vivid dreams of hiding bodies
i am the girl who never smiles

busy week
too many tiny parties
don’t remember your name but theyll remember you cryin

is an imitation
if you were workin on  something original
you better crush every expectation 

your reservations 
if we’re floatin in space you gotta wonder if
there’s bigger plans afloat than the wishes of your mother

pray we dream of a great tomorrow 
better her than to let your past bleed out
clearin eyes to defeat your sorrow
might have heard that we’re all gonna make it out dead    

been writing down
my thoughts and sorrows
since i could pick up a pen 
i’d write em in a circle guess it gave me closure

for my daddy i 
went to school n did it please you man 
cause sure as it did sure as it made me SAAAAAD

pray we dream of a great tomorrow 
better her than to let your past bleed out
clearin eyes to defeat your sorrow
might have heard that we’re all gonna make it out dead    

2019 Reissue: I Feel It All


On the train, drinking coffee,
6pm, sun is setting,
looked too long, now I have
a sun blob in my eye.

When I woke up that morning in the ancient stone house on Main Street – third floor, second bedroom on the right, above the cheese shop – I was somehow still cold under the two (yes, two) duvets. But hey, I’d made a promise – to a stranger, for that matter – so, off they came, one by one, exposing my underdressed body to the bone-chilling air known only to the Irish. I grinned, I bore it, I stripped off my pyjamas and put on… my fucking swimsuit. What the fuck?

We were going surfing.

Throwing on leggings and whatever meagre layers I’d packed with me, we hopped the bikes in the hallway downstairs and made our way into the bitter morn. We peddled across the bridge among the morning traffic and the school kids, before branching off on the road to Lahinch.

Now, I’ve never been a wetsuit kinda guy. Quite frankly, I damn near got “I hate the beach,” word-for-word, tattooed above my left knee. Still might. But alas, there I was, peeling myself into (yes, one can be peeled in) a damp suit of fake skin that had once pressed against someone else’s almost-naked body. I even had to put on feet. The water was that cold. “What the fuck” echoed over and over again in my brain, probably occasionally passing my lips. No matter — the suit was on, the tide was low, and off we were.

Surfing off the west coast of Ireland in late October was nothing as I’d imagined. The North Atlantic boasted a grey-blue hue and delivered perfect waves as an unrelenting offering. Where I was now, focusing on each white crest coming my way lest I be toppled into the sea, no one could find me. No one could call me, text me, like my Instagram post. Even my best friend, floating roughly 15 meters to my left, could only smile at me, her voice lost to the crash of the waves and the rush of the wind. So this is what it means to be free. Come and get me, but first face the sea.

Unlike the torrid Balinese sun, the coolness of the air and the shallowness of the water which saved us from a constant exhausting paddle provided us ample energy and quiet encouragement. I could have stayed out there for days. So this is meditation.

Walking out of that water, nothing was the same. My life as I knew it was gone; I felt as though I finally understood this. When I would step off that plane once again, everything that had me temporarily grounded in Canada will have dissipated. The most prominent difference? I’m not afraid anymore.

I used to tell myself I never was, but we all know fear is a coy beast.

Rip off the Band-Aid! Drop the ball! Pull the trigger! Let your head drop below the surface!  I’ve done all of these things. Some literal, some metaphorical. If I hadn’t, may the wound have festered/the ball never rolled/the race never begun/the water never rushed, cool and cleansing, over my body.

I feel it all. Hah!

connected through crisis / i met a girl on the sidewalk by the park

I found a girl curled up on the sidewalk today
in a ball across from the park
I stopped because I knew I needed to and no one else had.
I wasn’t surprised, but so very sad.
Why, humans, why?
Why do we see someone in pain and walk away?
Why do we close our eyes? 
We are not blind, and yet so many choose to be.

I knelt beside her on the ground
in my fancy work clothes, carrying a stuffed sea creature I had bought as a gift,
and she showed me the moon and stars in nickels and dimes.
her name then was Alesjia
but I found out later it was Karen.

She had scabs on her face,
but only a few –
enough for me to know this was still new
this whole galaxy-place she could see in the sidewalk.

i tried calling her boyfriend with the jarble of numbers she gave to me when i asked
and got nothing,
so i waited on the phone for a non-emergency line to pick up while
she held my hand and told me I was beautiful.

another woman stopped then –
she came with water and gatorade from the convenience store across the street and she told me
“i am here with you”
i thanked her and knew she could sense the depth of my gratitude
we were connected for staying.

we stood and waited while this beautiful young woman who had for this moment in time lost touch with the real and side-stepped in irregular patterns and spoke to her reflection in the window of the cafe.

EMT arrived in silence and i was glad for this
for i did not want their sirens to tell her something was wrong
I did not want her to run away from this (FACE THIS GIRL)
she was still there somewhere (FINISH THIS GIRL)
she would be okay
only a little bit was wrong just for now and
she would be okay
she would be okay
she would live a great life and the scars would fade (quickly, so quickly), and
she would be okay

they told us we could go, and
i felt i must tell her what I knew
that she would be fine

but I could not
and I knew I had to walk away, back home, and try to care for things someone had decided were somehow important.

it was not my place to stay.

I shared a moment with The Other Woman Who Had Stayed and we thanked each other with our eyes for being there in the midst of what we didn’t know,
we saw in each other a mutual sadness
a dampened hope
too few in this world
too few who stop.

Crisis and trauma bond strangers; this much i know. Moments separating those who stand and watch the fire burn, and those who run into the building, despite the odds. 

Empathy wins.

I wept walking home in the goddamn fucking beautiful sun that had finally come. I had left my house for a short, impromptu walk to get a gift from the Dog Bowl around the corner. I cried for having abandoned her, and for everyone else I had not saved. And I may never save them. So far I feel I have lost every single one. But I will always stop.

a note on coping

i used to drink in my bedroom when i was sad
at age 15, tragedy seemed like a type of coolness people my age could understand
i never really had the other type anyways
whatever it was

my parents taught me a lot of things
emotional management wasn’t one of them
my father an impermeable wall of strength who i never saw cry – still haven’t to this day
my mother the opposite and while I could see it
it was never discussed in a way other than
mommy’s sad today

“coping mechanisms” wasn’t a term I knew
neither was yoga
or meditation
or therapy

parents who tell your kids
”you can always tell me anything”
this is great but you gotta
show them how otherwise they’re empty words
that will never be fulfilled

emotional expression is a skill
and a lot of kids only learn how to do it
with a belly full of booze
and crossed fingers there’ll be someone there to listen
to wasted words expected to be forgotten
letting it out in your best friend’s basement;
then taking it right back in the next morning