Thursday, February 24, 2011

We Make Poems too Long, So That No One Will Read Them


I will
use familiar phrases, buried
deep in syntactic devilry, in
alliterative metaphor. to the
untrained eye, they appear
mere incoherent lines. lines of
love, lines of sunrise, lines
like, "dew silently melts beneath
my trampling feet, gives drink to
tired dirt," or perhaps,
"there is sun resting softly, and
sweat secreted of secrecy and
silence." standard verse and visage,
wasting away, adrift in a sea of
melancholy redundancy. but
then, if you've not yet abandoned
hope for these tired and drowning
verses, you still will see another
light ashine upon the secret, subdued
sections of myself. you might, perhaps
see, "the wind starts to look like her
hair," and something might click. you
could hear, "starting new, these
waking morning yawns feel faintly
familiar." and perhaps, a twitch at
your nose. and then, "you're sweet
like kool-ade" might bring a light
to some dormant corner of you.
all misunderstood
nonsense, all incoherent rambling.
but you might know, perhaps, that
my thoughts still swell with you, they
float uncontrollably up and down your
lovely neck, they swim on the sea of
your elegant elbows, they run through
the wilderness of your naked waist.
there, where belongs my grip. those
eyes, where belong my eyes. perhaps
I have now forfeited subtlety, along
with my chance to hold you. perhaps
it is all dying, and will someday be
no more. perhaps you will read between
the lines, perhaps you will not need
to.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Settling in of Today, or, "Obstructed Viewscapes" or, "Everybody, Everybody, Everybody is Okay"



I'm sitting on the edge of a black faux leather chair in a coffee shop that's new to me. It's at the corner of Freedom Pkwy and Boulevard, facing all the glory of a downtown Atlanta skyline, though the view is obscured to me by a "Now Open" sign out front. That's a shame. This place is new, fresh, with a tint of the uppity. There are a couple of hipsters to my left, but mostly it's well dressed white people talking over inventories and advertising campaigns and retirement funds. I think I need to get over the fear of these people. I assume that professional white people are the worst kind of people. This might not be fair. People deserve a chance to not be judged by my pretentious prejudice. They're inherently beautiful, and they deserve a chance. Condessa Coffee is the name of this place. I don't think I like it. But, Bob Dylan comes through these headphones and sets everything at ease.
but farewell Angelina, the night is on fire and I must go.
I participated in my first Young Life club in Atlanta last night. I had forgotten how much I love it. We sang as loud as we could, my hand cramped up from playing guitar, kids laughed and shouted and rested content in their childlikeness. It was beautiful. I've kept a lot of things at an arms length since I moved to Atlanta, mostly because I was in an emotional free-fall, having most of the constant things in my life up-rooted over the course of a summer. I think that I'm recovering still, but those fears and questions about who I am and where I belong and what life is really made of are coming to points, in as much as they can. Things are sorting out, life is becoming more simple, less riddled with confusion and frustration at my inability to "get it." I suppose I should unpack that a bit, but it will have to wait for another time, as there is a lot to accomplish today.
But I'm walking, which is something that I don't think I've been able to say for most of the last six months and beyond. I'm finally walking.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fog and Desert



let me now find verse, a beaming constitution
let me speak with great and moving words,
for we are dying, amidst the camels of the
desert, better prepared than I. There are
children with no fathers, dark skin, light skin
full and heavy hearts. we tuck in our shirts
several times a day, and point at maps of

birthdays, and birthday parties. let us wear
chuck taylor's, let us comb our hair to a point,
let us simply lie here and think things over. If
we are to revolt, we at least need a minute to
think things over. We could watch Lawrence
of Arabia, we could eat our fill of fast food, drink
our shit for coffee. the fog today was beautiful.

it lingered longer than welcomed, lacing in
perfect complacency the monstrous checkered
yurts and houses. an acre in the sky, making it
seem as though I need my eyes checked, hazy
as my future, lingering like my past. and we must
stay awake, lest the desert have its way, lest the
fog settles in and makes slaves of our freedom.

