how hard it was
how hard it was
and these are not my boots
gifted, they were
from a mermaid
knew your mom
before the great flood
to the landlords and the city of oakland that it was really no one’s fault. the whole concept of blame, sort of, just, flies out the window, a broken window, with flames for hours for days for weeks for months and years, for ever in our collective grief, but, a jury in oakland said –
circa ninety seven years old we were not but seventeen
in a car, a jetta, upwards north, fast like a fenzy, we
quit our jobs for a quick and sudden taste of the pacific northwest
how we could smoke inside that diner, next to sub pop, the mega mart,
below where we stayed, and we smoked cigarettes out the window, watching
the crocodile cafe in all it’s hidden late night wonders, and I
bought a CD and a shirt from a band I only heard for maybe
nine seconds with the headphones on, and how we found
cobain’s under the bridge, how we blew a tire
in aberdeen, how we found his high school,
and how we visited hendrix’s grave
and met young cloud who was
somehow hovering over the grave
him and his swollen feet and his
coming rain and –
some cut out cardboard
hanging like a mobile
in the air
I bought it on cassette
they got me
I was 15
feathers in the sun
pierce the coming storm
how innocent the rain
when you smile
consists loose twig and purple ribbon
a pail of lunch on the horizon
a unicorn morning in the making
it is a deleted text
to an old friend
with a flannel back pack
and no phone –
don’t fall far from the walls
swamp mist and chicken shit
palm fronds as big as a toad’s tongue
ripe as rain
silence and thunder
it was just a small poem
we were just kids
I never told you
I still write
take me back, remind me. set my feet into yr dirt earth. we were sentient once. it came like a spasm. a coming of age. there were wooded bowls for soup. we had a limousine furnished from scrap tin and make believe, the cashmere in the closet, where the rats fed, so young, so fast, everything eye liner and shadow, i learnt from sage. from ocean and sand. from clouds to doom. all of it. in one belt. one sitting. one life line, as they say. ribbons in the wind, if you will. i remember back seat and tape player. john lennon’s julia, battling the wind in my hair, i played it over and over. high as a kite. my eyes were red and my hair was green.
my stay at home secret companion knows this
my tiger in the reeds knows this
my poem is as a poem does knows this
my pooh-faced cloud incarnate knows this
my soft cloud disposition knows this
and this is not a movie
there is a chance
we will not
I decided, upon walking the street in a little town north of the mississippi river, to buy a van, to drive it home to oakland, to be a roadie for my friends’ bands. also, to get the fuck out of missouri. I was visiting my mom. It was a fight or flight moment. I mean, shit, the van was only five hundred dollars. what could go wrong? my driver’s license was expired, the van was not registered, had no tags, no license plates, it was a cold october morning and I said fuck it. on the way out of town, I stopped at my friends’ place, where he made me a couple of CD’s, for the road. I promptly bought a CD player and some speakers. And with barely enough gas money, save for coffee and peanuts, an engine and break lines that were slowly corroding because of the salt on the ice, think cold colorado, windy wyoming, utah’s mountainous cliff drops, think splayed freshly cut deer, in half, think hunter s. thompson incarnate, think death mission, think the walls are crumbling… and though I am not on an adventure, an adventure which, at the time, opened pages, for my writing, and headphones and scribblings and a faucet poured out, was it trauma was it losing myself was it what I had been searching for the whole time, I know not. but I wrote for months. and I found that If I could just keep writing. If I could just keep listening. I could make it home –
that tossed in the breeze from my cigarette and the wind and the road and that saxophone solo and how free I felt like a dove or a raven or an owl at night surfing the unknown stars in the distance surfing the imaginary idea of future because when you’re a kid that’s what you do when you’re out in the wild unknown with your wild unknown friends and you cling to that you cling to what feels like comfort like casmere like making destitute a place of friendship like making loss a sense of coming together like endless bummer like true friends forever like riding a bicycle and all that wind in your hair like how everything coming at you is a welcome’d and perfect calm
damn. the energy in this is intense. it makes me feel things that I don’t want to feel. like, maybe there’s still some dark fog I left in the back of that drawer I’ve been cleaning out for decades I’m picturing a hallway. my hand forever reaching deeper and deeper it stretches there’s stuff everywhere not just pen caps and rubber bands or folded notes and scratched out poems there’s pictures on the wall there’s memories everywhere I can see them in the distance at first just colors then oozing colors like picture frames barfing dancing singing searching with my desperate digits combing spider man crawling slow and fuck man this album is amazing and fuck man where are you tyler? please come home
hold your memories close
we are not the
may it cast it’s hidden secrecy in waves across our invisible shadows like deja vu like humidity and song like a fishing line and a guitar in a canoe on a lake at night alone a sea of stars –
