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





she found the wheat inside the shed
'neath a shotty, rusty sign

ne'er did her eyes attempt to read

and when she fed the farmer's hogs
they choked and fell asleep

a barrel's worth victims... lost to poison feed

the rabbits in their cages
were as silent as could be

curious but hungry
for anything, yes anything

beyond the wire windows
that stashed them to their seats

the kindle sucked the poison,
further warnings to redeem

Lost Adelade the Child...
mixing wheat into her cream.

Poor Adelade the Vanished...
mixing wheat into her cream.


Wooden Brain Blocks

i will never give up writing.
though sometimes i worry it will give up on me.
sometimes it just isn't there.
and i have to remind myself that
it's never there all the time,
for anyone.
sometimes it disappears for months
and then suddenly,
it just shows up,
right when i need it the most.
it's helped me get through so many
harmful evenings,
those nights when i've wanted nothing more than to die.
it's turned me around
and made things better.
but then again, it's also abandoned me to my struggle
and left me to fend for myself.

and boy, those are the hardest times.
when you need it
and it isn't there.
those nights when you can't sleep
and no one answers the phone.

those nights you find your self stuck,
paralyzed in the confines
of a small airplane seat,
or a straight jacket,
locked in place for days,
watching your knees rust shut.

watching everything pass with an absence of meaning.

those are the nights you need it the most.

those are the nights it saves your life.


Killing a Colony of Red Imported Fire Ants

sometimes you have to cut open the dirt
with an iron rake and detonate a
thousand pounds
of cyclotol
to kill a colony of red imported fire ants.

to kill a colony of red imported fire ants
you must act quickly. 

they are an aggressive and invasive species.

they are... your vicious thoughts.

and they have no natural predators.

if given the chance,
red imported fire ants
will spread and eradicate
your plants, your animals,
your family, your hope,

your security.

and when they colonize inside your head,
decisions must be made.

kind and passive folks will not prevail.

decisions must be made.

and Earth must be scorched.

Sheets and Sacks

when a large dog becomes lost under a bed sheet
he turns into a dumb, rambunctious
and thrashes his head around
like a fat, mechanical bull.

he makes clumsy attempts to
escape his costume,
his confusion,
his fabric burial.

and he always stays in one place.

and dammit, you can't help but think
that throughout his epileptic efforts to find that pinhole of light,
he's kind of having fun,
excited and laughing,
even in the grips of total blindness.

now, when a cat gets its head stuck in
the bands of a plastic sack,
the opposite occurs.

upon the first scraunch,
and turns into a schizophrenic, over-cranked
dumpster cheetah.
he tears across the house like a
movie star rape victim, spastic and desperate,
he runs into chairs and knocks over a lamp.
he gets stuck in the curtains and tears them off the rod,
then shoots behind the shelf and unplugs the television.

when his nightmare is over,
he emerges, calm and contained, like a seasoned politician,
acting as if nothing of great significance ever occurred,
and advertising his phlegmatic image with a confident gait.

and it is in this response where these two creatures
draw their similarities.

both animals emerge from their cages seemingly
unaffected by their previous turmoil,
unable to apply meaning to their quandaries
they simply go about their day,
happy and content,
as if the whole stupid thing was
a part
of the

Head on Collision

lately, i've been chewing on bullets.
too tough to care about any finger that goes
waggin' in my direction.
i can drown out the sound of a howitzer
with the music in my head,
let alone some disapproving soul's, "Tisk, tisk, tisk." 

and i ain't afraid to kill again.

some people get along through life, just fine,
like a straight line.
they move forward by the book, just like the text inside it.
it's true, straight lines survive the longest
and they live the healthiest lives...


of course... 

they get in a wreck
with a curvy bastard like me.

sMaShInG tHe WaLl

a week ago
i stood up in the middle of the night
with a nervous firestorm feeding deep inside me,
out of control,
and fretful.
anxious, but restrained,
a monsoon in a mason jar,
i had to vent properly.
so, i quickly decided to
remove the wall between my bedroom and my living room.
i grabbed the first thing i could find,
a golf putter,
and i smashed into that wall with a mad urgency.
i screamed with every impact,
and to anyone but my closest friends,
it would have seemed a psychotic episode
worthy of the finest restraints.
the wall turned to pie crust
and flakes of it
salted the floor
like stale bread crumbs.
the air filled with powder and ash,
which to my surprise
swirled into a thin cyclone by the force of the ceiling fan.
and when the putter snapped in two,
i ran across the room and grabbed the leg off my piano,
and smashed the wall with that.
powder was everywhere.
in my mouth, my nose, my eyes.
and beams of porch light began to appear in the fog
peering through the threads of the blinds.
after 10 minutes of mad smashing, i stopped.
and thought...
"this is a nice piano leg.
i don't want to mess this up too much. 
i should probably get a hammer."
the next morning i woke up...

and felt very grateful that i had not yet destroyed the studs
in what turned out to be the
most important load bearing wall in the house.

oddly enough, the place will look so much better without that wall,
and when it is finally fully removed,
it will open up the house to a breath of fresh autumn air.
sometimes you just have to get rid of it all,
destroy the house and powder the room,

to make it

Bland to Bold

occasionally i give my cats canned food over bagged food.
and when i do this, i sit and watch them eat.
i imagine that for them, it's an unbelievable experience.

