The Magic Man
He was a magic man. He lived in a little hovel on the mountain, where on hot summer nights he would blow smoke rings into the valley below. They lasted unnaturally long and glowed blue, sometimes pink. We in the village thought he was crazy. It was a well-known fact that only crazy people existed in a state of feral ecstasy: naked, wise, and alone.
As I was later to learn, magic was not an aberration, rather a manifestation of lucidity, a terrifying result of the active practice of being alive. The magic man on the mountain, with his smoke-rings and loincloth, was a god. And he was far more real than the golden abstraction we worshiped. That’s why no one ever made the climb, no one besides me that is.
To the Islands
As we rocked between the blue waves, we felt our salty skin slipping into the sunlit water, the effervescent past. The islands rose out of the hazy horizon like a storm. They punctured our consciousness. They were A harsh reminder of the present, breaking the timeless motion of the sea.
The rope burned my tired hands. I pulled the sail tight and whooped. The desperation I had felt at watching the summer wane, watching the light turn slanted and gold and holy, fell away and I was flying. The sky and sea were blue for the moment and that was enough.
The jungle was verdant, virile, viral. To escape, I would scramble up a tree, limbs everywhere, wood and flesh becoming one. And I would swallow the sunset, filling my stomach with more life, more death, than I could contain.
It was through this evening ritual that I first learned how to breathe fire. Above the jungle canopy, I learned how to hold onto the day's languid warmth and turn it into a firey burst of passion, fighting passion. The world is more alive at night. The jungle hums itself to sleep.
Quesadillas and cotton-duvet-covers and cumin and dusty-silence and old-blankets and garage-sale-furniture and wet-dirt and sea-wind and rosemary and hand-made-soap and too-many-condiments and too-many-beat-up-books and too-many-boxes-of-tea and grapefruit-juice and onions-on-the-cutting-board and something-stewing.
I hope my suitcase smells like home.
Two Short Poems on Morality
The Art of Moral Law
We are pieces of God.
We make a collage of ourselves.
We worship the unifying.
But we cherish our dissent.
It's our sacred right as gods.
Morality is a dialogue, dialectical.
It’s a fight. And battle is art.
Like the laws of the universe, morality is entropic.
Oh! But It's a glorious thing to fade and fray, a banner left too long in the sun.
May we exhaust ourselves,
May we refuse to decompose,
May we deny our bodies surrender!
I arrange the chapters of my novel like dominoes.
I enjoy building complicated highway intersections
and razing megaliths and discarding the daisies
you left on my front step the wet summer evening
before we kissed and before I smashed the guitar
with which you strummed our relentless love story.
Holy, Only to Ourselves
I no longer believe in revolution. Giddy hope strangled by the eventuality of surrender, like a paper flower disintegrating under the rain. Arms held aloft, kneeling in the mud, awake and temporary, it’s our duty to live another day pressed against the wall.
Grinning, we fight: late night study sessions, takeout, chopsticks gnawed to splinters. There are moments when I feel rabid, heart full of darkness, wanting nothing but myself, momentary satisfaction, a void-like maw filled with dried marigolds and broken spiderwebs, and little notes saying I’ll be back in an hour, signed I love you. Growing upward, thinning with the never ending atmosphere.
We call Genghis Khan brutal. The Ancient Mongols left their dead open to the Blue Sky, so vultures could pick them clean of flesh. I suppose there is a brutality to clarity, to wiping civilizations off the earth. Wouldn’t it be lovely to look up and see heaven?
We humans are meant to be dirty. You can’t scrub out the stench of failed love poems, or corpse laden battlefields, or animal sacrifice, or perfume. Our temples are forever stained and holy only to ourselves.
Our eyelids slowly fold,
your fingernails creasing my skin
as you tell me not to cry.
Suppressed by geometry,
there's no room for imprecision
in our origami sorrow.
There will come a day,
when wet and wrinkled,
our tears will finally fall.
Passionately we’ll surrender.
Wading through waste paper,
we’ll sigh before we die.
Graph paper is not as solid as it seems.
The points where the lines meet
are thrumming with new flowers.
Our world is a binary one,
made of parallels and perpendiculars
and passionate collisions.
I drink from cupped hands, fresh water, fresh blood, fresh weeping. There is iron in our skin, solder. You play a winter melody like it’s a hearth fire. Hungry, hungry, whole, watching our souls ripple outwards. We are our stories.
It’s enough to have kneecaps,
and a starship in your belly,
red-lights and all.
Space-time is a delicate structure.
Have you ever formed a fetus,
played pattycake with your feet,
bent and broken like a baby,
rocking to choral music.
I know my skin is sticky,
cause I painted my forehead,
my sacred spot, with ash,
downtrodden, coiled like a spring
There are elephants on our trampoline.
You big-brained, flat-footed,
tightrope walking idiot,
Through my astrolabe I see the universe’s concentric squares.
My longing keeps me captive and sacred in God’s incomprehensible geometry.
God is an empty battlefield. A vast space filled by the intimate conflict of our desires, by the veneration of our passions. We feel the intensity of a battlefield because we fight in it. We understand space because we sculpt it. God transcends the dualities that define our religions, yet religion is our way of making God tangible. It is our way of grasping the pervasive, yet elusive, rhythms of mysticism that fill the space between atoms. We grasp at God because we position ourselves outside it, in a world defined by convictions. By separating ourselves we give God shape. To make something holy is to hold it apart, to imbue it with faith rather than reality.
The curvature of prayer is parallel to linear logic.
God tastes like bread and blood