Serpent of Fire

something in the cadence
breathing into the arrangements
that flow beneath your skin
gives you away; tell me
how many lives have you shed?
how many little deaths have you endured
to but rise from the smoldering rubble
of your past selves; i know
they’ll find discarded shackles
buried in scorched earth
engraved, e-g-o.

something tender
toward the truth of human nature
lingers knowingly in your gaze—
is it nothing or everything to say?
we all race to collect shining tokens
of singular lives well-lived; but i see
you were always a beast of burden
holding on to a world of dreams
that could span a hundred lifetimes,
running your fingers through
pockets filled with destinies
you ache to create.

so while others
spent their days chasing the sun
in ever-hesitating search for the horizon,
tell me, how many ways did you find it?
something magnetic in your eyes
tells of the lives you’ve spent
wandering the skyline,
of immense love in your veins
laced with pain of all the trials you faced—
i know you found the edge
of transformation.

how many
footsteps did you take
while your brave heart
went up in flames
until you basked, unafraid
in that brilliant white light?
tell me of those moments elapsed,
when courage took you past
the limits of perception—
it shows on your bones,
the fingerprints you left
from fearfully gripping yourself
as you stood on the ledge
with a song on your breath
and you fatally
dove inward.

won’t you trace for me
the changing forms of finality:
of rapture in the fall, where you
slithered deep till you crawled
through the eye of a storm
and emerged,
covered in ash?
i know each journey
brings you closer to understand
why Life only grasps at once—
destruction and creation
with one hand.


won’t you hold me in your arms?
I want to disappear into myself.
Love has left my bones,
this body cold with grave despair;
shudder, as the shock subsides,
as I suddenly come to find
my soul’s home has become
but a desolate cage—
I’m crumbling from within and
it’s more than I can bear.

dear friend,
what tragedy happened here?
I’ve been catapulted wholly
into some unholy state
and I can’t find my shadow
in the dark.

I’m afraid
something’s severed here
and all I can see is this chasm;
tell me, do you still
recognize my remains?
eject, disconnect
I but haunt my body,
yet still I get the sense
that I no longer smell of myself
but of this dread; my scent
steeped in loathing
for my mere knowing
this terror.

dear friend
the violence caged in my flesh
is blacker than I ever cared to know —
monstrous and menacing,
devouring the Life within me with cruel apathy.
can’t you hear the grief rioting in my body?
no, my trauma wears shades of unjust Silence
and no wails of mourning can escape
the gravity of the sun that’s died inside me.
for what sound could my spirit make
while Darkness swallows
the crests and troughs
of my vitality?

won’t you open your arms
for a moment, shelter me
and remind my body
of some kind of kindness
still left in this world?
…or else hold space,
from faraway let me gaze
at the stars in your eyes
so that I might trace
the shapes of consolation?

dear friend,
what pitiful thing happened here?
all the lights in this dark sky
have been blown out.
I’m collapsing inward into an abyss
of dissatisfying destruction,
tormented with regret that
disappearing thus wouldn’t be enough
to erase this intolerable blight
from time and space;
to reverse this energetic abomination
born into the world
from an unspeakable crime,
now embodied in me.

I wish to contract
so swiftly, so completely
that maybe this anguish, too, would vanish —
or is it shame?

rabid, sharp recoil becomes my inner Black Hole.

we needn’t discuss it—
the devil is in the details,
clinging to whatever scraps
might sustain that rapacious
black pit: Fear.

I could never blame you
for wanting to look away
from this ugly mess;
and hell is the guilt I feel
for asking anyone to come near
such catastrophic pain—
this selfish instinct for survival
was the only piece of my humanity
I could find intact.

but this havoc
that’s laid claim to my being
speaks only my name; so perhaps
you could spare some safe space,
some solid embrace,
without too great a sacrifice?

because maybe if you hold me,
my fractured spirit could cling to your touch
and find anchor in the Love felt there,
rather than rebel with fury
against the damage borne in my body.
so, in some sense stoic
I collect the celestial dust
of my shattered positivity
and hope you’ll forgive me for asking,
for how could I ever save myself
but by grasping Love wherever I may find it
and pulling my Self back
across this apparent event horizon?
how else could one achieve the impossible?

won’t you hold me in your arms, dear friend?
miracles in Love happen every day.

