Monday, October 30

Autumn Falls.

What is worse, to live in fear
Or to utterly not care?
I have to live with anxiety and depression
Terror and tears
And frozen expressions
I'm not getting better, I'm getting worse
I'm not feeling any stronger when I'm alone
I have nowhere I feel at home
No one I can talk to when I need to most
Two or three people in the world with whom I'm close
I'm afraid of my own shadow and yet
Don't really care what happens to my body
The fire has gone out of everything, I'm cold
The last days of summer are a memory
And winter is upon me.

Sunday, October 29

Friday, October 27


I want a lady, maybe

A shrink
With long long legs
A charcoal skirt

Glasses, on the bridge
Of her nose
And she needn't be
A model or someone's
Jerking-off rose

I want a lady, trying
To help people honestly
And her power suit is powerless
Her energy ebbs limited
And now she will listen

To what I have to say
About love
And ledgerdemain
Makes her blush and all the same
She underlines my name

I want this lady, maybe
A shrink
With long legs and hair pinned
Begging to be free
To walk with me, to learn, to see

I love the beaches, it's true
Choice of dimensions: two
But I also love the forest
And the mountain and the living
Room with all the piles of laundry

Her glasses will come off some day
I'm waiting for my moment
Her charcoal skirt will follow sure
As Gideon blew his trumpet
His homemade ode to Jericho, his strumpet

And what I have to say
About love and life
Is neither trivial nor trickery nor right
But it will undermine her life
And I will help her recover

All beings should discover
A greater truth than reason
And all minds should encounter
Eternity in their season
And all full souls should bend

Their knees at the false holy alter
Of their own design
And cast away their shrink or podcast
Perched upon the vines
Which run through their lives divine

They are not divinity
I say there's no such thing
The people crave infinity
But they are foolish beings
The truth is just insanity

The burden-bearing of kings
And philosphers, yea
For they too know
Truth is bent like clay however
You decide for it to go

And I am on my firepit now
Adjusting the logs just so
And dreaming of my long legged girl
With glasses perched on nose
My mind toggling her clothes

So what brings you here, my love?
A tale so old and new
You've heard me speak a thousand times
But I don't think you knew
That deep inside the universe,

The words I said were true.

Thursday, October 26

čerň hřebec.

The darkest mood

blacker than that espresso you sipped that
drove me crazy enough under the rainclouds
to tear your body in half
well, I wanted to, to see the inside of you
find out what made me so mad
so self-doubting, so hysterically in love.

He seeks me out now
like a war-bred stallion with ruby eyes
hellbent on one thing only
the way to beat monomania is to sidestep it neatly
so at the last second I spring from the path
into the long, safe, dewey grass
and his hooves make a complete mess of me.

Well, it doesn't always work.
(unknown credit)
The artist as humiliated martyr of nothing.

Taking my voice down, transfering sores.
He's off his meddies! I hear the roars.
But let you calm down now, it's not of that sort;
A mind like mine readies for any retort,
Casts any curative back to the start.
Cyclical thinking! Happy people, so smart.
Cognative narrative - let's play a game:
It's called never blinking, it plays the same
However you cast it; my mind slips free.
Mad hatter's party, under a tree.
But we're back in the past! The poem is thee.
And I am the artist, the con and the thief.
It's not made of words
Just live it
Say something if it needs to be said
Or shut it.

Tuesday, October 24

Prospect; Love; Possibilities.

All it takes to get me out of a depression is the prospect of a woman. For better or worse, I am a creature who lives and dies by love. My veins flows with it, my words all mold the air to it, my gaze reaches for it. When I talk to others, it is either despair or love that I am addressing. I have so much love to give. But I don't want to be used, hurt, made servile, emasculated. I want to be the man I am with no compromise, my gallant and spirited heart intact and fully engaged. And I want to love someone who can take it, and will love me back, and will enjoy every moment along the way. Romance never died. It just went and hid when the industrial revolution made its bid. But here I am now, waiting for someone to take my hand, waiting for the trust and the dignity that lies this way, praying we can make it across the hurdles of modern cynicism to the fertile fields beyond, where love greens the land, where I shall take your hand and dance a merry tune, lay you in the grass and kiss you till the noon, hold you all the while the sun completes its duties, and then truly: Take you in my arms at night to cast away the shadows that madly play so cruelly, and watch you like an angel sleeping, upon my breast, the sheets cool as april's breezing. I will greet you when we wake with the smile of no ordinary couple. For the world that is mine shall be yours, and we are free so the world is our playground, and all around us are possibilities. You take my breath away. I give it back, in the form of a kiss and touch on the cheek, your humble soldier of love dedicated to your happiness and freedom. With aims of my own, supporting yours, never a stone turned looking for love or understanding, it is all here in our eyes, in our words, in our clasped hands. I want to be your lover, your light, your shoulder of comfort, your man. And man and woman together make whole - tis only light from the morning sun that shows us our world, that reveals it in full.

