I will not see your face with my eyes, nor touch your hands with my own.
I will never hear your voice outside of my dreams, I cannot watch you live.
A life is not made of time.
Supposing I knew you, I weep in secrecy for what I might have known.
I can tell the story of what may have been and what was, I can interpret my intuitive emotions into language and create a space for you in the hearts that might understand.
When I was twelve I had a kitten, he ran away before he was two months old.
When I was nineteen I had a crush on a girl that didn’t return the favor.
When I was thirty-two I forced life to my will and captured love and family.
When you were-
When you were-
Perhaps I didn’t do it right, maybe a mistake on my part left you on the other side of the veil. It could be that I wish it was my fault, I’ve always been more comfortable wearing blame than my own face. It could be that random chance left me an unintended consequence.
When you were… No.
You were not, you were almost.
I will never forget your name, the sound that means my smile. I will never let go of your possibility. I will be what is, I will be your life. You exist in me.
I will hold your image, bouncing curls and sad eyes over a glowing, crooked smile.
I will say your name in privacy, I will call your name through the mist of what might have been until my lungs stop drawing breath and my mind can finally let go.
There is at least a small chance, still, that this life is my dream and one day I will wake to find that nothing was lost.
I had a dream that I was sitting with my dead sister and my dead brother
and I was describing to them the way that Dennis the Menace park in Monterey had been dismantled, destroyed and abandoned
which was strange because the park hasn’t been, it’s still there and functional
but I told them in detail the way that the train had been melted down
and the big slide ripped out
and the tables were burned
and as I told them, in my dream, it never occurred to me that they were dead
and when I woke I felt the pieces come together and the picture fell apart
because somewhere between a group of kids playing at the park and an almost-forty-year-old man having a dream
some dreams were lost, some dreamers woke, some nightmares came true
and I massaged my temples for at least twenty minutes while my wife slept and the darkness changed to dawn, my head and neck and shoulders aching and refusing my request to slip back into sleep
when we were kids we would play and laugh and it never mattered if we got hurt because we were going to live forever
In loving memory of Ruane Richardson and Ethan Eayre
They talked about what was lost, what had been taken away
They cried about broken trust and they poured out their rage
I sat in the circle wanting to fix them, not speaking
They took turns revealing wounds and scars and falling to pieces
They saw each other as safety, recognition of shared experience
I cried quietly and wanted to undo their past
They looked at me and asked the question
I couldn’t speak
I couldn’t share
I hadn’t lost anything
I could still see the untouched, innocent, pure picture of me, in my head
I couldn’t reach him, but he wasn’t dead
So I didn’t tell them I understood, because I didn’t
I didn’t spill my hurts, my pains, my betrayals,
I was scared that they could tell the difference
If I showed my wounds
They would know that I hurt so much more for theirs
If I told my story they would hear the disregard I held for myself, they would know that I could see the hurt, but not feel it, I could remember the pain but never touch it, I could still hear the little boy crying and screaming in my mind but I couldn’t reach him to offer comfort,
So I didn’t say anything, in that room where five teenage girls explained how they were abused, and I never explained why I was there.
I kept my words inside and I never thought much of it,
I couldn’t feel how hurt that boy was,
I could feel the pain of those girls and my sisters and my friends and all the girls and women who had been hurt, I could see how they would suffer without end, and I was a boy turning into a man, I had no time to fit suffering into the plan, whatever I felt was moss growing on the other side of the wall, I know that it was there but I couldn’t reach it at all
But I could have spoken up in that room
I should have
That little boy deserved some respect
When I started sharing the things I write, I had a lot to say. I would write four or seven or nine pieces a day, and at least three times a week I was discovering new parts of myself.
I haven’t been writing as much since my sister died.
I’ve been contemplating the balance of life. My sister was so many things to me, and so many parts of my memory are wrapped around her. In a lot of ways I worshiped her, as boys worship their mother. She was the protector, the teacher, the nurturing presence in my life.
In a lot of ways I was angry at her, I still am. She had so much that others never get and she threw it away. She was capable of so much more than she did. She killed a lot of dreams, mostly her own.
