Bleeding Ink #1,233

(image source unknown)

“Please keep writing. I like your penmanship and your poetry. Your words are beautiful.” She said.

She lived on the other side of the world. A place I had only heard of from people who had heard from someone who had heard…

Out here, we want to feel strongly about things that we borrowed.


We like what they give us. But – we don’t live in their houses…

We’ve never seen their shadows or their demons. We seperated ourselves from them with a body of water. And declared them our own.

She was a writer

She wrote about her questions and how she watched classmates disappear. Never knowing if they were alive. Growing up surrounded by fighting and being told they had to choose. Between fighting or an education.

She wrote about love

And growing

I felt so entirely separated from these things…

Time has a way of slowing us down

Graying hair

And speeding up…

Someone said the world would be better without a Jew

And someone else was crying because they read an article saying Maya Angelou died today…

I didn’t have the heart to tell them, she passed away in Twenty Fourteen…

I was standing outside a grocery store. When a girl wearing a Dupatta walked out. And a man turned and said “what the?? I don’t want to get blown up.”

A few days later , I was talking to an older man when he saw a couple walk by. A white girl and a black man. He erupted. “That’s unnatural. The animal kingdom doesn’t even mix species. It’s a sin. And disgusting.”

Time passes


It was just yesterday

Wasn’t it…

We borrow things.

We make them our own.

Without understanding the depth of what we’ve taken.

“Keep Writing please. I love your words.”

She was muslim.

sometimes I look for her and wonder where she went

How she is

If she, herself, continued writing…

If she kept her faith

And if I even kept mine…

Bleeding Ink #1063

He was already against the next war 

He had his signs drying in the sun 

“No more war”

They said, in red and black 

No more war…

He walked out into the street 

The sun was hot 

Burning his hands 

He had his gas mask 

His sunglasses 

And his face wrapped 

The dust 

Covered everything

It hadn’t rained for months 

And there was no one left 

To read his sign 

He was already against the next war…

one war too late 

street signs 

  (Image origin unknown)

When the storms came 

And the water rose 

You said 

“It’s only summer.”


When our mothers died 

And I was 14 

You said 

“It’s only time passing by …”

When I left for school

I felt like such a fool 

And I was scared to death 

You said 

“It’s only moving.”
But I moved out to see you 

I left my jacket in the car 

You left your cigarettes 

On the table 

Your lips 

Tasted like smoke 

And from your lungs 

I breathed again 

“It’s not the rain I’ve been drowning from It’s just living” I said 

“Then this is just holding hands” you said 

And we put our hands Palm 

To Palm 

And closed our eyes 

we swayed 

In the street 

And we kissed 

“This is just living…”

You said 

And I smiled and laughed 

While the bombs fell 

“This is just loving.”

War Letters (edited)

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June 17th

Dearest – Anastasia,

I wonder if the military reads letters

Before they let them through?

I’ve always wondered that

Out here

You wouldn’t want a bad letter

But what would constitute a ‘bad’

Damned if I know….

When you’re young and just going in

You are told everything to expect and what to do

But out here….

You’re on your own

The guys

They talk a lot about their girls

About what they’re gonna do

When we get home

About fucking

Taking prostitutes in foreign cities

All the shit

But when it all comes down to the line

What you want…

Is that last night

You want it back

Where I had you for a couple of hours

And we waited for morning


That’s what we want

And we want all of this to be over

And we’re afraid of

What this will make us

What we’re becoming

What if I can’t be that close again?

And that line isn’t the heated battle

You’re a machine in that moment

The line

Is the nightmare of midnight in hell

Black as pitch

No sound

No sight

The air still as a plate

And you have no idea what the other guy is doing ….

All you have is a pulse

And a memory

There was one private younger than me,average like any of us.

Always waiting for a moment to write
his fiancé.

Yesterday he got a letter from home

Her home was hit by a storm…

There were no survivors.

I have no idea what came over him,

He just started walking

Straight to the line

Gunfire all around him.

Like pop rocks.

We jumped him and held him down -screaming-

His eyes were dead but he kept clawing at his face.

Every ounce of purpose was gone from that man.

We sent him back to psych…

I don’t know

I think we should probably not let letters through like that

I think,
If we do,

Please don’t let me know about it

I was just wondering ….


It’s midnight

I can’t say much of anything else

But I hope you are ok

Thanks for writing…

I’ll send this through

If I don’t get another chance to write .

Yours. Always 


 Aug 12th 


I don’t have but a few get a line in..


