What isn’t heard

Rain beats metronomic on the roof
Envelops me like a blanket
Crystal leaves drip from tree branches
Each magnifying the emptiness beyond
Nothing to be but a vessel for
This ancient conversation that
Isn’t heard if I am not here



Killing, running, tripping, falling, getting up and running and killing again. All this killing and running. Where is it going? Whom is it killing? Who is running the killing? Why do we trip and fall and then get up and run and kill again? Who is in charge? Whose show is this? Who is whispering-paying-nodding-nudging-smiling? Are you? Whom are the guns for? If I step on your land, will you kill me? Are the guns to keep me in or out? Are you in or out? Do you need to keep me out because I am a memory of you that you would rather not see/hear/touch?

The wounded wound over and over, until nothing remains but the wound, festering, open, dripping. Child soldiers rape and kill their mothers and sisters, trained by former child soldiers, who raped and killed their mothers and sisters, trained by former child soldiers, etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum ad nauseam ad delirium… Can there be no end? Broken bodies, broken chains, broken planet, broken laws, broken lives, broken promises. Wounds, breaks. When all is pus and blood, how does the healing come? How does one recognize the impulse?

It’s a buzzing in your ears, an internal itch that cannot be scratched, that explosive rage you feel all the time. That is the impulse. Can you hear it whispering to you? What does it want? Breathe into it, moan, scream if you have to. Curse all that has brought you here, then prostrate yourself and sob. Then sob more and scream. Don’t think you are cured. Don’t think that just because you’ve stopped dripping, you will never drip again. Don’t think that just because you are too weak to maim and kill right now, you will not ever again want to kill and maim. Sit with it, lean into the pain — it has been stuck inside you for a long time. It’s the only thing you can hold on to that is yours, that will not elude your grasp. Thank it. It’s not everything, but it is the only door that can take you to the rest of the story.

The answer

Pieces of flesh ricochet off the walls of the world. Soldiers rape and throttle their nightmares gathered on the orders of self-proclaimed princes whose coffers are filled with snakes and oil. They handcuff us with their medicines, and we, the willing and able, shout for more because the one with most toys wins, we’ve been told.

And that means someone always loses — this nature of life closes the discussion. We walk away satisfied having found the answer, happy to stare into something other than ourselves.

Stare into the abyss that is you. Be terrified. Be dizzy. Fall. Lie there for as long as you need to. Find yourself, not in the electronic glow, nor in your anger. In your love, in your tenderness, in your stardust. Then get up and look around. What do you see? It’s scorched, but not dead.

Awaken, arise. Sit, breathe. Stop listening to the cybervoices in your head. The next pill, the next pod, the next fuck will not get you there — there will always be the next and the next and the next. Stare into the sun — there is truth in blindness. Jesus doesn’t want you to buy or to kill, which amounts to the same thing. A does not connect to B does not connect to C. Life is a bouncy house in which our molecules — and we — collide with one another and the walls and the ceiling and the floor and bounce away changed, recreated.

You cannot bury your emptiness in a landfill. There isn’t a garbage stream massive enough to hold it. But you are. There is nothing missing. The screen is not who you are. The pain is not who you are. You are the universe — look at yourself softly and with forgiveness. All I am saying is you are enough, and I am grateful.


Pink plastic aisles, new smell of phthalates
Settles in the back of my throat
On the sidelines —
Blood on the earth, parts, hollow echoes of time
Soldiers maim to survive
But what are the implications?
The shorthand in which I see you is truth
Corrupted by a focus group
Your blood holds the key to my obedience
What if my life is not the most precious thing?
What if it is?
What if pink plastic is murder?


Plans crash like airplanes
Sowing their debris in my memory
Like an itch that I cannot scratch
Like a flash of red I catch out of
The corner of my life
But there’s only space

People drop like debris
Leaving their breath on me
Like a breeze on a still day
Like a familiar constellation
On the other side of the
Celestial sphere

Breath catches like a knife
Sinking its flesh into me
Like a lover in absentia
Like a lost soul
Mourning its flight
From the incomplete


My heart pounded the pavement in the night
Beating out bars of my rhymes
Which alas were lost with sunrise
Oh, woe is me who must recreate
But strokes of others’ lives
Counting out days rather than years
Toll in my ears and wizened
I forget my dead words and
Usher into living a requiem for
All that is dear and vital
And still has so much left


If this moment could flow through my veins
Like a cabernet
If it could swaddle me in warmth
Like the sun
If it could hold me
Like a child starved for nourishment
If it could loosen my tongue
Like your eyes do
I would sit with this moment
Like an old friend and
Listen to the mysteries of
Its lineage and
Be in awe of its
Wisdom and
Trust that it wouldn’t collapse
Under my weight and
Plunge head first into
Its eternal gaze