Somewhere in a message to your closest friend -
You enclosed a small fee to be paid at earliest convenience.
And you took her penknife -
Whittled a wriggly initial along the soap scum tree,
Turned one-hundred-and-eighty degrees,
And stared blankly at a bloody sunset
Pouring like an egg yolk out of a white cirrus shell.
Little bits of half formed chick still gestating in regrettable bywords.
I’ve stopped by the brook to lick my wounds.
You’ve awoken in a bunkhouse to the sound of unfamiliar snoring.
I can see small angels over every star tonight.
Yet in an instant I’m waking up soaking wet to a pale-half-lit-sky.
Pat was as good a grandmother as she could be,
In her episcopal bathrobe -
Honoring cocktail hour like the daily office.
Given that she was a substitution.
Not a substitution like paying 50 cents extra for oat milk,
Nor a substitution like an amusing older gentleman playing a bill NYE video for you - in lieu of another earth science lecture
From the teacher who saw you begging for attention in the hallway.
The one who didn’t give you what you really needed,
A further push in the wrong direction.
More like when the waitress asks: “is Pepsi ok?”
“I can offer you $50 in store credit or $18 cash”.
I hope my long obedience has been in the right direction.
But as far as mindfulness is concerned,
The overgrown SCOBY in my kitchen,
Who has produced only 2 batches of kombucha over these 8 months,
Might say otherwise.
There’s something intimate about being irritated with each other
To stare across the groggy seven am table
And just seethe
The way that only unconditional love allows for
I would enthusiastically take a bullet to the femur for you
But I cannot tolerate your tone of voice right now
As we make this tofu together
It was an evening of cheap wine
And expensive cheese
Evidence of well aligned priorities
I asked whether you wanted the havarti or the brie with honey
You said ‘the second one’
That didn’t inspire confidence
I am not always sure I know what you want
Or how you feel
I’m not sure you really know either
But I want to know how all the charcuterie is sitting
Even before you’re sure it’s really settled
Being inside out is scary
All of my internal organs are there for you to poke around in
And enjoy on a plain water cracker with a fig spread
The only thing worse than doing this would be not doing this.
As I peeled my face mask off I wondered whether I had needed any of this ‘self-care’ at all,
or whether I should have dug deeper into what I thought I needed a respite from.
Maybe it’s the way the space between the topmost windows and the roof
is just a little too big
Whatever it is
Peyton Manning’s arcadian face is looking down on me
Reminding me of days in middle school
Where all the boys would play football on the one strip of green grass behind the lunchroom
Wearing their matching socks that my mom couldn’t believe were so expensive
Among other things she was letting me know she couldn’t believe as we talked over the headrest in the minivan
She didn’t dare speculate about the socks, but she did speculate that homosexuality was maybe just an especially powerful strain of narcissism
It’s a great time to be alive
I can think of very few times when it isn’t
Every year the memory of world war 2 slips a little deeper below the surface of the lake,
Next to which a christian summer camp struggles to help its counselors sort out what they read in the Bible
And what they heard on channel 8,
And becomes softer.
Losing its sharp edges — its agonized clarity
The altered genes of holocaust survivor offspring are steadily becoming soluble
Like a powdered-grape-sports-beverage whose proportions air heavily on the water side
Or perhaps the tightly packed essences unfurl in the waters like absinthe
Revealing more than we knew was there
Either way the once calloused hands are now eligible to model hemp-based organic hand lotions
White 25 years olds talk about their “kinda messed up childhoods”
Upon which the terms “abuse” and “toxic” are applied like a hemorrhoid cream
And somewhere near Chattanooga Tennessee a mother breastfeeds her 8 year old child
I met my father in the desert
I asked Him to count to ten
No moment is not one
7 is not seven,
It is one
A seventh time
The non-conformist in me
Hates the fact that the Coca-Cola that you can buy in New York City tastes exactly like the Coca-Cola that I just bought in Hannibal Missouri.
But then there’s part of me
That loves the fact that trident gum will always taste the same way it tasted when I chewed it at my grandmas house.
I love that a parliament cigarette
Will always taste like I received it
Stolen by my childhood best friend from his grandmother.
I guess there are a few benefits to living in the post-industrial-late-stage-capitalist-eco-consumer-glamping-pre-rapture-pre-climate-disaster-hyperpop era after all.