March twentieth
First official day of Spring
But there is no sign of it
Winter continues her
Infernal stranglehold
On us all

She has covered the sky in
Pristine matte aluminum
And turned on a cold shower,
Cranking the seasonal depression
To an 11,
Forcing us all to stay in bed

For those unwise enough to
Leave that safety and step out,
The nastiness and misery
Soon penetrate their
Coats
Clothes
Skin
Dampness carrying the cold
Into joints and bones-
No amount of layering
Can insulate against this
Hatefulness
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I am the warden of the woods
They have been mine since I was twelve
To hell with this ‘public park’ notion
I know these paths better than
Any of these strangers.

They weren’t here when
The longer leg of it was paved in
Gullywashed mulch
And ended at the wide swath of
Waist-high grass.

They came here after the fitness equipment,
Gravel, disc golf course, and picnic tables-
Once everything was neat and tidy
Pushing through here with
Their strollers
And brats
Treating this like it’s any other park,
Or worse, just some park, some excuse
To go outside because they feel they have to,
Or a bribe to get their kids into
The library.

They will never find the abandoned house
Or cherish the stream,
They weren’t here when the longest path
Led not to a cul-de-sac, but to
The end of the world.

I am the warden of these woods, tasked
With protecting those memories.

The Summer of Kristine- A Retrospective

From an adult perspective
A decade later, one of the
Best memories was of
That summer.

Those couple of months on the
Heels of graduation were
Pure and joyful last hurrahs
Of our youth-
Prank calls in the driveway,
Living in the pool,
Timothy’s fashion sense and
Operatic singing,
Bruster’s trips and
Driving with the top off of
Kristine’s Kia,
Spending the night on the
Trampoline and
Sitting under the stars in
The driveway musing about life
As best as 18 year olds can
(then hearing an odd noise in the
Dark and scrambling inside)
Pointless summer crushes and a
Fourth of July gathering
The trip to the river when her
Uncle and cousins came to town,
The whole group of us feeling like
Extended family, practically living
At her house.

I know there will never be
A time like this for me again,
Now and then I’ll hear a song,
See a pool or group of friends,
Or a post from one of the gang,
And the zeitgeist returns
And I’m happy again for a minute.

Time Portal

Bored at work I
Discovered
Papers
In a file cabinet
Hidden
In plain sight
Black metal monolith time capsule
A rush of nostalgia
Hit me,
Sudden water up my nose from a
Fast jump
Into a pool of memory
Top drawer harbors a
Motherlode-
Names of
Ghosts
Printed on long forgotten papers,
An old peak season roster
Left just for me to
Discover
Breadcrumb paper trail back to
The god times that are now long dead
The good people that are now long gone
I have stumbled across an
Ancient
Tomb of secret memory that
Is mine, only mine
Because nobody else will understand.

Of course, the next day, a snake
Has discovered my secret time portal-
The significance of those names and
Their memories is lost on her as she
Roots through the drawers like a hog,
However, and no amount of her snooping
And riffling can take away my reverie.

Bullsh–

This is bullshit
This is all bullshit
We shouldn’t have to be here
We shouldn’t be remembering you
In the past tense
While you sit up front in
Urns with a slideshow lifetime summary
And flowers and photos and grief
Everything the pastor is saying
Is bullshit
Because
If any of it was true, we
Wouldn’t be in this funeral home right now
There is absolutely no God
Time is an illusion
People are garbage
Good night.

May Third

To the news media vultures,
With their selfie video reporting and
Sensationalizing, straw-grabbing
Bullshit on Facebook live,
Spewing conjectures and wasting
Airtime for the sake of views,
This is
“a house in the 200 block of
Reams Court”
And the
“body of a 31 year old male”

But what these absolute fucks don’t know is
That this is Grandma and Grandpa’s house,
That’s what it’s been for decades,
Where we came after church as kids
And climbed the tree and sign out front,
Got gum out of the corner drawer and
Sat on the counter,
Spent every Christmas Eve, the
Strongest tradition of my young life

And that “body” was my cousin
Joshua Allen Gerdts
OG RVA punk rock daddio
To a sweet little girl that he was
Stolen from
For the sake of a god damn botched robbery,
Done by filth that
Denied him the chance to watch her grow up
And her the chance to show him milestones
And make him proud

That “body” has done and seen more in
Its too-short lifetime
Than any of you fucks could imagine,
It was used to live the kind of
Authentic, own-drumbeat life that
Most don’t have the balls to imagine

That “body” was a son, brother, cousin, dad,
Conveyance for a truly one-of-a-kind soul
That shouldn’t have been
Separated from it yet

That “body” was far from perfect but
He was on a redemption arc that
Got cut short right on his own
Front porch because of some greedy fuck

This isn’t some horror show at
Boo Radley’s house, this is
My fucking family

Get those god damn cameras
Out of here.
Yellow roadside wildflowers
Of latest summer
Usher in the last of the
Season’s vibrancy, soon to
Give way to the
Richness of autumn

I hope to go with them from my
Soul-crushing job
When the last of their blooms
Retire for the fall

Out There

In here
Nobody matters. We are
Interchangeable cogs in a
Bullshit machine. You
Can be easily replaced,
Especially if you’ve
Accidentally seen too many
Years here and have hit
The pay cap. Any excuse
To get you out and replace you
With someone cheaper
And unquestioning.
But

Out there
You are unique. Nobody
Can fill your spot, no
Matter how
Insignificant and ordinary
You may sometimes feel.
You are anything but interchangeable
Out there.
Get out and stay out.

Muses

Ordinary people are matte,
Dull, unremarkable
You pass them by
Without a thought


But muses-
Muses shimmer
Like air above hot pavement
With iridescent auras
They make your brain
Their home and
Visit you often in your writing, drawing,
Thoughts, dreams


They rush through your veins
Like heroin euphoria,
Wildfire eating a dry forest
All-consuming and incandescent


Everything they do seems
Supernatural
Every mannerism is enchanting
You hang on their
Words and ideas
As if they are passing along some
Ancient knowledge


We subconsciously want their
Innate magic
Because we always want
What we can’t have
So instead we give them
Room and board in our heads
So we can call on them any time
To keep us inspired and spellbound