That morning was a green rain, grass blades flashing like the smallest of swords, the hot hum of great golden bees laughing within the space between rafter and wood-beaten ceiling, the floorboards creaking and lonely. He was crouched like an aging orange peel, body one slim panel at the edge of the blue computer screen. Every so often he got up. Step, Step. Pacing the borders of our house, wrapping his feet around the dusty, threadbare stem of the living room carpet. The third time, or was it the fourth, he step steps through the peeling salmon door of the bathroom, closes the door, turns the click. Body tense as a runner, he flicks on the bathroom faucet, takes a breath, starts removing his clothes. Naked, he looks at the dim edge of blue razor, a curved scythe on hanging plastic caddy.
He used to wear a smile like a small badge, eyes large as rabbit ears, dancing like a girl on the living room couch. My brother. That boy. When he was ten, his right eye started to wander. His left eye would be straight and focused, moving like a single golden arrow, but the right one went off-track, played the tango-dance, walked orbits around his small world. The doctor gave him a patch, hot thick thing on the curve of his fragile skin. The boys at school made elaborate paper-wads for the back of his head. Later, he wore a top hat and filmed home-movies in which he learned to disappear.
Nineteen now, body a tall black reed, he is amazed that his awkward humor and bony height has suddenly turned into an attraction for the opposite sex. Girls give him the shy eye, voices breathy and earnest, watching the curve of his shoulder instead of dimly-shouted sermon, use their hymn books as telescopes to spy through to the back of his head. He finds his voice, sings loud and heart-breakingly, still laughs awkwardly, but feels invincible, loved.
He slips back into his clothes, moving backward through time, then re-emerges, tiptoeing like silent cat. My mother, taut lines pinching her face, comes out of her room, surveys the house, tight, dark ball moving to her chest. What will he think, she worries, starts nervously shifting papers into justified stacks, hands two fluttering white birds. She looks at my brother, his body a single slumped line. I already asked you to help out around here, she panicks. He doesn’t move. He does the nonvoice. Don’t act like you don’t hear me, she says, helpless, arms opening at her sides. He is stone. She tries to physically pull him out of his chair. They move into her bedroom, her shrill chirrups echo against the empty space. Then his lower, cracking, sudden sharp sobs breaking the violin of his voice. I hear it through the holes in the walls, my brother, that boy, sobbing, chest heaving, voice cracking. You don’t even know what i’m going through right now. A break, a pause. My mother breathing heavy on the other side of the wall. My brother again, crying, cracking like stone, split and vulnerable. I want to…. I want to kill myself. I want to kill myself. Three gasps, whisper. I tried to kill myself.
Step, step. He paces the bedroom above me. I listen empty, book laying open at my right hand, wrists exposed.
Concrete hot sun-bitten, sweat dripping, steam rising, the four of us walking down Keamoku, mid-day movers crashing into each other, cars buzzing past, the jutting, skyscraping distance distorted and mirage-like. Red-roof, white-sign, we walk towards the brick building, legs straining like paddles against the pavement. Thin pole trees, bare and peeling, sprout out from their enclosed cemented squares. Oh my god hey look, the girl with brown hair and small body fists my shirt and pulls me to a stop. I stop. Tiny grey feather-broken bird lies mellow on ground. A bird, she points out. We gather round like lost sheep, looking at the small sculpted cartilage flesh eyes dull flat head shifting up to us claw feet dangling helpless under weightless child body. Its going to get run over, the boy says, glancing towards the street. The first brown-haired girl looks at the third girl with the jacket. Pick it up with your jacket, she says. Put it in the grass. The girl edges back, I’m not going to touch it. She pulls her sleeves down over her hands nervously. A pause. I’m watching the fragile, damaged wing, which shifts trembles scrapes against the parking lot pavement, body lying like discarded bruised fruit. I’ll pick it up, I say, not glancing up. I change my hands into the shape of bowl, try to fit the body to me, to make our two pieces connect. I feel the birds heartbeat in the hem of my hand. Wait, I say. He’s scared. I walk the tight-rope walk from concrete to green edge, hands gentle on the soft-down plush, then kneel at the corner of street and grassy inlet, try to shift the body into the safety of pole tree and concrete harbor. He is voiceless, looks at me scared. Eyes dripping black, no smile. At some point the other girls and the boy already went inside, I stay and feel the hard flush of his gaze, wild and death-like, feel my own hallowed veins collapsing. I leave him there, a small speck of dark within the rush of the world, a fainted being, stick legs listless.
