This is a running list of my own original works that I feel are of sufficient quality to share with my readers. Generally, these are works that I have composed since 2017, however there are a few revised versions of older works dating back to 2001. Anyway, I hope you enjoy.

Four Photographs

It is not the simple snapshots we have taken that are real…

it is flux, it is change that is real.

            — Henri Bergson



picture a moment of surf scattered sun

poured in a bottle corked and sealed with wax

carried on the tide bobbing about the

constant current of time’s ceaseless flow


picture a moment in black and white brandished

inside a boxcar of a travelling train

gliding on greased tracks onward

into dawn into dazzling day into falling night


picture a moment snapped from space

the spinning world in silent stillness

while time’s unceasing symphony sings on strings

and wind and brass among the swirling stars


picture a moment at a park where children play

with the perfect ignorance of an unwound watch

while the ticking clock still clicks onward

long after youth left that morning to memory

A Prayer of Confession

Forgive us Lord,

For not gazing with gratitude

Upon the dandelion,

Whose beauty is no less

stately than the rose;

Dancing on a dilapidated lawn

beside the ramshackle home,

Dazzling us with her sunfire shine,

Reminding us that no overlooked corner,

no overworn space

is incapable of being touched by grace.

Mount San Jacinto

Come now child, here now child,

You with the clear eyes

We will leave this valley floor and

Ascend San Jacinto’s snowy heights

Rising rose in twilight’s blushing glance.

They say this peak was named for a boy

Who defied an emperor and dying, deified –

Joined the empyrean company clothed

In the same stars this promontory scrapes.

They say a mountain is but a moment

In deep time, a terrestrial wave

That water and wind will wear down,

That runs the course of all empires –

Descending to desolation.

I say this mountain lives forever

In the moment you and I look upon it,

Forever for the brave boy who

Gave it his name,

Forever in this moment:

This ladder between heaven and earth.

February 2019

A Confession


I am not a learned man,

as I sit in this empty room I admit

the diplomas on my wall are

certificates of debt – nothing more;

perhaps if my learning did not come

through an untamed curiosity

and fits of wild distraction

I could speak higher of my higher education.

My library is a study in chaos:

there’s enough poetry to persuade me

some minds are vast as the universe;

there’s enough fiction to convince me

truths are verbs untangled by action

and the self is disclosed in a constellation of selves;

there’s enough science to remind me I’m bad at science;

and there’s enough theology on the shelves

for me to concede that, in the end

the only language for Truth is incarnate,

everything else is negation,

each finite word regresses to an infinite

Word too simple to understand –

the best I can hope for is better incomprehension.

My words are the modest epiphanies

of a middling mind

in an era where everyone writes poetry

and almost nobody reads it

and those who do could do better than

reading my wild scribbles,

these are a series of smoke and mirrors

and cheap parlor tricks,

a retread of ideas better minds have trod

and will tread again;

every word is a precious failure –

that raid upon the inarticulate,

whose best hope is in failing well;

perhaps they are all I have to remind myself

that the void is only a vacant room

waiting to be filled.

February 2019

Somewhere in Between


It’s hard to live

somewhere in between the

gutter and the stars

to sing rhapsodic songs

in the tangled wreckage

of yesterday’s swirling storms

Harder still to believe

silence isn’t a threat

but a holy invocation

into an unspoken litany

an invitation that melts

memory of the mire

and night’s indigo shine

into a single breath

If there’s a distance

between sinner and saint

it’s only a grace

a liminal interval between

that knows no distance

no corner of darkness

in the howling winds

of space and time

untouched by light or

incapable of being warmed

February 2019

One Giant Leap

When I think of progress,

I see men bounding on the moon

In a ballet of awkward beauty,

And I hear the laughter of children

Bouncing on the playground

During a recess potato-sack race,

Moved forward by an unassuming bliss.

Which makes me wonder what it was like

To live in a country that still believed in itself,

When a president promised the moon

Because it was there,

And taught us the cost of audacity:

Apollo was a capricious god

Who claimed Grissom as sacrifice

For safe passage through the skies,

And courageous Camelot could only last

In the hope of what we could be.

Then, I imagine my daughter dancing

At day’s end where the Pacific sings

A swishing song along the shore.

