Tired Eyes

You’re tattered teddy bears and skipping class

A potpourri of moments from the past

You’re prom night perfume lean in close

The first but not the last

 …

There will always be a place on my chest for your hand

A place on my lips for your name

Memories have a funny way of drifting off

People the same

I have tired eyes, tired eyes, tired eyes,

Once the iridescent sheen has fled

We’re rusted lights that see too straight

You liked to joke that love is dead

There will always be a place on my chest for your hand

A place on my lips for your name

Memories have a funny way of drifting off

People the same

Raindrops slide down the windshield

But never in a straight line

A last love letter and an open pen

Sit on the passenger’s side

Absence is the only true goodbye

Goodbye

Anyplace Else

The end came as a surprise, though perhaps it should not have. It was kind of like learning about breathing from a book. You can read pages and pages but not until you’ve lingered under the water for a moment too long will you understand, in a way that is meaningful, the human need for air.

Of course, I knew there would be an afternoon spent putting all of my possessions back into the two bags they came out of. I knew I would have fewer things than I started with. I always do. I trade objects for memories and move on with suitcases full of potential energy.

I avoid goodbyes.

Our last night together was one to remember. And it was one to forget. I tried to be a coward. I lay there with my eyes closed and hoped she would do the same. I thought that if I let everything fade away it might not materialize again until the worst was over.

In the dark I felt her hand on my chest. “This can’t be how it ends.”

I felt a weight that was too heavy, too final.

“I know.”

I wrapped her in my arms and sighed as the world began to spin too quickly. I closed my eyes and kissed a memory.

12 hours later, and approximately one-fifth of the way through the human equivalent of pushing the reset button, I woke up from my fitful sleep. I did not wake up because of the noise of the engine, the considerable turbulence, or the wailing of a child who must have thought we were headed for hell. I woke up because I thought she put her hand on my chest the way she always does when she’s half asleep and trying to get comfortable. I woke up because I missed her.

I tried to go back to sleep. I tried to drift back to the two of us sitting on the porch in the half-light of dawn, eating scrambled eggs and sipping tea like a couple who had been married for longer than they could remember.

The sky was colorful and cloudless as the first rays of sunlight began to shine through. I grinned at her and told a lie.

“You’re the only person who could keep me from chasing a sunrise as beautiful as this one.”

She laughed softly, green eyes shining, and we waited for the day.

A flight attendant came by, offering peanuts and alcohol. She must have noticed my grip on the side of my seat as the plane was buffeted by turbulence.

“Don’t worry sweetheart, I’ve been through this a whole lot of times and I can guarantee you it’ll be just fine.” I nodded and squeezed my eyes shut.

In the afternoon, we headed to the cliffs. Our shoes were discarded; they were not as adept at gripping the wet rocks as our bare toes. A false step would send us tumbling twenty feet towards the waves that were crashing into the cliff’s sheer face. We went slowly, pausing to rest our feet, and to look out at a body of water big enough that small problems could be swallowed up.

The early evening light began to dim and a crispness developed in the air. Maybe we thought we could climb all the way around the cliffs back to the safety of the beach. Maybe we were being naïve. An hour ago it hadn’t seemed to matter. A distant problem, hardly worth mentioning. To press on or to turn around. We paused for a moment, unsure whether to trust the optimism that was fading as quickly as the last rays of the sun. It was the hesitation that did us in.

I picked up my notebook and took the pen out of the binding, but I didn’t write anything. A plane is too small a space for feelings to become coherent. There’s no wiggle room, no perspective. On an airplane everything is too measured. It’s a place where your food is rationed out in pre-made packages and served with starched smiles that always seem to cost more than they’re worth. A place where the air is processed until breathing becomes a chore and time becomes less linear and more academic.

I still miss her.

I can see her mouthing “I love you” through the car window as I dragged my bags into the airport. I cannot remember if I mouthed anything back.

Does it matter?

