Our lives are nests

Piled on the meeting of places,
I try to reconcile every sleep.
Dreams sit at the edge,
more real than cords we drag around.
Hacking yields nothing,
but the slow wheeze of yellow stuff.

What a way to develop

as a cuff around a thing

growing as grains

chains of sand castles on your chest.

I wasn’t prepared for

the hands that poked through the slats,

harder and more real

than any monument to cruelty.

I don’t know where I got the idea

that time is forward flowing.

It’s not, it lives in heaps, lumps, and burbling layers,

important scabs and greedy punctures

that demand visitation time and time again.

I used to like the tv better

before I got to know the sound of my own breath.

And these days I’m finding it easier to catch motion than stillness,
And stagnancy is living things.

Under this floor is another floor and another floor and another floor,
They bow softly and make me feel so brave.

"You don’t know anything about music"

but I do know what it feels like when I bite my fingernail too short

And how pain comes, but goes away after a day or two

Blanched off and padded by lots of eager skin cells.

Oh man I love the afterglow

Of cool whip and ramen noodles,
Frigid little noodles,
I looked up to you,
But was greeted with the face of the fox,
a flower with a growing brain,
Shunted kids,
And consolation childhoods,
I want the stuff of actual nourishment.
Crud squashed out of mushrooms,
Glitter twisted off of dolls,
Let’s pay homage to the cellophane house.

What’s wrong with mining the little diamonds anyway?

I taught myself I deserved VHS tapes.

Canned responses are dependable. Static sounds good on summer nights.

Covered with dust, they play better than you do.

One of my favorite memories

is an afternoon spent driving around with my Auntie Tunie. I don’t remember the particulars, just that it was a lengthy drive, and may have involved dropping someone off at Pensacola airport. My mother and her siblings were army brats and, though they lived in about twenty states growing up, that town in Florida was a home base, and the backdrop to my haziest early memories of the U.S.

Now that I’m finally a driver, there’s a little more charm to connecting the dots as to why, for as long as I can remember, sitting passenger has been my default. Along with this, in many respects, has come a diffusion of responsibility so complete as to be damaging.

Mom drove early, grabbing her agency and translating it into German. She drove all around Europe in a little red Toyota and, although when I was born, I didn’t cry too much, I did not sleep, save for in the sway of my car seat. From that seat came my first word, an unexpected little “thank you” in chorus with a succession of French toll booth workers. The back seat became a bassinet, a soother, a mind ranch where my brain wandered; purposely losing time, accidentally precitating new skills.

I was maybe eleven or twelve sitting next to my aunt that afternoon, and by this point had picked up enough cultural touch stones to have an opinion of rock music. The Pensacola heat bore down on us, improving the effect of the freedom at hand; driving car, radio, ice in our fountain drinks.

Pearl Jam was playing, and my aunt said, “This is definitely a cover. Of an old song, from the Fifties I think.”

“Really? I prefer their own songs.”

At that moment I remember being struck by how much she looked like Eddie Vedder. Dark hair, sandy forehead, the sun magnified the resemblance.

She laughed, “I think I have a tape of theirs at home. I’ll give it to you.”

We drove for a while, absorbed the sun and drank our drinks. My mind wandered a little bit, but I was there with her, passenger and co-driver.

Get a grip

Were your hands forced off the reins? Was it fear that flung them? Hopelessness that slowly pried them free?

Did someone else take them up in your stead? Someone that sounded like you, did the dishes, made the money, sat you in a corner and said in your voice, “it’s okay, you stay here.”

Or, maybe, the cart ran wild, authorless, careening into weight change, bottomless depths, repetition in corners.

Either way, I hope your crash came quickly. I hope you didn’t lay there too long, wiggling your fingers, and trying to open your eyes again. I hope shapes formed for you, and your mind started thinking, and, in one glorious moment, you felt your hands close over something real.

Starting to think

of the end of a codependent relationship as the unstopping of a bottle. It frees cultures that have been developing there all along. The sudden void THEY have left is overtaken by potent things that crawl and reach. You struggle to string together the you that existed before THEM and this thing that exists after, staggering backwards like the liquid metal Terminator after taking a shot. You feel the need to explain THEM to people, particularly new people, possibly dates, if only to feel the warmth of that comfort again, briefly, like the flame of a lighter against the wind.