Purer Poetry

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 – 7:42 pm

Fuck your fiction, fanboy. I’ll tell you too much truth to face your fears or trust again mere eyes and ears. Knowing better, we wise in years, or so we ought. Do you believe in gods and monsters? How could you not?

My philosophy evolved rapidly after finding my first Playboy at four or five. When I first spied every curve and pink and soft and strange, I thought I heard angels sing. I still do. Lesson learned. Adults greedily secret the best treats for themselves, but we devout dig hidden treasure from riddled trash.

Still in tender shoot, I mapped every inch of my first of many homes. I was born an already old and wounded soul, fated for sparks, fits of rage facing upward for each stunted stage. I was not born merely curious. I was herded by brunts and bents unworldly.

I found the quality of dad’s razor blades top shelf. I hid the slices of vandalism and her bleeding vandal with aplomb that was equal. I later found a few of my favorite future decades drenched in a liquid gold, magically hidden in cans, flat, never cold.

I am your ghost, slipping silent between day and night, dream and reason, charmed and invisible. I found new and timeless trouble under the covers and in grainy comic horrors. Vaults of vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons and witches in black and white called to me to steal a cold peak by day and then debrief in dream each night.

I told my dad of visions of lakes of lava and lumbering, rotted corpses poisoning me for eternity with a touch even slight of their corrupt destiny. He brushed it off. When I told him of ghostlike girls transparent and duplicitous, waking me without a word, he suspected my high fevers or those two head hits that carried concussion and loss of consciousness.

Moving from the military base to the apartments by the university, I went through rapid, marked changes, both behavioral and cognitive. Are you a sinner or a saint? How about a savior, sinned by grays, a skeptic killed believer? Do you suspect my crimes are neurological or spiritual?

Enlighten me, professor or prophet.

A special education teacher, my father knew something was special with his two oldest. At five, I asked dad to teach me his favorites, chess and guitar, and I was rapidly beyond him in both. His precise, timed tests showed Paul and I both had genius level IQs. Had it not been the Seventies and our rocking drunk tank excuse of a home such an empathy vacuum, dad might have noticed that Paul had autism and I had severe PTSD, birthed by his own bloody beatings.

Had he already become the suddenly forgiven Pentecostal, he might have suspected I had a demon. Some saints whom I’ve watched sway in the pews beside him still think I possess some potential.

What does my dad who recently died think now from the other side? Does he feel a twinge of regret at his broken boy? Is there still any pain left over after soothe of ether? But then again, how could lows measure without the highs of pleasure?

My first deliberately set blaze large enough to require a fire truck was born in the dumpster I daily, dutifully dragged dad’s trash. But luck be a fucker tonight, I was busted by a broad in daylight. Blurry eyed and surely stoned, the anonymous snitch in the apartment complex witnessed my felonious genesis and attempted exodus.

That ushered a special spanking where red and raw remained long and white turned blue overnight. Weeks later, dad witnessed my blatant coercion of Paul and the neighbor to throw rocks at the passing… wait for it… wait for it… I said wait… NOW… the passing Ferrari. Four decades hence, Paul well remembers our beating as particularly epic.

Almost all my ghost stories are easily sorted in both grades and grand new cities, for each one was married anew to yet another. In the third grade i.e. Rhonert Park, dad first heard familiar screams in the night and saw me wondering and wandering in dark as easily as light. He read somewhere, assuredly scholarly, to not wake up sleepwalkers, but the next morning enjoyed broadcasting the details of me peeing in the tub and flushing the toilet before my walking back to bed.

He later caught me shocking myself repeatedly, deliberately with paper clips and bobby pins and bathroom sockets. It did not occur to him to ask how or why such pain and stark stimuli would give a child a twisted sense of release and relief.

He saw me charge bloodied and blissed into Paul’s gloved punches, sometimes ten at a time, if it meant I got to land just one hit. My berserker passion can be dispiriting and disorienting to the recipients.  I can conjure whole worlds where I redefine pain as a pause, albeit pregnant. I feel exactly what I choose to feel and when I choose to feel it.

