Litanies Against Dying, 21 (203.)

A twisted bravery brought me
to the innards of a bookstore,
mask full on my face
and distance galore.

I routinely add awesome-sounding books
to a list in my phone,
and with nothing new on my shelves,
the time had come.
So I left the office and
steered my wonky vehicle
to the B&N parking lot.

Sorry, local bookstores – I still love you!
I just forgot
to check you first.

I left with a thin volume of poetry
and a hulking tome of prose.
A collection, a novel,
I will love these reads – I know.

Later, I cackle to myself
as I slowly break in each spine.
I riffle the pages and listen to their music;
these works are beautiful,
and now they’re


Litanies Against Dying, 20 (202.)

Sometimes it’s more about the skeleton
than the clothes it wears,
what’s the framework for all this?
I swear
the next time some two-bit thespian
throws pretty lines at me
with no substance to back them up,
I’ll buy the whole damn theater –
I love that stuff.

Small jokes aside, everything is better
with a good foundation.
How else will one build something magnificent?
Look to the bones to figure
what materials the place can carry,
then look to the soul –
hopefully, it’s deep yet airy.
A heart will pump oceans of
good ideas through and through,
and all these rest upon the bones,

Set up avenues
for adventure and play,
halls for dancing and discussing
and keeping boredom at bay.
Make sure you have a good place
to sit with a needy cat,
and room to throw toys
that a dog can bark at.
If people ask what you produce,
tell them in full truth:
the good stuff – happiness.


Litanies Against Dying, 19 (201.)

How long must we stand for-profit?
Gluttonous, greedy bastards shovel
fistfuls of dollars, fives, tens, Jesus,
there are hundreds in there,
into their gobs the money goes –
when they’ll finally be full,
nobody knows.

The moon waxes full and we
await the witches, whole covens of clever
spellslingers and doomsingers,
healers and changers,
we need all the help we can get if,
if we’re to blast this mountain to bits.

The magical women, they’ve
done so much good for their communities,
and the men on the mountain always call
for fire
for pitchforks
for rope
for bullets
for destruction to undo the healing tincture
put in the earth by our cell-weavers.

Fabrics of existence may be stitched
into patterns of wondrous beauty,
endless mystery,
whole vibrant histories of good health
and heartfelt songs,
yet the men on the mountain
employ shears, scissors, swords, scythes,
implements of demise
to render the witches’ wholesome tableau
to bits of torn felt and fluff.

Cross-stitch our cultures together,
so we are different squares
on the same world-quilt,
and if the men in their mountain mansions
refuse our invitation to
a fairer cohabitation,

let us summon fires from the stars.
We will burn the blanket if we must.


Litanies Against Dying, 18 (200.)

There is something holy in
the wholly insignificant stirring of
creamer into coffee,
like the sun-tinged edge of bright blue sky
mixing with the dark blue, star-speckled night
at sunrise.
Passage from dark to day.
The first sip is always a little too hot, but
the next few roll down that hill to perfection.
It’s a miracle the mug’s contents aren’t
quaffed in a few moments.
Coffee sips are best taken slow, savored,
actually enjoyed
in the middle of a long stretch of calm
with no phones ringing,
and no emails waiting,
and no scatter-brained scrolling –
just the blue at the beginning of
the weekend, and you.


Litanies Against Dying, 17 (199.)

How do mods work, how
does an upgrade become standard?
When does it all get better,
and is consistency really key
to everything endlessly improving?

This is a slow burn.
A long walk in the park, if you will.
Make it a trek to the summit of some place,
and that’s an accurate depiction of life.

Of something. Leaving everything as it is
just ain’t gonna cut it.
Improvements must be made.
Muster as much willpower as you can
and start the journey –
each small step comes closer to perfection,
but that apex is not the point.

Pragmatism sounded so boring when I was younger.
Now, it’s all I want to master.


Litanies Against Dying, 16 (198.)

When big hooks thrown by little thoughts
pull the body to and fro
When, then, did we become enamored
of bright neon liquids
When a singular path opens not to the walker
a wanderer they become
When late afternoon awakenings
drift to lounging and pondering at home
When work isn’t so dire it requires
deployment to the office
When storm clouds mingle in bright blue rooms
When thunder murmurs and rain drops
wait for lightning’s invitation
I sit and sip this Gatorade
while fierce wind yanks the bushes
and trees outside my window
And I welcome peace


Litanies Against Dying, 15 (197.)

It’s a mantra
against myself,
a warning of slow self-destruction
through endless criticism,
death by a thousand cuts.
Every day is another chance to do
the dance perfectly,
every small step landing
in exactly the right place,
and a tiny slip-up
plasters my face in anguish.
I can’t take this self-made hell.
Some of my co-workers
(friends at work, I’d like to call them)
have noticed it, and they’ve
told me, a few times, not to worry
about fitting the productivity mold.
“Do work when it works for you,”
“Don’t worry about getting here at a certain time,”
it’s like,
the most forgiving and amazing culture.
I lucked out.
Other places might call me out for my
but where I’m at,
I can get things done
however I want,
and as long as the work is done
and it’s good,
everything’s cool.
That’s the mantra:
everything’s cool.


Litanies Against Dying, 14 (196.)

It was one of those days. Breakfast was leftover pizza and the coffee lacked flavor. No time for reflection, only five minutes until a remote meeting started. In the middle of it all, another meeting was pushed an hour forward – right after the first one. No time for reflection, only five minutes until a remote meeting started. Emails went out in a flurry at first, then they took a little longer. Composition isn’t just for music. Lunch was leftover pizza and the last of the day’s first bottle of water. The second coffee of the day had a fuller body, a richer texture that went down smooth. Work petered out a little after this, but staying logged in until 5 o’clock was the right thing to do. The internet kept on calling. A few hours into browsing, dinner called too – delayed plans of cutting up a banana and shoving it between toast and peanut butter. Some kind of Elvis-esque sandwich. Hope it didn’t steal the blues like some quasi-colonialist bastard. Missed talking about misappropriation. The video games filled a few hours, and a really good run brought victory and a triumphant exclamation; the night was full of pleasant surprises. Past midnight now, bed should be beckoning but there’s some brushing up on a funding opportunity to do. It never helps to sound stupid at meetings. Tomorrow could be another one of those days.


Litanies Against Dying, 13 (195.)

Search for sky incessant in the mind.
Prolong exposure to disappointment and failure.
Slip through sea incessant in the mind.
Extend misgivings about land erasure.
Seek out homes with boundaries, not lines.
Shrink logic to accommodate borders that whine.
Stretch heart to accept fools with time.
Sink biases to the bottom of a never-ending well.
The deeper they plummet, the easier to forget.
Understand violence. Then avoid it if you can.
Do not practice violence, lest it become a habit.
Habituate destruction in terms of growth,
that is, uproot the weeds of prejudice
and burn them to ashes; then,
plant a garden of support and love.
If it works not to build a bridge,
hammer it not;
if they teach not to guide good kids,
support them not.
Cultivation leads to transfiguration –
sow seeds of respect,
and when harvest time is at hand,
reap and share thy bountiful works.


Litanies Against Dying, 12 (194.)

Apartment smells funny
after a few hours away, and this
is always a surprise.
Chalk it up to quarantine,
blame it on inattention;
unfamiliarity is not an invention,
and it makes for interesting days.
Adventures, I like to call them.
When I can make
a short walk
into an adventure,
life is just more fun.
I may be a simple man,
but these easy pleasures
keep me smiling.
That’s the point, isn’t it?
To enjoy oneself on this journey?
Give me something to laugh about,
and I
will say my life is good.