Requiem for a Youth It is so- sad. It is- so sad. It- is so sad. To see him like that- like THAT. Behind the glass with the phone in his hands, a tired smile, a lot of lost weight making his orange suit baggy like the denim shorts that used to hang below his double X L shirts. His hair short like it was back in the day. Mirthless chuckles in place of his whooping laugh. He leans back in his chair like the day in class when he wouldn't listen, wouldn't leave for the office, when he used his ankle bracelet to get out of detention, and the gentle teacher mentioned a social worker a SOCIAL WORKER, what kind of kid has one of those? The same kid who could stop a lesson with a joke, the same kid who was so loved by so many, who ran into the cops so often but was polite each and every time. The very one who was sequestered in a little carousel in first grade because he was too funny, too rambunctious, too exuberant, too disruptive. The one who, after that stand off with the gentle teacher came back the next day and- apologized. Apologized. So humbled, so embarrassed, so well-meaning. Like he is now, inside the walls for pushing his envelope off the table with an armed burglary. Withheld from a society that loves him- kind of like in first grade. Six years is a long time to stop being a kid. It might be too long to start being a man.
Goodnight Moon Sometimes people stay up late when they should really lie down and sleep, extending their day into the nightwatch, lit by the weary glow of a lamp or the pallid wash of TV and computer screens. Ingesting an impulsive snack or sipping one too many, trading contacts for glasses in their comfy clothes. There are good reasons to be up of course, sometimes there isn't enough time in a day to complete a hard day's work. Maybe there's a game being played on the west coast, perhaps a friend is up for a particularly intriguing conversation, and for some the night might smolder in ecstasy. And there are some rotten reasons to be up so late too of course, whirling minds don't slow down for sleep, and lack of love or food can rest heavy on the mind and stomach, sometimes a loved one can't (or won't) find sleep themselves. But sometimes people stay up aimlessly when they should really lie down and sleep. The rest and rejuvenation will be welcome the next day, and besides, not much is getting accomplished. It's the heavy-eyed rerun of SportsCenter, the numbing scroll through Facebook, the excessive Netflix episode, the aimless wall-staring, the lonely porn-watching, the just-one-more video gaming, and the "hey-are-you-still-up?" texts that really gets people. Nonsense, really, in comparison to a healthy sleep cycle. It's cowardly, I hate to say, when people stay up when they should really lie down and sleep. Choosing to be a specter in this lame-duck end of day, Playing out a dull loop while the world's on pause. Healthy alone time for unwinding? Maybe sometimes sure. Cowardly? Yes often I think so. To wallow in a poorly-lit after-hours cubicle in order to hold off meeting tomorrow. Grasping at a few more hours of being over today's problems so as to delay facing tomorrow's, as if the Lord won't give a new set of mercies or all gumption will dissolve in the midst of dreams. Resting easy in the manageable ache of today for a few hours more just to avoid the re-injury with the sun's rising. I've been there, I've done that. And right now I should really lie down and sleep, but I just had to tell you. And tomorrows are so scary- I, like you, can be such a coward. And I thought if I tried to unwind I might really just unravel. Good night. I wish you luck on tomorrow.
this is a poem that fell out of my brain As my head leaned over a new creation, heavy with watercolors of thought pooling in the palette, my neck creaking and aching, the idea spilled out, quite unceremoniously, and splashed onto the table of books and paper and pens and Chinese Black Tea. It congealed into a turbulent little mess - streamers of vibrant indigo bursts of orchid dusty pastels of celadon, all choked out by a creeping darkness, not black, not gray, but dark - a murky opaqueness, giving this thought on the table an uneasy and unintelligible form. I didn't know what to do with the thing, and wasn't quite sure of where it came from. I tilted my head, now massively empty, and squinted bleary-eyed through my specs. "What I am supposed to do with you?" "Oh please!" it said, to my great shock. "Tell this story! It was so loud in there and I thought you'd never hear me. I thought you'd keep your defenses up so well that I'd be trapped in the scrum waiting behind a long line of decent refined and presentable items forever!" "You're a mess" I said, "I can't hardly shape you into coherency. What will everyone else think? How will you make them feel? How will you reflect on me? You belong to me, you know, no one else needs this, it's better if you just simmer." "No! Unthinkable! Irreversible! Unsilenceable! Irrepressible! I am you authentic and real and necessary real talk fiercely honest no-nonsense battering on the ears of the deaf shouts for the dumb blazing light for the blind and a middle finger for those who don't listen to me don't put me back!" "There there" I said as I picked it up in my hand. It was heavy. "Maybe some day. When they're all ready. When I'm ready." It left a mark on the paper, a scattering of words and phrases, a fresh dark deep ink bleeding through the pages below. "Fine" it said. "I'll find a way back in." It melted into a pool of dark water, flowing out of the palm of my hand and splashing onto the paper, blurring the emblazoned words. I turned on the news. A sexy woman was talking about whatever. The crawl said something about dead black people in Africa and Carolina as the ink and tears dried.
Siegfried That is not it, she said, that is not what I meant at all. Might I step back then? he said, Behind the line that I just crossed? The invisible barrier we both knew was there but chose to see through - it couldn't hold me forever and I finally dared to step forward to lay at your feet on the threshing floor. May we return, you and I, to the days when I would glean from flaxen fields of grain until the end of day beneath vermilion dusk? No, the gate has closed behind you, she said, and all has changed going forward, behind you is a blurry mess, and here is searing clarity. This is where I'm supposed to be, you run along. No! he said, I didn't know I'd make it so far, I don't know how to go on! Arrival was the battle, how unjust that I should take the field just to make my grave here. I cannot bear the shame, my armor cannot hide me and my sword is dulled. Poor man, I say, who won't meet tomorrow like he received today. How wasteful, how profane. Slaying a wyrm to become a worm all the same.