To Nicola.

I don't hope I scarred you, I just hope I loved you and you felt it. I don't hope you were humbled or felt badly how you treated me or how immature you feel you acted, if by chance you do. I don't care that you were sometimes cruel (you no doubt think I was too), and I don't wish in any way to say, when you've approached my age, "I told you so." Everyone has their own life to live, their own time to learn and change. I hope I contributed something positive to your life, that is all. I've loved you from early on and I always will, as a human being. I don't wish you any bad days or black moods. I hope you find hope, love, and happiness - truly, from the entirety of my heart. If this is my gift to the earth, to be for once completely selfless, then let it be so. My intentions were pure, to this day I know that and can say it truly without blinking my eyes. To you, I never lied.
The Lord has seen fit to grant me breath
For this I am to thank Him though it ends in death
Returned to his fold I will bask serene in His honor
But only if I can escape all the horror
And if I dip my head in some water

Actually He has given me two lives
That have not much to do with one another
One frantically creates, romantically dreams
The other just screams
Aloud if it's alowed to or quiet in my brain

I never want to be born again.
Mom, you're always so kind when I'm scarred
The circumpolar star, surpassing by far
The role you were given, I love who you are;

Sheila, even though we are black and white
And I see as shadows what to you is most light
I'm indebted forever to your selflessness despite;

Susannah, you never really
speak to me
Your mouth seems sure but your mind isn't free
And your heart is the most hidden of the three;

Taunya, you liked playing mother to me
Though it ground you to pieces and hazes what you see
When I show you in radiance all I can be;

Debbie, you were so easy to please
Such a nice girl, giggled, then started to tease
When it didn't work out, you changed like the breeze;

Nicola, you were the brightest of all
From the middle of April to the middle of fall
And the hole in my heart has left no feeling at all
For I craved you most, my doll;

Jessica, I don't even know who you are
A sister of mercy or an imploding star
But instinct tells me something I'll keep to my chest
Until we have spoken more, I shall not divest
May your dreams stay unbroken. I wish you the best-
See you on Monday next.

Sunday, October 22

ONE OF THE RARE STATUS UPDATES of this blog (I used to try to keep it purely artistic and not address "the world" directly)... I apologize for the disappointing nature of some of the poems lately, and the sporadic visuals. The truth is I've been incredibly depressed and have tended to drop below even the line of "inspirational depression" if there is such a thing, to the point where I don't even use my computer more than a few minutes a day. I have written some pretty basic "I feel like crap" poems that are not really meant to be anything other than my way of journaling, so if the artsy-fartsy quality of the site has taken a dive lately, at least you know the reason. Thanks.

p.s. If you must appreciate something and cannot leave my site, I suggest you go back and stare at the (large) version of the "golden hair" painting a few entries back. I wish I could've painted it. It's lovely and masterful at the same time. I love the brush strokes, the perfect shades, and the highlights exactly where they should be. Also it reminds me, together with the poem preceding it, of my own "goldenhair" who has broken my heart to little pieces, but whom I still find enchanting.
Sonoma Skies
Her Kind.
(Anne Sexton)

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
a woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.
Anne Sexton (photo by Rollie McKenna)

I NEED AN ILLUSTRATOR. Well, this isn't quite a classified ad, but I was just musing over how I need someone who can fill my artistic gaps (drawing, painting) and who would collaborate with me on this site, on a possible upcoming book (shh!), and just in general. Photography is another skill which is always welcomed, as is, for that matter, writing. There's no rule against talent overlap, but lately I've been finding myself long on text and light on illustration, such that to keep the site visually interesting I've had to go to outside sources and credit them, which is ok but it does depersonalize things a bit.

I knew someone who was perfect for this role. The offer's still there, of course. But it's also open to anyone who wants to contribute and get a credit and some feedback from my measly audience (I like to think I have a readership of thousands, all of whom lurk and never post. Then again, I'm on pills.) If someone were to ever come along who became of "creative partner" status, or course, it would go beyond individual credit and that person would become a co-author of the site.

