Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Three Small Stones

Waves come running
some small, some large.
They’re inconsistent
as sample dirges from a master
sound to native ears.
The waves crash orange
along the shore of the East River.
Harold, Robert and Cassandra
play cards, chain smoke
up on the roof.
Good getting done in the old shoes.
Cassandra says it gets hotter at night.
Harold thinks of the clouds
that have hovered over the city for weeks,
lingering, nascent
a promise made that went forgotten.
Pears fall clumsy from a tree
that grew through the neighbors building.
Robert clambers on top of a tall chimney
and squats, though there’s a chair,
and he notes
that the waves are growing.

Empty amethyst of our lives
protecting us from the loose juice.
Dawn bought Oz tango lessons for Christmas
and they stayed dry and warm in the drawer.
Infinite loops leading to infinite failures.
Diagrams drawn on the back of a lager label,
one Cassandra had torn off the bottle,
detailing how a young woman can own a young man
using three sentences.
When Harold got out of the Air Force
he used his GI footing to get his masters in poetry.
He found himself using clamps to crack nuts,
more interested in drawing portraits
of a falling sky,
or looking at old photographs of strangers
than listening to an older woman
discuss the form of things
and how to count.
He received letters from Daniel,
and he wondered how Daniel got his address in Eugene,
but he didn’t wonder after he read the letters.
Some people have a way of knowing.
Here in the cold space
are Warm whispers
beside a daughter of America’s shoulder
with crossword puzzles
and bright skin
all known from a borrowed tune
listed in a podunk almanac
from the back of her hatchback
notes on being a loose-lipped survivor
sleeping in moss and mist.
Here are notes how it feels
to not fit into a suit,
or tell a tailor that you just don’t know.
Pull up your pants,
roll up your sleeves,
when there is no breeze
no jacket is really warm or cold
just an addition to a neutral feeling.
So, Harold read Camus, Dante and Milton.
He drew partial extracts from a nearby sunset,
noted the color and shape of things he could see
handed Robert a pair of 8’s on the fold out table,
stamping out a butt,
and smoke bloomed around Robert’s thick forearm
like traces through their mutual ghost.
Robert felt like the mascot
of a forgotten, trampled city.
He said this in a letter to Daniel,
which Daniel unfolded and read in his garden,
watching the Macon azaleas breathe,
a blue-breasted Kingfisher in a branch.
Daniel daydreamed of the King of America.
He hoped he had a warm place,
maybe a jacket or two,
maybe pancakes and marmalade.
Something’s we are better off not knowing.

Harold daydreamed of an empty America.
One with lilac fields and candycane branches
bricks swathed in petals
walking through a slanted desert
he imagined the peace
of the inviting quiet of a prairie.
Horses and foxes
Elephants and wolves
warm moons on envelope dreams
riding handbuilt bicycles with Daniel,
meeting in strange places,
living squadrons among caverns and stolls.
The rain a gleaned mightless drip.
Harold knows he can slow down without this,
that he honestly needs to,
too much gets lost in the noise,
and you forget what you were trying to do
so he wants trees and cliffside’s
and the voices of children
near that same ocean shore
with Lloyd
throwing a tennis ball again,
skidding gentle and rapturous
like a smooth stone on water
these splashed notes
set to a harmony
with the emotions water wrung
a heavy sweater dripping out on the clothesline.
Once the clouds dissipate,
the cloth and the shroud will shrink
the way America will.
The waves pulling back
the valves closing
the shutters and the dust swift
among the footprints
and the song of overactive eyelids.
Harold and Robert sat on rocks in Central Park.
Thinking and talking about the way things were not,
what change and growth did not bring,
no settled peace or contentment,
just another title and job.
Ten feet away a photograph was taken
of a couple standing beside a still lake.
Robert couldn’t think of the last time he was photographed.
Robert wrenched change from his key pocket
and threw three smooth small coins
against the still water.
And then huffed breath coughing phlegm and old smoke
dancing in the quiet stream,
he hacked at his lungs until it sprouted
three thousand miles away
at the railroad overpass,
where his muddy boots and her bra lay underneath,
he heard two lovers laughter.
He did not hear his voice.
Robert stayed quiet
the way survivors do
when they think about what was lost.

