"You were only waiting for this moment to arise."

Song of the Soft-spoken

You told me once I’m too quiet. But
soon enough, I’d get better.
Soon enough, I’d step outside my skin. As if

I’m tiptoeing around a better version of myself
who doesn’t thrive behind the curtain.
Or let the words linger a while longer
on the tongue. Some of them dissolve 
as soft rain and skim the edge 
of a roof built to break.
A swift melody sung loud,
but never in the waking hours.
While you tell me I should stitch words
into my shirt to prove I’m worthy

of time. My dear, I’ve grown well-versed 
in saying “I’m sorry”
for the words I’ve withheld. You wouldn’t know
there’s a hunger for life buried in my bones. Sometimes
I have to fight for it to show. Jagged edges
tear the skin

on this perpetual elevator ride. I want out, because 
I don’t give a damn about the weather, but I’d
love to know what sets you on fire. I let the words linger longer
but I let them carry weight

and yes, some days I held my tongue
like armor across my chest, but I’ve learned
this isn’t a battle. If it is,
there are no winners because we’re in combat
against ourselves. My dear, we have nothing to prove. 
Maybe, I’ll never be the man with megaphone.
Maybe, I won’t speak aloud: force the crowd
into stunned silence, but I’ll fall
in love with the way you string together syllables
as you speak. I am a listener, and I won’t apologize.

-Spoken word poem. Thoughts/comments/suggestions?

4 days ago
1 note

Above the Stratosphere

In our dampened lake-side spot,

hidden by a ceiling of ashen pines,

we stuffed ourselves inside our souls

to fall in love. In a bed of earth, of ice,

and frozen land, we found a chilled delirium,

light above the stratosphere, propelling upward,

unhinged within a hell we called our heaven.

With coffee mugs colder than our limbs,  

we sat in wait for the earth to shatter

so we could make it. For shards

of glass from that fishbowl cave

to soar through the air,

come frighteningly close,

and evade us.


The renegades of time

in a private universe.

Where the dirt, the grime,

the memories were all the same

spare parts to shake loose.

On the edge of understanding, 
we found the skin we wore

was inescapable; it stretched

days into decades as we marched on

to fight for ecstasy, to waste our days

in want of wanting.


What we loved in this life
before we lived it, when all
we sought was an impossible
dream. Before I saw a certain
harshness in your grin,
an exactness of lines
I had not seen in that darkness,
my dear, I searched for you
to find eternal morning,
where I was exiled and alone.

1 month ago
1 note


(Posted with intent to lengthen/edit. Would love some advice/comments-thanks! Sorry about the spacing.)

     Tossing on a thick winter coat and a maroon cap, Sam perched on his fire escape to see a night paled by the moon. There were no stars in the city. His wife, Lucy, complained of this often when she was alive. As a painter, she often sought inspiration. Such passion she poured into her paintings that a slight resentment ensued on Sam’s part. If only he could love something as she loved to paint, as he had loved her. With a small sip of black coffee, he placed his mug on the ground beside him and took a drag of his cigarette.

     Struggling to balance the weight of his hefty, aged frame, Sam spent a few moments shuffling to his feet. Once he returned inside, he reorganized a few lopsided stacks of magazines on his mahogany coffee table. Old records were found: Bob Dylan and Hendrix albums he taught his wife, Lucy, to love. Her sketchbooks were scattered everywhere. She lived and breathed her artwork, and she was exceptional at it. There was one piece of hers he particularly liked of Clove Lakes. It was a surreal piece with trees a deep shade of violet only her eyes could capture. Though he could not, would not see what she saw. He thought her paintings were fascinating, but he never understood them, even after explanation. An impenetrable gap divided them, and he felt for certain it could not dissolve with thought, or word, or desire. He could dedicate his existence to such a thing but would still float above the atmosphere. To him, Lucy’s works were but an impossible blur.

     Then the fire in her eyes paled. A chill seeped into her skin, and her dark eyes froze. She spoke of age, of death, of how she would be remembered. Sam felt for certain she would awake from this and join him, but he lost her two years prior to death. The nature of her fate spawned a dangerous apathy, and it stole her from him. She could not comprehend how he felt; she could not see how she herself had changed. “I’m too old,” she always moaned. “I was a damn good painter then, but it isn’t for me anymore, Sam. Let’s move on.”

