I’ve decided to start providing my poetry as audio, starting with:
Me, reading my poem “I’m Sorry, Buddy Holly”—you can find the poem’s text here.
Keep track of Brian online…or at least try to
[Note: This was originally published on Tumblr; since I'm actively cross-pollinating now, I'm publishing here.]
You were so young, then. I remember
when I met you, that I could just remember
what it was like to be that young.
I don’t guess you’re quite so young
now; now I only remember remembering.
Of course, I remember you. I think
you’re growing bald a bit, but
of course I don’t care—the scorch marks
of age never quite make you any less
handsome, at least not from my
Time and place—all our places travel with us;
sunbleached paint and dirty baseboards
mark time with their cues of growing decay.
Your eyes are still so bright.
I thought time would make you less timid, but then
I never really understood you, never really
got why you didn’t fight through life, why you
just went limp in the face of everything.
If only someone could carry you.
If only I could carry you.
If only there were something more to do
Auden said that time and fevers
burn away—and he’s right;
love is the ash, the residue
of my fevered time; my love for you is
dusty, remote, like a long neglected cabin
at the end of wild, feral trails.
It’s something that I’ve put in a box and
tucked into the back of the hallway closet;
maybe it will soak up the soft scent of the linens.
And I’m sorry I left you behind. I didn’t want to leave you
alone there; I wanted to burn with you.
But now, I’m married.
Cobain would rhyme that with buried—and
he’d be right. But we can both remember before;
we can both remember that I knew you
when you were so young…
So, I’ve decided to give away free copies of my last printed chapbook, “American Method.” I’ll even mail it, if you live in the continental United States. Details are here on dropBrian.
So I found myself asking myself about
what a heart is—the abstract, the thought—
like, a full heart, a broken heart, a regretful heart,
a lonely heart. I want to clamp mine between
my thumb and fingers, I want to see it squish,
bounce back; I want to know its spaces,
the emptiness of its chambers.
I feel like I’ve got nothing left to say to you…
I wonder at the topology of my heart; I wish
it was something I could trace with just one finger,
something tender that I’m expected to touch. But
its size and scope shift seemingly with every hour,
until I finally surrender, and admit I cannot define
my love, cannot understand where it ends and begins.
I feel like you’ve got something you forgot to say to me…
My heart holds everything that I’ve had to abandon. It
bears witness to everything I forget, everything I want
to forget, and every memory faulty with time, with
indecision. It remembers exactly where and how
I let you go. And I can pinpoint the break, not necessarily
in my heart, but in us—the tear in the space between us,
that final separateness that I endure because I love you.
And you don’t really have to say anything…
Sometime overnight the bedroom windows fogged—
the pillows sucked in the faintest scent of sweat, and
the slats that form the floor have chilled, but like the
fog, the morning’s embrace will evaporate soon.
I am happy to sort and wash your shirts and
fetch a second glass while I get up for water;
I’m content to nod my head when ignoring you, and
I’m happy to not ignore you overmuch.
Hold me until the air around us breathes,
hold me until the air conditioner loses its bite;
I journeyed through the desert afternoon
to arrive like a Magi to your evening arms.
And something else is like our bedroom, someplace
else echoes the landscape of us—grass on rolling hills,
Mission Trails Park; you appear to me in darkness like a
wandering grey wolf that stalks the well-worn paths at night.
When I met you I was a wildfire, I charred
the hillside; I burn still, something thick
and black clings to me, I swelter and crackle
through each of these long lonely afternoons.
But let’s forget about who I am or was, forget about your
matted fur and bloody teeth—here we make our bed between
the embers and the wolf tracks, the pillows and the floor;
at night in sleep we become each other, like a fogged window
Fringed in purple as the sun creeps up
behind them, the hills seal off
the horizon, their texture
abraids the sky in the rough relief of
trees and boulders; deep-cut grooves
wind within the bushes…
The morning wind bites as it cools
and I imagine myself a snake in dirt
as I survey the mountainscape—
as if I could see the cold as surely
as I could feel it, could see
precious heat bleed and fade into the morning
like blood soaking through a bandage.
Engulf, blanket—not quite the right
words to describe what the morning fog
does within the air—
fields along this valley transform
into oceans of mist and even a dog
wondering the sidewalk seems as alien
as a glowing angler fish deep beneath the ocean…
The world in these deep California valleys
renews itself, each morning a subtle phoenix
that ascends from the mist and streaking daybreak…
I know a secret, too, and I’ll share it, though
the Spanish priests knew it, too:
this is a sacred place,
this whole of Southern California,
for beyond our dreams and freeways
is mystery within mystery,
with the California sunlight
as crisp as a cut on the tip of your finger…
And to witness every morning in silence
is to recite a common prayer
that this is the final place
—just before cliff-face and ocean—
that America has one last promised land
that arises anew each morning
within the misty valleys, the fog-swept beaches…
Traffic lights tick on along the streets,
the freeway entrances slowly build to a hum
eventually, but still
in the still of the dawn
they don’t feel out of place—
the notion that I could race across the valley
like a lost seagull or a local God
remains as common as putting one foot
in front of the other…
And as the sun rises on a tile floor in a Spanish mission,
as the freeway lanes bleach and brighten in daylight,
and as the mist fades into the faintest taste in the air,
I know each daybreak affirms