These two marble sons of America
making sacrifices and tolling sweat
riding trains and paying bills
drumming through duty
waiting for dignity to arrive,
losing themselves in cards and bourbon,
syntax slippers on a gallows deck
They yawn and they don’t sleep.
Cassandra draws their portraits,
without looking at the paper,
it comes out looking like cartoon captains
born on a cereal box.
And after looking at that,
and feeling a bullish knot in his stomach
Harold drunkenly climbs into his room
and removes Daniel’s letter from a box.
And Harold reads a section aloud
because he thought that it was needed

“Harold, you slow dulcimer,
pick up your borrowed name
and cold shoulders,
say what you are,
shake the drowsy feeling from your hearts,
the cold lovers of yesterday cannot hurt you.
Slack your pace, hear your rhythm,
be one with your spirit,
not your mind.
The beautiful blonde at this cafe you are looking at
will not complete your life,
though you will probably complete hers.
Why do you work so hard for someone else?
Why do you wait for them to raise their standards?
Why do you invite this pain?
Why do you strive for completion?
Why do you try to finish your life,
round it off,
before it even started?
How can you be so sure?
Harold,
get away from what you have known.
Stop loving others
and love the world first.
Do not ask yourself
if the intimacy they have shared,
that America has shared with you,
is the same intimacy,
they get from a cold cauldron on an empty night.
Follow and ask the pollute stars
for your name in a constellation.
Skip rocks as a heartbeat moves
across migrant shores,
the lapsed batty heart of America
is not lost to you,
bend your eyebrows through a thicket
tuck your good lover into a warm bed,
kiss their forehead,
carve your false thoughts into a cliffside
to announce and forget them,
get out of Eugene,
go anywhere,
stop tugging around these bricks by your ankles,
you are only strong right now,
because you are young,
and your momentum
and heavy shoulders will not keep you young.
Hold your doubt’s in a vial against the desert sun
so it will crack like it was meant to.
The waters in the center of the Pacific ocean
are brackish poison.
But we live against the shore.
With the near-silent echoes
of each others bodies.
There is nothing more than this.
There’s a balance beyond yourself to master,
after you master the balance of yourself.
Remember when Laura told you nobody cares about your feelings?
And we talked
and I told you to announce it to the soil
either as a truth or a lie,
and to keep it that way?
I gave you the seeds
to plant in my garden.
I watched your earnest loving heart,
working in the name of America
dig a flower bed with your bare hands
and kiss the back of your hand
and smooth the soil over.
Harold,
those flowers grow.”

Poem for Target

Red beacon of thrift, next to Happy Teryiaki.

Shitting parking lot, too long and too short to be honest.

Sleet and snow and shit fall from the sky.

It’s raining like puppies and kittens,

with parachutes of course.

Nobody likes splattered puppies and kittens.

Sliding doors, they know just when I call,

Wet shopping carts, none even in the front.

All are wet.

I wipe them down with my soul.

My love goes to look at clothes

I gorge two hot dogs.

Reading ketchup packets.

Lycopene, corn syrup, tomato paste.

Lovers. Alvin & The Chipmunks shirt. Tight, tawdry.

Wonderful.

Waxed floors shining and reflecting the composite lights.

A basketball rolls down the mile long aisle,

Lonely and forgotten.

Luggage locks, and Yoga mats.

Books on tape, self improvement.

I need this. Joel Osteen, Nickelback, Little Richard.

K.I.S.S.

I feign reading, flip through a magazine, No Griffey in the M’s preview.

It’s a game, not a movie.

It’s a store, not a game.

It’s a life, not a store.

I’m in love with being in love with love.

And Target.

Fifteen Obama books, half illustrated.

More shampoo than I ever need.

I wonder what Costco,

Has that I didn’t know that I need

Videogame kiosk, Celtics vs. Lakers. Up by thirteen.

Ends in first quarter.

Man yanks little boy away from ajacent kiosk.

Little boy falls down. 

Man barely notices.

Flashlights, catfood, flimsy hammers. 

Rugs that cost three hundred dollars.

On sale! 3.47 off!

Not a sale, after all, really in the scheme

Of things.

Men with crooked jaws, and Seattle Seahawks shirts.

Leering at teenagers.

I wear a Seahawks shirt.

Identification gap.

I stopped leering at teenagers.

When I stopped being a teenager.

Now I leer at adults.

I am in love with the love of leering.

And fifty bathtubs for three grand.

That’s a sale.

I find my love, she has found clothing.

I have an outlet adapter that causes cancer and birth defects.

According to the state of California.

Dash for food.

No ice cream sandwiches.

I sulk, this the reason of reasons for the trip of trips.

To the store of stores!

So

My 

Love

Watches impatiently

As

I chew on a tire.

The Question

My father, his mouth, agape, his jaw slack, is just as spry as the day I met him. Which was about a week ago. Over the phone. This is the first time I’ve laid  eyes on him. His head looks like an aged pear, weathered and bruised,and topped with occasional tufts of brown locks, mostly above his forehead and below his nose. A bit of bloody steak, hoisted upon his tongue, the vessel of flavor towards the edge, there’s bits of lettuce and bristle stuck between his teeth, augmenting the whole view, it looks like the ivy at Wrigley. He closes his lips, filled with divots and drags, and presses his gum’s upon the inside of his lip, pushing each pinch and pouch upon the surface of his tongue, he is extracting every bit of flavor from the cow, as if he went into the kill-floor himself.  He smiles in there as he approaches the cow, like it was his own cow, Bessie, cherished, and relishing when the blood met his gloved fingers. That is how my father eats steak.

