Last night the neighborhood owls were going crazy.
All my New Year’s resolutions can be rolled into one: Pay More Attention
Come out of the woodwork and sit beside me.
I will put on some water for tea
Sublunary lovers leave
Don’t let the sequential numbers fool you. The calendar is anything but linear.
The mountains we climb in our pajamas
Tonight at the park I forgot what country I was in, like I’d been blasted back to something pre-national and yet very much within the bounds of civilization. A total if temporary shift I still can’t account for.
What about you? Have you lost your belief in the miraculous? Are you too plugged in to your phonefog to have any sense of what your soul is saying?
The true graphomaniac leaves it all on the table
Day 10 of trying to spin straw into gold
The notebook days are (almost) done
The director calls for another take, this one in unreal time.
I don’t deserve your sympathy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want it.
Maintaining a sense of reality vs. sustaining the illusion.
It can only be called alchemy if there’s a change of state.
S. didn’t paint what he could not see.
Nor should I write what I don’t know.
Clinging to the Godhead by our fingernails.
A happy medium between fireproof and forest fire; a warm heart and an unscorched earth.
Sipping from the narrow end of the funnel cloud. Ideas arrive in a whirlwind but can still only be transcribed one character at a time.
Pointing to the blue and green ball in the children’s book, Ruby looks at me and says “That’s the Urf, Dada! That’s the Urf!” It’s the most patriotic I’ve felt about my home planet in a long time.
Cultural differences in ocular cosmetics. Eyes that are allowed to only be eyes.
Candlepower vs. candlelight.
Bizarre dream sequences seep into my most perfunctory emails. Above the air vent I locate a dream catcher, which I shake free of spiderwebs and dust before replacing. That seems to do the trick.
For the well-trained academic, everything is “problematic.”
I never realize how not-serious I am until I meet someone who is actually serious.
If I can’t get high, does that mean I’m already there?
Beautiful things you can never possess
All your important relationships, redefined as prepositions
Just another episode in our effortless campaign to make no sense
A wayward postal employee parks in the middle of the food truck lot and starts selling other people’s mail. At first, the citizens are scandalized, but they quickly start snatching up birthday cards, letters, catalogs and bills, paying good prices, treasuring them as if they were their own, much to the eventual confusion of their family members and descendants.
The girl with the fleur de lis tattoo
flew a little too close to the floor
Stop mapping the existing roads. Start surveying where new roads should be.
I can guess the age of strangers with surprising accuracy, but my own friends to me appear timeless.
English major follies: I got the platonic confused with the pastoral, and that little slip-up led to my big one.
At midnight, the emperor draws his scimitar
and cuts himself a slice of cheesecake
The maudlin waldmeister falls asleep
in his deer stand in the suburbs
The cyclops in bifocals rides his tricycle
the wrong way down a one-way road.
The pro-rebellion protoceratops lounges
in the bay windows of the antebellum villa
The Frog Prince and the Mouse King stage a duel
with green translucent cocktail swords
The Brideless Bridegroom figure skates
through the frozen elevator lobby
The entire village sleeps in.
People tend to compare love vs. infatuation, celebrating one over the other, but the best is when they coincide completely. The best I can explain is it’s like your heart puts on figure skates and ice-dances and you don’t worry about sticking the landing because you never land.
Today Ruby insisted on eating her pancakes with a spoon. She was only marginally successful.
I couldn’t bear to look at any more photostreams. I had to unfollow everyone, especially myself.
Apollonian roaming charges
Nothing is more eloquent than silence.
Thoughts of deleting my accounts have gotten me through many a sleepless night.
Bear hugs from which we emerge scratched and bleeding, passed out on the bearskin rug.
Bear hugs from actual bears.
One of the best things that can be said of someone: They listen.
The truth languishes in the drafts folder
Past the point of no return. Beyond the mystic peppercorn.
She wasn’t surprised that her new apartment was haunted. But it did surprise her that the ghosts already knew her name.
An illegal gunrunner and a midnight e-mailer. Like his father and his father’s father.
My friends who have disappeared, or long ago went silent. I suspect that they know things I have yet to figure out.
Ruby’s short story today:
His sister was a girl.
She had young hair.
She was just a baby.
Another euphoric springtime
is just around the
Set your intentions.
Burn your suspension bridges
I can never sleep
when the moon is full
Belief vs. the desire to believe.
To find one, I had to let go
of the other.
You have the perfect cover for being you.
