Tell the Truth

I'm sorry.

You're a deceptive inventor.
An author of lies.

You can't just serve up some
empty blanket claim
and expect me to bite. 

Don't you know that
you're perjuring yourself
with those words?

For God's sakes, you stupid, local restaurant...

your burger is not

"World Famous".



Earth, Wind, and Monkeys

We are in the mountains.
It's cold in our cabin,
so the girlfriend and I light a fire.
Sitting there watching the amber flames chew their bark,
my mind starts searching for metaphors.

I think to myself:
Having a fire in your fireplace
is like having a raging, orange monkey with arthritis
locked in a crate,
hissing and popping and cracking its joints.

But then I think to myself:
No, that's not what it's like at all.
Nobody will understand that.
Derek, you won't even know what
you're talking about in a week's time.

But then I think:
Yet, there's got to be some way to
harness this fire, poetically, outside the usual
literary terms and devices?

Here is this thing, that is engrained in our history
as a savior of mankind.
It brought us warmth and light, security and nutriment.
Yet it is also this dangerous beast, capable of destroying
entire civilizations, and even the entire human race
if the conditions were right.

And it's right here in my house.

There's just this CAGE OF FIRE in my living room.

And when it gets hungry, I feed it logs.
Because it likes logs.
And even though it seems alive,
it's okay to kill it.
I'm just not supposed to let it out of its cage,
because it's kind of crazy
and has a very broad appetite. 

There's nothing like fire.
Sure, there are beautiful parallels:
Her bright, redwood hair unfolding in the sunlight,
like fire.
A flurry of cardinals in a windstorm, spiraling into the clouds,
like fire.

But we've heard it all before.
And I need to let this go

and stop trying
to harness





Desert Vignette

A herd of Black Angus cattle scattered across a white,
sunbleached, crusted desert off of I-40 in New Mexico.
Tiny, black dots among an arid, fallow field
that look like cracked black pepper on a slice of old, dry toast.

And there by the side of the road is a dented highway guard rail
all crumbled in the median around a smashed cement divider
lying wasted among cookie crumbs of concrete
and wrecked rebar that fans out of the wreckage like wirey fingers
or twisted pipe cleaners
or bent hangers wrestling in the trash.

And finally, a roadside cross
decorated with dusty, silk roses
and a loose, plastic grocery sack
that whips violently in the desert wind
yet manages to hang on
by a single loop of plastic that


Positive Injection

right now, you are alive.

right now, you are free.

and for as long as you can remember,
you have always had a desire to
give something to the world.

you may not be doing what you want to do
right now,

but you have the desire. 

and that is powerful.

and you must carry that with you.

because it is what makes you.

don't ever allow yourself
to forget
the fact
that despite
what the other voices tell you...

you will matter.



Road Kill

i thought it was the open ribcage
of a German Shepherd carcass
strewn across the highway
with its insides
as red as marinara.

but as my headlights lit up the thing
i saw that it was only an old leather coat
with a red flannel lining
lying in the road
like a dead German Shepherd