His nose stands like a monolith, a mecca for all the other facial features to pray towards. His beady eyes are distanced by this protruding and unfortunate of features, he looks like a toucan mixed with a vulture, thin, bulbous and harvesting. His other features aren’t quite so large, maybe their normalcy exaggerates the nose. I think it’s because his hair looks like hair, his ears look like ears, and his chin is  non-descript, plain and ending.

His eyes aren’t  unique, but merely provide his face with a deepening quality. They exude complete patience and control. Anything unplanned or unexpected couldn’t startle them, much less make them blink. He must’ve been a terror on the courtroom.  Which would explain the size and quality of his house. His garage is about the size of my condo.  And I can’t tell if that is a compliment or an insult yet.

Personally, I haven’t seen anyone age, so I’m not quite sure where he’s at in the process, and whether or not this is good or bad, for someone nearly seventy years old. He pushes his plate and napkin aside, and waves for his  servant, a slim and immediate man who also has a protruding bulge himself, his streak emerges from the middle of his back rather than the middle of his face, and he is a hunchback by any classical or realistic definition. I’ve made a note not to stare at his severe kyphosis.

Vlash functions as a victim of his body, a concept his master could never quite understand. From this first encounter I have come to believe that he actively commands and dictates with his inner voice the actions of each his organs, that they consult with some small place in his brain, I guess you could call it a liaison, regarding whether it is acceptable to secrete this fluid, or mingle with this blood pathogen or germ or whatever it is that moves around in our organs. They are truly his, and not just a part of him. But now, he may be yielding this control, because his body seems to be catching up with the indeterminable distance set by his age. He has graying, but not thinning hair. He sometimes complains about certain joints or organs that are giving him trouble, often preceded with an empathetic expletive. He uses a cane, but this is uncommon, and private and painful, and only among those we would classify as his “Circle of Trust.” I’m not sure if I am one of these people yet. The cane is more of a rumor than a fact to me right now, I spotted it in the back of the closet, I only knew to look for it due to information from secretive and confidential telephone conversations with his butler, who is very polite and of Nordic heritage and surprising with his ease to share usually secretive information. Expectations only lead to confusion, the ancestor of disappointment.

His age is merely a number, an illusion, an impression. Just as his skin is just an appearance, an illusion, an impression. His skin is only skin.  I  base on facts on an appearance, an illusion, impressions. Not as a summation of these points and spots, but a collection dispersed,  gullible and pining for more.

“What was it that you wanted to see me about?”

“I wanted to ask you why you left my mother and I.”

“I didn’t.” His tone quickly decimates the poignancy of my question. I’ve been waiting twenty years to confront him, to exploit the melodrama, like a scene in some very meaningful film I’ve been watching in my head, and then tells me straight-away it didn’t happen. The nerve of some people.

“But you were with my mother, I know you are my biological father, I have the paperwork…”

“Your mother insinuated that our cohabitation was equivalent to a life-long commitment. If I gave your mother a quarter, she would insinuate that I would bankroll every endeavor she could imagine for the rest of her life. I left. People leave.”

“But why did you leave us?”

“Well technically….Adam,”

“Andrew.”

“Right, sorry Andrew. Right Andy, like I was going to say, technically, I didn’t leave you. I didn’t know you existed, or were going to exist, based on your definition of the start of life. Either way, I was clueless. You aren’t a bastard, so you can get over that little identity crisis straightaway. If I knew you were going to come, I would’ve stayed. Simple as that. I’m a lawyer, not a monster Adam.”

“Andy. I mean, Andrew.”

“Right, Andy.”

“Well my mother always told me that you knew about me, and that you just didn’t care.”

“That’s terrible. Why would she say a thing like that. Why didn’t she lie to you?”

“I don’t…”

“It seems like she’s taking some undue anger out on you, that was reserved for me. She made you think there was some reason for a father to hate his own child. Why wouldn’t she just have told you I didn’t exist for awhile until you were old enough to handle it, instead of training you to hate me? Your mother was a terrible parent if this was the kind of parenting she did.” He started coughing and pulled a cigarette out of the pack. He offered me one. I waved the offer away.

“So, why are you here again?”

“Well, I mostly came to confront you.”

“That was baseless. And not to mention dumb. What was your game plan after that?”

“I didn’t really have one. I was going to play it by ear.” He had me there. He justly rolled his eyes and snapped his neck beck and exhaled a cloud of smoke.

“Your mother should’ve taught you better. Always have a plan.”

“That’s the sort of thing I imagined my father would’ve taught me. Where were you by the way. You did know about me didn’t you?”

“I did know of the concept of you. But frankly, I didn’t believe it. When your mother called to tell me about you…shit, what was it… seven years after you were born, she had to remind me of who she was. And that was a bad start. How could she adequately convince me that I was the father of this imaginary child if I had to be reminded just of who the mother was. She wasn’t the only Helen you know. She had to think of something specific to remind me of which one she was. And not very many women have two birthmarks there.”

“You can stop there with that.”

