Tuesday, June 30, 2015

shaping the future with broken hands

quiet again in the
room of empty chairs
except for maybe
the sound of dust

maybe the absence of
your boyfriend
or the memory of his fists

the way that
drawing blood can be
called love

the names of
your children

their small
perfect mouths filled
with broken glass

Monday, June 29, 2015

sea of tears

reach yr empty hands up to
the surface

teach them to burn flags

to assassinate kings

all solutions create new problems,
and so the trick
is selective blindness

sat there in the back yard and
pointed out jupiter and
venus to my sons

spent most of my time
worrying that i was failing them

days got colder until we
ended up at zero

sick at christmas

sky of dirty glass

say to her i am not you and
then say you are not wakoski

say you are not atwood

it helps to be alone

it helps to believe in

we will all end up dead no
matter how many gods
clutter our rooms

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Sitting in a freshly painted room, thinking
that I should be leaving, thinking that it
smells like rain. I have left my son's globe
on the living room table. I have left too
many bills unpaid, too many windows open,
and the truck is almost out of gas. The
woman walking down the stairs knows my
name, smiles like we're old friends, says
she lost everything in the flood. Says her
husband left her for a younger woman,
but she can't be more than twenty-two,
twenty-three. She can't stop crying, and
I can't think of anything to say. I need to
get home in case there's a fire. In case the
phone rings. I am tired of waiting for

mark tobey

an ephemeral silence

Thursday, June 18, 2015

a gunman opens fire

when all you want to do is sing,
or maybe
be told you’re beautiful,
a baby falls from the sunfilled sky,
a rain of weeping hawks, of
angels with broken wings,
and do you remember the
sound of me holding your hand?

were we actually ever in love w/
anything more
than the idea of escape?

i need to believe
that we were.

Monday, June 15, 2015

kirchner's suicide, and mine, and yours

yrself beautiful in this
grey october sunlight and
everything i say distorted by fear

every wall
hung with a cross

the windows broken
or thick with dust
or looking out over
a million tiny bones

this woman in
the bathroom crying

this baby found
floating in the tub

an old story and that i
tell you i'm sorry
fifteen years too late

that i dream about
the accident
then wake up whole

visit the house
of my father's ashes

can remember
nothing about him
but his anger

dreaming america

the streets all smeared white on
sunday morning
and the sunlight without end

the names of the dead
written down then forgotten

what they sound like is silence

like human bones falling
from the sky

the shadows they cast on
empty fields

bare trees rising up
out of black water on the
edges of all the worthless towns
i've ever lived in

all of the people i've left behind

the ones i've
been left behind by

and what our words
eventually form are maps
but none of the missing are found
and none of the beaten

and your sister finds
a new lover

forgets the
names of her children

their faces

mistakes desperation for love

nothing any of us haven't
done at some point

2nd wish

Sunday, June 14, 2015

1987 ford mustang with a FOR SALE sign in the rear window

and the skinny girl who
gets out of it

the price of a pack of cigarettes
(or the name of a baby
who will never know her father

who will be dead before
his fifth birthday)
and what she does is smile and ask
if you're interested

says she needs twenty bucks

says the kid probably
won't even wake up

and the only thing you
know how to be is human

Monday, June 08, 2015


so tell it straight
without the false romance of
distance and loss

you were in love
and then you weren’t

you lost each other
found each other again maybe
then waited to see what
would happen

got by for a while on
sex and fear and memories
and then it wasn’t enough

closed your eyes and
when the morning light forced
them open again
ten years had passed

you were both
married to strangers

you were both lost in
the forest

the edges had already
begun to burn

a statement of sorts


Friday, June 05, 2015

the girl on fire tells you what she knows about love

which isn’t much

when written down
looks like a blank sheet of paper

like a prayer offered up to
a god who isn’t there

the ideas
of religion and brutality
suddenly shown to be

the collapse

believe in a sky both
silver and bruised, in the
dizzy spin of the sun, and believe not
in true love but in the possibility
of it, and then wait for the
rain to arrive

fall between the bodies
of christ and pilate

breathe in the smell of
new-mown grass

breathe in the smell of corpses
burned with gasoline

the walls you build are temporary
at best, and your hatreds are all cliché

ask this woman next to you
in bed for her name

tell her something
both small and meaningless

and what those of us born with the
knowledge of space and of distance,
and what about the ones who
learn it by force?

do you ever get sick of being
defined only by what you’ve lost?

pick the point in your life
where you think everything
began to fall apart

tell your wife exactly when it
was you stopped loving her

wallow in the pain you cause
just like it was your
last day on earth