I’m standing here on the deck

Somewhere off the coast of the Philippines …

I can see every star.

But you’re my north

Were I able,

I’d reach out 

Just to pick the one that you’re looking at and ask it to shine a little brighter and let you know …

I’m here,

I’m still here

Writing you.

I’m here.

I saw a comet.Pulsating and bright and then it dropped. 

Like your neckline …

I remember you,I remember your lips …pulling mine…

I remember your accent gentle like the water…

your hair like lavender.

You biting my shoulder and laughing ‘Sex on heels ‘

That’s what I called you…

I would that I could

Follow that comet to the edge of the Galaxy

Spelling sensual words

Along your waist…

Burning,layer by layer..

Down your inner thighs…

jusqu’à ce que je découvre chaque langue que vous chantez dans

(until I discover each language you sing in)

This is what the water has made me…

And I miss you…


Aug 15th 

Dearest –A

I read your letters

Don’t worry

It takes so long to get them out here

It’s a different feeling being this far out…almost difficult to believe that we are even at war…

But it is what it is…

I was thinking about

What you said about

J the other night

The world isn’t going to be this way

Not Forever,A.

He’s innocent

And vulnerable

But it’s more than that

Like you said …

It’s a perspective of the world

And people

How you look at things

And interact with them

I don’t want him

To think he has to change because

Of someone picking him apart
I don’t want him to

Dismiss things

As “bad things just happen sometimes”

I want him to know

That his interaction and reaction mean something.

Especially his art.

It can go

Where a single person can’t.

Where we can’t

It’s an expression that is important

The world won’t be this way forever

Maybe there will be a day

Or a year

When we stop writing

When we stop painting

When we stop feeling

When we watch our brothers

Live in misery

Or die on their feet

And we will not be moved

But it’s not this day

Or this year

And that’s why I’m here


As long as

We look after our children

Like J,

Tomorrow won’t be that day either.

I’ll write soon

love, Charlie

Sept 3rd 


Do you remember

Staying in the flat, for three days,eating pepperoni and drinking red wine?

I had said this must be what a king feels like

And you laughed asking why?

And I told you about grits

And biscuits

We passed through a small town very much the same ….

The streets were empty

And the windows boarded

I couldn’t help but think about it…

It brought me a kind of surreal

I can’t do much else

Other than wish you

A happy birthday

I hope this reaches you soon.

Love, Charlie


 keep writing

I’m getting your letters

Every word

In time…

October 17th 

la couleur de rien

Is there a color for nothing?

for this feeling?

you rearranged me

I’m afraid we’ll never be together

I poured my grief

Into the violin and the piano …

I looked for you in the Keys

I looked for you in the bedroom,

I looked for you in the gentle

Shadows of others dancing

but I could not find you

The shadow

In my heart

Write to me,Your love.


Nov 1st


I separate from myself

See the fields filled with ash

See the hearts filled with stone


I see us moving

Inside the light

And shadows

Emptying chambers

In our guns

In silence

Picking out

The fragments

After bombing a city

We can’t choose,Anastasia

We can’t choose what revelation

Comes our way

But I saw

The words

I hear the hymn

In the back of my mind

And I hope that after

Ten thousand years

We will be there

We will make it right

I hope that I come together


I hope that

We won’t drag each other

Out in the streets

I hope that we won’t

See what evil one man

Can put on another man

I hope …

That we come back

And then

We somehow

Remember how to live.

How to love you



I feel as though

We only know how to…

How to destroy humanity

I know we should be keeping it safe

But it’s like this

One city

We stayed in

They’d had all their medical workers


After a blackout

These were sent to the military…

Just before we got there

One of ours slept with a woman during post …

He really just raped her

I have no better context,
I’m sorry

He was apparently drunk

But beside the point

Having no Doctors

No medical personnel

Within hundreds of miles

On the day we were leaving

She came out watching us

Pulled a revolver

And shot the Soldier

In the face …

This is what war does to us

Collapsing in the streets

Our hopes

Of a better tomorrow

They’re fleeting

And vague .

And I am so tired.

I am so tired.

I wish I had better

I wish I had better

I wish there were words

For this

That left us…

Closer together.

So just say my name

Write about the taste of food

Tell me about color

Because all I see

Is gray

All I see is black

And I can’t lift it.


