Writing “Burnin’ Down The Box”

I’m real sick of all the normal talk in this town.

So dig this:

I stroll into a convenience store wild-eyed

as any nightmare; and I trade 

a satchel of moirai eyes and could-be prophecies 

for the cheapest, darkest beer I can pry

from the cooler’s scary fingers 

at this late hour.
By the time I get home my heart’s bluebird 

is already drowning. 

-Just a damn lightweight these days. Or so my fates say.

As usual, the violin and the guitar have been into 

another tuning fork fight over why the 

power for the amp won’t come on. 

And one of em popped a string before 

cracking the other’s head.

It’ll get nursed with apologies splattered on 

a pill-shaped pillow tonight while I 

find the loneliest room in the house 

to write a very long metaphor in story form

on the ethics and morality 

of the mass acceptance of social stigma.

I cast Lemmy’s Rickenbacker as the main protagonist.

I pit it against an angry village of cereal 

all armed to the teeth in a riot 

and ready for another attempt to march 

on a Frank Zappa album.

(Damn cereal never stood a chance.)

As I go to write the musical score

I stretch wide above the piano;

drunk, lanky, and weary 

like a dope fiend scarecrow 

in the fields around Greenwood, MS and

waiting to croon with Robert Johnson.

I lean in and tell her,

“There’s a wolf in my heart for you, baby.”
So,

I write a real slow song and end it like this:

“Sorry dad, 

but I really ain’t no prodigal son.

I ain’t nothing to be proud of 

when the day is through.

But you and mom are gonna be alright 

and I’m sorry I won’t make it home again.

But there’s just a lot in life I gotta do.

And if you won’t cry when you think of me

I’ll smile when I think of you.”

And then I nestle myself way down into

the hole in my acoustic guitar. 

Down where the light never reaches.

And I do what anyone does 

when they don’t believe in a damn thing

and they got no one to pray to…

I wait for nothing.

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Critical Mass

There used to be a lake here but
it too is just drained now. I may have once
been a ghost of water
able to enter and exit places without recognition,
able to touch a mouth and not leave a
taste or a mark – just
the sensation that something has been there
to calm a need.
Some days now I’m more just the spirit
of fire.
A ghost of smoke
A ghost of echoes
A ghost of ghosts
And I could truly be of the same amount
of use. My grass is overgrown.
Hasn’t been cut in weeks and I just
don’t give a damn. All my guitar strings are dead.
My Social Distortion vinyl skips on all my
favorite parts
because that’s where I’ve accidentally placed myself
again.
My fingers pressing in involuntary, pushed
by the weight of all I’ve done and failed to do.
I’m so full of everything. I’ve taken in so much
of what the world has to give, and I’ve
tried to take back so much of what life has
stolen. But sometimes I still can’t feel it.

There used to be a lake here but
it too is just drained now. I break in
in the middle of the night and step right
into its tomb.
This crater overflows with me
and I think maybe nothing and no one
will ever be able to hold all that I am now.