forgive me, i’m far too shy
the reason hello’s quickly turn into goodbye’s
but i walk away heavy with unsaid words
they twist and turn while i cling to my safeguards
i whisper lies to myself i can’t seem to shake
even when i know their intent to break, break, break
all the words i can’t express
or maybe what i’ve tried to suppress
you’re saying them better than i ever could
my encumbrance, you’re helping relieve what i could not have withstood
so please keep going
singing, writing, strumming
and i’ll continue shouting
all my thoughts that need puking
i’ll press my foot faster on the gas to make it through the light
your desperately reverent songs are all that’s choking my anxiety tonight
you travelled far and long
i came alone, knowing soon you would be gone
i needed to close my eyes
dance, clap, and scream away all the pain inside
this year i learned it’s ok to be sad
all the while, i will still fight each day to be glad
if you would please reach through my speakers
and place an arm around my shoulders
gently whisper, “you’re going to be alright,
i won’t leave you here alone tonight”
i won’t press that small black square
you help brush away my wild hair
behind which i’ve been mildly hiding
swollen eyes from nights of crying
all of this to say:
thank you for being the friend i needed
the prayers i couldn’t form, you requested
all the distortions i have believed
you help reverse them while i grieve
you’ve been the rescuer
amidst this broken hour.
Awash in a sea of what could have been and what might yet be, I release these wings of thought.
If I could sleep, I would fall deeper than you, but creativity takes it brutal control over me.
I saw the machines covered like thoroughbreds with their eyes shielded from their fellow colts
Before we hit the silence and while on the ground we rode.
I just couldn’t wait to get home to my family.
Sensing these strangers makes it all the worse, like a ship drifting off its course of port.
My life is not mine and they are not of mind to take the time to fall out of the sky.
I am the thankful for the opportunity afforded to go to places and see beautiful slices of life –
The world is a massive place of lovely colors; it is a blank canvas yearning to be explored.
But there is so much I desire afterwards; adventures of birthday parties and sleepless nights.
The normality and boredom of everyday breathing is so much better than this cramped cool air.
No one knows what the rest of us are thinking, how we are all aboard the same fated path.
Some will remember us, but most will lose these visions,
And the world will go on moving into battered collisions.
How difficult it is to love or even care about the souls you will never lay your eyes on once more.
These feet will go a thousand directions in 15 minutes and their fortunes are each awaiting them.
The stories are all written and thrown away; decisions are made randomly without consideration.
How great is the bond we share for this short time – yet never to be in this presence again.
We are indistinguishable from our heads to our necks; a robotic view of sad sights with no eyes.
All walks of life are represented accordingly, and from this vantage point we are all alike.
This is the paradox of sharing a journey and the sky; we are all doing the same thing as separate people.
Some are escaping their present stage or harrowing strife,
Others are trying to get back to their perfect lives.
When I was a baby boy
I swallowed a star;
and I thought I was the brightest in the sky.
I thought I was the one.
Though my days were filled with warmth,
my nights were too bright.
I grew up blinded by the light;
I looked into my sun.
and i know that now
but then i was young
and it costs me now
and I never saw the worth
having lived in the warmth
of a darkness oh so blessedly cool;
the dark side of the moon.
My brother the sea
he came and said to me
“can’t you see the way i’m pulled by the moon?”
My brother eclipsed me
and i need her touch
i need to be the one
and he cost me now…