I’m not sure when I got old, but I know when I became OK with it.
The schools in this neighborhood look like haunted castles. Brick, symmetrical, beautiful, abandoned.
So maybe there’s been a little more madness than method lately…
If I stop moving for even a moment, I’ll cease to be
a moving target
The oven timer ringing
in the back of your mind
Through the gallery window, the soft ring of the streetcar bell, the same key as your singing bowl. There are no passengers yet, only engineers, but already this feels more like a city.
I would have been fine with “enough” if “more” had not been an option.
A note scribbled by the grocery store clerk on the back of a receipt: There are things undreamed of in your breakfast cereal. Marshmallow mythologies. Entheogenic sweeteners. Prizes you don’t want to win.
I’m fine with smartphones to the extent that they facilitate daydreaming
Like unsuccessful downloads, friendships
that eventually time out
“Dad,” Ruby told me in the car. “We went to the pet store yesterday, but they didn’t have any horses.”
Dance all you like. But whatever you do, do not talk.
During my lunch break I drove up to the roof of the parking garage and nearly fell asleep for an hour, crammed uncomfortably into the car yet at peace in the sunshine, bagpipes playing in the distance. I am glad people can find a reason to party, but I feel no inclination or ability to join them.
The emoticon artist was run out of town because his work was too effective. All the emojis he designed had 10 times their intended effect.
We didn’t meet so much as we collided.
The only thing worse than losing your data
is having it recovered.
You’re lucky if you believe in luck.
Impressionistic paintings of industrial parks. No one buys them.
The gallerist loses his shirt, but the artist just shrugs.
We’ll see what they say in a few centuries, he says.
I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, on the wrong side of the river, on the wrong side of thirty, on the wrong side of history, my pockets full of acorns and pieces of the Berlin Wall. But I’m finally moving in the right direction.
I can feel you are beginning to distance yourself from me.
I’m beginning to distance myself from me also.
Creative placemaking: What I present as being from here may actually be from somewhere else
Why is it so hard to do what I know I need to do?
Sleeping with the window open, the police sirens align perfectly with my breathing.
They rise as I inhale, and drop as I breathe out again.
The old brick warehouse that accommodates our dreams.
Every time a train goes past, it shakes loose a century’s worth of dust.
I use a phone for talking to myself and a notebook for talking to other people.
Soon, we will have to face the music. But not tonight.
I laid on the couch and slept for hours,
and all I dreamed of was the wind.
My heartfelt odes to clarity — almost always premature.
We’ve been out here holding a candle so long
we no longer know who we’re holding it for.
What’s the opposite of selling out?
That mask looks good on you. But it could be hard to take off.
O P E N I N G
D A Z E
On my commute this morning I saw a dead beaver on the road beside Rosedale Park. Something caused it to try and migrate, and the instinct proved fatal. Already it feels like these woods have lost their spirit animal.
Parenting, work, family, life… It all seems to go much more smoothly once you learn not to fight it. When you aren’t always trying to get away.
Here I sit with my head cracked open, leaking verbiage on to the page.
If these scribbles can’t sustain me, nothing will.
I just want my mind to be able to stand on its own two feet.
Joys aggrandized are joys diminished
The Grand Opening of yet another Prohibition-themed bar. Maybe we are just nostalgic for a time when there were inhibitions to rebel against.
Eye contact you can’t talk your way out of after the fact
In the new transit proposal, all the roads are replaced by canals.
It’s just an ordinary walking tour. But we’ve convinced ourselves
we’re on a journey into the imagination.
The lunchtime report from home:
Emil is asleep.
Ruby is building a drawbridge for the mermaids.
In the future, to save water, all the fountains will be replaced by holograms.
Dunk your head in while you still can.
At 8:23 p.m., the light hits the buildings so that downtown turns brilliant shades of green and blue and silver. For the first time in five years, all the drivers look up from their phones and marvel at the skyline.
A lone piano note echoes, and then lingers,
swirling as it fades
Conspiracies of legacy:
We are gathered here to remember.
And also to forget.
On nights when a storm is approaching, I feel less alone in the world.
Another week passes, almost without a sound.
The invisible wreckage wrought by restraint
Local saints, minor feast days.
Our Lady of the Water Tower and the Crown Prince of the Grain Elevator
meet up at midnight to drag the strip.
Don’t question my heart, just my methods.
Which are none of my business
Quiet nights of moonlight and ragweed.
