for a whole day.
Pulling words
out of a stranger’s mouth
scooping them up and
into bottles and
twisting on a cap.

( Why are these paragraphs important?
What makes them so special?
Oftentimes it is
nothing and nothing
but that’s not really the point.
Try anyway. )

Come on.
Come out.
Fit together.
Sit there beside each other and
make sense.
Just make sense is all I’m asking.”

Here’s the thing. I’ve got all these word bottles rattling around in here and some of them I gathered and some of them were just dropped off.

Word bottles
fetch a price but they
don’t have labels
they just
hold words.

So it’s hard
to tell them apart
and it’s hard to keep
them closed and it’s hard
to decide which
to dump out
and which to
dump out
fill back up with

It’s hard to break yourself up into words for a bottle you found on a dirt lot outside Austin.

( Do it enough times and you inevitably become jealous of your own attention. )

It’s hard to remember yourself
when you go around memorizing
other people.

There is such weight
in recapitulation, in
words scattered
atop a table like
puzzle pieces in search of
a mosaic to become.

Trying to find you
in the Middle of
All This,
trying to trace
your outline
around disparate anecdotes
of blind faith, big problems,
and bad weather,
when I’d
be better off
searching for the sun’s shadow.

Sometimes trying to find you
feels like trying to Be you.

Look, it’s not that I hate words.
Or bottles for that matter.
I’m just tired.

And I still remember the feeling
of slipping notes to clasped
hands held at the small of her back.
I remember filling pages of a notebook
to avoid falling apart.
I remember being handed personal lore,
intimate histories too young for books
but far enough removed from the
between breaths
that the bearer is panicked.

Because grains of sand are constantly
pulled out to sea with the tide.

Good stories don’t require bottles.
They seek out the ears and nest there.
They flutter into the brain and sit
warmly with puffed chests.

And when it’s safe
they leave through the
fingers and
Fully formed.
Heard and felt
and pointing
to what has come before.
Their exodus is more response than
More reflex than reflection.
A tune you can hum along with while hearing it the first time.

They are
eyes and hair and shape of nose
instead of just an outline.

Wholeness and visible pieces
all at once.

But enough of that.
Word bottles to sell.


Now read this


A collection of my writing and produced video highlighting storytelling and explanatory narrative # (Note: Headlines are links to source) # Alberta residents walk away from devastation # Part of The Tuscaloosa News’ Pulitzer-Prize... Continue →