The golden air leaves a salty

Kiss upon her cheeks

As she leaps from one ledge to another

Across a tide pool’s watery waltz,

Where seagrass and starfish sway in ecstasy;

She somehow slips and slices her foot

So I cradle her in my arms

And mend her wound

And tend her tears,

And in my mind I hear an echo,

One small step…One giant leap…


Finally, I understand that progress,

Beneath the beauty and the bliss

And the audacity that moves us forward,

Is the inevitability of motion and pain.

January 2019

Note to Self Regarding Old Songs

Say not thou, what is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this. 

                                                                                                                                 Ecclesiastes 7:10  


I went mining for memories in music made old by decades and dust,

Only to find yesterday’s songs stuck in yesterday.

There was the ballad that reminded me of her –

The kind of her that can only exist in the past,

In the sort of love can only end in failure,

Like the game of hide-and-seek she lost interest in and walked away

While I was too young to know when to quit looking.

Another song reminded me of that old dream

Now collecting dust on a tapestry whose history would never be woven,

Shrouded behind Arachne’s ghostly webs,

Before anyone told me what we all must learn:

The future is a perfect fiction

We write in our minds when we haven’t yet learned to be still.

I said to my soul, be still –

Leave the charge of inescapable vanity

On Qoheleth’s lips and yesterday in yesterday.

The past is never gilded, it is a gut-punch to be endured,

If you endure, it was not in vain.

I said again to my soul, be still, the music never ends

And the only melodies worth losing yourself in are playing here, now;

The only love immune from failure is what you give here, now,

When your happiness ceases to matter.

There are only so many notes, do not forget what matters most –

How they are played, and how they are heard.

Every song worth remembering is a variation on a theme

That is playing here, now and will play again.

And, the memories worth remembering

Harmonize here, now, and hereafter

In a future that needs no dreams to exist,

Which is being inexorably shaped

By the very present to which you are present.

 January 2019

The Late Watch

An Advent Poem


The choking smoke loiters through the late watch on the valley floor

As a smoldering parody of Tule Fog

After the fire made cinders of Paradise.

Hark, a chilling voice is sounding, a Second Coming nigh;

At November’s ending the watchman sends his asking –

Is this the hell of fire or

Is this the hell of ice?

Perhaps, the anchorwoman says, a hundred dead,

On the Sacramento evening news,

Perhaps a thousand missing.

And among the singed survivors a groaning

Echoes in every silent tear making a trail

Down ash-caked faces.

The blood sun burns red behind the incense vapors

Cast like a funeral veil across the sky

For the passing of Paradise.

Is this the hell of fire or

Is this the hell of ice?

A chilling voice is sounding, a Second Coming nigh.


So hastens the watchman, his chilling voice resounding –

Every tremor in the earth,

Every sword drawn and redrawn in reply,

Every land wracked with disease

These past twenty centuries lead me to concede,

The end is always beginning, the Second Coming nigh

And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars,

And on the earth the distress of nations.

Every echo of Paradise is a road dusted with ashes,

A trail traced in tears.

The late watch waxes upon history’s rampart

For the Dawn that seems no sooner in the coming.

Still the watchman hastens the day,

While underfoot crunches the cinders of Paradise

With only faith to carry his feet.

Hark, a chilling voice is sounding and faith alone can know

The difference between a dawn erupting

In the dark, but still in time;

And the Dawn irrupting again, at last, from beyond time

That will draw time to its ending.

So waits the watchman, chilled and chilling

For that Dawn whose only whispers

Are wars and rumors of wars

And fires upon the mountain while

The choking smoke loiters through the late watch on the valley floor.

November 2018

Celestial Dance

“…there is in all the things of earth a hidden glory waiting to be revealed, more radiant than a million suns…”

– David Bentley Hart, The Doors of the Sea


When you peer into the night

and look upon those ancient lights

that have spanned the void

for untold ages to pour into your eyes,

some having bridged billions of years

since that primordial bang, remember –

you too are a portal to another universe;

fear no darkness, nor chaos, nor crushing cold,

this is the mysterious space

where soon countless suns shall shine.

You are the nexus between unnumbered worlds within

and the bright myriads of worlds without,

remember – so are all your friends

and so are all your enemies,

and every tender word explodes like a quasar

that warms the perplexing vacancy

between one soul and the next.

