It’s Not Obvious

it’s not obvious
that the stars aren’t revolving around me
it’s not obvious that I’m the one
who’s actually moving
even when I’m sitting here
there is no disproving.
and you’re moving too

it’s not obvious
that I’m not static
as life evolves around me
that time’s dissolving into me
that I too am just another object
subject to vast forces
shaping me at some point
in a universal scaffold.
that is shaping itself

it’s not obvious
that my life isn’t planned
that it isn’t canned
how is it not a map
when there is seemingly no event
in my life that didn’t depend
on an amazing number of
low probability occurrences
subject to the subtlest
of disturbances
making each moment a miracle
in a myriad of possible timelines

I want things to be clearer
maybe hold things nearer
I’m happy and willing
to be the first one
to try and really look at themselves
in the mirror

why is it when one person has a bad day
he’s able to tuck it away
another wants to do good to compensate
and yet another spits bile
and hate
is it all just too late?
or did we never really stand a chance?

because it should be all a
little easier to follow
but there are sharp turns
and hard truths to swallow
with little time to wallow
so if I say
that I want to sit here
and pretend that the stars are going by
and that the moon is smiling
beaming
radiating not reflecting
and that
I like it that way
because it makes beautiful poetry

then
let me

because it’s not obvious to me
that that’s a bad idea

Mother Did You Know

*I dedicate this poem to women in general, but also to my mom, who is an amazing woman and still inspires me to be more to this day.

mother did you know
it’s all your fault
you caused the fall
of man
that them’s the breaks
when you talk to snakes

mother did you know
you’re not quite human
humans should be a male
those other parts
aren’t on the chart

mother did you know
that your emotions
make you weak
and at 40 you’re
past your peak
your wisdom
your courage
cause so much fear
that instead of
being vulnerable
they sneer
and jeer

mother did you know
you’re a body – that’s it
one that must submit
and if a man bruises it
beats it broken
it means you really
shouldn’t have spoken

mother did you know
you’re not supposed to enjoy sex
but ironically you want it
even if you don’t flaunt it
somehow you’re always asking
what you wear is just masking
and if you decide to show it
boy then, they really know it
you don’t need to give consent
men know what you meant
he would have been such a gent
if you weren’t giving off a scent

mother did you know
you can’t want more
you have a role
so just put aside your goals
you can have it all
only if you do it all
I know it’s not fair
it seems insane
but that’s what you get
for going outside your lane

mother did you know
no other group has survived
so long an oppression
legislating your bodies
out of your possession
through witch trials
laws permitting rape
and voice suppression
men mutliate you
murder you
send you to slaughter
men say “I love you mom”
then violate somebody else’s daughter

and mother did you know
that every single day
I stand in awe
at how you all persevere
and still manage to
hold your boys near

mother did you know
I’m glad you didn’t tell
me these things
you just loved with
unerring equality
and kindness
patience and
color blindness
taught me spirituality
can break us free
from our prison
and that we can always
do better
if we learn to listen

and mother did you know
as a man I’ve had to
unlearn many things
at times
admitting a hard truth
stings
but then there’s you
whose womb
you made room in
because of you
I know
what it means
to be human

If you’d like to hear me read this poem, click here.

*header image is Claire De Lune” by Audrey Kawasaki

The Necessary Delusion

a bird may soar
to 30,000 feet
but eventually
must stop to eat

this freedom we chase
is only found in delusion
imagine until you sleep
there is no other conclusion

free is a bungee jump
fleeting as you fall
until the cord reminds
you’re tethered to the wall

we are all bound
equally by physical laws
and time has no mercy
on our physical flaws

we are all bound
to consider adjacent souls
each swish of our tail
affects the shoal

maybe being free
is a life without selfishness
growing your compassion
alleviating helplessness

is it possible to find freedom
living within boundaries?
can life break the moulds
forged in nature’s foundries?

maybe we can
for a time
and find
a new kind of rhyme

the burdens
we face
so real
we scrape for escape
from this oppression we feel
and so maybe freedom
is just striking a deal

because surely if we
don’t feel free
for a few moments
and lave in the stream
of a dream
while our spirit foments
life will be drudgery
with nothing but suffering
freedom is our interface
from a reality we’re buffering

and maybe without
this ability
to self-deceive
we would never know
what we could ever achieve

