Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Upside Down On The Ceiling.

I awoke
this morning,
in the blackest of blue.

The grey numbers
projected onto the ceiling
read 3:17 AM.

I laid still,
unable to move.
A cold so deep
had filled my room,
that as I exhaled,
I could see my breath
rising from my lips
like the smoke
from my last cigarette
before I laid my head down
to rest.

The cold
that filled the room
crept in like a sick child;
finding it's way
under the comforter
and next to me.

And I stayed frozen.
I did not move.
I just laid there,
watching the grey numbers on the ceiling;
waiting for them to change.

I watched my breath
rise slowly
into the deep black blue
above my bed.
I watched
as the frozen vapor
danced its way up
to where the grey numbers
on the ceiling
for the change.

But it stayed
3:17 AM,
until I found the courage
to shut my eyes.

With the strength
of a 100 ton
sheet metal press,
I crushed my eyes
closed tight.

I stayed that way
eyes clenched,
body taut,
in the cold.

And I counted the ways,
that I was alone.

I counted the seconds.

I counted the things,
That I missed.

I counted the minutes.

I counted the moments of joy,
that where now destined to be erased.

I counted the hours.

I counted all those
that I had lost.

I counted the days.

I counted all the parts of me
that had been taken away.

I imagined,
that if I kept on counting;
when I opened my eyes again
the morning's sun
would have risen.

I imagined,
that if I found the way,
to make a complete
and comprehensive list
of all that aches me so;
it would all be erased
if I kept my eyes
closed tight,
until the warms sun embrace
of a new day.

I imagined,
and wanted to believe.

When I opened my eyes again,
stamped metal tears
were stacked up in rows
down my face,
like rusty, unpolished
on a vacant assembly line
in Detroit.

The grey numbers
projected onto the ceiling
read 3:18 AM.

And in the corner
of my room,
a faceless figure,
dressed in my work clothes
and distressed and beaten boots,
sat in my father's chair,
legs crossed,
hands placed neatly in his lap,
upside down
on the ceiling.

pinned my limbs
to the bed,
and squelched the scream
that ached to ring out,
like a lonely church bell's call.

and love,
kept my eye's wide open;
even as the burn of rust,
seared and scratched
the antique, ripple glass lenses
that took the unsettling image in.

as I fight my way
back to sleep,
a storm is raging
over the Fort.
licks the surface
of the black water
out back.
And thunder rumbles
across the barren acres
of Todd's Fields.

of my elderly neighbors
have commented to me
about the heavy weather
of the last six months.

"In all my years,
I have never seen winds such as this."

"The storm's of late
seem to have more fury."

I have been here,
out on the Fort,
for six months.
I have brought the storm with me?

uneasy sleep,

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Black Mornings Kiss.

So I took the weekend off.

to pass the time
and fill the gaping hole in my bank account,
and heart;
I have taken up a second job.
Monday through Friday
I am a carpenter.
I build homes.
I am the only college educated carpenter,
in all of East Baltimore.

on the weekends,
I have taken to the great blue and grey above.
I have signed on
with a traveling crew of Sky Cowboys.
Derelicts, degenerates,
adrenaline junkies,
every one to the man.
But the odd thing,
is the nature of the work.
We install "green roofs"
on the top of office buildings.
For all intents and purposes,
we are gardeners in the sky.
It's the getting of the garden up to the clouds
where the danger,
and fun begins.
And this is how I spend my weekends.

We live in nice hotels
rise well before the sun,
manage 90 ton cranes,
multiple tractor trailers of material;
negotiate gale force winds,
and dance out on the edge
high above terra firma,
with only the embrace
of a safety harness
and a steel tether cable
to lessen the drop
back down to reality.

I handle the safety rigging.
Which requires me
to go out on the ledge first,
free from the steel umbilical cord
that keeps us all safe.
I get to dance free,
in the clouds.