hurry now. my direction. go with the wind. tilt that shit. this way. there are hearts in the fronds. they have secret feathers. the rats tend to them. they are delicate. ear drums like pencils. flowers on the ready. so. hurry now. take yr time. you’ll never believe what happened –
i get lost in the details
i set sail for ambivalence
i get lost in the details
you tired tyrant, you sleepy monolith of epic clarity, you heavy heavy air, you and your shelf life, you and your tired old obituaries and your faded paperback detective stories and your make-believe airports and your broken pencils and your unfinished crosswords and your late night secret-coffee-monologue-poems and your evening sketches, you and your serious blanket isolation, you, the owl to my wingspan, you and your secret cauldron promises and your sweet forgiveness, your bliss acceptance, you and your choose-your-own-adventure never-land dreams, and your secret crutch, your hidden misery, your red riding hood shroud and your sunny, perfect days, you and your clear glass fate and your mountains and your lakes and your wind, you and your full laughter and your full tilt exorcism, you and your axe –
you unwanted guest, you silent waiter, you and your appropriate attire. you and your clean cut and your deep breath. you and your open krishna mouth and your endless dark matter. you and your forever sunrise and your endless night. you and your sudden whip and your instant forgiveness. you, the long distance traveler to my seasoned response. you the patient mentor to my grief. oh, sad and heavy news, won’t you, for once, join me in a prayer? won’t you help me turn back time? If it’s in your power to disassemble, surely we can turn the tide. surely, we’re magicians, after all –
her pure black hair
and that howling wind
being late to the party
I was busy
I wasn’t sure you’d show
I sat on the cliff
I sang “Jane Says” to no one
I started bleeding and I didn’t care
the strings were so thick
the seaweed was everywhere
I waited so long
reminds me of losing you
and who we were then
and how you left
and how it hurt
and how sudden
it still feels
I was knee deep in Cormac McCarthy’s All The Pretty Horses.
I recorded nine hours of Pink Floyd onto cassette tapes from a scratchy and faded Colorado station.
Lost in Santa Fe’s ugly summer, its angry cacti.
I quit taking my anti-depressants and bottomed out.
I downed the rest and headed for New Mexico’s endless oasis.
The green belt.
Think empty and rusted cars.
Sun faded porno’s.
Abandoned washing machines.
Suddenly, a dark and moody patch of forever-charcoal clouds shone on.
I found a wallet, with a bullet hole – pierced through.
I found a shady shrub and sat down.
I felt nothing.
And the Nothing was growing inside me.
And I realized I was dying.
Two songs found me then;
“Jesus Don’t Want me for a Sunbeam” and
“Things are Going to Get Easier.”
I remember spilling apple juice all over the place.
Taking off my clothes.
Crawling into bed.
I remember the stomach pump.
My lips were blue.
My hair was brown.
I remember the sunflower fields in Kansas.
Mom and I, on the road again.
And all those Black-Eyed Susan’s.
Winking at me.
i used to be the moon
i used to be an astronaut
yr hair in the neon sun
we were summertime gloves
kids against the world
you tired traveler, you distant warrior, you imaginary me, (you turn into dreams, don’t you know?) like a river, I collect and let go of everything you have to offer, we’re cool like that, you and me and our collective un belief, you and I and our collective acceptance, you and I and our shared sun. you the moon to my earth, but, I remember, I do, and there you go again –
a poloroid postcard
a cardboard cut-out
in the autumn sun
won’t you join me
fireball and all
shit and solace
steel mojitos around
we’ll toast the captain
set sail for spain
search for mermaids
but not the anesthesia
perched on the corner of the bed
with the cone of shame on
the last time I saw him
limestone and yellow’d I am the sun and the strawberry moon and I collect daisies on the daydream walks I take from memory makes me hungry for Spring’s late night butterfly’s and I am nothing paper like steaming coffee or tea or perhaps there is no daydream and it’s always winter makes me fonder for the subtle things like mint and I have to wash my hands again
it collides with the pages in my cloud memory like books and cobwebs and candles and the smell of old wood and everything up close looks like words I’m making up in the moment and there’s no end to the wind
my antlers and my spirit animal dreams like cotton spread out abounding my mattress in kitty whisper nap time for years the alarm has been going off and we’re just about daybreak and the napkins aren’t enough this wind is treachery I’m glad we’re set studied on nervous noise and not that damned clicking from the window it is drowning the smell of old europe and I’m still not used to it damn the bridges and the locked doors and why am I on this ratchety train it smells like newspapers and sweat and that pigeon keeps staring at me and the clutter in the mildew like dew in the mornings is but fog on my windshield keeps catching up with me
it shuffles to the sound water makes
makes clear what
it bows to the sound of winter
like throwing rocks and gravel
yr parents took us to kawaii
and you were afraid of
deep sea diving
so we stuck to the waterfalls
and our guitars
and we came up with a shared philosophy;
the burden is upon us
and like the oddballs we were
I still have photos of us
we got into that airplane
we would die