"Ten" Metaphors

w/Pearl Jam

The echo is radar
I sent out this morning
to call back a pinging
from a solid object
that once upon a time
was our friendship, our love,
but which over the last
few years, the passing years
has maintained no body,
held no real meaning,
but a random message
of static emails
that could best be described
as stock, glancing footage,
anomaly of broke
poorly calibrated
equipment, an old glitch
that does not heal no
matter how many times
I kick or punch the set.

The pillow is not a breast
where I lay me down to sleep
but, in its welcoming give,
is cozy, wrapped around
for my enormous headache
the fluffiest substitute,
a valid facsimile
the true culprit behind all
the breast envy we’ve buried
our unseeing faces in.
All night I muddle and fuss
to find the right curve of skin,
the shape and gentle contour
that will jog my memory,
calm me, that will shuttle me
back to those first mornings
in this world, when my wailing
was enough to rouse the ones
around me to respond in
kind, to lift and comfort me.

The ground beneath our feet
does not support us. It bends
in ways we refuse to see.
Ask the ants and beetles
what earthquakes come through here
when our big feet bury
themselves into the sponge
of the planet, the porch
on homes of each of these
infinitesimal beings
who spent all day building.
We only see footprints
when the earth is sopping
or when we have been tossed off
to the ground at some pace,
and then we imagine
by tomorrow the crews
will come through and wipe clean
the imprint, leaving behind
no trace of our shadow.

Sheets, amniotic, the skin
of our mother’s womb covers
us while we sleep, while our soul
roams around imagined
fields and planes, places
where our greatest wish or fears
can blossom with small thoughts,
a loss of self-control,
the sick fixation of minds
who wonder what could exist
if only we harbored
no concern for our being,
our own well-being, the sane
stares of those around us,
who love us, who commit us
and keep us grounded. As if
each night, below these sheets,
we die, and therefore find
ourselves single and unfixed
to any singular star.

The sun coming up over
the mountains, falling behind
them to signal night’s begun
rising. What I know when, first,
I know nothing and again
when I am old and sure
to forget. The burn of things
between their safe comforting
gaze, the conforming fingers
of the mountain. When I climbed
them in later life, to bring
back a pebble of something
known and unknown, the mystique
disappeared. Even the sharp
angled sides gentled themselves
and lay flat. Not once did earth
pull me back, like Jack and Jill
or like our classmate Chris K.
who got too close to the edge
and fell from a waterfall.

Currents in water, my love
for you, always moving,
shifting in their meaning
and rounding off the stone
underneath. But at once,
not moving at all. A photo
from years ago will show
the same image as one
taken this morning. Each night
I empty into the bay
of you, into the body
that waits for my falling.
All life comes from these waters,
from the cold frozen mountains
down through the falls and pools
rounding the corners and rounding
off the corners, this way
since the last ice age, until
the next frozen winter
which is always threatening

On what used to be a machine
and is now only a space
online where we leave notes
to each other, carrying
no intonation, no hint
of how I meant to say
what I meant to say.
On what use to be letters
and is now only bits
of ones and zeros that can’t
even suggest to what n’th
or what degree I miss you.
These words are just utterance
and suggestion, the failed
and continually failed
attempt of language to bridge
the divide that happened
long ago, rift that sent me off
in one direction, cave man,
and you to live in the zoo.

My hands covered in a dirt
that can not wash off, pierced
by the gaze of your sleeping
eyes, the stare of your dead
and stagnant look from behind
the gauze curtain of lace
they wrapped around your eyes
to keep you from seeing me,
for me. Your hands, what’s left
of our ability to talk,
a mouth that can not be closed,
speaking tales that will not be
silenced. I have no lids
on my ears and therefore
must be able to listen
to your endless cries,
your constant mumbled moaning
of discomfort, of pleasant
and peaceful living, the cage
you choose to decorate.

A heartbeat that’s exploding
out of my chest, the thunder
of a tight tube that connects
my gaping mouth, open wide,
and the lungs, the wide
open lungs, is a thin straw,
a twirly comical prop
that could be used by clowns
and soda jerkers to stir
the laughter and the drinks
of any lucky teenage
couple who happen to sit
in the booth in their section.
No matter how much I run
I can’t seem to pry open
the path of oxygen
getting into my body,
to spread its living seed
to each cell in my belly,
my legs, my feet, pumping.

My cell is my cell, habits
I keep my fear going on,
snacks with little nutrients
and less flavor, but which
over time I have come to love
in ways that I cannot
justify with logical
explanation. How mom
used to cut crusts off bread
or chocolate given as reward.
No amount of science
can suggest to someone
so enamored any good
reason to quit. Until wells
run dry and our lips are cracked,
unable to be shut,
until no fantasy
survives on which to feed
I will always come back
to the ethos of you.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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