I get to lean hard into the wind,
free from the ties that bind.
I get to test the winds heavy hand on my chest,
and find a mutual trust
between myself,
and the fickle mood of mother nature.
I have the insane pleasure
of climbing the sides
of concrete and steel;
looking for the places
where lines can be tied off
so that the crew can work safe.
Their lives
are in my broken hands,
and my innate ability
to ascertain,
just the right place
that won't let go,
if they were to make the mistake
of going over the edge.

Most of this motley band
have gone over the edge
a long time ago;
and I am now a rank and file member.
We are all
as our leader reminds us,
"fucked in the head."
You earn your way into the club,
via dissolution with life
or a need to feel your heart pound
and synapses fire
with the urgency
of top fuel dragster.
And the only way out of the club,
is the quick way down;
and the rough kiss
of Mother Earth
or the roof of a parked car.

are bestowed
with monikers
based on conditions.
There has been
Solar Alley,
Spanish Sahara,
and the Widow Maker.
Much like mountain climbers of old,
the first man to the top
gets to give the place its name.
I have named
every job that I have worked.
I find ways,
to ensure
that I am the first man
out of the hatch.
I want
and need
that first kiss
of the cold morning wind.
It is usually
in the dark and quiet.

Think back,
to your very first kiss.
Your eye's were closed;
you didn't say a word.
You just leaned in,
and found your way.
You never forget your first kiss;
and spend a lifetime
comparing every other,
to it.
They are all different,
first kisses.
You will have a number
of first kisses,
until you finally find the right one.
But their will always be that one.
You know it
deep to the core of your being.
And it is special,
a event,
a mile marker,
a talisman.

I suppose,
that my need,
and desire,
for that first
breath of the morning wind;
is nothing more
than my need
to recapture
that first kiss
that has sent me here into this exile.

I stand there
out on the edge,
precariously balanced
all that I am
and all that I am not;
and I can taste her lips again,
for one brief
with my eyes closed
and my soul,
full and free.

So I took the weekend off.
I turned down a job,
close to home;
and left the crew hanging.
And I find myself
left wanting,
and needing,
that sweet first kiss
of the cold, dark, morning air.

It is all I have
these trying days.
It is the one thing,
that makes me feel human,
and alive.

I think
taking a weekend off
was a good thing.
I am getting to comfortable
dancing in the clouds.

On top of Spanish Sahara,
a load broke free.
The man in charge of the tack line
(not one of us, not one of our crew)
felt the heavy pull of the load
taking flight in the wind.
He let the line go free.
And a weight
heavier than my heart
was loose above the deck.
Men scattered in all directions.
The need for self preservation
took over.
They ran for cover and safety.

The closest members of my crew,
two stupid souls,
put themselves
between the building and the edge.
They ran to the conflict,
and put their own safety aside,
to ensure
that others might make it home safe.

I was one of the two stupid souls
between the building and the edge,
wrestling the heavy
uncontrolled weight
back into submission.

I am not afraid
of anything up there
in the clouds.
But I am terrified
of living
down here.

So I took this weekend off.
I think
taking a weekend off
was a good thing.
I was getting to comfortable
dancing in the clouds.

I cannot replace
a lost kiss,
with the dark wind of the morning.

I cannot replace
a life lost,
by putting myself
the heavy weight
that swings freely about me;
and the concrete and steel reality,
that what I had is gone,
and never coming back.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's All The Same To Me.

I am
by the sheer
brute force
of life.

I find myself,
just how much more
can be taken from me?

there isn't much left.
Most of what I am,
can be packed neatly
into a weathered Whitman's Sampler box;
or if compressed
with precision,
into a twelve gauge
shotgun shell.

Just what is,
the breaking point,
of a good man?
A good soul?

Fuck me,
more bad news.
But I turn into the wind,
and weather the storm.

"And when it rains here,
it rains so hard."

And then,
on top of all else,
A friend, I cherish and love,
sent me this message this morning...

"This has been VERY hard for us too.
You are not the only one affected by this.
Sucks the way things have turned out.
That is all."

That is all.
We have not spoken
or seen one another
in five months. 
And this is the message she sends me.