I just feel like this thing needs to grow in a different direction and I need help bringing visualization to my words. It's also sort of a dangling fishhook for an artist who might be willing to collaborate with my on a book of poems and illustrations that I have been slowly planning to put together over the months.

Saturday, October 21

I don't drink anymore
Haven't done "street" drugs in a long time
I take pills the doctors give me
To keep me in line
To help me keep my mind
And all around me I see lovers' arms entwined
As they march away in twos like the zoos of Noah
NOAA tells me a storm is headed my way
I want to let it wash me away
But there are people in the way
A mom and a sister, and an ex and two misters
And maybe three other girls that I know, so young
Their hearts would split in two if I should go, so glum
So now I shall write me a villanelle
A ghazal, renga and a triolet
A sonnet like a modern gazelle
Flying aflame through the trees so spent
And the cheetah chasing behind me
I've seen the worst he can do to me, friend
Don't stoop down to remind me
Just stay a pace behind me.
frozen with fear
I just lie here
don't want to look outside
don't want to look inside
wish I could talk to someone but
the phone is across the room
wish I could be with someone but
planet earth is empty
for me right now
there is one person I can think of
or maybe two or three
who could make me feel better
just by holding me
telling me they're not gonna leave
until I'm feeling better
and not even then,
not ever.
Plunge and emerge
a sick game I don't want to play
my ride for today

Elevate and plummet
in sight of the summit
I dive back down

Into the blackest pool
and drugs can only numb my skin
inside my heart, it still gets in.

Thursday, October 19

"Golden Hair" by Dan Schultz
Poem V from "Chamber Music"
(James Joyce)

Lean out of the window,

I hear you singing
A merry air.

My book was closed;
I read no more,
Watching the fire dance
On the floor.

I have left my book,
I have left my room
For I heard you singing
Through the gloom,
Singing and singing
A merry air.
Lean out of the window,

I ain't been on no magazine covers
Buddy, I don't know what you're talking about
I'm just trying to get to my gate in the terminal
Don't need no weirdos stalking about

Look, I'm just trying to get to my hotel
Which is located within your beautiful country
I ain't no terrorist nor pedophile
And I ain't packing no dope or guns on me

Hey now, I just want to meet your daughter
Who invited me here to meet with me
I believe she is old enough to make those decisions
So can you stand the fuck out my way, pretty please?

Shit, I haven't been this humiliated, dog
Since I was a snot-nosed little kid
I just got kicked in the nuts for three straight days
For something I never even did

All you border patrol hicks and idiot fathers
I hope you're proud of what you've done
You've separated two people eager to meet one another
And scared one with your "warnings," you scum

I hope people like you all lose your jobs
And march down to hell to get some work for real
And on a mountain of flowers somewhere up above
My love and I will dance in the flowering fields.
on a post-spectacular, sullen day
languished morning bereft of sun
I was left and now I'm done
it was fun but now it's gone

there's no way to recreate those feelings
best just to leave them in the past
form feelings for now
that is the part I always stumble on

that is the part I must be an expert on
leaving the bad behind and finding good
without selling my soul in the processs
I need to stay positive and still have a conscience.

Wednesday, October 18

How can a person view herself as mature and yet not contact a person she had willingly arranged to meet and who hasn't heard from her now in over 2 weeks? Doesn't she know he worries about her? Doesn't she know he has emotions like she does, and that he is confused and hurt by what has gone on? Can't she put herself in the mind of another for just that long? All I want is a sign, some resolution. Paranoia is absurd at this point if that is keeping you from contacting me. If you can't trust me enough to chat at this point or at least email than you are the one with problems. Reflex in this case: So, I have problems, so what? The 'what' is you need to trust people in your life or I worry for you. You could be so much freer. You're a prisoner of your own delusions half the time, just like you accuse me of. I just want to say hello, I don't want to fight, I want to know what happened on your side so we can bury it and let it be. I've got enough going on over here I'm not gonna obsess about you or jump off some building. It would be nice to close the case though, or whatever you want. I won't hold any grudges, I know what it's like to be confused and afraid. BELIEVE ME.
"old" picture
short on breath.

i know i'm alive because i can hear the shortness of my breath. i can feel the emptiness in my stomach. sense my right arm falling asleep. i have a slight headache because my jaw is clenched when my attention is not on it, commanding it to relax.

i know i'm alive because i remember things and i have talked to a couple people today. because i can smell some food from last night that i need to throw away. because my eyes in the mirror see themselves, and there is understanding.

even though i can demonstrate empirically that i am alive, i feel dead. there are no emotions inside me. i can't imagine wanting to do a single thing at the moment, i just know i need to get out of bed for awhile. it's 4 in the afternoon, and i went to bed at 7pm last night. i've only slept part of that time, the rest has been spent staring at the ceiling and walls.

my life should be an embarrassment of riches. yet it feels as impoverished as the children you see on the news who are starving. even the sickening rollercoaster ride of anxiety has left me alone for a few days. now i'm just a null set.

