One month ago today, my brother Jeff married my sister-in-law Sinead in what might be the greatest pre-coronavirus celebration ever. I was the best man, and this is the speech I read that night. It reads a little strange, and there is a prop involved (you’ll see) but I hope this helps capture some of the incredible love I have for my brother and Sinead — my family.
How many people here were at my wedding?
If you were there, you know that I was not the star of my wedding. Jeff was. Not only did he officiate my marriage…
All of us pariahs!
shirking the unholy responsibilities
of round-eye society
Holy Chicago pariahs
with their singsong and nasaled
and long-voweled teachers’ voices
writ as bastards by Gilboa
all renegade, listless spirits, Amen!
hoards of the otherwise useless!
Dear sentient colony of beard and laundry
of mountain and village and chaptered page
String a sentence together for us
and we’ll bash skulls over needle and thread
Ajarn Vincent, pariah of Asoke
Ajarn Waheed — Ajarn Abdul!
And Ajarn Allen! …
cleated with rust
in your last garage
Nail polish in your divots
fissures in your exhaust
spitting ferritic teeth
as gravity tore fabric
how I loved you
when the steering line clotted
and the lamps fogged
Hornets curled on the dash
dried to proteins in the sun
in the years I marked time
in inspections you failed
parked by the seawall
where we drank Bird’s Milk
singing ’til hoarse
sons of a good and beautiful god
who whispered in the wheel well
when the brakes needed…
It shakes me to know
that I may never feel something as poetic
as getting my heart hurled
into Brooklyn traffic
by a teenage girl
These are the thoughts
that grasshopper through my mind
I try to snare them
to cave them in my palms
but I tremble to give them to you
Not because you’d crush them,
pop their heads like balloons of pus,
but because you’d keep them
raise them like infants
until our pillows crawled at night
How did you find me
hiding inside that skinny boy? …
“You don’t give love to receive love, you give love to become love.”
I’m not sure where this quote comes from or how I even found it, but the first time I heard it, I immediately knew it was true. I knew because I was lucky enough to have met a woman who was love made flesh. Wilma Fagerberg — or, as most knew her, Grammy.
What that quote does not reveal, however, is just how difficult it is to master love. We are not born with love as an instinct. It does not come naturally. …
Skin your knuckle, new boy
The drill presses like rod into dust
Wear a shirt made of shallow breath
Curse the wrench, admonish a smudge
Note the angle
where the wall meets the wall
in profane reflex
Study it in earnest
like you could change it with a word
Toe a tack in the carpet
like a mother mops a stain with spit
Change the locks
undo your own work
Manage a smile when it makes sense
and wake to the noise
of a squirrel chewing fascia
It’s difficult not to sound cliché when you’re confronting mortality. When you die, the newspaper asks that you take the richness of a person’s life — the sum total of their triumphs and misdeeds — and distill it down into list of vague, unoriginal nouns. Beloved father. Devoted husband. A true friend.
Under the weight of mourning, the words come like a vending machine selection.
Most of the time, when a business follows me on Twitter, my immediate assumption is that it’s a bot. The Twittersphere is flush with spambots that zero in on keywords looking for users who subscribe for the “follow for follow” mentality. Usually, it’s pretty easy to decipher which accounts belong to legitimate businesses and which are just soulless automatons. So, when the dubiously named @BloggingClicks followed me last week, I was all set to report their profile and move on.
Until I looked closer.
From their website, BloggingClicks.com appears to be a legitimate advertising company. Though their website isn’t the…
Something of a poet | Potter of your spilled clay