There will be lakes, and rumors of lakes. Uncharted lakes that fill up with no warning.
Arable dreamspace. Terra firma.
Vacation rentals on the river.
What are you willing to give up for someone? — What are they willing to give up for you?
Another Walpurgis in the flatlands. Eventually we’ll find our people.
Whispers of navigable cloudroutes
across the faultline tablecloth
“This country is not what it used to be”?
Maybe it hasn’t been for a long time.
I have everything I need in this city, except unfamiliarity.
What happened? When I picked up my phone and started to scroll, it was still yesterday.
Art vs. Artistry
It’s not always possible to be prolific. First you have to be pre-lific. And one day surely you’ll be post-lific. But for now it’s best to just be “lific,” free of any pretense or prefix.
You say your doubts have only mounted. If you keep holding on to them,
you won’t amount to much.
All hands on deck! The energy-efficient strobe lights have exploded, sending fragments of light-emitting diodes onto the crowded dance floor, where people slip on liquid crystal, inadvertently inventing dance moves that no one will live to remember.
Intoxication is not the aim, it is the byproduct of our visionary fever, which, when it burns purest, leaves little trace of the poison.
No sooner thought than forgotten.
Week of the Whirlybirds
They found him by the ruins of the old tennis center, inhaling fresh cans of tennis balls. He’d been training for decades for the Siberian Open, only to find out it never existed.
Ruby drew and cut out a series of boy and girl mermaids out of pink construction paper. When they disintegrated in the bathtub, she pouted and stuck out her lower lip.
“Mermaids are supposed to be able to swim!”
Ascension Day. We all get high to celebrate.
Add another notebook to the fire. The sentences crackle as they burn.
Never mind what your diploma says. You earned your masters degree in Magical Thinking. Now you’re working on your doctorate in Miraculous Supposition.
If I actually had better judgement, I might not go against it so often.
It might seem arrogant to write this large. But I do so as humbly as possible.
What are the side effects of eliminating all the side effects?
It’s been years since I had a cigarette, but I still prefer the smell of tobacco
to an environment of sterility, to secondhand non-smoking.
The second hand of my watch lights up a smoke
and fogs up its whole face.
I remember the night before the tornado, walking through the streets and sirens laughing, drenched and drunk. I had just moved back home and found the seasonal warnings so familiar, they sounded almost quaint. But the next day, everything changed.
This isn’t a city, Till wrote from Berlin. It’s a forest with buildings.
The nightingale and the mourning dove perch on opposite ends
of the open empty casket.
9 to 5 is not so bad. You still have 5 to 9.
Midnight in the West Bottoms. Taking a piss against The Edge of Hell.
There comes a time to disconnect.
To celebrate what can’t be seen.
To take your finger off the pulse.
2 p.m. — tiramisu with Runaround Sue
At the lake, the sounds of hellhounds and coyotes. Lots of howling that in the darkness sounded almost human.
Another wedding weekend. Should we attend or stay home?
It’s true that we might not be missed, but I’d rather risk being remembered.
It’s time to take this conversation private. So private we can’t admit it’s happening.
Riding the radar’s razor’s edge. The air conditioners click in fright and the tree branches dance and the trains barrel into the night.
“This is an outrage!” my friend writes on Facebook. “We should be blocking traffic!”
He’s probably right. But right now I’m at the beach, 2,000 miles away.
When I pulled in tonight a large owl was sitting in my parking space. It looked at me but didn’t move. I just turned off the headlights and parked toward the back of the driveway. I feel no shame in losing a game of chicken to an owl.
Petrified intentions: Ideas you had, stories you wanted to tell, veins you planned to tap. But the soil froze over or the wounds healed before you decided to act.
The times you were on family road trips and could only play guitar in your head.
They might have been the times when you improved the most.
The trivial is the essential.
The trivial within the essential is no longer trivial.
In our generation, it is critically acclaimed.
Bring your imaginations and your sugar pills.
We’re gonna have a placebo party.
Harmonics, feedback, grace notes, drones. Drum pads, cymbals, slowly building rhythms. Whatever it takes to get you to listen without revealing the melody.
Passages of music that, when you put them on, the whole world disappears,
or is temporarily transfigured.
I don’t smoke to forget.
I smoke to remember
what I already forgot.
It takes two to tango, and one to walk away.
The screen is a dull mirror, a projection of your own vanity and boredom. Yet I return to it like a dog that doesn’t understand there’s no nourishment for it here.
