there are things that are beyond words,
like one soul speaking to another.
to touch the deepest parts of another human being,
to know what makes them ache
with fear and pleasure.
to peel away the layers of skin and flesh and bone
and say “here i am”
to be completely and utterly naked,
to present yourself vulnerably. explicitly.
that is soul speak.
he flicks the ashen remains of his cigarette
right into the forever of a gray night,
he’s got a cracked tooth,
‘can see it when his lips hint of a smile,
like they’re doin’ right now.
something that looks a bit like satisfaction,
rests easy on his face.
hands rest against his belt,
like he was born with one hand on his gun
the other on his hip.
the moon’s giving off just enough light,
he can see her once pretty face turning blue.
she looks at him, but her eyes don’t really see
except maybe a white light,
or just darkness.
depends on what a person believes comes next.
he tilts his head,
listens to her cough, vomit, choke
there’s a needle still strapped to her arm,
but he just watches.
shame, she might’ve been been pretty
if she wasn’t pretty messed up.
shame, she might’ve been someone
if she wasn’t someone who chose drugs
over her own son, from someone’s son.
shame, she would’ve been pretty,
if she wasn’t so pretty then,
if she wasn’t pretty vulnerable for a five year old,
if she wasn’t pretty depressed for a teenager,
if she wasn’t pretty lonely as a young woman.
if she wasn’t so pretty then,
she could’ve been someone…else.
if he would take a good look,
look at her eyes, clouding over like the moon
that’s watching over them,
maybe he’d see the blue eyes of a little girl,
could be his little girl,
if he had a little girl,
he’s just got boys.
so maybe that’s why he can’t see her
except through the eye of a needle.
he could have saved her life.
maybe he could have changed her life,
but he believes that she made a choice.
he believes she chose this life –
nothing could change his mind.
there’s a siren somewhere in the background,
theme music for a b-movie ending,
she’ll be happy now, right –
she can shoot up with Jesus,
maybe he’ll save her.
maybe if she makes it to Heaven.
seems like she’s already been to Hell.
be free, little bird, a shadow whispers.
he shakes his head at the shell of her,
here comes the ambulance,
snapping on blue gloves –
nitrile, not latex.
it’s too late to take it away,
but they do anyway.
of another overdose.
they will carry his burden for him,
the one he refuses to take part of.
they know he could have saved her.
but the magic potion costs too much
and of course, she deserved it.
just like she did when she was five.
because she was too pretty,
and then pretty fucked up.
so he watches them zip her up,
in a black bag.
he could have saved her.
Horse trailers make me cry and
you can fit a lot of memories in a wheelbarrow.
A hundred different songs
can feed a hundred thousand souls
In a club, in a car, on a bathroom floor.
Sorrows can drown in a whiskey
no rip currents needed.
Biscuits and gravy
not a single one can save me
planted southern roots
but they point north and west
and all over this goddamned place.
Settle in and settle down
but never settle for less than love
Show up, don’t show out
beautiful places and spaces
really weren’t created for that.
where have you been?
What does it feel like,
to have your soul crawl out of your skin
What’s it this week?
Meth, crack, pot, heroin?
sing to me.
make it the one about life
after death and what comes next
make it about snow and Jesus
and things like Heaven.
Her words were cold,
like ice on a grave
but it’s hard to heat things
in a dead microwave.
She wanted to speak,
words and words
and feelings and emotions,
but it’s hard to dig them out
of the dirt once they’ve been buried.
She choked and she coughed
and she spit them out
the best she knew how.
She started a fire,
she didn’t know how to put out.
An electrical fire,
would have caused less damage –
or maybe throwing a toaster
into a lightening storm.
She was a disaster,
two steps from the edge.
The risk kept her sane,
but safety called just the same.
Stop it, stop it.
Stop feeling this way –
she screamed but the wind
drowned her out.
Maybe she’d be better off
in a hurricane with a band-aid
instead of a boat.
She could patch the last scratch
right before she went down –
they’d find her drifting
over the edge holding onto
a dead microwave.
Quick, let’s build a wall.
Make it a hundred feet high;
better yet, make it two.
Take away their shovels
and ladders and ropes
and while we’re at it,
take what’s left of their
dignity and humanity.
Maybe we can tax the
ever lovin’ shit out of them
while were at it.
Just savages, don’t you know
that’s what they are?
If you put a door,
you better bar it.
Don’t let them out.
Don’t let them in.
They might taint our
hypocrisy with truth.
Guard it with your life,
sacrifice yours so that
they can’t have a better one.
Cover your legalities with
words like boundaries,
so it’ll be easier to ignore
the screams when the cartel comes.
We took away their shovels,
but maybe they can pile the bodies
like a stairway of the macabre.
maybe if enough people die.
There’s something about the way
a cigarette lights up the dark,
and the smoke trails away,
just drifts away into the night.
You know it’ll kill you,
All the way from that first moment.
The first time you put it to your lips,
and inhale. Inhale. Inhale. Die a little.
Nicotine in your bloodstream,
kind of like a good dream.
Tar in your lungs,
drowning never felt this good.
Red in a black night,
a whisper only you can hear.
It owns you like you’ve never
been owned before.
It’s bondage of the soul;
pleasure they’ll never understand,
exploration of the dark side.
Forty years from now,
Hell, forty minutes from now,
you’ll still be a slave.
And it won’t feel so good
In the long run, probably.
When the emphysema kicks in,
and the cancer comes,
but my God, it was good.
You never looked so cool,
you never felt so calm.
Never felt so much like you
would maybe explode right
out of your skin if you didn’t get
just one more damn drag.
Tricks and trips and bullshit,
just to get you to take a whiff,
It might kill you, but
it’s still a beautiful thing,
watching those cigarillos
swirl and whirl and fade
away into the dead of night.
The things they say will heal you,
sometimes they only kill you.
They’ll give you a rainbow dream,
with letters and numbers and
They’ll take everything you own,
just so you can keep on keeping on.
No, no. Don’t let them take you.
Don’t go willingly into their dark night.
You are more than their
bottom, bottom line.
You should have more time;
don’t let them take that from you.
It’s degree versus autonomy,
in a battle to the death.
Be free, sweet soul, be free
Don’t eat the fruit from bitter apples.