we must learn the dates and stages; the Balfours,
the Rothchilds, the Federations and Republics,
lest we not repeat those mistakes, lest we appear
ignorant. lest we cease to move. but I think the fog
beautiful. I think the desert refreshing in its unending
stability. I think the revolution underwhelming. so,
yes. let us sleep in quiet solitude. let us dream of

days and days of silence. let us stare at the fog lacing
lovely through the skyline. let us never recognize a
thing, but let us love. let us love. and I'll just paint a
picture of the progress, whether I can see it, or whether
I only imagine it. I will make a living speculating, setting
standards for myself, always to fall short. I will make
it pretty as I can, and stir a heart or two to think

that there is hope in the desert, there is life in
the fog, there is something to behold, all invisible
and burning. but there, in the desert, in the fog.


Listening: Moon River

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Ramblin's at an End



There is some eternal ghost inside my whispers,
There is someone calling out from blackened depths,
with each penny that I wish, there's something that I miss,
and the lady of the lake blesses the rest,

we all hope to find the gold beyond the rainbow,
we believe that there is truth in all the lies,
with each office that we reach, they are calling for a speech,
and we're worshiping the shit they advertise,

we are crawling to the halls of advertising,
we are licking at the walls, for just a taste,
but the money that we earn, we sit back and watch it burn,
and assume that we'll succeed another day.

I could heal if I had some penicillin,
I could walk if Jesus Christ would touch my head,
but the water ripples quick, and healing never sticks,
so, I'll sit here on this mat until I'm dead.

I am wandering over miles and miles of faces,
as I hope to settle down and be made whole,
but each silky satin face, covers miles and miles of space,
will I ever be okay with my own soul?

I have journeyed now for years to find this moment,
I have walked a thousand miles in my own shoes,
if my ramblin's at an end, then I'm back where I begin,
and I'll write home to my mother with the news.

there is beauty in the mighty rushing river,
there are answers in the towering georgia pine,
if we could only rest, then the beating in our chest,
would gracefully, eternally subside.

There is God in Woodruff park, amidst the buildings,
and he smiles as I sit down atop the grass,
with his whisper, he explains, all the details of my name,
and I know that I am living now, at last.

don't expect that I am lost inside my longing,
don't assume that I am dead inside my sin,
through the melancholy days, I believe there is a way,
to be free from all the confines of my skin.

The Function of Creation, Part 1 of 1.



I've been run over by certain realizations as of late. There's future to think about, there's career and finance, there's Jesus and that whole mess, there's monasticism floating in and out of my "critical thinking vs. wonderment" bout, and there's the overbearingly haunting romantic self that I keep trying trying to ignore.

But one pressing thing that has been hot on my trail, hanging in the balance of perception and actualization, is my music. I know, as as much of a realist that I claim to be, that my talent would fall short of any level where I could make a living off of it. It's just the truth. I love to write, and turning the words that I construct into verse and melody is a natural thing for me. But, the question that I've been faced with for years is what I am to do with this blessing/curse. And, I refer to it as a "curse," because I can't stop doing it. It's as natural as putting sugar in my coffee or regular unleaded fuel in my car. I don't choose to make music, rather would I have to choose to stop. There's a bit of a chronological element, as I've grown over the years, my understanding of things has shifted.

But, I'm still perplexed as to the function of my music. I write 1 song a week, more or less, most of which end up neglected mp3's, lying dead in neglected iTunes playlists. I would like to think that I have something to give to the world, that I can make people's lives more full by sharing that which I can't help but to create. And, while I believe that to be the "right" motivation for sharing it, I don't trust myself to be motivated solely by that. I think that there's a lot more going on, in my eternal quest for validation and wholeness. But, to hide my music because of that fact (that I may be only searching for love and validation) seems like I'm being neutralized by my fear and distrust of myself. Which, I believe, is not the right way to handle it either. It's a question that I've faced for years. And, still I don't really know what to do with it. I wish that I could just shut off my mind and create, and have some forum to share it with people for the nourishment of their souls. Or, maybe just to create for only the sake of the creation. I've been given this ability, so I should just do it, and let the "function" worry about itself. I want to pursue this type of outlet. Though I don't really know if I am capable of so pure an action. And, at the same time, if I create just to create, then not give it away to anyone, aren't I withholding myself from the world, and isn't that pretty selfish? Clearly, I'm over thinking everything. I guess trial and error, and navigating the suffocating tension will eventually reveal the solution. And so the journey continues.