I saw her as a unicorn. Magical, impossible to capture, perfect.
I was blind to the way she saw herself.
There are lots of differing opinions about self-image. Some say that the way one perceives their self is irrelevant, some say it’s everything.
I say that self-image can be heaven or hell, and it can change at any time.
My sister was horribly abused and it twisted her life. My sister was wonderfully gifted and it was beautiful.
She was a unicorn. She also had flaws.
I married the love of my life. It was not easy, it wasn’t fated. I had to make it happen, she had to make it happen. We spent a long time apart before we were lucky enough to get it right.
We each turned down other opportunities, we each tried other paths. We had lives apart and we have histories, separately.
My wife is a unicorn. I am a unicorn.
We have flaws. We have magic. We have damage. We have healing. We are devoted to our WE. We are human and we have wandering minds… We’ve both held fantasies that bring jealousy, territorialism into play.
Balance in life doesn’t mean equality, justice, it doesn’t mean everything works out for everyone.
Balance is the eye of the storm. All of life rages, all of life has pain or healing. All of humanity has the capability to be awful or amazing.
I had some of the best parts of my sister.
I saw some of the worst parts of her.
I have most of the best parts of my wife.
She has most of the best parts of me.
What I have come to realize, about my sister, my wife, myself, all of the pieces of glorious magical humanity that live in my view, is that unicorns shit.
Magical, perfect fairytale beings, out there making miracles, shitting just like other animals.
Worship as you will, see the magic.
Understand that flaws are present in every person. Don’t just say that you accept the flaws. Understand. Know that you have magic and you have flaws.
My sister is dead, my wife is a person, I am a jerk sometimes.
Balance is the eye of the storm, and remembering the wind.
Isolated is not a good way to be.
Asking for reassurance from friends, I got some really wonderful feels.
I matter, even if I can’t see it all the time.
A poem is not just words, it’s the condensed emotions pressing into a mind through phrases that mean more than they say, it’s a slice of a soul given without a price and received without boundary.
A poet is not just someone that writes poems… It takes a deeper disturbance in the mind.
I don’t call myself a poet.
I am disturbed. I am damaged. I am paying attention to every goddamned word and feeling and eye-flutter. I am reading tea leaves and watching the wind play with flower petals.
I am trying to write a life, here.
I am trying to feel everything.
I am hurting myself on purpose, for the sake of…
I am colossally fuckered up, in here.
I appreciate how I seem to others.
I am thankful for the love that floods my life, the tide that lifts all boats.
I am also suffering greatly, for loving what has been lost. For losing what has been loved. For living a true life, and caring about the moments.
I am also suffering from too little sleep and too much stress.
I’ll be here,
Even if I say goodbye.
When I walked through the door, I saw her. I was briefly angry at my mother for having her there. I was 22 years old and I didn’t want to deal with a bullshit set-up.
When I saw her, my anger left. I became nervous, and the next three seconds stretched into forever.
Her eyes met mine. I panicked.
I looked at my sister.
My sister saw me panicking, glanced at Jennifer, then smiled at me and nodded ever so slightly.
My panic dissolved, courage flooded my mind, and I
Reached up and pulled my hair out of the ponytail I was wearing, and I could almost hear Jennifer’s thoughts as I looked back at her after shaking my hair loose
Oh damn, he’s sexy, oh shit his hair is beautiful, haha, he is trying to attract me, oh my God, he likes me, ooh I can deal with this boy
She looked back at me and licked/bit her lower lip briefly, and I knew
That she knew what I was doing
And the three seconds were over, and I knew
That I couldn’t kill myself, as I had planned.
On the second day,
We went to Denny’s and my mother fell. She was hurt so we went to Monterey Community Hospital.
My sister took my mother in, and Jennifer and I sat. We talked about things, but really,
We were sitting and staring at each other’s mouths.
We walked around the hospital grounds and she told me that it was easier to walk and talk, her therapist used to walk with her along this path while they talked.
Back at the car, we sat again and as she spoke with nervous energy, I was building courage to kiss her beautiful lips, watching her form words was mesmerising, and I was about to lean in,
When I saw my mother and sister walking to the car.
