“The road to heaven is equally short from all places.”
– Sir Thomas More



0:60 Everything dies with a false vibrato,
in a false abrasion (straining the uvula)
0:59 damning the minor scales. But me? I’m clinging
to a sinking grand piano, clinging to a smoking
0:58 riptide in which so many of the sticklebacks
are amputating their gills but I made Katie
0:57 stay out of the ocean because I loved her
so fiercely. Mom? I loved her too, but here
0:56 are the only things that can be said
about maternity: it is tongue-in-cheek. It is lonely
0:55 in all of its chambers with all of their beige drapery.
How can the world be filled with anything
0:54 when there are so many stillbirths daily? How
did the deathsmith find me? Why is my childhood
0:53 twitching in a bag? The bag & my childhood are dead,
my favorite colt is dead. He was good for little
0:52 more than lapping up the saltlick but I loved him
because he was loyal only to me. Back in Sioux City,
0:51 my kitchen used to smell of cinnamon & vanilla.
Oh mercy mercy me: those three ghosts
0:50 in the coral, are they sure they’re not rain?
Are you sure you’re not rain? Sometimes
0:49 rain dips its leaky feet in Epsom salt
because they are swollen. Swollen, in other tongues,
0:48 is sometimes known as bloated is sometimes known as God.
My doll-less daughter doesn’t believe in God.
0:47 She doesn’t believe in love. She doesn’t believe
in the moon’s bastard children because they have no
0:46 respect for the cosmic hierarchy (the feudalism
of the universe). Planets can kiss night after night
0:45 with knives between their throats because they are
of the same caste, so they grab each other
0:44 by the Adam’s apple in a passion so ripe & wet
that they forget they are being watched.
0:43 There is a writhing worm in the middle
of everything. Perry Como is playing nonstop in my head.
0:42 He owes me a harpsichord & I owe him several bubbles
& a paradox so I guess it seems we’re even, even
0:41 though he took my last skag. He kept it as a keepsake
above the patchwork above his doorway. In a previous life,
0:40 I was light’s last great apprentice. In the life
before that, I was nothing of great importance, or so
0:39 Dad says, but my sister still vouches that he has nothing
but an agenda & a miserable lantern. She explains,
0:38 When you were younger, you tried to construct a star
out of cord. They need oxygen just as much as humans.
0:37 They need someone to love them so will you love
this star? Will it have a name? Or will you
0:36 mourn it when it dies & grieve like no one else
has grieved before you? The grief is in you,
0:35 little one, you just have to find it & tug it out
of its windows because it’s yours & only yours &
0:34 everything deserves someone to mourn for it. But I wasn’t trying
to build a star. I was trying to build a dragon but I couldn’t
0:33 get past the skeleton (its guts got tangled upon more guts
already on the fence) so I wept. So farewell, my beloved
0:32 almost-dragon, my beloved almost-friend, farewell. Farewell
because I have cured nothing; because the more tragic
0:31 the spasms of departure, the more frantic the reunions.
The more frantic the dust, the further it settles
0:30 into the bones (& into the bones of the bones) & so on
& so forth, back into the dust of the ocean, where nothing
0:29 asphyxiates — only accepts everything as true & just
gives up like a cigarette in a puddle but only half
0:28 as dead. In the war between God & man, it’s a stalemate;
the battles between smoke & glass, between tension
0:27 & melody, between my voice & my name have all produced
victors but no one forgives them, so Hallelujah. Hallelujah
0:26 to the water serpents tapping at the salt of a language
that has no vowels so everything comes out gagged
0:25 like it’s lost in some bottled note somewhere, trying to free itself
& locate the finest lily patch off the shore. It wants to rest
0:24 in the petals, to build a raft out of the stems to float
in the bath but it doesn’t have the glue nor the cinder
0:23 to hold it all together, so it teaches itself only about damage.
There are only so many ways one can rearrange
0:22 the letters & still have the same word. So carve it
in the walls, in the trunk of an oak, scratch it
0:21 in wet cement, scrawl: forgive me because my river
blindness never will because I have failed it. My socket
0:20 wrenches are in the drawer above the rug. They are yours
now because everything now belongs to you: my shorthand,
0:19 my ball gloves, all my cheap joints, my memory, all liquids,
the spare pennies in the icebox, so Hallelujah, but rejoice
0:18 for nothing. Who wants something so much
that it aches deep in the clavicle? Who wants something
0:17 as much as I want a cigarette? Who loves something
as much as I loved the brined deep? Ambassadors,
0:16 welcome me. Show me around the corridors
with pictures of torched boats. Greet me at your meals
0:15 as a brother. Serve only rabbit dripping off its bones.
Keep the bars open until they’re dry, pouring whiskey
0:14 like it’s water because it doesn’t matter if something is ruined,
only that it doesn’t know how ruined it is & that the living
0:13 never come up at the barstools. Our wives are over
their heartache. Our children have forgotten us, & such
0:12 is Hell: a gathering of the lost who don’t know
they are lost (who shake in bed at night)
0:11 so Hallelujah. So I tell them to find somewhere
else to crash. Find some other galaxy to admire. Find me
0:10 a bucket for my molars so I can find them
in the morning. Find me some sutures for this gash
0:09 in my clavicle. Make it scab up by first light
so it doesn’t leak on my pillow, so Hallelujah.
0:08 Make it burst in a few weeks. Was I not
a graceful mammal prior to Death? The dull blade,
0:07 and love with all of its razors. When I thought
I could fly. Worshipping nothing
0:06 in its grave. A half-dragon crying
father, why have you forsaken me oh why
0:05 oh why oh why have you forsaken me as he was draining
on a post into the dirt that soaks up what it pleases,
0:04 so Hallelujah. So Dirt, allow what you want:
worms, minerals, a couple Bibles, dirty
0:03 jazz, dirty melody, the handlebars of a bike
with a back tire that is running out of air.
0:02 That is a tribute to youth: an homage
to the violent discourse between science
0:01 & machinery. A brackish argument over
an obvious accident in evolution.



Photo Source:Travis S., Flickr