He leaves a mark

I wish one time you’d scratched me,
and left a mark I could look back on.
But you never scratched, did you?
Your mommy kept your nails short
so that even when you greeted us at the door –
both paws stretching up onto our thighs –
or when you clambered onto my shoulders –
tail swishing, always purring at your efforts;
that funny little parrot-dog you were –
the only marks you left were on my heart,
and in your tiny trails of mischief;
knocking greeting cards to the floor so you could put them under your feet
and skate about.
What cat does that?
What cat trusts so wholeheartedly,
stretches full-length, draped across his mama’s belly and chest,
arms raised,
‘asking a question’,
his own belly exposed,
toes pointed,
and falls asleep in that position
as the rubbery hums take him?

But they took you too hard this time, buddy.
Too soon.
They took you deeper than any of my pleading rubs, nudges, or words could rouse.
I promise you we tried, Apollo.
You knew – and inspired – the truest love.
Sweet prince,
my buddy,
you marked me good.

Dedicated to our sweet boy cat, Apollo, who passed so suddenly and unexpectedly at 3am this morning; a cruel theft of half the time we should have had to love and be loved by this beautiful little dude.

It’s been only 14 hours since we lost you, but I have never missed anything more in my entire life.

Sweet dreams, buddy. I am so thankful for every moment we had together.

– 23 November 2019, 5pm

Slow at Jo’s

My streets
are damp and puddled from overnight rain,
lined with trees and coffee shops
glowing from the dark corners of morning,
decorated with yellow and blue lightbulbs
hung like a tiny county fair,
green, wood frames holding the glass in place,
a home amidst the high-rises,
bigger on the inside than seems possible from out,
coffee refills,
egg sandwiches,
and time.
How does it do that?
Hours emerge from minutes
like stripping back a Russian doll.

Time slows down for Jo’s,
and I, for one, could use some slow.

I chose to go down

I wake outside of myself
slipping from my body as easily the sheets;
I cannot tell if I’m naked,
or if that makes sense at all.
I’m form-less,
but I am me.

A courtesy glance at the still-asleep,
I feel no dread or sadness,
though it may be the last time I see them.

Sinking through the floors and walls,
I pass diagonally to the city streets,
overshooting a little,
my chin resting on the tarmac
like an infinity pool,
watching the rigid concrete of my old existence
spill over the edges,
the hills,
the horizon.

What does it say about me,
that as soon as I were free of form,
able to soar or launch through space,
that instead I chose to go
and down?

I allow myself to draw ever-further
to the fiery core of this earth;
the closest thing to home.
The fire is all I know.


I hope that one day I’ll be wise,
walk slowly through the trees,
and listen to the breeze
as it bustles leaves upon the path,
clearing way for another truth
that took a lifetime to muster.

It hits me, with simple, clear conviction,
putting a stutter in my stride,
but nothing more dramatic than that;
a wry smile,
and a small shake of the head.
“Where have you been?” I say,

I must get home. I’m burning up!
I am a man who holds a great secret;
for that is what truth is before freed,
before having the chance to pass it on.
I’m desperate to,
and I’m terrified of my death finding out
before I’ve even had the chance
to write it down.

Suddenly, I feel so mortal –
eating spaghetti in an expensive shirt,
red sauce and chinos;
I’m fixated on the threatening stains,
making them ever more likely,
of course,
like swerving into the headlights
of oncoming traffic,
like becoming weak-kneed or unstable
as you peer over a sheer cliff.

I faced death many times on the way.
I greeted them each, politely,
with a tip of my hat,
never slowing down
or holding their gaze,
for fear they’d engage me in conversation;
that’s how they get you. I’m sure of it.
“Haven’t you had enough yet?” they say,
an outstretched hand beckons.
“Come; it’s time.”

It waits for you in the quiet

Quite the realization;
that it cannot fill the void,
provide endless inspiration,
or fix what you have broken.

Do you notice how quiet it is,
how still,
when you put away your phone,
when the weekends come around?

The motion-blur deceived you,
for all-the-while you were sitting still,
waiting, still,
hoping, still,
that something else,
someone else
would direct your next position.


There is no joy in a life of happiness,
void of strife or dilemma,
concerned only with maintaining your high,
and protecting against the lows.
You design it so:
a universe whose arms
wind tight around your core;
a black and heavy hole
that you cannot understand
or see, for all its hunger.
Forever you may feed it,
but you’ll never feel it shine,
or hear it laugh,
or thank you;
for there is no joy,
not in anything you do for you.
Not in anything you create.
Not in anything you destroy.
Unless in doing so you find
the truth, the joy, the meaning in life:
to solve the hard problems,
and end other’s strife.

Stay young

We grew up too fast,
got serious jobs,
moved in with our sweethearts,
got dogs,
had kids,
and grew fond of wine;
forgoing the hangouts,
the night outs,
the coffee and bars,
for early nights and HBO,
and shows where people our age
stay up,
have fun,
hang out,
stay young.


I kept my distance.
You held my gaze.
And every time we laughed,
I’d turn away,
only to find you another edge closer.

I rounded the corner of the table
during an animated recountment,
trying to interrupt the magnetism;
it drew you tight to the corner,
and you were near-upon me once more.

You may remember it differently,
perhaps bemused at this curious boy
who keeps stepping back
and blushing.