Why spend all your time laboring over
labor? Slaving away in your dark mind
you forget you were once like the plover,
spanning continents in patterns undefined.
What happened to that flight? You took cover
in a warm, sticky place, you left behind
your motive for living, the prime mover
of your unconscious impulse, that orange rind.
Why spend all this time working and working?
For survival, even though it kills me.
I hear Death’s jagged cough lurking, lurking
in my asthmatic heart when Spirit fills me
and my lips get chapped from too much smirking
since I don’t respond and the pain chills me.
The stack of paper eternally grips
my entire neck as I revise papers
and I decline as my spirit tapers
while beeswax falls as each candle drips
on the bottle it is in. Purple strips
of wax stretch themselves like lilac capers
across the see-through green glass skyscrapers
of the city of my desk. My heart rips.
All learning seems spent on speaking aloud;
there is no thought left for contemplation;
I spend most of my time before a crowd.
No wonder I have no inspiration.
And if good thoughts came I’d be truly wowed.
I am tired from daily expiration.
An open mind is what the body seeks.
Embodied wisdom is the truest form
of life in nature’s panoramic swarm
full of living things. My skin sweats and leaks
as I jog around the track. My mind streaks
back to brighter days when weather was warm,
before the doubts, before my college dorm
opened me up to life’s valleys and peaks.
Younger, dumber but with an open mind,
I sought the magic in the white sunset
and found the glory as my planets trined.
I dove in, but somehow did not get wet
under starred skies near shores open and brined,
I lost my mind and buried my brain in debt.
A bright water ring on a black ash sky,
stained gray by the twilight and streaked by cloud,
guides me as I move away from the crowd
which might make me suffer or make me die.
The air is moist, the oxygen is shy,
fleeing from breathing while, wrapped in a shroud,
my torso negotiates the air allowed
to my heart at night as my lungs reply:
“With a wheeze we wail and hum out the truth
that life is only as good as one’s last breath
and that every lost breath equals lost youth.”
With that, I confronted my coming death
and put 20 bucks in the photo booth
and left the pics on your coffee table.
The smell of sweat that pours from every pore,
detoxifying flesh subject to work,
a brief escape from life where guidelines lurk
in every shadow and at every door.
New England was my home for years before
New Jersey, where I figured (like a jerk)
that freedom was somehow a likely perk
of New Life, with new places to explore.
Well…I sweep through a classroom, pick up trash,
and chase down students to keep them engaged
(to their great annoyance). My sweat goes splash
on the green rubber, my spirit uncaged.
Now there’s sweat in my eye, white lights aflash.
I perspire and therefore am not enraged.
The days pass by like daggers in the breeze
while nights sink low into the muddy ground
caressed by deer that stalk without a sound
at dawn to eat the leaves that hang from trees.
The sidewalks look yellow and time does freeze
under the street lights as your thoughts rebound
against your mind’s edge like ships run aground
only to slip back towards unconscious seas.
You see the waves drown you: shadows of leaves
on swaying branches, black against yellow
on top of gray concrete, on countless eves.
As you edge home clueless, your talent grieves
your murder by time. A neighbor’s cello
pours its dirge from a house with rotten eaves.
I want to live a timeless existence.
This life of time will kill my sense of self.
If not my my mind will mutilate itself:
suicide of a heart shorn of patience.
I’m serious. I’ve lost my sense of sense
as my senses rebel against my self
and my heart weighs down its bodily shelf.
I crave collapse and loss of sentience.
But enough of me. How are you, my dear?
The autumn air is sharp, the leaves are red,
and the crunching of leaves is all I hear.
Forgive me the dark things that I have said.
It is that apple picking time of year,
and we can’t drink warm cider if I’m dead.