Tuesday
Aug142012

The Little Things


I enjoy cracking open
a crisp, new deck of cards.

I love unwrapping the pristine, tightly folded paper
on an uncut block of butter.

I love peeling the gift wrap skin off a fresh tomatillo.

What does all this tell me?

Is it the little things that matter?

Maybe so.

Or perhaps it's time to get off my ass
and find some bigger and better things to enjoy,

like
WATCHING A FRIGGIN' VOLCANO ERUPT,

or
RIDING IN A LAND VEHICLE AS IT BREAKS THE SOUND BARRIER

or
EATING AN ENTIRE WHEELBARROW FULL OF ICE CREAM?

Maybe it's time to start enjoying the BIG things
and stop being such a pussy.

Saturday
Jul282012

You Have To Show Up


just play the piano.
your song will come later.

just keep your head up
and move your fingers
and read the music that's been written.
your song will come when it's ready.
just show up,
put in your time,
and when you least expect it,
your song will be there.

and it will be magnificent.

and it will remind you of who you are,
what you love,
and why you do what you do.

just play the piano.
even if it feels empty,
and even if it feels cold.
just play the piano.

it's worth it, my friend.
play.

even if it feels like
the ceiling may collapse.

even if it feels uncomfortable
and wrong.

sit down and play.

it is extremely important
that you put it in the time,
even if you feel like
there's nothing there.

because when the time comes
that something IS there,

you must be ready.

because it may just be that very moment
that defines your life.

so play the piano, my friend.
and be patient.

your song will come.

and it will be better than you ever thought possible.

Tuesday
Jun192012

Tell the Truth


I'm sorry.
No.

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".

 

Wednesday
Jun062012

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

this

fire.

 

Monday
May142012

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
never
lets
go.