I wanted to get in my truck
and drive to her house,
and hook a chain to my trailer hitch,
and tear her home away from it's foundation.
I wanted to pull
all that was safe and secure,
out from under her,
and see just how she would cope
with the upheaval and disintegration
of all that she knew and loved?

That is all.

Her words,
are similar to the words
of her other half.
he to,
seemed bothered
and put out,
and inconvenienced,
by the dissolution of my love
and life.

"This has been VERY hard for us too."

I don't know what to make of this
I guess,
I should say,
I am sorry.
I am sorry,
that my life
and pain, and sorrow,
has upset you so.

"You are not the only one affected by this."

What a selfish,
and foolish statement.
I was awed,
by these words.
Am I,
should I,
feel guilty,
or worse than I already do,
my life
and it's awful turn,
has somehow
caused her discomfort?
The ripple effect,
of the dissolution
of my love,
has upset a great many souls.
I put myself at the top of this list.
I am the one
who wakes each morning alone.
I am the one
who paces the floor
and counts the hours.
I am the one,
out here adrift
on the black sea of tears,
How selfish of me.

"Sucks the way things have turned out."

She got this part right.
It sucks;
to use her simple
and easy way
of defining my pain and sorrow.
It sucks.
The black hole
inside of me...
The heart removed
while awake...
The soul untethered
and set adrift...
The ache of crushed bone
and spirit...
It sucks the way things have turned out.

"That is all."

That is all.
If I didn't love
and understand
my friend,
who wrote such silly words,
I would hate her.
like all things
sent my way
these new days,
I just take it in,
embrace it for what it is,
and keep moving forward.
I know,
and understand,
that she didn't mean to hurt me with these words.
I know,
and understand,
that these are trying times for all involved.
But goddamn,
if you're having a hard time with all this mess,
imagine what I must be going through?
My guess is
she hasn't really given it much thought.
Because if she did
really sit down
with a glass of red wine,
next to the fire,
and imagine herself
as me,
it would
freeze her in place;
like a child
who makes it to the top
of an old steel jungle gym,
and realises
that while the view from the top is awe inspiring,
all it takes
is one not-love tap,
for a pig tailed ingenue,
and it's a rusty
and cold
pachinko trip
back down
to the blue dusty gravel below.

This is a first,
please listen...

The band is Lucero.
The message
is that
of a good
broken man,
keeping the faith
and trying desperately
to just hold on.
"It's all the same to me."

It's a beautiful night
out here on the Fort.
The water is like a pane
of antique glass
framed by an obtuse
and asymmetrical frame.
And no matter
how many rocks
I throw through it's bleary visage;
it always returns back,

That is all.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Enemy That Is Spring.

What a oddly wonderful evening.
The heavy winds of winter
subsided tonight.
And in their place,
the cool breath
off the water,
was just enough
to lift
the winter's tattered flag,
that stands watch
over the small post office
two blocks away.

The cool breath
of the impending spring
stretched taut
the fabric remains;
with just enough luff
to create a staccato
crack and snap,
as the flag would rise and fall
with the inhale and exhale
of a breath,
from somewhere
out past the black waters reach.

The cool impending breath of a spring unwanted,
looms heavy.
It's approach is unmistakable,
and unwanted,
by me.

I want the dark cold winter,
to linger
out here on the peninsula.
I have no use
for the colors
of the rebirth.
I am content
and comforted
by the grey, black, and white,
which has enveloped my world
since I was brought here
into exile.

In the parking lot
of the Unitarian Church
across the street
from my home,
a father
and son
fly a kite.
The child is no more than seven.
His lack of age
and experience,
is affirmed
by the unfamiliar way of running,
while trying to set the kite aloft.
The boy is heavy footed,
and his legs seem to want
to run in different directions,
away from him
as he looks with hope to the sky
and the gift of flight.

He runs,
and finds his legs beneath him,
as his father offers words of encouragement
and laughs,
as the kite rises and falls
rises and falls,
as a little boy
runs ovals
around a church parking lot;
as the sun sets
and the cool breath of spring
offers the promise and hope;
and encourages a little boy
to soar...

On the cool breath of spring,
over the grey, black, and white world
that I must call home.

