Ghosts and Onionskins

For Whoever Wrote that Thing to Brienne

Have you lingered in the hallows?
Have you shed a tear for drink
just for the emptiness that follows?
No? I care not what you think.

You tell the bleeding how to poem
as if they’ve all got it wrong
but you could never call those demons home
your heart is not that strong.

So leave the words for those who need them
and masturbate behind closed doors
instead of onto art, in childish spite
the worthy soul abhors.


I think you got a haircut
the day you strangled all your doubts
amazing what some clippers do
to turn the chaff devout
now you burnt post-modern Elsinore
language stretched your virtues thin
and every life is hanging gingerly
for your eternal sins

But you’re gonna be forgiven
even if he don’t wake up
so take the courage from your misery
and from your coffee cup
and buy a suit to kill your father
yeah but bury him instead
a dozen roses on a tombstone now
but not a kind word said

And all the tracksuit eulogies
parade their taco stains
all up and down the boardwalk
for a chance to brush with fame
but now all the sets are torn down
and the sunset boulevard
has no bodies left to throw the rich
as if they could still get hard

Yeah the pills aren’t doing anything
your wife still looks the same
with every other pair of eyes on her
20 longs years are to blame
and the cashier at the grocery store
flirts almost every time
and you think you might pursue her
if it really were a crime

Los Angeles is bleeding
after fucking for so long
now the starlets started eating
and the cocaine all smells wrong
and the devastated palm trees
started feeling like the truth
what a lovely town to die in
playing something like your youth


ghostsandonionskins:

Truth is microwaving noodles
Truth is snorting up its wage
Truth is kneeling to the TV screen
as if it were a sage
Truth is buying its own cancer
lying in a tanning booth
Truth is hiding more and more these days
Well isn’t that the truth?

Truth is learning all about it
Truth is always on its phone
I went to school the other day
Truth was arguing with bones
Truth is weeping for our history
Truth is strangling the youth
I heard the truth was once so pretty, yeah
well isn’t that the truth?

Truth is sleeping in on Sundays
Truth is living in a book
or in a bed, or in a mirror
while truth is perfecting its look
And every time I try to speak to it
every night I beg for proof
I’m talking to myself again
Well isn’t that the truth?


Red

parkinglotmusic:

Shiela, don’t cry
in your red dress from the fifties
behind a veil
of Belmont smoke
Tensions are high
and alliances are shifting
and all our love poems
they read like jokes

Shiela dont sleep
through the red dreams soaked in screaming
‘bout all the blood
the roses drank
to look so cheap
just like a medal brightly gleaming
lapels on hearts
dying for some thanks

Sheila don’t die
and leave the paint there just pretending
the red your breath
blew into lips
We’re still gonna try
to squeeze some smiles before the ending
Two string quartets
on sinking ships


We the Living

The classroom, the boardroom, the wedding, the child
the stories, the puzzles, the sleep
the drinking, the dancing, the trumpets, the smoke
and the heroes you never see weep
the shower, the subway, the workday, the grind
the subway, the t.v. then bed
sometimes just believing in spectres and ghosts
divides we of the breath from the dead


Would you ever beg for a hungry love like mine
or for anything other than him?
I’m know I’m a Mongol, I know you’re content
and I know that my thralls are a whim

One more place, one more drink, one more I’m not so bad
and you smiling, remember your laugh
in the days long before time corrupted our tastes
one to slice all your troubles in half

That’s the wide world I bring to the table
honest, encompassing, fun
One forgotten, remembered romantic
till you need to get anything done

Sure the rake and the hoe and the cart have you pine
while the spinning wheel’s made out of ash
and I like St Lucifer, transfix on the fruit
that might give you the taste for the brash

But my blood never guessed my intentions were foul
when it leapt from my heart to my cheek
when you smiled and I reread the history books
-every emperor’s knees growing weak

Every line like a lash on my well-deserved back,
and I’m used to the mock crucifix
But for once this old evil’s afraid of the girl
I suppose you intended for this


Warm

You broke her heart, I broke your jaw, you brokered maybe peace
but closer to a warrior’s recession
in the middle of a broken world of fallen banks and dust that had
the shrinks all getting hard about depression

The drugs kicked in, and raked you thin, your ribs the crooked alps
but every now and then you felt just like a kid
and begged the ghosts of everyone who loved you hard enough to die
to swear on blood that it was nothing that you did

You found the Lord, or something like, a ghost to hang your hat
who had the filthiness and long hair of a saviour
You and the billions looked around to all the sacred land and missed
the saved don’t seem to have it any safer

Then the fitness came, and mind was trained like muscle ‘gainst the ropes
threw every footprint to the pavement like attack
But now the world’s a perfect circle every single way around
and all that running’s just an under armoured lack

I write this not to pick apart the thing you call a life
I know you’re trying so much harder than the others
But you always were a bastard, now you’re older and alone
and I still go for coffee with all your ex-lovers


State of the Art (Impotence of Agenda)

