While Looking Into Fire: A Small Collection of Poems
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While Looking Into Fire
Tweaking around in low fps
Like ashes caught twitching
in the thermals of a fire pit
That sickness was legitimate
one day I will do that again, yet die
And still then, I’ll reach for another cigarette, though not in victory then,
Contradictory as it is,
Because as long as I am smoking a cigarette,
I am alive.
The logs caught fire too well
Called my insecurity that they wouldn’t,
Now heaped upon with encouragement and luxury,
I have to sit and wait for them to suffocate
As a matter of safety
Waiting for their heat to leave me in the cold
So I can go to sleep (cold)
This forces me to watch the random stick I threw in from the dirt
Pour itself of its denizen insects
They are baffled as to why
What is killing them
Had to occur.
Well it didn’t.
I’m sorry.
Was that another bug flushed out of the stick’s innards,
Trying to flee its home like from a swollen shoreline?
Was that death?
Or was it just a trick of the light?

Ceiling or Sky?
When you die, your brain relaxes to a point
Where your body just folds outwards on itself
As if signing in mockery to the fetus hello again
The neck clicks way back to an uncomfortable sit
What is it you look up to see?
Ceiling or sky?
Industrial tiles, piles of dirt, or constellations redrawn?
In any case, the nerve in your neck is screaming
But like a tree without sound,
there is no one left or right
to hear it shout.

Year of the Dragon
Happy 2924!
Oh God that’s a typo.
But not wrong.
900 years from now it will be correct.
A New Year means a reset to the mundane
I pluck and pull coffee mugs from their rack
Dangling each from curling fingers
One slips. There is such an eternity in the fall that I go to sleep in it.
Like a cat. Ensconced in blanket. Eyes closed. All is right now.
The crack of newly-purchased ceramic splinters my slumber.
Is that bad luck? The first thing I do in the New Year?
I could do to consult my catalogue of wrongs,
But don’t care enough to look it up.
I sweep it and it’s cleaned before anyone notices.
A pocket of some omen, all to myself.

The Secret to Life
I used to try to be a good person
Then I tried to not care
Now I try to just be simple
Our job is to be arguments for the beauty of the world
And the beauty of what life can be
That’s it. All of God & religion right there.
Living as an imposter
Is the greatest regret
Spending time courting sin
Swathed in depravity
Is not right,
Not because it is wrong,
But because it requires so much
That all melts away anyway when you look into fire
or become very ill
Things to lose
Or things that can be lost
Now I get rid of those
Punctuated by consonance’s sustain
like piano feet pressed into the air
Sweetly returning to the insensible
Humming in savor while it lasts
Because even a slight remnant
Of faded certainty
Is enough to celebrate that it’s still here
The secret to life is:
I am alive
You are alive
So we can be alive together.

The End of Dying
Just how much weaker
Can a human body get?
My blood can’t stay in its walls
The wrong meal is a mortal threat
Every muscle left with tension aches
From the coughs that drop on them like air raids
Sitting up is not an option
Goodbyes are overcome by grimaces
Frightened animal eyes at my son
Not the youngest
And so not the most likely
To be the last person to die who will hold me dear
(I don’t regard my grandfather’s father)
No pretense left, as I've always wanted
It’s sickening to imagine what it is like to die
And knowing that will be you
clawing back at your horrific face,
Through cobwebs of short, impossible time
Has life really been that long? Doesn’t feel so.
It just feels like a day.
Even if we were as permanent as the sun
It would at one time still come
My death will be made even more meaningless still as
History itself & the last humans die
We are blinded & deaf to what comes next
Which too will end,
until there is nothing left to die

The End of Trying
A goal in life is to get a good view from your bedroom window
So you can hope
The rays are golden baths in slivers
The bacon sizzles nearby
The coffee from your too-kind nurse dances
As you wish she would
In the too-small apron she has sometimes
Be ascetic to be aesthetic
No, the temptation will never leave
Just show up in the right times
In the right amounts
Enjoyed cleanly
All this so that when the time comes
You can tune out the palliative care
Sting of the lumen IV
jutting like a bad parked car
And stare until you’re gone
A practiced pressure
Making room in life’s clutter
For the end of trying

Keter Duty
A chess board of strategic addictions
meant to neutralize me into a better person
I have made a fool of myself
Before my idols
When all I really want is to make something great
I roll out the best meals for my demons
I feed them the best recipes
With the most cared-for vegetables
Unsatisfied but never spoiled.
I choose to entertain them
And to function? Simple:
I just rely on the fact I have chronically cold feet
I can't feel the ground I walk on
just like a dead man

Incandescence
Rose ember eyes
An all-seeing iris
Piles of pitted matter pulled
to not much more than plume
Kisses send even metal to blushing
Scales wood like 1,000 stacked matches
Stiletto-seared cigarette tips silhouetted
hot enough to appear as snow
Blowing with a wind across the face
of whatever was prior to planet
And whatever lives on it, or six feet within
All are equalized by the soothing violence
What is cremation?
What is incandescence?
What are those rose ember eyes?
but the acceleration of God's resurrection arrival
in furious, furious beauty?

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