The Battle of Little Bighorn

It was the summer of the Battle of Little Bighorn.
My brother and I stood on the last stand hill beneath
the shredded prairie sky. We watched the green
fuses of fireflies swell and burn above the sea of
buffalo grass that had swallowed so many soldiers
leaving nothing but bones, dust and echoes.

Through the smoke of my mother’s cigarette I
could see my brother’s pale-faced sadness reflecting
from the blade of his rattling saber. The smell of
sorrow was rising with the moon; counting the dead
among the broken arrows was futile as the ghosts
were already haunting the books of history.

Who were we to live among the birds which wing
this region? Our feathers hadn’t even come in and
it was nearly time to return home. We lived in the
temper of our blown youth and got lost somewhere
between the hatch and disclose. We forged a
crooked path through a savage garden only to fall.

The front lines and the front yards are where the
battles of boys are fought. The everyday last stands
and shipwrecks among gods or ghosts. In the end,
it’s the fatigue of too many false charges and battle
calls that bury us. Beautiful boys and brothers who
fade from front lawns to become the lost echoes of
summers past and lifetimes ago.

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How Many Milligrams Does it Take to Kill a Horse?

The furniture is straight from the pages of a catalog and the artwork too— it’s not complete without the artwork, I imagine you saying. Same with your outfit. Took it right off the mannequin’s back, didn’t you? My God, it’s a wonder that we’re not in reverse roles. All of that orderliness and in one moment the ink spills and it’s all over your hands, fingerprints everywhere. You’ll be washing your hands for days trying to get rid of your bruises. However, some will soak through and you’ll spend hours wondering where they came from.

You’re confused because I’ve stopped being anyone other than myself and so it is like speaking with an entirely new person, although the glasses are the same. I recognize that a person can’t completely do away with all of one’s old habits. It takes time to improve one’s sight to the point of seeing clearly. My eyes have spent years adjusting themselves to the corrections of their own mistakes. It’s a wonder I’m not blind.

It’s all over the internet.

Let’s talk about me for a while. The bird I keep in my chest is growing and I imagine it won’t be long before it will want to spread its wings and depart. The hole in my heart is certainly big enough for escape and I’m not holding it back. Leave the nest I say, explore the world and forget the creature comforts of home. I could care less or more depending on which way the wind blows. My hands are dry.

Why must we let the things we love go?

I wanted to be Jesus when I was a child, to sacrifice my own life in order to heal my mother for something she had done wrong. It was a feeling I had, that I had been born in order to make our little world right again. Truthfully, I didn’t mind and in fact I took pride in the task that had been given to me. When I was 12 and in the midst of my second year of confirmation class, I knew I had been called. It was nothing more than that still, small voice that lit like a fuse, the warmth of the ember and the grace of the glow. It came from a distance but slowly descended into the deeper parts of me. My mother thought it was an impossible task. However, if you’re attempting to reach the stars it’s best to begin with the falling kind; although the way they melt in the sky like tiny white tears is heartbreaking. Being overwhelmed by the staggering fury of the heavens is something you never get used to. People don’t use comets as candles for a reason.

I’m trying to sort through all of the ghosts that hang so neatly in my closet; you cannot let them out to just wander about. When they’re in the closet I know where they are. If I happen to need one for a certain occasion I can simply grab it and be on my way. Some of the ghosts don’t fit anymore but there’s no one to give them to and I’d hate to just throw them out. Everyone has their own ghosts anyway and sizing issues are difficult to overcome. There used to be tailors for this sort of problem but they’re rare these days. With the help of a good tailor my father’s family kept one ghost in good repair for three generations. When his parents were children not everyone had their own ghosts; families shared and passed them down from generation to generation. One can imagine what those ghosts meant to them, hanging around for 100-years or so.