There’s something about getting to an airport that is not your final destination. Something about not knowing what time it is, what day it is, and seeing that your flight no longer has a departure time. There’s something about missing a person so much that you have trouble caring, and realizing that somehow, in an error that’s too painful to think about, you let yourself stop caring too soon.

I spent the night sleeping in the A wing of the San Francisco international airport. It felt as much like home as anyplace else.

Before I sleep

This is supposed to be a song lyric. It is a work in progress. It’s almost complete but the verses may need to be altered a bit and/or rearranged.

Before I Sleep

How can you look at the conclusion?

How can you smile through your fear?

Because never again and always

I’ll be here

 

So shake me and tell me two more times

Stay with me as I fade

I’ve been dancing my whole life

Right here’s where I’ll be laid

 

When I gaze at you with question marks

Drifting toward the end

Remind me that you’re forever mine

What’s six feet between friends?

 

I’ll carry the melody

And we’ll sing to the birds

Don’t let me see a tear roll down your cheek

If I forget the words

 

So shake me and tell me two more times

Stay with me as I fade

I’ve been dancing my whole life

Right here’s where I’ll be laid

 

You’re a tall drink of water

New every time we speak

But I have promises to keep

Just a mile now before I sleep

A mile before I sleep

 

So shake me and tell me two more times

Stay with me as I fade

I’ve been dancing my whole life

Right here’s where I’ll be laid

Seven Days

I tried writing this specifically as a lyric as opposed to just a poem

Seven Days

What I feel today will surely fade

Right now it’s sharp and new

If not with ease, if not with grace, Then

With time I can forget this too Am7 Amaj7 D

 

In two weeks I’ll be gone

And you’ll feel far away

I’ll be here with a lonely song

And there’ll be nothing left to say

 

In a week the strain will worsen

As only half the time remains

Enough left to make the world our own

A well spent seven days

 

My brain tells me to throw up walls

Says I knew better than to start

When I could always see the end

But it’s said with half a heart

 

In two weeks I’ll be gone

And you’ll feel far away

I’ll be here with a lonely song

And there’ll be nothing left to say

 

On the street I stumble into you

Two kisses wait for me

Goodbye lurks just past hello

With not a minute in between

 

If there’s a dream of pulling through

In my mind I’ve seen it

I haven’t fallen yet

But I’m leaning, I’m leaning

 

In two weeks I’ll be gone

And you’ll feel far away

I’ll be here with a lonely song

And there’ll be nothing left to say

 

A feeling that will surely fade

With another seven days

Please another seven days

Seven days

Imperial Problem

Here’s some spoken word poetry.

Come What May

Everything stops

With that first hit

The kind of peace that I can’t quit

In a moment it all slows down

As I let my brain bathe in sound

 

The world

Appears to me brand new

I hear every chord as it comes through

The crescendo builds inside my brain

Tranquility bubbles through my veins

 

Such longing

For a heated spoon

Hard to find a spot where there’s still room

This hide and seek’s a scary game

But I’ll keep playing, all the same

 

One Motion

Of a graceful hand

The bells are up, the music stands

An open box, with all the things

Bad with the good, but how it sings

 

These times

When it all starts to blend

So many parts that I’ve got to mend

When the feeling’s gone the need will stay

But I have my armor, come what may

Lost

Lost

 

What’s the length of an arm?

And how many shots does it take to feel warm?

I’m biding my time in this room that’s too bright

Waiting on chemicals to dull the night

 

I can’t lie, I don’t understand the game

But if my drink’s got rum I guess its all the same

Sometimes I try to play along

But one misstep, and they’ll know I’m wrong

 

If not for the music and beer

I wouldn’t even know why I’m here

Hard as I try to get caught up in it

The alcohol only lets me wade through the minutes

 

They can all sit on the roof watching stars

And I’ll walk home past the empty bars

Out here I can see my breath

And that autumn rain it feels like death

 

I wish that I had a hand to hold

A little warmth to take the edge off the cold

Can’t get past the distance, it only expands

From my lonely shoulder to the tip of my hand