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tagged "poetry" | Inkstained

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What Medford Taught Me

“e canterò di quel secondo regno
dove l’umano spirito si purga
e di salire al ciel diventa degno.

Ma qui la morta poesì resurga,
o sante Muse, poi che vostro sono;
e qui Calïopè alquanto surga…”
Purgatorio, Canto I, Dante

"And of that second kingdom will I sing
Wherein the human spirit doth purge itself,
And to ascend to heaven becometh worthy.
let dead Poesy here rise again,
O holy Muses, since that I am yours..."
- English Translation


I don’t want to live through memory, I need
to feel a moment. To wake knowing the undertow
of a mountain falling down on a chest and, being afraid, 
asks for some purple token of friendship to remind
that while some ideas change, most get stuck in our throat.

I don’t want to sit perched on a hill,
away from the human din and ardor of toil,
surveying the sentimental grasp and major Cs
that could or may yet be a fallen wasp’s nest.

I want my hands dirty, brown armpits of my white
shirts. I don’t want anything to be or not be other
than how it is now, or when tomorrow’s tomorrow, 
how it is then - and know that difference as the moisture
evaporates. I don’t want anything to be perfect except
the enjoyment of light, curled in a weak hand, picking up 
the rollicking strand and starting again without hope, but purpose.

I don’t want to see electronic yellow billboards
flashing “Boston Terror Updates” in pixelated violence
as if fear needs a reminder to come again when conjured
illusions, unbidden, do enough speaking to mute our color.

I want to remember names by seeing
the shape of their skin, not reading symbols
and painting an allegory to war or space travel or history books.

When I think of the Red Sox I want us to sing
Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison with a friend,
the ones who claim tomorrow will never be better,
unless we try harder not to die or make things
more complicated than a knot to untie, making
each day its own meritocracy of sometimes valleyed peaks
over in Charlestown, that balled fist, or ambling to Cambridge, 
that look of knowing, and down into Needham and Newton
with the Jews, where the hills roll into a cultured apogee
of hand-spun revolution.

I don’t want to think of Variteks or Ortizes.
I want to grin with Walter Wrights, Kettlewells, Gingles,
Morans, Butlers, and Murphys. I want to walk through Mass Ave,
a stranger amongst unknown royalty, admire and know
exaltation so that it may be repeated, not preserved.
Let’s eat sushi down Brookline, a nice spot in Jamaica Plain,
enjoy a sake and talk about the unknowable past and 
how young it is to be living. I want us to touch the Newbury Street
cobblestone, watch the pigeons from the faded violet brick 
of footsteps, sip a cool drink, smoke, and think 
of home: what home? Here, now. 

I don’t want Medford to be some half dreamt
idea forged in a Somerville garage between a pair
of broken overalls and a pastel paint job,
an elephant laid to rest along the hedges
that children only whisper about when the grown
and undreaming have gone to bed for a day. No,
I want tufts of hair and a jazz band to play
my funeral, be damned. My conscience sees the trees,
but forgets how wet the blue handicap sign appears
when I’ve stopped looking in the woods for what was
or wasn’t there, when looking didn’t change how things were.
The dingy bus in Chinatown never looked a more immaculate
chariot to another adventure in Yonkers. Let’s dance again
at Davis Square and throw coins to the musicians who breathe still.


I want us to live among the townies, crowned with brass or
High Life aluminum siding, strong houses as bodies
filled with a present day story that loops around itself like
a Borgesian play and starts again in a spoken-word mythology
culled from this instant now and here and here again until
the next one comes that inevitably follows. The next pigeon to black out
on the T, finding the red line a suitable home for student vagabonds,
programmers, and brokers, if they’re not all the same person in the end.
The commotion, and it’s truer than desire, never ceases or apologizes 
for being petty, or stops loving its own movement toward that something.