Sunday, October 15

Saturday, October 14

Love for a spell.

I fell in love
The year I was born
The next I had my heart torn open
It's been this way
Ever since that day

I've loved for a spell
And then my guts fell open
No pearl inside
No lessons from hell
Or sermon on high

Just this weariness in my eyes.
No one who is not Depressed
or cannot see with their eyes unblinkered
can ever understand what it means
can never see it more than a diagnosis
to be a living subcreature,
a parasite,
to be cast into the fire and smell

your own self burning
to know no matter how they
stitch and fix you up
there is no returning
no one who has not been through the valley
of the shadow of a hateful god can ever
hope to understand
so don't even try, just hold my hand.
a skylight is overhead, you could say
a snowflake is never just a snowflake
when you look this way it is a white line
shines a silent array of ghosts climbing through
windows if you look any other
a painting is never just paint on canvas
and trees have the functional equivalent
of livers and kidneys and arteries and veins
if you know where to look and how to behave
the moonlight breaks overhead, provides shade
to passing cars on the mess they've made of
this bleached californian land
parted the cornfields and led their people
across the continental divide, inside of mountains
emerging on fire in a field of joshua
and yucca, scarabs on the ground to watch
their eyes, like dead pharoahs have eyes,
and I could never see a page as just a page
you know everything in this world can change
in the blue part of each flame

a satellite moves, or it's just my imagination
I don't why they look me over, I really don't care
It's not as if I move too much, or ever
ran for cover, the other side just has too much
to hide on a day like today it's a rocky ride
I let you borrow my vest, now I'm left with nothing
I've never seen you in my life
a man with red hair, some hair and more hair
standing around, ten feet in the air
oh, if only you could listen to the wax
tubes play that mournful sounds of lost years
oh, if only you could mourn for sounds that
wax can turn into memories of people who are dead
and in the door going through to the room
with the green stripe all around the ceiling
they wanted my pulse and I gave them my soul
in an etched blue glass bowl
and all my other useless pieces

then I cried, "but I believe in God!"
and He hissed back bodiless that he He didn't believe in me.
I didn't know what to do or say, a year passed that day
my hair grew gray and my face looked like a baby's
and there was blood running down the trees outside
and all through me inside. I just cried until
I felt a hand take mine.
please tell me I'm in a morality play
that this act is almost finito
the poem almost over so I don't have to feel it
I don't know what to say anymore
I sleep for the night, hope to God by the morning
things will be alright
a year of nightmares passes along the way
day breaks
and I pass out from lack of electrolytes
all senses shut down for repair

now, surrounded. now, descended.
a jet went overhead but I was inside so
how could I have known that
I pull the drapes to get them from looking in
the music gets much louder. I am alone
in a room full of people
doctors dressed in black
and soldiers bleeding white from the
backs of their heads.
onward, christian soldiers
onward till your blood is trailed away
away to the horizon. you bleeding things
get away from me
or I swear
I was always clean
I was always clean
I will always be clean
get away from me you filthy whore of colors
I know you from your shadow and
the shadows of a dozen others
you reek of thorazine
you spread lies like dirt and I
will always be
black, white and clean.
Jada walks into a small patch of sunshine
Catches limes as they fall
It is California in Calgary now and
That memory is all that I have
To keep me from exploding
I feel too free
I may anyway

Party floats by like a chinese dragon
Down the stairs to catch buses
Or swipe key cards in doors
I went outside to get my breath
Or lose something hurtful forever
A random man said it's not time

They'll never tell you it's time.
A sudden turnaround you could say clinically it was my mood and maybe baby that had something to do with but what really goes on between brain and mind are like wars between land that is yours or mine and so anyway I ripped myself from a falling ship and righted the bike and all that shit and now I know that there is an infinite road leading out in whatever direction you stare into like one of those 70s tech demos of the videocamera filming the TV and I felt I was going to throwup because of the motion. A period. It's funny I considered being a pilot because I'd have thrown up all over the simulator cockpit my first time feeling any Gs and they'd have kicked me out on my As for not knowing my Ps and Qs. But that infinite road, it is branched at every point with infinite roads, every point a nexus, so you have no excuse if you suck so much that you can't even get off the spot you're on into some kind of unique territory, given there is an infinite amount, although some of the more obvious ungrazed pastures may be a little ways out there and to the left.

