Hard Drive

Seven years of pictures and videos—
senior year in high school, backpacking.,
two year mission, away at school,
homecomings, courtship,
engagement pictures, honeymoon travels,
first home, moving in, a floppy-eared puppy,
the pacific coast, camping in redwoods,
snorkeling in the Bahamas, pregnancy,
firstborn child, first steps,
hiking, public parks, reunions, birthdays,
anniversaries, holidays,
second child, first words, evenings playing at home—
two hundred and fifty gigabytes of memories
carefully recorded
meticulously backed up to the hard drive
whenever a device filled up.
If it had only 3 megabyte pictures
it would have held eighty-thousand of them.
Twenty-two straight hours
of seeing through lenses—
if it only took one second
to realize each moment,
put it on hold,
raise the camera,
and take the shot.
To watch it all in a slide show
would have taken days.
Days of the choicest moments of their life together,
times when they interrupted what was happening
to record a piece of it, trusting
they would always have the piece.

Seven years of life
perched treacherously on the piano.
little feet climb the bench
small hands find the hard drive
curious fingers fumble.
It tips,
it totters,
it falls to the ground.
It looks unharmed, but it’s not working.
They ship it out, they get a quote.
“Fourteen hundred dollars?!”
They think of seven years.
“We won’t miss the money,
but we will always miss the memories.”
And they’re right.
A tax return comes through.
They decide
and give the go-ahead, hoping,
willing to do without to resurrect
the memories.
Weeks pass, an email comes:
the drive is broken beyond repair—
and seven years go out with the trash.


Too often my search for meaning
discourages rather than fuels me.
I’m too focused on theme to enjoy novels
and too focused on purpose to enjoy life –
but for those rare moments when the world shrinks
and exists only in my arms or the walls of my home,
babbling, exploring, and grinning up at me.
Then I’m no longer searching,
either because I’m distracted or
because I am reminded.

The Feast

Slay the earth and eat it.
Butcher everything it has to offer
the scent of pines,
buildings cleaned daily
cacophony of playing children,
the feeling of grass between bare toes,
the birth of a newborn,
the slaughter of multitudes,
families spending time together,
summer picnics in the park,
bills, charity, jobs,
good books on Autumn days
car crashes, cheap movies,
an evening in the woods –
suck the marrow out of life
out of every rape,
every cultural triumph,
every kiss,
every shooting,
every reality,
every story,
and every religion.
Eat their gods and lore,
every philosophical theory
every single one.
There’s always more where that came from.
Tear into history;
swallow as much as you can
until every bite tastes the same as the last
until your jaw aches and your breath reeks
with the sweet scent of The Feast.
Unbutton yourself and eat some more.
Relieve yourself and eat some more.
Savor it delicately, piece by piece,
and judge the people feasting all around you –
you all eat the same shit,
or stuff
your face with it
thrust your fingers into it,
your eyes wide and your heart
pounding with excitement.
Feel it’s warmth.
Feel the texture.
Breathe deeply, rhythmically
with animal appetite.
Then eat that feeling and move on.
Let grease run down your jowls in currents,
grab thick handfuls of anything you want
swallow fat slabs of it.
Drink it down, pile it in, eat it up,
pick it from your teeth,
lick the plates clean,
then eat the plates
eat the teeth
eat the clean.
Every poem
every dollar
every experience
every thing
is laid before you on the table.
Slay the earth and eat it
there’s always more,
and no one’s ever full.

It Does Not Matter

It does not matter what I write
of blood-soaked bathroom floors and notes
or bloody birthing tables;
of bodies huddled in the dark;
of children laughing on the grass;
of lovers cuddling tenderly
beneath a knitted blanket
a chilly Autumn day –
it doesn’t matter what I say
or in what way I say it.
I ignite thoughts for bushels,
little candles glimmering
in bowls on weathered windowsills
that no one ever sees.
It does not matter what I write
because I write for me.

A Clearing and a Lake

The grass is tossed and tumbled
in shining colored waves
that ripple in warm bursts of wind
across the verdant clearing.

The smell of sage and pine needles
is lifted to the water’s edge
and bursts down heavily against
its glossy sun-streaked surface.

Life is smaller here and simpler,
primeval maybe, but rich.
As rich as the shining colored waves of grass
tossed by the breeze, scent-laden.