Let’s not be pattern seekers anymore. I want to blend in,
make stripes of scars, not losing the strand that separates,
makes new, and comes to something altogether different and maybe
holy. No grey shadows where the sunlight was just yesterday,
and still is, if only the shades were not so heavy today and we
rushed toward the sirens because they call on us to save
each other, without knowing how exactly, but to try with grace
and fail, because, an animal is only a dying animal after all.

I want to try, even as this hand is my own,
to be a mowed skyscraper rising in jeweled smog sunset,
because one day I won’t want to or have too little
blood to run for today and tomorrow. Then,
I’ll prefer to dream of things that once were,
wishing to have created something out of things
that were not yet. There is still time I want,
there was a marriage I heard, despite the mourners.
I want to hear again and shake your salty hand,
congratulations for your name and your ruddy face,
drift off to Cape Cod in August with a dream
and some incubated intent. I want the wind
to flag through the warm SUV windows,
deep in our conversations about the future,
and the unseen whispers of young people who,
knowing the irascible beauty of newness, shall
wake a drowsy half opened-eye and remind us the way,
breathing and wanting and talking and looking.

Let us go then, carry the etherized to the nearest triage of words, 
and make haste to open our throats and make it worth the spoons
we counted after all the tired days. The moment does not flicker,
it pauses and waits, a homegrown tiger ready in our kind steady grip.

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All hail, Big Mac(beth)!

The weird mascots, burger in bun,
Slurpers of the milkshakespeares spun,
Thus do go pig out, pig out:
Thrice to fries and thrice to pies
And thrice again, to bring out flies.
Ding! the burger is done.

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i want to live —

in a burned book, a book suffered side by side with its identical siblings, caught aflame by those who tasted not ink but poison upon its pages —

debauchery, sin after sin after delectable sin and desire, all the things that paint temptation as the complex beast it is.  the nights are meant to be long, the weather is meant to be hot, and the drinks are meant to be utterly destroying, transformative elixirs that promise three different personalities in but one debasing evening —

me —

what i want —

is to dance with adventure and sleep with death, and to live my life by the pen of someone much more worldly than i —

la personnage principale

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This is:

an experimental piece, a
way of guiding myself around a new place.

This is me waving my hands in the dark,
this is me wondering how I start. 

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Please forgive me,

I do not want you mad,

Offending you is never in my plans,

If I did something wrong,

I want to be able to right it,

So please give me the chance,

To again bring you a smile.

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dust

 

dust,

dirt and dead skin cells

coating the surface of

anything and everything,

easily wiped away

with the swipe of a finger.

 

why then,

can i not remove you?

why are you still stuck on me?

have i not tried wiping you away?

have i not spent hours

upon hours under scalding water

with blistering steam

trying to scrub the traces of you

off of my skin?

my skin is run raw,

washed of color; but not of you.

you are painted;

no, plastered;

no, you are cemented onto my flesh.

all that is left of you

is dirt and dead skin cells,

dust.

 

why can't i be wiped free of you?

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Voice in the Wind

I wish I could talk with you right now.


Today was a really
fucked-up-shitty-day.
And I want to tell you about it
so you can tell me,
"Sshhh.....
Everything will be ok.
Be strong.
Remember who you are.
Relax."

But your voice escapes me
in the wind;
and your face is something
I cannot see.

So I'll keep plugging along and hope that tomorrow
is a better day...

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Sixth Grade At Recess

the girls all played hopscotch and four square
while us men played kick ball
and chewed beach-nut wintergreen
i swallowed that shit when danny albrecht hit me in the back
on the way to first
i never did like that asshole

 

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the good fight

 

people fight

for their ideas,

for their values,

for their honor,

for their families,

and for their nations.

 

others also fight;

but, they fight

for their next breath.

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starting over
yet to continue on
along a path long ago set
set in stone
looking for something
more
something missing
brings me to you
here
let me one day find my resting place
a place to settle
to lay my head
and a place to set my pen
upon my paper

one

last

time 

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