In a world where importance
is only narrowly outdone
by the inherent idiocy of pessimism

This is just a friendly reminder
that your style is impeccable
provided it’s this year’s line
of any one of maybe 15 designers
so long as it matches your skin tone

That you don’t read properly
unless from yellow paged, musty tomes
as if only the dead are for the living
or critical recommendations
from the titans of publication
that no one has subscribed to
since the internet

You are not a social activist
unless you storm social media
(and I mean your entire self-imposed social circle)
with your “empowerment”
that has nothing like quiet confidence
nor the molotov tongue of real change

That meat is bad
That fur is murder
That quinoa is killing Peru
That every shirt is sewn with the broken finger bones of the 3rd world
And that celebrity is god
and you were created
never quite as good as
in their image


The sparrow, the warbler, and the common field mouse
mugged my dog, took his phone, and his keys to my house
and yes I sell substances, you’re not a saint
but pretending there might be what isn’t, I aint
Fire in the dressing rooms, wigs burning blue
I don’t want to be one more project to you
So don’t call me tomorrow, I’ll be in my house
Awaiting the sparrow, the warbler, the mouse


ghostsandonionskins:

Mary was a martyr
and she lent the flesh her comfort
undiminished by the leering
from the pharisee and hunter
and she showed them what the body
never offered to the prudish
yes, a freedom and an ecstasy
at once refined and brutish
but she, like any of us
was just searching for the promise
of another who has answers
who might lay their grace upon us
who might whisper something simple
into all our nightmared sleeping
till we wake one morning comfortable
and safe within their keeping

Gotama was a songbird
with his seed and flower victuals
making dreamers of the hungry
making mockeries of rituals
that the moneylenders told him
brought him closer to the centre
as he watched her in the garden
having thought nor flesh against her
then retreating to the silence
ever pressed upon the bodhi
he imagined something perfect
like the opposite of lonely
and then rising from his slumber
unencumbered by his history
he then spoke so soft that millions
are still straining for the mystery

When we entwined an ocean
in the eminence of lovers
your hair lined a golden sunset
‘cross the rolling tidal covers
while the consequence of morning
had us fumbling through the verses
every hilltop scribbled sonnet
all the graveyard interred curses
and it seemed so much the better
than the saviour or the secret
that your mind rose ever higher while
our bed shook the earth beneath it
not awaiting a salvation
not inventing the eternal
never guessing at perfection
treating life like a rehearsal


Mary was a martyr
and she lent the flesh her comfort
undiminished by the leering
from the pharisee and hunter
and she showed them what the body
never offered to the prudish
yes, a freedom and an ecstasy
at once refined and brutish
but she, like any of us
was just searching for the promise
of another who has answers
who might lay their grace upon us
who might whisper something simple
into all our nightmared sleeping
till we wake one morning comfortable
and safe within their keeping

Gotama was a songbird
with his seed and flower victuals
making dreamers of the hungry
making mockeries of rituals
that the moneylenders told him
brought him closer to the centre
as he watched her in the garden
having thought nor flesh against her
then retreating to the silence
ever pressed upon the bodhi
he imagined something perfect
like the opposite of lonely
and then rising from his slumber
unencumbered by his history
he then spoke so soft that millions
are still straining for the mystery

When we entwined an ocean
in the eminence of lovers
your hair lined a golden sunset
‘cross the rolling tidal covers
while the consequence of morning
had us fumbling through the verses
every hilltop scribbled sonnet
all the graveyard interred curses
and it seemed so much the better
than the saviour or the secret
that your mind rose ever higher while
our bed shook the earth beneath it
not awaiting a salvation
not inventing the eternal
never guessing at perfection
treating life like a rehearsal


So here ya go: a bunch of words
making you think about things you’re too scared to
in the loose, selfish framework
of the modern poet
using lax punctuation
and breaking lines like a guy in the 70s with a Columbian friend
Did you know that the past is a ghost of yourself
choosing to haunt you today?
Yeah, I’m being serious.
This is wisdom
Just because I’m sounding like an asshole right now
doesn’t mean it’s not
But I’m not saying it’s your fault
I’m just saying it’s you regardless
and at some point you have to stop
and smell the fucking roses
(not as a saying
smell some goddamn roses)
cause they’re nice
and some dickhead’s gonna pick them soon
in lieu of an apology
to someone he hasn’t quite figured out how to love yet
because here in the lead-vested political correctness
of the day
does it strike nobody as ironic
that we’re remarkably terrible with words
to put so much weight in them?
And words are all we have
at the very least
for you and I
so many thousands of miles
and maybe many many years
away


your work inspires me. never stop writing. from darlingyouarefabulous

So glad I can be of assistance. And don’t worry, I won’t. I’d like to say something quotable and dramatic like “the ink on the page is the blood in my veins” or some utter crap about the pull of the moon, but the truth is I just kinda like words and what they can conjure. Always have, always will. Thanks so much for writing.