Captain of the Ship

I am the captain of a sinking ship.

An old and dated vessel that ran aground some time ago.  Bound seaward with the rolling foam, with patchwork sails and scaly sides.   And my men, they sit where I tell them: in rows side by side oars at the ready to fight the tide.  And the waves crash repeatedly.  Those in the back near the rudder, go under.  Those in front stay scarcely above with coughing salty sputtering lungs.  And they all look up at me expectantly, wondering why I seated each one accordingly.  The measure of each man by the filling of his lungs.    

 Some go under in the boiling foam never to resurface.  Some make a panicked swim for a shore.   Some simply  drown into watery obedient nothingness, punished by their captain’s choices.  

I am the captain of a sinking ship.  But I’m the only un-drownable man on board.

We Don’t Ask Where Darren Is

We don’t ask where Darren is.  

He was the bravest and strongest of us as kids.  When we played ninja turtles swinging from the playgrounds he was always Leonardo, the fearless leader.  Each day he’d arrive like a snap of lightning, smiling and ready to play with great discoveries to share, our Moses from the mountain.  From magic cards played on sleeping bag forts at drive-in movies, to hair gel and combs that look like switchblades, which were perhaps the coolest thing an eight year old kid could own.  He let the charge for our roller blade formation zipping through the old neighborhood, and was always there to lift us from our scraped knees and bruised chins.  He was the first to stick his marshmallow in the campfire, but always made sure the sticky fingered little ones had gotten their fill.   

We don’t ask where Darren is.

Ever since his wedding day we watched him parade down the aisle with his white clad bride waiting at the end, never knowing that this was perhaps the last we’d see of him.  Because in the stories we heard as children, it’s dragons and foul beasts that steal fair maidens– not maidens stealing knights with silk scarves and swollen abdomens.  Especially not the bravest and strongest amongst us men, disappearing from the table at birthdays, and anniversaries without so much as a fight.   

We don’t ask where Darren is.  Because we know… his bride stole him away.  

Fear of the Future

I used to be terrified of dying alone.    But now, I have fears of extinguishing hope.

I’m afraid of tracking dirt across your life.  Because I’ve been places and done things and had the indecency to write a lot of it down.  And for the longest time I was proud of this growing ledger of clever anecdotes and stories and jokes to tell my friends over drinks… but upon meeting you, I wish I had an eraser rather than a history.  I wish I had a blank page empire, rather this long and harrowing tapestry.  But if every black eye and bad choice was what it took to end up with someone as great as you, then I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’m afraid of your parents, and the heavy silhouette they’ve imagined for your Happily Ever After.  From your first baby steps, to your satin graduation caps they’ve been imagining a man deserving of every moment of your glowing laughter.  And when they meet me I’m scared I’ll never measure’ to everything they’ve had in mind.  But I’m determined to show them just who I am, and exactly what my intentions are for you.  Which is to make you happy as frequently and as deeply as I can for as long as I can.  And to buy you cats.  And hello kitty things.  And possibly one day in the future, a genetically engineered hello kitty cat.


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I’ve resigned myself to dying alone.  I realize that you, My Future Wife may just be just some idea I’ve imagined in my head… a flickering shadow I’ve pursued through this vast and winding maze until I’ve been’ inexorably lost.  With neither breadcrumbs nor chalk-marks to find my way back, there is no direction but one foot ahead the last.  

What, ho?  There is such a long way to – go.    

And this long walk is penance for a lifetime of broken hearts and battered doors’ from rapacious knuckles and hasty steps across scuffed floors.  My hard heels clicking on the cobblestones with my collar pulled high, past all the healthy hearth-lit homes with candlelight’ dancing in windows– places where I could’ve been.  

It’s not the chill that kills me, it’s not knowing whether the weather is ever going to change.  Wondering, if I’ll ever get out of this rain.  

What, ho?  There is such a long way to – go.

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The Den of Villains

The den of villains would hang me for this mutiny.  They’d take my skull and bones and cast them into the sea.  And the bourgeoisie would turn up their noses and turn down their dials and simply unplug, the deafening sound of nothingness with that final strum.

Like two reckless surgeons unwilling to see the inevitable way this will end.  With both of us amputated beyond repair.  But perhaps there are never any good breaks or clean cuts.  And with any good swipe– it takes guts.  Both to swing and to spill.  But if you’re willing I’m willing– I will… leave you ruined and wanting, desperately hating me.  But what an adventure.  Oi.  What an adventure it’ll be.

Because lying is fun.  And lying next to you is funn-er.  

The Pin

She asked to ‘put a pin in this’, these moments of brilliant’ whiskey sparks and secrets whispered on the sharp’ edge of mountain peaks in the rain.  Can they be bottled and left waiting on a shelf, in hopes of being knocked open again?

So with a wistful perhaps I suppose… we can.  May my pin be the starkly shining silver’ in the middle of your chest; unable to be buried in the hurried scatter’ of a life of consequence.  May my pin be anxiously run under your fingertips, in moments of uncertainty or loneliness.  May my pin be the sharp prick against your skin, to remind you that these lessons hurt, but it’s okay to let someone in.  