it must be like eating old, dry cereal everyday
and then suddenly being presented with a moist, roast turkey dinner
with grrraaaavvvvyyyyy.


those cats wolf down that chopped horse meat in complete desperation.
and they don't do that with the dry food.


when i was a kid, i used to play outside in the creek,
under the hot summer sun all day.
and when i'd run home to get a drink,
i used to pretend that i had been lost in an egyptian desert
and that the first touch of liquid to my skin was the first bit of moisture
my body had received in days.


i would close my eyes, and focus on the dry, coarseness of my throat
and then let that liquid roll softly passed my lips.
and i'd feel chills go down my limbs, and i'd shiver
at how grateful my body was to receive that life-giving sip.

it was bliss.
nothing tasted better than that tall, cold, glass of pure ice water.
and i don't think anything has tasted that good, since.
a fast reminder of how powerful a false but forced perspective can be
when you're young enough to believe
your own lies. 

buy a small audio recorder

buy a small audio recorder

today, i thought a good while about how strange childhood is.
not necessarily how strange MY childhood was, but
how strange childhood is in general.
you know, how it comes and goes, and whatnot.

and how it can only be felt once,
from a first person view,
by the very child that's doing the hooding. 

and wasn't it strange?


that this giant block of time,
the potent mold that forms our personalities and our values,
eventually just disappears.

and if you try and dig for it,
all you'll muster up are some artifacts and pictures
that hardly summarize a drop
let alone an entire waterfall. 

who was that small person?
was that me?
i can barely remember what his voice sounded like.

i want to.

i do.

but i can't.

sometimes i can hear it in the middle of the night,
passing on a dark train, with a pitch black, steel furnace
pouring ashes and soot,
and fueled by a fire as soft as candlelight.

and just as the voice comes to me,
that empty train screams by,
and vanishes into the rain and wind,
and takes all my voices with it. 

i want to remember my mother's voice, when i grow old.

i want it to be crystal clear in my mind.

and i want it to comfort me, when i die.

i must remember to record it
while i still can. 



i have a consistent inconsistency
in my pattern of living.

when you climb a tree
you generally face the trunk
and look for anything you can grab onto.
you look for any nook and cranny to sink your foot
and slowly begin your ascension.

if you were to climb a tree
similar to the fashion in which i've lived my life,
you would climb with your back to the trunk,
eyes closed,
with a ripped shirt,
bloody cuts,
and a song in your head.

a chaotic, unusual, and equally frightening way to climb.

fingers crossed.

hoping not to fall. 

meant to be

meant to be

I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Yes I do.
I love the explosion of flavor derived from such simple chemistry.
Peanut butter and jelly is effortless. It doesn't try to work together. It just does.
And though they can be quite delicious on their own,
combined they create a unique taste sensation that has become
a staple in American cuisine.
Peanut butter and jelly make up the harmony and the melody
and they were destined to be one.

I remember the day I killed my wife with a shovel.

We were not like peanut butter and jelly.

whisper in the air conditioning

the past two years,
it's been difficult to gather my thoughts, let alone organize them.

i used to be much more opinionated.

i used to fight, tooth and nail, over ridiculous subjects that mattered little.
i used to cross lines, rigid and defined,
and risk everything as if there was nothing left in the world.

i used to want to turn people over and
twist their perspectives to my will.

but as i grow older, i find that my false sense of destiny,
and my invisible grip on the world,
has let up a great deal.

because all the things i once held so dire,
just don't seem as pressing anymore.

and so my intense, fiery passion has settled
into a quiet reflection.

a whisper in the air conditioning.

i'm not sure what it all means.
perhaps it's maturity?

or maybe it's just another callus
from the impacts of a wrecking ball that has yet to stop swinging?

whatever it is,
i can't wait until i can sing about it all,
with the solid force of age and experience behind every word,
and a shimmer of death in the eye.

Abandon WheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeL

"You ought not to think about those things," she said.

"Why? So what if I want to jump? The vision came to me. Everyday, it emerges. Everyday it rides up my spine and nips at the hairs on the back of my neck, like rusty clippers. It pinches and pulls at the very fiber of my being. And ideas such as that should never be ignored."

"I agree, but is this one of those ideas?"

"I don't know yet.  But I tell you, I have had a veridical hallucination. And as it stands, the only thing I am sure of in life... is where I don't want to be, and that is on this God damned ferris wheel."

"Oh, shut it! Don't you be misrememberin' who you be accounting to, Mister! And you best be stayin' put if you know what's good for you. You wait until the ride stops."

"Why? Who placed you on your pedestal? And why must you drag me down into your den of iniquity? Damn it woman, you may not get it, but I do. I grind it in my mind, just fine. I am self destructive by choice, not by fate, and unless you can give me one good reason to refrain from thrusting myself off this ferris wheel, then consider me a wingless bird."

"Wait! I have a reason! In fact... it's the only reason I can think of. At least wait a couple minutes before you do it."

"Why?  Spit it out, woman."

"Because I'm standing under you
and I don't want to get guts on my dress."