Should an artist avoid taking sides, or force herself to choose?
Ruby is no longer wearing diapers, but she still needs to be watched closely. “When did you last go potty?” I ask her. Six years ago, she says.
My phone says the storm is going to miss us. My eyes tell me something else.
I hope you continue to search for and invent your own rituals. You already have vision and hope, now all you need is courage.
at Grand Falls
listening to water
instead of music
I can’t allow you to go off the record. Your silence is an immaterial witness. Your dramatic gestures will be held in your favor.
Mistaking lightning bugs for shooting stars.
Having given up on real comets, I start inventing my own.
The hula-hoop-sized dreamcatcher we hung in the front yard ensnares
another young surrealist.
Tonight the crickets are chirping
on closed-circuit radio
What would you do if you were you?
It’s easy to trivialize the sacred, and harder to speak plainly.
My head feels like a gong that’s been incorrectly struck.
At noon, the construction workers in orange vests eat lunch,
reclining on the balconies of the unfinished luxury high rise.
You can’t completely lose what you never completely had. Even if it feels like you did.
Give us this day our daily feed. The contents of so many tablets and troughs.
If we knew at the outset our mission was doomed,
we might have been able to enjoy it.
All across the Eastern seaboard, a sarabande of snapping turtles.
Stars and stripes forever and ever and ever and then just stars
I fell asleep holding my phone, which kept a record of the locations I visited as I dreamed: The Wakarusa River, Ancient Rome, your old apartment, the Bad Godesberg villenviertel, various undisclosed locations.
The gunpowder haze settles in like smog over the tree-lined rows of bungalows.
It will not lift for days.
The pure products of America go apeshit
Crickets, beer cans, barbecue comas. Sneaking into apartment pools and refusing to get out even when the lightning starts.
It was always obvious who you would fall in love with: the girl who knew all the b-sides, who understood intuitively why they were superior.
Follow the anhinga
into the Neverglades.
It’s hard to calculate risk vs. reward when there’s so many kinds of each
I don’t care how slow your car is, if you wear fitted leather gloves, you’ll feel like a race car driver.
Breakfast today: a cup of black coffee and six gummy skulls
Hyperlocal anesthetic. The laughter that precedes the deep cuts.
Dancing — not just how we move on the floor, but how we move through the universe. How the universe moves through us.
The old neighborhood gets patched up and rebranded, leaves me nostalgic for dilapidation. Even though I know better.
I need to hold
something that glows
that isn’t my phone
When you were fierce and beautiful and I was in search of a shrine
A bike ride to the reservoir after the liquor stores close. The possibility of disappearance is not great, but if it were to occur here, it would be absolute.
When asked if he was an artist, he shook his head no. “I just fill up blank pages.”
At midnight we stretch out on the patio stones
and watch the silhouettes of bats
dive into the pond.
My friend looks around at my house and says he can’t tell where my kids’ stuff ends and where my stuff begins. Which is just how I like it.
Of all the times we’ve trespassed, never did the locals get so fired up as when they chased us off the properties considered to be haunted.
Up late writing, rewriting and unwriting status updates,
vacillating between swagger and humility, hope and despair,
until I’m not sure which is me and which is the imposter.
Another going-away party / garage sale invitation. But I shouldn’t complain.
We spent much more time celebrating our arrival.
Ruby took her first city bus ride today. She didn’t look too sure at first, boarding hesitantly with her mom while her brother and I waved from the street. But pretty soon she started singing “Wheels on the Bus,” and by the time they got to the last stop, all the other passengers were singing along.
Locomotive headlight: a third eye shining across an America most of us never see.
After the missile defense system blew up the satellite radio satellites, the grocery stores were forced to hire live DJs to play “My Cherie Amour.”
The whirling dervish shows up on the doorstep of the writers workshop demanding royalties on all the similes written at his expense.
The Headless Horseman drives the riding mower in endless figure eights.
It’s been dark for hours, but L. doesn’t take off his shades the entire time we’re at the street fair. “The drugs really worked for me for a while,” he said. “And then they didn’t.”
Revisionist cartography. Mapping the paths we did not take. Naming all the oxbow lakes.
Emil stuffs handfuls of grass into the lion statue’s mouth.
All the universe’s promises are being delivered,
the glorious and the terrible, many at this very moment.
You laugh and cry in equal measure.
“Everything is coming true.”
Being able to disappear for days without being missed
If we keep living this close to the edge,
we’ll eventually break through.
