The ends are beginning
arbitrary moments in time –
reflection washes over the dissatisfied
resolve replacing regret as a new chapter is written
in a life not quite lived, but often contemplated
Time does not pause
does not wait for understanding
does not wait for readiness
does not cooperate
does not expect us to be someone new
How are we preparing ourselves to be gods,
to shed these skins and rise to greatness?
I’ve been expecting miracles and have found
Mediocrity is punishment for lack of passion,
a pain I’ve allowed to flow through me,
finding ways to penetrate my fibers.
I’m looking for ways to free the me who
screams and wants to be released.
All Growed Up
The icons are all dead or broken,
ushered off in wheelchairs and caskets of immoral expense to paradises
surrounded by wildness.
My childhood crumbles without the support of the ones I admired and by the weight of my guilts and follies.
That time of heroes is so distant — it no longer even feels like a dream,
no longer feels like a memory.
The blurred fragments of the Sues, the Mikes, the D’Jeilas… they are fading into emptiness,
leaving me with a search for new people to look up to, if anyone.
I miss the me who was in that time, but celebrate his death.
The me of now is an improvement, a focused replica of an aimless child.
The slate has been cleaned and readied for the new icons to place on pedestals.
Soon, I’ll break out of the thin shell of fear that remains and emerge as a fully complete person.
My wings itch to stretch out and let me fly.
Open your arms and welcome Love
A plea to those people I’ve seen my Church family morphing into, slipping away from me, from Love. A prayer for the many who’ve seen the backs of their loved ones too often, shivering alone because they were misunderstood or openly judged for being human.
My neighbors turned towards themselves
and forgot my face.
Backs towards me with multitudes of assumptions.
My heart feels the hymns,
feels the joy still.
My image fails me; refuses to take the shape of the mold
[the idyllic life] the person I was supposed to be.
I’m neither broken nor lost.
I’m Love’s child, regardless of whispers and raised eyebrows.
I never felt so unwelcome from a family, silently, passively.
From my perch high above the elders,
the deacons, the little old ladies
who wait for death on the third pew from the back,
my mind stretches, finding thoughts far from my body,
I welcome judgment.
Don’t pray for me in anger
Don’t welcome be back from depravity.
Be family; be true to Love.
Open your arms — not only to me,
not to selfish or petty concerns of mine,
open your arms because they should be open.
Because they are there for welcoming,
uncrossed and warm,
welcome the children, your family,
the joyful, the content,
the exuberantly happy,
the depressed, and the angry.
Keep you arms open to those whose lives you don’t understand,
whose lives are full of light and laughter,
but cannot find comfort in rigid conformity.
I’ll join them too — march with them
into the auditoriums across distances,
across situational divides.
Kiss your neighbor on the forehead and have them over for dinner.
There is nothing important like Love.
There is nothing but Love.
There is Love.
And Love will take our hands — yours, mine,
the multitudes huddled in the rain.
We’ll find ourselves then.
We’ll free ourselves and be family again.
And selfish concerns and trivial differences will never be able to keep us apart.
This Journey Seems Long
Possibility falls like feathers,
gently landing on my head with me barely taking notice.
I think I felt something and life rushes past me,
my feet cemented in this moment.
I’m a statue, a gargoyle,
a testament to following dreams, even as I failed myself.
I’m unfolding myself and trying desperately.
Thirty is ugly for a child like me.
I’m a work in progress –
confused, lonely, surrounded.
And now, this 29th time around the sun is coming to an end.
My trips seems less celebratory than ever, but somehow more satisfying.
I enter the final year of my 20s this very second.
It isn’t a disconnection, it isn’t loss.
Life seems to have only just begun.
8.5.2008 (written at the minute of my birth, 9:01a.m. AKDT; 12:01p.m. CDT)
Sun Vs. Son
Falling rays prove merciless;
the hospital all robed in pink fills with babies,
from rising heat.
colored like the sun and screaming,
comfort taken too hastily.