That night, January 13, 2001, after everyone had gone to sleep, I was on the floor asleep and I had a nightmare.
I woke up and saw Jennifer sleeping a few feet away.
The light was coming through the window and fell perfectly on her lips.
I stared for about 20 seconds and she looked at me
I can feel you looking at me
I felt all of the chances I had not taken, every cell in my body urging me forward, I went to her
She watched me
I leaned over her and
lips so soft met mine
her body eagerly pressed up against me
her hands grabbed the back of my neck
And I realized…
I’m already lost.
The sunlight through the clear stone was warm. The cub moved the stone side-to-side and watched the light change color. Red, yellow, green, blue, the cub lay on his side and pushed the stone with his paws.
As the light turned yellow again, the cub heard something from above. Looking up into the trees around him, he spotted the falcon from the willow tree sitting on a branch high above the forest floor. The falcon watched him, unmoving.
Their eyes locked and the cub felt something pass through his body, warmth spreading from his chest to his legs. Time seemed to stand still as the wolf and falcon gazed at each other.
Pain shot through the wolf cub’s paw and his eyes darted quickly down. The clear stone had light shining through it, and where the light fell on some fallen pine needles, a bright red burst of heat was growing.
Jumping back, the wolf cub watched in horror as the flame consumed the needles and started reaching up the nearby tree. The heat grew intense, billowing out from the flame and leaping up the tree trunk.
One burning tree became two, then three. The fire seemed angry, lashing out at all of the world.
The wolf cub ran.
The fire chased.
Reaching his pack’s den, the cub started howling and barking at his family.
“Go! We must go!”
His packmates looked at him as though he were mad and started yipping at him.
“Why?” “What happened?” “What’s wrong?”
“What did you do?”
The last question was growled from the throat of his sire. A huge black and grey wolf, the pack leader stood a few paces away, hackles raised.
“What did you do?”
The cub shrunk away, fearful of his sire’s anger. He had seen many times his sire challenged by other wolves, and every time the challengers had limped away bleeding, or died.
“Fire,” the cub whined. “It comes.”
Sniffing the air, the pack leader stared the cub down. “What part of this do you own?”
“The clear stone, it let’s light through, and-”
A sharp growl cut off the rest of his words, and the pack leader leapt toward the cub. Bowling him over with a shoulder thrust, the great Wolf leaned in close and snapped his massive jaws at the young wolf.
“Your fault. You, with your games. You have never been what you should be. This ends, now.”
Lunging toward the young wolf’s throat, jaws gaping, the big wolf was surprised by the younger wolf’s shoulder in his chest. A fierce push set the bigger wolf back on his heels, and the two started circling each other.
“So, the pup wants to play,” the older beast spoke with derision. “Come at me, then, pup.”
Feinting toward the young wolf’s face, then snapping at his flank, the big jaws ripped a gash along the young wolf’s side.
Falling back, then quickly jumping toward his sire, the cub bit down hard on the big wolf’s front leg. Blood filled his mouth as he shook his head, and he heard a cracking noise as the leg broke in his jaws.
As he let go, the bigger wolf turned and closed his jaws on the young wolf’s neck, just behind his shoulders.
A sharp scream filled the air then, and a grey blur from the sky became the falcon, swooping down and burying her talons in the great wolf’s eyes. As she pulled away the older wolf snapped his jaws up at her, and found purchase in her leg. Stabbing with her beak, the falcon ripped the great wolf’s face open as she flew out of reach.
Wounded grievously and blinded, the great wolf snarled and snapped his jaws aimlessly, hopping in a circle with his broken leg lifted.
The young cub closed quickly, sinking his jaws into the soft throat of the old wolf. Clamping down and shaking, the cub tasted his sire’s life passing through his jaws.
Motionless on the ground, the great wolf died with a small whimper, and the young wolf backed away.
Looking around, he spotted the falcon on a branch above. Bleeding from her leg, she looked down at the blood-covered wolf. She gathered her strength and leapt into the air with a short squawk.
The smell of smoke and the crackling of flames consuming the forest got the cub moving. With a final glance at his deceased sire, he raced after the falcon, through the forest.