Poem: Breath by Breath

What would happen, 
If we popped open the stoppers to our souls, 
And let compassion for the whole world in? 
And I mean the *whole* world: 

Starving children, 
Euthanized dogs, 
First-time orgasms, 
The sheer magnitude of war, 
The irrational hatred of the sound of other people chewing, 
The birth of deformed children,
Really great fucking music,
Unbridled passion,
Art beyond words...

Would we cry uncontrollably 
Until the earth is a tropic of tears? 

Would there be orgies in the streets, 
Jumping up and down on yellow couches,
Impulsive declarations of love and
Unlimited eternal puppies?

Perhaps we would go mad: 
Tear our eyes out after seeing too much world
And walk in never ending circles,
Pulling at our hair and mumbling about antennas.

Would we all sit around as if stoned,
Contemplating the beauty in each paint chip and beetle,
Acutely aware of each tick of the clock?

Would our houses be full of the needy, 
No one be lonely, hunger be gone, 
And reality TV disappear forever? 

I can't see it happening, honestly.
No one can handle that much humanity all at once.

It's better, then, to rely on each other, my love.
Let's prick each others' hearts, just a little; 

Create a bit more closeness with each kiss,
A bit more understanding with each conversation,
A bit more love with each look in each others' eyes, 

And instead of letting the world rush into us, 
Let's let our compassion overflow to the world in a trickle, 
Starting with each other, breath by breath.

The End of Being Pretty

Tell a young girl that good looks don’t matter.
Tell a young man that making money doesn’t matter
when the world is screaming the opposite.

Tell a middle-aged woman that she will lose the advantage
she was never allowed to admit, but enjoyed nonetheless
when she reaches The End of Being Pretty.

Tell me people will appreciate my intellect.
Take me seriously.
Listen without needing to give advice.

Tell me that when I become a “Handsome Woman,”
dancing and singing,
I won’t embarrass myself.

Wait until people find out
I’m not as nice as they think I am.
Or as innocent.

Ah, the baseball players become younger every year.
Can I still wear this dress?
Do I need to change my lipstick shade?

Not yet.
Next year, maybe.
For now, I’ll only flirt under candlelight.

A Taxonomy of Reasons to Get Up in the Morning

To Be

Be happy [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Reasons for Living]

Be yourself

Be someone’s hero

Be what happens

Be your best self [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Oprah Tropes]

Be a shoulder to cry on

Be a good _______ (dad, mom, sister, brother, friend)

Be kind

Be alive

To Do

Do what you love [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Lies We Were Told When Young]

Do your thing

Do your hair

Do a happy dance

Do it. Just do it.

Do what others won’t

Do whatever you have to

To Get

Get a job [SEE ALSO: Make Money]

Get lucky [SEE ALSO: Make Love]

Get your shit together

Get a grip

Get out of jail

Get through your shit [SEE ALSO: Get your shit together]

Get out of that meeting

Get married [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Consequences of Falling in Love]

Get fired [SEE ALSO: Take this job and shove it]

Get your heart broken [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Consequences of Falling in Love]

To Go

Go ahead and do it already [SEE ALSO: Take a chance]

Go ahead and cry already

Go to Paris in spring [SEE ALSO: Go fall in love, Make love]

Go fall in love [SEE ALSO: Take a chance]

Go tell her you love her [SEE ALSO: Take a chance]

Go on [SEE ALSO: Keep on truckin’, Keep going]

Go crazy [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Consequences of Falling in Love] [SEE ALSO: Keep sane]

Go far

Go fast

Go to hell and back [SEE ALSO: Get through your shit ]

To Make

Make money [SEE ALSO: Get a job]

Make love [SEE ALSO: Go to Paris in Spring]

Make Babies [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Consequences of Making Love]

Make someone smile

Make trouble

Make a difference [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of Lies We Were Told When Young]

Make that meeting [SEE ALSO: Keep your job]

To Keep

Keep it real

Keep on truckin’ [SEE ALSO: Keep going, Go on]

Keep it together

Keep your job [SEE ALSO: Make that meeting]

Keep sane [SEE ALSO: Go crazy]

Keep living [CROSS REF: A Taxonomy of the Consequences of Getting Out of Bed in the Morning]

Keep going [SEE ALSO: Keep on truckin’, Go on]

To Take

Take a chance [SEE ALSO: Go fall in love, Go tell her you love her, Go ahead and do it already]

Take your turn

Take someone to a party

Take someone’s hand in yours

Take a punch

Take this job and shove it [SEE ALSO: Get fired]

Take a good look at yourself

Poem: Straight Shooter

He would make a colorful character in a comic book:
Cue stick in one hand, cigarette in the other, and eyes that sink your heart.
He stalks the table with an economy of movement, seeing shots that no one else sees.

He would make a typical character in a Heinlein novel:
Tall, dark, sharp, and competent.
He transmits the beauty of his movements into geometry on felt.

He would make a perfect character in a Tarantino film:
Brooding, intense, protective, and loyal.
He points his stick at the 2, and nods to the corner pocket with confidence.

He makes a good friend, to those that know him:
You would let him pack your parachute.
He judges character as quickly as he can judge a table.

He would make a great hero, in this complicated world:
If he could un-remember the experiences he wishes hadn’t made him but did.
I sit in the corner, sipping my drink, seeing the man that he doesn’t see.

Poem: Out

Damn. I'm out of sugar. 
I'm out of cream, too. 
I'm out of milk, toothpaste,
ketchup, toilet paper, and batteries.

I'm out of strength. 
The day became too heavy
And I just can't lift it any more.
Leave the night to someone else.

I'm out of compassion. 
I've looked around in all the
Cupboards of my heart, but I can't
Find an Indian tear. 

And just when I think
I can't get any emptier,
I find a Fuck
And get rid of that too.

I'm out of my mind. 
Out of reasons, explanations, 
Excuses, and justifications.
I gave them all away. 

I'm out of names. 
No identity left. No attachments, 
No yearning for what might become
Or what might have been. 

The Buddha would be proud.
But I got rid of him too:
Threw him out with the old socks
And now I drink my coffee black.

Poem: Chess

Each chess game is its own tragedy:
One king always falls.
Or they both stay standing, star-crossed,
staring at each other, eternally helpless.

Your opening game is strong:
Boldly controlling the center of my thoughts,
thrusting yourself into middle of the board,
and I’ve quickly lost my center.

It’s too easy to see my next moves;
but yours are elusive, unpredictable.

I’m at a disadvantage.
I haven’t played this side of the board in a long time
and I’m disoriented-
everything seems mirror-backwards.

I’ve been jumping over minefields using my knights,
but before I know it,
I’m in check.
My Queen is gone,
my pawn will never reach the other side,
I’m left with a rag-tag bishop and lonely rook
to protect myself.

We have captured small parts of each other piece by piece
and now we circle each other,
postponing the inherent and inevitable tragedy-
one move at a time, star-crossed,
trying not to fall.