final psalm in the book of rusted chrome

in the crush of
early morning fog
in this country of
missing fathers i am
waiting for myself

the dead have
all been born as
birdsong here and the
god of starving dogs
paces my street with a
young girl’s blood
staining his

i let the curtain
fall back quietly

let the light
of the poem flicker
and gutter out
but always a half-beat
too late

the house is on fire
without warning

the baby is awake and
and all the doors are
locked from the
other side

this is the story i
you telling

the final psalm in the
book of rusted chrome
and i never asked
to sing it

never asked to
have it sung
to me

there is still
so much silence i
am hoping to hear

a town too close to my own

my wife
dreams of blood and
what can i do?

one a.m.
and then two
and we sit together in
the baby’s room

listen to his
tiny breathing while
insomniac poets
pray to
an indifferent god

while the newly dead
wash ashore in

and what is the
end result of history
but this?

five children in a
town too close to my own
who find a stray dog
in a park and decide to
torture it

decide to hang it from a
basketball hoop with
a dirty length of rope and
beat it with sticks

and at some point we
drift back to sleep
with the hope of
waking up clean

and at some point
there is nothing left
to hold onto and
so we fall

in the rape camps

imagine the men
forgotten and dead in
fresh pits

imagine their
wives and daughters
at gunpoint
in the rape camps
no one will ever admit

or no

don’t imagine it

it’s already happening
in a country that has
nothing to do with
your own life

it’s over and done with
in the time it takes
a boot to crush a
newborn’s skull

this one small sound
should be enough to
bring us all to
our knees

proving dali’s existence with words and the spaces between them

not quite silence in the
gentle hum of early afternoon
but maybe something softer than
the screams of crows

something more human than the
room of hanged men

and how many years now since
my last escape?

how many hours wasted staring into
dirty mirrors or
through warped panes of glass?

what i see is that at
some point in the future i will be
asking my son for forgiveness

at some point
i will speak of my own father
for the last time

will spit out his ashes while
faceless men in the towns i’ve escaped from
beat their wives and girlfriends with
the brutal fists of love

and one half of the truth
is that i never saved anyone
and the other half
is that i never knew anyone who wanted to be saved

i had nothing better to offer than
the holes that had already
been dug

this is history on a personal level

the possibility of failure
through indifference

of love turning to hate
and then hatred to suicide

and if my mother sheds any tears
over the sudden holes that
appear in her life
i make a point of looking away

if desperate acts of violents leave
any visible scars on the
ones left behind
i don’t want to know

i have already
made up my mind to run

violence: an exercise in holy breathing

and he hits you
then brings you flowers
or he just hits you

it’s not a story anymore
it’s a religion
and i choose not to believe

the earth will be consumed
but not in my lifetime

the days will pass too quickly
and the reasons for leaving
will fade
and it’s always someone

a friend
an old lover
or a sister-in-law
and just beyond the brutality
are the sounds of children
playing in the street

the approaching scream of sirens
after a man i’ve never met
finds the brakes too late

and we call this autumn
and the sky is a brilliant blue
and without warmth

the sun is old beyond years
and we have begun
hearing rumors of its death

i have found myself standing
by my son’s bed in
a whiteknuckle rage as
his temperature hangs at 104

the list of people
i would strike dead so that
he might be spared this
is endless

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