Hot Coffee, Zero Dark Thirty

Hot cup of truck stop coffee, zero dark thirty, heading out to somewhere far down the road.

Trips with my dad in his big semi when I was a boy. His hot coffee before heading on down the road.

Or when he and mom and my brother and sister took trips to see mom’s family in Florida.

Hot cup of truck stop coffee, zero dark thirty, heading out to somewhere far down the road.

I am so like him. The older I get the more so. Good and bad. Faithful but distant. Loving but silent.

The night is calming, the coffee bitter and bright, and I head on my way.

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Haughty Waters

The ocean. I made it. Made it to the end.

The blue, imperious, and haughty waters.

Mermaids warily watch past the riptide

our perversely innocent, carefree daughters.

 

I am among the throng and revelers here.

People that seem weightless and so carefree.

I am among the sunlight children, that so glow.

People who know nothing of the uncanny sea.

 

Those mermaids know we don’t care about home.

Their home is taken piece by piece every day here.

Land’s daughters’ slide sunlight off their skins, bathing.

Our other kin will spill the seed of a rather tired seer.

 

Faith pushed away the mermaids, took tails as trophies.

Conquistadors are the knife point, the savagery of The Word.

Mermaids may sing up Leviathan out of a desperate hope to live.

The piety of our burning makes all arrogance of belief absurd.

 

Land’s daughters, like the mermaids, desired and despised,

are in bright colors and are wild like the mermaids before we came.

The beach may call them back, back to the womb of both our kin.

The beach calls us back, back baptisms can never wash away our shame.

 

 

Baptized In Oceans

I sit alone in a swing in the wooded park, far past childhood, far past grace.

I remember a girl I loved, and how she held me, and how she touched my face.

The sunset is a dim and angry pumpkin orange. It’s November. It’s now winter.

She was the one who loved the world. I was the Judas. I was the bitter dissenter.

 

The light fades away as I sit. I draw my jack close and tight. I call her back to me.

She swore we’d travel to California. She told me we’d be lost in the Pacific’s infinity.

Senior year the demons had me so tight, and I thought they loved me. Only she did.

Senior year I stayed home, and let her go to San Diego, because I was all bitter Id.

 

And what perverse comforts are these Woulda, Shoulda, Couldas, as night comes here.

San Diego is still there, and there’s a little time, for the Pacific to make me disappear.

She is gone from my life forever, perhaps there are still angels, a hope for a simple grace.

Maybe I can still find my prepared mansion, a pure lover who’ll tenderly touch my face.

Picnic

Spring is here, and we thought it would never come.

The cool air starting to warm again, the sun starting

to soothe us again, the light returning to a cold place.

 

The motorbike parked by the side of the road, we eat a

picnic, wine and sandwiches, and a few left over sweets.

The day is soft and yellow, a lot like left behind childhoods.

 

Their is gunfire in the distance, cries of anger, howls of pain.

We flinch, not able now to pretend we are just young lovers

on a trip, a vacation, looking for a chapel to marry each other.

 

We continue to eat, the sounds of war so far away from us here,

but our hearts race and there are tears in our eyes, as we again see

all is lost, and we have to keep going, to where we can hide ourselves.

 

We get back on the motorbike, and drive farther into the day, heading

into the forests and the cold rivers and the wide and wine dark lakes.

She is with child, and we don’t know if that is brave or if it is cruel.

 

The roads to ourselves, leaving the earshot battle behind us as we ride,

ride into the world that man has always made, Sisyphus always rolling

back from the hope of a world of brotherhood and hope. It always breaks.

 

 

A Bite In The Air

Jessica lay on the blue plastic slide in the park playground, in the shade of the tall and ancient oak, that was starting to have shoots of new leaves.

It was still cold, a bite in the air, but spring was here, and all was turning green again, new life was coming.

 

The morning was passing into afternoon, the sky went from dim velvet to soft and powdery baby blue.

The clouds above Jessica were ancient airships from an age of magic, long ago, before death came into the world.

 

He was a whisper now, a voice fading in her head, a face kept new and whole only by the photographs she’d taken.

Spring was here, and life was beginning, but he was gone forever, the only green that belonged to him was the shoots of new grass on his grave.

 

She watched the sky, laying on the blue plastic slide, the powder blue above like his sad, sad eyes.

She felt almost as if she was floating into that gentle sky, that she was weightless, and the world could not hold her.

 

He was gone, and she was trying to touch the ground, not let herself leave the earth, because he could not touch the earth, he put himself inside it.

He was gone, and she no longer remembered the sensation of holding his hand, their hot and sweaty palms grasping for comfort.

 

The sky could swallow you up, take you up inside it, leave your empty shell behind and take your soul inside itself.

She watched the sky, and tried to stay grounded to the earth, because he was gone, and she didn’t want to follow him.

 

Maybe one day, at the end of a long life, they’d meet again, were it was an age of magic, and all the tears had been wiped away.

On the airships that were the clouds, they’d fly away, and be whole again, and healed, and be given the childhood they never had.

 

Cold Grass

I am exhausted from the party, trying to talk to those that turn away, that others come to take.

I am exhausted from chasing the thing that always lets me down, and that I cannot have, belonging to this world.

 

I go up on the hill behind the house, the party thumping music and too bright light in the November night.

I lay down in the cold grass, my chest radiating heat into the chill, as I put ear buds in, to dream beneath the stars.

 

A crush comes into my mind as a mournful and beautiful song plays, unrequited love a sweet sadness, a tear stained consolation.

I float into the stars, the night closes around until the is only the universe so endless and the dreams of her.

 

I can feel a warmth in me that is sweet in it’s tension, a dream of love all I have, dreams of what cannot be.

I can almost conjure her up beside me, as if we were both going to float into the stars, into the endlessness, angels forever.