Hymn 101 Joe Pug

Hymn 101 by Joe Pug

Yea I’ve come to know the wish list of my father
I’ve come to know the shipwrecks where he wished
I’ve come to wish aloud among the over dressed crowd
Come to witness now the sinking of the ship
Throwing pennies from the sea top next to it
And I’ve come to roam the forest past the village
With a dozen lazy horses in my cart
I’ve come here to get high,
To do more than just get by.
I’ve come to test the timber of my heart
Oh, I’ve come to test the timber of my heart

And I’ve come to be untroubled in my seeking
And I’ve come to see that nothing is for naught
I’ve come to reach out blind
to reach forward and behind
For the more I seek the more I’m sought
Yea, the more I seek the more I’m sought.

And I’ve come to meet the sheriff and his posse
To offer him the broadside of my jaw
I’ve come here to get broke
Then maybe bum a smoke
We’ll go drinking two towns over after all
Oh, we’ll go drinking two towns over after all.

And I’ve come to meet the legendary takers
I’ve only come to ask them for a lot
Oh they say I come with less
than I should rightfully posses
I say the more I buy the more I’m bought
And the more I’m bought the less I cost
And I’ve come to take their servants and their surplus
And I’ve come to take their raincoats and their speed
I’ve come to get my fill
To ransack and spill
I’ve come to take the harvest for the seed
I’ve come to take the harvest for the seed

And I’ve come to know the manger that you sleep in
I’ve come to be the stranger that you keep
I’ve come from down the road
And my footsteps never slowed
Before we met, I knew we’d meet
Before we met, I knew we’d meet

And I’ve come here to ignore your cries and heartaches
I’ve come to closely listen to you sing
I’ve come here to insist
That I leave here with a kiss
I‘ve come to say exactly what I mean
and I mean so many things.

And you’ve come to know me stubborn as a butcher
and you’ve come to know me thankless as a guest
will you recognize my face when gods awful grace
strips me of my jacket and my vest
and reveals all the treasure in my chest

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lines Lost Among Trees (Billy Collins)



These are not the lines that came to me
while walking in the woods
with no pen
and nothing to write on anyway.

They are gone forever,
a handful of coins
dropped through the grate of memory,
along with the ingenious mnemonic

I devised to hold them in place –
all gone and forgotten
before I had returned to the clearing of lawn
in the back of our quiet house

with its jars jammed with pens,
its notebooks and reams of blank paper,
its desk and soft lamp,
its table and the light from its windows.

So this is my elegy for them,
those six or eight exhalations,
the braided rope of the syntax,
the jazz of the timing,

and the little insight at the end
wagging like the short tail
of a perfectly obedient spaniel
sitting by the door.

This is my envoy to nothing
where I say Go, little poem –
not out into the world of strangers’ eyes,
but off to some airy limbo,

home to lost epics,
unremembered names,
and fugitive dreams
such as the one I had last night,

which like a fantastic city in pencil,
erased itself
in the bright morning air
just as I was waking up.

Consumption



"There are several human actions that are not bound to consumption, and even free from it. There is dancing, there is singing, there is writing, there is running. There is also resting and pondering and sleeping. And there is love. Some of these are limited by our inhibitions, others by the inhibitions of those outside of ourselves. A pure action cannot consume, I think. A pure action is something I desperately want to be capable of."

