Mica

Toenails brittle,
jagged sheets of mica

Skin picked at, flaking,
valleys of cracked mud

Hair falling, lacking luster,
crisp October leaves

Everything disease, teeth
abscessed rotting trees

Everything’s shed
Everything’s dead
Letting go
On its way out
Not long for this space

Just a bundle
of brilliance
on a constant crash
course
of forward motion
Demented momentum
always
Looking back

Not meant for this place;
everything is crumbs

Rapid I

R.E.M.
Remember me
for something
beyond
flitting lids

Shave my
Beard
Shed my
Skin
Does that make me
better person ?

I am
Forgetting who
I am
One cell
at
a time

My beating heart
I have
a soft spot
in my
Bleeding heart
For her
drying tears
Her rosy cheeks

The bad things
we do
to own
the truth

Rapid I move

Remember me
Forgetting
fortunes

floating

in
my
eyes

Firehole River

Not Old Faithful.
not Mammoth Hot Springs.
not the Grand Prismatic.
not the campfire,
or the mosquito bites,
or debating buying bear spray.
not the 1,300 miles.
not my wife on crutches
from a bad ankle sprain.
not me complaining,
stomach ache.
the thing I will remember most
about our family trip
to Yellowstone
is pulling my son out of
Firehole River
when the current tried to take him.
when he said he wasn’t strong enough.
when he started to go under.
me, jumping in,
clothes & shoes & phone & all.
me, carrying him out,
blanketing him with
too-colorful beach towel.
him, thanking me.
me telling him,
of course,
I would never let you drown.

how could I ever let you drown.

True Story

To break the monotony
after dinner
we decide to walk
3.5 miles, round trip
to the natural grocers
instead of drive
for some supplements
some alternative meds
a hundred dollars?!
Jesus Christ
that’s a lot for some
goddamn vitamins
but I know I really
should not be surprised

we have our walk
and we have some fun
& I take some pictures
we walk to the mailbox
to mail some shit
and by now
it’s 9:30
well past the children’s
bedtime

then all of a sudden
we find ourselves
on the lawn of the
Seventh-Day
Adventist Church
watching fireworks
drinking beers

and then we walk on
then the sprinklers come on

and we walk back home in the shadows

we pass by two Jehovah’s
Witnesses on their bikes
friendly as ever, even in the darkness

and I carry my 7-year-old boy
the rest of the way
on my chest like a monkey
and part of the way
on my shoulders
like I don’t know what

and we make it home safe
and we all sleep like babies

Life can be unexpected like that
if you let it

Uninvited Phoenix

I wrote down all my fears
one by one
on a ruled sheet of paper
a detailed list
with bullet points
underlines
& graphs & even
a fuckin bar chart

I left nothing off

I folded up that paper
closed my eyes and
thought deep thoughts
and placed it in a fire
in a backyard chiminea
feeling the heat on my fingertips
I watched my fears burn up
every single one
I breathed the smoke
and coughed

but like a goddamn
uninvited phoenix
those fears came
rising up
creeping back
into my life
into my mind
I cannot push aside
these dark thoughts

what am I to do

I guess I’ll find more ink
a bigger sheet
and start a bigger fire
burn it higher
brighter
hotter than desire
I’ll gather up the ashes
& burn those fuckers twice
if that don’t work
I’ll burn everything
until nothing’s left
not even a single
ember ash or
smoldering

unwanted mass of beak & feathers
this disfigured bird
will not be born again