Compassion Fatigue


For a hundred and eighty months,
I’ve slept in a dreamesque mess,
elegant and clever as it might have seemed;
the dreamer’s eyelashes complained
that the love affair was a vicious repetition.

I told them, Vamos.
We’d had enough.
There were no more threats to our peace.

I humiliate myself;
I examine every fibre of my life.
My blood is full of sorrow.
A sorrow in truth I cannot explain.
It just makes me sick.

2. A Prime Year

The hours cascade like dominos.
I read the words
as each hour falls.
The night advances unable to sleep.

I should be sleeping.
Lord knows I need it.
Sueño, Sì.
I try and try,
keep moving about the futon.
The mind won’t let me be.
So I get up,
ruffle through my stuff
and pick through the past.
Keep some,
Throw some.

The haze of the morning lightens the room.
Sometimes I just want to throw it all away,
get lost and watch it all burn
and from the ashes I will grow a new life.


Yeah, sometimes I just want to get lost,
dance and become notes bouncing off the wall.
I realize it all seems a bit weird to ya,
I tell you these things
even though I know you won’t understand.

Yeah sure, I am afraid:
afraid of being alone,
afraid of being put in a cage,
afraid I might be out of control,
afraid I’ll have to come back
do it all over again;
because, I didn’t get it right the first time.
Yeah I’m afraid of things I do not know
It’s all only human;
however I will go on
with or without you.

4. The Primary Oxymoron

I was born in a southern Baptist hospital
at the edge of the gauntlet.
Born into the struggle to maintain
both my humanity and sanity.
(an oxymoron, it seems.)

However in the long run,
these things seem so distorted.
For so many years
I’ve been writing about dirty water?
By now my blood has been infected
the fever has taken hold.
There is no escape, just closure.

The Primary is passion.
The outcome:
intoxication, fornication, & bloodshed,
not necessarily in that order.
The words tell the story, read the texts.
The assumption made me uncomfortable.

5. The Street Prophet

The whole world has its eyes on the streets,
waiting for some saint or prophet
to rise from the ashes of their faith.
One learns in the streets
what it is to be human.
To follow impulsive patterns
glorified by loss of faith.
Now can you see them?
Brutally carousing?
All are looking for an escape of who they are.
Which one is your savior?

I can’t belong to those cumulative numbers,
nor those dysfunctional over privileged white bread cheese cakes,
insidious in their fragmentary condition.
I would lose my ability to move beyond
that over-reliance of numb acceptance.

Yea, I’ve sat among them before,
and still can.
If I was to speak,
who would listen?
Certainly not her.

6. Life’s Walk

When the Sun heralds the Morning,
the shadows of the bars cross my face.
I cast lots for the reasons of my actions,
which end with a chronic display of doubt.
The door to the cage slides open.
The clank echoes through the musty hallway.
I walk a dead man’s walk
to take my chair in the chorus.

I turn my head to the priest,
who walks beside me,
saying prayers for my benefit.
“Yes son.”

-Must I go through the give & take of socialization?

He didn’t answer.
He only lowered his eyes to his feet.
“Yes son”
-Just keep praying.

7. Pen

I could scrub out the clouds.
Interesting results!
I could see the stars
if it wasn’t for the streetlights.

Dirty socks.
Dirty bed.
Dirty mouth.
A sad discharged angel.
a purely gratuitous invention the eraser.
Too bad I use a Pen.

8. Primacy of the Heart

The obscure nature of the heart
is apparently fragmentary and aphoristic in nature.
Impulsive and gloried by the Romantics,
Love seems to be an unpredictable discontinuity,
permeating every fibre of one’s being.
Hence forward, everything moves on shifting paths.
Ones and zeros.
No maybes.
Our thoughts. Our dreams.
Our actions. Our nightmares.
Our whole lives.
When I was a child, I was a Romantic;
after having gone through the reality of Love,
I have become a Nihilist.
The residues of my past loves
are still too excessive and toxic.

9. Shadows

I see faces in everything
the moon shines through the dream.
Shapes & Shadows
become faces & figures
singing & dancing.
The train plays rhythm.

bump de bump
bump de bimp
de bump de bump de bump
bump de bump

the green nymph dances through the beer bottle
leaf movements
my groin tightens
& the pen remarks
something undecipherable
upon a bar napkin.

10. Talk

Here is the problem,
It seems so simple,
vibration of the Diaphragm
causing air to produce sounds.
Can we find something more tangible in those sounds?
the Images?
the Pains?
the Loves?
the Dreams? the River?
How does one even converse upon such a conversation.,
to convey even a small particle
on the banks along the river of the mind
and the ocean in which it roars?

Words are so restricting.
Ink patterns on tree mash.
There is paper,
yet then, there is the tree.

We’re looking at the tree at different angles.
What I fathom…Can you not?
You do not answer;
nevertheless, the questions will not die.
They will circumvent you forever.

11. A Yellow Rose

A yellow rose left under a windshield
pulled off by the same veined hand,
which put it there.

A petal falls,
blood edged.
A piece of heart,
glass shatters upon the ground;
nothing left but slivers.
False love cuts;
it takes all
until you bleed to death.
But what?
Is there nothing remaining?

The flower remains on the dash,
dead to the world.
It just slips away,
taking your money
and heading for another table.

