Advice to Somebody

When you find yourself punctuated at the far end of a sentence, begin again. When the words have not been summoned properly, fill the lungs with air as warm as lemon water in the mornings. Climb back onto your gunning cowboy perch. Swallow that slippery pride. When the dead-end of day has been reached, go the other way.  Take a cold splash and damnit just do it. There is no easing in. Punish yourself just a little, then dump those thoughts beneath the bed of indulgence and take the light to your shame. When it sees you coming, it will no longer hide.

“Language is a skin”

“Language is a skin.” – Roland Barthes

I think about this and contemplate the folds and pores of my writing. I wonder if it ages through repetition and predictable motifs throughout the years, if the words need scrubbing or stretching. I imagine the skin of sentences skimming the surface of a lake, pressing palm to the wrinkles in what someone else wrote. If our meditations have met through an accidental collision, or an intentional caress. If the words feel a prick or a burn when things break down, if they seek shelter from precipitation. I am certain a poem senses electricity in the air and comes out, on some nights, to invite sudden light into its lines.

City Limits

Habitual return into lands
of outer Philadelphia
highway along reeds and pale water
grey a source for exhale, exile
power plant giants call the edge
their home — these late afternoon
hauls and winding hum from lane
to dust-shaded pavement darkened
in deep-thought rain — always the bridge
is its blue, and its criss-cross beams ushering
lines of purring vehicles into city
limits — if paid attention to, the continuation
of palette over squat, viscous skyline —
“I am always here for your ponderance,
but not always worthy” — moving
makes reckoning, finds vantage point
in the continuum — smeared sky where
lit-white opaque of smoke stays
low, becomes everything else.