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Conspiracy Theory

the near side
i am my mother’s son
she calls for
she calls at
what was easy
now at rest and not at peace
she reveals conspiracies that i know not of
in which i am intimately involved
i am becoming an unwilling warrior
idle of body feverish of mind

please spin

far side near
choice subjected to inertia
inertia becomes the boy
the boy
the man


and     what          you               might                                                      be

the sea of pink liquid in your belly swallows

are you allowed to be loved

are you sure

you’ve been in here a long time now

you never tried the door

it has never been locked

beauty opens
open vomits
vomit mutes

quickly now
speak your truth
before it drowns in its own momentum
separate it from your fiction
write yourself a new one

i                                                                                                           you

a tiny death

This spine cracks

revealing more bone
exposing a half pound of faulty rhythm

These shoulders roll forward and back

trying to relieve the compressed capillaries
crushing cartilage

This sternum plunges into the cavity of this stomach

strings and percussion
antagonistic notes

Flesh tears away from your third dimension

making room

and the compass needle spasms for a north

the ecstasy burns
the ecstasy burns

your eyes moisten to douse the flames

you are allowed

They unfurl
…shredding your heavily fortified corpse
…reminding your heart what it’s for
…breaking away
…inviting life

The viscous joints unhinge and drip
Sleepy sinews stretch and whine
Oddity retakes your ground bound eye

lifting it skyward
and the clouds design angels
to join the descent


the universe

at once

Each divide

a new birth

feel the shiny feathers preen     peel
and fill the creaking void
wisp the air
shudder themselves alive

These plumed appendages are not yours to direct
They do not direct you

Lifted soft by air
Sprung into the question
Draining the emptiness
Ringing the moon
Responsive only to love
Defiant of gravity
Shrinking from intention

Tips of toes tickle the ground
Your flight         must fail
All the rest is frenzy


rapping on my forehead
it’s beginning to leave a bruise
who knows

and soon perhaps it’ll benumb the knocking
which wants to get in
sit in the burger joint
say fuck it as i rise to lead the beggary
the poor
the hungry
who knows

holding out an outstretched hand
come take it last
so i hobble forth on these cracked and truest wings
hearing fingernails almost click against the glass
the fingers beckoning
and the rest
who knows

Wanted: Enthusiasm

Today I applied for a job as a cheesemaker’s assistant in the making of artisan goat cheeses. I was very up front in my cover letter that nothing in my previous work experience has prepared me for this type of position. However, along with my generally high competencies, I highlighted aspects of my enthusiasm for cheese. For example, my favorite dessert these days is a selection of three cheeses complemented by fruit and nuts. I own a book about cheese (I do still need to read it, but I have stared it). I directed a play about an old man who loves cheese so much that he neglects his family. I would rather make cheese for a living over the much more popular making of wine. I even talk frequently these days about starting a cheesemaking operation. This work is probably in my blood, since my mother grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm. Finally, I get along well with farm animals, and especially with goats.

Still and all, I don’t have direct experience making cheese. For a while after learning about the opening, I tried set it aside and out of my head as a completely impractical option. The paper with the job description sat on my desk waiting to be recycled. But the possibility kept tempting me, especially in light of all my recent talk about making cheese and starting a cheese farm. And then, just before I pulled up a blank document and composed my cover letter, a realization struck me: life decisions motivated primarily by pragmatism have rarely made me happy. The most fulfilling consequences have resulted from impulse and instinct. Here are some things in life that I would never have attempted if practicality had dictated the terms:

  • starting a theatre company
  • going to graduate school
  • reading self-composed poetry to a girl outside her window
  • getting on stage
  • dating my amazing girlfriend
  • traveling through Australia in a beat-up van
  • meeting one of my best friends

These are just the major ones. There are dozens of beautifully quixotic minor actions for each one listed here. Most of them proved that reward is worth the risk many times over. All furnished invaluable experience at the very least; memories that stick in your bones rather than money that hides in your pocketbook. And yet remembering to let bliss move us is difficult with each new and unfamiliar scenario. I’m pleased that I applied to be a cheesemaker’s helper today. Hopefully I’ll be working with the goats soon.

Belabored Breath

A train screams out there somewhere, through the single-pane window. A tree seems to threaten the south side of the building. It effortlessly towers above a stucco and tile structure that required extensive effort when it was built in 1928 (some argue 1930). It’s 10:00pm and still not entirely dark yet. It will be, and in the morning, just about seven hours from now, it will be light in this curtain-less room. I taste dust. The ceiling is shedding its gradual revenge, covering its tracks by planting powdery seeds of respiratory destruction that will inflame the heaving hovel much later, when this night has been erased from memory.

Knock Carefully

Today, a co-worker of mine made a dire premonition regarding the state of the economy. A second later she raised her eyebrows in fright, as if realizing that the very mention of disaster might open up a passage for it to materialize in reality. Then she immediately leaned forward and knocked rapidly three times on the orange slate coffee table in front of her. Satisfied that this action neutered the curse’s potential, she leaned back in her chair and resumed her attentiveness to the discussion.

By my completely unscientific estimate, at least 72% of people who intend to knock on wood don’t actually take the time to find wood to knock on. They simple rap on the nearest solid object and call it good. This is particularly true when the circumstance arises in a car. Faux wood panelling doesn’t count. I’m pretty sure that the determining entities have been doing this long enough to know the difference. If in fact bad things, once uttered, can truly only be held at bay by knocking on wood, I must conclude that we are all doomed. The good news is that the lazy people will probably be wiped out first.