I have this crazy idea.
We should go to New Orleans
live it up big like the brass
I could learn trombone and you could arrange sunflowers and paint
or we could write poetry across from one another
over tea stained mugs half filled with hummingbird feathers
to the music of people going places
we could sit and watch the world turn
like it was a record
set to the rhythms of our bones
and it won’t matter when
because every moment with you will be

Let’s be 80, complaining about old joints and young couples
all the while dancing despite ourselves

Let’s be 13, playing hide and seek with our glances and almost touching hands

Let’s be 20, thinking we’re above it all
but secretly
we’ll be in the heart of it all
dancing in the kitchen to jazz
sleeping in
watching the sunset
laughing on the balcony
I don’t care what we do
so long as I do it with you

I’m yet to see anyone who’d ask an angel for a game plan
but while we’re making suggestions
let’s go to New Orleans
and live it up as big as the brass.



Nowhere is a goatman
draped in wolf pelts.
The forests come to him when they want to die,
he carves them open,
places both hands into the heart of each tree like prayer
and pulls out their gold.
He does this for every tree.
He does this for every tree.
When his work is done
he plants the gold in the sky
waits for the rain.
When the rains come they cry forests into the mud
This is how trees were born
in gold and raindrops.
Each night, Nowhere burns the sticks of dead forests.
He breathes the smoke heavy
enough to see their lives.
He does this for every tree.
He does this for every tree.

Here I Fell Asleep: Part Two, Saints

There are so many saints here!
Saints on the walls!
Saints in the ceilings!
Saints above the doors and on street corners!
Their gold makes holiness pretty
they are beautiful martyrs
preaching to closed doors
the doors are lions, fish, gnarled old men caught smoking,
young couples kissing,
bicycles dancing
there are so many doors!
And a saint for every door!
They take them from the houses and museums
cut them to splinters
and eat them in great spoonfuls
the saints warm themselves with fire
then drink it down
to mix with the doors
the bellies of saints are golden furnaces
turning locks into prayers
keys into the face of God
hinges and knockers to bone
sanctified bone
each door tickles the sides of the saints
and they laugh
it sounds like finches.

This is how halos are made.

Long Journey

I am not a fortune teller
I do not know where I will be in five or ten years time
but I do know I will have a bathtub
not for cleaning
that is the shower’s job
cleaning and thinking
no, my bathtub will be for writing
I will fill it with paper cranes and one page poems
fill it to the ankles with cold water
and soak my feet
they are tired from walking
from searching
I will grow from them like an orange tree
finches will nestle in my beard
whisper poetry to me
they will speak so many languages
when I see my wife for the first time (yes I will have a wife)
I will ask for her opinion on bathtubs
if she loves them I will love her
if she hates them I will love her less
but rededicate my life to preaching the gospel of bathtubs
the gospel of porcelain
the gospel of reconnecting with the parts of ourselves that crawled from the ocean, breathed and spoke about going back again
when I meet my wife for the first time
I will count the days until she will lay in our bathtub
on that day I will read poems
every poem in the house
she will bathe in ink and heartstrings
and we will not be able to leave that bathtub for all the poems packed tightly around us
piled high against the door
there is no moving for poems!
I will sit on the edge of the bathtub and kiss her ankles, her knees
and we will wonder
how anyone read poetry without a bathtub.

For Conlon and Others

He drinks bottles filled with lightning,
belching out the thunder,
it sounds like tank shells and gunshot prayers.
He has cherry blossom temples blooming on his cheeks,
his knuckles
when they break the skin he will let in whatever god he can find
but for now
He casts his fists over his children like they were braille
he reads about war, broken sparrows, shame loaded bottles fired once a generation
and he moves his knuckles through his family
like they were pillows filled with nightmares and he could punch his way to a peaceful nights sleep
in his dreams
he finds the answers carved in glass, shining gold
He dreams of white whales
bigger than planets
made of needle points and smoke
He cries
enough to fill a shot glass,
turn it into a moon,
let it wash away his waters
they taste too much like guilt for him to swallow
but they are the only waters he has been taught to sail.

Nowadays he smells like burnt coffee.
He no longer dreams of white whales
but now and then he imagines throwing harpoons at the stars
trying to catch the light
so he can find where he is going
what he should do.
His children
spit the names he gave them like curses
becoming overly familiar too fast so they don’t have to use the one thing left they have in common.
He has lost them
and he knows this.

And I know

I’ve never had to face this reality

But this story was never about me

I look at this through the periscope of casual cold ones with a father I hope to be like one day

This is for the ones who look at spirits and alcohol about as casually as seeing ghosts

Haunted by those demons that knocked off the angel and are weighing both shoulders down into the bottle

They drink in the hopes that they don’t drown

But no-one ever told them that this river is just too big

And they went under a long time ago.

It has been two years since he threw the storms back into the sky
broke his bottles on an anvil
they sounded like tank shells and gun shot prayers
but this time
there was no ocean
to drown his

Here I Fell Asleep

There are so many sparrows here!
Sparrows in the sky!
Sparrows on the ground!
Sparrows in the trees and in the walls!
The trees are so full of feathers!
They are made of sparrows!

The sparrows sing songs
their melody fills the empty places
they are monks working psalms
hollow bones made of brass
they are church organs that learned to fly
together the sparrows sound like prayer
like the terracotta rooftops
like a chorus of beautiful women laughing
I have seen many beauties in this place
they line the bridges like sparrows on the branches of sparrow trees
they sing songs about nothing and fill each word with so much of themselves

There is more God in these streets than in the cathedrals
everyone is alive
and moving
the streets filled with moped confessionals
yellow houses rise out of the ground like sunflowers made of brick
The people here live in sunflowers!
Even the leather bag sellers!
They live in sunflowers!
They move like sparrows in the streets
everyone is alive
and moving
the sparrows sing songs about everything
their feathers make for excellent daydreams