A Hole In God
from Gentleman Practice
you appeared like a body bag
fulla hymnal books
unzipped in half I
never saw so many door jams fall
outta anyone’s mouth
into math like that when
Tennessee put its crooked smile
on a wadded up map
and sent you packin’
gospel gospel got god
stuck to the rock he made and
and he mighta made it larger than us
or it mighta served to save this place
sure I coulda swore I heard you calling
for a shot at a grip on vice
doesn’t mean your mouth was moving
doesn’t mean I even heard you right
all I know is that your skin keeps calling
and I don’t care if it’s a busted flint
‘cause every time you pull your thumb down on it
I get [up up] back up to my feet
all of them
like an offering plate
on’m one by one
it’s a penchant for a savior
a tendency to over – run
whatever shook do not get shook up
whatever’s lost you don’t get lost
even if they say you must give more than
everything you ever offered up
I know a voice does not come easy
I know the words fell out in bites
I know the moment when the
abandonment looked a lot like flight
you pulled whatever got left
We Were Emergencies
from Gentleman Practice
We can stick anything into the fog
and make it look like a ghost
let us not become tragedies.
We are not funeral homes
with propane tanks in our windows,
lookin’ like cemeteries.
Cemeteries are just the Earth’s way of not letting go.
let’s turn our silly wrists so far backwards
the razor blades in our pencil tips
can’t get a good angle on all that beauty inside.
Step into this
with your airplane parts.
and repeat after me with your heart:
“I no longer need you to fuck me as hard as I hated myself.”
Make love to me
like you know I am better
than the worst thing I ever did.
I’m new to this.
But I have seen nearly every city from a rooftop
I have realized
that the moon
did not have to be full for us to love it,
that we are not tragedies
stranded here beneath it,
that if my heart
every time I fell from love
I’d be able to offer you confetti by now.
But hearts don’t break,
they bruise and get better.
We were never tragedies.
We were emergencies.
You call 9 – 1 – 1.
Tell them I’m having a fantastic time.
from Last American Valentine Anthology
He wrote to you with firecracker chalk
on a blackboard background
from a free-standing landing pad
held together by choir claps
over buttercups spraying
out the mouths of doves.
Getting to his point
would require starting over
at the outer loop
of your ripple effect
swinging monkey bar style
arm over arm
parallel to parallel
minding the gaps.
it takes a deeper breath
to hover on holy
against the current.
He wasn’t falling out of love with you.
He was falling out of ways to tell you.
Healing Hermann Hesse
from Live For A Living
Hermann wants to eat nicotine
for a lot.
He paces space to make himself nervous
because some people are better at surviving than living.
If you wanna get heavy
he’ll teach you.
He knows it.
Spends his time falling from the weight.
Got a lead brain.
It’s a battle magnet.
He carries it around by the guilt straps.
You didn’t see the size of the blizzard that birthed him.
Fits of snow.
Whipped white bullet stretches
pinned with chips of teeth
to his habit of crying for help.
He doesn’t land well. Hates landing.
It reminds him of not living up.
Listen, I know there were days you wanted to die.
Hermann will not bow down to gravity,
he catches up to himself mid-air
just before the ground smacks.
Nothing touches the ground here.
Ground is at capacity.
He sees that.
He falls back.
He patches parachutes together with a kite knife.
It’s big enough to raise him in the updrafts
where he hides himself away in the angles of air
outlined by his knack for believing
that this life
it’s gonna work itself out.
from Gentleman Practice
There is a chance
you will show up laughing
made of fortified fan blades and Ferris wheel lights
true of heart and best foot forward
our long-awaited love made easy,
remember for sure no doubt these things:
we are a point of complete.
standing guard over your solitude.
are monsters for most things approaching.
I’m probably gonna need a hand with that.
Neither one of them things is all that clean.
But the rain,
my lucky number,
been doin’ her part to make things right
for the light bulbs
and the bruises.
Hiding holy water was not my forte this life.
for blanket fort.
I have trusted my corners to revolving doors
but am fluent in getting better.
We are fluent in bouncing back,
is a natural habitat.
Ya know we’re gonna build a body to keep the wolves out.
Hold my house
you humble barbarian,
this door only opens for the remarkable now.
So we will both show up remarkable.
Speak your piece from the I can do anything.
Say it clearly.
There is a book
living inside your chest
with dilated instructions
on how to make a safe landing.
It was written
for crash landers.
I am coming home to listen.
It is time.
forgive me my distractions.
There’s a freckle on your lip.
It is a national archive.
Give it to my ear
so you can see what I mean.
Here hold my breath
I will be right back.
There are gifts
hidden beneath these lungs.
Slide your hand over my mouth
and I will speak them
in hang glider,
from the loyalty of a landscape,
silk in a sandpaper offering plate,
the jacket on a handsome man.
Sweet Grape, you cannibal,
kiss my eyes
until they see what it is that I wish to write down:
Film strips of prayer.
Ribbons of a garden in stereo.
Driftwood welded to the guesthouse.
Ringfinger wrapped in a horseshoe nail.
I will meet you by the eighth day dream
in the wide open purpose of a locomotive coming
to a stand still with the sea,
when the air
into suction cups
opening up to breathe,
like the love in my lungs
took the tip of my tongue
and finally taught it how to read,
you five-acre ladder-backed pearl book pouring
from a pileated chest of Earth.
I know our story may look like octopus ink
to the rest of the breath in this world
(flying in under the radar
holding to a pattern of worth).
Come closer you guest of honor.
Chickens stay off the porch
We are the house gift-wrapped in welcome mats.
Your dinner’s on the table in thanks of that
and the loaves of chocolate toast,
the Book of Job and of Jet Propulsion,
raincoats floating in a rocket ship,
playing naked checkers in bed.
It is an utterly epic arrival
every time I get to see you again.
God, this is what I was talking about
for like 37 years,
a true story,
the holy goodness glory
I was praying to your face,
this is what I meant
and this is what I’m meant to do
so sit me down inside us now
and let me praise the greatest good in you
by laying down my weapons
including the shield,
on cue, my friend,
stenciled on the walls of Fremont County
years before we even met
I wrote it
down to the ground you walk on
with the heels of my helium shoes,
“Put your ear to the sky
and listen my darling,
everything whispers I love you.”