“Oh, sorry. Anyway. I didn’t believe. What would take seven years to stop this phone call, you know what I mean? If she really wanted me to be a part of your life, she could’ve called when she found out, could’ve called when she gave birth, could’ve called before your first birthday, could’ve called before you become fully conscious of who you were and figured out that not everyone just had a mom. I mean, really. Seven fucking years. After I gathered it was her, I figured she was trying to gouge me for more money, a pursuit of hers from the start. I don’t think she even liked me that much, I think she just liked my cars and my clothes, but not me. That’s why we fought. Because she didn’t love me. Why do you think it took so long for her to remind me of just who she was. So I left. It was nothing personal.”

“I never thought of it that way.”

“I wouldn’t expect you to.”

We caught up. He isn’t the devil my mother portrayed him to be, or at least she exaggerated the parts that were vulnerable. My mother wasted her talents, because she had a way of accentuating the bad and cutting out the good. If she had her values straight she could’ve been an accomplished artist. He walked me through his house, the hallways had various pictures of his past, him standing in front of fighter planes chomping on a cigar, him sitting on the edge of battleships, pictures of him taking pictures and smiling, young  and strong, vibrant with taut skin. Pictures of him on boats, in deserts, standing in front of important looking buildings posing with important looking people, important looking smiles impressed upon their faces. There is a picture of him with a president, but I’m not sure which one.

I was compelled to ask his age, but I figured that wasn’t a good decision, especially on a first date. The way I see it his age is merely a number, an illusion, an impression. A spot, a point woven into his definition. Just as his skin, or his occupation is just an appearance, an illusion, an impression. Another point or spot in that thickening weave. His skin is only skin, something I could destroy or mix with something else, like any other chemical property. However, I am a member of the unfortunate ones who tend to base judgment on an appearance, on illusion, on impressions. Worse yet these appearances are not summation of these points and spots, but more like a collection of the appearances, like the coins in your pockets with a total you’re entirely unsure of. They are dispersed and intangible, lined up in a single file, one after the other like pieces in a jumbled alphabet asking for their name, and gullible, pining for more.

We made plans to have some sort of father son outing and he handed me his phone number, folded on a small slip of yellow paper. “Burn it right after you memorize,” he whispered to me. Later on, I would discover that he had begun to believe, with little reason, that he was a former man of espionage, a figure of great political intrigue. A spy. That everything he was doing was of great value to some faceless communist or anarchist, that his home phone number, which was listed in the phone book, was sensitive material. He was wrong. He was a lifetime upper-middle class lawyer, who was briefly an upper-upper class lawyer,  who spent his life and career in the Midwestern United States. I guess gullible is a family thing.

Ladders

I asked our supervisor if Jake and I could climb onto the roof of a building and fix a vent that got damaged during the storm. Our supervisor asked us why. I mentioned that it was on the list. Our supervisor asked where it was. I gave him a letter of the alphabet. Our supervisor nodded and seemed to meditate on this concept of a building with a problem that we could potentially fix. Our supervisor gave us the okay. Jake and I began to collect the tools we would need, I directed Jake to retrieve a ladder for the expedition.

“A ladder? Whatdaya need a ladder for?” Our supervisor asked us.

“To get onto the roof,” I replied somewhat confused, and discouraged about the point of our previous conversation. What did he think we were talking about?Our supervisor pressed further.

“Well, if you are going to go onto the roof you need to be harnessed in somehow.”

“Into what?”

“The building.”

“We won’t fall.” We weren’t planning on it, and this point seemed obvious. I was watching the redundancies crawl out of my mouth. We had been on the roof before. For the same thing. Just the other day.

“It’s just the code for the state, you being state employees.”

“Technically we are student employeees, who pay state union dues, for absolutely no benefits. We have our own code. We are rogue.” I do not believe my supervisor understands sarcasm or has heard the words before.

“No. You do what I say. If you’re going onto the roof, you need to be harnessed in.” Now I haven’t seen a pair of harnesses to compliment our rickety unstable death machine of a ladder, so I simply gave up.

“Where are the harnesses then?” I coyly asked my supervisor.

“Well I don’t know.”

“Well, if you find them, Jake and I will climb back onto the roof and fix the vent. Until then, you can tell the residents that they can cope with the smell of shit.” The vent was for the bathroom. Jake and I decided to do something else, so we packed up our tools and left. This is what happened after that.

My supervisor approached our boss. He inquired into the potential localities of harnessing equipment, to compliment our rotting, collapsing, death machine of a ladder. Our boss asked why. The supervisor explained the need to fix a vent of some sort on a building that began with a number. Our boss seemed confused and disoriented. Our supervisor repeated the question, but position the question simpler terms.

“Are our employees, I mean, student-workers allowed climb onto the roofs of buildings?”

A flash went over the listless desert that was his mind. He knew he had an answer, but it was not clear what it was.

“I’ll have to get back to you.”

