Friday, April 22, 2016

Adiago un Poco Mosso

it's slow and moving
this space within me
where mountains float in skies unchartered
and rebels lay down their weary heads to rest

take a step back,
weary traveler
oh recipient of love
and be awoken slowly
to the sound of singing
angels in the heavens holding hearts in hands
and blessing over blessing
the paths on which we walk

slowly
there is a step in front to take
merely one at a time
and all that is ever asked of us
is that step
do not be let down
great and weary traveler
the snow begins to fall
after years of children's prayers
and it falls lightly on cathedral towers
and further, beneath our feet
poured out like grace

and the wind is not an enemy
it is the passing of time
it is the christmas carol sung
it is the silent resolution
of a years worth of doubt
and here we are, its children
unencumbered by our failure

oh, grace, grace, grace
fall and make us worthy
fall and give us life
each tiny speck of silence
each wilted blade of grass

I shall slow dance in this snow
to the beat of a thousand hills
to the rhythm of the birds singing
to the melody of salvation
free and flowing
bright and blossoming
I shall rest in my transcendence
I shall run to my solution

there, in your never-ending sky.

Monday, February 29, 2016

On all of the things I'm supposed to be doing right now

It swings open
This systematic misdirection
Subtle frustration in the people around me
Who talk too loudly about insignificant nonsense
As I reminisce about the roads I’ve traveled
The mud caked on my shoes
The hands worn ragged, looking for a ride
I sit here, despondent
Aware of my responsibilities
But helpless to approach them
As they sit on the shelf and taunt me
As I find myself incapable of beginning
What am I, this bone and sinew
This blood and unkempt beard
Thirsty for my own second coming
Cynical after years of debuts, of coming out parties
Bitter at the failure of my will
Convinced that deliverance exists
Somewhere far from here
Where they look suspiciously at my passport
And missing visas
Where they hold me as a novelty, void of a past
Covered in prototype, in my stereotypical façade
Though I fear the world that gives me breath
I fear the uncontrollable wilderness
Of the hand holding mine
Of the eyes fixated
On distant memories and future conjectures
So here I slump in my office chair
Terrified of what I am
A drifter, afloat atop a never ending sea
Surrounded by a legion of the same
Middle class American youths, aimless and obsessed
With distracting themselves
With convincing the world that they’re worth something
So that they can stave off the truth that is whispered in their ear
That they are worth far less
They are the culmination of what their hands have bore
And that dossier is uniquely unimpressive
Now, there I float
Awash with all that’s chasing me
The days spent circling the wagons
Of watching time pass along
Diving into the death I hold in my hands
Headfirst, excited for the tastes
The smells the sights
Of a useless existence, spent hiding myself
From the world that I cannot control
Oh the skills that I could learn
The weight that I could lose
The disenfranchised I could set free
If I could only stand on these atrophied legs beneath me
If I could only walk towards something worthwhile
Tangible, embodied, physical
Flesh and bone
Blood and guts
Tits and ass
All miserable in my defeat
Aware that I am wasting into nothing
And those dreams of my youth
To stand and fight and bring honor home with me
Lies, everyone, turned sour by my unconvincing wandering
My armchair activism
My desperate need for facilitation
I hold no truth
I walk no line
I am a mass, floating in the ether
Buried in mercury
Simple, flat, uninspiring
And, oh, so very self-loathsome
Aware of my faults
Afraid to face them
Content to sit and waste away

With the rest of the world

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Celeste Never Does the Dishes


Celeste never does the dishes
as they pile up to the ceiling
conducting orchestras
of soot and grime
an obstacle neglected

Celeste never does the dishes
there on the coast of Lisbon
as the salt air swells
through the windows
and fills the sun-stained veranda
marking all it touches for death

Celeste never does the dishes
as the chemicals redistribute
and her hair, a tangled labyrinth
crowds the corners of her eyes
she brushes it away

Celeste never does the dishes
not since the leave changed colors
not since late september
when the results came in
when all the swimming universe
all infinite, invisible
awesome, swirling fantastic
banter-driven majesty
crashed into the median
of her wide-eyed, tangled head

Celeste never does the dishes
she sits in quiet reverence
assessing the entitlement
the construct of her body
the gut to never swell
the cry to never peal
the hands to never grip
no dawn to break
no smile to collapse

Celeste never does the dishes
she cries, for days and nights
without a clear understanding of why

Celeste never does the dishes
they sit, immovable, the rock
of gibraltar, kilimanjaro
shouting, spewing hatred
condemnation on the growing
inadequacy, stipulations
of a jilted reality
refusing transcendence
rejecting reinforcement
there, as real
as the hair on her hands
the heat of her breath
the residue of her makeup
manifest and manifold
cackle in the dark
whispers of how the world will end

Celeste never does the dishes.