The biggest thing I want to say is get over your creative hurdle by ignoring it and working on the next thing like you were a master. Things can be done in reverse. If you fail, you are the biggest loser on the planet, but only till you start your next project. Then it's back to being a genius again.

Thursday, October 12

joe kicked bottles
fell in with other boys who cared
and she was not here
joe caressed his mother’s
milky white eyes
beneath the sodium lights
he thought how his time is full of blood
on the pavement white
with feces and mud
and there was no god
in the sky above.
a life chain
a ruined thing
matresses stacked shredded over
grey bookcases rotting
my globe turning endlessly
i never wanted any of this
i could have been born without feelings
scurry to the corner where dust stands
a painful month deep
where frozen screams
burn inside my teeth
and alcohol
shoves me into sleepless dreaming
in the same yard
they razed our hopes
raised us on such slim hope
now my hope is all but gone
i never see what
is ahead for certain
never know the damned
from the broken and burnt
my dreams hurt
and the pillow cradles my head of tears
The world can be so inhumane
And the wind can blow cold on any day
If I'm such a nice guy, then why am I alone?
If all I care about is love, and serenity
And a place to call my home
Where are the people who want these basic things
The way I do?
Where are the friends who'll come surround me
And feel the same as I do?
Most of the world has other agendas
They have no problem being cruel so they can
Get ahead, toward what end I don't pretend to know
They can be charitable and hospitable and smile at you
If their Bible tells them so

I'm too simple for a place like this
I just want to go home.

Wednesday, October 11

now for something silly...

Warrin' peas.

Two pods on the same branch
Fighting for their nutrients
In an evolutionary dance
Until I come along and snatch
Them both for my evening meal
My gene machine for eating steamrolling
Their need to feed and reproduce
Two warrin' pea pods locked in
The eternal struggle of man and beast
Are now just some ordinary produce.

Tuesday, October 10

Light filters down through cracks in the ceiling
The bed is unmade
Why wait until you see all the colors of the rainbow
Your heart is afraid
But there is safety in the walls all around
And the trickle of the faucet
Only measures out drops of survival
Like a grey day promising rain
Eager to be drunk by the parched earth
Chaotic healing
And cold cracked cement and steel
May be how you feel right now
But right now is just a drop of water.
When you've looked death in the eye,
And held its gaze without blinking,

Nothing else can ever intimidate you again.

(please do not use photograph. thank you.)


There is a beauty more ethereal and far richer than gold
That I will snatch from morning sunbeams till I grow old.

There are feelings better than the feeling of the bedcovers
When you are so tired you could collapse, but I have not found them!

Doesn't mean they aren't out there. A universe that is infinite
Must provide something better than flexing those toes and yawning.

And yet I have trouble conveiving of it.

There is luxury far more exquisite than the palaces of royalty
That I have locked away in my imagination for dreary times.

Somewhere exist taller waterfalls, more majestic mountains
And loftier towers than here upon our humble earth.

And there are damsels lovelier and in more distress than you are
My dear, somewhere in the cosmos, I'm sure of it.

And yet it is you I would save if I could.

Monday, October 9


I didn't want to walk today
So much simpler just to drive
So I walked,
And I thrived.
I saw beings emerging from the earth
Only half alive
Give them time.
I saw people who needed some shot of hope
I gave each a dime
Or listened politely
As long as I could.
I saw seven shades of ochre between
Fourth street and mine.

Everything you miss about the old days
Is all around you all the time.
You are part of the problem
You want what the next person has
So you get stuck in line.
All you have to do is step out,
Float off to one side with your eyes wide
And your heart open.
You will find hope
And another way of coping
With this life
And with your mind.
In the evening I was clear headed and well-rested. I had eaten well.
The sun hung thick and orange and then went to bed
Behind the trees where I lost sight of it.

Tonight I lost my fear of everything.

I strode with peace and purpose. I looked people in the eye.
Said hello. Smiled because it made me feel so good inside to do it.