The boss decided to get in touch with the director of his department. He was a strong, brash and intelligent man. He felt confident he would the answer to this stirring of questions. The boss craned his long neck into the directors office.

“Is it safe for people to go onto rooves?”

“Well that depends,” the director answered. The director then went into a litany of details and dependencies for a multitude of situations. He asked him when the last time it rained, how often it rained, which side of the roof it was on – the side that gets more sun or the side that gets more shade, how high up the roof was, what the roof was made of, the mood of the person or persons climbing onto the roof, the mood of the person or persons holding onto the ladder for the person or persons climbing, what time of day the climbing would happen at, whether or not the person or persons holding or climbing the ladder had known the pleasure of vaginal intercourse within the previous twenty days as to avoid the potentially fatal distraction an attractive member of the opposite sex could have on their focus, whether or not they were wearing gloves, the amounts in their bank account, whether or not they were idiots and  a list of potential climbers and holders, their sex and age, their weight and height divided by each other, multiplied by their intelligence quota, divided by their blood pressure and the smallest digit the numerals birthday added together becomes, divided by three, for fun. Little to say this went over the boss’s head. A nervous fearful look leaped from the boss’s eyes and the tiniest shake rang on his neck.

The director sighed deeply, in awe of the appalling, and exponentially growing ineptitude of his staff. How much longer  could he bear the toll of incompetence at such a magnitude? This feeling resembled the color gray.

The director dismissed the boss, and quickly compiled a mental list of potential colleagues he could discuss this problem with. The director contacted the dean of the school, a bald graying  man, on this maddening philosophical query. On the first call the director reached the dean’s machine. He hung up, went down to the vending machine, mashed his finger into the buttons for yogurt pretzels, fished them out from the machine and returned to his office. The director picked up the phone and dialed it again. He reached the machine. The director decided to walk down the hall to the deans office.

He found the door slightly ajar. The director knocked on the door, cleared his throat and announced himself. He could see the deans office was dark and the blinds were drawn. The director began to ask for the dean”Mr. Joh…” but he was cut short by the shrieks of what sounded to be a guinea pig being tortured by a toothpick. The director was startled at first, but then sighed at his lack of foresight. The dean is extremely neurotic. As well as superstitious. As well as mildly autistic. He never answered the phone, looked anyone in the eye, or participated in any conversation that one could say resembled a civilized sort. He often shrieked and lifted his shirt and began to rub his nipples until he became aroused.  It was amazing that he had climbed as far as he had. But considering the schools reputation, it is only amazing that he didn’t reach this level sooner. This is mostly because he posses incredible skills when it comes to shepherding budgets and dealing with middle management, as mildly autistic people often are.

The director poked his way into the office.

“Stay out of my bubble!” the dean hissed at the general direction of the director. The director nodded and sat down in the deans chair, looking him straight in the eye as he remained curled in a ball underneath his desk, holding a flashlight and a set of batteries close to his heart. There were metal soldiers scattered underneath the desk as well as bubble gum wrappers and condoms removed from their wrappers, unused, a few with chewed gum inside. There was also a large amount of torn wrapping paper scattered about the room, likely from Christmas, though this was months ago. The dean was gaunt, shirtless and unshaven. There was a layer of drool decorating his lower lip. The director posed his question.

“Greggy, is it okay if the kiddies climb up ladders even if the roofs are wet?”

Greggy contemplated this question for a brief moment, his eyes looked way-wards to the floor.

“No,” he coughed. He began to snarl at the carpet. He began to shout from below his desk, “NO! NO! NO! GET NANCY! NO! NO!”

The director stood up from the chair bowed with his hat, and stepped out of the room leaving the door slightly ajar, just as he found it, stopping by the deans secretaries desk, where a woman named Nancy often sat.  Nancy went into the deans office, fed him her breast-milk and promised to attend to the situation. The dean cooed and nodded in peace as he fell into his usual afternoon nap in her arms. She was able to move him gently back underneath his desk without waking or startling him, in the office with the blinds drawn and the lights dimmed, She went back to her desk, lifted the phone and dialed the governors office, the situation still unresolved.

Christine Gregoire answered the phone herself. Her office had been stripped of all amenities. Her staff had been let go entirely, and not due to incompetence, but due to insufficient funds in the budget. She was haggard and dishelved, pale and blotchy. The wallpaper had been removed, the carpet torn out, and she had been left with a creaky wooden chair with  bad legs, and a desk from a kindergarten class removed from a school that had been shutdown during her administration. Sbe kicked a rat away from her foot as she said hello to Nancy.

“And how is our dear friend Greggy?…Yes?….Oh, dear…What’s that you say?….Well I can see your concern….Has his diaper been changed recently, maybe that is why he is so upset today?….Oh you checked…Well how much would it cost to get them on the roof?….Nothing?….How much are we paying them?….I see. Can we pay them less?….Oh, that’s the least? I didn’t know it was that much….So why are you calling me? This situation seems to have nothing to do with money….I see…..Well if we put them up there and they fall off, that could cost the state some money god forbid, and the boys could even get hurt….Well this one is going to have to go up higher than me. Sorry Nancy. I’ll have to get back to you…Let Greggy know that he is still up for that promotion to be the Secretary of Finance…. Great Nancy….KBuhBye!”

