Empty Bowl

Empty Bowls Graphic

 

In almost a religious ritual,

he castigates his niggling doubts

in a timid formality of failure.

Even now, as he folds his thoughts

neatly into another inaction,

a new desire falls softly to regret

like crumbs from a banquet table

scatter slowly across the floor.

 

Doubt and regret feed each other

a fetid feast lavished with fear.

He imagines a different world

free from this hunger, where he moves

forthrightly without pity, instead

of staring blankly at an empty bowl.

 

(March 14, 2018)

ill-suited

 

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little of what’s said

can pass without

interpretation—

to encompass within

a new language the old,

a translation unfolds

 

my metaphor of cloth,

my change of clothes,

my understandings,

like an old television,

flickering in the dark,

slips frames unfocused:

 

alone, I do not know

What’s left to put on

 

(February 26, 2018)

 

A Shawl

1200px-Tilt-A-Whirl_in_Saskatchewan

 

My world’s abraded,

Worn thin, roughly patched.

I’m often unsure what

I do; and, when I stand,

The ground bends and slides

Like a slow-motion

Tilt-a-Whirl

At a country fair.

 

To find a balance,

I write into the tatters,

To the frayed coherences,

Desperately spinning

New tales to old

As a balm against the cold.

 

(January 22, 2018)

 

 

Blood in the Mouth

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As if thrown into the sea,

I drown in myself. Adrift,

Worn from lack of sleep again,

I berate and taunt my past.

 

Each faux pas, each arrogant

Act, repeated and rehashed

Until each cringe inducing

Detail is nailed to my skin.

 

Time does not layer armor

Tightly enough to protect

Against the internal thrusts,

 

But rather sharpens the blade

To more precisely dissect

Each vein flowing from my heart.

 

(December 14, 2017)

until a fine paste

time and lost desire grind
with relentless imprecision
as the night’s flailings
attempt to toss off the day
muscles along my shoulder
blade cleave my neck
like a well-honed knife
through a lump of raw meat
hard and tight they bend me
like a crumpled can until
so misshapen and abused
I forget who I used to be
the pestle pounds a paste
in the mortar’s shallow bowl

(September 29, 2017)