The moon lit the night anyway, and the city is so bright these days.
I ate the darkness anyway when I found it, laughed it down the alleys.
Pushed it out of my way up and out into the sky
Full of so many stars.

I pushed the darkness back to where it belongs, and I didn't despise it
Something has to fill every space, even if it's darkness.

I felt the warm air off my body mix with the cool air of night.
Every street light was green when I got to it. Eventually.

Tonight I learned if something runs away, don't chase or entice it.
It will come to you if it wants to.
I learned if a circle is rolling along the grass, don't force it
To be a square so that it cannot escape your attentions.
Trapped squares are sad creations.

My breath was even and my eyes were level, my clothes fit well.
The weather was perfect because I didn't care at all
What kind of weather we were having.

Today I saw that every single thing is in motion.
Even stillness, waiting, is motion in time. Nothing is frozen.
Today when trees bent from the wind,
I saw gentlemen nodding their heads.

And when cars went by bending the sound of the air around them,
I just smiled. I know why the air lets them through.

Women were kind to me tonight and men didn't confront me.
I don't think I said more than twenty or thirty words
And not one was uttered in anger or contempt.

I couldn't imagine such a thing as contempt on a night like this.
The treelines on the distant hills were fantastic. Every detail, so amazing.

When I began my journey, I thought I'd never make it on time.
My pace was steady and I never hesitated. I never thought what I would do
If I didn't make it on time. As it happened, I made it in perfect time.

Tonight I lost my fear of everything.

My desires were mild and easily appeased. The challenges of the day
I took control of with a soft but firm grip
Made them let go of the money, then told them not to come back.

Even the reek of the kitchen sink did not cause me to avoid it.
I just took care of it, because it needed to be done.

Tonight I realize how much I love everyone who has the courage
And willingness to be their true selves in front of others,
And feel truly sorry for those who can't yet.

Maybe they never will be able to, but I will keep hoping.

I lay on the ground this morning, but I was separated from it
By a slab of cement, carpeting, a bed frame, and a mattress.
Yet I still felt the ground,
Warm like a sandbox, saw straight through the ceiling
Into the great swan constellation that hung overhead
Behind the thick blue brush strokes of the sky.

Today I hated no one, regretting nothing, remembered nothing
And my thoughts were on what a magnificent place we have the honor
To move about in. So full of sights and sounds, scents and sensations!

I felt happy with myself, the kind that pushes outward
Into the crowds and spreads itself around. Not the kind that
Devours endlessly and is never full.

I saw birds against the stars, imagine that, to see a flock
Of geese twinkle black against this immense dome they live in
And so, so much higher than that,
I saw the moon in her best attire, pleased to be reclining
And I'd have tipped my hat if I'd had one.

Today people seemed weary and in need, and I did what I could
Without entangling myself. And those in need the most were the ones
Who wanted help the least. To those I just gave a smile.

Maybe they will remember that smile.

Tonight I became an adult for the first time in my life.

Sunday, October 8


I was born in the middle of the world
Always a step out of sync, out of fashion
Out of my mind with the passage of years
Wrought in fear inside antiseptic dreams and left
To middle class parents in the center of the century
I cried for all the usual reasons
An echo of the world
Still haunts in me
I can feel it fade
See in your eyes
Something like pride
Slowly die
Last is now
First on my list
Let go darling
Let me go
And go

It’s the most horrible thing of all
It burns so beautifully
Leaves ghosts upon the pavement
Reaching for heaven.


You'd think somehow we'd learn
From birth afraid what we'll come to
Our dreams are doomed to fade
Till shadows hide our face

There is no place to turn
Nowhere on Earth to run to
No place to hide away
No mercy and no grace

There's no such thing as love
Just smiles that die around me
No dawn will ever touch this sky
No sun will ever rise

And there is no light above
These chains have always bound me
I stand a prisoner of the life
I couldn't leave behind

by v. van gogh
by s. ballinger

Saturday, October 7

Was it even real?