November 26  
I understand your darkness,Charlie 

It’s quite alright

The world is

Coming apart

The governments are

Blacklisting families

Anyone who helps these families

Are black listed

And refused any help as well

On top of this

Marriages like ours

Are taking forever

To file for immigration

Because it’s us

With the Americans

They won’t outright defy America

But they will

Take their time

Some women have been waiting

For years …

We fear we will never leave this place ….

I feel like this most

At night

I feel this gray

But for color…Charlie

I saw a girl yesterday

She made me think of you

She was cleaning the kitchen

And couldn’t get a spot to come out

Her mother shook her head

“Use some elbow grease!”

I came back in from reading

And laughed

She was looking hysterically

Through the kitchen

And asked
“I can’t find the elbow grease

Where do we keep it?”

Think of me Charlie

Think of me

Next to you

in the morning

In our flat

Tangled together

Limb for limb


With wine

It’s almost Christmas

I can’t help but romanticize the snow

I can’t help but write you

Letter for letter

You will come back to me


There will always be shadows


I will love you, even in blindness

And if your hands have scarred

I will remind them

Of their maps

On my skin

Of how to touch me.

I will mend you.


journal entry

It’s cold outside

We suffer quietly inside

Glass homes

Their eyes are watching …

We haven’t

Slept in years

We suffer paper skin

And scars

Casualties of war

They occupied

Our city

Just long enough

To take us outside

Lining the street

And shoot the men

And leave us to weep

I watched the snow turn

A crimson red

I watched my breath turn to ice
I watched my brother

Die ….inside my arms

Who killed us

In this war?

The alternatives

Are hesitation marks

From me and you

Everything in time…

What else is there


journal entry 

I walk the city

I once knew

It fades

All around me


The people


The graves outside

I am hollowed

But I am looking

With anxious eyes

I can’t remember anything

Very clear

What is different ?

What’s the same ?

And then

At the end of the street

I see her

In the garden


Flowers in her hair

She brushes her

Stubborn strands out of

Her eyes

And my heart

It’s beating

I’m not as callous

As I feared

It’s not as dark as I believed


She is standing


Over there

Right there

And I am running now…

I am

Forgetting to breathe

Afraid that I will wake up

Before I touch her

I feel the earth

I see the people fading

I see her right there

I see her

I reach out

Her arms

Her lips

Her eyes

The salt of

Her tears

Her finger tips

This is real.

We are here.

– Charlie

The Shop on the corner

(Image origin unknown)

Mister Novak,closed his bakery doors. Turned the ‘open’ sign over to ‘closed’ and walked over to his wife.

Standing in the center of the room. She rested her head on his shoulder. They found each others hands.and began a dance.Swaying between the tables. And chairs. Choreographed  by time and familiarity. 

Mister Novak smiled And looked over at me,

“In those quiet moments 

When we first came to America..

You danced 

And you forgot everything else”

He said.

“So far it has been keeping us together.For a small amount of years…”

His wife whispered over his shoulder.

“It helped You forgive the small offenses of the day…and remember each other.”

 They almost looked younger suddenly…this wasn’t just the polish baker…who always ran the shop..the place was transformed into a house of images. And I could see them …

The first dance …after they opened. The dance when the war was over. The dance,on the 4th of July..when after closing…Aniela turned and said she was pregnant. 

This was dances 

A calendar. 

A time clock. 

Of 52 years. 

Something my mind couldn’t grasp. Much less comprehend. More memories than my entire life…two times over. More sadness and more happiness. 

They finally stopped swaying. And kissed. Then turned to me. Checking the doors once more. Aniela smiled…

“Well,time to go.”

The Veteran 

  (unknown image origin)

“When we landed we expected soldiers.” 

He said.”But General Patton told us to walk through and kill everything.and the enemy was hiding amongst with civilians…They had scared everyone with propaganda. We never saw an army. We just saw civilians… Women,children, with pitchforks and guns…

I turned 18 that month…

And We had to kill everyone.”

The Walk 

Science says we are all 

The same family 

The shades of our skin 

And our differences 

Are small technicalities 

As they were shaped 

Over time by our environment

We have a lot of arguments 

We have too many differences 

We have too much history 

We have too much baggage 

We have too many roads to cross 

Too many hands 

With not enough fingers 

Too much blood 

With not enough guns 

Too much to blame 

But not enough names 
I remember a poem I read once 


“We’re all just walking each other home.”