     He begged her to return to her trade. “It’s who you are,” he had whispered, tucking her soft hair behind her ear. “It’s what you love.” Then he would sink into pale blue sheets and listen to the rain fall.

    What were those paintings now—memorabilia? A thick layer of dust wrapped itself around the walls of his home, in spite of his constant efforts. For hours, he sprayed every shelf, organized every corner, and placed papers into folders into cabinets. Even scraps from his days as a Geology professor, twelve years ago, materialized. He found finals exams students had failed to pick up and large stacks of lecture notes, covered with neon yellow highlighter marks.  He put his world back together to watch it dissolve.

     This cleaning frenzy would be in sole pursuit of personal items, pieces of his past. After accumulating chaos in his life, he longed to rid himself of it. A resurrection of sorts. Once he cleaned each corner, he then proceeded to toss photographs, odds and ends, and other memories into the chimney fire. One photograph was of a family Thanksgiving dinner—decades ago—when his granddaughter, Nathalie, decided to be a smart-alec, sprawling herself across the living room floor at the last minute to flash the camera a cheeky grin. Yet somehow, it was charming. Then, he found a sketchpad of his wife’s that he had not opened in some time and watched it light up in vibrant oranges and reds then fade to black. Hours she had spent on their fire escape, to capture the moments just so, and he watched them turn to ash.

     After her death, life had rendered him inert. Now, as he watched the darkly-tinted eve turn to night, he felt awake. Aroused by a knock at the door, he swung it open to find his granddaughter. Her face was stone. “What are you doing?”


     “Cleaning what?” she shouted.

Sam leaned in closer than normal, and she jumped a bit, startled. It was unusual for the reticent old man to come so close. “Some old stuff,” he said.

“Those were my grandmother’s.” She shook her head. “Our stuff as well. Why are you doing this?” For a moment, she choked up a bit but then caught herself, exhaling sharply.

 “I need to do this, Nathalie. It is time to move on, don’t you think?” He forced a laugh. “She would want this.”

“Her sketches. All of our photographs.” Nathalie covered her mouth. “Why are you doing this to us—?”

 “It has nothing to do with you,” he said, returning to his olive green sofa to put his

pillows in their proper place.

 “What about you? Your life is a futile game,” Nathalie cried, snatching a pillow from his hand, “you’re destroying your memories and ours. Memories you have no right to destroy. And for what?”

            Sam shrugged, peeling off his cap from atop his silver hair and placing it on the coffee table. Though he loved her, he said little of the matter because it was his own battle, his inescapable skin. To him the dirt and grime and memories were equal: spare parts to shake loose. Survival was a matter of motion.  

             “When does it stop?” Nathalie whined.

            “When it’s all gone.” Sam placed a hand on her shoulder, but she flinched, wounded. “That’s all there is.”
            “That’s all there is?” Nathalie caught his gaze for a moment then glanced away. “Is that what you think?” She pulled a china teacup off of his counter and smashed it on the floor. “What does this solve? Tell me, how does it feel to destroy yourself?”

            Sam squinted. “Look around,” he scoffed, “who am I, Nathalie? I can tell you who I was. I was born in Chicago then came here for Brooklyn College. I bought a place in the city, taught Geology, and married your grandmother. We had lovely children together. And you know what?”


            “I am not that man.”

            “Everything is transitory,” she argued, “but that alters nothing. You lived through these moments, so they are forever yours.”
            “I know they’re mine. That’s why I’m destroying them.”

“It doesn’t hurt you to do that?”
“It does,” Sam said, “immensely. Which is something, and it’s more than I had.”

“What the hell do we do then?” Nathalie’s voice was strained. “The rest of us, should we destroy what we love out of spite? I’ve got a four-year-old at home, Grandpa. I can’t begin to understand you. I only wanted to stop by—” She trailed off before melting into the sofa in defeat. “I just wish you’d find peace.”

Sam squeezed her hand. “I promise you I will. I love you, Nathalie. More than you know.”

 Excusing himself for a moment, he crept back onto the fire escape to feel the weight of a naked sky, then light up the same brand cigarette and argue: we desire brutality. To know what we are when we’re stripped to bone.


