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Oh the possible punches packed by the brain from an empty tin-can when it comes to tumbling too loudly, pushed along by wind, tricking on ears at metallic kick-along footsteps causing neck double back and double back and triple back.
Just me and that wind.
Just me and some trees. For all I know.
Just me and my dog- too busy darting untethered in the dark, bush to bush bedeviled by his snout- to sense my woeful paranoia.
This fear of sunless-sky time rapidly twists into sadness, as I’m well aware that I’m likely my own worst enemy- worrying myself so- amongst the blocks surrounding my domain, and even more-so that a place free of those lurking in the shadows is easy to imagine. This is the thought that I must hold between my throat and belly in a sustained inhale. Also, I have to remind myself to continue with breathing.
These notions dance erratically against the dread of the cumulative grouping of every horror movie I’ve watched, trailing me, or the fear of furthering my connection to the Me Too movement as I unintentionally create a target of my sole self in the street. Forced comfort causing friction against collected phobia. Like Rachmaninoff dropping from a dream to somehow share a stage of opposing sets, simultaneously with Siouxsie and the Banshees. Or trying to shimmy to Parliament Funkadelic, in synch with slow dancing to James Taylor.
It can be an easy endeavor to entertain this vision of harmless walks, as experience introduced myself to itself in tales sunk in from traveling fashion.
In the city of Florence. In the country of Italy.
There was an occasion that lasted a night, that lasted a lifetime in a seed inside my heart or soul or mind or maybe all at once or sometimes it may float around, where I became enlightened in an evening to a coupling sense of rawness and security; who’s mathematics equaled a unique sum of awe unknown to my own certainty before.  Walking along the drunkard’s-dream of cobblestone streets, gliding through Moorish marble piazzas and the basilica’s double colonnades, exploring  the banks of the Arno river, over uneven bridges, beyond Donatello’s conquering breast of Judith, past dizzying, extending stone structures, in the middle of the world, protected by an angelic omnipresence, cradled by an exotic energy in that the threat of an attacker was nil. News to me- it was- that this was even a conscious idea before this moment.
How natural keys fit between fingers. How deep the wagon wheel grooves can be driven before even questioning beliefs.
And all of this experience to have a tin-can maddeningly rattle me out of a purifying parade through the commonwealth. The uneasiness of the unseeable nipping my heels and herding me by invisible hand towards the absolute calm of home.

alloynight

Like Love

When heated, coals become incandescent, glowing red-hot.
When were you the most coal?
Where did the spark start?
Lightning-footed before your head even knew it, till suddenly: poof– hairs are on end; your body electric?
Were you then pulled in? Washed over? Was it warm, did you let yourself burn, or were you magnetized in moment? In momentum? In monumental feeling? Familiar and old as bones?
Like moon;
With gravitational pull, consequently prompting the oceans to tide. All approximately 67% water of us.
Have you overflown, salty-wet? Basked in spilled star light, reflecting in lovers’ eyes? Awake awake awake and not in mind for sentence assembly, as something else occupied your mouth? Full. Filled.
We would likely quake when over-swept with thoughts to imagine the other side of this closeness emptied and airless; Before love, or without it.
Once that taste is stoked, palettes evolve standards, and these are models of desire, and this want is driving force, and resistance is no dice. So we keep at it, poke it, feed it.
When filled, thy cuppeth runneth over. And have you lately? Please, please.
Been crowded with passion. All red and heart hued. Exotic butterflies dancing in stomach, reminding us of the good stuff. The reason. The prompt. The time to tend to. And did you manage complete presence, and achieve surrender?
Fresh-out-the-kitchen, hot-off-the-griddle, flushed pie, ready to eat, just made for lovers with nose to nose kind of mornings. Skin to skin kind of nights.
The world, our oyster. The sea- ever-bearing.
It just takes a flicker to glow. Bioluminescent fervor.

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Rain’s Check

Mexican Hats tipped their flower heads so deeply in the rain from big drops forcing dramatic ballet-bows below the spectacular, incessant, stark contrasting of white-lightning blasts  penetrating thick, black firmament.
It was something to watch.
How their feathered stems gathered droplets like a slick rain coat caring too much and taking its job very seriously- in near magic, protecting bodies from the reality only a millimeter away. Skin to sky, the red petals whip around my father’s house, bumping into yellow, flowering Prickly Pear paddles, twisting to Coral Glow Red Yucca blooms, challenging the thin necks of slender, towering wild Sun Flowers. These blossoms do much, including shielding June Bugs as big as qualifiable hitch-hiking-thumbs, all matter of spiders, and butterflies taking rest… How could one not judge the manner in which they coexist?

