blake ellington larson

the secret to life

is not

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fire is death

wait for it to pass

this concussion

reminds me of losing you

and who we were then

and how you left

and how it hurt

and how sudden

it still feels

letting you go

is the pure blanket of clarity

that fills my days

sometimes

touch the ceiling

touch the ceiling

break through it

The second time I committed suicide

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. My brother and I were lost in Santa Fe’s ugly summer, its angry cacti. I quit taking my anti-depressants and bottomed out. That’s when 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 it. 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. Waking up in a patient’s gown. Watching green day’s basket case on the t.v. They were wearing hospital gowns like me. My lips were blue. My hair was brown. I remember the sunflower fields in kansas after I was cleared from the psych ward. All those Black-Eyed Susan’s. Winking at me.

i used to be a sunflower

i used to be the moon

i used to be an astronaut

staring down

at you

I want to collect records

like you collect rain

there is a tiny ghost inside me that knows I will die someday

memory and mantra

back and forth

music is memory

back and forth

my friends

died in that fire

there’s a picture of you

inside me

 

there’s not enough string

bring me

closer to you

love is acceptance

patience is flowers

plant everything

go broke

love is acceptance

patience is everything

plant flowers

slow down

wind and fire

yr hair in the neon sun

we were summertime gloves

kids against the world

reverse echo

the dogs on my block

set off car alarms

the mellow in me

is at war with everything

I have a hat

I do not wear my hat

I can’t stop breathing

it’s like everything inside me

just wants to

get away

I am

too

many postcards

to you

and who

I was

then

oh, memory, you sleepy sith

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 –

how evil the sun

shone so darkly powerful

in it’s brilliant defiance

of my grief

you are

where I’m at

my greatest image of you is

not a picture frame worthy

I am a lone cowboy

I do not have the photos

to prove it

I am an endless drought

of surging inspiration

 

of all things

music is memory

don’t pick the flowers

let it rain

elevator soul

glimmer and switch

glitter and twitch

wrestle with which

we were night’s welcomed dew

the two

of us

 

yr strings paint brushes

and you

paint

brushes

back

like you

I’m a nervous castle

like gristle on the grapevine

we were taut and taunt

ween and want

hungry

dear spirit/thunder

test me

I will best you

it was a new kind of dark

a poloroid postcard

a cardboard cut-out

neon dusk

in the autumn sun

when I go deaf

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

herbie, the one eyed pirate shih tzu

 

survived katrina

but not the anesthesia

perched on the corner of the bed

with the cone of shame on

the last time I saw him

yesterday

every time I hear a siren

feels like

you’ve been

holding

your breath

ever since

you died

I am faded paper

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

my new poem is not the song of the river

bloom and cotton

your final burden

exit:  stage left

enter:  curtain

bloom and cotton

your final curtain

exit:  stage left

enter:  burden

my butterflies are quiet

it’s not the wind

wakes ’em up

in the morning

my first thought is anxious

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

music is memory

let it sink in

I am a cloud of indecision

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

people are like spiderwebs

carry a toothpick

I am the nothing dragon

hear me roar

two sunflowers

in the shade of

each other

taking turns

against

the sun

my new wind is blank paper

it shuffles to the sound water makes

makes clear what

doesn’t

float

 

 

my new heart is blown glass

it bows to the sound of winter

keeps cool-through

crescent moons

swoons

falls

drawls

for Autumn’s

grasshoppers

and frogs

yr love is the blanket of sun

keeps me

invisible warm

I am the nothing jasmine

and you are the cure

found a new home without you

like throwing rocks and gravel

this place

keeps changing

this island

isn’t us

anymore

i am haunt

i

want

you

when our souls were ships

 

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

smiling, when

we got into that airplane

half-knowing

half-hoping

we would die

together

my soul crux

my perpetual

soul crux

gets lost in you

truth, he said

tastes a lot like

fiction

we have roots

we grow

together

days are like rivers that

slow down enough

for you to

write on them

grief

is a powerful beast

the trouble with writing songs is

sometimes they

go boom

my thoughts are all but colorwise

sadness, though

shone like a rainbow

when you called

grief is not guilt

it is not malice

it is love

pure love

 

silence

waits for no one

save the horses

save the world

celebrate everyone

you know

who you are

celebrate everything

you know

who you are

my spirit is the avalanche

keeps me covered

yr spirit is the blanket

keeps me covered

sometimes, when I dive into you

it’s like breathing under water

but, most of the time

in life and in death

come wander with me

the Salvage King

you and I

forever in search

of calm

if horses were feathers

I’d make a raincoat

out of the songs

you left behind

art is process

save

everything

yr songs make the rain in my heart

real

the sky is beautiful

I wish you were her

I was sick with love

made like a balloon

I drifted to sidewalks

where she found me

the difference between life and death is

I get to swallow you

dear dark

it is not yr crimson glow

draws me to yr furnace

I am not

breathing for you

I am not trees

not the feet

you will meet

I am not my heart

it’s you

yr steel thunder

is the marsh mellow

to my silver lining

I’m thinking backwards

I’m looking forwards

to you

I don’t play with fire

anymore

dear dark

I am not your foldboy

this is not laundry-town

I have a bus ticket

yr spirit

is the pinata

that hangs in the breeze

and someday

yr candy

will shower me

the inside words

say little of the wind

and the dew

and you

and i

when i sleep

you are still alive

warranted, you

arrest me

pooh bear and i

didn’t suck our thumbs forever

we were playing the long game

on stage and in private

we had each other’s scratchy backs

as they say

but

one of us got caught

one of us

with their hand in the honey pot

singing

the whole time

my skin is all over the place

like a baked lemon on a soft day

like a persimmon

in the neon sun

used to write poems on postcards

in the dark of the porch

staring at that photo of us

sitting in the sun

yr in my clouds

and my thoughts are clouds

and so are you

you can’t just press a leaf and hope it dries

it has to live a little

it has to know the sun’s heat

there will come a time when someone

will ask you

what is this dried for?

you have it so neatly displayed

is this the smell of comfort?

are you a time traveler?

have you been sent from

a half-dream

blinded by light?

do you know what year it is?

who is our president?

what color am i holding?

all i need is

a blank stage of postcard paper

a stack of some thirty ought six

or whatever

i need to make notes

this apocalypse is killing me

we had to take her car

’cause you were gone

and we couldn’t find you

i remember walking the train tracks

for no reason

we were so worried

we had to take her car

your ghosts are pillows

i didn’t intend

i am a man of stone

i know

where i come from

dear self

you are younger now

our love

broke

post

cards