Anatomy of a 29 Year Old Human

*just about every year on my birthday I write an “Anatomy of a … Year Old” poem. Thank you for reading.

i am a giant lizard monster
trying to lay down comfortably in a sprawling metropolis but the buildings scratch at my back

the cars pierce my feet like legos

i fold myself ragdoll into a suitcase in attempt to be smaller
i’ve tried my hand at big, i wish to be little

i stare into the mirror but it’s not a mirror
it’s the ghost of marley and he’s eating my cereal

he tells me i need to grow out my beard again

he reminds me i am a joshua tree at the end of the western world
he reminds me that it is crucial that i push through heavy desert ground

my veins are filled with marathon runners sprinting but only when it’s dark out
i’ve begun to name the avenues they run down, federal, larimer, colfax

rush hour is a real bitch
my hands shake at the horns honking screaming for attention

i’ve spent twenty eight years sawing myself in half for the big audience
i want to spend the next twenty eight sewn together

maybe salinger, alone in a boat in the middle of a forest

maybe vincent, a militia of mad men in the fields of anxiety

there is hair in my ears and when i was signing my contract this was not mentioned
television led me to believe that this corresponded with twilight years

meanwhile the movies led me to believe i would be a wealthy philanthropist batperson by now
i conveniently ignore al bundy’s belly, his thin hair, his vicious kmart realism

my eyes are the brownest they have ever been
this is good

this is spirit in form
petrified wood to be built into rocking chair conversations and tobacco pipes

i am seeking a clean definition of masculinity
and my femininity is my best hope to get there

there is goldfish in a glass bowl lodged in my heart
i still haven’t figured out what that’s all about but i feed it pellets

i remember that though the castle it swims around is small it is still a castle
and the castle is me and the goldfish is the music of it all

i’m confused
i’ve wrapped myself up in ace bandages but i’m not injured

i decide to play a mummy because for a brief minute this year i was a pharaoh
and now all i want is to be surrounded by true gold and sleep sleep sleep

and wake up thirty and haunt the shit out of these fuckers for at least a few more

we hearty new americans

we not old america
we hearty new americans
we go to work and put headphones in
we turn off world
we strong
we know we must resist and resist constantly
also we must sleep
also we must love
we put full force into situations
where we must learn put streamers up in hell
we don’t know the past
we know of it
we’ve heard of it
we’ve seen germany
we’ve seen empires fall
we’ve never been in a house with such bad foundation
we love still
we move shuffling through street
we see friendly Denver turn rat race
the cows gone home
we dear john letters over the interwebs
we die a little but preserve
we lose left arm strengthen right
we fight we fight we fight
we burn out on television
we seen every episode of everything
we’ve heard every political speech
marched through every protest
now we march for our own feet
and try to put the feet of other’s feet in our feet shoes
we dive we dive we dive
we hold breath we hold space
we trumpet of jazz in silent workroom
we machine
but we funky disco jazz machine
we beer we weed we drugs we drugs we drugs
we sleep through anxiety earthquakes
we float down lazy river with margarita
we dolphins with spacey helmet heads
we do what we do and we do what we have to
we in fear
we bathe in fear
we brush our children’s hair in fear
we three day weekend fear
we water cooler conversation drowning
we wonder the time and date
we cars in lines
we wrapped up in old newspapers
we swallowed in landlocked blues
we trashporn koolaid buster
we under extreme tension headache
skin tone awareness campaign
ugly commercials
unofficial mascots and death notes
we elevator conversations
we doomed
we buy house purchase mortage in doomed
we running on treadmills
we running on treadmills
we running on treadmills
we running on treadmills
we running on treadmills

Sea Change

i no longer wish to be made of metal
or stone

i don’t wish to be a brick building
a fortress

i’ve opened the doors, the windows,
the ceiling

i no longer wish to be fire

i do not need to catch on to those
around me

they do not have to hear me

i want to be left alone
to my most beautiful vices
tea and words and music

in my tiny apartment i am reminded
i do not wish to be big

i wish for more music

i wish to be less consumed in telling
stories

and more consumed in creating them

i wish to be paper
the thinnest pulp of paper there is

i wish to be folded
and thrown into the wind

i wish for gentle bristles of a brush
to travel across the skin of me

i want to build castles for the sea
to swallow

i want to remember today and tomorrow

i want to capture them at only so many
frames per second

i no longer want to paint self-portraits
i want to paint the sea

i wish to be a still life painting

i no longer wish to be made of metal

i wish to listen and to love
and then whatever is next
that too, that too

The Fourth of July

imagine one thousand ships sinking into a black ocean
the water twisting and sucked up into the sky

imagine your house is on fire and so is your neighbor’s house
great plagues of locust pushing through the alleys of your veins

imagine you don’t remember your name or what year it is
and imagine for a second that you don’t know who is the leader of your country

my tongue tastes like death and it doesn’t matter what toothpaste i use
i can’t help but spend hours each morning brushing off the black death of my ancestors before me

their names don’t fall off the tip of my tongue i see them easily enough on street signs and churches

imagine being an adult and learning to read for the first time
try and imagine what it’s like to not have been given the gift of reading handed to you

imagine the weight of words when everything on the television tells you it’s over
imagine there is a breath hidden in prayers tucked between the paper births and the ink stamped eulogies

imagine convincing yourself you can read with the sound off
that you can close your eyes and great wings will grow from your chest

it’s been years since most people have been in a bookstore. that’s the truth.

but this poem isn’t a public service announcement.
it’s not a shaking finger.

it’s a dying one.

as the ground swells up and swallows each of us whole and then we’re gone
and we’ll stay in walls forever besides soldiers and rapists, arsonists and nuns

everything i write lately is about death but i’m finding it hard not to write about death.

bring me dead flowers preserved between pages of a book
bring me hope in a little glass jar
bring me a child with eyes bigger than unending war

i fall asleep
incapable of keeping my eyes open and someone says to me
happy fourth of july

and i say oh, is that today.