30 for 30 (emotion)

Voices

Fading

How soon I forget

The world I’m in

She walks in

Everything turns

To smoke and shadows

She has everything I could ever want

And then some

She is

Fire and rain

My eyes have always followed her across the room

You should see the way she moves

I knew when she walked in

I would miss her

This house just isn’t the same

I reach out

But she’s long long gone

Now the moon plays the blues

I watch the sky run

Like a formula one engine

Soon it’s going to storm

And she’s just like that kind of energy

Building up in the sun

She’s everything I would ever need

The only thing I believe

All it takes is a touch

And the sky rains

Desire

Photo by Ethan Bethune
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30 for 30 (slide away)

I woke up

Trying to write again

The streets are silent

The talk is on the inside

It’s all the same lines

And
everyone smiles at the table

Drink in their hand

We’re all real good liars

Does the future look good?

And we saw the signs on the interstate

We saw the signs but we didn’t mark the time

We keep waiting for music to save itself

But we’d have to touch something that makes emotion

And we’re still numb from the great promotion

Someone said

It would take a sound

only your gut could understand

What happened to soul ?

I took a walk

My shoes wear down from the unpaved road,

The humidity is so thick, sometimes I feel like I could cut it with a butter knife

I try to write,

But my word document keeps freezing,

So I break out a note pad, you know the ones, paper, pens,

I transfer it to a typewriter

Now I can mail it to the Paris Review

Turn on the radio –

I don’t recognize anything I hear

I don’t relate

What happened to soul?

They say Blues won’t pay your bills

But Blues is the only thing that knows the way I feel

This is a mill town

But the mills are all gone

Does that make this a ghost town?

I like old things

I don’t know how to change

When was the last time you heard a sound

That took you by surprise ?

When was the last time you read something that opened your eyes?

I dress everyday

I Pour wine and coffee

When I write

I have to take myself seriously

get up

Get up off the floor

No one else is going to make you-

Sometimes it takes the change

But one of these days

You’re going to have to start again

The Ballad of Anne Hall

Anne Hall

Hear her call

She lives in the RV at the end of it all

5 little ones

Everyone knows she just can’t feed anymore

If houses are homes

Well hers

it’s coming down

And winter it keeps coming

But summer is hell

But they kept saying

Anne you can have it all

If you just clean up a little

Smile a little more

And Anne

She keeps praying

She keeps praying that her kids just won’t wake up to this anymore.

The rain was thundering

The lightning crashing

Like a ship breaking through a shore

A tornado

Like the finger of god

Scorched the earth across town

Everyone’s eyes were blind

The hunger

Was passed off

As crazy

eyes of Anne

Until

One night

The rain thundered down

She came to the Emergency

The blood ran down

Like the rain against the windows of everyone’s white washed streets

Anne prayed don’t let me have another mouth to feed

And everyone met again

At the square

Now Anne

doesn’t have a dollar to pay for her pills or her bills

And Anne couldn’t make the trip

Anne Hall

Hear her call

The day they put Anne in the ground

At the back of the gate

the council met

Behind doors that locked

And children with filled stomachs

Tucked away in their beds

and a hard rain fell

It fell

And in the emergency

A new mother cries …

And even today

Everyone is quiet when they pass by

Where there was an RV at the end of it all…

30 for 30 (She’s going to make me lonesome when she goes)

October 1st

She smokes her cigaret

Stares out the dirty windows

Waiting for someone to come in

She feels paranoid

But when they do come in

She sits with them

Pours them a cup of tea

Makes sarcastic remarks

She gives them books to read

A trail of smoke follows her every where she goes

Her red hair is pulled up under a bandana

Her green eyes carry an age to them …

November 15th

Everyone that comes in leaves

With a story

For the last five years

It’s been me

We all want something

We want to be something

We believe we are making a mark

She has so many opinions

And ideas

She plays the piano

And thinks it’s funny

It being in a library

Dec 12th

I believe she is a muse

Not in the way we use it now

But in the, what is it? The original way

Muses were something that came to an artist

And helped them make art

Dec 24th

I don’t think she knows…

Jan 13th

She’s clouded

And heavy

Maybe she has been around for too long

Or for such a long time

She has forgotten

She is unhappy

Smokes more

Drinks more

Sleeps all day

Doesn’t get up

Or come sit with me like she used to

She just lets me use the library

I cannot write like I used to

I’ve asked her to go away with me

I think she is going away

But alone

she doesn’t laugh

She won’t drink tea anymore

The sunlight doesn’t come in the windows anymore

She’s going to make me lonesome when she goes…

Sept 20th

It’s been a long time since I’ve last written.