2 months ago
1 note

Fellow blind abiders: we’ve let facts

and figures sink in. Stained our skin

with trivialities for

a worn-out common dream.  A future

wine and dine. Where we won’t ask

questions, but sing. Of firm red roofs above

our heads that were once

desert sand. In days when we were

young and deigned to dream. When we

loved this life—before we lived it. We’ll tuck

the cost of stability beneath our store-bought,

white linen sheets. Lift our translucent glasses

to the fine professions we despise.


To the chirping of our tired tongues,

wordless dialogue to soothe

our woes. We’ll forget the lives

we could have led. With

store-born smiles, unlike those

that lingered in our souls. Once. In days

when passion was a pleasure worth pursuing.

Now we will drown in the spotlight

from a meaningless existence:

Longing for something to sing about.

5 months ago
0 notes

“Must you always do that?” Sarah wrinkled up her nose in disgust.

“Always do what?” I said, glancing up from the New York Times. I then realized I had neglected the coffee and soggy cheerios before me. Perhaps I had been somewhat disengaged.

Sarah shook her head. “You’ve been so absorbed in your work lately. We haven’t had a real conversation this week. What’s going on?”

“I’ve been trying to catch up,” I responded. My eyes danced around the room and stopped as I noticed the black and white kitchen tiles that we had always planned to replace.

 “You’ve hardly been home this week,” she complained, “and you’ve done nothing around the house.  Why is that I am the only who does things around here?” She shook her head. “I swear, Jack, sometimes you’re impossible.”

I nodded to show her that I understood, and I did. “You’re right. I haven’t been there lately.”

“You haven’t,” Sarah agreed, “and I’m sick and tired of it.”                                           

“Perhaps disharmony is what keeps us afloat,” I suggested with a smirk. “We’re so used to having something to argue about.”

“You’re an idiot,” Sarah responded, snatching an empty blue plate from off the table to place it in the sink.

And she was right. But then she laughed that familiar laugh, which was soft and light and reminded me of the wind chimes we placed outside the front door of our mountain abode. She wouldn’t admit it, and it was probably wrong of me to say this, but that laugh of hers was how I knew I had swayed her.

9 months ago
1 note

What happens when you get what you want?

“What happens when you get what you want? When you’ve coursed through the hoops and reach the plateau. Will you realize the dull drone in your chest is a heartbeat? That little house on the lake is already yours. You’ve willed this master plan to life, and now it’s time to live it. Don’t you know your life is a magnificent stage-play, a night littered with stars? Bright, lustrous, and identifiably false. Iridescent pines surround, tainting even soft light with an overcoat of strong-smelling paint. I see the underpinnings in every breath, the nuts and bolts holding the costumes together. And every day, I’m tortured by it.”

3 weeks ago
1 note


(Posted with intent to lengthen/edit. Would love some advice/comments-thanks! Sorry about the spacing.)

Tossing on a thick winter coat and a maroon cap, Sam perched on his fire escape to see a night paled by the moon. There were no stars in the city. His wife, Lucy, complained of this often when…

2 months ago
2 notes

Follow this one, guys http://shainaclingempeel.tumblr.com/


4 months ago
0 notes

The Hunger

Unraveled and undone,

your skin and mine. The

wanting. Of young, transient

fools. Drink in days

with our lips. In that cabin.

Eyes closed, but awake.

Swallow this tangent to shore.

Your hair and mine. The hunger.

Your mouth, warm. Amber

fire, on the inside. We were frozen.

Ice in that cabin. Unpretending.

We were winter. With warm coffee as we woke.

Electric. Veins that could set fire. On that

frozen morning. Sky painted black in its own disillusionment.

Our almost smiles. Wordless. We were each other’s own when

 I wore your skin. In that cabin. That cold winter

morning, you stole me. Your skin and mine. In those sheets.

The wanting. The hunger. In that cabin. I loved you.

The torment. The hours. The desperation. Your mouth, warm.

I love you.

The home I found.

You, in that cabin. The wanting. The waiting. Your winter coat.

We were much too young to mend.

On those steps. The suffering—the nape of your neck—The hunger.

The ennui. The drowning.

5 months ago
3 notes