Flake the Aging Correspondence


flakes the aging correspondence
rivers flow, made saintly
as music pulses through
the walls, once laughter
heartache, now melody

In this space where all awakens, 
sirens 
in the distance, sunlight
on the window, curses
on my tongue, bitter tasting

for I, a jilted wanderer
am clean, for now, but
prone to relapse, into
filth and apocalypse, the
currency of night

when shifting eyers make 
nightmares of shapes once
so familiar, when steps
must be counted and trails
marked before the coming

yet hardline condensation
forthcoming with the dawn
settles into bone and sinew
and wipes me clean again

for now

The Most Famous Ship

I rise
from the ashes, a phoenix
of modernism and design
to take my place among the gods
the world bowing to me

tall, I stand
abundant and unyielding
with all the world to conquer
amidst revelry and praise

flow now before me
great ocean of expectation
profound as the sky above our heads
dark as the pupils
of the eyes that stare in wonder

there is a difference
I have come to find
between the praises they
sing to my face
and the maladies they
whisper in the comfort of home

but, there, breaking bottles across
the bow, all is joyful reverence
all is pomp and praise
though in the heart there is hope
that I sink, crashing and burning
when my usefulness runs out

still I rise, a trophyless champion
green as spring, shining
a prophesied salvation
they say I’ll save the world
they tell me it’s inside of me

and if I succeed,
they’ll tremble at my name
they’ll hold me in regard
high as the heavens
for months, at least

but if I fail
good lord, if I fail
infamy
they will know my name for centuries
and the fingers they will point
at the hands laid upon me
at the flaws in my design

and it will not be for me
but for the new-glaring inadequacy
of someone else
someone more responsible

so
maybe
I should crash and burn
and be buried in the deep
still heroic, still a hero

and live forever

828

I wake, undeterred
my destiny is tied to my film negative
the pigment, darker hue
body heavy, sleeping in the car
unsatisfied, limited mobility
signage, calling down calamity

let us see justice
we veterans of creative suffering
let us fight and bleed for self-evidence
for the content of character
let us dream in exaltation
of mountains of despair
turned into jangling chords
singing spiritual and sonnet

let it ring, this freedom
from  hamlet and village
ghetto and mountainside
and swell to heights
to the limits of my fingers

to the ends of this carpet-bagging head of mine

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Jonathan Schiffman

Stand and be counted
Begotten of nations
The heart still barely pumping
The life slow fading out
Tall and well-deserving
The sunlight through the trees
It waves and falters
at the mention of the thing

now, fade into oblivion
content with what comes next
for all that stands behinds you
fondly besets
with a wave and a smile,
yours to hold
and take with you in your breast pocket

stand tall
and be remembered
great patriarch
fighter of wars
lover of all

you are ours
we are yours
we, the living
stand and sing your dirge

do not fear
the great, calculating wilderness
before you
it will swim in translucent brilliance
as you rise to meet it
it will walk along riverbeds
and swim in still waters

it will shine, and light your face
all brilliant and bewildering
as you rest, content
knowing you have played your part

and we shall not forget you
oh beholder of foundations
of the earth that spins silent
you have seen the moonlight rising
you have felt the winter breeze
and have cradled life itself
in your bright, warm eyes

you are forgiven
you are justified
you have fulfilled what stood before you
and now, rest
rest well and forever
as you rise to meet the noontide

stand tall and be remembered
great lover, provider
begetter
we, the begotten
stand grateful
for the breath, now failing, in your lungs
for the beat, now slowing, of your heart
for the pleasant honor of knowing
of your presence
of your time

I will speak your name, as long as I have breath
I will tell my children the wonders you befell
I will see to your remembrance as a nursing fawn
I will watch it grow and gather,
into a constant, pulsing being
you will be remembered
full of life, full of kindness
fondly
and generations will know
the beauty of your name

so go now, in silence

knowing all is well

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Why I Vote

I come from a line of warriors. My paternal great grandfather was a man named Floyd Davis. He served as a Chief in the United States Navy during World War I. His son, Romondo E. Davis I, was a Yeoman third Class on board the USS Currituck during World War II. My father, Romondo Murray Davis, was an Engineman on board the USS Conserver during the Vietnam War. My Mother’s father, Calvin Lee Wyatt, served as a Private First Class in the Army Infantry during World War II.