Mixing Breath

We ride home on her second hand, cream white Vespa. I hold onto her on the back, my arms around her middle, my head lain against hers. She’s given me her candy apple red helmet to wear, the only one she has.

The little back woods road that is closed off from the sky. Thick fingers of bare, craggy branches close themselves around us above. November, time change, and leaving high school it’s almost dark.

We ride to a little trail head. A thin parting in the thick forest, what was our childhood jungle. She parks the Vespa by the side of the road, hoping it will be safety as we go to bound ourselves in ceremony.

 

She holds my hand, like an angel holds one of it’s charges, not like a young woman in love. We love each other but we are not in love. We are lost souls, perhaps changelings, perhaps hybrids.

She’s shown me the signs of her big black eyes that she hides. She’s shown me the signs of the scars and the darkness in her blood. She’s shown me the words of her torment that hit me in the gut, the poetries of puppets.

We come to a little circle, a fairie circle where nothing grows, where she was left by the things, aliens or demons in the sky. Her parents, caretakers found her, loving her while giving her to her tormentors.

 

We sit facing each other, in the cold evening, in the almost kisses of our misting breaths. Cross legged like sages. She has the softest tenderness in her eyes, a sadness that tears open my heart.

She takes my closed hand and pulls it to her, opens it palm up. She bends down and kisses my palm. She pulls a stainless steel knife from her pocket, and slices open my hand. She then slices her own.

We conspire, mixing breath. We bound each other, know siblings and lost souls, in the mixing of our blood. One soul forevermore. Her curse becomes my curse, but she will always be with me.

 

We embrace, still cross legged, and keep silence and send prayers through our tears to the other. We all need a warm heart in the night. Demons always come, from the sky and from our broken hearts.

We walk back to the Vespa, her again leading me by the hand, and we find it safe. She again gives me the helmet. We ride in the dark, the stars cruel mockeries of the hope of escape from this rotten world.

The light shines into the half life darkness, and I rest my head on her shoulder, knowing the things that will come in the night, but I have a true love and a true soulmate, a true love untainted by sex and desire.

 

When we graduate in May, we are leaving forever, heading west to join the war.

 

A Shadow Against The Morning

She is asleep, her back to me, wrapped in the white comforter like a cocoon.

We are not lovers. We are just sharing a bed in a packed house, that is all.

I love her, watch her ribs rise and fall with her breathing, her hair a black cascade.

 

I can’t sleep again. Fitful hours, half hours, stolen minutes, so I stay awake and watch her.

She is thin and her bones are hollow, she is weightless and she carries the sky on her shoulders.

She is bright, glows like a Fae queen, but she has scars on her soul and heart and on her womb.

 

Earlier, our whole merry gang were deep in drink and cigarettes, shooting left over July 4th fireworks.

So far out in the country no one cares, hot white sparks in the starless November sky, pops and wonder in her eyes.

We all cheered in the explosions and the screaming light above, God tamed and made entertaining, like what The Church taught us.

 

Somehow, I drift to sleep, dreamless and fearful, and I wake to pale and washed out sunlight framing her body.

She is made a shadow against the morning, an absence that makes all things left behind so bright.

The anxiety and the demons aren’t here yet, are ruining something holy, as I watch her sleep.

After The Ghosts

Revelry, after the ghosts have gone back to sleep, but we are no less haunted or lost or filled with their whispers,

Open field in the dark of the night this November, the hissing and popping of the ashes off the bonfire are no warning.

We drink and laugh and pair off and kiss and touch and fuck, sublime in the dark cold night, but perfection passes with the rising of the sun.

 

The ghosts are still here, though they have gone back to the ground, the wisps of their souls linger in us, catch like cobwebs on our eyes.

Eat and drink and make merry, but it’s only a moment in the dark to be free, because these ghosts are the chains holding us to the ground.

The stars don’t come down here, for they would be held to earth by our careless sins, and ghosts are the wounds that gave us hearts.

 

And one girl sits at the edge of the bonfire, that expanded and swallowed the world, but is now only a little glowing ball, unable to keep us warm.

An empty bottle of wine is held loosely in her hand, as she gazes into the squirming veins of fire in the embers.

The sun is rising up again, and the darkness that was our succor in walking death is lost, and her ghost sits by her, invisible and eternal, her defining shadow.

Phantoms Don’t Follow

She sits at the keyboard in what used to be our bedroom, the house now bare and empty as we prepare to move north, to the thick forests and cold lakes and dark winters.

She sits at the keyboard, with her headphones on, singing softly into the microphone, as if singing a lullaby to the child we’ve not yet had.

All this plugged into the little grey laptop, recording her last song in our old home, our old sanctuary, in the little southern town we’ve always known.

 

Soft, high pitched notes from the keyboard, and her soft and ghostly voice, singing about a girl lost in the woods, lost to her home, perhaps a phantom now.

Her long black hair falls down, blocking out her face like a widow’s mourning veil, as she tells the tale of a lost spirit.

I watch and listen, enraptured in her quietness and grace, in the melancholy sounds that are the truest hymns to God.

 

After, we sit on the steps of this house’s little concrete porch, drinking ice cold and super sweet lemonade, looking out past the yard and into the wildness beyond.

She is silent, but I feel the sorrow in her, that seems to have settled into both our bones from always being out of touch and dislocated, even as things are finally good.

“I wonder.” She says. “If God will really wipe away our tears, if all the phantoms will find rest.”

 

I take her hand in mine, and she lays her head against my shoulder, and on this hot August day we continue to sip our homemade lemonades.

Heading north, to a new world, to a new place, to a renewed hope of being in our sanctuary in this world.

Everything back, all our ghosts of the first years together left behind for others, the phantoms here having to find other voices to speak for them.