Morning Half-Life

My skull feels like a hollow sphere; it presses like a forcefield
against the back of my eyes, as if afraid of what might be seen.
I wake up, pace around the floor for a few minutes.

“It is impossible to think in the morning, isn’t it?”, I try
to start a conversation with myself, fail
against the unrelenting dullness in my skull.

I name the things I called my own, “office bag”,
“little red Gideon’s bible”, “tablet”, “phone that won’t stop shrieking alarms”,
and on and on. Each intrudes into my attention,
flinches as if grazed by lightning, falls away to be itself.

Somewhere in the clutter lies a marriage album. A photo
rises in my memory: my mother, my father, young and beautiful
in black and white.

Last night, the photo seemed to be a gaze
across time, as if their eyes held the promise of the years to come,
a covenant that held my frayed self together,
dragged me like a tractor beam
to that time before I was.

I try to grasp at that thought, that faint stir of grace,
that corona of humbling faith I’d felt last night, fail.

Today, right now, a photo is a photo.
Like this room is a room.
And I am a thing in a flesh suit, playing at being human.
I yawn. I need some chai.

Morning Half-Life

Letters written to no one in particular about nothing in particular – 5

No wooing, no more wooing, I cannot find the voice
for it any more; the words I would say to you poise
themselves on the edge of my larynx, prance, stumble, fall in a stream
of laughs. It is getting too ridiculous these days. The heat
of undigested words and the sky like a pressed blue sheet
descending on us, on me, on you, ever so slowly. How does one speak
of love, or think, as an itch snakes its way from point to unwelcome point?
The skin turns alien like an indifferent sky
that can’t be bothered to contain me and you or us or the tide
of laughter that threatens to crack my ribs. Far easier to lie
unmoving like a mattress, the sheet pressing down, abide
in the touch of a slow descending wind that dries,
that cools itch-etched seams; to wait for the noise
to settle in liquid gurgles in the pit of my stomach, to void
the words I would say to you in a burst of rancid wind
that lifts the sky. There, I find my voice again. But no, no more wooing.

Letters written to no one in particular about nothing in particular – 5

Letters written to no one in particular about nothing in particular – 3, 4


To be fooled by a kiss is no better
nor worse than to be smitten
by the shape of an apocalypse. The event
is itself. The weather
is always something we can write.
I tell you, the apocalypse won’t feature exploding suns
or bloody skies. We will sit apart, in our dying nights,
each to our own desk, tongues rolling words,
remembering the kisses we never remembered.

Or not, maybe our tongues will seek each other.
Even as the weather turns feral
and terse verses run loose with a gasp
in the storm of lines that we never meant to write,
a rain like the exhumed breath of a corpse.
But fools that we are, a kiss is all we can bear
as red clouds bask in the death of the sun.
We will have each other, skeletal, smitten.


Suction is the truth of things: a kiss, a poem,
a storm, the bitten tongue  of a silent orgasm,
loss; Everything sucks, no? No. Everything spins
I meet myself walking between
mirrors some times. Did I tell you?
There is a sign in my office loo
as if the pain in my bladder does not ensure
that I do not walk, that I do not talk
to anyone except in functional grunts:
“This is what is”, “This is what must be done.”
Someone must step up, someone must abjure
their self, change positions, smile, endure
the discomfort, the muscle tear, the headache
that comes from the body sucking into itself,
the body imagining itself as stone, dull
but whole and immaculate;
breathing but laughing, and always in the distance,
stuck in the abyssal cry of knowing someone,
forgetting them in the rapture of knowing;
waking to a dark tunnel, the borders shadowed. Pain, gloaming
like distant stars in the corpse of the universe that is you, undone.
Letters written to no one in particular about nothing in particular – 3, 4

Letters written to no one in particular about nothing in particular – 1

I do not believe I could ever be
an Iron Man, a metal corpse imbued
with the stench of flesh, the slick, sour reek
of an unwashed taint. How does he bear it?
I couldn’t, I couldn’t, I cannot bring myself
to sniff myself on my best of days. My body
gushes like a clogged sewer; skin and follicle,
blood and cologne, a miasma. Oh, I cannot
bear the weight of my skin.
                                                       I would
gladly be an invisible man. Unfleshed, unboned,
unmade, unfurled like a vacuum you see but don’t.
Invisible hands that have forgotten touch, an
invisible brain that writes a language you cannot read,
invisible eyes that cannot see, invisible words
that sink like silent corpses into the earth
and the next time you take a step, you will know
a poem like the faintest tremor through your toes.
Letters written to no one in particular about nothing in particular – 1

10. The exile

It is my time to walk away;
the ether has stretched itself over the days
of my passing. The light has grown dimmer
and the hours have run astray
of the steady fall of the calendar
The turning of the clock is a piece of paper
falling as white as the one yesterday.
The steady murmur of the usual clamor
no longer settles on my ears.
A chair for one, a meal for one, a single glass
poured from from a single pitcher
I do not hope to listen
and if listened, understand,
and if understood, know another
that would disrupt a single gray strand
of this senescent ether.
I do not think I can stand to make a stand

It is my time to build a shelter
a thing of small joys, of the stoic pleasures
still left to me. I have no desire
for a kingdom. A hut thrown together
from the meager leavings of my mind
That will suffice, a gray place for the gray times.
There, in the shade of its certainties,
in the familiar surprise of its incongruities,
in the remembered ache of its little discomforts,
I will write myself into the dust
As each day will fall as a numbered piece of paper,
as everything merges with the mist of the ether,
I will write myself into the dust.

10. The exile

8. One bourbon, one scotch, one beer

The goddess behind the sole red bulb lives
In a cloud of smoke. Incense sticks and cigarettes
And our worn-out lungs are the clouds she craves
Like a moon patching its fair face from the mad distress
Of the night. A patch of redlit dark to my left forms the waiter
I drain another glass, go ‘A bourbon, a scotch, a beer.

Repeat.’ The walls breed cockroaches. The lone window
Wears the latest spiderwebs. Here, all things grow
Out of themselves, connect like fingers fumbling over
A dark table, finding what they seek, forming a clasp
Like a covenant, like the endless promise of an empty glass.
It’s the patch of man again. Time for ‘A bourbon, a scotch, a beer

Once more.’ There is a deep quiet people leave behind
After they have left, hands clasped unbroken.
Out of their absence swept clean from their tables, the dead eyes
Of the ceiling that pass off as flaking paint. The goddess
Rises now in this emptied space. Smiling, her picture
Announces, ‘Your time is up.’ ‘A bourbon, a scotch, a beer

To go.’ I will seek the turning street, watch time descend
Like a cartoon anvil from the sky. But this is not the end.

(NOTE: Every once in a while, a song gets stuck in my head. It repeats itself at the strangest of times throughout the day. It plays as a background score in my dreams. The Glee version and the John Lee Hooker version of “One bourbon, one scotch, one beer” both have been playing on my mind a lot these past few weeks. Hence, this poem.)  

8. One bourbon, one scotch, one beer

6. The weak atheist watches his team lose [Placeholder title]

We lost because you were kept from singing.
Because correlation must be causation
If I am to live, to keep believing
That a win matters. That the kingdom

Will be nigh. The falling grace of your neck,
The secret turn of your lips behind a veil of hair
is the stuff of song. The note that breaks
The sky into stars, the death of the word in an air

Slowly melting to a solid state. Because I
Must war against the invisible. The real
Is a ghost that the eye cannot abide.
That must be broken, rebuilt, a dark castle

Forged as you sing. Now, I can rest though we lost
I will dream of my kingdom, of towers of song.

6. The weak atheist watches his team lose [Placeholder title]