But I think I’ve carved out a way.

To just sit and work…

October 31st

I thought I saw her today

In a bookstore

It was just a moment

A flash of red

But

She looked happy .

Who knows what a muse is?

But maybe

Just maybe

They help us find our way

And our voice…

Who is to say anything is really gone?

Maybe they are there

In ordinary places

Doing ordinary things.

waiting for us to be unexpected

And

extraordinary.

30 for 30 (Highway)

Reality is so much colder

Than imagination

Someone said, if you want to change your partner, change yourself. They will have to adapt eventually.

What is this winter? It’s like walking through broken glass, trying to paint the tornado that wrecked your home town. it’s darker, more frightening, and doesn’t have defining points or lines, its just there, taking up the backdrop….

You can’t tell if it’s night or day.

Everything can be darker, everything has the potential to be overwhelming.

Everyone wants to make their mark…

Here we are

Here we are

Older now

On the wrong side of the highway

The backside of the graveyard

We wanted the world to change

But we forgot

All about ourselves

And it’s a long

Lonely highway

Cold on the ground

Ash in the sky

Pain in the sun

Tomorrow isn’t younger

Like you’re used to…

What’s left of the sand in the jar

How many days

How many desires

How many

How many

I wrote my soul on a napkin

She cleaned her lips

And now

I framed her kiss

I keep it still

And we are older

But her kiss

It is still young

And

It leads me to believe

Just down the highway

Past the dead leaves

The dreams in the ditch

The overcast sky

The sun still burns hot….

And that’s where stories are made

That’s where the blood runs in your veins

That’s where desire smokes it’s cigaret

30 for 30 (Tides)

Down by the river

Just at the break of dawn

The grass has grown

The water is swamp

My youth is washed

Away

Somewhere

A long time ago

It was clearer still…

And the men go hunting

And time moves through my hands like sand

The physical and torn element

This is time

And I wonder about my place in it

And the women

Gather

And used to read

They said there was news shared

But in the world of men and giants and shadows

And ever changing fears

Months

Of cold Mondays

Where do you go

How have you grown?

Remember

Colette

Kathryn Hepburn

Zelda Fitzgerald

Mae West

Billie Holiday

So many more…

All of their shadows

In the water

Moving by

And by

how easy it would have been

To just sit

Quiet

And fit in the places made for them

I wonder what they thought

I wonder

What they wrote

I wonder

If you ever see them down by the river

Still

Making tides…

30 for 30 (sand castles)

She tilts her head back

As if to ready a violin

Her hands made into fists

Punching her face

Her mouth foams

Blood runs

From chewing on her tongue and jaw

I have timed

Tornadoes

Storms as they pass over

Shop lifters

But this was the longest

Minutes of my life

The seconds carry the weight of hours

After the seizure passes

Like the eye of the storm

It takes half an hour for the cloud mass to break

And clarity to return

I have to repeat answers to questions asked every few minutes

Like fragments

Falling to the earth

Left behind

And she slurs her speech

And I am reminded

How much we take for granted

This idea that everything will be here tomorrow

Exactly as it is today

And I think

How quickly all the lamps expire

And how much of ourselves we put on hold

Betting for tomorrow

How much I didn’t write

Believing I would be

Could be

Better

Tomorrow

Life

Tears us apart

And takes away our talents

The people we love

We are so bold

So brass

So full of our youth

We believe

We have time

But the lamps

Are expiring

As I hold my wife

And she is sleeping

I think about

The rain against the window

The dry lightning

As

The sun is setting

We are not permanent

We are not forever

I think about the orchestra

Playing in rhythm

I think about the shows we’ve seen

The musicals

The theater

I think about

How quickly we are gone

Even stars burn out

Even phoenixes are reborn

Even the air is thin

Between the lightning

Everything

Everything

Everything

Expires

Even when denied

Time will prove

Right

As the spring leaves

Are swept away

In the street

This is all we have

All we are

– Ethan Bethune