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The bright green that occurs post thirsts’ quench from a proper summer pour in the Lone Star State stands alone. It threads ties of poetry and admiration to each rejuvenated being.
The Great Refresh is capable of deconstructing loneliness. If you take pause, you get full quick in this.
It’s nature parlance for a speech-free promo bill at the promised kiss of a cooler, walkable morning; an invitation from Mother Nature herself beckoning us to exit shelter and observe her brilliant art show-
unfettered by walls and in defiance of constraints. The glory and tenacity in resilience to bloom in an unaccommodating place and flourish against odds. A true piece de resistance. A sight one must not deny for purposes of soul. A real hat tipping breath-taker,  life-giver and not-misser;
Thanks rain.

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Drowning Cell

Take my ass to the lake and let me shed my heavier thread counts.
Let me tip in, at a rock-free area below, where I can act like I’m making an accident on purpose.
I’d like to free-fall long enough to lose the contents of my pockets and watch my burdensome responsibilities flutter to the sandy ground, but not too long where I cause concern to any would-be-witnesses.
I need a moment of purity, where there is an opportunity for the natural world to reclaim me from the topical static that’s grown a halo around my skin, and redirect me then, after said cool dip- to my original purpose. Can this water be arranged to flood my head with a vision of my next painting? And can this water be managed where it is ensured that once I arrive home, or perhaps even along the way home- I can have waves of motivation surging through me, like before- where I am deposited back on the path to my creativity? This is not the standard nature of water, I know…
…but is it possible to nurture a modern day lifestyle of technological over-reliance and maintain a healthy relationship with imagination and cleverness, and if the answer is yes- can this truth please fall right on my very own head, like a bucket of green slime on the old Nickelodeon show, or the oversized strawberry dropping from the ceiling in the 80’s Bonker’s commercial for gum that packed a larger than life size punch? Something mega?
Must I submerge my devices and get free, or is there a simpler, less expensive way to come back to self, or is this the question of our times- that no one is quite sure of either?
Take my ass to the lake and call my bluff. Take me there and force a sketch pad at me.
Take me to the lake and hallelujah let there be no signal, so everything else can come through.

lakee

Southern Comfort

The swamp has eyes, which are overfilled with diamonds.
Insects, amphibians, reptile’s optics- set a shimmer in hazy, humid, thick, repeating nights.
In one square foot of space we could be looking and remain unsurprised to see firefly flash, raccoon skittering, slug slime trailing on. To see moth bodies hostage to dusty  milk-glass sconces, to see hornet mounds uncomfortably close to every place a hand may need to touch, to see the last second of a frog jumping- webbed toes swallowed by blackness.

At large- the sounds in this marshland are in concert.
The unsuspecting, shy operatic beginning of a solo winged one- slow; increasing. Adding of other like players; building. Swelling to crescendo. Carrying on and on. Cracking through the night, sounds bumping across crawfish towers, and sliding around kudzu vine and ornamental privet gone wild.
Until inky silence comes a creeping, cutting one off at the ear with a sudden stopper-  plunging into the lull til’ it’s just a couple of humans breathing easy, sleeping birds, gently swaying whisky, weary nutria, sweet tea, awake snakes, sweating ice-cubes, and nearly still water below.
And then another wave, and another, and another- of boisterous, irrepressible bugs.

To know the swamp is to do so by being here, only.
No stories stand to tell better than experience. Tale tellers, find some Spanish moss and take some rest.
It’s an entire entity, a grouping, a package deal unlike any other, surmise-able as a whole, but breakdown-able with all sorts of moving, squirming pieces. Requiring gentle attention and a tendency toward pacific neutrality.
The land can be surrounded by skimmer boats; a wayward dock rotting and a float, propped by repurposed plastics; neighborhood children venturing bravely into muddy rivers with fingers crossed; strangers becoming friends faster, on average, and often with the assist of sugary spirits in single-use forever-cups; someone, or 2, or 4, or 5- being responsible for the greasy, alluring smells of deep-fried daily-catch.

All these senses- alight. Brightly so. Incandescent due to sun-packed days, bringing hot, stocky air. Incandescent due to outsiders so quickly being welcomed in; enveloped and full-bellied. Incandescent due to the nowhere-else-like-it factor. Crowded with accompanying oohs’ and ahhs’.

