So Grandpa’s a Writer

May 7, 2012

To write is to let things pass slower than they happened, to toss negative space from memory and arrange leftover fragments. Summer sand; yellow pails; cold moats. Numbing bass; glasses kicked from the table; soft graze of cherry chapstick. High balcony; her grip uncurls; the smell of my own fingernails.

It seems to me that writing imitates life in that we are at first all things and through the art of forgetting, not remembering, do we chisel the pyramids of ourselves.


May 4, 2012

If there is a God, he must be wearing black.

Blood matted in young, blonde hair twists into this old mind like rings into tree trunks, hard rivers that stretch wider with age. Green shoots were breaking the snow, I remember, and daylight refracted off the pond’s mulchy glass. The children couldn’t help themselves, sledding on their stomachs, pulling imaginary triggers at each other before the first landmine screamed in my ears. Things rolled to my feet.

If there is a God, he’s on his knees.

Toward High Noon

May 1, 2012

Egg yolk spilled across the sky three minutes earlier this morning, pooling over metallic blue in patches. As I trudge forward, sand screws up to my knees during long gusts to remind me that even in the desert I am not alone in waking. This is not a spiritual quest; this is not a nightmare, for that implies brevity. This is a purposeful challenge to that slobbering, scrap-iron pig, Death.

Wilted cacti already duplicate in periphery and my hands tremble over my pack’s straps. I will not spend energy thinking on this. I may survive. And I may die. But this fight is going to end with cold fists meeting dry metal.


March 8, 2011

*Per request, here’s an old spoken word poem that I have never gotten around to performing.  Enjoy :).*


Today, I can feel the distance between raindrops.
I can hear the science class rabble now. About how
if an atom were a stadium,
a proton would be the size of a pea and an electron would be
a grain of sand flitting around in the welfare seats.

Or how if Helium
were the size of the Earth,
the nucleus would be an apple
and electrons like clouds contracting before birth
and now,

I see raindrops as flecks of matter
humming with so much space in between that it’s hard to say
they exist at all, like pearls in an ocean or gold in a stream.

My hand reaches out, stretching
across atomic football fields, universes,
to grab yours, this rare collection of nothing,
and like a phantom I watch the sky as it spins wet
needles past your eyes.

I stare at you
while your skin oscillates with energy
vibrating so slowly it can be seen by the naked eye,
with particles coiling around strings of nuclei like light, buoyed
in your beautiful nothingness,
the antithesis of night.

I’m like a valence electron trying to jump
one shell closer by holding your hand, and
before I leave for distant lands, I want to tell you that you
are the stuff of stars, the electricity
that surges through wires; you—
are the undeniable touch of God.

And like two electrons dragged apart by miles,
we will change together in inexplicable coordination,
so when you pick up the phone you’ll hear my smile.

And there will be an invisible cord strung between us and it will have no form, no rhyme at all, nothing but fibers woven by an honest intent.

The Vagrant Sphinx OR The Glass Floor-Ceilings of the Lower Class

December 9, 2010

It was a late night in downtown Seattle and, staggering alone toward a familiar bus stop on 1st & Union, I cursed the rain. Half-jokingly, I shook my fist in the air, mumbling about my petty problems. Then, a strong hand grabbed my arm and whipped me around. In the space between pounding heartbeats, a disheveled old man howled in my face like a bleeding animal, his graying stubble standing on end like whiskers. I ripped my wet sleeve free from his grip, but he had already snatched fistfuls of wool around my zipper, jerking my ruddy face close enough to feel a sobering bog seeping past his lips. “It’s still a jungle, pretty boy,” he wheezed and immediately let me go.

From then until the bus stop, I only remember how slippery the concrete felt under my feet and the unnatural colors from traffic lights that spilled across the roads like neon paint as I darted across them. The whole ride home, I thought about what the old man meant. I think about it even now from time to time, and every time I come close to understanding, I’m ambushed by a sudden feeling of solitude and self-pity, like I’m putting on a suit to join a parade of dolls.

Into Your Own

November 7, 2010

(performed at “The Show 2010: The Art of the Duo” in conjunction with Marcus Petitt original song, “Into Your Own”)

Though I am only a seed
buried warm in the ground,
the King of Tiny Stages,
my roots run deep and six feet around
through this green, cemented city.
And the day I crack —
the day I crack through
the humming, Seattle soil,
you will hear the sound
of my roots anxiously star-bound,
my honest, sonorific “Ohm…”
as I finally come into my own.