Chicory III


Take distance
when it comes clear
that I want for too much.
Speak close
when ambition hit me,
turn a bare stalk to pale wind
& I ain't so pretty
without that golden flush.
Live to harp on what ain't mine-
work the block like the garden
though I could never
put my heart
in the tilling of soil.
World sprawl out auspicious hands to pull from petals 
when unburdened by participation,
that ruesome proclivity for discernment 
that turns me one from the grounds.
Some compulsion toward distance
some few century old influence 
written into the genetic memory 
of my generation 
of pops generation 
& bring on the months of solitude,
keep the fruit low hanging
through that long patience,
let the gods paint Cleveland winter 
with the colors 
of human folly,
let it taste toxic on tongue
is it pride today 
or greed
or envy in bed with me 
anything to keep some heat in the gut,
try to stay clear thought of consequence 
of practices & implications on the collective disposition,
pray to god I don't write this into instinct.
in Autumn
we pull cards
fumbling with the dictum of fate
& that which shows
reminds me of you
for the time passed
in different vessel.
We don't see each other
in absence of petal
& I haven't seen bloom
since Autumn fell
& you've flowers
all your own,
tucked behind short breaths,
hushed words,
blotted out memories guided in brush stroke.
I've flowers for you but they aren't what you need,
I've all the flowers 
I can muster
In the early days of December
but I can't stave away the winds.
Take distance
like Miami
stuff birds of paradise
between folded pages-
my brother stuffs paradise in a bird
& we stroll it down 5th Street
with something rotten in our chests.
Take distance
from myself
like thug shit
to come out
the days even,
but you've issues at hand
much greater
than the cards I deal in
& I'll lose track of you in the distance
but with time
spring will return you to me,
they'll send me down a new breath. 
take you to a field we know,
let memory lapse
& think maybe
I've never felt so good
in my life
& it's such 
a short thing.
It's such a short thing,
my friend with flowers all her own
that hold color through winters,
keep me warm in the pastel of old photographs & passing thoughts.
(How do I come to trade off reading fronds
for gambling with time?)
carve out moments to grasp
between the absence
like fever dreams from the branch
& the black walnut in the corner lot
though young & destined only the short life
of a city tree
is unforgiving as most
& the faeries dance in her shadow
where no mortal thing can dwell;
here where I learned to dance
the agricultural dance
enough to push through the months barren,
keep our bellies full
on the pockets of our friends
& keep your money
on the table
til my hands cool down.
Slip down road with yours on my shoulder
some scattered flash of a night 
akin to those of the fireball winter thats far passed
that I hold onto too long
like your hand in the tea shop parking lot then
& some years under belt since
of evening out impulse, 
we meet my brother for a drink at b&g
virginia in the cup
sling mud in the cut
virginia in the crutch
& how many cold night
will I pass up fumbling for your hand
'fore I slip again. 
The mural on the eastern wall of friedrichs
mutes down a little more year by year,
the colors lose their vibrancy
whitewashed in the sun
back when they sung true
Lance took me for my first bike

fate spare me 
the static that day,
wander the calm 
to find creek & trees
to find you some ten years later
somewhere that's whitewash now
but I stop by now & then
trip over exposed root,
see my old friends
& mourn those lost to the winds.
We scurry along slick patches of sidewalk that crack under double-step
that night 
& for all my time about it 
I haven't given the mural a good look in years 
chips crack & drip away
& stop in our tracks before it
smile for a picture if you're on my arm
& this is where
the black walnut grows
& this is where
the winters take me.
On days of want
start prematurely blazing trails
in light snowfall,
hoping to unearth
last years reserves,
turn up empty handed-
Yet regardless of all my failures,
all the days lost to the whitewash,
Gaia does her work
impeccably & in secret
until the short silent joy
at the end of a long rest is
written in small green stripes
of galanthus bulb
& pluck one for me
chew it in stride,
winter is over in the turning of a page
& come spring
the budding hyacinths
whom have slept since Autumn
patiently crawling root through frosted soil
will turn up on grocery shelves,
kitchen tables,
diner windowsills, 
scattered between trees we've slipped time by to run beacons
of memory as though points on a map.
Was it you that walked
along the stream
& found balance
with your palm
to the black walnut
& glanced back 
an unflinching smile,
swallow petal 
for good measure 
& I am made 
suddenly invulnerable
to time & winds alike
young sprouts 
wrap their tendrils
'round my edges
& who am I 
to put this weight on you
& who were you 
when you were only a stranger to me?
Where were you when I was young,
& what tree did I pluck solace from then?
who lingered in your place?  
Winter has come to an end, 
I'm down in the wooded thicket
with all your signs
about me
& I'm your phantom orchid