The swamp has eyes and they’re overflowing with diamonds.
Some spilling right across the ground. Some dangling around in branches. Some peering placidly from the damp beyond. You can count these lucky land-stars, as they twinkle all around you. You can make them yours just by thinking it so.
Because, hello tortoise, you’re moving like molasses here anyway- so it’s best advised to gather momentary gems and learn the local slither, fill your diamond shaped holes and watch the night shine, let the breeze take its subtle toll, and observe .

It’s nice that they start putting up signs along the road for the hospital a few blocks before you get there, because after a while the numbness starts to fade and you need something to guide you.
Even if it’s a familiar traverse. You basically need your hand to be held.
You need to be told,     left,       next left,       right,       keep going,       turn here.
Your head can be a’swim.

It is evident now that it matters not- how woven in you are to the fabric of people’s lives. It won’t prevent you from vaporizing to nothingness at the 1st instance of death. Death won’t hesitate to do nasty black-magic tricks with your face, making you vanish. It’s not shy. There is no couth. It’ll greedily, hungrily claim you. Your binds won’t keep you. The strings you’ve spent your days fortifying can’t hold you down or tie you to another in the physical realm.
And yet- it does matter- as it is the fabric that stitches the rest of us together. That covers us. That warms us on this breezy plain. This warm place. Placid place. Bone-chilling place. Sweltering place, where there has been time for every kind of weather and sensation until perhaps the day where an abrupt cut-off occurs and you find your way navigating in a metal box- eyes fixated, and on the look out for reflective, square, blue H’s of signage to tell you where to go. Where to find a friend in distress, removed from hanging in the balance.

If you love someone that’s been in an accident, there’s no telling what you’ll do. Will you cry and howl? Will you retract into yourself, sink your eyes back, seep into your own skin? Will you adopt a straight-backed, stomach-lining-acidifying stoicism? Will you be like me, where every ounce of brain exits it’s holding places and flees for complete cloud cover- leaving me temporarily to fumble for words, and forget all the names of people known to me for years when the nurse asks for introductions.
A thick soup of space replacing my free thoughts. A questionably protective gelatin that pads my consciousness in order to keep the inevitable away & at bay for more moments. Perhaps. Seems sensible amongst the nonsensical…

When you arrive at the hospital conglomerate- the mass complex of buildings with incongruous architectural bids in huddle- the maze of pain and occasional welcomed wellness reports- your feet may take over- you may run as if your life, their life, -life- depended on your pulse; contributing. You may want to cry out to the 3rd run-in with reception about your confusion as to where is my friend. I don’t understand anything at all right now. Where even are we? How could you do this?
Every station. Every elevator. Every corridor. A repetition of it’s rude self, each not leading to his room. Time ticking cruel modules.

Have you ever seen a loved one propped up with a plastic brace, wired, hooked to monitors and intubation? Liquid red lines leaking from his ears; blackened, swollen eyes?
None of the machines synch up with their bell-sounds, their compressing, their dripping or collecting. There is no calming rhythm in which to find a small piece of peace.
There are plastic bobs and bits everywhere, linking a network to create breath and eased airflow.
There are computers with the sole purpose to oversee heart function- where their whole life they scribble and drag green lines across bowed screens that inform people of the seemingly small spectrum between okayness and trouble.
If you experience a friend on life support you’ll quite likely feel a combative compulsion to sit beside them and grab their arm, all the while the same part of you, but on the backside of it- wanting to leave the area the second you smell the room.
Run like a wounded deer in hard light.
Head for dry, high land far from quaking earth.
Like the first time you see a naked lady dancing across the stage; that desire to lay your eyeballs across her body, and the other to fumble in your pockets and squint squint squint hard and the sense of shame- feeling discomfort blame-able by a church thought you’d never even subscribed to.
But more perverse.

I can’t be the only one who’s claws extract.
I’m dangerous there. With their naked arms. I’ve learned twice. I will dig.
I will dig and I will wait for response and want response and sink further into grief and fear at lack of response. I want to hear them or see them react and make them mad. Get mad at me goddamn it and feel me right now! Just feel.
This arm will be false-warm. It will feel slightly gummy. I will only touch the warm parts. I tried to hold his hand because my mind had blocked the memory of what happened last time, but no. The hands are already cold and gone and I do not recommend them. I recommend staying away from appendages least ye be of masochistic proclivity.
Stay.
Away.
The hands are gone and this is where the death begins; at the edges.
And the questions begin to bubble at the sorry surface.
Are you here, friend? Are you hovering above us, like they say? Are you afraid or hurting? Is there a song that’d put you at ease?