The governor slumped in her chair. She looked down with fear at the speed-dial extension that she would need to press soon.

“Fuck! Fuck!” She muttered. “I don’t want to have to talk to that callous blood sucking no good son of a bitch!” She took a deep breath and thought it over. He would be much more upset if she took the private jet to see him in person. But this situation was urgent, and it wasn’t the situation that mattered, but how her response was viewed by her peers. Shit, wouldn’t the world be better without all these assholes fucking shit up?

The governor summoned her mindlinking abilities, confidently massaging her temples with her creaky, wrinkled index fingers to increase focus. She hummed with much cadence, waited for him to answer her mindlink request. Then, as if it happened suddenly, she sensed a presence. She hoped it wasn’t that asshat Harry Reid again, busting in on her mindlinking. That was beginning to get on her frail, cuntlike nerves. But the presence, the presence! She could hear his voice, as if in a distant desert, catching her request, and answering it with his bellowing baritone, his assured tone, those novel mannerisms.

Barack Obama was responding to Christine Gregoires mindlink request.

“Chris.”

“President Obama…sir.”

“The fuck do you want? I am a busy man.”

“I had a question.”

“No shit, I hope you weren’t mindlinking to flirt with me again. That shit is shameful…you’re better than that Chris.”

“I know Mr. President…I know.” He could hear the shudder of shame in her mindlink voice.

“Well?”

“Well what?”

“The fuck you mindlinking me for? I am trying to pick out a dog here, and I can only mindlink for so long without Michelle getting suspicous. Strong women can sense mindlinking. That and fear. Shit. You got me rambling. THE FUCK YOU WANT GIRL?”

“I had a question.”

“You a fucking broken record, Chris. Ask it already.”

“Is it okay for these two white kids in Washington to climb onto a wet roof to fix something. I am against, because it involves spending money, but I’d figure I should run it by you.”

“Your indecisive middle of the fence response may be the best thing about you. We have this system, appiont and vote for these leaders so they can fucking ask their boss what to do. Everyone in this system acts like their fifteen on their first day of their job. “Let me ask my boss.” Fuck. What do you do? What do we do? Do you think these crackers are going to break their necks on this wet roof.”

“If their hand eye coordination is accurate as the covert sleep tests show…They will certainly meet their doom.”

“I know I am going to sound like a hypocrite here for a second, but I am going to have ask my boss if it’s cool if these kids die so they can fix whatever the fuck needs to be fixed. What was it again?”

“I think there may be a baby kitten stuck on the roof.”

“Shit. I’ll call him right away. Hit you back in a minute Chris.”

“Thanks Mr. President.”

“Go fuck yourself.”

The mindlink session ended. The Obama clan decided on a short haired Lasso Apso that they decided should be named Trixie. They all returned to the White House, under the guard of the Secret Service, enjoyed a supper of roasted duck and lima beans. Barack and Michelle enjoyed some whisky, and slow danced to a Neil Diamond recordin their bedroom before taking a shower together, their ritual before retiring for the evening. They both lumbered into the bed, with teeth freshly brushed. The President was about to drift into a most patient and delicate slumber, when the days previous mindlink session came to the forefront of his thoughts. “Fuckin bitch,” he muttered under his breath. He climbed out of bed, careful not to wake Michelle and put on his bathrobe. He walked down the halls, with a lit cigarette dangling from his ears. He approached the portrait of Abraham Lincoln that hangs in the West Wing. He checked either side of the hall. Nobody watching. His eyes met those of his ancestor, and they both began to glow red, a fiery red, and the painting began to rumble to the left, creating the opening to the secret passageway. The President climbed inside.
He took the lantern off the mount next to the entrance, lit it with his still burning cigarette, and mashed it on the ground with his bare foot. He followed the caverns path until he found the ladder. The President tossed the lantern to the bottom of the crevasse, then leaped off himself, falling fifty feet before he met the murky pool below, enveloping himself underneath the water. He was at the John F. Kennedy Secret Fountain. He emerged from the water and shook himself dry. He strolled up the steel enforced door. He pressed his face into the retinal scanner. He entered the detoxification and sterilization chamber. Gasses and liquids encompassed his body. He emerged from the mist nude, and walked up to the end of the cavern. There hung a big white telephone with one looming button sitting at its center. The President took a deep breath and picked up the receiver, and mashed the button. It rang six times before it was answered.

A booming voice, deeper than the confines of sound itself emerged from the earpiece.

“Mr. President?”

“Yes God….It is me.”

“I told you I don’t exist.”

The Other

I.

A voice announced itself.

It moved through wood and words, and met my ears

I walked calm through the forest, where wet palms met.

A pink guide found the shore ahead.