The minty green dressed men and women
put the baby in a box, shine lights,
drain the sun from his skin.
Rejoicing, the sun burns more fiercely.
The world sighs.
Summer failed to arrive in this grey urbanity.
Anchorage feels naked, empty
without the carpet of ice and snow crunching below.
I was aware of it when lupines and wild roses
heralded the arrival of what should have been June.
I was keenly aware of the missing white when
flowers conceded, accepting the cruelty of warmthlessness.
This city is wet now, as the great lion arrives.
Saddened by this dreary failure, the cat weeps,
drizzles pulling themselves from a sky
that has married itself with concrete.
The world darkens, turning even more grey and distant.
All hope escapes of summer, of warmth.
It’ll return to Alaska now, the familiar cold driving
away smaller birds and welcoming ravens.
In the merriment of an metropolitan buffet,
they’ll shoo the clouds, revealing the sun,
shining brightly on the brief days of a frozen world.
untitled [‘pauses and breaks’]
Life’s all pauses and breaks;
my feet don’t seems so eager anymore to get to those places
I’ve always kept close to my heart and deep in my dreams.
There’s something soothing about stasis,
something unnerving as well.
I’m peering through cracks and holes of a life that is always shifting,
searching for someone who might be peering back at me
from the other side… of what?
The winds are picking up and I can feel change creeping over the horizon.
Storm’s comin’ and I’ve not gotten ready for it this time,
thought I’d enjoy more of this part of life,
thought there’d be more,
thought I could find comfort in being alone.
Blow me into bits; create something new and magical,
something more than I’ve ever been.
Grasping for hands to hold, I realize that there is only me.
The Short Reign of a Queen
Heather warmly picked up the old girl,
dusted her off and proudly placed her
high on a pedestal.
Norma purred, closed her eyes.
The two fell in love among yaps
Comfort, home, family, importance.
Heather’d created a queen and Norma
was content to be crowned.
Amid celebrations of the new monarch,
Norma’s life quietly expired.
Heather’s heart broke and tears flooded
the world; nobody could be as they once were.
Hiking At Kennicott
We chose stones carefully, stepping goat-like
across the field of glacier
rocks brought here by powerful ice.
We made our way along the river, through a
density of silt.
I followed a narrow trail, curiosity claiming one, two, then all
three of my companions.
My path lay flat, carved from trees and grasses on the hills,
running along the very center of each towering, but small peak
and back down again.
The path only briefly meandered
through some trees
and then I emerged again, taking my place atop the next hill.
The 3 appeared in the distance at my new height,
far in the distance and now far
Waving, we acknowledged our continued group hike,
now made one person short.
My feet took me forward and I pressed on,
again goating my way
over sloped white rock,
my clear and flattened path disappearing and then
reappearing some ways below me.
Preoccupied with safety, I’d been unaware of beauty
that was rising up and spreading out around me.
I turned my head to see the glacier,
angrily peering from beneath its rocky blanket, spilling stones
and streaming water into a vast pool
that lay idle a moment,
trying to get its bearings before
heading towards the river.
In the distance I saw my friends and spoke to them
with a barely raised voice.
I guarded the glacier discovery, allowing them the chance
to experience and awe at the mighty size of the creature.
Disappearing into a pass that took them out of view,
I continued on,
drawn by some magic the trail had conjured.
Increasing heights made the hills more difficult, exhilarating,
Another rocky slope found my feet less sure,
challenging me with loose shards & broken bits.
My friends came to mind,
unseen for a long while.
The path diminished a bit at the line of trees began
to impede my passage.
My name rang gently through the valley once
(that I heard).
I turned, collected a rock and headed back to the group.
My back wet with sweat,
shirt clinging exhaustedly to my skin,
I felt a rush of new freedom,
I sprinted now, over peaks that had seemed so difficult,
my feet never flinching on the now familiar trail.
I dashed up hills and pranced lightly down,
increasingly eager to get back to the company of friends,
I slowed and walked slowly up a hill and saw the orange hat
making its way up to the same point, the hill with the view –
the perfect view of the white faces, lodged and straining.