So turns these cosmic constellations

around the One from whom we all proceed;

whose song is this celestial dance of light and life,

enfolding every distance, every difference

within an everlasting embrace,

dispelling every discordant darkness

into a deeper, brighter melody

while hymning our inexorable return

to the Word that is sung in every star.

October 2018

Oak of Mamre

When at last I’ve crossed that blessed bar

And my bones are long buried in the dust,

I trust that they will become

The sturdy roots of some ancient oak;

That gives his branches to the birds.

This is the way of things in this becoming world;

Between being and nonbeing,

Between the first breath and the last,

And the long passage to a sudden end –

Life must give itself to life

Beneath the dappled shadows of the oak.

Yet, I trust from this frail beginning

That death’s final goal soars in the heavens

Among those birds born from my bones,

Where light transcends all dappling shade,

And the tears that made this dust fertile will

Deliquesce to grace that ends all ending.

October 2018

A Lullaby in the Storm


Don’t worry child, the flickers aren’t the

horror film projection of your nightmares,

or the fiery arrows of an intemperate god.

The rumbles aren’t the drumbeat

of giants warring in the sky,

or boulders crashing down the mountain.

The sheets of water that beat the window

beside your bed aren’t a wind-blown flood,

or a wind-tossed sea sent to capsize you.

Remember Mother Mary’s lullabies,

pull them like blankets over your ears.

Don’t fear the storm tonight, look –

look how the dark sky dances alive to the

cadence of water and light and sound.

The downpour will not drown you, no –

no, it will give way to softer showers

and the showers to softer flowers

when the sun returns to kiss the ground.

Don’t worry child the monsters cannot harm you,

they’re only shadows on the wall.

September 2018

The Aeropagite Upon the Shore

For – Father Kimel


The Beach and I became brothers in blood.

When I was a child I stepped upon a broken bottle –

perhaps it was all that remained of a tide-tossed message

whose words became water.

When I was a child I stepped upon a broken bottle

and my blood became the sand

and my blood became the water

and the scar remains as does the sand

and the Beach became my brother.

The sea-song remains with me and the Sea remains Herself,

refracting a thousand broken shafts of Sunfire.

The Sea remains my Mother,

singing Her song to me and to my brother.

The Sea remains Herself

and her tides proceed toward Her shoreward sons

and we return again, enfolded in Her arms

and the song never ends.

September 2018

Rio Tijuana

Tears swell along Rio Tijuana’s littered banks

strewn with debris and dreams beyond it’s shore,

for a Liberty whose arms no longer open

to the tired, the hungry, the huddled masses.

A Nation’s soul sours in fear’s ferment

behind a wall built of block and iron

that became our prison.

We cannot countenance a God

who beholds no borders but holds to himself

children in a mother’s embrace, and mourns the world that

rips them from her arms for the sake of law’s cold precision,

as if He has forgotten Maria’s breast that held him near,

and does not cherish the blessed moment

when humanity first cradled Him

in the hope that on some distant day

they might learn to hold each other.

June 2018

The Journey Below


Go, go on raven wings wafting in the night.

Go where dragon fire flows upon the Acheron,

Where Leviathan lurks in the mingling waters of Phlegethon.

Violent whispers – their only venom

There are no teeth, no claws, only the echoes of desperation,

But the fire is yours until the thoughtless is purged to thought.


Tread, tread with empty hands and fearless feet;

Tread across the hazy moors of Hades,

Where shades haunt the mounds and rocks

All history rests there, and rests in you

All shadows, all fears are yours

And your path alone to tread.


Sail, sail the unknown seas that lap and roil

Sail into the unthinking mind.

Become Magellan drawn by mystery

Into the abysmal fountains,

Where young memories grow old

And time crawls on until the arresting moment

Makes them young again.


Rest, rest upon the wind tossed hills

Rest down in that world below,

And watch the wars that rage

Between saints and monsters

That pull the passions around the impassive flame,

And know the bellicose Alchemy that gives breath to soul

Will lead your weary eyes to rest at last.

June 2018

Cotton Candy

Time is our ignorance. – Carlo Rovelli, from Reality Is Not What it Seems

Cotton candy mist hovers over the schoolyard

and dissolves in dawn’s incandescent mouth,

the order of time resolves

in the heat of the moving world.

