Knife in My Ribs

I’m feeling pressure,
I’m feeling knife tip
between my ribs

feeling like my
heart & lungs
are too big for my chest

or maybe my cage is getting smaller

it didn’t use to be this way;
things were so much simpler.
where did I go wrong?

I take deeper breaths now.
I go for walks
& meditate, but

mostly I just think
about what was
& what will be

and wonder what it is I should be learning from all this

tension;
stress;
anxiety.

my cage, it’s getting smaller.
what put the fear inside of me?

I want to change the way I think & speak.

I want to know
how to let go
& accept this pain

when it insists on staying.

N.L.W.

It’s been six days since you left.
I don’t know what you were going through;
I hadn’t seen you in years.
I mostly remember playing Nintendo
in the basement of your folks’ house
on Deframe,
watching movies together
or playing in your neighborhood.

That was more than 20 years ago.
Our parents, the best of friends
for much longer than that.

I do know you were loved,
and will be missed immensely.
There is a hole now in many hearts
that can never be filled in.
I don’t know what other words to write,
other than:
Rest in peace, old friend,
may you find a better place.

In memory of N.L.W.
April 20, 1979-April 21, 2013

Fishnets

I wonder
what that
little goth boy
would think of me now

pale-faced
beanpole
black corduroys
fishnets
nails painted black

a teenaged me
sucking cigarettes

what would he think
of an aging Trent Reznor?
Arcade Fire?
new Skinny Puppy?

meh, who cares

I’m over 30 now
and already thinking
goddamn kids these days
have no good taste

Low Blood Sugar

12th & Dahlia,
Lindsley Park.
sunbathing.
basking in God’s glories.
for He has many names,
& many faces.
manifests Herself in
strangest damn places.

like this bottle of orange juice
I so thoughtfully
tucked into my backpack.

natural,
sugary sustenance
nursing me back
to some version of normal.
diminishing my
disorientation.

I am not ready.

living with this disease
but at least
I am still living.

I am not ready to give up.

About Last Night…

Lying next to you
as we drift into
a gentle kind of blue

***

Falling asleep
with the lights on;
afraid of the day’s ghosts

***

Most moments
offer pain;
forgetting days without

***

This cat knows no pain
only the comfort
of sitting on my wife’s head
gently kneading her hair
which smells of fresh conditioner,
tropical coconut

***

Sleep will carry us away
to subconscious formal wear
sitting across from you
in a dinner party dream
digesting today’s gone guests

***

And I will end
this poem
with my first waking thought

***

I say I love you twice
at bedtime
because I may not be here
to say it when I wake.

Around Every Corner

We live in a place
unsafe
growing more afraid
to face

I don’t want to go outside
today
elsewhere, others locked down
they don’t have a say

I am watching my steps
and the steps
of my children
so that we may not walk into fear

death lurks
but if all I do is spend my time
looking for the corners,
I won’t see convergence

it’s hard
it gets harder

I’m praying my eyes are blurry, that the beacon is not gone