My Eternity

energy and chaos churning
I blink, what is my quantum state?
no form for eyes discerning
I can do nothing but wait for weight

with muons and gluons burning
no demon full of hellish fury
or soul worth grievous spurning
knows the heat that starts my journey

in fractured temporal storming
fragile existence expanding
my protons and electrons forming
the universe is grandstanding

opposites attract, particles conforming
to find orbits in that quantum foam
the first of all elements is swarming
looking for a nebula to be my home

thick and thin gasses, uneven masses
gravity sorts out the cloud’s confusion
swept and swirled in stellar morasses
the pressure builds in cores of fusion

my life is nuclear, neutrons are made
I’m turned into carbon at six and six
a supernova ensues as energy fades
I explode into the hydrogen mix

and on and on, star to dust to star
until finally shaped in molten sphere
cooling crystals of quartz and feldspar
this is my planet I’m finally here

hard rock lies still while water flows
molecules of simple protein grow fatter
bathed in the warmth of geothermal glow
base pairs twist to form that helical ladder

then in each successive replication
a fight to survive the natural selection
copies borne with random mutations
fear to be subjects of nature’s rejection

smell, sight and sound – sharpening senses
growing complexity – evolutionary connection
avoiding predation – gaining defenses
the building of immunity to combat infection

here I stand, human, against all odds
limping to the present, eyes with dried tears
the winner of the day, no need of gods
my prize a lucky seventy or eighty years

when it’s time, Death’s touch does freeze
atop flaming pyre my body resides
my ashes blow away with the breeze
some parts of me become lithified
my carbon is breathed in by the trees
a deer eats grass, that has me inside
I glide through time with magnificent ease
I always have lived, and never have died

Nature Private Eye: The Tarp Mulligan Chronicles, Episode 4

I never should have got mixed up in the case. But when the mother came in, smelling of the gin you buy when you don’t want to look cheap but still tastes terrible, I knew she wasn’t gonna leave my office until I said yes, so I decided to save myself the waterworks. She said her son was a trucker running fruit legally from Mexico but suddenly disappeared. She says she knows something’s wrong because normally her sends a snapchat every night.

So I did some digging and got myself down to Mexico. Came across a grove of mango trees. They tell me they’ve been losing their fruit before it’s ready to fall off the tree. Picking them from their parent, hard and green, then the babies get sent up north. Sometimes even into Canada. You always hope you don’t run into child trafficking as a detective, but it looked like I was knee-deep in it now.

Sick operations like this make me want to lay waste to any bastard involved I could find. But I’m too old and I’m quite addicted to narrating my life, so I left my gun in its holster.

I was still no closer to finding that kid. I decided to hedge my bet on a border guard I knew. He was good at gathering rumors and owed me a favor ever since I helped him with a rattlesnake that was trying to ask his ankle to tango. They danced, but I got down there, sucked the poison out, and fast. That’s something you don’t forget.

Nature Private Eye: The Tarp Mulligan Chronicles – Episode 3

I had to see my informant. A dung beetle named Jake. He’d been in and out of the joint for years, but ever since I saved his life from a burrowing owl he owed me. He figured he wasn’t bein’ a rat if he was only talking to a P.I. I don’t like to judge, but it’s a dirty city and I couldn’t believe he was rolling something that small. Maybe times were tough, I don’t know. I asked if he needed help finding dung, he tells me he knows where a big stash is but it’s full male giraffes whipping each other with their necks, all over some broad. He’s afraid to get trampled. I don’t like tall tales but he had a look on his face, I knew he was scared.

I told him, I ‘d see what I could do. I knew a pretty girl over at the zoo who owed me a favor. I helped talk her brother down off a rooftop observatory one time. Thought he could come up with a new constellation. He went mad with all the choices. I calmed him, but the poor kid had stars in his eyes for a week.

He said thanks and asked me what my business was. I told him I was looking for a bower bird. One who likes shiny things. Seems this time he went too far. Took an heirloom from an heiress and she wants it back. So Jake tells me he knows the guy. Just a couple miles east of the lake. Likes to use pretty trinkets to attract the ladies. Uses it decorate his ‘love suite’. I shook my head and told him it was a shame that most of my cases come down to the stupid stuff a man do for a dame he’s into.