Sunshine on the sandbox swallows the echoes

of footfall and half-forgotten freedom

before the ringing bell,

before the classroom taught the child to hope for escape,

before the hourglass became his ignorance and his prison.

May 2018

Quantum Night

There is no darkness,

only the quantum flux

of possibility

that cradles

all of heaven’s light

like a thousand torches

in the tender arms of night.

May 2018

A Strip Mall Hymn

The flat-light of an age worn strip mall on the edge of a dying town

An anytown, anywhere and nowhere

of the pharmacy, of the fast-food restaurant

of the supermarket, of the dry cleaner, of the smoke shop;

Calls out in the rain soaked night where streetlight halos

are mirrored on wet asphalt and echo the holy longings

of long-departed saints

Where the storefront’s dim-lit promises

of pills for peace from the storm-tossed bed,

of food empty of the memory of the land that birthed it

or the blood ransom of the slaughterhouse,

of wardrobes undisturbed by the frail fingers

of the overworked child in an overlooked factory

forgotten in some foreign corner,

of carcinogens that make the pain of distraction tolerable –

Still these broken lights pouring out on broken souls

Speak of something sacred, undimmed, unhoped and hoped

Lingering beyond the wet shadows on the eastern horizon.

Beneath the façade and the hidden frauds

That shadow the back alley

And the dumpster, the detritus, the distractions

Lies something precious, hidden

as precious things must be –

Of the self unselfed and selfed in return

and free in the rain

Among the streetlight saints

And the faceless faces full of hope and lost hope,

Full of hope through the empty fullness of the soul –

for the dance

for the hope of the dance

of baptism in the rain-lit night

beneath the broken lights

Where strip mall signs signify sacred longings

that aren’t for sale

that surrender at last to the stillness

and to the dance.

          April 2018

Roadside Memorial

For a young woman killed on the road near my home.

All things return to dust and carry in them

the memory of primordial stars,

Memory of the river pressed through concrete

in the power lines beside the road

Memory of the forest in the telephone pole.

In this world there is no is –

Only becoming,

The wind becomes the hawk’s wings

that carries it from the telephone pole on updrafts

descending to the scrub oak shade.

The rattlesnake becomes the hawk

after the deadly dance.

Violence befits the moving world moving to its still end,

when all is well and violence becomes impassible peace.

Youth becomes renewed in the birth of every moment

and passes in the death of the moment

and all pass too soon

and all become memory.

Faded asphalt scarred by sun and wind

and travelers at the intersection

of time and timeless.

Immortality at the roadside memorial

where wind tossed grass and milkweed blossoms dance

in the syncopated draft of passing cars.

The intersection is crowned with a cross

for a daughter to soon in passing,

All things return to dust,

to the memory of stars that still dance in her eyes.

April 2018

Suburban Requiem

Immemorial mountains cradle the

suburban roads smoldering in the vale,

Summer mirages’ liquid dance,

And rhythmic beating through black arterial lines

In the shadow of sacramental signs of consumptive desire –

empty promises of sexed satisfaction

and satiated hunger on every noisy corner,

That rip like razor-wire through lungs empty of the sacred Breath.

Still the black oak grows in slow-time,

Limbs outstretched in perpetual embrace of heaven,

of the holy Breath respiring the memory of life,

Rooted beside the burning black lines transecting

The vale that has forsaken stillness.

Night descends upon a track-house window

among other flickering windows,

A voice in the darkness –

son of man cry out.

I answer –

what shall I cry?

A whisper in return –

behold the wordless wilderness,

where the endlessly informed

remain ignorant of the word spoken

the word suffuse in the ageless mountain,

in the oak, in the cricket’s nocturne song.

Again I answer,

how long O Lord?

The Voice resounds,

until desolations are wrought upon the earth

and word is restored of meaning.


The voice of rushing waters

poured and flushed from the water-closet,

called forth by the push and pull of levers

Still flow into the susurrant sea-song,

and the word, like water’s liquid meaning,

is pressed through the surface tension,

where apprehension evaporates into mystery;

while that same mystery

pulls the evening vapor onshore

like the silent beat of pelican wings

over the formless void

of flickering windows

of the coastal cityscape.