Now, I’ve seen the corruption that plagues American government. I’ve seen the reports of big corporations controlling the legislation that is passed by paying off the politicians that we elect. I’ve seen the extent of bureaucracy and the ability it has to destroy all hope of justice. I get it. Voting is a joke, since it’s a flawed, often hopeless system that we are feeding. I get that change isn’t really possible by getting the right candidate in office, since no candidate will ever fix the deeply rooted problems that exist within our government. I understand that I am one of 300 million Americans, and even though less than 60% of them actually vote, that’s still a big enough group that my vote will never make a real difference. I get it. 

But, damn it if I don’t vote. When Calvin Lee Wyatt was entrenched in the Battle of the Bulge, watching his friends take mortar shells and shrapnel, he saw it through. As he followed his orders and charged out of his foxhole, I can’t imagine that he didn’t rally himself with the thought that it was all for the sake of his sons and daughters, and their sons and daughters. I’m convinced that the idea that one day, because he loaded and fired his weapon, reloaded and fired again, this war that he didn’t ask to be a part of would secure for future generations the right to live in a country where democracy reigned. He fought for me. And Romondo E. Davis I, as his ship serviced war planes that had taken on heavy fire from the Japanese fighter pilots and warships, must have at some point thought to himself that his efforts to keep his ship afloat meant that some day his children could vote. They fought for that, and watched their friends die for that. They came back and wrestled with those demons for the rest of their lives for that. So, damn it if I don’t vote. 

I will vote, fully aware that my vote means no promise of change or of progress. I will stand in line and fill out the forms, knowing that it will have no effect on the whether or not the world burns. But, I will vote with my head held high. And I will remember Floyd Davis, Calvin Lee Wyatt, Romondo E. Davis I, and Romondo Murray Davis and the brave men and women that they fought alongside. I will tell my children stories of what their forefathers have done, and why it’s a thing of great pride to vote. They will know who they are and where they come from: a line of warriors who fought that they might know the right to make their voices heard. As long as I keep voting, the legacy of those great and brave men from whom I descend will be alive. Their sacrifice matters and will always matter. 


Damn it if I don’t vote.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Americans Are Loud

Americans are loud. I’m sitting at Panera Bread in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. There are currently 4 separate groups sitting around me. Here’s what’s happening in their lives:
 Group A:
The girls across from me are shopping for some baby clothes on the Internet. Target is the best option, because they allow you to make purchases online and pick them up in the store. Girl A also has the Target Debit Card. She does some of her grocery shopping there, but not all of it. She hates Wal-Mart.

Group B: 
There is an older couple to my left that is discussing the neighborhood that one of their children have moved to.

Group C:
A man and a woman with a small baby are talking about the small baby. They’re engaged in a typical mom and dad conversation: how quickly the baby is growing, the percentile of the baby’s head, how so-and-so’s baby is ahead or behind, etc.

Group D:
Three business men are speaking surprisingly softly. They’re probably doing something illegal.


I moved to Spain in 2011 where I first realized how loud Americans are. In all of my travels to the 18 countries that I’ve visited, that stereotype has been proven dependable. These people at Panera are (almost) all speaking loud enough for me, the unassuming bearded guy in the corner, to understand every word. Why? Why do we speak so loudly? Is it because we are so spread out? There is so much space here. I notice that more and more each time I come back. Maybe we speak loudly to fill the space. Maybe there is so much noise everywhere with all of the aggressive advertising that we feel we have to speak more loudly in order to be heard. Maybe no one is listening. Whatever the reason may be, Americans are loud.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Devil

I write this to present a problem and to be accountable for it. I've seen hours of my life wasted away into nothing. I get into these ritualistic cycles in which I engage in this deplorable activity that picks away at the scars of my flaccid counter-productivity. Apathetic and disengaged, I dive head-first into my depravity. My attitude falters, and all I see is meaningless. My days are short and worthless, with the majority of my time lost to this unimpressive habit. Frustration with the people around me; depression wins out as my primary reactive state when I observe the inconsistencies and lack of enthusiasm of this world that I come to despise. I see myself as useless, unproductive and unnecessary. All seems lost, and getting out of bed becomes a burden I cannot manage. The Kingdom within me lies stagnant, withering away like a neglected houseplant, desperate for water. Consistently, I neglect my spirit within. And, it kills me over and over.

So, I'm letting it go. I'm walking away. I'm standing up tall and proclaiming my freedom, my kinship, my belovedness. I am shouting at the top of my lungs, that I am free and free shall I remain. Walk tall, proud stripling, you overreaching boyish thing. Stand up straight and be free.

All that to say: computer games are the devil.