I Was Made For Woodruff Park



i was made for woodruff park, all covered
in the morning sunlight. the flow of the
gutter is last night's winter snow. It's the
simple surprises that take us from earth

to ethereal heaven. i was made for the
quarries, the quandaries and the quiet
violence of life. where green calls out
from concrete, where asphalt finds a

border in spring, where the snow clings
heroically in tiny patches to the shining
canvas of grass. i was made to slow my
foot steps, to look up at the miraculous

blue morning, to drink in the clouds and
the fading stars. there, the buildings over-
hear our whispers, all hurried and discrete,
all broken and far from recovery. and God,

that mighty clock maker, that ancient trouble
maker, sits himself down on the lawn. he
opens his arms with playful gaiety, and
calls me by my given name. his smile is

mana, his heartbeat is rocky water, his
hands are the promised land. oh, so dimly
do I see. but there he sits, tracing his finger
in the snow turning to mud, washing me

with his eyes, bidding me come with a
knowing wink. haunting my conscience
with a whisper. there, in woodruff park.

and though I kick and scream, though I
run from those arms and plug my ears in
supermarket aisles, I was not made for the
noise. I was not made to fill a time and a space.

No, I was made for unlimited silence, for the
brokenness of being known. for the silence
of the soul is where i rest.
and there in woodruff park
there is such blaring
silence.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Ethereal Problem of Humanity



I'm back at Bombay's. I've become a regular, I think. All of the Baristas know my face, a handful know my name. It always gets crowded here after 2 pm; like nowhere-to-sit kind of crowded. It's 3:25 and 44 seconds PM. There's an elderly couple to my right, listening intently to a presumably 8-year old grandson telling a story of his morning. I heard him say "that'd be expensive," when his grandpa started talking about traveling to Paris. it caught me off guard, to think that a kid would have that term in his word bank. the rest of the interior is speckled; hipsters, older folks, mixed couples, all shouting out some type of solidarity with one another and with myself, in the sense that we're all human. Humanity has been a point of contention recently. I went in to teach at the IRC today, and was flying solo with a group of 6 guys from Haiti and Burma and Nepal. It was fun, it always is. Being with just men helps, too, because there's one less barrier that I have to get over to reach their level and communicate with them. There's still the language and culture barrier, as well as the age barrier with some. But, not having the gender barrier in place helps ease the struggle, I think. The best practice that I've learned to adopt thus far is to try and express our mutual human-ness. (side note: Chattanooga Choo-Choo just came on the radio. I love this song.) The intention is to try to share in our humanity, despite all of the barriers. From there, we can move forward in mutual identity and trust, and depend on each other in some small way. I don't know. I'm coming to understand Humanity as struggle. Like, to tap into our humanity is to sit in all of the dirty, broken pieces of who we are. It's all enigmatic, and I can't quite tie it down just yet. I'm reading a lot of monastic-minded things right now. It's taking shape, I think, the problem of humanity. I know that I can't spend all of my effort trying to escape it, that I must face it and be delivered. I don't know. I hate writing posts that aren't concrete or conclusive, but life is in the tension. I'm sitting in the tension, figuring out how to breathe. And that's where I'm at right now. There and Bombay's, listening to Chattanooga Choo-Choo.

The Gun Facilitating Suicide


Curses on my tongue, i urge it to recant.
it is coveted dark matter. it is
luxuriously small.

I feel with rolling fingers the fibrosis, the
bullet holes. she is a gun that I shot myself
with. she is a mountain wilderness where I
wandered lost, trying different combinations
of words and stanzas, of rhyme and metaphor,
shouting a wistful salvation into the blackness.
Oh, and all of my distress; those days I spend
alone, these nights I fill with famous faces, they
are my prison, they are my guillotine. Utterly
abandoned, those hopes of holding her again.
Utterly malicious is any hint of hope. she tears at
my soul, she lights me on fire when she opens
her heart, when she says the ball to be in my
court. she asks for a hero, I am a coward. she
asks for a diplomat, I am a lobbyist. she asks
for Abraham Lincoln, I am J.W. Boothe, taking
lives to suit my agenda; this agenda of myself.
I am brick and mortar stacked atop petrified
brick. I am a thought-driven hermit, hiding in
my solace, afraid to do it wrong, but only capable
of drinking and sleeping and rolling my own
cigarettes. And death, capable of death.

At which I'm growing rather adept these days.
one can only hope.

