I slipped into a stream of consciousness

Darker and cooler because it was still wet from an afternoon shower. The cave stunk like dirt and earth and roots dangling down. I gripped at the columns of clay and silt and the hunks came off in crumbly appreciation. My thumbs were black. I dug further into the edge of the cave until I felt the soil change into something firmer and more resistant. The roots that hung from the ceiling were thicker here, and tangled together to form a canopy of wood. The stones that cemented the floor of the cave were smooth clammy limestone and I could easily lay across them. I knelt down near a cavity filled with still, patient water. It had never been touched. I hovered my hand, outstretched, over the puddle. I felt the air between my skin and the mineral soup. As they reached the pool, my fingers turned into roots and I understood what they might have been whispering.


never leave when you know you could

Feels like getting in the van and putting my summer shoes on the seat
Its the sunscreen missing in the cooler
The stretches of horizon getting colored in again
and my lonesome pines, my cactus circle, my rocky outcrops
just an ordinary story about this daughter
how she came to miss the road and its tolls
Feels like getting in the back with a blanket
gas station lights and an empty star filled night


spring blood and flowers

The land was rushing with birth all around the hills and the treetops held a maddening lambent green. The sky took on the daunting task of being compared to the green, there was not blue enough to sit above this spring. I watched as she pulled her hair back from her face and the blood and the freckles on her face got mixed together. She grit her teeth. She looked really tough, like some teenage martyr from a comic book. My first impression of her was that she needed to lose some weight. She needed to get out of the Carhartts and into some jeans. I would have tied her hair for her and shown her how to smile. I wasn't a sissy. I even held the legs and watched as they kicked and bled and squealed, but I was there because I chose to come to see. An older man, with a thick red neck was shouting at us. "Hold her still, hold it....next!" The little calf got tossed off the table and scurried ball-less back into the shoot. I watched the girl wipe a tear from her eye, but it wasn't sadness, it was dirt and dust.

I thought about the needle I held to inject them. I couldn't believe I was using a needle on these animals. They were bleating at me. I pinched the little part of skin near their rear and did it quick so they wouldn't hurt, but they felt it.

I took a drink of coke that had been warmed up in the sun. It tasted like somewhere else and I imagined going home and showering off. I thought I might be experiencing some sort of lifestyle, but I knew deep down that I wasn't really doing anything different. I looked like I might be used to this sort of production. I had blood on my pants and shit on my shoes. I smelled like hamburger, then I threw up in my mouth a little when I thought of that.

The girl was only fourteen. She now had piss on her shirt because one of the calves had been really startled and everyone laughed at the stream of calf piss. I laughed too, but I didn't think that was funny at all. Proving that I could do these things wasn't really proof, it just meant that I could play act for a few hours on a weekend away from college.

My room mate had driven us out in her pickup. We climbed out of the car into the dusty sun and offered our pretend casual acceptance of the situation. I knew I should be able to watch.

The girls arms were bruised when we left, she was covered in shit and blood and too much sun. She never stopped to take a break, even when all the other girls were making sandwiches for the ranchers. She stood there and held every calf and then let go of every calf. Catch and release.

I thought that because I came from a family of ranchers that I would fit right in, and I was really good at faking it. But when I got back to my dorm room all I could think about was the little calves and the blood. I bought myself ice cream to cool down and I showered. I put on new clothes and threw my dusty shirt into the laundry bin. I opened my laptop and thought about never doing that again or telling stories about it.

Finding out that you really don't belong is something.

I can repeat stories about life on a ranch, and I can grow tomatoes and I can kill a chicken and gut a trout, but I am not a girl like the girl with the blood and freckles.

without a flashlight in the woods

being alone is feeling alone. walking in these woods at night is so tempting. imagine the bushes scratching tiny marks into your arms as you brush past. imagine the empty moon catching bits of your shadow on the logs and brambles. i can see it now, a meadow or lake, it is silver in this light and smells like a dark, soggy pool. the grass on the banks leads me to believe this isn't the first time someone has been here, but i am alone.



I want candy, sweet

I have always had too much to drink
because I like the feeling of a drunk night
Feeling hunger in the pit of my stomach
the morning after puts me in my place again
now all is right with the world
I need your touch and your patronizing
introductions and all that stuff.


a small piece of paper or not

I saw how you looked at her when you walked through the gas station
and pretended to need chips or beer or chips.
The rows of plastic glinted like jewels for her.
Her hair is black and so dark it reaches some other place,
far from here in the spicy, Spanish sun.
I saw you lean in to take the change and smile,
the way you always smile, the way you've always done.
And I felt sorry for her, for her wasted beauty and warmth
in a cement corner away from the rest of the bathers.
If I adopted her I would name her Ramira or Yasbella,
not Selene or Camila or even Jasone.
I would watch her eyes grow green,
study how the street lights reflect in them,
different parts of the night.

I ain't been home in I don't know when

I haven't been home in a long, long time. Back to the trees and back to friends. Trying to leave and not to settle in. All of this matters because I think about drinking with you again, on your porch. I think about your mom's cigarettes and your hairspray bathroom. I think about us when we grew up and not even remembering what we ever had in common besides laughter. That is still enough for you to be the one I call at midnight and again at one.

impossible identity

There was a man on the subway today that looked like he had just stepped out of a fantastic story about a man who had been shipwrecked on a caribbean island with only a bottle as companion. He had a thick black beard and piercing blue eyes that looked through the tiled underground walls far off into some other realm. Obviously he was drunk, but who wouldn't be after being stranded for years on an isolated island and then returning to such a filthy and congested metropolis. His fingers kept clutching onto the straps of his backpack tighter and tighter as the train sped up. At one point, as we were all leaning into the curve he stood up and positioned himself in the middle of the car. He took out a conch shell and began to bugle. The sound made everyone on the train look up. He held it with one hand as if it were the most natural thing in the world to be playing a conch. He was calling us. With one long winded expansion of his lungs he filled the car with a great moaning. Some of the passengers pretended not to look or hear, but everyone was transfixed. This call to action lasted at least thirty seconds before he placed the shell back into his pack and returned to his seat. The look in his eyes was the sadness one feels when they remember what could have been. He disappeared after that into the subway. I tried to follow him, but all I could see was the back of a homeless man shifting off into the tiled tunnel.

insomnia means listening to the birds sing and knowing they won't stop until you fall asleep

no sleep happening.
not even a tiny drop.
i need you sleep.
come take over
this mind zoo.