I choose.

Not you.

A father witnessed his wounded boy walking for weeks, calmly climbing into closets, dark nights each. He did not know about my invisible friends, the visitors inside. How could he possibly know about the dire presence in the back, the one with the cold and the gray, the pins of past and future of needles, the esoteric static shooting through body and soul?

Do you believe in magic? Do you buy into other worlds and deeper dimensions, that prayers open portals? How could you not?

Paralyzed in word and will only, a zombie with eyes of understanding, I was forbidden even a scrap of stray scream as the presence called me and stood my feet, walking me in to a deep freeze, again and again and again and again. Back in black, it would test my resolve. Was it an angel or alien, deity or demon? Or perhaps past versions of sin and self crying for freedom, begging for a normal human touch, one without typical sting and shame.

The stubborn spirit called to me each new witching hour and I watched my own body betray me, over and over. Once in a closet, it would slowly wind and work to erase and usurp. For weeks. Maybe months. I fought it each night. I knew little of its intent but was aware of a malevolence. Each time it touched me, I would lose my sense of self and consciousness.

I was eight.

What do you do with your third grader who’s astute enough a student to complete the class assignments compiled for your college kids? Throw at him enough mystic and missed information and he might map the meaning of an almost lifelike life, just like Monty Python tried. A hitchhiker disguised to the galaxy claims the same understanding of our purpose, but in number only. For deed, too. Maybe he speaks in rhymes and riddles, assuming he is the only one worth listening two.

To the left of a door to another reality, still hangs the poem I would decipher each morning. Carefully crafted cries and clues, penned with glitter and gold Artex tubes. Of necessity, I invented and overscheduled meticulously, everything from death and life and art and love and music and mayhem and prophecy and punishing into each newest twenty four hour iteration of me.

I even set aside time each day just for this poem. Something tangible beside myself to hang in my cell, the fabric verse of goop and glitter was mine to read and reread, decode, collate, parse and strive for meaning behind the magic, salvation beyond spirits black and white, gray and static. Outside of the closet lived aged maxims and nagging questions.

Each sunup, a cheap parchment would beg an answer to the hypocrisy and irony and confusion, taunting me over obvious tyranny and trauma and tragedy.

To the left of a drab universe, disguised as a door mundane, a promise of dreams and needles, pinned terrors soothed only by the calm of shadow.

The walls longs torn, there yet hangs my vain, vague verse. I still study it silently each sunrise:

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.


journey entries

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 – 4:11 am

twenty fifteen, july
a father falls to final care. a son stumbles into suns, burning news, driving from the truth, lost and confused. worlds are no longer the same and fifth a day can’t drown that bright a pain.

twenty fifteen, october
a son receives the final call dad has died. he can’t breathe right. but he only coded and is brought to life. both our hearts stop and restart that night.

twenty sixteen, june
pat, why are you shaking

twenty sixteen, july
keys trade me for canes

twenty seventeen, april
our father is gone for good, for now, for sure. but I’ve roamed someone else for almost a year. pain and quiet buy a peace and final release, easy to endure. if faith grows cold, just hope and hold my heart even more.


Thursday, April 20th, 2017 – 1:12 pm

I don’t remember her name. She starred in the opening scene and wasn’t even a regular in North Sea. I just remember she was a new girl, ridiculously cute and petite. I know I really wanted to sleep with her.

Her summer job was watching a house or dog or baby or other helpless object at the end of Fresh Pond Lane. When she invited me over, I assumed it was for my great looks and charm. Once all my weed turned to ash, it magically refreshed her memory of having a college aged boyfriend.

Awesome! What’s his fucking name?! Hahaha!

Ever the gentleman, I mostly held my tongue and huffed off to the party already in progress at the end of memory lane. It was no longer light inside or out and I felt a familiar itch for destruction.

In the best winters, Little Fresh Pond freezes over and infests with skaters, drunkards and even a foolhardy truck or two. The ubiquitous bmx boys and I would pedal for hours, fishtailing about slipping sots with our ever toxic levels of freedom and hubris.