We clicked our cameras, in awe
and I could now see the other two below, resting on rocks,
lazily taking Nature in,
I hopped down to the bed of boulders, where they had veered
and danced ceremoniously down towards the lodge.
Weary, wet, hot,
my feet were no longer trustworthy and my movements
required more thought.
Back safely at our cabin, we had a tailgate feast of whatever
each of us could find: olives, cookies, whole chickens, tuna salad,
carrots, juice, apples, nuts, dried cranberries, soda,…
Blissfully, the lovers among us retired
to the deck of the great common building
to share a romantic ramen and wine dinner,
Creativity oozed out of anywhere it could and houses built
themselves on imagined sites of beautiful dreams that
seem to be coming true.
Wine gave way to haughty birds and the words once again
took over my hand.
We all seemed to be looking towards the glacier,
a pure moment carrying over and living on.
Alaska is good.
Reflections On My [Alaskan] Family
The pariah’s made up in all shades of green,
needlessly feeling pain, self-induced and unwarranted.
It’s hard to feel unconventional in world of unconventional people;
the appeal diminishes.
I’m melding with others,
whose lives barely cross mine and I feel again like a third wheel.
And I feel love. Love.
Quantified love. David first, me last, Daniel in between?
Is it orderable, rankable, defined in aboveness?
The pariah feels sucked in and ever more distant,
perhaps well-placed feelings. Family.
I cannot see it. Not through the thick haze of love.
The boss makes diplomatic concessions for the patriarchal figure head
and I tend to understand [and to not understand].
The pariah’s green vestments seem to flash with new vibrance;
I can’t even get attention from myself. Love? Love. It’s possible.
Expanding, filling the room, feeling myself uncomfortable
and taking up space, wondering how I can be ignored.
Deflate the elephant. And sometimes I do it myself,
shrinking to almost nothing,
I take perch and watch my family below grow ever closer
without me, saddened by my own inability to include myself.
The charmer found David and I can’t see the path to follow;
fields of sweetly scented flowers cover the trail that so recently existed.
The green is increasing.
I wish I could figure out how to remove this person who hides me,
shuck him from the golden ear of me inside.
I don’t believe in quantified love.
It is an expression of “like.”
Love holds us to standards we don’t often hold ourselves to,
expects us to look past ourselves.
The pariah’s only a pariah in his own eyes and longs to not be green.
Moist sounds of boys keeping each other warm make me
simultaneously happy and enraged.
Enraged at me, at ignorance, at my insufferability.
I won’t stand for this and demand that I not be the spoiled brat
who wants what everyone else has got.
I’m me and I’ll get mine when I accept that.
Quantified love? No.
I don’t love myself less than — or more than —
only as much as anyone else.
The boss will keep tabs on the situation,
very occasionally checking to see how I’m doing.
It’s easiest when he speaks about making love
with the charmer.
I feel less jealous the more he mentions it, happier.
I will not be ranked and when my turn comes,
I’ll flood friends with my happiness.
And they’ll smile, genuinely proud of me.
The pariah is thinking more of himself.
Musk Ox & Unicorn In Single Combat
Some people dream up mythical places with colors pulled from curious recesses,
fantastic creatures conjured up, unknown to man.
Some people write of beautiful worlds, misty moored landscapes and jagged
mountain peaks cutting through the sky towards gods just imagined.
Poets pull detail from made-up places;
describe them in wrapped beauty and make awe from the seemingly mundane.
Some people tell tales of lovely people doing spectacular things — heroes, heroines,
trailblazing pioneers making paths towards alien places.
I get to live in Alaska.
Thank You, Peg Phillips
Scripted, but accurately
“an artist needs obstacles”
and I’ve challenged myself
against the sentiment
Life has come easily
for someone so well off
I have nothing to overcome
I create for myself
These are my obstacles
These are my challenges
I struggle against myself
and rise up from
the façade of pain
Before Kennecott [Daniel still asleep]… Waiting
Even before it begins, I wish the trip was over.