I watched them,
father and son,
as I stood on my porch
inhaling the chemical breath
of nicotine from the paper blast furnace
held between my broken fingers.
I watched them,
until my lungs could not take anymore smoke.
I watched them,
until my eyes became so heavy with thick black tears,
that I imagined
the peninsula of my exile,
the father and son,
the church parking lot,
the post office,
all of it,
to just below the winter's tattered flag
on the pole.

And when it was all gone,
I would row out
in a leaky wooden boat
across my black flood of tears,
and bring the beaten flag down;
relieve it of its burden
to the wind, and bring it home.
And all that would remain,
would be four feet of rusty pole
and a vista of peaks and valleys
of rooftops;
their lives and real shapes
drowned and concealed
by the thick black water of my tears.

What a oddly wonderful evening.
I was confronted by the realization
that I will never be a father.
This epiphany
this understanding,
was awe inspiring.
And while the cool breath
of the impending spring
spun about me,
enveloped me,
and lifted
little boy spirits aloft..

I found,
a regret so profound,
that I am left questioning
everything that I am.
And the impact of my exile,
has become even more awe inspiring
and real.

God damn me.
I am.
God damned me.
And so I will be.

Spring is coming;
and it holds no promise for me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Six Months.

I have dreaded this entry.
It has loomed on the horizon
like a wounded B-17;
ablaze and smoking,
retching it's way towards
a lush green airfield
in the English countryside,
after the night raids on Dresden.

I have dreaded this entry.
It is the touchstone
composed of broken glass,
rusty barbed wire,
and tears.

I have dreaded this entry.
It is the sad, tawdry cross
on the side of a long rural road.
It is the mile marker
of a lonely and unnecessary death.

I have dreaded this entry.

It is...

It is...

It is, and must be.

Six months.

It is the punch in the throat;
that leaves you gasping for breath,
and searching for voice.

It is the punch in the stomach;
that leaves you doubled over,
and dropped to bloodied knees.

It is the kick in the shin,
of sweethearts on the playground.

It is...

It has been...

Six months.

For six months
I have lived in exile.
For six months
I have tracked the rise and fall,
of the stars,
over the black water that keeps me from you.
For six months
I have sat quietly
on the edge of night,
planning my escape and return.

And now,
it seems that there is nothing
to escape from,
or return to.

I pondered bringing down
the big Oak out back.
If felled, would it reach
across the water?
Would it touch the other side?
Could I balance along it's trunk,
and unravel the maze of its branches;
and find my way across Old Road Bay,
to the shore,
and the lights,
that would guide me home?

I pondered bringing down
the big Oak out back.
It was not tall enough
to be a bridge.
But, could I deconstruct her?
Was there enough there,
to build a boat?
Or even a crude raft?
Could I be sure
that the pitch and rusty nails
at my disposal,
would carry me to safe harbor
onto the other side?

I pondered bringing down
the big Oak out back.
But no matter how hard
I wished it to be
a bridge,
or a boat,
it was just a tree.
A very old, quiet soul;
that stands on the edge
of the black water;
and keeps watch
of the rise and fall
of the stars
as they make their way
across a universe
of sad.

I am not one
to destroy beautiful things,
so that I may find my happiness.

I am not one
to erase history,
so that I might start again.

I am not one
who forgets and just moves on.
I am willing to let go,
but I will never forget.

I sit beneath the big Oak out back.
My telescope should be pointed to the stars,
I should be making notes and calculations.
it is pointed across Old Road Bay;
towards the glow of the city,
beyond the black water
that keeps me from you.

Instead of bringing the old Oak down,
I have embraced it's cause.
We stand vigil together.
We lean into the wind,
and dig deeper
into this tear soaked
patch of soil
that we now, and will,
call home.

One night,
when the winters cold edge has passed,
I will climb
the big old Oak out back.
From high in its embrace,
I will point my telescope
out across the black water,
towards the muted glow of the city
on the other side.

Maybe then,
I will be able to see,
just why you left me here.

I have dreaded this entry.
Six months.