The whimbrel’s long beak trumpets

a tremulous whistle –

wordless song,

signifying the suffuse word

that fills the updrafts beneath her wings

and binds her to the tidal sands

that cradle the arterial highway –

shaded by signs for donuts and beer

and better mufflers that

mute the mystery of

an unspoken language.

California’s coasts and valleys

are the world and everywhere,

are the formless void where the sacred Breath

hovers upon land and sea

and valley and noisy cityscape

and desolations of deaf hearts

awaiting re-creation

when the word at last reveals

its silent mystery.

April 2018

On Switchblades and Ax-Handles and Love

Love is a switchblade

between your ribs

late at night

after your third date

when it dawns on you

she’s the last woman you’ll ever take to dinner,

you’ll know you’re a dead man walking

when you see blood on your hand

after pulling it from your chest.

Love is the furious tears

on your child’s hand

you’re holding to your cheek

through the beeps and chatters of a

midnight vigil beside a hospital bed

as you choke on the bitter pill

that you can’t fix him

and that love wasn’t supposed to feel

this naked

this cold.

Love is the echoes

on the back of your retinas

that you can see every time

you close your eyes

long after the darkness

swallowed the fireworks

that keep you stumbling forward

when there’s nothing left

but stubbed toes

and cussing

and hurt feelings that never seem

to get unhurt.

Love is the boots

that holds your feet fast

to no-man’s land

when your family’s the Bloods

and your family’s the Crips

and you cannot take a side,

all might be fair in love and war

but there aren’t winners in either – only

casualties and survivors,

which are two words for the same truth.

Love is the business-end of an ax handle

thrust in your gut

that robs your breath

that steals your strength

that makes you weak in the knees

and in repayment it gives

sorrow mixed with joy

until every memory is filled with both

and the only way to duck the blow

and escape the pain

is to refuse the precious wounds

only love can give.

March 2018

Lenten Hymn

Midwinter frost on the predawn window peers out into darkness

through the mists of time to Sinai’s mountain;

where the darkness of God roars from the secret place of thunder,

the sound of boulders crack and tumble over the cobblestones of

a storm-tossed shore.

Moses recalls the consuming Fire of the bush unburned,

awaiting a greater Light to blaze in the darkness.

Lenten snow blankets the pocked mounds and craters

on the field of Verdun,

forgotten bones lay in frozen silence beneath,

their cries unable to break the ground above.

The raven call in the surrounding wood beckons his flock to feed

on the carrion of a nameless beast.

The red dust and blood-stained sepulchers in the Valley of Vision

full of rusting bones that tarry  –

watchmen in the long night for dawn’s breaking,

to hear Ezekiel’s divine utterance –

the alchemy of Aionian fire to purge and quicken their frames

with flesh unalloyed, golden, drossless into undying Zion.

Jude, whose brow was crowned with Pentecostal fire,

whose tongue uttered ecstatic songs we long to sing,

remember us who wander lost in the hopeless wastes

perceiving only darkness and thunder on the holy hill,

pining to behold that Fire within.

Origen, who now reclines at the celestial banquet to feast on grace,

help our hearts bear the bitter truth in the wilderness we now trod –

that which is most beautiful is most maligned.

Julian teach us the behovliness of this broken world,

that soon, soon the Aionian fire shall make

all manner of things well

and burn away the rot that wracks all that is wretched within.

Good Shepherd gather your lost on a thousand hills to the lonely peak of


Let us at last hear the seraph’s song that kindles joy in the hearing;

Until at long last all creation is alight with unceasing incandescence of

Pentecostal Fire.

February 2018

A Mother Among Saints

For January

The stars peer through tiny holes poked in the black night

to remind you that Light shines beyond the darkness,

upon the dark within,

where the lonely road winds through the

waterless wasteland.

Still, you are graced with quiet motion

and courage in the silent moment,

with outstretched wings to embrace  with furious love –

A son with a wounded heart and a tender soul;

A son whose wild fire irradiates a sweet spirit;

A daughter whose eyes dance with precious life.

