In Your Words

Excerpts from the mind at large

The Lure


I shouldn’t be wide awake at 2:46am dissecting thoughts of what I should or shouldn’t have said to you.

I shouldn’t be trying to remember how it felt when the tips of your fingers brushed against my hand while passing my drink.

But I am up… trying to remember.

Appreciative of your humor because you touched my arm every time we laughed.

And secretly grateful for the intrusive music that forced your lips to graze my ears every time you spoke.


Your presence thawed out my cold

numb thoughts.

Your presence reminded me what it’s like

to feel alive.

Where Are You?


I used to joke about living in the middle of nowhere.

I said this before knowing how it felt to have a tribal language bounce around the inner walls of my mouth.

I said this before surrendering to the sea of market vendors that swallowed my last Dalasi coin with a resonant plop.

I said this before I mobilized people to sow their own fruit tree nurseries or helped a neighboring village construct a well for their first community garden.

I used to joke about living in the middle of nowhere-

until I realized that those transformative moments,

made me feel like I live in the middle of somewhere.

Next December


Dust departs from the backs of Sahara sands

floating around aimlessly

sticking to sweating walls

and creases of hot flesh.

Perspiring skin gently touches the desk like a wet kiss

I slowly peel off my ripest thoughts of you

and stick them onto the moistened body

of this naked page

the pain

the yearning

the tears

they all stick.

I scratch and fan

and bathe and fan again

every hour

fighting for sanity in this beautiful


But you…

You are the itch in my head

I can never quite scratch

the mind’s unblinking eye

dries out 

yet my thoughts saturate 

these blank



no longer orphaned

from words

you are my distant and benevolent torturer

the grantor of a most unpleasant mental wound

the scab that I must not pick or dwell upon

until December of 2015.

I promise you




will stick.

Next December,


will stick.


Stop stalking me. Stop thinking you can have me. I never meant to taunt you. I just wanted to give you hope. I didn’t think you would actually pursue me. Most people are never so persistent.

I am just a dream.

Most people never pursue their dreams… so why are you? I tried to elude you. I moved 6,400 miles away from your home and hid among the poorest villages in the world and yet here you are. It’s like you can’t stop!

My fear is simply this: If I give myself to you, you will move on. Move on to pursue other dreams, perhaps even bigger dreams. If this is true, I am afraid. I am afraid for how crazy you will look to your friends and family. So few people actually do what you do. So few people actually chase down their dreams. Who do you think you are? Why are you doing this to me?

Why can’t I just be the dream that most people keep in the back of their mind and secretly hope for? But now, you have cornered me in the farthest corner of the world. I have no choice but to concede. To acknowledge your effort and no longer run away. You have fulfilled this dream. Now, I can only hope for another great journey as you pursue your next one.

Best Wishes,


Top Shelf


The barstool has seated





but today

it seats you.

I know precisely

where you are.

Today is saturday

as you switch bars,

I have switched continents

and now

we are thousands of





I want nothing more

than to call you

but I am better off

sending you a message

in a bottle

so all the





watch you pour

my warm thoughts

down the chilled throat

of your lonely glass.

There is no point in staying

at that bar.

Our memories will follow us


So close your tab,

take us home.



I felt




until I met you

you read philosophy

like comic strips

you take my deepest thoughts

and use them

as scratch paper.

I am hopelessly


you are eternally


always finding

a nobler cause.

today we had coffee

but when you spoke

I only saw the




of your cigarette cherry.

I was distracted as it danced





I have never seen you smoke

I know about your perennial distrust of smokers

you hate smokers

you hate smoking

you even hate the non-smokers who don’t hate smokers.

Before I inquire

you already read my thoughts

saying how everybody else

smokes for pleasure,

but you smoke to die.

You feel invincible

because you are.

You were not created

nor can you be destroyed.

You are eternally


The Great Floods


I enjoy silence

I enjoy silence as I read reckless poems

written by reckless people

I enjoy silence as I write

trying to make sense

of the nonsensical

I really do enjoy silence

just not from you



last week

last month

you have been silent.

my simplest of inquiries

undeserving of your time

my mind strains its lungs

passing time

laddering thoughts

of us

until they impale the




of hovering clouds.

It rains.


feels like rain

and when it comes

it is an incontestable fact

that the land

these people

and myself

will remain soaked

in poverty.

I float belly up

awash in the delusion

of having someone to come home to

of having you.

poverty of the land

poverty of these people

can be eradicated

but poverty of the heart

slowly siphons away

my sanity.

There is no silence

in your silence.


The discrepancy between our worlds is significant.

We may not always write within the margins

or color within the same lines,

but just when we start to feel

irretrievably different;

that unifying moment appears.

Suddenly we just know

we are on to something.



It is an anniversary

It is a birthday

It is a funeral

seven years ago today

our lives were so intricately

woven together

but now

I can only sift through my collection

of recollections

I miss the clam chowder bowls

at the warf

and our first concert

at the Warfield

I miss watching how my dashboard

illuminated your face on the drive

back to sacramento

back when we shared





a home

a life

Today I hold the hand

of the days we let slip through

our fingers

but I cannot hold on too long.

I may crash again

when we crashed

you gave me the only scar

that makes me smile.

I loved

loving you.

These Charred Walls

New friends

the great arsonists

burning out infected memories

cauterizing open wounds

pain can no longer circulate

the air is extracted

a past life

loses its pulse

burning images of you

cannot ignite

if all that remains

is yesterday’s ashes.