Centuries collided, as stars from yellow explosions,

With the vast black solemn space as the backdrop

Hung on wire and thread.

The clouds paced.

Islands evaporated.

Memories lost weight.

And I saw myself running,

In step with the other.

Twigs snap beneath my feet as winter coats shed their skin,

And thin trips of green and white and always,

Fell behind the path.

 

 

II.

Ey Boy! Gro against de will.

Wit that of de other.

Dey come, Da people, Dey see it land-

Land breathes, ne’er falter, Henry, he braces,

He ne’er stumble. Yea?

Ey Henry! You see de waterfall? She up der, waiting,

Skin and mouf Henry, battered babes always listening,

Come the tide to the water boy, tongues always chirping.

She’ll take you to always, wit the all of it all, yea.

You alucky Henry.

She good.

She special. You look in der, you see no dread

You hear no voices,

No strings, no system, no worries, no worries Henry,

She teach sumthin, sumthin you need. Dis ain’t news tho aint it?

Don be eager tho boy, she ain’t no fawn,

She a woman. If you lucky you den, den.

You just breathe boy,

Don be an animal in reflections. She senses dis.

A tingle run like a shiver.

That scent brings a stink, and stinks bring charges,

Be steady on dat path now, watch de backs of places,

Don murmur yur thanks boy, dis aint advice, jus reminders.

Only your lungs yea, nothin elses.

Ey Henry! She human too, her spirit ain’t ne’ver falter, buty the breath boy…

Boy Henry, yull see.

Sorry tho, before you run off tho, gimmie yur ear, befur you get hers, her whisper

It moves further than her voice.

Be matchin ears, recognize yur steps Henry,

It’ll end befur the shudder.

Aw shit boy.

She sees you.

Hurry now,

Shes wise on words, hurry Henry,

Don’t waver, before it’s too light.

 

 

III.

A voice lulls him to sleep,

He slips into the forever ending,

In between unmedicated elbows,

The breath between the lull and the twitch,

Waving away as ships move towards the horizon,

Leaving the warm dull moments.

He moves through a pool,

The worst, the very worst,

Is the fear we know

And he knows knowing like a winter coat.

He’s at a harbor.

A harbor free from ills,

Those indistinct rattles and worries.

Thoughts that keep him up

And that thoughts that wake.

He saw nature prepare these four walls,

To give us away into the always;

The ends of zeroes, and between

It began as it ended

On the oily stage of the vast black solemn space,

Falling like stars, like their accidents.

His bones are gone,

Fate meeting their ends,

meeting their beginnings,

He moves like a lurching turtle,

Like the stars that are lulled to sleep in the forever ending,

With winter coats dropped in the orange mist, for blue ships searching for harbors

For mending.

 

 

IV.

The moon holds court over his creation.

A man with a creaking back heaves bundles of newspapers that plop on the pavement in a spiral of ink and order,

From backs of trucks with words on the side,

That rise and lull with every passing corner,

Passes fruitful between the dusk of dawn,

Always approaching the center of the city, never reaching.

The painter enjoys his morning morning cigarette from the rotting sill at the wide window in his studio,

The ash frolics as it falls past the other windows, other eyes, closed though for now,

Dabbling in dreams that are only of sleeping children.

The son mills about the crop, the wind pushes the peaks running gentle against his palm as a mother would

Taking court over the knee high corn, brushing against the edge of the beauty

The farmer hollers to the boy that breakfast is getting cold and it’s gonna be for the dog if he doesn’t quit dawdling.

The hunter feels a twig snap under his foot, and the flock take off, he swings and takes a wild shot.

The nurse gets off her graveyard shift, dreary eyes sinking into the seat in front of her on the bus,

The wheels and windows and panels caked in linoleum in glass, a zoo exhibit for the modern mind,

And those eyes droop as she meanders towards home.

Children bicker over cereal brands as the steam still rises from the mothers coffee. She is a practiced woman.

Three men propose to their loves in bed, and they make love with the windows open.

The city takes it’s first full breath with lungs wide open.

The newspaper man has the sun in his eye,

It has come to warm over her children.

Life is created from what was created.

And the other knows what separates the mending from the maker.

 

 

V.

My harbor is generous.

She nuzzles my head

And loosens the knots in it.

Steady hands on an expert surgeon.

Her grace massages my heart,

Expels the termites to some dark nether region.

The tip of her soul meets my head,

And a world breathes independent.

Her touch lays me down like a baby lamb, in the field,

That very field, of the all, and the always.

My slumber is interrupted by her stirring

An orange mist envelopes her soft soul, gently loving the other.

A translucent light fills her face,

She is still sleeping, and she hardly knows it

As we begin to land

And begin to depart

At the vast black solemn space

The winter coats serve no purpose.

 

 

VI.

I am curled into my nook.

It is comfortable and warm.

Steam curls from my mug, and I can see out the window.

Winter has set in for the season.

The fat squirrel I’ve been monitoring still seems festively plump,

A stomach filled with nuts and berries.