In the lonely hour you are in the company of saints –

the snow capped peaks of San Gorgonio and San Jacinto,

the green hills of San Marcos that flow into Escondido’s hidden valley,

the shores of San Diego where broken shafts of the westward sun

pour through fire-kissed clouds that bruise the evening sky

and scatter upon the blue Pacific –

You are surrounded by the saints and wrapped in Heaven-shine

that fills your home and reminds you

that the world is full of stillness and motion and light

and so are you.

February 2018

A River’s Course

be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart – Ranier Rilke


I am a storm-child

born beneath shadows of basalt cliffs

and snow-clad evergreen.

I rage with gin clarity

through the mountains

empty of earth or her stains.

In the slow time of youth

I flee an incomprehensible past

and rush to an unknowable future

not perceiving the cascade

these rapids portend,

until I wake on the flatlands

to learn at last –

I have been falling all along.

I am a wanderer

winding serpentine on the earth

savoring her secrets and sediments

and strange new lands and life

and the mud and mysteries

that abound between my banks.

Time speeds as my waters slow

and in their roll – the sacramental scars

and sweet splendor of a distant youth.

I am a memory

my story is written in water

and sung in the crystalline blue

of the Æonean sea –

where I can flow at last

and at last be lost.

Composed December 2002, Revised  January 2018

A Surf Session for Sam

Dear brother –

I’d uncloak the heavens for you tonight

and wrap you in the warmth

of the waning day’s lucid heat,

to watch your dance upon the breakers.

The Pacific longs to hide you

behind her glass curtains

as you caress her cool face,

sharing the secrets of motion and balance

buoyance and baptism.

I’d rob the westward sun

of all his burning gold

and cast it over those waters

graced by your effortless glide.

A generous thief,

his wealth is only precious to me

as a gift for you,

to watch your dance upon the breakers.

Composed November 2002, Revised January 2018

What Lies Between Storm and Shine

So odd

I always thought

how light like a pacifist

drifts away on the winds

before the storm conquers the sky

and the sun surrenders its shine

or how barometric conflict

brings such beauty upon the earth.

Stranger still

that on this sphere

of light and shadow and motion

we should chance to live

dare to love

and so soon expire

knowing somewhere

between the agony

and the ecstasy

lies the stillness

for which we so languish

and so long

that conspires to persist

not in the storm’s absence

but in its midst.

Composed November 2001, Revised December 2017

Zeno’s Nocturne Hymn

The moment freezes the arrow in midair,

the black oak leaves encased in the amber afternoon

remain still while the cold breezes between

autumn and winter blow.

Time and motion cease at the still point

and point to the beginning of motion and time

and their end.

Emptiness and fullness are the child

of the same mother,

who was with the LORD before all worlds

when the Word was spoken in the beginning.

She is ours in fear and the end of fear

when at last fools learn wisdom and renounce

the poisoned fruit of our first garden.

Knowledge is regained in unknowing and

trembling ceases when we learn to tremble.

The autumn rose shrugs off her mysterious bud

at the thorned end of her ascent,

still, ever and always still the blossom lingers

in the eternal moment,

and what is precious is lost upon the frosts of winters morning.

Her petals make the slow descent

to the barren soil and blanket the sepulcher

when time begins again at its Lenten end.

Calm midnight is forever still and

starlight frozen in unceasing circuit.

Orion ceases in the moment

between past and future and forever shines.

The oaken leaves in November’s amber afternoon

are called and recalled into the ceaseless night by memory;

where the past is made immortal in the present,

where future leaves rattle in tomorrow’s breeze

under the same still starlight.

Oak and rose, Advent and Lent

are the same child of the same Mother,

ascending and descending on the still point,

sharing the same seed of Eden and Gethsemane.

The thorned bud ascends from the same Sepulcher.

Midnight and afternoon

stand forever still in the same memory.

          November 2017

In the Beginning  – An American Myth

When you’re going to hit something on the nose, hit it hard and fast and often.

— Aristotle… or Confucius (whatever, I found the quote on the internet)

… Only the flicker

Over the strained time-ridden faces

Distracted from distraction by distraction

Filled with fancies empty of meaning…

— TS Eliot from Burnt Norton, The Four Quartets

In the beginning the American Man created the suburban home. The world was a scary place, full of people who didn’t think or look like him. So, he sat on his La-Z-Boy and brooded over the chaos, thinking on what he might make of it.

