Unfinished

White Jigsaw Puzzle Illustration

A few weeks ago I went on an anthropology retreat with the High Plains Society for Applied Anthropology. What is an Anthropology Retreat? It’s a space for anthropologists and other social scientists to converse over issues in the field, their research, and trade ideas.

One of the things this retreat often features is a poetry writing workshop… The theme of the retreat was unfinished, and so I wrote a short poem in relation to the weekend and the concept that our work is always changing and growing and mutating. Here it is.

Unfinished…

Unfinished?

Why do we always feel like something unfinished leave us so diminished?

And How did it become an obscenity to consider our identity a fluent and ever changing entity?

It seems as if all of the threads that we must contend with force us to apprehend our knowledge

and suspend our disbelief that life has some kind of clear beginning and clear end.

It’s taken me a long time to accept the concept that I am part of the whole, not an individual soul or that I do play a role in this oppressive system of capitalistic control

I have to ask myself, What is the cost of this toll?

Life and culture is constant progress and process

I think the dead ends haunt us like an absess because we obsess with the mess and stress of maintaining false binaries that we aren’t allow to transgress

One or the other back and forth west and east, south and north.

We have to fit things in neat boxes before we set forth

But in outer space there is no single direction and often the project left unfinished is no real transgression

And sometimes the way forward is to stop and consider your own reflection

Especially if you yearn to learn the lessons as you pull that wheel for a uturn

But really, it’s okay to turn back and leave something unfinished

And since not much rhymes with unfinished? That’s where this poem is going to stay

I AM a Mistake

New poem I wrote this morning. The text is at the bottom after the video.

 

I AM a mistake

I am a mistake

Not in the sense that my birth was accidental,

Or that my parents weren’t overly sentimental

About me coming into this world all cranky and temperamental

 

I am a mistake

Rather I am a serious of flubs and fuck ups

A never ending calamity of false starts and blowups

A breakup, a checkup a buildup a burnup

A constant crisis of startup and windup

 

I’m the guy who has to learn shit the hard way

Hell, I’ll probably bring about my own personal doomsday

My luck is rotten and

I’ve already forgotten

the lessons I just learned

When I got seriously burned

But I know it’s really all my fault

You don’t have point that out or pour on the salt

 

I’m always thinking about the choices I’ve made

And the prices of paid

Or The ways I have strayed from my path

Ending up alone and afraid

I should have gone, I should have stayed

If only that message could have been better conveyed

Those are thoughts that never seem to fade

It’s as if with every passing decade, my mind seems parade all the mistakes I have made so that I feel like inside there is an endless tirade

 

You’d think I’d be ready to say enough is enough

But even though things have been pretty rough

I’m still standing, I’m still moving, though sometimes it’s tough

 

But you know what? I’m fine with it

You might think I’m stupid or full of shit

Or Maybe I’m just too foolish to quit?

Perhaps I’m too prideful and arrogant

But I think, I’m finally ready to admit

 

I like who I am, mistakes and all

Sometime I laugh when I recall

The fist fights and brawls

The late nights and close calls

The angry cougar who liked to maul me with her paw when she was under the influence of alcohol

It’s hard to recall it all with out feeling like I’m in free fall

 

I am a mistake

Until now, my life has felt like purgatory

So much felt routine and mandatory

A hoary momento mori

Signifying nothing but sound and fury

But you know what I realized?

That shit is only a made up story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Few Thoughts Before Dreaming

Thoughts Before DreamingA Few Thoughts Before Dreaming

Pigeons shitting on the car.
Streaks of white,
Cleaned off,
To happen again,
So much for the car wash.

The gum I stepped in,
A faithful passenger,
Creating sticky situations,
And semi-sucking noises.
No ninja here.

The beautiful stranger who smiled at me,
Sending transmissions like shockwaves.
Envisioning the possibility of love and marriage and happiness,
A tale of forever…
Followed by inevitable divorce.

Socks getting lost in blankets.
Tossing.
Turning.
Mind wandering to extravagant places with unfortunate problems.
A sigh,
An unpaid bill.
A sigh,
Things left undone.
A sigh,
Things left unsaid.

Then,
A deep breath.
I listen,
For the stillness,
For the wind,
For the hint of raindrops,
For the naked air wrapped in a cloak of day and night
In it, I find the beating of my own heart,
Matched with the music of the leaves outside,
Gently rustling.
Just a little song.
I remember beauty.
I remember love.
I remember life.
As my eyes slip shut.

 

A Reliable Cycle

A Reliable CycleA Reliable Cycle

Car stalls.
Stillness in the early morning.
No sun yet.
Fog and cloud mingle with the full moon like tendrils grasping for possession.
I wait.
Engine turns over.
On the road again.
The moon devoured.
A sky bound feeding frenzy.
Deep darkness.
Car stalls.
5 miles to go
I wait.
Engine turns over.
On the road again.
The moon escapes the maw.
It makes a dash for freedom.
The tendrils lose their grip.
Moon slides behind a mountain.
I am jealous.
No reprieve for me.
Car stalls.
2 miles to go
I wait.
Engine turns over.
On the road again.
The sun paints the sky with its morning yawn.
Color at war with the vast armies of the night.
A reliable cycle.
A predictable outcome.
Car Stalls.
A half mile to go.
I wait.
Engine turns over.
On the road again.
The sun douses me with its first light.
I am radiant.
I am blinded.
I am almost there.
50 feet to go.
Car stalls.

