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Friday, March 18, 2011

Too Tired to Live, Too Hard to be Dead and Lone Dog

These poems were published in the February 2011 issue of Yes, Poetry.

Too Tired to Live, Too Hard to be Dead

I have seen the men in their big stone buildings, black suits, and ties
The creases in my pants mark me stuck in line
Now I’m smoking a pack a day and thinking about running away
Don’t want to think about hair so long, beard well trimmed, or my body thinned
I haven’t eaten a proper meal to feed the meat beneath my skin

Firemen are autocrats too paranoid of their concubine
I hold so much fire it’s time I started spewing smoke,
Maybe next I’ll be snorting coke
I’m just a pidgeon pecking the ground grabbing anything that can be found
I want to hear a warmer sound

It was a plaid shirt and a paisley tie that made me feel alright that time

My mind is taken up with dollar signs and cents and dimes,
Perhaps I’m too in touch with the times
I have to last three months, three years, but I can’t bear the fare
When I spend a year of time waiting just to die
My little sister will come and see me completely unrecognised

Everything is gnarly here: the trees, the benches, and the beer
We’re all just paying out of habit,
And exhorting for a change
It all seems the same,
Same, same, same old thing
All these thoughts already thought, time to blow them away;
In the end I’m only left with the words that I can say

Our loves always end up breaking down between the light and lines of our palms
It’s so fucking cool to be two:
You’re compact and have nothing to do,
Everyone’s looking out for you,
You bounce more than run, it’s sweet
I’m sweating with all of this envy

Don’t want to be a king or priest?
You better lose your strut
But I need a sword and hat because Versailles is where it’s at
All roads lead to Rome, but it’s fearsome and hostile;
It ain’t home
I wish I had been turned away, then it wouldn’t be because of my say
I don’t care enough to share, don’t care enough to horde
Would I be as lost were I a lord?

I tried to take it all at once and was humbled when I met a dunce
I had this goal in my mind, but by the time I was ready to go
I didn’t need it anymore
They never tell the doubt and thought of the intermediary from this to that
I miss having ideas and being able to sit at any time and bring them to fruition

How could anyone say, “What I’m doing is too important for you.”
The leaves on the ground are orange and on the trees they’re green
It’s all in the air I breathe, the water I drink, and the food I eat
I just can’t find a comfortable seat
I don’t want to be an artist because there’s no such thing,
Just makers and providers of aesthetic tinkerings

There’s my freedom flying away with the strength I cannot find
I’m just trying to write down the pessimism in my head
Too tired to live, too hard to be dead

Lone Dog

In silent streets the lone dog prowls, runaway from the hand that feeds; is he thinking now he’s free? Hat and shoes and coat in brown, the trials of life crease the leather and his frown. His walking long will bring the dawn, but, light and dark, he’s like the shark that’s found no scent to push him on. Wandering, steel-stoned, unified by meat and bone but conflict replete within the soul, he wants to be a wolf so bad: purpose, prey, and pack to have; but he’s just a dog.

In spring he sings of hope, in autumn a mournful tune. Could he love a woman as much as John loved June? His heart bursts for doubling, but everyone says that it’s too soon; he should sow seeds first, beneath the moon. That long, lonesome howl is all the crop he’s got. Does anyone ever listen when the full sky is twisting? He’ll probably be here till the mourning for the day he dies. Only then will his howl be praised, as it’s eulogised.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Choices was published at Vox Poetica on January 24, 2011.


Should I begin with recrimination or justification?
It was grandiose,
all that we did.
Remarkable marks we made,
and now, in confessional,
I cannot choose which foot to place forward.
Do I wish all following to come after my right or my left?
Yet, is not every delay just building a future following indecision?
Is that the future I want, built on my own timidity?
It's unbearable that there is
this great blank unknown of things to come
that is shaped in ways we know not
by every choice minute or great.
It is the greater choices that are easier,
for their impact is more predictable,
though less profound.