Entering the last stages of the emotional carwash, the tears rise back
across our faces.
Watching VHS tapes of family vacations in the mountains.
Thinking about taking our own kids to see the same glaciers,
then realizing they’ve all since melted.
Momentum can’t be procured, but it can be manufactured.
How many last chances do we get?
If I had known you were leaving, I never would have
taken you for granted.
Walking to the manmade waterfall, nauseous, dehydrated, dreaming, high.
I can hear the helicopters, but I can’t see them through the trees.
Silence your inner cynic. Risk the ridiculous.
When the mannequin found out the final shopping mall was closing, it started pulling out its hair. First the ringlets, then the roots, right down to the styrofoam scalp.
Ruby draws a detailed picture of a princess holding two different species of flower — a pink swirlflower and a black treerose. “They don’t have these flowers in our world,” she explains.
If I’m being honest, that’s a pretty big “if”
What if all the bizarrely named individuals in your spam filter are just real people who don’t know how to make friends except by offering great deals on Ray-Bans and generic prescription drugs?
Near the historic battlegrounds, a game of hide-and-seek that lasts for 150 years.
The dark secret is there is no dark secret.
Head-canceling noisephones. Never mind what you can not hear.
The ship of self shrinks
to the size of a seed pod.
My sense of the big picture grows
You can complain, but it’s where you wanted to be. In over your head yet still able to breathe.
Make your path by ______
(Walking, Writing, Floating, Flying, Spinning deliberately out of orbit)
I see you here every weekend, peering through the cracks in the perimeter fence. What is it you wish to retrieve from just beyond the brink?
There is no more dating market, she says. Only options traders.
Always trying to stay one giggle ahead of the gaggle.
The avant-garde never lets its guard down.
One by one, the goddesses move to greener pastures. Or give up being goddesses.
At the Loose Park picnic shelter, the percussionists sip from plastic cups
and sink into their respective pockets.
Riding her bike past the railroad bridge, into the concrete canyon.
The engineers think she’s crazy, but she knows where she is going.
The desire to invest in our common future vs.
the unwillingness to play along any longer.
You can dismiss your superstitions. But then you’d have to live without them.
Dream horses, running free.
A Sable Island
in my mind.
Now that your reproaches have stopped, I feel them more intensely.
In fact, I almost miss them.
A wavering across the spectrum, across my shades.
It’s as if the sunlight’s breathing.
As if my breath is made of light.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about gravity, it’s that its laws don’t always apply.
Oh where, praytell, might my canine companions be?
Whack-a-mole metaphors from the perspective of the mole.
The parable of Jesus disguised as a beggar occurs to me every time I encounter someone down on their luck and asking for help. A dubious pastime of trying to see through what may not actually be disguises.
Nowhere in your digital flavor profile can I find any hint of the existence of a soul
First Fridays. Heartbreak Milkshakes. Art Openings. Last Resorts.
There’s nothing wrong with him aside from his insistence on doing his own stunts.
On making his mistakes come true.
Another admission of loneliness, typed out, posted and immediately deleted. Each time this happens, someone does, in fact, notice.
The subversive GPS lulls the office worker halfway to the coast before she realizes she’s seven hours late for work. The scenery looked so generic that she hadn’t even noticed. Once she does she decides to continue driving all the way to the coast.
Ruby sings “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” substituting the word “bacon” for every single word.
Everyone who explores this city thinks they’re the first person to ever discover it.
None of them are wrong.
If, at a certain bend in the road,
you get a strong premonition of death,
yet pass through unharmed,
don’t rest easy. It might be
a site-specific premonition.
I am trying:
To make a splash.
To make the scene
To make amends.
To make ends meet.
Sure, she said, this place is all right. But you should have been here before there were rules.
Soon we will set sail from this predatory beachhead,
this ingrown toenail of the universe,
this mosquito net stockinged ghost of a chance.
Each of our lives is a one-act play — a performance art piece only God can appreciate in full.
Bite the bullet now
or keep chewing on it
on into your old age.
An ongoing game of cognitive fetch.
Lob your mind a problem and see if it can pounce.
Q: Our city got it wrong when we ______
A: Let our children be raised by wolves
Time to move:
Out of the margins.
Out of the mainstream.
Into the moment.
I woke up in the back yard and realized I’d been passed out in the lounge chair for at least several minutes. In that time the moon got perfectly wedged between two oak tree branches.