I had cash as I worked full time at nearby Sal’s Market. Google Maps now says Sal’s is a Schmidt’s Seafood. I remember driving by it in a rental car in March of 2015, the last time I saw my father alive.

While the store was still Sal’s, it gave me a brief haven to mature. I cut steaks, perfected New York deli sandwiches, bagged ice, stocked shelves, broke labor laws, and even opened at sunup and locked up at night. I treated it like my own place.

You will learn I have been blessed my whole life with unusually strong women friends of every age. One such matriarch owned Sal’s Market of North Sea in the eighties. She took me under her wing and offered sanctuary and slightly raised chances of surviving my teens. Not quite old enough to be my grandmother, Evelyn Honnett had short brown hair and mischievous, striking blue eyes, light and full of life. She was stern, but fair and ever kind. I could not recall many days missing her laughs or smiles.

The first time I asked her for a raise, she bearhugged me, lifted me off the ground and cackled with our faces way too damned close. I did not like this joke. I felt it lacked something, like maybe the joke part. But I still cared for her and admired her greatly. I worked hard, mostly to make her proud. Forced to courtesy laugh at her “give me a raise” pun, I calmly repeated, “Haha great, I still want more money.”

After my cute weed moocher broke my heart earlier in the night, I predicted part of me and that week’s paycheck were doomed to form frozen, rancid puddles of beer, bile and burning spirits.

I hear the demons clanging their cages near the ice and snow. I see a figure like mine falling face first into the fire at the edge of a lake. The orange and blues flicker and refuse time, either to dim or dry. My ghosts gather and stumble there each full moon, their clear countenances ever bowed with concern and confusion.

I woke up some hours later to the sound and feel of scraping below. Slush and mud trenches were gouging fresh under my boots’ steel toes as two midnight shadows floated with me through the most familiar yard. All of me hurt. My jean jacket was both torn and burnt. My hands and face were swollen and bleeding.

Key key door get his key door get the door open it just I got it shut the hell up grab him lift get him up the steps move okay now set him down on the kitchen floor oh god what’s he doing stop him grab him fuck what the fuck is he doing shit fuck fuck get his parents get out of here run run where the fuck are his parents

“What the fuck are you doing?!” someone eventually screamed.

I returned to earth just long enough to see our new glass flooring gleaming throughout, accented with sheetrock and blood. Then I slept again, deep with the rest only the wicked enjoy.

In a fevered dream, I watched a young man’s hand dive in the cool surface of one more window pane. Then the boy was raptured. He flew upward to heaven for the briefest dream. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, he was more weightless than he had felt in most his youth.

But we always crash back down.

A hundred year old chair surrendered to the impact of my ribs and back and yet barely woke me. I looked up from under the kitchen table and recognized my night’s newest assailant was my father. He quickly escalated to body slamming me and breaking furniture.

I looked down at the splintered legs, back and antique seat splayed under me and had an epiphany. I realized for the first time that night, I no longer felt any pain. I welcomed the irony and burst into laughter. Before I blanked, I spit blood and taunts once more at my attacker.

I woke up minutes or hours later in my bed. To my right, a caveman had left wet fistprints on the side of my dresser. They begged an answer, like gory rorschachs in red and unread messages. The sheetrock to my left boasted many fresh punctures, wormholes to every possible trauma, carefully kissed with just a hint of red lace around the curved edges of a dozen new wounds.

Convincing a true monster to leave is impossible after inviting them into the light. They somehow know they can never quite find a way back home and remain ever vigilant, however wounded, deaf and blind.

Stop jesus oh god why is he doing that is he even awake oh god stop him we need to go the hospital alcohol poisoning what did you have what did you take did you take more acid did you take more LSD we want to help you stop him he is doing it again jesus stop him stop him look at the blood hold his arms down before he breaks his hands

I woke once more to my arms pinned and dad yelling at me to stop punching. My mom quickly appeared with his pipe. He lit it, put it in front of me and asked me to take a hit to see if it would calm me down. After a few hits, I looked up and tried to force him to say the one thing I needed to hear my whole life.