But true love,
only wants to give.
Not petals.
Not flowers.
Not leaves.
But whole plants,

12. Funeral

I return to my own land.
-to find me again?
-to persecute myself?

The aroma hung from the trees.
The earth was mute;
a solitary lesson must be buried.
Men and women danced
circumventing the tiny black coffin.

“Did he suffer from loneliness?”
the mother wailed.
“Nothing Happened” the father retorted.
“He was born dead.”

“Over bitter territory he crossed.”
I voiced,
“Many wavering black tar rivers he traveled;
camping under stubborn glass/steel man-made mountains.
Desolate he lived among the ghosts;
their pale faces and
echo eyes separating him
from the line of houses
in which he first came to exist.
And yet, he still remained true to himself.

“Father of grief,
he learned of the pain and
defeat love brings.
Mother of Anguish,
extending pride makes those lonely places.
You fear so much”

I had no sense my faith existed.

13. ShadowBoxer

The phone rings,
your name prints up,
black bold Chicago letters
accompanied by your number.
I’ve weighed the matter in ounces and grams,
pints and half pints,
through minutes, hours, months, years,
even a millennium
before my hand reached out to grip the phone;
securing the call, before the answering machine.

Via microwave and long optical fibers,
strung up on crucifixes which parallel the tar river
in rack and file.
Your voice prattles in my ear:
A trickle,
a fog which blanketed the slumbering fields,
crystals of light bouncing about the leaves;
then a coyote sticks his head out. Yaps.

You wanted me to see,
without comparison
without using the word karma or slut.
I tried.
I swore to myself,
I would see;
however, I failed.
My focus was too feeble.

You are restless.
You want to tell me
how you feel inside.

You wanted me to listen
yet not be reminded of the dense fermentation
of inescapable memories which permeated the air.
You talk as if you cared.
I struggled.
I’ve listened close,
walking about the house
cradling the battered black cordless phone,
tightly between Ear and CollarBone.
If only I could have nudged you awake.

What can I tell my bones?

Trying to become godesque,
is far from becoming god.


The frames of the film pass through the gate
transparent enough for the sun to peer through the clouds.

Don’t talk. Keep your distance.
Don’t tell me you care.
Just let me close my eyes & sleep.
Please let me Dream.

I could only understand
by hoisting knives and tongs
establishing myself once more
in front of Stainless Steel,
Heat Lamps & Cutting-board.

“Working makes you feel better.”
Replied Grandfather Chef,
as he debones a Gini Hen with his machete.

The tomatoes reduce to paste upon roasting bones.
I pull ‘em out of the oven,
Plop ‘em in the stock pot.

The rain washed the air;
everything which had been mistakenly cast-off
now stained the ground bright lemon-pollen yellow.
I no longer grieve,…nor dream of the dead.

I observe the Lobster stock boiling,
contemplating how much seasoning
should impinge the soup once it had reduced.
However, when the time comes,
the words make their own way out.
They didn’t need my silly input.

I will not explain you away with a book,
as I have done before.
Salt to Pepper Garlic to Basil
over this damp grave,
I speak my last words of love.
and stir it all in the stock.

14. In My Dreams

In my dreams,
I have found a peacefulness,
a forgivingness,
an understanding
in which life in this body has never given me.
In my dreams
I have found friends
who have given me love and freedom
to be what I must in this life.
They have taught me how to live
how to be myself.
Or as Name Giver would mischiefly tell me,
“Smile and laugh, my wolf boy. Spirit is reality,
The body is Un.”

In my dreams I have been to places,
planets and galaxies
I never would’ve had a chance to go in this body.
To visit friends long since past away.
To wish my grandfather a happy birthday.
To visit my friends,
telling ’em things I couldn’t tell ’em in waking hours.

In my dreams
the clocks have no arms
so that time does not move nor stop.
It just travels about in waves
pockets full of hands.

In my dreams, alone & between planets
and the primal sound
the solitary music of the universe played,
congealed and fell,
changing into a star.

15. After All

After all these years
this fire for life still burns;
the deep brown coals of my eyes suddenly urging,
warming around my words,
and assaulting them in repeated fury.

After all these storms
I still remain in the rain,
drenched head to toe
fixed on the distorted point ahead, unknown
The dirty water flows from my hair
over my brow, burning my eyes and tasting nasty.
However, even with the weight of my soaked clothes,
I, somehow, am still able to march down the road.

After all these miles
I still sleep on the side of the road;
the signs unreadable
of what lies ahead.
Pure faith carries me
to where I am to live in peace.

& my Lover?
Is the wind,
blowing through my hair.
through my damp clothes,
through my pride,
through my vanity,
through my terror,
through my humbleness,
to my heart
and reduces my blood.

I study my footprints pressed in the sand.
The slow pace of my quest
is shown by the nearness of the prints.
a daily guide
teaching me to be calm.
Streams of water interact with the prints
developing threads between each
pulling them together
making them one long line
called spirit.

& my Lover?
Is the flash of light
which comes out of the darkness
flames up the sky,
to the branches of the old tree of hope & dream.
It doesn’t thunder.
It doesn’t howl.
It doesn’t even whisper in my ear.
It doesn’t tell me which way I should go
along this hard ground below my feet.
It doesn’t tell me it doesn’t love me any more;
or even that, I’m not listening.
It simply says. “I am. Stand beside me.”