the bigger world

strummer dead and
all of the tortured in el salvador
and the way that nothing is beautiful
in the first grey light
of morning

the parking lots ending raggedly
and the streets going nowhere and
this young boy lost in the
back seat of his mother’s car

the way we say
the scream of metal
or the way we turn away from
whatever remains

the world defined by
the edges of shadows and
the smell of gasoline and this taste
of ashes that i can never
drink away

this ice forming along the
banks of the river

the garbage that gets
trapped in it and the man
found three months later in a
town he’d never been to

the note he left
that didn’t say anything and
what i’m getting at here
is that i miss you

what i’m trying to do
is explain who i am

all i ask is that
you believe it matters


and it was the joke you
told on the day before your suicide
and it was your 15 year old daughter in
the back seat of some stranger’s car

it was the year my
youngest son was born

it was summer and
then it was too late

all those love letters to christ
finally set on fire once we
realized we’d never get an answer


says walk on your hands
says burn the child

little things to
help win the war

says if this were california
we would still be lovers

smiles in the wrong lane,
eighty miles an hour
and the glare of the sun

says you never
hold me anymore

says for god’s sake

blood pouring from her
open mouth while
i consider my answer

grey sky toreador

man tells you
the future is prisons

tells you drowning will
always be an option
but this is nothing new and
do you remember how easy it was
to kill the last ambassador?

how long it took to
find his daughter’s body?

we are not a nation
without resources

we are 500,000 ghost towns
waiting for the fall of empire or
we are the ones who close our eyes while
the sky falls down and
the truth is that i never cared
enough about christ to deny him

the truth is internet porn

gov’t-sanctioned rape

you fuck up who you can and you
steal from the weak and
you touch the pale hand of god

you cut it off and sell it
to the highest bidder

in the kingdom of oblivion
we will all be made holy

sister’s house

saw the storm moving down the
valley, heard blood in the spaces
between each word, saw
              the face of god

no time to breathe

no air that hadn’t been poisoned

could feel the black heat of
medicine pushing through my veins
and i couldn’t stop shivering

couldn’t figure out when exactly
the moment had passed

wasted the next twenty years of
my life trying to dig my way
back up towards the sun


he is tired of waiting to die

he is tired of causing pain

is smaller in the sunlight and so
he stands on the shadowed side of the house
with his fear of bleeding and his
powers of invisibility

he sinks the shovel into
tender soil
but turns up nothing sacred

thinks he knows more than he used to,
knows he cares about less,
and it makes him feel safer

makes each day less absolute

maybe pushes the mistakes of the past
far enough away so they
stop cutting like rusted blades