I never learned how to swim.
And I never learned how to play chess.
Now I’m useless in a zombie apocalypse:
No strengths, no skills, and no smarts.

The world is ending.
But the zombies aren’t yet at my door.
So I think I’ll spend a little more time,
Sitting around drinking beer.

They tried teaching me;
The song and the dance,
The ways of the world,
The wrong and the right,
But I just never learned.

I kept coloring outside the lines,
Kept using the wrong colored crayon,
Kept getting asked why I couldn’t follow instructions,
All the while as I sat there wondering;
Why they didn’t teach me how to color,
And why they kept demanding I color the thing red.

They were the elders, though, they were in charge,
And that was that.
What did I know about success?
What did I know about anything?

To them I simply didn’t have what it took:
Not strong enough to swim against the current
Not skilled enough to make it my way
Not smart enough to meld passion and profession
I could never be an iconoclast
I was just an idiot

And so I was,
Always the idiot son,
Always the idiot brother,
Always the idiot cousin…

But with so much potential!
If only I’d learn:
How to swim in my lane,
And to play chess by the rules.

If only I’d defer and obey,
I’d be adept, and I’d grasp so much!
How to swerve and juke and jive,
How to sing and dance and act,
How to fake laugh, to secretly judge, to perpetually pretend…

Then I’d stop being such an idiot,
And I’d unlock my inner potential:
To be a zombie,
Constantly chasing,
To infect new bodies,
Compulsively compelled
To devour new brains.


Your ascent
to healing,
My descent,
To delirium.

Clutched by thoughts,
Like bony talons,
Skull pierced,
Brain gripped,

I fought
Day and night,
To free myself,
And I felt,
The grasp loosen.

It was just
A cruel joke,
A hawk,
Playing with her prey.

Clutch, release,
Then clutch again,
A wicked game,
By a ghostly apparition.

So it goes,
The rise and fall,
Till the ghost fades,
And becomes liminal.

Like an old tattoo,
A battle scar,
A sobering reminder,
Of when affection,
Turned into obsession.

I Remember

I remember
Sitting outside college lecture halls,
Penning pretentious poems.

I wrote about princesses in towers,
Abstract visions,
Conjured fantasies,
Layers upon layers
Of bullshit

I was afraid to say
What I really felt,
In the way
That I really felt it.

Back then,
Enslaved by emotions,
Impotent Anger,
Fervid Jealousy,
Unrequited Love,
Intense obsessions,
I wanted the whole world,
And I could have none of it.

As the years passed,
I scratched, I clawed,
And I carved out little slivers of life
Wherever I called home.

The intensity mellowed out,
The pretense dissolved,
I cleaned up the bullshit,
Or it was just
Beaten out of me.

But My little slivers of life
Were deemed inadequate
And invalid.

They told me about
All the things I didn’t have,
And all the things I hadn’t done.

So I held my little slivers tightly against my chest,
And went back to the world
Of warped fantasies.
Yet again I was enslaved, impotent, and fervid.

The love,
Yet again unrequited
The obsessions,
Yet more intense.

The world in my dreams
Now desolate and barren,
The landscape scorched,
The ground sowed with salt.

And I sit here,
Halfway across the world,
Poeting my thoughts.
Unpretentious, raw, vulnerable,
Not wanting to care,
Not able to stop

Everything is just
All too real
There’s such a finality,
An invisible deadline,
For an invisible assignment,
That’s woefully incomplete.

No more re-rolls of the dice,
No more mulligans,
And I’m back,
Right where I was,
When I sat outside lecture halls,
Penning pretentious poems.