Then he said, “Let there be a flickering light that will echo and shout by day and by night; that will tell me what to think, what to drink, and what to buy.” So he divided the noisy light full of pictures and words and sounds into little screens of their own and called it TV. Later that day, Best Buy delivered and installed all his new stuff. Morning and evening passed without notice, and time no longer mattered so long as the TV was on. That was day one.

The next morning, after he checked his emails and Twitter feed he said, “Let there be a white picket fence around my property to let everyone know that this is my stuff, and let it keep the immigrants and weirdos out.” Then he guzzled a six-pack in the mid-afternoon and passed out in his La-Z-Boy. So, his wife went to the Home Depot parking lot and hired a carload of undocumented workers to build the fence. That was day two.

Late the next morning, nursing a hangover, he said, “Let there be a cartoon of a ranch home, poorly built and almost identical to fifty other units in this sprawling subdivision where I can eat, sleep, shower, shave, and shit without being disturbed. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, let the best of the farm and the wilderness be combined in the worst way possible and let it be called the yard. And make sure the front-gate stays closed so the neighbor’s stupid dog doesn’t take another steaming turd on the lawn.” That was day three.

The next morning, he awoke in a cross mood and said, “Dammit, the TV’s not enough in this Information Age. Let there be laptops and tablets and smartphones and let their bright screens rule the day and night. Let their noisy speakers fill every room in this house so my family can ignore each other in peace.” Morning and evening were again forgotten as every eye and ear in the house were filled with information and images without ever enduring the nuisance of being informed. That was day four.

The next morning, he said, “This McMansion is the size of a Bronze-Age palace, but it seems empty, what it needs is more stuff. Let there be a fully-furnished dining room that no one will ever use. Let this house teem with marble and granite and hardwood and a wet bar on the patio with a barbecue and an outdoor entertainment system, and let there be a wet bar in the man-cave as well so that there will be nowhere in the house where we can’t try to forget what we refuse to remember. Let us finance an abundance of useless crap that we cannot afford so that we are shackled to debts we can never repay: toys, toys and more toys, gas guzzling SUV’s and jet-skis, and snow-mobiles, and motorcycles so that we can persist in the illusion that usable energy is inexhaustible, and the myth that we are most happy when we cannot be still. The American Man looked at all of his stuff and told himself and everyone else that it was good, and he hoped that this was true. That was day five.

The next morning the American Man ripped a bong-load of legal marijuana, and as he ate his Cap’n Crunch he said, “Let’s have a couple of kids, because I guess that’s what we’re supposed to do now. We’ll pump them full of psychoactive pills and teach them how to navigate the carrots and sticks, the hamster wheels, and the smoke and mirrors of the American Dream so they can feel hollow like everyone else.”

He took another hit and said, “Let us create social-media platforms in our image. Let us post pictures and tweets and thoughts and competitive fantasies to the faces we call friends. Let these friendly abstractions share their perfect fictions with us and let us agree to the delusion that these insecure projections are real. Let us constantly check our feeds for likes and retweets and heart-shaped emojis that mimic significance. Let us cast our glittering icons and endless words into this virtual world that insulates us from a silent universe that screams out to us in a language we refuse to learn.”

The American Man reclined in his chair, uneasy from the sensation of an actual thought. Then he inhaled another bong-load and played video games for the next six hours. Finally, the he rose from his La-Z-Boy and looked at all that he made and spent his life in furious pursuit of and went to the refrigerator for a box of wine and soon forgot what he was thinking about. In no time at all he passed out in his chair with a plate of nachos on his belly. That was day six.

Thus the cosmic suburban bubble was complete and crammed so full of stuff that the American Man could barely perceive the emptiness that filled it all.

By the seventh day the American Man was spent from his toilsome week on his La-Z-Boy. He told himself that he needed time for himself to ‘just chill’. So, he hallowed the seventh day with guacamole, bean dip, and a case of strong ale and watched football from morning to night. The day had ended, and for some reason something in his soul still ached as he staggered to bed, so he resolved to knock himself out and downed a Xanax with a shot of whiskey and drifted into a dreamless sleep.

… then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “all is vanity.”

— Ecclesiastes 12:7-8

September 2017

The above poems are my own original works. All rights reserved.

© Jedidiah Paschall