 

 

 

Man in the Mirror (Happy Halloween!)

Happy Halloween 2017.

I recently wrote a piece for a Halloween themed Flash Fiction Event. I thought it would be fun to record a quick video and throw it up on YouTube. But, if you just want to read, the words are also below.

 

“The Man in the Mirror”

 

Welcome back doctor, you are well I hope?
No don’t bother, I know the usual trope
Are you ready to examine me under your microscope?
I am ready to share now, I will succumb to your hopes.

Your hopes, your hopes but what of my hopes?

I take it you want me to explain my tale?
I warn you now, you will think me mad, a liar, worthy of jail
I have told a few others but to no avail
They do not believe it, thus far the truth has not prevailed

The truth, the truth, the truth will prevail

Why am I speaking in rhymes you want to know?
It simply eases my pain and lessens my woe
The loss of my wife was, you see, quite a blow
Although, you think I am guilty, that I know

The woe, the woe, you cannot possibly know.

It was early morning when I woke from my doze
The darkness still sparkled, the sun had not rose
I shifted and turned in the chair that I chose
I shut my eyes tight but they would not stay closed

Stay closed, stay closed, if only they’d stay closed

I moaned, for sleep was scarce indeed.
The first colors of the morning had begun to bleed.
I sat up in the chair and tried to proceed
But long bouts of insomnia had sapped me indeed.

Nights without end, indeed, indeed.

I rose from the chair and the world started to spin
I pawed my way to the bathroom so my day could begin
I glanced at my reflection and I did not find twin
But instead staring back was a strange man with a grin.

That grin, that grin oh the horror of that grin.

His face was like mine, but something was wrong
We stared for a while, time looped and grew long
His eyes like questions, hypnotic and strong
My terror grew deeper for a mirror is never wrong

Distorted and cracked but never wrong

How much time passed? I could not say
But I will never forget what happened that day.
For the man in the mirror, he wanted to play.
And the game that he liked? Command and obey

Obey, obey I had to obey. My gaze was fixed, I had to obey.

It was not a good game, it was cruel you see
For he was trapped in the mirror and he wanted control of me
He wanted my life, he wanted to be set free
A curse had trapped him there for all eternity

The curse, the curse he wanted to be free.

A blood sacrifice was required of course
Not a chicken, nor a goat, not even a horse
At first, I resisted, I fought with all my force
But my will was finite compared to his source

Centuries of hate were his near infinite source

He compelled me to do it, to his will I was bound
You may think me mad, that my mind is unsound
But those eyes, those greedy eyes, so wide and so round
I could not resist his will, I was bound

Bound, bound, soon we will all be bound.

He beckoned me to the kitchen, and made me grab a knife,
And then he sent me upstairs to find my sleeping wife,
I entered our room full of struggle and strife
But his desires were strong and he wanted her life

Her life, your life, bound in the blood and knife

The rest you can guess I am sure it’s quite clear
After all, I’m famous, the case of your career
Crazy as It might seem we are bound right here
Do you feel it yet doctor? That tingle? That fear

The fear, the fear are my intentions yet clear?

And now doctor, I have you, you are all mine
You lingered too long, you dallied for the last time.
I captured you with my lyrics and rhythms and rhymes
I’ve been trying to find the right vessel and now you are mine

Mine oh mine, you are all mine

You see, the sorcerer in the mirror managed to get free
But his body? Long gone and so he found a home in me
But something about me is inadequate you see
I am dying and to a new body he must flee

This body will crumble, oh doctor, it’s too late now to flee

Come closer now doctor and stare into my eyes
That’s it I beckon, I compel, I promise you no more lies
That’s right doctor, give in, resistance is unwise
Let down your barriers, let me try you on for size

Wonderful, what a fit, what an excellent prize.

Now to find the descendants of my captors and bring about their
demise.

Persist???

Persist?

Persist

Oh but what of my beating heart?

My legacy?

My primitive suspicion that I am never who I think I am?

Would I stop this tidal flow of my blood?

Coursing like rivers through rivulets.

Or would I rivet steel to the exterior of the structure?

To strengthen it artificially.

Who does that armor really hold up?

Something must give.

Me or the Way.

The Way or Me.

The desert is long with sandstorms brushing my teeth with the gritty taste of my ineptitude.

What does it take,

To let me join the rest of humanity?

I let my blood drip in the sand,

Smeared from where I raise my feet.

Bloody footprints, Bloody memories, Bloodshot eyes.

Swollen fat tongues drooling with arrogance like circus clowns so simply certain

Persist!

A great command.

One foot in front of another!

A great sentiment.

But what if there is no blood left when I arrive?

I am cacophony.

 

Door to Nowhere

Door to Nowhere

Door to Nowhere

Down the hall and to the left

Then back round again

The door stands before the dark corridor

I look

There is light there

But Vision is blurry

Legs are tied

Will is waning

No time now

How many more doors to nowhere?

Was this the last dead end?

Only one way to know