“You… you never fucking loved me,” I accused.

I still remember the look of shock on his face and how it would never be enough. He leaned down to awkwardly hug me for a moment, the first in a decade. He muttered the most his pride could afford.

“That’s… not true.”

Dear Dad

Friday, April 14th, 2017 – 7:55 pm

Dear Dad,

You passed away eight days ago.

I have not really cried much. What little I have done, I do not know if it is for you or because of my disorder. I think I have a lot of grieving still to go through, but I am not sure. We are still watching things very closely because of my condition.

Wait, you didn’t even know about my condition, did you?

Of course not. Sorry.

Because I also have been so sick, I sometimes forget you were on life support for over a year and a half before you died. We both missed a lot. Would you believe I went through so much this last year that I forgot to worry about you most days?

You taught me to drive a car over thirty years ago. You did not know that I have not been able to drive since July of last year. I really miss it.

I no longer have a job. I have been fully disabled for over nine months now. I am writing a couple memoirs. I am surrounded by some amazing friends. I hope you would be proud.

You did not know that I can no longer walk without a cane. Sometimes, I need a walker. I am two years shy of fifty.

You did not know that I cannot go into public for more than very short periods, no more than a few hours. Because of my disorder, my body and mind are severely disconnected. My body is mostly numb and I can no longer feel it. We have to set reminders to go to the bathroom and eat.

My seizures make the imbalance and lack of connection even worse. It makes walking very difficult at times. It makes functioning in public almost impossible except under severe controls and small time limits.

You did not know that whatever remaining tenuous connection is there can quickly be shattered from even a little bit too much sensory input. My mind crashes so hard that I can no longer breathe or think linearly. My IQ literally plummets and I become as defenseless as a child.

Because of that, I should warn you that I may or may not be well enough to travel at all to your memorial service in July. We do not know for sure yet. I certainly can no longer travel without someone going along with me and taking care of me, just like a kid.

You were even more helpless as a child on your bed the last few years. You know what it is like to be fully dependent on others. I hate even asking for a car ride. I would want to die before depending on someone else to change my damn diapers. Two motherfucking years.

That is a lot of sleeping, Dad.

What did you dream about?

Did you dream of the terrors you wrought in the day that birthed my demons and ghosts of the night?

Where are you now?

Were you trying to yell in your sleep to wake up and say goodbye?

Did you desperately want to say sorry just one last time?

I wanted to talk to you so bad in the last few years. You were the smartest person I knew and I cannot remember the last time I was able to have an intelligent conversation with you. The dementia had already started to debilitate you severely when I flew out and drove you to Brittany’s high school graduation. That was in 2009. You must remember now? You are whole and in your right mind on the other side now, right?

You quickly realized that I vowed to survive with or without a Dad in my life or heart from the youngest age, back when I flew inside my mind from your cruelty. With your help, I was driven into desolate places one shouldn’t speak about in the light. I dallied in hells the mind cannot contain. I broke my brain and my body and infinite worlds followed.

You should have been there.

I was about five years old when I discovered magic. That is when I started reshaping reality. The doctors call it Dissociative breaks. I redefined pain in the 3rd grade when you put boxing gloves on both us boys. To this day, l want to run face first into the fray and become fast friends with fever and pain. I still punch walls until my hands break. I only need to feel my knuckles cracked and bleeding. There is no greater feeling.

But lately, I cannot feel much of anything. Not anymore.

What are you feeling right now, Dad?

You didn’t know I tried to treat my disorder for many years with crutches and churches and pills and prayers and skepticism and sex and violence, truth and lies and light and darkness.

Anything to stop the pain. So much blood.

You didn’t know I quit drinking in October of 2015, again while you were on life support. I was drinking a fifth of whiskey a day for the last couple years. You might remember back when we had our last shot of bourbon together at the reunion upstate New York in 2014. I still cherish that moment. I think they got a picture.

The doctors recommended I quit the opiates last year and fortunately, the cannabis has been amazing at helping my condition. I thought you might get a kick out of that.

When I quit drinking the morning of October 29th in 2015, God told me three things.