Walking around with an invisible gun held to your head — strangely soothing. There’s no drug like pressure.
My living room is under a flash flood warning for the next 40 hours.
This all might have been avoided if only I’d paid the soothsayer’s tab.
A French New Wave film remade in the present day. Conflicted young couples still meet at cafes, but no one is allowed to smoke. Consequently the pauses between them are 64% less pregnant.
The terraced skyscraper, abandoned since its Beaux Arts heyday. The developer planned to turn it into condos, but after the markets crashed, the more resourceful citizens turned it into an urban steppe farm.
Staying holed up in the studio vs. going out into the world.
Sunday afternoons in early fall. I never know what to do with myself.
It feels like it’s after the end of something
but before the beginning of something else.
Are we destined to be gamepieces
always on opposite squares?
Will one of us willfully topple
to make a bridge for the other?
To write about the city you live in. Not a luxury — a necessity.
The persistent need to label and categorize each other.
But when else in history have we been able to move about so freely?
Minor earthquakes / Fading beauty
Always be lucid. Even when you’re messed up.
You think you can erase all this distance with a single text?
Newcomer vs. necromancer
The plight of the over-reflective vulture.
Circling his prey so long it’s coming back to life.
The friends we aren’t able to find online
become almost like saints.
A book of all the things I meant to write down but then forgot.
Out of print, and only available on an outdated e-reader
that no longer holds a charge.
How much of the time your mind is elsewhere
when this elsewhere’s also in your mind
On my walk tonight I saw three possums, each in different neighborhoods.
Or else it was a single possum that moved with incredible speed.
Reason #127 not to go to the bar:
You might actually find what you didn’t know you were looking for.
How sweet to be so rich in symbols and free of the need to assign them meaning.
There is a week every October when the calendar springs opens like an accordion notebook and you can move through the years as you please
“I just want to be authentic,” my youngest sister says. “But I don’t know what that means.”
––––– reject this insufficient established system of binary collective pronouns. In fact, ——— reject the very notion/premise of the pronoun. ——— may best be described as “antinoun.” Who cares what verbs ——— receive? ——— appreciates ——— support in this matter.
Hundreds of miles, thousands of pages. In pursuit of the ridiculous.
Should I fight off the sleep or sleep off the fight?
Hang out in the margins all you like,
but don’t drink too deeply
from tomorrow’s ink.
Technically, I am a morning person, the vampire insists.
“Hey Dad, I have a story for you!” Ruby announces. “Once upon a time, the end.”
My childhood McDonald’s is a pile of rubble, and the Christian TV station down the street has also been torn down. What I always thought of as institutions were actually only buildings.
Q: What about all your elaborate plans? Did you just up and forget them?
A: Yes. But I forgot them on purpose.
Can a trance really be called a trance if you can snap out of it at any moment?
Adrift in the municipal oversoul, my face covered with leaves. I tried, as Rilke warned, to anticipate all parting. But that’s easier said than done.
Every day there are born-again cynics being unborn all over again.
What cause have I to be afraid of entering the park at this hour?
There are no villains lurking on these benches. If so, they’re fast asleep.
Shoegaze music: the sounds of being overcome by a crush you know you’ll never admit.
Hugh Cameron’s prophecies, only semi-unfulfilled. “I wanted to be a seer, so I buried myself in the woods. Some day the visions will come.”
The sympatico pumpkins, hollowed out and smiling. The paper skeleton in the doorframe whose hand moves in the wind so it looks almost like he’s waving. The glowing statue of the Madonna that I always mistake for a ghost.
In the sky above the park, the news choppers and life flight helicopters circle each other warily. The full moon hides behind the clouds.
The costume party where everyone is dressed as themselves.
Out here on the hinge of the seasons, seeking access to doors that would otherwise be shut.
In theory, everything is permitted. That’s why you stock the cabinet with poisons
you have no plans to swallow.
What takes us away also brings us back, invisibly, to ourselves.
Cemetery flanerie. Fresh lipstick appears on the statues that sit upon the graves.
If the spirit moves you, congratulations. If you’re relying on self-animation,
it may already be too late.
Death: A door in a dream you can look through
but won’t remember that you saw.
Fantasy politics. Retoxification clinics. Lose-contact-with-reality sports.
Days when I want to quit everything. Nights when I start to believe
it might even be possible.
Every day I wake from a nightlong coma, and it never gets any less strange
In spite of everything we spent on market research,
our charm offensive appears to have backfired.