You want me to come to some conclusion, I can see your impatience and I recognize the look of false interest. The twist of your wrist to glance at your watch as if you have suffered from an injury. As if you’re the one with the scars. Of course you have others to see and more important things to do. Perhaps you have a dog that needs to be walked. He’s suffering indoors all day while you sit and bear the pain of others upon your shoulders, although they eventually sink into your wallet. Maybe you buy your captive dog a bone if he doesn’t chew the furniture. Your spouse, is there a bone in the offering for your spouse as well? You’re upset now and you have every right to be. After all you’re human, flesh and bone like the rest of us. Only your nerves are made of steel. Please, medicate me so I can stop being an asshole.#

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A Question of Why

William Blake is a wretched wick of burnt candle whose light quivers rather than glows. His etchings grind the grains of their subjects into some steel image of permanence. Something he will never be. He is more like the dust he blows from the copper. The word “etch” and the strange corpus he left behind. Engraving nails that spark like stars.

The illuminated ore of Dante.

The shadows mock him; perhaps it is simply the weight of these shadows, created by atmospheric chemistry, that cling like claws to his shackled heart? Dante’s inferno has spiral staircases that lead both up and down and Blake seems to be walking in circles. Neither up nor down, neither heaven nor hell. The curl and the black smoke. When you’ve seen the head of God burst through your window everything else becomes small.


Lost souls. (As opposed of those who have either been found or in the process of being found) Who keeps track or collects them? It must be a tedious job.

Wings bent or misshapen, black as crows and foul.
The mechanical kind of levers and pulleys always
need greasing and re-tooling. Broken springs and
stripped screws. The metal shavings are like snow.

Blake wonders; what kind of wrecked feathers do angels have?

Heaven is full of dark woods and unseen strangers; unmarked graves and the musky hulls of those children conceived in death. It is this eternal fuse which burns Blake to shimmering sadness.

(Somewhere below the grate + the glow)

Blake lives in-between the grate of life and the glow of some divine purpose, which is why Wordsworth called him mad; can anyone linger alone in such rarified air and expect to return without a few menacing teeth marks left as scars?

Blake lives in a state of friction + fiction/
of such wretched disbelief + grim squalor that even shame closes its eyes/
while grinning still at the doomed folly + shipwrecked fate of a man who dares
to deem himself both poet + prophet in such reckless times as these/
times of the deaf + the blind/
of angels + bombs/
of times when grief is but an anchor.

[How many vicious sisters can one man have?]

In the end, it is simply a question of why.

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Depression 3.0

I had just returned from the Bermuda Triangle
where the only things I’d lost were my aviators’
goggles and my sharks tooth necklace. The fuselage
was full of holes and thousands of butterflies had
flown in the cockpit making every day look like a
sunset. You’re pretty much flying with your eyes
closed anyway in that part of the world.

My therapist told me that the medication was
meant to ground me so that I could go to the
grocery store and decide between paper and
plastic without wanting to burn the place down.
The 40mg a day should allow me to answer my
telephone without having to wear a fake mustache
and it would enable me to keep an honest Facebook
profile with my own photograph and real time
updates about what I was actually having for lunch.

There was honesty required he said. Living within the
well-drawn confines of daily life cultivated strength and
he felt I should strengthen the tendons of my emotions
which always seemed to be pulling away from the bone.
All of this, he assured me, would allow me to create lasting
ties with people of my own demographic and to stop flying
other people’s kites. Depression, he concluded, has made
you into some sort of escape artist

I managed to smile as I pulled out an invisible cigarette.
Certainly I’d completed a harrowing 200-mile trek in a
snow globe and I was, whether he wanted to believe it or
not, one of the seven Chinese brothers who’d swallowed
the ocean But Jesus Christ, I’d never claimed to be Harry
Houdini. I’d met him of course but I never cared his type
of dishonesty.

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no. 3

lest the quivering heart
become an arrow
if at all

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One Wing

Fate is a dark angel and deaf to our desperation + doubt.
Every kite ever flown, every first day of school,
the photographs taken when his blonde hair would still curl
are no consolation; considering the sweet tinctured sea that
swallows the soul so brutally + without remorse.

Still, the boy rises with every broken moon,
hovering + helpless while a voice whispers,
“You should land my hummingbird.”

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I’ve been dead for years, splayed
on the flywheel of uncertain tides/

Banished by the gods to iridescent
indifference, a fuse of failure/

Please sign here, in blood for the
bones of yours alone/

The bruises become wings on which
electrified hopes are dashed/

Oh, the terror of the muses that play
only in the minor key/

The screams are tiny comets that burn
through an uncertain sky/

And dissolve or drown in silence.

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