Age has made me inflexible and cantankerous,
failing to let me live in the moment.
I don’t want to live in the moment,
don’t want to live,
I beg forgiveness from the people I want to please,
give only passing thoughts about those I don’t really care if I please.
Waiting, sitting. We aren’t gone and I feel the pain of love thrown in my face.
Unintentional, but hurtful.
I’m over being in pain; done with heartache.
Happiness is a mere decision away and I should run towards it, arms outstretched.
It is simple to vacation and so hard,
busy people all frantic about different things and personalities that barely mesh in the relative ease of our daily lives.
I feel my rage staying near the surface, ready to explode at any moment and I hope I can suppress it long enough
and then scream into my pillow later.
I don’t like it.
I feel like a child who wants things to stay as they are.
As they are. Not quite. Not this.
As they are.
It isn’t me who I am.
We’ll find ourselves soon at a lodge, which will likely disappoint my urban sensibilities
and I’ll feel ashamed to not be more connected to nature
Connected to the universe.
Hold it in.
Don’t let others see what secrets they already know. I long for an end.
I paused to bend your ear [it didn’t go well]
Secrets whispered make this place
tolerable, despite crumudgeons
who’d have it otherwise.
Would-be librarians shush us,
make get-back-to-work motions.
My face goes blank like a yokel
with nothin’ in my noggin ‘cept dust.
I’m animally staring into
the headlights of disapproval,
amazed that people think
themselves as so much more
important than they are.
I forget the secrets for now,
pretend to obey these adults who
wish to again be hall monitors.
I’ll wait and shout bits as I pass by
to show you that I still include you.
Together we’ll prove ourselves here
and these asses will fall away
to make room for our ascent.
The pumpkin is covered in snow;
I’ve found myself taking refuge
on the crowded velvet cushion,
I could stand here, waiting
for the snow to melt,
hiding in a corner alone.
At least I would find the quiet I was looking for.
Solitude makes me feel closer to nature,
but I don’t feel like being closer just now.
The cold has forgotten to lift from here
and my heart has grown fond of snow and ice,
the very elements that have removed
me from my quiet repose.
I look forward to meditation and calm,
to sitting on the lawn,
overgrown with dandelions,
beautiful blooms making me
close my eyes and feel God within me.
For now, I’ll take what I can get,
taking life from the faces of people
around me; weaving that life into lines of words.
Oh solace, elusively greeting me,
ready with this world still hard
from the months of frozenness.
And I feel the power of this place
in ways that change with seasons,
feel the huddling masses,
each individual finding a way to self,
all of us alone in this together,
penguins of the North,
tightly packed for warmth,
but barely knowing our neighbors.
Apologizing doesn’t seem like enough
We cowards picked you apart until there were only bones,
then we reassembled you in a hideous fashion, making the most of our torturous words.
We didn’t hide behind spite or malice, pretending to be something other than ourselves;
we were fully us, full of joy and love, but without our heads in a seemingly pure moment.
The purity of our piece of the world contained the sharpest needles, each freshly tipped with loathsome thoughts.
The angry words were meant as privately shared experience, but found their way to the wrong eyes,
stinging with an unforgivable pain, salted with the knowledge of these words being from friends.
It hasn’t been enough to love people
to grasp at them, lightning bugs
I want to jar and admire.
They’ve been too quick, lighting up
and confusing me.
I’m no longer willing to feel
punished by time, by God (or god),
by the will of those who just
don’t want me.
I’m still collecting the members of my family
Each one, perfect in their way,
makes the days easier to accept
despite the loneliness, despite the pain
Sometimes, it seems that love flows
endlessly from me, welcoming too many
but bolts of bitterness remind
me of the pointlessness
the seeming pointlessness
and newly placed friends drop silently
to the ground, landing in a pile,
a lump, a twisted bit
that I’ll soon stop thinking about.
