No Returns

Give me back.

All of me.

I gave it all

and am awaiting my return.


Give me back.

Not we.

Too long and now you and me are we.

I want just me back,

A break that will leave me halved with a hole.


Give me back,

so I can give all of me again,

since not to you,

to another.


Give me back.

But you can’t.

Only a partial refund,

because I am broken.


So I’ll give what’s left of me one more time

and hope I won’t need me back.

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I’m in Danger of Falling in Love with You

I’m in danger of falling in love with you.

Don’t worry, it’s not entirely your fault. I just have a propensity toward this sort of thing, a genetic predisposition, like I’m constantly living on the precipice vulnerable to the slightest locked gaze, the slightest dimple and the soft curled lips acknowledging me. My heart is the San Andreas fault, slipping constantly and breaking easily.

So naturally, I’m in very real danger here.

So I can understand every word you’re saying, that brakes are necessary, that you didn’t mean that kiss, or those kisses, or caresses, or those looks. It was all just a natural result of the mixing of hormones and alcohol, the two that come with their own unwritten warning labels against mixing each other. Yes. It didn’t mean anything.

But I can’t in truth tell you that. I can only agree with the first part, that brakes are necessary. Because I’m in danger.

And why.

It’s that moment when we cross over, when we care, when suddenly I see you and you see me and we share a part of ourselves that’s real, that’s sometimes ugly in a way, but that I always find beautiful, so beautiful, the messy truths of our lives that make us so irresistibly human. And suddenly, I want to hold you and to be held until the sun comes up.

But of course, I’ll never read this to you, because that would be the opposite of putting on the brakes. That would be confessing to something I’m feeling that’s a little too much for me to just write off as drunken carousing.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not in love yet. And who knows, I may not even fall in love. I may wake up and realize my heart has stopped beating so strongly and I’m not sure why it raged so violently at the beginning. Or I might wake up and realize my heart will not be soothed, and I’ll watch you leave without me. Or I might wake up, smile in your eyes as you awaken too, drinking in the shared affection from each other, a sunrise all of its own.

I really don’t know.

I only know the odds, and odds are I may fall in love with you.

So please don’t hold it against me.

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In childhood, I believed my parents had life figured out.
In my teens, I believed I had life figured out.
In my twenties, I was figuring life out.
In my thirties, I’ve accepted that I cannot figure life out.

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She was green.
Green like moss, emerald, pine needles,
a step into a darkened forest with pure brown eyes
opening up like caves in the walls, taking me in,
closing, closing.


It was gray.
A rushing, roaring endless wave that never
crashes, that rides along the sea-bottom, deafening,
threatening, devastating. And then it


and the blue water falls,
a bitter and sweet pool taking me in,
pulling me closer and closer until we are


No rain,
except red tears pouring on the land, watering
the desolate, eroding, cracking the soil, carving,
deepening, splitting, and saving


White lies
rise with the sun, color-blinding us, receding
our own deep blue shadows. Fading, jading
until you are


What have I done?
A drop from my eye splits the light,
arranging them into a neat row,
and green,
red, and


Freedom is the color of truth. How colorblind we are.

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Self Portrait

Am I the collection of traits assigned to me by others:
Effeminate. Analytical. Talkative. Boring. Funny. Dry.

Or the collection of criticisms born against me from enemies and closest friends:
Weak. Effeminate. Boring. Critical. Condescending. Emotional. Unattractive.

Or am I the collection of desires others had for me:
Christian. Married. Homeowner. Educated. Conservative.

Or how about the collection of traits of the majority (at least where I currently live):
Christian. Married. Homeowner. Republican. Democrat. Sports fan.

Or the collection of traits of the minority:
Poet. Agnostic. Divorced. Single dad.

Traits are like the dried flecks on the painter’s palette.

I am a painter, with words as my colors,
and syntax as my brush strokes.

I don’t want to paint just what I see.
I want to paint what is.

I’m an artist. I’m sensitive. I love beauty. I love emotions.
I’m analytical. I love being alone with my thoughts.

I love pouring my love into another.
I love deep intimate connections.

I love intimate settings, preferring an acoustic show in a bar
to a crowded concert at a stadium.

I love details. I love to explain, to expand, to explore all aspects of any one topic,
any discussion, any essay, any report, any poem, any story.

I’m long-winded. But I love long-winded people. And I love long-winded writers.

And yes, I am also agnostic.
I write poetry and I also analyze data.
I am divorced and a father.
I’m nowhere near able to be a homeowner.
I love playing sports but am not a sports fan.
I hate lies and distortions, so naturally, I hate politics.
And I am that tall, skinny, somewhat awkward, often emotional man
whom some like, some hate, some liked, some hated, and some love.

But mostly, I’m just me, and I’m learning to do more than just accept that.
I’m learning to embrace it.

And admitting all these things to you is my first step toward doing that.

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I am not that expressive

I am not that expressive.

At my most excited I curve my mouth upward
my eyes smile, little lines stretching outward
like closed captioning for the expressive impaired,
and that little dimple on my right cheek appears.

At my most distraught, the lines fade
the eyes drift
fixing on nothing
the mouth curves in the other direction.

At my most excited, I stared back into her eyes,
my knee bent,
the smile on my face,
and she answered yes to my question,
staring down at the rock she already knew,
since she chose it
like she chose me.

At my most distraught, she said yes again,
when I asked her for the third time in three months, “Are you sure?”
And she put away that rock,
never to grace her finger again.

I’ve heard many women berate the unfaithfulness of men,
the bewitching incantation we all seem to have memorized to be able to
hypnotize our way into the hearts of women.

I am not one of these men.

I never made it to the school of wizardry and witchcraft,
and I was never any good at transmogrification.
I can’t shape-shift my way into a woman’s heart.
I am the wolf knocking on her door, and she calls back,
“I’m not home.”

But I am not a wolf.

I just seem that way because honesty is rough,
not groomed and pampered,
but wild and torn, and
maybe free,
but mostly just


So I am not that wayward seducer,
that betrayer of hearts.

I am not the one
whose phone was laced with innuendos,
messages from another lover,
a man who
sent to a woman who
whose messages I discovered,
whose sexual phrases should have come with a warning label—

Warning! Explicit Content! Not recommended for spouses!

Then maybe I wouldn’t have read them,
all of them,
and maybe she would have continued her own charade with
both of us
and maybe the lonely, honest wolf
could share the lie and not have to run


I guess I am expressive after all.
All it took was someone to break my smile.

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The Problem You Can’t Talk About

The trouble with being lonely is that you have no one to talk to about it.

Apart from the obvious reason that defines the state of being alone, it also becomes problematic when you attempt to discuss with anyone you do run into.

“I’m very lonely.”

“Oh. I suppose I’m partly to blame for that then.”

“Well no…Oh. Uh, yeah, I suppose you are.”

But then that leads to the natural awkwardness of a forced friendship, awkward in that they don’t want to feel forced to be your friend out of the guilt-trip you’ve just placed on them and that you don’t want a disingenuous friendship. So you part ways, having vented out your feelings on the matter while simultaneously securing your lonely state.

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