A Cyclical Story Telling of Less Attractive Qualities



she sets herself in direct sunlight
so as to catch each coveted ray,
and to hold it with dainty fingers,
loose and lovely, while questions
pour from troubled thinkers, and
children hold hands platonically.
creation and an apex, in its miles

of broken shards. are the molecules
shaped so lovely, all desperately
clinging to one another? are the
seconds and synapses set in motion?
but perhaps she is a monster,
weathered by the death and devastation,
characteristic. perhaps she is no lover,

merely whitewash and headstone.
perhaps it is no throne of judgement
where she sits. I think that she will not
deliver me. though those cells and
molecules combine to so lovely a
frame. perhaps we will not collide
in the floating and dive-bombing

endangerments of Life. though, as the
lists and charters and covenants stack
up, all swollen with the "perhaps," one
more to be ventured: perhaps life is
merely death confronted, transcended.
perhaps we might face it all
together.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hurry Up Offense


Ok. 15 minutes until my next class, time enough to write. It is a gloriously blue-sky day, as I sit on the third floor of the Library facing a mile of Decatur Street, high rises and all. I don't have a lot that I need to put down, nothing concrete at least. Yesterday was full of laundry and groceries and computer games in between. It's a miraculous blue-sky day. The eight foot windows in front of me are slightly smudged, and this floor is relatively empty as the 9:30 wave of classes hasn't let out just yet. This city is really, really beautiful when you get up off of the street level. It's serene, and simple; just concrete and glass and exhaust pipes and satellite dishes. I've sat pondering what to write for so long that it is now time to go to class. I'm off to it. Big things, big things.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Unison, Fully Conscience



red brick, calluses and paint. a tint of blue
reflecting off of the ceiling of the sky.
black and white and yellow and brown, we
are a rainbow. the kind that Dr. King once
saw when he closed his eyes at night.

Some are in the service, some are chairmen
of boards, making decisions for the rest.

we are addicted to the coffee, the cocaine
we are star-crossed lovers of the silt and
the senses and the deep v-neck t shirts.

rise up in succession, parade around
indifferent. Let us speak in different
languages, of love and poetic poise,
or well planned posture and posterity.

let us breathe in the scent of living. let
us explain away with as many words
as we can spell.

thank you for the morning
now turned afternoon. thank you for
the blue and white contrast, shinning
through windows. thank you for the peace
within, enough to say that everything is
not alright, that the world is diving quick
into unforeseeable waters.

thank you for the rest when we realize
that this is reality, this struggle for mysticism
for transcendence. we are human,
after all. we are alive to some extent.
and life is a forward movement.

thank you that we are moving forward.

Shout a Hearty "Yes!" to My Generation



shout a hearty "yes!" to drifting harmonies.
we are wearing our suspenders, threaded
tightly through our belt loops. we are sitting
crowded on out couches, watching television.

and the mocking is the offspring, and the
conflict is the waking, and the human element
they once tried to sell us; selfishness. we
are parasites, after all. we are parasites.

growing pregnant in our swelling bellies,
break the news to our overly conservative
grandparents. and they hate and they hate
and they hate. though the fairies of welfare

smile happily at victims, swollen into potential
like over-indulgent children, pitiful in the eyes
of others, strong and beaming in our own. It
is a funny altercation, this life and her neglect.

oh, and aren't we always victims, aren't we
prone to grow dependent, aren't we always
beautiful to someone. because everyone is
beautiful, when I tell myself the truth, every

single person is. there is no escaping it, though
the putrid stench of humanity always grows
nearer. it follows us around like a habitual
codependency, inescapable and abundant.

and if I seem cynical, its because I am cynical.
If I seem jaded, it is because I am jaded. and
if I seem lost, it is because I am lost in some
arbitrary maze of living, where love is the

cheese, and failure is a dead end; where peace
is the prize, and a pulsating charge of death
makes the walls shiver and buzz in hopeful
anticipation of being the victor. now, be death

the victor, i shall bow out generously. I shall
gracefully sit on my ass and consume, counting
down the milliseconds until that glorious zero,
that light at the tunnel's end, that great exhale.

be death seeking me out, he can have me. he can
sink his ancient teeth deep beneath my skin. he
can drink of my weathered soul to his heart's content
he can take me through his filters, and make me

all his own. for we are only waiting, expectantly
for something to fight a revolution for us. and
we are misled, to flee our broken selves. and
we are the chosen ones, the finality of all life.

and in that activation, we are falling. and within
that hopeless falling, we can't help but smile.
for although it hurts like hell, all the cyclical
warring, it at the very least feels like something.