But most of all, may you remember me.  Not as moments of a fleeting time gone by but as road-map to to where you could be.  Where who you’re with’ could be trumped by this is it.  May you remember me.

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It’s Been a Year


 It’s been a year.

There wasn’t much of you left to bury, so I just carried around your bits’ and pieces until they fell out of my pockets’ over the journey of everything to come after. And it hasn’t been very long, but I’ve traveled further than I thought I’d ever want to go.

That smell on the side of the mountain that filled our windows on the drive home– they’re wild onions.  I found them while hiking with another girl.  I picked some and tried to cook them but they tasted terrible.  Then I googled them and turns out they might be poisonous.   I think you would’ve applauded the effort.

They put a restaurant on the wharf where you wanted to build your plaza.  Someone else’s dream went into that space; but I suppose we’re all impermanent in that way.  When I think about buildings or beaches and the number of people to have enjoyed them I begin to feel very small.

I don’t miss you.

But there are still moments that hurt’ unexpectedly sometimes.  Like that play with the actors speaking in English-Chinese that was such a disaster, and how we couldn’t stop laughing afterwards.  A friend of mine saw the same play too… and it came up in conversation and it made me think of you.  Only for a flickering moment, but it was enough to dim the lights on an otherwise sparkling night.  I hope you never think of me.

You always had this long line of monkey-bar-boys, a safe ‘next rung’ to be clung to when we fell loose, but me… lately I’ve been feeling like I was in free fall when you let go– and I’ve finally hit the bottom.  With every girl I kissed and every moment of loneliness somehow knocking down the deep well of You’ that obstructed my view of the future.  I have loose stones and cracked slate of all the big dreams I thought we were building, but as of late’ I’m seeing that the shuffle of rubble is the best foundation for something concrete.  Just add an outpouring of opportunity and someone new to fill in all the gaps.

If you could see me now, I think you’d be impressed.

…You, in that Orange Dress.

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The Fire Starting-Pencil-Fighting-Super-Saiyan

pencil fight
(Best stock photo, ever)

Every relationship lately feels like a game of emotional-pencil-fight.  I take what I fundamentally am’ and hold it between my hands.  *whack* you take a nice hearty swing.  Then you do the same, grasping your smooth polished veneer, pulled taught’ over your tender timber and graphite bones. I lean in close and I take a big overhead chop.  *whack*  I just can’t settle without testing your mettle.

Because I’m terrified that I’ll lash my hobbled-heart to you, and somewhere down the line you’ll need to shoulder some of my burden I’ll discover you crumble under the weight of my uneasy gait.  So instead I instigate– I set a fire to see how quickly you immolate.  Wait!  stop drop and roll, and soldier-crawl to the nearest exits.  Do you touch the handles for heat, or do you kick down doors and hopefully… escape?  How long can you hold your breath?  How well do you perform under duress?  These are things I need to know.

I am the Fire-Starting-Pencil-fighting-Super-Saiyan.  Each encounter leaving me a little more battered, but a little more true.  A little less prim-and-polish-“yellow #2” and a bit more wood and grit.   But if you get to the core of things, I promise you’ll see what makes me write.  And I’ll scribble both our names and circle them a thousand times.  I am the Fire-Starting-Pencil-fighting-Super-Saiyan.  But clearly there’s nothing super about me.

Except maybe my hair.

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The Siren Sings Back

You speak my words
back to me so sweetly.
Folded, and twisted upon
themselves, completely.
Be you song bird?
Be you lark?
Hatched from an ivory egg
with my name-song in your heart?

We are not the product of our circumstance.
Nor are we the summit of our birth.
No, we are at best–
— actions and words.

Should you strike untrue by an inch
you strike Untrue by a mile.
So take heed, and take aim.
May your arrows never stray.

Because we lay naked and adjacent
not just as vessels,
but as souls.
And the lines where I end and you begin
have blurred.  

And if you bend the light round’
the halo on your head,
to blind my eyes instead,
you’ll find a lonely century
without me.

Kira and the Poet

Oh, you.
You were my first real fan.
Oh, there were girls in short dresses
who batted their eyelashes
when I told them I was an artist
of sorts.

But you…
you were the first one to’
know me from nothingness
solely on the merits
of my open words.

You reached across the darkness
with the depths of your curiosity
and were all the more enamored.
And like the moth to the flame
I singed your pretty little wings
and pinned you up with the rest of


Because Darling, 
This is how beasts like us end.
Not in triumph, but in dust.

I saw the money in your parents,
and the cuts’ along your arms
and I was familiar with the nectar
of your poison.
Were I a boy ten’
years younger,
you’d be more than enough
to bring me down to me knees.
And I’d rip out my heart willingly,
for you to wear round‘ your pretty
neck as I lay clutching
the open cavity of my chest.  

But today,
you’re a pleasant memory
to warm me
like the lingering whiskey
in my glass.
And the ice is melting faster
than expected.

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