He reminded me of a dream from eighteen when I had my very first seizure. God said I would burn brighter than ever and my race would be cut short.

Then He reminded me of a verse from the book of Luke and He said to reach out to as many friends as quickly as possible.

Finally, he showed me a vision of myself, surrounded by a group of friends helping me with finishing writing my books as I walked around with a cane.

Pretty specific images, right? They made little sense until the last few months.

You didn’t know I had to do an opiate detox in 2010 and another in 2013. They fucking broke me, Dad. I am not the same person anymore. Then this disorder came and crumbled the rest of me without a care. It swept away any remaining sense of self in the last year.

I’m not sure who I am anymore.

Dad, you should have been there.

You didn’t know I was diagnosed a year ago with PTSD from your violence.

You did not know I was then diagnosed six months ago with Conversion Disorder with Abnormal Movement, also a result of your brutal, daily abuse for almost twenty years.

My nonstop tremors and seizures are so bad, they treated me for Parkinson’s the first three months.

You slept through all the news, Dad.

Now, where are you?

You didn’t know any of these things. But I think you knew I loved you and forgave you.

I miss you. I hope you are at peace.

We have a lot to catch up on, someday.

I love you, Dad. I always have.

I’ll see you soon.

Therapy Progress Note 1

Monday, March 27th, 2017 – 5:40 am

Therapy Progress Note

Records selectively reviewed, 30 minutes spent in phone session counseling with Pat.
Session #: 7

3/21/2017 7:00 PM

Assessment and Plan

CONVERSION DISORDER (primary encounter diagnosis) as evidenced by tremors, dissociation, trigger response, unstable gait which is not explained by neurological findings.

Patrick seems to be slightly improved since last visit. He states he is feeling much more energetic and optimistic, however, he continues to experience an increase in tremors in recent weeks. He reports his arms and hands have started spasming and flapping, even without his awareness, though sometimes he is aware and is shaking his hand to release tension.

He has been keeping copious notes on his diet, is trying to eat more often, but has only gained a few lbs.

We discuss long term goals for therapy (walk without a walker and return to driving) and developing skills for his PTSD and tolerating distressing emotions without withdrawing or suppressing.

Therapist encourages him to continue with check in of his body, to decrease numbness. Patient states that “I used to have severe pain for twenty years, but now I have been completely numb for the last year since I got sick and needed the canes. Now, every once in a while I feel something like pain for a few seconds, and am actually glad because I feel something again.”

He believes he needs to decrease some of his myopic focus on others, and focus on improving his relationship with his body to decrease dissociation.

He does not remember if he has eaten today (it is 7pm) but states he went out to dinner with his wife last night, and will be going out again tonight to eat.

Follow up in three weeks. Plan will involve intensive individual treatment.

Final Wish

Saturday, March 25th, 2017 – 7:02 pm

“Final Wish”
You finally accept yourself again
As you pass, many hold your hand
Your name is cherished
You dream of passion in her arms
Love that salves and saves, never in time
You will know greater pain than mine
You just want to feel as though you belong
You just want these others to accept you
Give it time
I already love you
You can do this, kid
Let go

Act Your Age

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 – 4:58 am

“Act Your Age”

I am one and already me
I am two and always running
I am three and believe in laughter and violence
I am four and believe in nature and magics
I am five and believe in love
I am six and believe in hell
I am seven and I hurl my first curses skyward
I am eight and violence unleashes a new monster in me
I am nine and violence is fine as weed and wine
I am ten and just want drugs and sex
I am eleven and death keeps touching us
I am twelve and I just want to have fun
I am thirteen and the blood keeps chasing me
I am fourteen and I curse God openly and swear there is no such thing as love
I am fifteen and He changes my mind
I am sixteen and I believe in God and only want to love everyone
I am seventeen and the ghosts are still chasing
I am eighteen and a girl gets me to believe in true love
I am nineteen and my calling to pastor or preach was put on pause
I am twenty and I start to feel hidden pain, trauma larger than worlds
I am twenty one and a baby girl makes me believe in magic again
I am twenty five and my body begins to break
I am thirty five and the poppy vanished a decade
I am forty and hope for healing
I am forty five and begin the final break inside
I am forty six and sick with addiction
I am forty seven and believe I am almost done on this side of the light
I am forty eight and the world begins to spin in other directions while family and friends and foes gather around to gawk or lift my spirit. I am at my most broken and least able and most terrified and least worried. I have plumbed depths of dark and peaks of peace that sicken and still me. I oversee a dizzying haunted house ride with such grace from above and impossibly deep loves.
I believe in God. I believe in miracles. I believe I will run again.
I am this age and have always been.