There is so much pain in the world
So many broken lives
Struggling souls
Burdened with so much grief
So many children receiving less than they need
Parents doing the best they can with what they have
And so many ruptured hearts
Lost love
Missed chances
I don’t want to lose my chance with you

I feel the suffering of the world
Like a shotgun blast every morning
When I force my eyes open to the light
And the light of the truth
Sears them like a furnace
That only the most wretched man
Could label as justice
Justice is an arbitrary measure with which
The Haves can alleviate their guilt
And preserve their vitality

Nothing about the land, the sky,
Or the ocean suggests tranquility
There are tectonic movements every day
Tidal surges, eruptions of flame
Vast famines and plagues sweeping
Through lands forsaken
By their long-lost beasts of burden
Cousins of a violent deviant strain
That mercilessly procreated
Our present unholy reign

And yet there is so much love to be found
Between all the fallen pieces
Outside of the swollen slums
Inside the hearts of every man and woman
Who has the presence of mind to listen
And hear what the wind is saying
And see what their eyes can fathom
Without the dead weight of prejudice
And fatal pride
I keep my passions hidden inside
So that I may share them uncorrupted with you.

One day.

Thursday, October 5

For you.

I forgive you and I still love you. I wish you greater peace and happiness in your life than you have had, and hope you land on your feet somewhere good when all the dust settles. We all deserve happiness.

You've got a heart of gold, Nicola. Even those with hearts of gold need to polish them on occasion, but you'll figure yourself out with time. Good luck... I do miss you so very much.


No perfect worlds

In a perfect world, we would be together. The fact that we're not shows the world for what it is. It may be random and chaotic, with no one at the helm. Or it may be evil. But it is not good. In a good world, good things would happen. We would be allowed to meet.

Or didn't you want you? It was an accident, right? I can never bring myself to hate you, maybe just feel bitter about things that happened. If you're there, respond and tell me it was all a misunderstanding, that your hands were tied. I will forgive you, you know I will.

Despite everything I still adore you. The folly of man is to love too much, and I am much folley'd. Seen.
I turned my heart toward you
In a happy hour of Spring
And asked for your protection then
Which you did swear to bring
Like shadows we assumed a life
That waited better days
I had no problem then, my love
In living like a slave

But then the chill came over me
And I saw where I lay
A thousand corpses curled about
Their faces shaped of clay
Had waited for you one by one
And never found a prayer
To keep them from oblivion
So silent, they lay there.

I'll never try to free you, dove
I'll never be your friend
Against my very nature, I
Will never love again
The rose petals are sharp
They were nothing meant for you
But skies act like the coming of
The rapture may be true

Oh you who try to harm me
By silence or by blood
Will see the lamb get slaughtered
In his own festoon of love
Where tears of joy and hate are mixed
And all who do attend
Will die before they get the chance
To see the sun again.
This is where fifty people were shot
Dropped in place like empty laundry
This is the place good people forgot
Those victims whose suffering paved into lots
Whose bodies wept their crimson tears
From broken eyes and lifeless ears
This is where they left their sundries
Pockets dragged on lawns so green
A sky of clouds left sun unseen
A day where elsewhere, children played
And life made sense, it seems so mean
The shades of the dead all haunt it now
The play-places of the living
A yellowing picture was all I saw
You couldn't even really see the faces
I smoothed it back into its old leather book
And promptly forgot where the place is.

I've been to Canada
What a fabulous country
The white halls and red lines to follow
The people behind the glass that glare at you forever
As they check your papers
The wheat fields, tract homes, and golf courses
Everpresent bilingual resources
Yeah, nothing like our neighbors to the north
I adore, let me repeat that, ADORE Canada
I hear they have some really pretty girls there
With liberal mothers and fathers
Understanding security heels and peace officers
I don't know why I haven't taken it in my head
To go there before
But now that I've seen the whole scene
From a 20th story window
And been politely shown the door
O Canada,
You'll be seeing me a whole lot more.
Because I love you
We are brothers, Canada, USA
Just don't touch me with that hand
That stinks of Cain.

Wednesday, October 4

new life springs from old

all photos by dmitry konstantinov
I believe in magic now.

They shredded me with a fine-toothed comb
Because I always believed in a rational explanation
Maybe I couldn't understand
But I believe it worked mechanically and not by chance

Not anymore
I've seen too many things happen in the last week that
Make me believe there must be a will
And that will hates people like me

I will not search for happiness
I will not root for teams
I won't hold hope for girls of my dreams -
I'm plainly the target of some greater being.
Fine, I will teach.

First principles.
To those who cannot see beauty or distill a grain of truth from what is otherwise white noise:
The best writing is the most directly functional.
But function may dictate that flowery imagery be used to convey that truth.
Flowery imagery should not be used if unneeded, nor should rhyme.
Rhyme should contribute to the power of a piece but should never undermine its meaning.

