The Shipwreck Survivors

 I ran aground on someone jagged
who tore my insides out.
With no lighthouse warning,
left listless and wanting
in the middle of the sea.

Do I dare to drink from the ocean
or let the thirst and isolation
consume me?

In the distance I see you,
neither savior nor life-boat
for you are equally, damaged.

barely.
afloat.

Between your battered masts
and my seeping hull.
The ocean rages
to drown us both.

We’re in-congruent shapes;
two ships adrift,
but if you lean in
and I lean against you
we won’t sink.

So man the oars and mind your words:
and promise you won’t fall in love or lie.
But if you must,
do the first and deny the last.
Because the reverse
is sure to kill a boy
where he stands.

Bump it with:

I think I broke the Universe

At first I was scared I broke the universe.  The world around me had suddenly and magically aligned where all of a sudden I was getting absolutely everything I wanted.  I’d see a pretty girl in an aisle at a store and I’d chat her up, and five minutes later I’d have her phone number.  I’d go out to a bar and trade 90’s Karaoke songs with the smokey eyed girl in the corner, and somehow end up leaving with her.  That childhood friend I grew up racing matchbox cars up the church pews, somehow she wants to play a whole different kind of game.

Something about being so damaged had made me completely fearless.  I had already seen the absolute worst a relationship could do to me, I was now impervious to the sting of rejection and completely fueled by the fear of being alone.  In normal people it works the opposite, building upon a foundation of confidence begets more confidence.  But for me it only manifested once I was at a critically low level of self-esteem.  Like a mother lifting a two-ton truck off of her infant child, my brain and mouth had somehow surged with courage that my body or my heart did not have the capacity or the ability to wield during my taken life.

Most people wake up with a hangover and a severe sense of buyers remorse.  I woke up high-fiving the drunken me from the night for whatever I said and did, marveling at how I was punching waaaay above my league, and somehow nobody else had taken notice but me.

And then I started to get scared that it wasn’t the universe that was broken but me.  Maybe I died and this was my slow segue into heaven (or much more likely, hell).  Maybe I’d somehow slipped into a coma and this was just my mind’s way of keeping itself busy while the rest of me rotted away.  or maybe, just maybe I was developing mutant powers.  I had always wished for mind control powers as a kid, (well initially I wanted claws like wolverine) but I always thought if I concentrated my brain enough (I did this to the point of giving myself earaches, because I think my idea of “concentration” was just flexing my inner ear muscle really hard) I could bend people to my will.  Maybe this was my powers manifesting 20 years later in some weird sort of payoff for doing dumb brain-exercises as an eight year old.  Because it wasn’t just bar floozies, it was girls I had dreamed of dating in high school, wanting to discuss art projects over hot water poured through ground beans, or crepes and running in the morning, and god I hate running but I’m going to do my best to keep up because your smile seems brighter than the sun.

And suddenly, so many doors had opened up I would have to start sprinting just to get through them all.  So I was running all the time.  And then girls saw me running and said, “hey this guy is going places” so they started keeping pace too.  And I started talking about what I was doing, and where I wanted to go– and people followed.  And suddenly, I wasn’t alone.

And so, I think I broke the Universe.

Because I’m actually.

Oddly.

Kind of happy.

Bump it with:

Letters to my Future Wife: The things that cross my mind at 2am

I hope, your life is full of friends and laughter.  I hope there’s someone beside you who can make you smile.  And if someone’s in your bed, I hope he’s a tiny gentleman– because I’ve been, less than.  I seem to be awash in a sea of in-congruent shapes, each one more obtuse and mismatched than the last as they dance across my feet and press themselves against my breast.   I find myself disappearing halfway through conversations of first impressions, daydreaming through coffee and pleasantries, and losing interest over half-empty bar glasses.

I keep my eyes open and my heart racing just in case, this practice of patience has got me tripping in my laces before I even start.  Honestly I can’t take this waiting.  I’m ready to be a stooped old man holding your hand as we argue about cabbages or the ages of our grandchildren.  I’m ready to buy lamps, and dishware, and put down roots.  I’m ready for you.  

But in truth, I’m not ready for anything.  I’m a boxer who’s just finished nine rounds of someone else’s fight.  Seven and two and it’s a wonder I’m still standing, with not a single blow landing but the self destruction percussion of my heart.  And I want you to be neither resting stool, nor bed for mending.  No you deserve me in the morning when I’m first waking, not when I’m returning breaking from a beating and still mourning in the shaking wake of my mistakes.  You deserve the very best, but he’s not here right now and if you could leave a message, or a voice mail or a text, and he’ll be right around the corner, once the coroner declares him dead.  

I saw him in the mirror just the other day.  He smiled and made a face as if to say, eventually these wounds heal.  Eventually we rest our head in a place called home.  But for now, I walk alone.  

Because beginnings matter,
if it’s a proper ending we’re after.

And I am.

So until then.  

Bump it with:

The Orange Dress: Rules of Engagement

The Geneva Convention outlines certain rules for warfare.  The most well known rules protect women, children civilians, and non-combatants.  Medics and religious persons, such as priests or pastors  regardless of which army they are serving, are also protected.  Prisoners of war are to be fed and treated respectfully, and returned to their respective countries once the conflicts are over.

“Dum-dum” or expanding hollow point rounds are banned, because the damage they inflict on human flesh is too difficult for medics and surgeons to treat.  Imagine a corn kernel super-heating and bursting inside of a steak at three-thousand feet per second, and instead of soft fluffy popcorn it’s hot molten lead bouncing around, ricocheting and turning every piece of flesh into shredded dog meat.

Really think about that for a moment: there exists a bullet too lethal for war, and people on both sides of the war have agreed not to use it.  If people can honor rules of war, why not rules of love?

We had rules for our relationship.  Rules in place for when the fighting got ugly and muddy in the trenches.    Rules for when emotion overtook logic, or planning, or history, or love.  They were simple rules:

– Don’t sleep with other people.
– Don’t say it’s over, unless it’s truly over.
– Don’t ignore phone calls.
– Don’t block social media.
– Respond, answer and acknowledge.

and there was one rule specifically for me:

– Don’t write about us.

She never wanted to air our dirty laundry.  But there is no “our” dirty laundry anymore.  There is just my dirty laundry, and her dirty laundry, and both are being washed quite separately now in different washing machines.  Mine still carries the wounded stink upon it of dried blood and unanswered questions.  And it’s with that constant musky shameful smell in my nose I realize I am holding on to a bygone time, and a set of rules that only one of us are abiding by.  The only way to get clean at this point, are harsh chemicals or sunshine.

…and I choose the sunshine.

Relics

The great thing about talking to people from your past, they remember who you are.  Their memory is never perfect, nor is it fully intact.  Instead it’s snippets and fragments of who you were.  I reunited with one of my best friends from high school, and he carried with him more than just memories:

 

That’s me at nineteen.  We were making music in our teens, unmotivated by anything else but ambition and ourselves.  If I could do this, then, imagine what I am capable of now.

This was recorded during first major heartbreak as a teenager.  I wrote an entire songbook full of lyrics over that girl.  This is not my first heartbreak, nor will it be my last.  In fact, I tend to produce my best work in the wake of heartache.  I’m on the verge of something great.  I can feel it.