Words and Numbers

Monday, March 20th, 2017 – 12:55 am

Children’s books author Paula Louise Shene received eighty dollars a week in 1970 and after paying bills, she had twenty remaining for groceries and luxury items.

A dollar fifty went to priceless Golden Books. Based on size, it made cents that each primer was thirty, forty, fifty, sixty or seventy nine. We would precisely pick only unique ones each time. What does the word thrift mean, mom? Twice the number of books if they’re used, honey.

My two years older brother Paul sat me down when I was almost two and began to read to me from one of his favorites. He could not discern the letters, but remembered every story with frightening precision. He became frustrated when baby brother feet followed my flagging attention and so he smacked the book on top of my head and yelled that I sit down and listen. At all his future readings, I was notably absent.

My MP father grinned as he told four year old Patrick and his brother torrid tales of broken sailors, crying in their cell, forced to hold up broom handles and briefcases and beaten if their arms and the floor didn’t remain parallel. He promised his boys he could break the will of any man, but was looking only at me as he spoke.

Two of my favorite reads by five were dad’s Playboys and horror comics. Asses and demons. Still American family favorites after all these years. I began to track mother’s schedule downstairs each day to stretch my secret reading times. I could read and write before four, so I knew instinctively that every truth and answer and the way to God must lie hidden in a book somewhere. I just didn’t realize I would prefer the pictures.

My  brother slapped his seven year old hands on several centerfolds that our bad dad had thoughtfully tacked on the wall. Paul yelled “mommy!”

Mom laughed. But then dad said, “I wish.”

I could see that made my mom sad. “You know how you are different from all those other girls, mom?” I asked. “You are sweet and prettier and you have brown hair, not yellow.”

I loved the pictures and looked at them after I finished my homework. Every day for ten years. But after a while, mostly the faces look different. Especially the eyes.

When this breaker of men told me he would spank me if I kept looking at his Playboys, without blinking I promised him that I would still sneak in every day to look at zombies and boobies until I am a hundred.

In his heart, that little boy already knew he was able to withstand anything that anyone had to throw at him. I had already divined father and I were the same size on the inside. The already shattering five year old swore to be the first to break the mold. Thus epic hammer and anvil crashed in vain for decades.

An early attempt at perfect justice, discipline and order, our father once spanked us with the belt and then stood us brothers in opposite corners. I glared over at Paul and dared that he not fall to the pressure. But within minutes he wailed and our wanton warden released the coward as reward.

Then I saw my smug father smiling and I pictured sailors crying and lifting trembling broom handles for hours or maybe days.

I swore to the quiet above and the burning below to break this brutal bastard in two, if it took me eighteen years.

Silent and staid, we wondered why we could see tears rolling down the cheeks of the little boy in the corner, but there were no heard cries or any light in his eyes. Then I wondered how I could see Patrick from the outside. In my story, I am the master of muse, musics and magics and only I decide what to ban or abide.

Over four hours later, my father caught me falling as my two eyes rolled backward and my five year old knees buckled. He yelled and spanked me again and sent me to bed without supper.

But I won.

Didn’t I?

Broken Table

Sunday, March 19th, 2017 – 4:10 am

“Broken Table”

Each night a vandal and captain of my destiny, I sneak into the hall of my fathers.

The dusty burlwood table stretches in perfect parallel, married to the end of this impossibly long chamber. In the loving cover of Luna’s light, I return here to run my fingers down the wood grain, messy in symmetry, each year of growth a loving fold and wrinkle in flesh.