The first step toward feeling OK is accepting that you’ll never be OK.
Hasn’t anyone told you? 12:34 is the new 11:11.
But today we will make an exception.
The kindness of strangers.
The strangers of kindness.
The kindness of strangeness.
Gather small twigs and hope for favorable winds.
I watched the news of the latest attacks with a numb, vacant expression.
But the next day I cried while watching “The Red Balloon.”
I have finally learned to focus, but I don’t know what to focus on.
I can run great distances, but I don’t know where to run.
The next step is always the most obvious and the hardest to see coming.
Every time I see him out, he says “I was just thinking about you!”
It’s happened far too often to be true, but I choose to believe it anyway.
A gray month. But we’re that much closer to the sky.
Cities, people, experiences — I began to view everything as a series of archetypes.
I still seek the exceptions, but I know better than to expect them.
Play it cool all you like. But don’t leave us cold.
…While our wills remain
Another minor masterpiece composed in disappearing ink
Wandering through the supermarket with no memory of her lost kingdom, the woman in suede boots feels it all return for a moment. As our eyes meet in the mirrors of the produce aisle, I can see she has succeeded where I could not. That is to say, in letting go.
With a little editing, the suicide note became a powerful letter of introduction.
I don’t have any good reason for going back to ——— .
I just want to verify that it still exists.
To remind myself it once existed.
Thousands of people gather at the annual holiday lighting ceremony, which this year consists of just one guy with a flashlight.
Yesterday my dad found one of the owls dead in the backyard behind the swing set. He wanted to bury it, but the ground was frozen, so he wrapped it in a plastic bag until the next thaw. But first he removed a single feather, somehow understanding that it was appropriate to save only one.
Day 333 of trying to be good at everything
except what I am good at.
I have only one memory bank. But many different accounts.
The old methods are useless
It may be true that no one is paying attention.
But you’re not as invisible as you think.
The acclaimed dance company that only performs in the dark.
Every show is sold out. Or so we are told.
It’s OK to be conflicted. Dig into it a little bit.
Use the friction to figure out what you’re feeling.
Welcome to the new New Normal
A drop of blood in the snow
the compass rose blooms
where we least expect it
Snow, ice, a search for warmth.
This kind of weather localizes us in an old-fashioned way.
Your neighborhood becomes your island.
Sledding down the embankment in the flaming toboggan.
Children run in terror while their parents can’t think
of anything to do but film it on their cell phones.
By nightfall these strip malls will be crawling with orcs.
The only thing more tragic than the temples that were blown up
are the temples that were never built.
Behold the quiet uproar.
(Or do our ears play tricks on us?)
Dip your paintbrush in your coffee
and stir yourself to life
How long must we wait for these dinosaurs to die out?
How do we keep from becoming dinosaurs ourselves?
Amado’s ocarina — it sounded like the sun rising on the entire universe
You can hold your feet, hands and heart to the fire,
but none of it will matter if you’ve already grown numb.
Landscape dreams — A mountain range, river or series of lakes that you never knew existed, but are somehow only a short drive outside of your hometown.
The rage of the electorate. Why protest the rules of the game when you can flip over the table?
The epoch of love must be allowed to continue. Even if it never began.
Comic strips with no punchlines. Test flights with no wings. Refried magic jumping beans.
A natural birth? No — completely supernatural.
Keep your xmas lights trimmed and burning
Nights when you can’t imagine not taking at least some of the edge off.
Nights when you require every little bit of sharpness.
Who are you talking to? I ask Emil. “I’m talking to a mouse named no one.”
Setting out presents and eating the cookies that were left out for Santa. In doing so, becoming Santa. I felt a small tingle of power and a strong sense of mortality, like I’d just stepped across a threshold you only cross once; a symbolic slide down a chimney you can never climb back up.
The angels in children’s drawings are the angels I believe in most.
Walking through the temporary permafrost, wondering if we took things far enough.
Or if we still might have been able to go further.
The forecast calls for tornadoes, even though it’s December.
My stomach calls for dandelion tea.
Never mind what you read. No one’s planning your obsolescence.
Might as well get used to yourself.
After a while he understood who he was and where he came from.
Bounding through disbelief to get back to belief again.
Looking through last year’s notebook, the most beautiful thing I found was a yellow birch leaf that got pressed into its pages by mistake.
A startling squawk, followed by the sound of wings. I can hear the owls. The owls live.