Let's look at a specific poem.
1 Everything is too sad
2 reviving dreams I once dreamed like a child
3 gardens and hikes and basket lunches
4 have turned into flavorless melon cups
5 in scrubbed auditoriums
6 all the good I wanted to do
7 split into two, thrown back into the sea
8 my friends have abandoned me
9 and my feet are moving
10 but I'm not going anywhere.

1. To whom? The author? Or some non-authorial protagonist? It appears to be the author. The choice of "too" sad rather than "so" sad indications a threshold has been exceeding; something can be expected to happen.

2. The present sadness brings back a time I once dreamed "like" a child, not "as" a child. So the sadness of other childlike states, like my post ECT days, perhaps. The childlike nature is almost more tragic if it occurred in an adult state, since this means I was emotionally out of control at the time, and adults don't relinquish emotions easily.

3. Now the source of the childlike dreams is revealed: Gardens and hikes and basket lunches. This is undoubtedly the period of time I spent living with Taunya, when we (she) had a garden and things seemed homey and there were invigorating hikes up Mt. Hood with basket (sack) lunches to enjoy at the peak. This is obviously a good and cherished memory.

4. But at some point (the present?) the vision of these mountain feasts fades and is replaced by the artificiality of a prepackaged melon cup. This could be from an institution, where such things are common, or it could be from from a convenience store, where prepackaged "health food" is increasingly sold at premium prices.

5. Scrubbed auditoriums gives the impression of an institutional environment, and I doubt in this case it's a lecture at Stanford. Especially the choice of the word "scrubbed" suggests to me a residential facility of some sort, such as a mental institute, which is a bit of a leap but seems to fit where the poem is headed.

6. What good did I want to do? It's not specified, but in MY case it would be to produce more serious scholarly work, to make people more happy, to raise and maintain a stable and healthy family, and so on. Other people seeing themselves as the protagonist will come at this with their own ideas of benevolent longings.

7. The point is, whatever the nature of the longings, they are quashed. I don't know how true it is, but I've heard that the type of Baltic sturgeon that produce black caviar, the world's most valuable, can be afflicted by a certain blight (no doubt after drinking lots of that good Russian sewage) which render their roe (caviar) spoilt and thus at dock when they are split open, if such a defective specimen is found, it is cast aside (perhaps into the sea, or into a junk pile).

8. My roe is no good; my dreams were soft and rotten and deemed unsuitable for public consumption. My friends do not come to my aid at this. It is not clear from this poem why; perhaps the fault is in my stable of friends, or perhaps I have done something to finally reveal my own folly. That may be a weakness of this poem, the lack of motive for people close enough to the protagonist to be considered "friends" to abandon him or when his dreams are revealed as untenable fantasy. Maybe they were practical friends who thought he was a visionary as opposed to just a dreamer.

9. My feet are indeed moving. Usually this is a good thing - it indicates action, a heading toward some resolution. But...

10. The moving feet are not in fact taking me anywhere. They are flailing about in the absurd dance the hanging man does when he's kicked the chair away and is supporting his weight by his neck alone. Assuming the neck does not break, this means probably a blocked trachea and the equivalent feeling of holding your breath too long but with no possibility of ending the feeling, which grows more and more dire until consciousness gives way to darkness. And all the while, the feet dance in the air, strangely beautiful and powerless. It is the dance of death.

I don't mince or waste words, lines, or poems. I write efficiently in my own way, and can probably explain nearly every poem I've written in the last decade in this manner. I think it's a boring thing to do, but I want the less sophisticated poetry reader to be assured that I personally approve, as it were, of every word that goes into one of my poems, and none (at least in this blog) are treated as throwaways or "sing-song". I don't write poetry to create pleasant sounds. The fact that many sound pleasant when read aloud or silently gives me great satisfaction because despite putting the pure meanining of the poem ahead of all else, I've managed to also accomplish this secondary goal, and that is not an easy thing to do. That's why I enjoy doing it.
Astronomie Domine.
(Syd Barrett)

Lime and limpid green, a second scene,
A fight between the blue you once knew.
Floating down, the sound resounds
Around the icy waters underground.
Jupiter and Saturn Oberon Miranda
And Titania Neptune Titan.
Stars can frighten, blinding signs
Flap flicker flicker flicker.
Blam pow pow, stairway scares Dan Dare
Who's there? Lime and limpid green.
The sound surrounds the icy waters under
Lime and limpid green.
The sound surrounds the icy waters

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