I have a book for everything, tons stacked on shelves, ready next to my bed, vital voices everywhere guiding and guarding. If I want to make a soufflé (because every so often, one wants to make a soufflé), Julia is ready to help, mistress of the art of no-collapse. Become a better lover? Not possible, but just in case, diverse manuals proffer advice, presenting tasteful drawings of joyful possibility (though these are not in plain sight — relatives). Stories to frighten and stories to love — page-turning tales that taught me winning The Lottery isn’t always a good thing, sometimes one needs to stand like Atticus against an army of stupid, and yes, leaving the comfortable Shire means one will likely get burned, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. And speaking of burning: when I’ve made a mistake, when it’s time to make right with God, there’s a book for that, too. I’m happy. My world is secure. I’m as wise as the wise, confident that, should I ever want… something more, someone will happily show me what that is.
Spend a day observing people.
Most of the time, it’ll be boring. But if we’re lucky, we’ll catch a glimpse of something we’re not meant to see. Pilots leave an apartment window open while waiting for flight attendants to arrive. We see their desperation. A man in a breezeway doesn’t think anyone is upstairs when he tries to get his dealer off his back, all while his little girl plays. The fratboy next door doesn’t know someone can hear everything — and wants him anyway. A whole political party shows its true colors.
These poems are dedicated to who we are when we’re on our own time — to the strange, laughable, heartbreaking, dangerous ways we do ourselves.
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I’ve tried to not want my City, to make life here, far from the streets and hills and men that brought me life in such breadth that I gulped lust at every turn, bodies and books and sweet blessed fog, busses, parks, crazies four floors beneath screaming “HELP! HELP!” though there’s only a streetlamp, three-hundred-dollar theater seats steps from human defecation (it’s not pretty) — tether-bridges to windy and windy headlands and mystical beaches and sex — where to walk is to be enveloped, in love. I tried to love her instead of him, once upon a time, way back when lies meant caring, and my brain and niceness said I shouldn’t hurt anyone so I drowned Aaron in hope and went on screwing and became good at it and talked about; but each night, laying on top of her sweet and forgiving body, sculpted ballers did sweaty lay-ups in my room, in my head in me and if it wasn’t for those players, she never would’ve cum, so it seemed like it was okay. But it wasn’t. I tried Return of the Native. I tried The Glass Menagerie. Everything by Faulkner. All I wanted was Sassoon, maybe a little Woolf, but I’d lock myself in my room to read words words words, and I’d yawn yawn yawn — while A Room of One’s Own whispered slyly to Suicide in the Trenches: “He’s missed the point. “He’s really missed the point.” Sushi Streisand Dances with Wolves mango con limón my dear friend who wants to be dear so he must be but… no-fap novenas TED Talks on writing guys who aren’t built who really aren’t built who seriously aren’t built great personalities no-fap try try try John Cage no-fap “Thy will be done” Los Angeles Christianity — when all along, sweet lullaby, sleeps the not-tried, the true, until I put on a jacket against cold San Francisco freedom and smile destiny.
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Library of Memory, finger on the spines that hold together me. Oh, I do not like this book! (Though I’ve read it a thousand times.) I was too young to understand. How was I to know? (I knew.) One night sags the shelf that ought to be in the Restricted Section (like the old days, when you had to ask for the books with drawings). These spines are warped. Horrible! I move on. My, this one is beautiful. Just look at its golden cover: “Full of greeting cards and fairy tales.” Here, I learn right from wrong and begin to build My Best Self. Things work out in this book (just like a Hollywood movie). Grandma really likes it. I really should read it someday. But they said I could take out only one. Maybe this one? Bright and Sunny Days? And there are other rooms, futures I’ve never visited, a place for faith. Philosophy. I really should… as I bow my head, reach for Mistakes and turn to you.
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