Autumnal Apéritif

here it is.
here it is.


at last and already
golden, euphoric rearrange;
crisp sun rays glisten with sap
and only when the cold invades
do the days hint at
maple and amber notes unfolding
until you can taste the season’s

I’ve always loved it that way.

lovely, how
silence slyly hugs the gentle hours
suggests the darkness’ become darker
winks at the mystical aura gathering; wait
do you feel the rhythm of nature unwinding?
do you feel its quiet call to dance?
“wait,” it whispers
while sunlight plays
sways, leaps
with the austere air that’s come to
linger for a while; “welcome”

greets change with a spiced cup of hot cider.

autumn always felt like the beginning
of something magical—
drifts in with the cool winds,
caresses the bones,
creeps into the corners of the mind, and
begs the ghosts of inspiration to come alive.
old friend, one can only know
as a certain character
of some familiar melody.

the words
when I first read them, sang
as from something everlasting within me:
“…more a season of the soul than of nature.”
so it had to be mine, the fall.

satisfaction is
my black coffee laced with Nietzsche.

how cosmically clever
this romance
demands love and attention, too,
for that which I would sooner forget—
psychological scars and blemishes
and vestigial wounds.
you couldn’t trace from any bruise
or aberration on my flesh, the
reflexively spurned evidence of my
categorical devastation.
but kind Time, I reached within
the depths of me to retrieve what pieces
I had left to rebuild; sweet mercy.
though the return of this season
now hails the cost of banishment,
involuntary accompaniment to the specifics
I perennially ward from memory.

here again
this beloved season circling back;
recurrent reminder of things
I deny I still carry.

sweet October
dear, flickering
glowing punctuation of the seasons—
always so fleeting, but in the past handful of years
has become ever more elusive,
for my senses cannot freely grasp its enjoyment
while I deny the wholeness of its experience.
the wholeness of my own.

I now admit
this secret, kept even from myself
that even with my mind made slippery
I could not shake a certain shadow:
scant awareness of
my statute of limitations elapsing.
it was a strange occasion
I awaited, softly beckoned
as I imagined a vague
sense of relief
telling me, “it’s over.”

furtive illusion
rebuffed by dependable change;
I am reminded the marker was arbitrary.

fight, flight, freeze.
fight, flight, freeze.

now fight to break free;
I take stock of these seasons
spanning years
blending together in my mind
slipping through my fingertips;
moments, unnoticed
washed downstream from
compulsive cleansing
all because of a lousy lingering fear
that something unwanted might stick…

I’d rather taste the honey
in this drink, while I
savor its bitter complexity,
too robust to be cloying; I’d rather,
with its penetrating depth of
sweetness still lingering on my tongue,
fully experience Life
than go on ceding Time, continually
trapped by fear-driven habit.
surely, that would be
no better than to remain
complicit in the very structures
that made me victim.

with reawakened
appetite for Life waxing
I, too, expand
re-inhabit my body and the world,
and reopen channels of connection.
stretching out into my self,
I continue reaching deeper still for
pieces I thought had been swallowed up
by that voracious black pit,
only to find more complete
gradual release.

and just as nature has
gone on, goes on
in her cyclic way, shedding layers
continually renewing—
that lot, I refuse.

so with a tipple
I set fire to it all
to take it back
to take it all back

and as I gaze at the
wildfire, my soul too
flashes, trembles, burns
and sets to motion

while a smirk exudes
from within, for the scene is a song:
“If that’s all there is, my friends, then let’s keep dancing…”

electrified particles
glide over the affair, the tune
as waves, flowing through my body
coursing through the ground
and every material of the atmosphere.
for once, I feel utterly connected to it all
and hum the melody
wafting through the air;
delight, as I stroke the breeze,
gentle and furious.

I like to think
Nietzsche smiles here, too.