Close to the beginning of the marbled surface, still flicker the fading letters painted in earnest and fear with the trembling hands of our first love:

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

I see where the decades old flake of gold peels and flees in pieces, but this long hand is the shortcut to our mother’s heart and will outlive the table itself.

At the head of the table, my chair lies overturned by the broken remains of my father’s throne. I follow the first line from my birth to death, second birth to second death. Will of the Phoenix. I drag my rusty bowie knife down the stage of the final supper to carve a new chapter, but my hand slips at the broken edge of history.

The rest of table is gone.
It was here just the night before and almost everything is lost.
All the papers with all the truth with all the meaning with all the hope and faith and love and God and they’ve fallen into the black hole beneath the remains of the table and beneath the floor.
I had a paper for each one of you.
I had so much room for your scrawls and scrolls, tombs and tomes.

The moon no longer sings to me. It turns each time. It hides its face in shame and the cool blue fingers are cut short and refuse to crawl into the hole under the shattered wood and bone.

I’m no longer looking to rescue the papers or the table to put them on. Each distressed page with your face and traits clearly listed. All gone, but the most precious few. So, I write them from memory anew, that I am best able.

I edge up to the abyss, hugging my hastily scribbled memories, cobbled close to my chest and I venture a guess of the miles of depth to this trench. I think back to the final urgent words of mother on the missing half of my battered desk:

Fold your arms
find the faith
close your eyes
and fall

Ghost Ship

Friday, March 17th, 2017 – 10:01 pm

“Ghost Ship”

No man recalls the season our controls were severed. I just refueled bare hours before and must do it four times a cycle to keep afloat. The black oil and sometimes weaker brown and green that move our broken airship are bitter and costly in evil ways.

The brush and bump below is followed by cost and complaint. I hide my panic at the hull shredding from sudden boulders bruising our portside. Avoiding such meteors in years prior would have been child’s play. Now I look down at the red hydrogen oozing out of our jagged pink fabric. I weep silently at the state of our once revered, invincible vessel. I regret the times I casually cursed her and wonder if she can even get us home again.

At one time, I would whim and whisper and the wheel would respond smooth and with purpose. The bloom of grace commanded a love and invited the hubris and mistakes of youth. Now worlds torn, the top half halfheartedly halters while the lower decks scream protest, a blackened bowel of forgotten blasphemies.

The growl and drone ever grows and we tune anew to the year long wails of the doomed engineers below. Every twist and turn and cry and prayer yields zero response from the singing of tendon and blood. The primitive reactors scream and spew hot acid with tears and their dying despair haunts me each sunrise. Just as they destroyed the captains before me that broke their vows. They flew like ghosts.

The ship lurches into a primitive dance of ecstasy and agony, merging hate and love with chaos and order, black and white, sensual and violent. The endless echos of the larger dark space lusting for a worship that we usually reserve for stars and flaming suns and daughters.

I reach out the cabin window to break the chain and lower the boom and cane. My rancor burrows deep into sand and caresses mock marble with a loving thud. My innocent crew is saved once more from the cliffs of time and cold fires of space.

Our physical connection to the globe is long lost. Now it is flawed and forced and barely felt. I honor their memory with my few remaining red rotations. I have not set foot to holy ground for more months than I chose to count. I ripped up the angry orders of my past and simply point north each dawn toward my father and the sun and my unruly ghosts. Together we daily lace scarred hands and lower sunken eyes to purchase our uneasy peace.

The begging below cuts deeper each night and I pray for souls to the God of land and air. I ask for those buried in this self inflicted tomb. I plead for a final chance to ferry these few tortured stories back to their birthplace.

Sad and under, the sighs surrender, wave and fade to a sweet silence. I pull into the port of their parents with a blackened bow carved from years of battle and trade. Fighting tears and near collapse, I kept only one vow, to bring their souls to the place closest to the illusion of their home.

Dreams of other worlds and the caprice of gods and chance decide whether these lost ones will be longed with kisses and song or the curse and cold of bone and gold.