With clouds of nothing else to occupy my time,
I’ve paced the walkways in front of jobs
where I arrived too early, cigarette in hand,
waiting for purpose.
Work is not and cannot be life or love,
the search for these things prevents
nervousness and the need to smoke.
I love it and I hate it when you realize where I’m going.
You follow me too swiftly, finding yourself trampled beneath my feet.
I wish I received more letters and I wish they were all from you,
but I fear that knowing too much about each other will drive us apart.
I cannot be concerned with where life takes you
when I am barely concerned about where it takes me.
We’ll go together, apart, forgetting one another, longing to be together.
ode to my vanity
I sneak upon you, surprising you
from beneath your feet.
From not knowing to knowing,
I grow enormous and fill you field of view,
become your entire world for a few moments.
I press on away from you towards newness,
fading slowly away into the blue and into
the recesses of your mind,
an image of something that was,
but that is no longer so impressive.
I long to rekindle the wonder you felt
the first time I allowed you to see,
but the second time I swim by
you’ll think you remembered me larger.
On Frank O’Hara’s Birthday
I was prepared to become you for so long and yet I’ve simply become me.
Your words pound in my head, hollow drums beating low words streaming on about people I wish I could have made love to.
Here in my universe, the one containing only fragments of the Frank O’Hara I was meant to become,
I meet new people, but few artists and wonder still how to make you proud.
I’m secretly lost, confused, wanting to find the path I started out on so confidently, but crawling helplessly on the floor.
If living this life means staying myself, I’ll accept it and move on, powered by your words and those of Joe Brainard,
of James Schuyler and again of [especially] you.
Alaska cannot make Frank O’Haras; life is too scattered, each person blowing in the wind towards an unknown destination.
There is only change and nothing seems to settle. There is far too much money.
I would have fantasized about you [more] if you were around today, but I will meet up with you again when we’ve both returned as lesbians or cats or both.
To fall in love with a person who died thirteen years before I was born seems dimwitted, but my destiny is to discover my soulmate and know it is you.
Become me instead, as I am not becoming you well. Sink into me through your words, which I spend countless hours devouring.
Meld with me through osmosis, your loves of art and of men finding their way into my heart.
Fragments are powerful when those fragments are of you.
untitled [‘names to a dog’]
You’ve entered through David’s world
adding names to a dog I’ve loved for seven months
and in a way I’m glad because David is so happy
he needed to be happy and you don’t seem to try.
And it’s all I can do at times when I see you
to not fall in love because your so handsome
and it’s all I can do at times when I see you
to not giggle in glee at how quirky you are
I’ve been thinking wildly desperate thoughts
about how much I don’t mean to covet
and wonder if David will fault me
for wanting something, someone, you.
I can be happy with idle daydreams
of kissing boys who look like you
but not like you so much that I’ll find myself
friendless and ashamed.
I dream of a moment alone with someone else,
someone who looks a lot like you,
someone who will kiss me back and want to.
In the corners of my mind (and in the center of my heart)
betrayal is cruel, even in thought.
Friendship taints my desire, forcing me to recoil.
I don’t want you enough.
Maybe It’ll Last
Yes, you are the butch, aren’t you?
Sipping our sodas — bellies full of burritos
Don’t fall on your head, find feet and grab hold of a tiny red car,
yours or mine, it doesn’t matter which. I’m obligated to laugh.
Riding around these cold afternoons, the winter is holding on as best it can,
your head seemed as full as mine of new information,
of disappointments, of distractions, of fear (but I’m not telling).
The newness of new is wearing off quickly, but don’t take one giant step back.
It’s all the same, you’re all the same, I’m all the same,
the characters keep changing, but the plot never does.
I’m starting to attach to people, remind myself of where I meant this to be.
Finding your way with bitter guides is hard.
At least we can jump into a car and run away for an hour.
So, you be the butch, with your harem waiting at home, and I’ll be your sidekick,
the Madonna loving, muscle shirt wearing, swishy fag
who waits for your direction, but still gives orders as if I was your boss.
