortune like no other,
Silence, too, and stillness,

And when it finds me,
As it finds us all,

I’ll be waiting, smiling,
Reaching for repose.

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Marble

Isn’t marble a funny thing?
It’s the great supporter,
A champion of gravity,
The substratum of society,
If you think about it,
And yet, at the same time,
It’s so frivolous, ubiquitous
To the point we use it to hold
Wine bottles and coffee pots,
Plates, knives, and forks,
We eat over the stuff,
Spill crumbs and grease on it,
And it turns the other cheek,
Looks on, never even flinching,
Poised and ready to embrace
The next task, as if bound
By some divine duty to soldier,
Silent, hushed even, onward.
It almost makes you wonder
If that’s what Rodin
Had in mind all along.