Refreshed Oil Lamp

Thankful for safe harbor.

Packing the bags with hope.

Anchor lines whisper on the gunnels.

Sail hems mended to almost blend in.

Slap of chop echoes in the belly of the keel.

Port masters will only glance as a fresh shave.

Storm clouds on the horizon are beckoning wind.

Coats of paint baked to a cure in the hot sun.

Tying the tiller to sleep on the deck.

Forecasts of bathing in a bucket.

He thought I was land sick.

Eyes wide with knowing it.

As truth in a blue sky.

Letting go in clouds.

A lamp-lit bow.







Blogging For Tears

There’s medicine in the sadness, it shines from the curl of tears on cheeks, and the crust of too many that build up.

I miss the peal of her laughter into the night, her body out the window of the car, as she screamed into the sky with the pleasure of knowing it would end soon. She’s gone now along with my hope to be with her forever. The x on the calendar came and went, in blood stains on a tub, and an email of thanks to me.

He brought me happiness in his angers. It shined with passionate release, and the things in his path were music. He made it with fury in a mesmerizing pound of rhythm, from his spirit. The altar I made for him is gone now, somebody stripped it down to burn. White lightning in the alley.

I think about him at times. He’s like me, a kid with too much feeling. He can’t shut it off. He’s curious and misses his father who died the same way. He will never be domesticated, he’s got the itch of too much mountain air for that. I hope his survival becomes more joy than pain.

What a man! He made me feel like a mountain of a worker as a kid. I never doubted the danger of our friendship, I relished in the deliciousness of somebody who cared to be good, and had the courage to be wilder. I wasn’t surprised when he left the earth, just wistful. I miss his laughter, his admiration for my spirit, and the feeling it gave me to return it.

My adoration for these people will get me in the end. I caught the fever of the road, the pitch of the boat, and the trail of happiness, in not fitting in long ago. They have pain you can taste, that builds into the burst of their lives.

Their stories are bizarre and comforting, in the extremes I know as truth. I find it in their lack of ability to conform, and the glee they hold onto so fiercely. If I doubt them, I begin to anticipate the whisper of a knife. They look me in the eye with danger, and thank me for the honor and respect that was shown, and then dance into the night.

When they grace me with a tear, I can see it bled from their soul. Their look of surprise turning into recognition, becomes our friendship. After that our union becomes palpable, and I beg them to edit their words for me. I hold onto the moment with them, as it consumes me with purpose, and I’m thankful for the secrets I won’t know.

What shines through the filter of my desire to not be a witness at their trial, are things like, “I don’t know what intimacy is.”, or “My father is in prison, and my husband was chopped into pieces in the alley.” What do you do with that? Hold your judgements for the actions, not the results of past actions. People are not what they did yesterday. They have a moment in time to share, and its gone.

The art I love most comes from people who have the courage to preserve a chance, to witness these tragedies. They aren’t stuck on a vanity streak. They look to the outside of a person, and see the trail of pain painted on their social status, and embrace the inside of that person with a question to themselves. The cost is compassion. The reward is love, and a conscience that can sleep, in a bed of art.

My friends in low places tend to die faster, but they also know how to live. If you ever get the chance to sit on a curb with somebody and hear them out, they might lie or steal from you until you learn how to do it right, but you know what? You’ll get to enjoy tears that aren’t your own, and those tears are some of the best medicine.

People on the street look out for each other. Be one. A person on the street. Humanity is the transcendence of animal nature. That to me is taking the “fight or flight” urge, and turning it into the mercy of patient kindness. If you look out for the people on the street, they remember.

Are you curious about what goes down in your neighborhood? The best neighborhood watch is done by the guy in front of the store asking for change. If he’s there every day, it may be that he’s allowed to be there, because he is actually a priceless member of your community. Give him a cigarette and listen to his story, as the next time you see him, he may just smile.

An update to this post on the following morning:

Some people choose to wear rose colored glasses, but the dust of the world builds up, and their view becomes dim. I admire the way that Dennis uses his blog to reach out and clean the lenses of them with his efforts, as a radio of the street. His latest post inspired the flow of my thoughts for this article, and following up my last post of “Blogging Makes Laughter” with this one is fitting, as the joy in embracing the less fortunate, can be seen in between the lines of his stories.

The Stamp On My Sixteenth Year

Bulldozer tracks in mud.

Deep in your belly a thud.

Dried cracking dying earth.

Slayed mirth.

It’s the only poem I’ve written that I remember by heart.  Its taken me to the top of the mountains, and the bottom of the jail cells.  It sank in, won’t be stripped away, and burnt a purpose across my soul.

You wonder why I drop my phones, ditch my cars, and fade into the forest.  You ask if I’m thinking straight, doubt that I care, and wish I’d stuck around.

Blame the poem of my sixteenth year, as it wrote into me, what it was, to be free.