-Ram Dass

Maybe that’s what this is 
We are all 

In this together 

We are all the same family 

Our mothers 

And their mothers 

Who woke up 

And saw visions of their loved ones 

In uniform 

Prayed until they fell back asleep 

They were feeling their loved ones heartbeat

in that empty space 

Of the bed 

They were walking them home 

 it’s never the moments 

you prepared for 

that you will remember 

It’s the unexpected 

Your wife 

Getting out of the car 

On your first date 

With a tank top 

And maxi skirt 

You don’t know that will 


one of your favorite 


Not at the time 


How could you?
So I say again …


We are in this together 

We don’t know 

What memory 

We will carry with us 

In this portfolio 

In this life
Feel the heartbeat 

See the room 

We all are capable 


Love like this 

That spans a lifetime 


 (Photo origin unknown)



Frank and Willow #2

 (Photo origin) Kus voor de Opera / Kisses for Opera, 1950’s, Kees Scherer. Dutch (1920 – 1993)

I remember the lights.The music.The war was going strong,yes. But I was just a journalist. And everyone was tired. So tired from the death and the arguments and debates back home.I know it sounds silly-but-we did party. As often as we could. Oh,it was different than what you know.Being out of the country. We only had old Jazz. But there was still light. And I was in Paris. And Paris will always be Paris…

Frank & Willow #1

 (Photo origin unknown)

Part one

It was a small house. Thought Sara. As she sat on the sofa, pen and paper close by. But it was warm. Willow Grey moved around the place chattering,offering things to drink or eat. She was a small frame of a woman.But her mind was fully present. Her hair was white as cotton. And every few minutes she would sit down and cross her legs,and just stare straight ahead rubbing her bracelets. She wore a lot of old jewelry. But not the kind that ages a person. The kind that makes you ask questions. 

And that’s what Sara was here for.To ask questions. 

“I’m  a journalist for The View” she’d said,awkwardly at the door. “I’m really sorry, I know it’s early or late …is it late? Oh my gosh…you know it’s the weekend and you’re probably …”

Willow stood there at the door…amused…it had been a long time since anyone had reminded her of her younger self. 

“You better just come in. I don’t think you’ve eaten know,breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Do you like bacon?”

“Oh no.I’m a vegetarian and I’m on a diet…ma’am.” Sara said. Looking inside the house. It was in fact small. But open, with hardwood floors throughout. A living room. A library, and a kitchen. Off to the side there was a bedroom. Old pictures of young men in uniform lined the walls and sat proudly on display on the coffee table.

“Oh honey,dear,you have to eat real food.That’s what I always say. Eat. So you can think and stay on top.If you’re not on top of your life? Who is?. Keep your figure,sure. It’s very alluring for men. But we don’t stay pretty forever.I was pretty once but we all get old.Did you know? we used to add MSG to our food..That’s why our husbands are all dead. Hmm… that’s why women dieted. The men would get the MSG and we would stay on top. Then they took the MSG away and the diets stayed.

Anyway,life is short,eat the bacon, drink the liquor. There will always be champagne and  cake. Every one is always trying to give you those things.” She sat down. “Now,what can I do for you, Sara?”

Sara sat there in silence for a moment. Taking in all the pictures and the dishes hanging from the walls. 

“I want to talk about your husband…Frank…well,you and your husband. You were together for …”

She looked at her papers for the years…

“We were together for 65 years. I don’t need a newspaper, you or Google to tell me that…I was there…I should know.”

Willow’s eyes grew soft and light …she started laughing to herself from some memory…and her mood suddenly changed.

“Oh dear,I would love to talk to you about Frank and I…what do you want to know?”

Sara’s heart jumped in her chest.

“I want to know everything.The whole story…if that’s ok.and if it’s ok with you,I’d like to do a story on it.On you.”

Willow sat back in her chair smiling.

“I was so hoping you would say that,it’s a wonderful story.One of my favorites.”

The summer the world went away



There’s something about driving 

You don’t have to actually be anywhere 

You just drive …

Maybe I’m hoping I can forget 

Or just shut it off 

With the war…

And Justin being gone 

I know our family 

And Milton House 

Is definitely going to continue 


I think that’s why I fight 

The streets 

It’s survival 

And it’s something 

I can lose in 

It doesn’t require finance 

It requires strength 

And sometimes 

I have almost lost 

There’s a lot of strength 

And skill in the streets ….


older than money and names 

And too dirty for the military 

You can’t replace it 

You can only beat it 

Of course no one knows 

If they knew 

Great day 

I wouldn’t be able to finish this last semester …

You think the war is bad now?

That would be a headline …

Write me soon.