Don’t report to me or their will be Hell to pay, trust me.
David Eugene, look at me when I am thinking of you!
I declare myself a child of narcissism. I’m a disciple,
a follower of the most newly found.
Love is disguised well in sarcasm, in moments of mocking and making-fun.
I only see the Davids of this world for who they are and rarely for who they want me to see,
longing for who others make me want to be,
afraid [at times] of whom they’ll believe me to want and afraid they’ll think it is always him.
Oh David, do you not recognize the idolatry in my loyalty?
Doesn’t my face give away the desire to be looking into my own face as I look at you?
It does if you’d look up and see my eyes, the tears still kept close, pooling in my eyelids.
I became me such a short time ago; being someone else doesn’t seem so drastic.
I wonder why I cower in my corner, shy away into the safety of home
when safety comes from experiencing the world and those in it.
Denial of this truth makes me feel safe, despite so many shouting it like anthems,
begging me to listen
Love means replacing my foolishness with the needs of friends,
an act that is excruciatingly joyous.
David is more important than I am — more than I am.
[so too are the others, whose hearts I meant to steal while I had the chance] They exist, whereas I seem like mere fragments of their lives, real on their terms.
Reassurance is nice; I’m not looking for pats on my head
like a Lhasa Apso with its head cocked to one side, no attention ever enough.
My needs are basic — understanding and compassion and selflessness;
a recognition of value.
To require selflessness is selfish.
If I am to be the tucked into the shadows, part of other people’s lives, but only negligibly,
then I should be rewarded with love — romantic love. I should and will.
Heartache is trite, but I dwell on it even as I try to set it free,
unchaining my tongue, allowing bravery to escape.
I release my heartache in the name of becoming that person who I see in David,
who has been rewarded for his beauty and brazen spirit
with love and sex, but more importantly companionship [warmth].
I humbly bow and request my turn, giving thanks
for less obvious, yet still true love and for great aspirations.
For life and someone to share my dinners and wine with,
models set by those I so desperately wish I could be, I can still only long and wait.
But I don’t wait alone and my side is crowded with those too ashamed to admit how they really feel.
for a friendship I hope has more life in it
I grasp for her, for who we were,
for what I wish I could will her to be;
she slips through fingers too ill equipped
to manage with the wetness of our friendship.
In vain, I clutch too hard;
the last of what we are escapes silently.
inside a herd of tiny buffalo stampede me towards my next moments
occasionally they pause to graze on memories i’m done with and information i just never used
and then they get restless again
snorting and butting heads, kicking the ground and grunting
and in tandem they all start off again
some days i wish i could tame them, corral them into a fence and brand them
but in doing so i might stop being me
I’d like him to wear boots [sometimes], thinking they are sexy
or, This is why people like me shouldn’t be alone
for my heart, which is lonely
If only for a moment, I should receive the happiness I’ve earned.
Winter is long and I seem to be one of the few who wouldn’t have it be any shorter. It gives me hopes of cuddling up with someone, losing myself in another person’s warmth.
Shake me, so I’ll realize you really are there and this has all been a dream. Wrap your arms around me and we’ll go back to sleep.
People seem happy when they are in love and I just go about my business pretending not to notice.
This will seem so distant someday soon. I’ll be astounded at how young I was and how naive. I’ll read this aloud, amusing someone else with how lonely I seemed and how desperate it all was. I’ll give him a hug — a peck on the cheek and tell him how lucky I am to have someone so wonderful in my life. He’ll make a sarcastic quip, as though the sentiment was lost, but he’ll have heard me. And he’ll silently agree.
I’m using “the Secret,” hoping for an attorney from Lubbock. Or maybe just more money. Or maybe some guy with no job, still living at home.
I want to feel taken [for granted].
Should it come up in conversation, make me sound easy without sounding too slutty. I want to assert my availability without attracting the wrong set of people. I think you know who to look out for. Make sure they aren’t wearing lavender… or chaps. No, wait, chaps can be hot.
I have secrets to whisper to you when we are alone.