Clouds and Trees

"Nothing ever goes away enough or arrives enough,/ and I want to cry when I think of my heart,/ muscle pounding in muscle, greedy always for joy." – 'A Warning', Eric Anderson

Month: December, 2009


This time I’ve discovered
that I really have no interest
in the highs and lows of realistic living
and honestly I’m not sure where my life is going
at this particular juncture
But what’s worrying me most
is that I seem to have nothing to say
and certainly nothing to write
which could be perceived as poetry
by even the most avant-garde of critics
it’s just lack of meaning
wrapped in a lack of structure
In other terms
while my poetry might often imitate my life
I hope that the opposite
is not entirely true



Outside the leaves were settling
in all the colors of the sunset
and I wrote novels about myself
doing extraordinary things
being a better man
than the one I saw myself becoming

My best friend, he smoked tobacco from a pipe
and talked a lot about the best kind of life
about “doing things without thinking about it
instead of thinking about doing things”
and he made up these quotable phrases
because he thought maybe it’d be a good way
for him to be remembered

The girl I loved
she used to lie on her back
and she would tell me about appreciating
the simple things
and for awhile she was someone
I thought I could learn from

I used to contemplate
the world I was living in
and one day, on a whim
I bought myself a notebook
and long after my friend’s pipe was mine
and the girl died from too-high-self-esteem
I had filled the pages with descriptions
of every beautiful moment
every unexpected encounter
all the times my heart felt itself
beat in a rhythm different
from the one I was born with

After the War

In November
we remember the snow in a different color
not black and white but some shade
impossible to name
just like all the colors hidden in your hair

In our bedrooms
we remember what it means
to fight in a war
how the bullets rained on our rooftops
leaving holes that we could see stars through
when we lied just right

In our next memory
the sun rises in spots across the carpet
and I wake up with your hand in mine
and we feel the thrill of being alive
for the very first time


We being miracles
believed in ourselves
and let religion come naturally
For example,
you were to me
a book of poetry
filled with prophecies of quiet boys
who you visited in the night
who were stricken with the realization
that they’d lost you in memory
and that has always been the tragedy
of having no evidence
that the past was ever real

I tried to be more eastern
in my philosophies
chanting mantras
like om mani padme hum
over and over again until eventually
sanskrit reverberated
off of all the things surrounding me
But even finding focus
in tantric meditation
and pranayama breathing
couldn’t clear my mind
of that image of you
floating golden into me
in the middle of the night
and how it sticks in my memory
and how it colors every thought
Even when finally,
I step out of the river of my mind
and sit complacently on the bank
watching it flow by
I see a shadow of your face
just beneath the surface
the only place where the water stops
examines itself
touches you
until I can’t say no to nature anymore
and I realize finally
that the sea is just another place
from which I’ll never be able to escape


Lying here
pretending I remember how to sleep
I can’t help but imagine
that sound you used to make
in the moments when we’d kiss
and how in the morning I mentioned it
and maybe you thought I was making fun of you
because the next night you kissed me silently
and I wonder now if that was the first time
that I broke something of yours
and then hid it in my memory

I remember the nights
when we would lie side by side
and for the first time I could sleep peacefully
with your arms and legs entangled in mine
because whichever way we’re facing
we’re still face to face
and even with your eyes closed
I still feel you seeing me
and I see myself reflected in your irises
the only place where blue can make me feel better

I think back to the times
when we touched each other drunkenly
and when you brushed against me
the ecstasy was almost unbearable
so I drew back from your fingertips
and I’m not sure what that meant to you
but you kept your hands behind my back
from then on

When we talked about how your life
was beginning to feel empty
because we had just found our passions
sleeping in another country
you cried right next to me and that’s when I realized
I couldn’t remember how to comfort you, or anybody really
and I spilled orange juice on your floor
but in the morning we decided
you must have forgotten knocking it over

I can’t remember why I didn’t see all the signs
that buried beneath the layers of lies
which we thought we’d been peeling away all this time
were just more layers
But I truly am beginning to feel
that with you I could find myself one day
exposed and without a shell
and lying in your bed
with your hair filling the crook of my neck
I’d feel warm without my clothes

Some part of me knows
that we did this all wrong the first time around
I could tell by the way you didn’t want me to touch you
even though that sunset was so beautiful
and we both knew I’d be leaving soon

But now I think I’m strong enough
to kiss you with nothing but
our blood draining to our lips
and I hope I didn’t start you
on this downward spiral
but if so, I wouldn’t mind
meeting you at the bottom
because even in the dark
I can see how your hair
rains down around your cheeks
like your head is just another cloud
lingering over this city

Again I think back to when we kiss
and fall asleep in that position
our lips commingle, stick together
like licking opposite sides of an icicle
and when we wake up it’s just as cold
but the rain in Seattle never really freezes
it just hits the ground quietly and collects around our feet
but to me it doesn’t matter which side of the country
we collide on
I just know that in that moment
we might see each other
in a way we haven’t been seen
in three years
and for once I’d be happy
just to sleep


New surface covers the route I used to take to my school
and I drive at 90 miles an hour cutting footprints in the asphalt
luckily the lines I’ve drawn are too dark to be followed

New Jersey is written lightly in the blank spaces of my brain
it’s the backdrop to my memories
which I still see in black and white

New people stand on the carpet
it’s just my latest party but the friends that I remember
have learned how to say the same words in a different style of writing

New music floats softly through the windows of my room
I watch it replace the newest paint that they put up there much too soon
as I lay immobile on the bed where I used to lay immobile

New hands touch the softest places on my face
where creases rise and fall like new lines on the asphalt
meant to guide you somewhere you can stand
and remember yourself in all the shades of flesh