Then you’re just there, and you want to go. And you want to stay. And what’s a girl to do. And the shock won’t release you and it will take so long to thaw and you will feel like you’re in on a terrible joke with a small slice of others- against the rest of the people like the Jackelope in South Dakota. Like some silly pact gone unspoken with friends to make the rest of the world feel like shit; wishing they’d gone to see him that one last time they’d meant to; gone sailing with him more; not been a flake those times- because he was always there. One of the few.

It’s the most impossible thing to believe. Absence. Permanent absence. The hum on the line. Forever static. No more-ness.
And you think: life without you? Well I just wasn’t ready. And we had plans. And you had plans. And that is lovely but meaningless without someone to make them become.
And this gurney wasn’t made with you in mind. Your strong body is the wrong body and how unfair is this.

The slightest infraction- I tell you/ believe me- my friend is gone and do not fuck with me now because fury will reign down upon you because my feelings are so full of barbs that your spilled, spoiled blood has been matched by my own punctured heart and my anger at your loss will not bring you back but I burn. I burn so hard now that I am a flame. And I must be an inch down the line in stages of grief because I’ve set my numbness on misdirected fire with nothing to ignite but fog. And yet still, I find this all utterly unbelievable.
Please shake me to wake me.

Inevitably you will be woken up, but it will be from inconsiderate neighbors who are wearing the all in all twin blinders of alcohol and summer weekend feelings, who aren’t really doing anything terrible. You will yell at them and you will tell a complete stranger to shut the fuck up and go fuck themselves. So bad you will yell so bad and loud and mad at them that you need to stand before a fan to calm down and cool out. You will pace for a while there after and want to punch the walls. You will by hyper aware of their normal movements below you in their own apartment once they’ve hurried back inside. You will find an unattractive, indulgent satisfaction with making them scared a little, or at least you will perceive their fear and feel a small triumph. You’ll wonder about that. You will be the biggest buzzkill. It will only  suck for everybody. I will not bring your loved one back. But…. given this behavior being very alien to you- you can at the very least have a private chuckle that he’d have been  been kinda proud….

 

Blotting Block

Picture me- an explorer voyaging the chopping, sailor, mermaid, school-of-fish, sunken-ship, Jacques Cousteau-eat-your-heart-out spaces in between places where feet have their solid, favored terrain so far from their bodies, traded,
searching new full flavor seasoning, adrift- in the name of it,
seeking to sprinkle more than pepper or turmeric or saffron upon my pallet anew; kindling tastebuds unknown
by my own hand
from my own glory, salt of sea and evolving flavor,
ever-lasting-gobstopper, unraveling in first, second, third, fourth course
all French and sophisticated, all cobweb and torment, all fresh tortilla, all squirrel feed, all bursting contentment, all raspberry-velvet-ganache, all sweaty panties, all hyphen, too many commas, all “surprise- look who’s here for dinner”, all stumbly wino, all exquisite, all vile, all gutter grease-straw-sipping, all gravely voice, all angel’s bells, all hammer of justice, all swift motion with arm-fulls overloaded of fragrant, pillowy, white blossoms that ring of early Spring nights festooned in bare-bulb-strung-lights, trailing behind me and scented of subtle jasmine in the warm, lit, dark,
whilst stirring and stirring to amend
my own soil where-which I will plant these gleaned exotic seeds of 15 year blooms, annuals, noninvasives, and perennials, brilliant orange pink yams from Southern bioregions, original dates of the Fertile Crescent, rubble with some green sprouts interspersed from Palestine and hope hope hope to raise a tree to a forest, strawberry juicy Hawaiian papaya, tall sugar cane groves to run amongst, 3 sister’s silky corn, plump beans, striped squash,
and bleed
into surrounding soil and imagine
and contribute,
and discover
what delicate monster bounding bony, spined hills, straddling trickle creeks of sodden  zygote or embryo fresh possibility of holding black floral, private scarlet intoxicating emergence promise that maybe/ might/ would occur as a result of this witch’s brew. Chocolate reminiscence in the floral world. Over loaded arm fulls of the blossoms. Amalgamating. Tumbling behind my flight.
When you must write to stoke.
When you must type on and on to provoke.
Stream of consciousness.
String of theory
tied
from tree to tree.
Limbs full swing and purpose. Petals on fleek.
All in mercurial motion that you can’t place a bet on.
I’ll go high and low for it. The buzz I’m constantly chasing.
Help me find my way to God’s contract; never need to write one more ode to writer’s block.

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