(ed. sarcastically, so as not to alarm the shareholders )

Friday, February 04, 2011

On Contemplating Hermitage


Bela Fleck on the headphones. I'm going to just write. It's raining like Jesus is coming back, and the multitude of terrified Atlantans are sitting securely in their high-rises. I'm going to a party tonight, where I don't really know anyone. I want to make new friends, as there is some hope of eradicating my humanity-standard loneliness that I keep trying to offset. I catch myself in it all the time; thinking about who I should ask out, hoping to perfect my different talents and produce something that is truly beautiful, writing and writing in hopes that someone might be reading. It's a frustrating thing, sitting in silence and wasting hours and hours catching up on other people's lives, strategizing my role in it all. It's where I've always sat, on the border of utter despair and beaming hope, wondering at how to stay above the thin red line. I'm starting to see some other factor in it, though. I think that there is a kind of beauty in solitude, in the pursuit of the "why." Why do I think that I need someone? Why am I so sure that I don't have everything I need? Why must I revert to lifestyle loneliness that I spend my time trying to avoid? I mean, surely life isn't a cycle of trying to distract ourselves from the reality of our aloneness, only to be disappointed when those distractions don't pan out; when they end in screaming accusations and hate-filled assaults, questioning our very humanity. Life is a thing that is ethereal, beautiful in its entirety. And the "why" holds a simple solution: I'm consumed with myself. I want to be in control, I want to be God. I want to hold the remote control. So I kick and I scream and I fight to make my agenda come to fruition. Loving surrender, rest in a divine embrace and quiet solitude are the solution. If only I could accept this, understand this, and know myself to be safe and secure in who He is, then all of those ancient fears might dissipate in the peaceful quiet of His love for me. I want to disappear for a season, to sit in silence and read Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen and C.S. Lewis, and meditate or chant or sleep or whatever it is that monastic hermits do to find God. I've been content with Dogmatic faith, so long as it makes me look good, for far too long. I want to find it and believe it and breathe it in. I want to feel it running through my fingers, I want to drink it from a flowing creek bed. I want to wash my face in it, and pull it through my hair; this silent understanding of what life is, of who He is. I think I'm in a stage of life where I can do this soon, just go somewhere and not come back until I find God in a way that I never have before. He's real, he is. He has to be. He has to be more real than how I understand him right now. I suppose I'll make sense of all of this, eventually. But I just want to riot from the muddy shit that I hover barely above. I want to be free from myself and my petty controlling. And I can't help but think that He wants that for me, too.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Smart Phone Salvation



Built for mass consumption, we are breathing
in the smog and smoke and syphilis. we are
motioning to the constituents to sneak in an
extra ballot. we are begging for our food via
smart phone. Oh feed me, feed me, not my
starving belly. Feed my empty, cavernous soul.

there aren't any heroes anymore. merely CGI
explosions, and unhealthily rich white people.

Now, come little children, let us scratch and
struggle, let us climb atop each other to reach
them. Then, we are the heroes. all the while
plagued by nightmares, wherein the great
darkness chases and chases, and ever we
run from ourselves, from that empty, cavernous
soul. let us plaster walls with smiling photos.
let us compile lists of famous literature, that
all may see and know where lie our allegiances.

to say that we are digging is rebellion. to
suppose that there's a problem is treason.
but the empires fall when their heroes are
the traitors. and hope shines a bit brighter
when the rebels are the saviors,
when the tyrants are the villains.

but let us not belabor. let us sit in silence, and
add up, exponentially, friends and followers
and faces. let us drink our passivity, blissful
in our ignorance, broken in our quiet longing.

to riot, to riot, let us rise to riot! but maybe we
should not be so brash. perhaps we should
smile, convincingly as we can, and pray to
this mightily reinforced god of ourselves, for
all that aching to take anticipated flight. and
we can help it along, if only we could afford
the latest smart phone.