Little Boats

Sometimes the gutter overflows and becomes a river and turns soda cups into little boats. The surging current takes over and carries the detritus of the city downstream, transforming the curb into a riverbank.

Sometimes it’s not you that you look at in the mirror, but somebody else, who looks back at you with sharp, powerful eyes that cut through the layer of mental cosmetics you apply every morning. You know it’s a guy you can’t bullshit, he sees you for YOU, so you look away rather than meet his penetrating stare.

It’s better to go too far than stay where you are.
I took a map and drew an X from one corner to the next.
I sat cramped on a plane and pushed in on a train.
It’s better to destroy yourself, than to never know yourself.

Seasons and reasons change, the timing and the rhyme stays the same.

Most psychiatrists are insane.  Every cop speeds.
Every farmer buries himself eventually.

Inside those soda cups-turned-little boats are little sailors trying to steer their way to safe land. Using rats’ eyelashes for oars they row with tiny hearts that beat faster than hummingbirds’.

Time is a melted picture frame you find in the ashes of a fire,
charred and almost unrecognizable, but yours, completely worthless and invaluable at the same time. Time is a burned-up metaphor. It self-eviscerates when it slips out of view.

The stores in my neighborhood are fronts for the Russian mafia.
The women aspiring actresses. Spanish monks brought the palm trees.

I am a sundial at the north pole.

A sport coat at a nudists camp.

A six-pack on a corpse.

Did you ever wonder how a joker ended up on a playing card?
Did you ever want to hear one of his jokes?
Did you ever think the Queen was a total bitch?

The soda cup makes it to the storm drain and hurtles into the odorous abyss, the little men wildly plummeting down the dark waterfall with the cup. There is a big jolt when the cup hits the water and one of the tiny men is thrown overboard and drowns. The others are violently tossed around and only survive by clinging to the straw. Once the SS Coca Cola settles, the captain of the cup says a few little words then they continue their work sailing down the sewer, singing inaudible songs of sorrow.

I mean, unless you’re one of the few humans who can legitimately claim to be an astronaut, aren’t we all in a cage? And that’s not even considering our flesh. Which we don’t often consider, but is at the root of everything.  We get used to the cages by beginning our lives in the womb: the softest, most comfortable cage we’ll ever be imprisoned in. We start this life yearning to be caged. Every night, your arms wrapped around me.

Sometimes you find out the lyrics to a song and it’s not at all about what you thought it was, and you don’t like it at all anymore, but sometimes you like it a lot more — you just never know with those types of things.

Sometimes the world looks aflame from afar, but close up it’s just fireflies in a jar, and you walk up to it and unfasten the lid, letting chaos ignite in technicolor.

A man rides his bicycle down the street with a radio duct taped to a basket that sits on his handlebars. He is singing along to the music playing out of his speakers. I stand at the window and clap real loud, cheering him on. He rewards me by singing louder and more crazy.

I am a rusty hinge on a woodshed door.

A ringing telephone nobody picks up.

A missing sock.

Stars run on jet fuel. I stand on the roof and watch them fly over the city. The wine in my glass swishes around as I step over cigarette butts.

You can place your heart in my palms and I’ll hold it like a prayer.
Put your love someplace safe so it’ll always be there.
When you only have one heart it’s okay to be concerned.
There’s a clearing in the fire where nobody gets burned.

The soda cup-turned-little boat hits a vile build-up of feces and trash and plastic and lodges into the toxic, bacterial-filled dam and can’t go any further. The little sailors hop out and climb single file to the top of the rank heap where they plant their tiny, invisible flag.

Sometimes you wake up, go outside, and the sun is upside down, burning your feet, and you look up at the concrete sky and trip over a crack. And you laugh, because life is funny like that.

Sometimes a poem is nothing but a eulogy for doubt.

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