She keeps the heat up and we nap like hibernating bears,

Sluggish and affectionate bears.

I don’t nap this afternoon, I’m reading a book,

And her and the cat are in their sanctioned spot, she sprawled,

Along the leather couch, and his chin mounted on the bend of her knee,

His billowing  body draped down her legs.

The boxes all hum and glow, and we bask, we bask.

She stirs. 

Our friend is startled from his sleep, and he yawns and trots off,

Pauses in the center of the room to stretch, 

And holds his pose for an extended moment. He then lumbers off

To lap at his water.

Her knee bends across my lap and our eyes meet and she smiles,

Her smile is as strong as her skin; it says, 

I am her harbor. 

 

 

 

VII.

The usher tears my ticket.

I find a seat somewhere in the front.

The curtains pull back and the show,

For the vast black solemn space begins.

It is generous.

When there is a lull, she picks up the pace.

When something falls flat, she dulls the pain,

And breathes solid air,

So the always, the all, can be reborn.

She emits a powerful calm,

Holds a taut steady sail to navigate past the jagged rocks,

To hold us through the stormiest weather.

I am her harbor, the distinct known

Where sleep fines us steady, and sure to come,

Like the sunrise below the horizon.

The other steps off stage,

And through the four walls nature provided,

The other offers Henry, The I, The the,

A line to clasp.

Offers something to taste,

The sap of a secret,

Spoken through wet palms that breathe love,

Bustling the path of wine and cinder

She is laying her supple body with the green,

And the young lamb, the white and the always,

Where we  choose to rest.

Her breath flows down my neck, generous.

And tomorrow called us forward,

As the fragile reminders said.

Then the others voice erupted

In a soothing song of promise.

The Edge of the Coin

An object or an idea?

The actual, or the urge for more?

Desires speak for themselves.

Are we the sun, or its memories?

Satisfaction is an awkward word,

It flinches before it’s worn.

 

The body, or the hearts mind?

The image, or the pet name that slips off our tongues?

Our dust pumps hearts, and we love what glistens the sun

Our hearts are our only ones.

 

What are you?

The swift arm, or the intention

That carried an action?

Does glass break from thought – no

But design cast it with its place,

With the flinch of a finger.

Two sides of every coin,

The object or the idea,

And every coin stands on its edges.

 

Do I define myself?

Very well, I define myself.

(I am human. I contain platitudes.)

 

What are you?

What it is or what our mind pregnated the foundation with?

What the snake coiled tighter, or the rising voice as the tide alters its course?

The greatest illusion is the ones we’ve convince of  ourselves

Are you finite, or are you infinite?

We are what we know,

And we know what we’ve done,

But what our secrets hearts know

Sears through skins.

So what are you- an object or an idea?

Chapter Two

I had a hangover when I saw the birds. In a flurry, their movements blossomed above a cascade of cars belting northbound. There were two flocks. They approached and admired each other, seeming to bow almost, a mutuality recognized, and the pair began this festive dance, the one group swayed and mixed with the second group, they bulged and proceeded to collaborate, birds from the first mixed into the second, then they split, then reformed under new factions, only to recalibrate, to sway and turn as a unit and mash quick and elegant back into one, to collide in a periscope of nature, a silent paradox that split upward, that split in half, that stood as simple and transparent as sheared paper against the horizon , that fluttered in diagonals and deft shifts, sublime movement appearing at once dark as it dove against the cliff face and bright as the fever of an autumn sun as it climbed upwards, altogether gallant and lifeless, two identical forms merging and deviating back into two different yet identical forms again, they spread apart a final time only to be reunited, as one true flock, that flys under some autonomous principal, to some imbued forever distant destination, answering only to their flock, to their deathless drone, as they moved past the view of my windshield.

I looked back on the highway, the other cars breezed past my peripheral view, silent and choiceless, I can’t hear them, they can’t hear me, I can’t hear their nature, they cannot allow for the possibility that their ramifications to be true, that their force is a tangible entity, that they themselves must reckon with.  The speed, the noise, the numbers, the danger, the blurring of steel into gargantuan bullets, falsely silent within the confines, the stereos as antiseptic, all this, all that this is, is impeded upon. You don’t notice when things drip past the point of no return, when there is no hope, but despair isn’t an option, since obliviousness has taken hold, since you’re at the helm, after so much time, chaos and disintegration unwillingly becomes the norm. And it takes an explosive event to knock you back to the ground. It always come as a surprise when it happens, surely unbelievable, but in the afterglow it becomes more comprehensibly right, accurate, needed even. But everything is so damn wonderful before this happens.

I keep on learning the same thing over and over again, only in a different tone, with a different name. I don’t know if that it makes it more true, or me more incapable of changing anything. Maybe this is a universal truth that bears repeating, that bears to be stamped down into permanence. I get discouraged too easily, I guess. So I paid my bills off, unplugged the phone, picked up my mail and left town for a couple of days.