While I do not regret what it does, I wrote this in the hope of a new poem, that you can meet in the burn behind my eyes.

Flipping the Script

In my experience the health of a community is best served by finding the weakest link, and making it stronger:

What would your sentence look like from the opposite perspective? Is there a flip-side to what you have said? Do you know the difference between what you think, and what you want to think? Do you want to? I believe you do.

Your journal entries are full of pain. I read them and cringe in the potential injury it may cause me. Reading through your private thoughts while barely avoiding repulsion, I forge on looking for nuggets of health that I can swallow. I search for the blessing hidden in your scribe, the diamond in the roughness of you. I find them, and want to write this as way to express to you how thankful I am.

When I’m building a friendship with somebody like you, it fills me with a sense of dread. My biggest fear is that I will turn my face away from your expressions in apathy, to preserve my sense of well-being. I don’t love your writing. I don’t even like it. Yet, I keep reading your new posts out of hope that they will flip, because of the courage you use to share it.

Misery loves company, and I have been miserable for too long. I’m asking a favor of you as a fellow artist and survivor. I’m hoping you can do for me one thing. Can you please for the sake of my disposition, choose to portray yourself as better than bad?

Society may look at you as crazy, mentally ill, or weak. Your history may paint a picture of poison in your mind that will never go away. You’ve bared the history of your shames, torn yourself down to a pitifully tortured soul, so I don’t think of you as arrogant in pride with your judgements. Can you meet me in the middle with a humble gesture lacking hate for yourself?

I’m hoping for the little kid inside you, the one who didn’t know a loss of innocence, and didn’t see tears stamped across their everything as blinders on a trail. The reality you share is nothing I can dare to compare to safely. I haven’t lived your pain, but I’m starting to with each new line.

You may see yourself as hopeless, lost, stepped on, and destroyed. I don’t. The world isn’t fair, safe, or righteous. Individuals are. In the hope of being all three for the sake of community, I will keep reading with hope for your health.

Your story reminds me of other people’s that I’ve grown to love.  Junkies.  Prostitutes.  Homeless.  Strippers.  Gamblers.  Degenerates. Victims.  Trust is recognition of a pattern.  I hope you recognize that what I’m asking for is what I’m giving.  Let’s trade giving a fuck about anything other than ourselves, because that builds happiness for everybody.

Take what the world has smashed you with, and frame it on the wall as you have.  I’m not asking for you to stop writing as you do.  I’m asking for you to add one thing.  You understand how outcast you’ve become.  You are not healthy, and are not mentally fit to blend in.  Neither am I.  Buff it out kid, and use it to shine.

My judgements of you and your writing are projections of myself.  I’m looking in the mirror of my tears and seeing you dancing to the tunes of your tortures.  You know who cares?  People like us.

The best answer that I know

I don’t know. I wish I knew. I’m glad I don’t know.

I don’t know, because I think it’s more fun not to. I don’t want to think I know, because then I’d be responsible for you, learning to know. I don’t want you to think, I think I know, so we can be friends.

Is this a show of what I know? Yes and no, I don’t know…yet.

I think you want me to know, so you won’t have to. I think you don’t want me to know, that you know, so your prettiness will be the only thing I see.

I think you think, I want you to not think, so I can be the only one in the know. I don’t want to know, what you think I know, so I’ll have to run the show.

I wish I knew, and hope to know, what you think I do.

I wish it was still, that I didn’t know that about you….so let’s just stew. I wish that wasn’t true.

I love knowing that, because it shows me that I have faith, even though I still don’t know, do you want to go to a picture show?

If you think you know, I don’t want to know, so keep it to yourself. If you keep pretending to know, I’m going to teach you what I know, about the joy I find, in not knowing.

This is teaching me to think I know, how to not know, better than I know.

I know how I feel. I know how I think. I know who I am. I know what I’ve done. I don’t know everything I’ve done, on three nights.

I know what you’ve done. I don’t like how I know it, and I didn’t want to, because I loved knowing you, before I knew that.

I’m glad we’re strangers, because I don’t know about you, and that makes me free to be, me. I want to know about you, but please be true, because I don’t want to doubt that, in you too.

I know what it feels like to be blue. I don’t know what it feels like, to be read. I know what it feels like to live in dread.

I don’t want to know what it feels like to be half dead, but I do. I wish I didn’t know, how that looks on you.

I don’t know why you wish I did. I don’t want to. I want to know, why you think I don’t. Actually I don’t want to know that.

Pretending not to know, is the reason why you talked to me. I’m glad you think I don’t know. I don’t want to know what you think, because you think you know.

If you really think you don’t know, we can be pals. When you think you know, I want to shout that I don’t know.

I love that not knowing can be healthy, and that knowing, can lead to doubt.

I have a good morning hope for you: Good morning, I don’t know.