I know there is nothing more dangerous than a flamboyant bower bird so I turned up my collar and headed for the lake and tried not to think of the bottle of gin in my office desk drawer.

Life in Equations

time doesn’t care for me
gravity weighs on me
preys on me

degradation
loss of lubrication
wearing away of tissue
friction becomes an issue
the grinding in my groan
hysteresis in my bend
and bone

vessels weaken
thin
how long can my heart win
against endless pumping
glitches in the pattern’s
thumping

neural pathways fray
in withered grey
more and more circuits
misfire each day
approaching cognitive disarray

I am life
subject to physical law
and though I head
towards death’s maw
with weakened knees
I stand in awe
even with all our frailty
and flaws

Nature Private Eye: The Tarp Mulligan Chronicles – Episode 2

It was rainy and wet. And I was in no mood to talk to those whales. Not without a good porpoise. All I could think about was getting my feet back on to the pavement again. The streets. I knew where I stood. Not gonna lie, the GPS helped. 

I was standin’ there in wet sand. I just crawled out of that salty mess. One of those little tropical numbers, she calls me, says she’s worried about her brother gettin’ in with the wrong crowd. Says he’s been doing some bad algae with a parrotfish down by the coral. I didn’t get anything concrete, but I must have been close to something because some kelp tried to strangle me.

Fortunately a shark comes along and gives me hand. Turns out to be a Thresher named Jimmy. I helped his brother out of a fishing net last April. Gettin’ rid of the kelp squared us, in fact I might owe them. But I had no time to worry about ledgers with these whales emptying their blowholes on me. I told them they were wasting their breath. I was soaking wet, and the ocean seemed unhappy that I left and decided to rain on me. I tossed them a business card and told them to call me in the morning. I should’ve almost finished a bottle of scotch by then and might be in the mood to listen.

Nature Private Eye: The Tarp Mulligan Chronicles

Episode 1

No sooner had I sat down at my desk. Maria buzzed me. I was feelin’ shot. I just came back from staking out the moon and sun. My first all-nighter since college. Worst year of my life. The Earth had approached a couple of days ago. The broad was in a panic. I knew enough to just shut up and listen. She thought the moon and the sun were having an affair.

I never saw the moon, and around 1 pm, I see something passing in front of the sun, but never got a look at her face. All I got were burger wrappers in my car and a possible burned retina in right eye.

I told Maria to let her in. I needed the work and maybe it was a client. She walked in and even with my 1.5 eyes I could tell she was the most beautiful dame I ever laid eyes on. She said her name was Fiona, she was an astronomer and I could tell from the way she was holding her telescope she was kinky. But when you see a face this serious, you know it ain’t the right time to ask her if you can widen her aperture. She tells me, “I was just mindin’ my own business y’know, looking out my telescope here, just during my lunch break. I saw everything. The moon, the sun. She saw his corona.”

I told the dame we better go tell the Earth together. It was a lie. I could’ve told the Earth myself, but I wanted to dance slow with her, without any music, and have her keep an eye on the stars while I got some shut-eye.

A year of conversation

                        When I knew you
I was spring

Ready for rebirth
For things to begin anew

Hope penetrated my soil
You beamed at me
Love blossomed
                         When I knew you
I was summer
Days were hazy
And lazy flowing
One into the next

Love was carefree
and easy
                        When I knew you
                         I was autumn
                                       Looking back was peaceful
                                       I tried to consume
                                       And store you
Making sure I survived
Cold months ahead
                      When I knew you
I was winter
I needed warmth so badly

I was desperate
Starved in frozen land
Trying to bring some light
To dark days
                          I know you
And you know me
I am the seasons
And though seasons change
There are threads
That bind them
                         I am always
The air you breath
I am day
I am night
I am the sun
I am clouds
Shifting

I am turning
I am stargazing
I am the moon
I have phases
I am gravity
Keeping you grounded

I am wind
Blowing worries away
Love has many parts
Shapes

But I shall keep it safe
Always in you arms

*Just FYI this poem is mean to be a conversation. Bolded (or centered) lines are spoken by both people together. This is not meant to be gendered. It’s just about love.