Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Book of the Dead

In my dream
the crocodile ate my heart,
right off the giant scale,
just like the Egyptians said he would.
I watched his scissor teeth,
jagged and miniature, thousands of them
slice through the meat of me,
his mouth filled with my blood.
He ate my heart and inside me, now
a beetle, it’s twitchy feathered limbs tickling my skin.

This was the bitter end.
The feather, the scale,
this was not going to hell,
in the Book of the Dead,
this was the vanishing.
No redemption, only the horror
of ceasing to be.

But this was all symbolic
as the Egyptians knew
and you know
and I know and I woke
with the steady thrumming in my chest,

and the knowledge of this:

Your life is happening again,
You shall emerge each day
and return each evening,
the sunlight on your chest
and later,
a lamp lit at night for your guide.
You will be told,
Welcome, welcome
to the house of the living.

Friday, April 15, 2011


-they say young is good and old is fine and truth is cool
but all that matters is you have your good times.

-Seth Avett

I was shown a photograph recently
of myself when I was younger,

and you were in it too,
and I was shocked at first

seeing the vacant look in my eyes,
the slack mouth, the cigarette dangling between my fingers.

Who is that girl?

How could it be that we stood at that
place and said those things
and been those people?

But then I remembered that
was when I was young.
And being young is different,
Things moved quicker
with a death-defying ease,
when you could run full tilt
straight off a rooftop
and land on the ground
one step,
two steps,
and shrug and walk away.

Now, older,
I am just thankful
for all the things I can’t remember
that I might have done,
or said,
or been,
back then,
all the things I’m not doing
or saying or being now
and I remind myself
while I tie my shoes and head outside
to not look at photographs anymore.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Summer Lake, Late Nineties

-for Maureen

It was not the trees or the light
or the sound of the leaves underfoot.

It was not the lake
or the moon or the joints we had smoked.

It was not the child’s swing set
or the giggle of girls when their bras were undone.

It was not the sound of sex
the hush and need of desperate release.

It was the simple conversation we had
of all the things we were going to do
and be before we even were anything.
It was the slow creak of the swings,
the hushed voice
or the occasional braying cackle
that split the night and betrayed our hiding spot
that let me know,
in a way you usually don’t ever get to know
that we were there,
in that moment,
and we were young
so very very young
even though we pretended we were old
so young that we could still hear the
steady thrumming of our hearts,
the shiver of bones that stretched
in skin tightened by the lake.
so horribly breakable young
that some of us will stay that way,
Too young to really realize that
this time was mercifully
not going to last.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Last night we watched baseball,
after dinner,
a drink in our hands,
our mouths tired now,
from all the talking,
our minds tired now,
our souls, quiet, for now.

The grass on television looks ultra green
and the white of the uniforms
snap like clean laundry.
This is spring coming,
I tell myself, watching the fan on the floor whirl.

The window is open,
and the faint trace of smoke
and the slow steps of the old man
making his way up the street,
tell me again, this is spring.

There is a homerun and we cheer.
We talk about going to see some games this summer,
about maybe my old father and my old mother coming too.
We talk about Coney Island,
and you squeeze my hand as if to say,
yes we have survived this long winter.
Yes it is spring.

And I watch you watch the game
and think about how it is almost your birthday
and I’m so glad we had this year together.

One more year together.

And I turn back to the game and watch the pitcher
hurl the perfect final pitch
and paint the black like Picasso.