Category Archives: Pallor

Footfall Notes

I remember you
Walking in slowly like fingertips
Transversing a weeping piano
Notes as quiet drops slowing,
Collecting on the pane
That holds us at bay.

I heard you
Humming a doleful dirge
Between the bars
That stir our hearts
To refrain, to merriment, to holiday-
Your solemnity undergirding

The beauty of your sway.



I don’t ask for help
because there’s nothing wrong;
It’s these damned unavoidable days-
Broken in the most alienating ways
And how I crave sunlight,
cash in hand, and the
sounds of streetcars and city cabanas
advertising syrupy cocktails-
Concoctions to dull our time
and senses.

I don’t mention it,
because it can’t be helped,
and it doesn’t help to mention.
My intentions are to return,
to work, to folks, to the higher call,
but these stalled days
feel like fingertips slipping
off the edge of the precipice,
And the silent falling
through some fathomless abyss

Because every surface is deep.
Plumbing the depths,
my casual breaststroke,
dredges infinite silt to pan,
to rub between hands
unconsciously familiar with the task.
Each granule forks in
endless serpentine directions-
These introspections are too numerous,
so I ask for leave-

Sunlight, and
some cash in hand,
For temporary, shallow relief.

Warmth Borrowed

I’ve walked these streets
Since my bare childlike feet
Stumbled unknowingly
Over glass and stone
So desperately alone
In my blood and my bones
Within throngs of hardened faces.
I still remember these spaces,
Hungry and graceless,
Exploring, hoping to discover-
To unearth, to expose, or uncover
Some version of safe, or love, or

Home- that secret fantasy repeating
In all the orphans’ tiny beating
Hearts- ever keeping
The fire kindled, the native
But long forgotten language
Like the memory of a pledge
Not yet redeemed,
But always blooming unseen
In the hidden depths of dreams,
And hopes fallen as wilted petals,
Blackened by the cold metals
Of bustling souls and pedestals
And ashes.

I looked up but once, I know,
There in the window, a glow
Of candles, and smoldering souls
Sharing some spark of smile,
Of tender warmth, and I, beguiled,
Lost the hard miles,
The frostbite, the feet that bled,
The serpentine paths that led
Through frigid humanity- instead
I fell in love with all I saw through the glass
A world unknown, unsurpassed,
Beyond my grasp,

But the only thing I’ve ever seen.

A History of Brokenness

She weeps offscreen,
Years of bruises thrive
Breaking open unseen
And she’s so strong to survive

Her brokenness.

I smile a hollow smile,
But the lantern is black
I embrace what I revile
And can never take back

My brokenness.

We survived the rocky womb
Dashed to pieces, but breathing
Hoping for a chance to bloom
Before we finished bleeding out

Our brokenness.

And we can’t stay in the lines
So we suffer the scold
For breaking the confines,
For not doing as we’re told,

For not staying broken.

We’re easy to clasp,
But impossible to keep
Because no one has surpassed
The temptation to reap

Where we’ve been broken.

Love doesn’t plunder the cleft
To feed base appetites,
And I’ve only learned this is theft
From the God who weeps at the sight

Of our brokenness.

A God who swears to fashion it for our good,
To make it better than intact
Who entered our misery and withstood
The same bitter attacks

To be broken for us.

Slowly making all things well,
But this process stings,
So we wait for the healing
Only He can bring:

Our Wounded Healer.

The Longest Hour

Burning months like matchsticks,
Because time is so predictable
As it erupts, and blazes,
And diminishes, and ends
In smoke and ash.

And all my love remains
Never smothered by the smoke
Of burnt seconds sacrificed
While my beloved breathe clean air
In distant spaces

And I light another day
Like she lights cigarettes,
Because time burns
A million different ways
But smolders the same

And I miss the dives,
The homogenous buzz
Of beer, and regret,
As hives of desperation
Produce anonymity

And what nectar could be sweeter,
Or safer,
Or a longer burn?

A Pound of Flesh

Tomorrow I will treat myself
As something lesser than I can be;
I will punish my appearance
For my undesirability,
And I will go about my business
As a wasted commodity.

Tomorrow I’ll agree with you
About my insufficient claim
I’ll stay silent because I know
I’ve no right to change the game;
I’m an unwanted anomaly
In the world of All The Same.

Tomorrow I’ll use what bits I have
To feed the shallow illusion
I will grovel for forgiveness
For being a poor substitution
I will accept my surface
Necessitates my exclusion,

Tomorrow I will crawl about
The rotten crust on which I’m born,
I will discount my existence
For the crime of being shopworn
After you drank my youth,
I learned to swallow my scorn.

And tomorrow I will drink it down,
And tomorrow I will judge my skin,
And tomorrow you will take the blade
Forged every generation
And exact the pound from all of us
Because you’re hungry again

But tonight I’m angry with you
For a lifetime of distraction,
For a woman’s only strength
Being the strength of her attraction-
Because your every passing desire
Is another pound’s extraction

In every passing generation,
Ad nauseam, with no drop of compassion.


Roll back, roll back, let nimble hands
Mind the gears and spindles-
Roll back, roll back, the time of man
Before the hours dwindle.

Return me to my mother’s home,
Let her kitchen pot, just simmering,
Waft the world that I’ve outgrown
Back into a vivid memory.

Let me see my sister playing
All alone beside the stair,
Braiding and unbraiding
Her dolly’s long blond hair.

Let me again feel the crisp of summer heat
Through my fresh, unspoiled skin or
Crimson fingertips, stained berry sweet
With disregard for dinner.

To see mysterious, repetitious behavior
That used to thrill and frighten
Before I understood human nature,
Before the weight of what enlightens

When insects were still interesting
And maps were of hidden forts-
Let me remember petitioning
In undiluted desire or remorse.

Roll back, roll back just once
To sleep on my childhood bed
Before this clock has chimed
And all these times are dead.